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                    [post_content] => Opinion - Paul Greenberg



It seems that our work loads are expanding. Our inbox is getting fuller, more meetings, more travel, more reports. So when an invitation to attend an industry conference and expo pops up in our inbox or in-tray, it is understandable that for many of us, these invitations get binned. But I would ask you to consider the following points, in support of attending these events.

Don’t forget your personal brand

I am often asked to have a coffee with talented professionals in logistics and supply chain. Often, they are looking for a new role, and seeking a bit of guidance. All too often, these talented and hardworking professionals have done a fantastic job in their roles and for the company, but have all too often neglected to build their profile ‘out there’. Personal branding is a big conversation, too long for this column, but I would ask you to consider that in our working careers there are two brands we must serve in equal measure. The company brand we work for, and our personal brand and professional development.

Professional development

I have held a registration as a psychologist in Australia for the last twenty years. And am a member of the Australian Psychological Society. This professional board, by example, demands that I attend industry events, seminars and workshops in pursuit of professional development. CPD points (continuing professional development) must be accrued and logged in order for the annual registration renewal, and many professional bodies follow similar formats. My question to you is: why should professionals in logistics be broadly exempt? After all, we manage significant capital assets and are responsible for safety in an often ‘heavy metal’ environment. Just saying.

Alliances

I have written quite a bit in this column about the importance of alliances in our industry. And frequently quote Carlos Slim, who states: “In this new wave of technology, you can't do it all yourself, you have to form alliances.” This quote resonates for me and my career. Some of my regrets are around not forming alliances, even with the proverbial ‘frenemies’ I competed against. Industry events and expos are the perfect opportunity to plant seeds around potential alliances.

Networking 

See all the points above of course. But my point here is that in our corporate roles, and often regardless of our level in the organisation, there are limited opportunities in our working week to meet in the broader supply chain and logistics ecosystem. Sure we know our colleagues, and our key suppliers, and we might have a coffee from time to time with colleagues in other organisations. But what about new suppliers, new technologies, colleagues in other verticals and organisations, locally and globally? I believe industry events are actually a very effective use of time. Over a compressed two or three days, these events allow a lot of boxes to be ticked, on all the above points.

Go wide

Lastly, if some of the points above resonate, consider going wider than just logistics and supply chain events. In my role as founder and executive director of NORA.org.au, I am fortunate to attend and support a number of industry events. While mainly in retail, or retail-related, I often find that the real nuggets of gold can lie in those events and streams just a little ‘outside the obvious’.

Happy prospecting!

Paul Greenberg is the founder and executive director of NORA.org.au.


 
                    [post_title] => Industry events: to attend or not to attend, that is the question
                    [post_excerpt] => Professional development is an essential ingredient of your personal brand.
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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27470" align="alignnone" width="300"] Luke Foley delivering his Budget reply. Photo courtesy of the ABC.[/caption]

NSW opposition leader Luke Foley has outlined the Labor Opposition’s reply to the NSW Government’s 2017 Budget, focusing on education, electricity and renewable energy, infrastructure and regional NSW.

Education and school funding

Mr Foley said a Labor Government would have a school building program that will ensure unused public land goes towards school infrastructure. This will be achieved by the Greater Sydney Commission being given the power to seize surplus government land from other departments and agencies for much-needed schools.

Labor will also legislate that every new school built includes childcare or before and after school care facilities on-site. This will help achieve the pledge that every child will have access to at least 15 hours of “affordable preschool education per week, in the year before school”.

As well, every primary school student in NSW will be taught a second language.

For the youth, Labor announced a jobs scheme for the state’s apprentices and trainees. It estimates the scheme will create thousands of jobs for young people every year.

Mr Foley said 63,000 fewer students have enrolled in TAFE after the Coalition Government cut budgets, identified campuses in regional and rural areas for sale or closure and started sacking teachers and support staff. Another 500 were terminated this year, bringing the total to 5,700 since the Liberals and Nationals got their hands on TAFE.

He committed a Labor Government would require 15 per cent of all jobs on NSW Government construction projects, valued over $500,000, to be allocated for apprentices/trainees, indigenous people and the long term unemployed.

He also committed Labor to re-build TAFE, by guarantee at least 70 per cent of NSW vocational education and training funding going to TAFE.

Electricity and renewable energy

Mr Foley said a Labor government would re-regulate the electricity market to attempt to lower the price of power in NSW, which has approximately doubled since it was deregulated and bills “are set to increase annually by an average of $300 for residential and $900 for commercial users a year. 

He said Labor would also use proceeds from the transfer of the Snowy Hydro to invest in renewable generation across regional NSW, set a minimum solar tariff for households with rooftop solar to be paid for the power they generate, and “massively increase solar energy generation on the rooftops of government buildings”.

Infrastructure

With Sydney public transport and roads, Labor would prioritise the Western Sydney Metro over the Northern Beaches tunnel.

Mr Foley committed to the Western Sydney Metro following the current government specifically excluding in the Budget the fast rail link in favour of the Northern Beaches Tunnel.

With the Badgery’s Creek airport, Labor has called for the creation of a joint Commonwealth-New South Wales Western Sydney Airport Co-ordination Authority to coordinate land use and surface infrastructure. The authority would focus on essential connections such as electricity, water and sewerage for the airport’s surrounding employment zones.

Labor would also like to see the building of a rail connection from day one so people can get where they’re going and avoid congestion on the roads. A fuel pipeline corridor – similar to the underground pipeline from Kurnell to Sydney Airport – also  needs to be reserved and construction of it accelerated as the current plan to supply jet fuel by road will not be sustainable.

Regional NSW

Luke Foley has laid out his commitments to regional and rural NSW if elected in 2019, including that 100 per cent of the proceeds of a Snowy Hydro sale will be spent on regional infrastructure.

He said Labor’s support for selling the state’s share of the Snowy Hydro scheme to the Federal Government is conditional on the proceeds being spent in regional NSW. The sale would also be on the conditional guarantee of ongoing public ownership of the Hydro.

All of the $4 to $5 billion in proceeds would be used to improve regional schools, TAFE, hospitals, roads, energy, water, cultural and sporting infrastructure, he said.

Mr Foley promised to continue visiting the regions to hear directly from local communities. Recently, Mr Foley travelled to the North Coast, Monaro, the Upper Hunter and this time last year visited Menindee Lakes as part of two-day tour of Broken Hill.

Special treatment for Far West NSW, where regional town populations are falling and businesses are unable to attract and retain staff, would include abolishing payroll tax for all small and medium-sized businesses in the Far West.

In the Illawarra, Labor promised to assist the steel industry, and upgrade to the WIN Entertainment Centre.

 
                    [post_title] => NSW Budget: the reply
                    [post_excerpt] => NSW opposition leader Luke Foley has outlined his reply to the Government’s 2017 Budget.
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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27458" align="alignnone" width="279"] Julie Inman Grant is the Children’s eSafety Commissioner.[/caption]

The Federal Government will rename the Children’s eSafety Commissioner just the eSafety Commissioner, entrusting the office to “enhance online safety for all Australians and provide clarity for reporting online safety issues”.

The changes allow the eSafety Commissioner to be tasked with improving the digital confidence and skills of senior citizens as well, and to establish a national online complaints mechanism where victims can report cases of intimate photos or videos being posted without consent (image-based abuse) and access support.

The changes will make it easier for the public to identify where they can seek assistance and advice on a range of online safety issues. The amendments only relate to the general functions of the commissioner and do not relate to the cyberbullying complaints scheme, which addresses material that is targeted at children.

Prior to the last election, the Liberals promised to spend $50 million to improve the digital literacy of seniors and improve their safety online, by developing a digital inclusion and online safety strategy for them.

The digital literacy strategy’s aim is to complement existing programs and draw on the expertise and knowledge of the community sector to develop an appropriate package of support to improve the digital literacy and safety of seniors online.

It targets seniors who have access to existing devices and aims to support them to learn how to take full advantage to keep in touch and stay connected, without exposing themselves to online abuse.

The government had also promised to spend $10 million on:
  • Establishing a national online complaints mechanism where victims can report cases of intimate photos or videos being posted without consent (‘revenge porn’) and access immediate and tangible support.
  • Countering the impact of pornography in society with targeted information and educational resources to shift attitudes and behaviours in young people.
  • Identifying gaps in, and impediments to, information sharing about victims and perpetrators of domestic, family and sexual violence between jurisdictions.
  • Strengthening research and data collection around the forms of violence experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
These initiatives will now also fall under the authority of the eSafety Commissioner. Feedback sought In addition, the government is currently seeking feedback on implementing civil penalties for the non-consensual sharing of intimate images (‘revenge porn’). Submissions can be made through the Department of Communications and the Arts’ ‘Have your say’ website. [post_title] => Children’s eSafety Commissioner to look after all ages [post_excerpt] => The Children’s eSafety Commissioner will be renamed just the eSafety Commissioner, to “enhance online safety for all Australians”. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => childrens-esafety-commissioner-look-ages [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-23 13:41:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-23 03:41:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27457 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27361 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-13 11:10:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-13 01:10:21 [post_content] =>   Affordable housing, infrastructure spending, mental health, new schools, family violence and drug courts and 6,000 more public servants are expected to be some of the cornerstones of Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt’s budget today (Tuesday). It is a budget with real heart, with a focus on people doing it tough, whether it is people battling drug addiction or poor mental health, children in unsafe situations or those who cannot afford a secure place to live and one likely to help Ms Palaszcuk's bid for re-election in around six month's time. One of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s biggest ticket items in today’s budget, which will be announced around 2.30pm, will be $1.8 billion for social and affordable housing under the state’s new 10-year Queensland Housing Strategy. The money will be used to build 4,522 new social homes and 1,034 affordable homes and introduce targets for social and affordable housing of between 5 to 25 per cent for new homes built on state land. It also includes $20 million for new Youth Foyers in Townsville and the Gold Coast and expanding the Logan foyer. The service, run by Wesley Mission, provides supported accommodation and social and emotional support for marginalised young people aged 16 to 25. The government has also committed to creating housing and homelessness hubs; $30 million to reform the housing system and $75 million for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander home ownership. It is expected there will be 450 full-time construction jobs created a year. Ms Palaszczuk called the $1.8 billion investment ‘a launch pad for opportunity and aspiration’. “Secure housing enables young people to finish their education. It provides the stability that keeps families together. And it gives people the secure base they need to get and keep a job,” she said. Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt said state-wide expressions of interest for initial projects would be online from today. “Our ten-year construction program provides industry with a stable and predictable program of work so they can have certainty,” Mr Pitt said. “This is about best practice procurement, working to match projects to appropriate partners, creating opportunities for small, medium and large businesses. Whether you are a small home builder or one of the state’s largest developers there is something in this construction package for you.” Queensland Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the strategy would leverage investment from the private sector create ‘genuine affordable housing’ in the state on underused government land. “This strategy is a big win for local builders and tradies in the residential sector across the state,” Mr de Brenni said. “This strategy is about partnering with the private sector and community housing providers to create genuine affordable housing, something that hasn’t been done at scale in this country in decades.” Housing affordability has been a key component of state and federal budgets of late. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a suite of housing measures earlier this month but the reforms were focused more on helping out first home buyers with stamp duty concessions and grants, increasing duties and taxes for foreign property investors and speeding up development applications. Housing was also top-of-mind for Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison in his May Budget when he announced a bond aggregator scheme, which hopes to attract large-scale private investment into affordable housing by helping not-for-profit community housing providers borrow more cheaply. Mr Morrison also introduced a super deposit scheme to enable first home buyers amass a deposit more quickly and but he pointedly refused to touch either negative gearing or capital gains tax discounts. Other Queensland Budget measures include: • Another $2 billion towards Brisbane's $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project, a 10.2km inner-city rail link between Dutton Park and Bowen Hill, taking the state’s contribution to half • $75 million for the Townsville Port expansion • Upgrading the Sciencentre at the Queensland Museum on the South Bank ($9.4 million) • $16 billion for health, including expanding mental health services and replacing the Barrett Centre, Queensland’s only residential centre for youth with severe mental health problems • $13 billion for education to build new high schools in Fortitude Valley and South Brisbane and buy land for four more regional high schools • New domestic and family violence courts at Townsville and Beenleigh and making Southport court permanent ($69.5 million) • Reinstating the Drug Court in Brisbane to help rehabilitate offenders and overcome substance dependence ($22.7 million over four years) • A $200 million child safety package including 292 child safety staff, money to recruit an extra 1000 foster carers and $7.4 million to support families where a person has become addicted to ice • $155 million for counter-terror policing with 30 more police officers in Brisbane and 20 in the regions and $46.7 million for a counter-terrorism facility at Wacol • $1.1 billion for electricity projects and subsidies [post_title] => A Queensland budget with heart: Palaszczuk prepares for re-election [post_excerpt] => Cash for health, housing, kids and courts. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => queensland-budget-prepares-palaszczuk-re-election [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-13 11:10:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-13 01:10:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27361 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27322 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-07 12:59:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-07 02:59:07 [post_content] =>   Graduates at Southern Cross University. Pic: Facebook.   NSW universities recorded a combined operating surplus of $631 million last year and have coped with government funding cuts by reining in spending and increasing their income from student fees and other sources, an audit has found. Auditor-General Margaret Crawford’s report, Universities: 2016 Audits, released yesterday (Tuesday) by the Audit Office of NSW, found that the state’s ten universities were managing to stay afloat despite government cutbacks. Ms Crawford said: “Universities are managing the impact of continued downtrend in Commonwealth government grants by diversifying revenue and constraining expenditure.” She said universities were now ‘less reliant’ on government grants. The audit found that all of the universities recorded a surplus in 2016 and their combined growth in revenue exceeded their expenditure growth by 1.1 per cent, compared to a negative position (of 1.3 per cent) in 2015. However, at an individual level, five universities saw their rate of expenditure growth surpassing their revenue growth. Charles Sturt University had the highest negative earnings gap at 1.8 per cent, due to increased tuition contracts, while Sydney University’s negative earnings gap of 1.7 per cent was primarily due to an increased wage bill and a write down of capitalised project costs. Three other universities also had a negative earnings gap: University of New England (1.2%), University of Western Sydney (1.1%) and the University of Wollongong (0.9%). Southern Cross University had the highest positive earnings gap at 10.7 per cent, driven primarily by an increase of $13.4 million in Commonwealth Government Education Investment Fund. Next was University of Technology Sydney at 3.9%; University of NSW with 3.7 per cent; Newcastle University 2.9% and Macquarie University with 2.3%. Much of this financial buoyancy appears to be from a 25 per cent increase ($458 million) in overseas student revenue, a massive jump of 71.4 per cent since 2012. Last year was the first time NSW universities have earned more from overseas students’ course income than from domestic students’ course income. Ms Crawford said: “Some NSW universities' business models depend on international students' intake to be financially sustainable. These universities manage income concentration risk by focusing on increasing the geographical diversity of overseas students.” The balance between income gained from student course fees and government grants has been shifting over the last five years. Income from student course fees jumped from 39 per cent in 2012 to almost 46 per cent in 2016, whereas Commonwealth grants have dropped from 42 per cent of universities’ income in 2012 to 36 per cent in 2016. The report echoes an earlier Deloitte Access Economics study using data from 17 Australian universities, which found that Australia’s universities receive sufficient revenue through government funding and student fees to cover the cost of teaching most degrees. Two major exceptions were dentistry and veterinary science, which were both found to be underfunded. The study compared the average cost of delivering courses and said this had increased by 9.5 per cent between 2010 and 2015 while revenue went up by 15 per cent over the same period. Managing the risks Despite these encouraging numbers from both surveys, universities face an uncertain future after federal Budget measures slugged them with an efficiency dividend of 2.4 per cent in May, alongside hiking up student fees and pushing graduates to repay loans more quickly. The report identifies the top five strategic risks to NSW universities:
  • Government policy changes
  • Technology disruption
  • Increasingly competitive market for international students
  • Future financial sustainability
  • Investment in research not providing the desired outcomes and excellence
The Auditor-General said some universities’ heavy reliance on overseas students made them vulnerable to fluctuations in overseas student numbers and this risk needed to be planned for and managed. Ms Crawford also said universities needed to keep pace with the practical demands of the job market, particularly where technology was concerned. The report said that NSW universities' current course enrolment statistics did not appear to mirror published skills shortages. “Courses with the highest proportion of enrolled students such as creative arts, society and culture do not mirror the skills shortage requirements in NSW for health, ICT and engineering,” it said. “Aligning students' enrolment with the fields of skill shortages within the state would ensure funds are directed to educate graduates that can be employed.” Another risk flagged was the need for universities to have a strategy for dealing with cyber threats and threats to intellectual property by tightening up their information security. “NSW universities need to review the design and effectiveness of their information security controls to ensure intellectual property, staff and student data are adequately protected,” the Auditor-General recommended. This was mainly around password settings and administration of user access. User password settings need to be improved on the financial systems to help to reduce the risk of data leaks and inappropriate access. The 2016 Threat Report of the Australian Cyber Security Centre, identified intellectual property as a potential target for cyber criminals. “Universities generate a significant amount of intellectual property through their investment of public and commercial funds into research. The report also noted that cyber criminals are using increasingly sophisticated ways to elicit this high value,” said the audit. Ms Crawford said that some universities were addressing these risks through ‘stress testing and scenario analysis models’ to understand and plan appropriate responses. [post_title] => NSW universities are doing ok, says audit [post_excerpt] => Overseas student numbers soar. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-universities-ok-says-audit [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-09 10:03:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-09 00:03:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27322 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27207 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-24 12:33:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-24 02:33:44 [post_content] =>   An audit of underperformance in eight Commonwealth agencies and departments, including the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), has found there is ‘significant room for improvement’ in dealing with poor performers and that managers avoided tackling the problem and encouraged workers to take redundancy or retire instead. The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) looked into underperformance of eight federal government agencies and departments between 2012 and 2016, including the Attorney-General’s Department; Australian Taxation Office; Department of Agriculture and Water Resources; Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; Department of Social Services; Department of Veterans’ Affairs; IP Australia; and the National Film and Sound Archive. These eight were chosen to provide a mix of size and function, as well as a mix of how they had been rated for managing poor performers by their staff. The audit focused on how well agencies managed underperformance through policies, procedures and management practices and said it was important to address because weak performance management could impact negatively on productivity, efficiency and morale. “In most agencies underperformance is not being accurately identified and the proportion of employees undergoing structured underperformance processes is very low in all agencies," said the report, although it found that where it was addressed agencies stuck to procedural fairness. “Probation processes are not generally used robustly to test the suitability of newly appointed employees (except in the Australian Taxation Office and the National Film and Sound Archive).” The Audit Office said managers should not rely on encouraging badly performing staff to take redundancies or opt for retirement, “while these may be cost-effective approaches in situations of excess staffing or in particularly complex cases they should not be used to replace or undermine ongoing, robust underperformance management procedures.” The number of staff going through structured underperformance processes was 'very low', with the lowest rate of the eight departments being 0.03 per cent of staff at the ATO. The highest was the National Film and Sound Archive at 0.28 per cent.  It said management culture and the lack of support and training for senior and middle managers were the main barriers in dealing with underperformance in the workplace, noting an unwillingness to tackle poor performers, give feedback or set clear expectations from some managers.  Staff perceptions of how well government departments and agencies were doing were also unfavourable. Between 70 to 84 per cent of staff thought their department did not do a good job of managing substandard workers, although around half considered their supervisors did a decent job.   It acknowledged that the causes of underperformance could be complex and include mental health or physical problems and personal issues as well as lax recruitment processes that fail to hire the right person for the job.  Access to training and development could also play a role. Main findings
  • Managers often avoided addressing underperformance, mainly due to lack of support, capability or incentives to do so
  • Managers shied away from confronting poor performers, relying instead on redundancies or retirement, against Australian Public Service Commission guidelines
  • The performance management process was being underused to manage poor performers
  • Probation procedures were deficient in every agency
  • Underperformance policies needed cleaning up and the procedures managing senior staff should be made more transparent
  • Managers in every agency need to make a stronger commitment to dealing with poor performance, including setting clear expectations and giving feedback to staff
Recommendations
  • More commitment from managers to tackle poor performance, rather than using retirement or redundancy
  • Better training and support needed for managers, including the early involvement of an HR professional to help 
  • Clearer guidelines to make it easier for managers to identify inadequate performance
  • Holding managers more accountable for the way they manage underperformance
  • Improve the performance management framework with more ‘check-ins’ between managers and staff
The audit used a variety of data sources including Australian Public Service Commission data from the annual employee census and annual agency survey; agency policies and procedures and interviews with employee representatives, corporate support staff and academics. It cost the ANAO $530,000 to conduct. [post_title] => APS underperformance ignored by managers, says audit [post_excerpt] => Poor performers encouraged to resign or retire. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => aps-underperformance-left-fester-managers-says-audit [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-25 16:23:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-25 06:23:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27207 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26999 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-02 05:00:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-01 19:00:09 [post_content] =>

    A report into Australia’s burgeoning medicinal cannabis share market or 'pot stock' boom has highlighted eye-popping share price increases and a rush of investor enthusiasm but cautioned prospective investors to watch and wait. A 2017 Australian Stock Report (ASR) Medical marijuana: Should you buy into these companies?, aimed at share traders and investors, says medicinal cannabis stocks have shot up by more than 130 per cent this year but recommends restraint due to the “relative infancy of medical marijuana on the ASX”. Millions of dollars have poured into the fledgling industry since it became legal to cultivate, produce and manufacture medicinal cannabis products in Australia on October 30 last year. So far, it can only be used for treating a fairly narrow range of conditions such as severe epilepsy, chronic pain, HIV and chemo-induced nausea. Investors and speculators are always looking for the next big thing and they seem to have found it in medicinal cannabis as they’ve watched stocks climb and interest explode.   But the ASR warns that medicinal cannabis related stocks could fail to translate capital investments into sustainable profits and that management teams are likely to be inexperienced when dealing with the regulations and consumer demands of an emerging industry. “This is likely to bring management mistakes as they anticipate supply and demand growth which may or may not occur, leading to inventory disruptions and unanticipated cost,” The ASR says. New industry players have entered the market as barriers have fallen but this can lead to industry fragmentation and spell lower investment returns. Companies that have recently listed on the ASX include The Hydroponics Company (THC) in Sydney; AusCann; Zelda Therapeutics; MMJ Phytotech Ltd; Perth company MGC Pharma; Creso Pharma and International Cannabis Corp. “The overall industry appears to have a bright future with growing evidence pointing to the medical attributes of using marijuana,” said the ASR. “Despite this growing demand we think the Australian listed entities are too immature at this stage to be considered as a financial investment and we prefer to watch from the side lines to determine which if any can transform into making positive cash flows,” the report concludes. “Sorry to dampen your enthusiasm but these listed entities are also thinly traded, meaning there is not much stock available to buy or sell. Thinly traded stocks are hard to move in and out of, prices get pushed up as investors secure stock but also drop a lot faster when investors decide to exit.” The ASR advises investors to take the time to understand a company’s financials and its products before investing. Industry expert Rhys Cohen has welcomed the growing number of medicinal cannabis companies listing on the ASX but he said we should not lose sight of what is at stake for patients.   “There’s a bit too much hype around the financialisation of this industry that may not be best for the industry or patients,” Mr Cohen said. “I don’t think anyone is at fault. People are really excited about this – there are a lot of reasons to be excited and I’m not trying to put down people who invest in pot stocks - but it’s distracting people from the realities of the industry, like expanding patient access and investing more in medical research and education.” While floating companies was a good way for companies to access capital funding he said that some of the hype around pot stock deals had drawn people’s attention from what was really important: the long-term viability of the industry and the well-being of patients. The two main barriers to industry growth were patient access and domestic drug approval. To be prescribed medicinal cannabis, patients must first visit their medical practitioner who must then get approval from the state or territory health department and the federal health department to import the drug before they can access it. “People are really frustrated because they’ve been told it’s legal and available but actually it’s a lot more complex than that. There are a lot of barriers. It requires your medical practitioner to be a real advocate for you.” At present there is no domestic product and companies must undergo an arduous approval process to be listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, prior to approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. But Mr Cohen, who works for the Australian subsidiary of Israeli medicinal cannabis company Cann10, is doing something about building local capacity in the industry with Australia’s first medical cannabis leadership program, which kicks off in Melbourne later this year. Cann10 will run the 8-week program for 40 participants in partnership with DeakinCo., the commercial arm of Deakin University. The one-night a week course will cover topics including botany and cultivation; clinical science; agriculture and genetics; extraction and legislation; commerce and R&D and regulation and it is aimed at doctors, nurses, pharmacists and scientists, as well as agricultural, biomedical and technological entrepreneurs. Mr Cohen said he hoped the course would be a springboard for people to start new ventures, research programs and businesses and would help entrepreneurs to network. “There’s so much work to be done in learning every part of the medicinal cannabis industry. There are companies that are doing some really exciting, cutting edge medical research and finding new ways of delivering it, such as pills and oils,” he said. “Really we’re just getting started. This industry didn’t exist pre-1992. It’s only really in the last few years that we’ve been able to do real research on the cannabis plant.” He said Australia was ideally placed to develop a globally successful medicinal cannabis industry because once up and running the product would be high quality and rigorously regulated with good access to Asian markets. Want the latest public sector news delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up the Government News newsletter.    [post_title] => Curb your enthusiasm: The overhyped medicinal cannabis ‘pot stock’ boom [post_excerpt] => Don’t lose sight of patients, says industry expert. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => curb-enthusiasm-overhyped-medicinal-cannabis-pot-stock-boom [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-02 15:04:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-02 05:04:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26999 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26994 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-04-28 11:43:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-28 01:43:21 [post_content] =>

The Canberra school cleaners who took their underpayment claim to the Federal Court. Source: United Voice   By Claire Hibbit 
A Canberra-based cleaning company, which was contracted to clean 10 public schools in the ACT, has been found guilty of Fair Work Act breaches for underpayments. United Voice launched the case against Philip Cleaning Services on behalf of 22 workers in 2015, alleging in court documents that some of the cleaners were owed almost $25,000. Of the 22 workers, 19 are S’gaw Karen refugees from Myanmar and Thailand, who spent two decades in refugee camps in Thailand before being resettled in Australia. According to United Voice, the permanent part-time school cleaners were pressured into signing contracts they did not understand, variously paid from different business entities (without explanation either to the workers or the ACT Government) and routinely exposed to unsafe working conditions. Read more here. This story first appeared in INCLEAN.
[post_title] => Canberra school cleaning company guilty of Fair Work Act breaches [post_excerpt] => Some workers owed almost $25k. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => canberra-cleaning-company-guilty-fair-work-act-breaches [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-28 11:43:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-28 01:43:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26994 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26822 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-05 13:01:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-05 03:01:25 [post_content] => Former NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli goes back to uni. Pic: YouTube     Adrian Piccoli – the dumped NSW Education Minister who famously made a stand against his own party by championing Gonski needs-based school funding – will work with the University of NSW on its programs for disadvantaged students and schools. Mr Piccoli was controversially dumped as the state's Education Minister during NSW Premier Gladys Berejikilian's Cabinet reshuffle in January and replaced with NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes. Now the former minister has been appointed an Honorary Professor of Practice by UNSW, which will see him working with the School of Education and Arts and Social Sciences and giving guest lectures on politics and public policy while helping with the university’s suite of education initiatives, particularly those around rural and remote education. These include:
  • Boosting the number of trainee teaching placements in rural areas
  • A partnership between UNSW and Matraville High School where undergraduate teachers run educational and fun after school workshops and support students academically while gaining valuable teaching experience.
  • ASPIRE, a program that aims to boost the numbers of children going to university in schools where numbers are low
UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs said Mr Piccoli had shown great commitment to public education, particularly around improving literacy and numeracy in rural and remote communities, and welcomed him on board. “His expertise fits perfectly with the focus of our UNSW 2025 Strategy on educational excellence and social engagement. His contribution will be of great value in our efforts to provide the highest quality education, accessible to all parts of society,” Prof Jacobs said. “I am delighted that Adrian is joining our team at UNSW and I look forward immensely to his input.” Dean of UNSW Arts and Social Sciences Professor Susan Dodds said UNSW would draw on Mr Piccoli’s practical policy knowledge and longstanding commitment to rural and remote education in the university’s research and teaching. “We have plans to continue to expand our work with policy makers, schools and communities, and his appointment will help to focus those developments. In addition, Mr Piccoli has agreed to offer some guest lectures to students in courses on politics and public policy, informed by his experience as an MP,” Prof Dodds said. Mr Piccoli said he was committed to improving the outcomes for students across NSW and Australia. “This is a great opportunity to continue making a contribution to education in conjunction with one of the finest universities in the country,” he said.   [post_title] => Piccoli takes on uni role to help disadvantaged students [post_excerpt] => Remote and rural areas focus. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => piccoli-takes-uni-role-help-disadvantaged-students [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-17 11:58:42 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-17 01:58:42 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26822 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => 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 ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25518 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-11-08 15:18:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-08 04:18:42 [post_content] => light-years-ahead2_opt Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Council's Light Years Ahead program     NSW local government environment stars have been busy over the past year, with projects encompassing a broad range of areas, including sustainable procurement; climate change action; asbestos management; communication, education and empowerment; roadside management and water conservation. The best of the best will be honoured in the annual Local Government Excellence in the Environment Awards later this month. The top two awards are for overall council performance and another celebrating the achievements of an individual council officer or councillor who has been a beacon to sustainability. Please see below for a full list of finalists. Winners will be announced at a ceremony on Tuesday 29 November 2016 at Doltone House, Darling Island Wharf, Sydney.   2016 Finalists Asbestos Management Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils - Western Sydney Asbestos Answers Facebook campaign Climate Change Action Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Holroyd, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, The Hills, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith Councils - Light years ahead Blacktown City Council - Cool streets Hunter & Central Coast Regional Environmental Management Strategy- Regional heatwave resilience project Penrith City Council - Cooling the city   Communication, Education and Empowerment   Leichhardt Municipal Council (Inner West Council) - On tour: sustainable food, fashion and fun! MIDWASTE - Frugal forest Rockdale City Council (Bayside Council) - Engaging the community: landing lights wetland restoration Waverley Council - Second Nature 'I'm in' community engagement campaign   frugal-forest_opt MIDWASTE'S Frugal Forest  Community Sharps Management City of Ryde Council – Sharps Disposal Invasive Species Management    Bankstown City Council (City of Canterbury-Bankstown) - Feral rabbit management in urban Bankstown Camden Council - Management of Australian white ibis at Lake Annan, Mount Annan Clarence Valley Council - Use community based social marketing for effective tropical soda apple management Palerang Council (Queanbeyan–Palerang Regional Council) - Weed identification and mapping from high resolution aerial photography   [caption id="attachment_25522" align="alignnone" width="500"]"Young Mountain Cottontail rabbit Sylvilagus nuttallii resting in grass. Boulder, Colorado, 2009." Former Bankstown Council has won praise for its management of feral rabbits.[/caption]   Natural Environment Policies, Planning and Decision Making     Palerang Council (Queanbeyan–Palerang Regional Council) - Remote pilot aircraft aerial imaging trial Sydney Peri Urban Network of Councils - Sydney food futures project   Natural Environment Protection & Enhancement: On-Ground Works Bankstown City Council (City of Canterbury-Bankstown) - Habitat box program Bathurst Regional Council - Restoring regent honeyeater habitat in the Bathurst region Blue Mountains City Council - Leura Falls catchment improvement project Orange City Council - Gosling Creek Reserve precinct floating island and hollows habitat Parkes Shire Council - PAC Park urban wetland construction Wagga Wagga City Council - Marrambidya Wetland Roadside Environmental Management    Ballina Shire Council - Chickiba Roadside Wetlands restoration project Lachlan Shire Council - Roadside corridor assessment and management guidelines Moree Plains Shire Council - Roadside environmental management plan Sustainable Procurement   Marrickville Council (Inner West Council) - Embedding sustainability into 'value for money'   marrickville-council-procurement_opt Former Marrickville Council's sustainable procurement campaign won plaudits   Resource Recovery    Broken Hill City Council - Increasing resource recovery for Broken Hill Campbelltown City Council - Annual free recyclables drop-off day     Waste Avoidance and Reuse    Lismore City Council - Lismore revolve shop and recycled market Parramatta City Council – The R3 program: resource, rescue and reuse Waste Education and Communication    Lachlan Shire Council - Lachlan Shire waste services rationalisation Warringah Council (Northern Beaches Council) - The Sort it Out campaign     Water Conservation Ballina Shire Council - Pressure and leakage management plan [caption id="attachment_25524" align="alignnone" width="460"]High pressure pipe leaking Finalist: Ballina Shire Council's Pressure and Leak Management Plan[/caption]     Local Sustainability Ballina Shire Council – Sustainability: serving the community of today whilst preparing for the challenges of tomorrow Camden Council - Sustainable Camden Louise Petchell Memorial Award for Individual Sustainability Winner to be announced at the Awards on Tuesday 29 November     [post_title] => Full list of finalists: NSW local government environment stars [post_excerpt] => Sharing good ideas. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => full-list-finalists-nsw-local-government-environment-stars [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-11 10:15:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-10 23:15:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25518 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25469 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-11-04 11:51:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-04 00:51:03 [post_content] =>   [caption id="attachment_25470" align="alignnone" width="387"]Eora College, 333 Abercrombie St Chippendale Sydney - 28th October 2016. Sydney TAFE & The City of Sydney celebrate the completion of the pilot phase of the Social Housing Community Leadership Program. Graduates are awarded with a certificate of participation. Graduates from the Social Housing Community Leadership
Program. Pic supplied by City of Sydney. [/caption]     Eighteen social housing tenants have just graduated from a new City of Sydney and TAFE NSW course designed to improve conflict resolution skills and teach community leadership. One of them is Charlotte Dobrovits who has lived in Redfern’s troubled McKell Tower for nine years and been a tenant representative for three years. Ms Dobrovits advocates for the rights of fellow tenants and offers support to her neighbours, including older people and those affected by domestic violence, mental illness or substance abuse. She said the two-day course taught her how to build rapport, deal with conflict and establish a connection in what could sometimes be difficult circumstances. “We have a lot of anti-social behaviour, drug and alcohol and mental health issues and domestic violence so we get the whole gamut,” Ms Dobrovits said. “We just needed the skills to be able to handle situations without being aggressive but being assertive and also [know] how to judge when someone has a drug psychosis or mental health issues.” She said the course  helped her set boundaries when dealing with people and was particularly ideal for inexperienced and younger tenant representatives elected after recent Neighbourhood Advisory Board elections. “Understanding and knowing what to say increased my confidence, self-esteem and professionalism – and also the ability to tackle sticky situations with grace and ease.” Ms Dobrovits said she loved her community and would never leave it: “I grew up on Sydney’s North Shore but I would not go back now, not in a million years. There’s so much to do and I love the people. That’s what makes me stay. Sydney Mayor Clover Moore said the program aimed to create more cohesive and harmonious communities across City of Sydney. The council has one of the largest concentrations of social housing properties of any local council in Australia with more than 9,700 properties. “It’s great to see this diverse group of graduates refine their communication skills and gain confidence in resolving conflicts, public speaking and participation in community meetings,” Ms Moore said. “These valuable skills will help them become leaders in their communities and be actively involved in decision making and I congratulate all our graduates for taking part.” The graduates were from Redfern, Camperdown, Woolloomooloo and Surry Hills. The council already does a lot of work with social housing tenants. It is the only local government in Australia to employ a dedicated social housing liaison officer and delivers and supports a range of community projects in partnership with state government and non-government agencies. These include the Redlink integrated service hub in Redfern, local community safety audits and annual events such as the Northcott Pet Day in Surry Hills, Summer on the Green in Waterloo and Redfern Neighbourhood Day. [post_title] => Social housing tenants skilled up to cope with conflict [post_excerpt] => City of Sydney pilot. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => social-housing-tenants-skilled-cope-conflict [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-04 11:51:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-04 00:51:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25469 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25442 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2016-11-01 09:14:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-31 22:14:30 [post_content] => Positive emotions of team members during staff meeting     By Tony Sandberg, Director, Solutions and Industry Marketing Asia Pacific at Polycom. I had the pleasure of hosting discussions during the OpenGov Leadership Forum in Canberra last month. It was a chance for government departments across a broad range of sectors and geographies to collaborate and share insights on how they are hoping to use technology to ‘do more with less’ – in a bid to become more collaborative, while also transforming their workspaces and culture to create a ‘workplace of the future’ today. Perhaps this need for change is not all that surprising given the Government’s current innovation agenda. Deloitte Australia also estimates that by simply collaborating more than they do right now, Australian businesses can add up to AUD$9.3 billion per year to the economy1. If this is the case, then it stands to reason that government will also reap massive rewards if they can successfully adopt a more collaborative culture inside their own departments. However, in Canberra, it became apparent very quickly that, while there is clear intent to change, there is still work to be done in order to embrace the benefits of using collaboration technologies within all levels of government. Understanding the Role of Email in the Collaborative Workspace It’s human nature. We don’t like to change and are often drawn to what’s familiar. The same applies to our technology preferences. For example, the majority of delegates said they still use email as their main collaboration tool because of its familiarity and ability to act as a record keeper of conversations and decisions. Interestingly, a recent Polycom Workplace of the Future2 survey found that, despite 97% of ANZ businesses believing technology-enabled collaboration is key to remaining competitive, most still rely on 20th century technologies such as email and phone. That said, there did seem to be a genuine desire among the government agencies present to be less dependent on emails in favour of real time communications and face-to-face collaboration. Effective Collaboration Needs ‘Location Liberation’ It was also encouraging to hear that some departments are already using collaboration tools like video to meet with their own geographically dispersed teams, other agencies, and international stakeholders. These departments already understand the benefits of using face-to-face collaboration technology to improve their service responsiveness, efficiency and productivity. Interestingly, the heavier users of video conferencing had also noticed less emails being sent and less email dependency. Today, most video collaboration within Government is still happening inside traditional meeting rooms. These spaces are often difficult to access as they are heavily booked. To overcome this meeting room bottleneck, some departments have already started using video from their desktops, mobile devices and ‘huddle rooms’ – smaller meeting spaces. For others, the need for “location liberation” was seen as key to allow them to use video more frequently outside the traditional conference room environment. Rethinking Workspace and Workplace Policies Government teams across industries and geography shared how they are starting to re-design workspaces and how workplace behaviour is also starting to adapt around them. It was no surprise that improving office design and layout was seen as an important enabler for the effective use of collaboration tools. While modern government offices have been designed with collaboration spaces in mind, many older buildings still lack the flexibility of being able to access collaboration technology outside the conference room. There was also a call for less bureaucracy and policies surrounding the use of video conferencing to move it out of the boardroom, ensuring greater flexibility and alignment with end user needs. Education Seen as a Key Driver to Workplace Adoption and Cultural Change The cultural change of using more real time communication instead of emails was recognised as one of the main hurdles to be overcome. Employee education around the ease of use was identified as a major driver for adoption. Essentially, when people start to use video collaboration and see the benefits it can drive the change in culture. One delegate summed it up by saying “people need to talk more with each other”. Over time it’s expected this work culture shift will also bring to the fore integrated solutions and workflows for ease of use such as integration with Skype for Business and Office 365. Five Key Tips for Improving Collaboration in Your Workplace Today Whether you are just starting out on your collaboration journey or actively planning the future state of your workplace, the tips below should support you on the journey:
  1. Measuring the uptake and utilisation of existing collaboration tools can help you discover quick win opportunities for improved productivity gains, e.g. number of team video conferencing meetings held in a week.
  2. Establish current collaboration usage and combine this with a strategy to address issues (such as the availability and type of tools, adoption programmes or workflows), your teams can improve their collaboration significantly.
  3. Choose a solution that is easy to use. Video collaboration adoption requires systems to be easy to use and manage, and also deliver a consistent, great experience anywhere and on any platform.
  4. Integrate and streamline, again for ease of use and quick adoption. Users need new collaboration technologies to be integrated with popular communication platforms like Microsoft Office 365 and normal day to day workflows. Choose solutions that are interoperable and provide secure access regardless of location, network or device.
  5. Work with your IT Team to update Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies to accommodate the needs of flexible workers and contract staff to ensure they remain productive and connected regardless of location.
  Looking to the Future The Australian government is in many areas ahead of other Governments within Asia Pacific in recognising the importance of collaboration tools.  Additionally and perhaps reassuringly, other governments around the world also face similar challenges in regards to cultural workplace changes, adapting policies and promoting ease of access. For now though, the focus for many Australian government departments is how to take that all-important next step for a connected workplace of the future – where internet, innovation and productivity work in unison. And, they want solutions that will improve workflow, experience and productivity – today.   About the Author: Tony Sandberg, with a background in the telecommunications / IT industry, focusing specifically on Service Providers, Enterprises and Government, is the Director, Industry Solutions and Market Development for Polycom Asia Pacific. He is a leader in collaborative workspaces and interactive videoconferencing. For two decades he has held senior roles in business development, sales and marketing, solutions management and partnerships. He holds a Master’s of Science in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Växjö Sweden.   1As summarised in their Global Human Capital Trends Report 2016. 2The Polycom Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) Workplace of the Future report captured insights from 1,500 plus employers and employees across ANZ. For many, the focus at OpenGov was on how to take that all important next step in their digital transformation. And they want organisation-focused solutions that will help them to create a true Workplace of the Future by improving workflow, experience, the workspace and ultimately, stakeholder satisfaction. [post_title] => Unlocking the benefits of collaboration for government [post_excerpt] => Shift to face-to-face technology. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => unlocking-the-benefits-of-collaboration-for-government [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-01 09:16:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-31 22:16:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25442 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25432 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-11-01 05:00:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-31 18:00:55 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_25436" align="alignnone" width="365"]See also: Estonia's capital, Tallinn.[/caption]     As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s digital transformation agenda gathers pace and renewed urgency in the wake of the botched 2016 Census and the new Digital Transformation Agency gets going, the PM would be wise to seek a meeting with government tech heads in Estonia, where 99 per cent of the country’s services are accessible online. Anna Piperal is the Managing Director of E-Estonia Showroom, a government-funded investment agency that travels the world showcasing Estonia’s digital prowess and its achievements, marking it out as one the most successful e-societies on Earth. Ms Piperal was recently a keynote speaker at Civica Expo in Sydney but took time out to speak to Government News about how Australia could learn from how Estonia has transformed itself into an exemplar of digital government. How it happened The push towards digitalisation in Estonia began in the early 1990s  after Estonia regained its independence when the Soviet Union fell in 1991. The breakaway from Communism provided the impetus to create a new government architecture from the ground up, with no legacy systems to tangle with, but hampered by having few resources and a small population. The internet had recently arrived and Estonia's leaders made a conscious decision to use it to build a more open, e-society and attempt to secure the nation's future. Project Tiger Leap began in 1996, prioritising computers and the internet in schools and other educational institutions and teaching the population IT skills. Legislation followed to create a national ID card and the X-Road, a system linking databases together. The country has since gone from strength to strength and has achieved some remarkable things. For example, a foreigner can get a digital identity and open a bank account in Estonia and then register their own company online in 18 minutes, including all background checks. Health records are all electronic; 96 per cent of the population pay their taxes online in less than three minutes; prescriptions are digital and one-third of voting is done online. In fact, Estonia was the first country to use e-voting for parliamentary elections in 2005. One of the cornerstones of the system is the compulsory national identity card, which was introduced in 2001 for all Estonians over 15 years old, and serves as the digital access card for all of Estonia’s e-services. Ms Piperal says the identity card has an encrypted chip and is a non-hackable system that everybody can use. The ID card has an impressive array of functions, for example it can be used as:
  • A driving licence
  • A virtual ticket on public transport in some parts of Estonia
  • A travel document around the European Union
  • To vote electronically from anywhere in the world
  • A health insurance card
  • For digital signatures
  • To pick up e-prescriptions
  • To access government databases, e.g. health records and taxes
  • To verify your identity when dealing with banks, e.g. when applying for a loan
To head off resistance, banks and the government made the idea of a national identity card more palatable to Estonians by offering incentives. For example, local government in Tallinn – Estonia’s capital – gave people 30 per cent off public transport fares if they used their ID card as virtual tickets and banks offered attractive rates. This built public confidence in the card. But it’s a different story in Australia, where the idea of a national identity cards has generated a storm of protest. The Australia Card was abandoned 1987 and the Access Card, ostensibly to be used to access Medicare and welfare payments, was dropped in 2007. Ms Piperal argues that having a national identity card is no more an invasion of privacy than not having one. “It doesn’t mean they [the government] won’t have data about you,” she says. “It’s just that people don’t know the data they might have.” Some Estonians are now choosing to have digital ID contained in their smartphone SIM cards so they have mobile ID. The X-Road At the heart of Estonia’s success as a digital nation is the X-Road: a secure highway for data traffic, which connects both public and private databases.  The X-Road allows people, government and companies to exchange standardised data securely and to regulate access to that data. The X-Road benefits from a complex security system with authentication, multi-level authorisation, a high-level log processing system and encrypted data traffic with time stamps. Databases are decentralised, so there is no single owner or controller and X-Road can write to multiple databases, transmit large data sets and search across several databases. Ms Piperal says it is the interoperability of the system that is critical to ensuring transparency around data. Government departments and agencies do not have to ask one another for data because it is already available. “Local government and the private sector can exchange data based on the same rules and laws. For example, population registry, tax registry, social security, e-health and mapping services,” she says. “You can regulate who sees what type of data. The police don’t see medical data, medics don’t see education data, just what they need to do their work.” E-everything This enthusiasm to finding a digital solution to social and adminstrative problems pervades every aspect of life in Estonia. The Tiger Leap project revolutionised the way Estonians viewed technology and digital government, providing Wifi and computers to every school. Under Estonia's education system, using the e-School platform, parents can access information about their children’s grades, timetables, attendance and homework and teachers can plan lessons and send notes to parents and students. Students can also create online portfolios of their best work. You can apply for university online and exam results are instant and by SMS. Ms Piperal says: The government’s mission is to make sure “services are running and available to people and that they are happy about them”. Digital lessons for Australia The e-Estonia Showroom has a useful list of do's and don'ts to replicate Estonia's success: Do – Create a decentralised, distributed system so that all existing components can be linked and new ones can be added, no matter what platform they use Don’t – Try to force everyone to use a centralised database or system, which won’t meet their needs and will be seen as a burden rather than a benefit Do – Be a smart purchaser, buying the most appropriate systems developed by the private sector Don’t – Waste millions contracting large, slow development projects that result in inflexible systems Do – Find systems that are already working, allowing for faster implementation Don’t – Rely on pie-in-the-sky solutions that take time to develop and may not work   Of course, it may not be that simple to translate Estonia's road to digital stardom to Australia. Estonia is much smaller geographically than Australia, being roughly the size of Denmark, and it is less populous, with around 1.3 million people to Australia’s 23 million, but it is also far less resource-rich than Australia and the country faced a tough time rebuilding and striking out alone after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Whatever the differences between the two countries it is clear that Australia can learn valuable lessons from Estonia. Ms Piperal says Australians should accept that the technological revolution is already here and understand that not keeping up could harm the economy. “If the government isn’t transforming the way business is then business will either leave to find easier administration or tax systems or less bureaucratic places they can operate from. It’s a global economy.” She says it is also important that Australian citizens get the benefit from digital government too, partly because this will help to build confidence in e-government and in a national identity card. “There are so many people in Australia who desire simplicity in dealing with bureaucratic institutions. “It means that the government is not spending so many resources on administration and processing. That’s old school already. It frees resources for education and social security. “It can only be done when the service really do work that people are happy about.” One of the biggest problems for Australians, says Piperal, is when people move, whether its health, education or address data. She says the key is to ensure interoperability between different databases. She dipped into the MyGov portal during her Australian visit and says the system appears “pretty challenging” for Australians, particularly because they must link different data sets, rather than have the government do it for them, as is the case in Estonia. “We would be really happy if the DTA had a closer connection with Estonia,” she says. “We are experienced in solutions that really do work and people are happy about.” It may be a while before Australians declare themselves happy with MyGov but you never know.

 

[post_title] => National identity card for Australians? Digital government lessons from Estonia [post_excerpt] => 99% of services are online in Estonia. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 25432 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-04 14:20:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-04 03:20:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25432 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27473 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-06-26 13:25:16 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-26 03:25:16 [post_content] => Opinion - Paul Greenberg It seems that our work loads are expanding. Our inbox is getting fuller, more meetings, more travel, more reports. So when an invitation to attend an industry conference and expo pops up in our inbox or in-tray, it is understandable that for many of us, these invitations get binned. But I would ask you to consider the following points, in support of attending these events. Don’t forget your personal brand I am often asked to have a coffee with talented professionals in logistics and supply chain. Often, they are looking for a new role, and seeking a bit of guidance. All too often, these talented and hardworking professionals have done a fantastic job in their roles and for the company, but have all too often neglected to build their profile ‘out there’. Personal branding is a big conversation, too long for this column, but I would ask you to consider that in our working careers there are two brands we must serve in equal measure. The company brand we work for, and our personal brand and professional development. Professional development I have held a registration as a psychologist in Australia for the last twenty years. And am a member of the Australian Psychological Society. This professional board, by example, demands that I attend industry events, seminars and workshops in pursuit of professional development. CPD points (continuing professional development) must be accrued and logged in order for the annual registration renewal, and many professional bodies follow similar formats. My question to you is: why should professionals in logistics be broadly exempt? After all, we manage significant capital assets and are responsible for safety in an often ‘heavy metal’ environment. Just saying. Alliances I have written quite a bit in this column about the importance of alliances in our industry. And frequently quote Carlos Slim, who states: “In this new wave of technology, you can't do it all yourself, you have to form alliances.” This quote resonates for me and my career. Some of my regrets are around not forming alliances, even with the proverbial ‘frenemies’ I competed against. Industry events and expos are the perfect opportunity to plant seeds around potential alliances. Networking See all the points above of course. But my point here is that in our corporate roles, and often regardless of our level in the organisation, there are limited opportunities in our working week to meet in the broader supply chain and logistics ecosystem. Sure we know our colleagues, and our key suppliers, and we might have a coffee from time to time with colleagues in other organisations. But what about new suppliers, new technologies, colleagues in other verticals and organisations, locally and globally? I believe industry events are actually a very effective use of time. Over a compressed two or three days, these events allow a lot of boxes to be ticked, on all the above points. Go wide Lastly, if some of the points above resonate, consider going wider than just logistics and supply chain events. In my role as founder and executive director of NORA.org.au, I am fortunate to attend and support a number of industry events. While mainly in retail, or retail-related, I often find that the real nuggets of gold can lie in those events and streams just a little ‘outside the obvious’. Happy prospecting! Paul Greenberg is the founder and executive director of NORA.org.au.   [post_title] => Industry events: to attend or not to attend, that is the question [post_excerpt] => Professional development is an essential ingredient of your personal brand. 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