Don’t make us fight each other for jobs.
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Pic: Colin Bettles. Local councils have called upon the federal government to be transparent about its decentralisation drive and make it evidence-based and free from politicking, rather than leaving them to battle one another for government jobs, a public inquiry has heard. A public hearing in Townsville last week (Friday) was the first time most regional councils have been able to make their feelings known about the possibility of moving public servants from Australia’s capital cities out into rural and regional areas. The federal government decentralisation initiative, spearheaded by Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash and Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce, has put government ministers on notice. Ministers have been told to justify why jobs and departments should stay in Canberra, Sydney or Melbourne or to nominate a region to move to by December. Ms Nash has said the criteria for assessment will be finalised by mid-2017. There are currently 155,000 public servants, or 14 per cent of the APS, located outside capital cities. The hearing was part of the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee’s inquiry into the relocation of Commonwealth departments and specifically into the potential impact of the controversial plan to move the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority’s (APVMA) form Canberra to the northern NSW town of Armidale, in Mr Joyce’s New England electorate, by 2019. The APVMA relocation, which involves about 190 staff, most of whom are highly specialised, failed a government-commissioned cost-benefit analysis and led to many staff walking out the door, including Chief Executive Kareena Arthy and some top regulatory scientists and lawyers. Ernst and Young estimated the move would cost at least $23.19 million. This includes redundancies for 85 per cent of the APVMA staff the report identified as unwilling to move to Armidale. The plan to move the agricultural chemicals regulator exposed the government to further ridicule after Ms Arthy revealed that Canberra-based public servants were working out of Armidale MacDonalds using the free wi-fi because they had nowhere else to work, at a February Senate Estimates’ hearing, a remark Ms Arthy later said was taken out of context. The situation blew up again after a document was leaked to Fairfax in April which gave APVMA staff suggested scripted replies to recite if they were asked about the relocation during "BBQ conversations" and other "social settings". The guidelines came from APVMA’s Chief Operating Officer Stefanie Janiec. Meanwhile, Committee Chair Labor Senator Jenny Mcallister said last week’s public inquiry showed that councils wanted the decentralisation process depoliticised ‘rather than agencies or departments being moved on a minister's whim’. She said councils also felt bypassed by the federal government, which had not spoken to them about its decentralisation agenda. She said that while every council wanted public service jobs they should not have to individually petition ministers for favours. “The community can't have that confidence in Barnaby Joyce's decisions,“ Ms Mcallister said. “The Nationals should back Cathy McGowan's proposal for a broad inquiry into decentralisation as a first step to rebuilding that trust.“ Acting Chair of Regional Development Australia Townsville and West Queensland, Frank Beveridge agreed that every region ‘would fight tooth and nail’ to have even one government department in their backyard but he said it was important to ’get away from the politics and actually have some legitimate figures backing it up, supporting it‘. Fears that regional councils could cannabilise each other’s growth look to be well-founded. All the councils spruiked their own areas at the inquiry, whether talking up their internet connectivity, educational institutions, transport links or affordable housing and insisted their area was unique and should get Commonwealth jobs. Toowoomba and Gatton (which has the University of Queensland) were both vying for APVMA before the decison to move the authority to Armidale was finalised. Cessnock City Council Mayor Bob Pynsent said the application process needed to be open and fair to councils. “The process would need to be transparent, so that every local government area has the opportunity to apply. And when those assessments are made, the decision would not be a political one but be based on the criteria that have been made available to the people who have applied,“ Mr Pynsent said. Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said ‘transparency is extremely important to the community to provide confidence that we are doing the right thing‘ and Peter Hargreaves from Bendigo Council said the planned relocation ‘must be a planned process based on clear objectives’. Councils are keen to have the criteria for regional development made clear, for example, the importance of closeness to a university, internet speed or available office space, and for regions to be properly defined. The Senate Committee will issue its report on June 9. [post_title] => Play fair on decentralisation, say councils at APVMA inquiry [post_excerpt] => Don’t make us fight each other for jobs. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => play-fair-decentralisation-councils-say-apvma-inquiry [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-24 13:54:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-24 03:54:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27182 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27169 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-18 16:41:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-18 06:41:14 [post_content] => Former NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay announced his retirement from the Legislative Council of NSW after 28 years at the National’s Central Council meeting in Broken Hill this afternoon (Thursday). Mr Gay joined the NSW Nationals in 1974 and was made a life member in 2011. He spent six years as the state’s Roads Minister between 2011 and 2017 but lost his job during NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s Cabinet reshuffle in January. Mr Gay signalled at the time that he was likely to quit Parliament ‘sooner rather than later’. He was also the Leader of the Nationals in the NSW Legislative Council. Mr Gay said: “Since becoming Minister in 2011, I have spearheaded major motorway projects in Sydney like WestConnex and NorthConnex, championed movement of freight from ‘paddock to port’ and driven key road safety initiatives. “As a young grazier from Crookwell, I would have never dreamed of being one of the state’s longest serving Ministers for Roads. I could not be prouder of what I have achieved in my portfolio over six years.” Mr Gay said he had delivered the M5 West Widening project, mandated flashing lights at every NSW school and persuaded people to wear life jackets while out on the water. Meanwhile tributes poured in from the Liberals and Nationals. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Mr Gay was 'a key member of the team' when the Coalition was elected to power in 2011 and had overseen the creation of the Roads and Maritime Services, as well as accelerated upgrades to the Princes, Pacific and Newell Highways. "We enjoyed an extremely strong and close working relationship during my time as the Minister for Transport and Treasurer. Duncan was highly respected by both sides of the Legislative Council where he served as Leader of the House and Leader of the Government," Ms Berejiklian said. "He was valued for his wisdom and judgment, and his experience will be difficult to replace. I wish Duncan and his family all the best for the future." Deputy Premier and Leader of the NSW Nationals John Barilaro thanked Mr Gay for his years of service and for driving various infrastructure programs, many of which were targeted at regional Australia. “Under his guidance, more money has been invested in rural and regional roads in NSW than in any other state in the country,” Mr Barilaro said. “Programs like Bridges for the Bush, Fixing Country Roads and Fixing Country Rail mean that every person driving in regional NSW will benefit from Duncan’s leadership and legacy." He called Mr Gay a 'passionate advocate for road users and the improvement of the road network across the state' and welcomed his continued wisdom and guidance in the years to come while wishing him, and his wife Katie, well for the future. NSW Nationals Party Chairman Bede Burke said Mr Gay had delivered around $38 billion of investment for projects to country NSW – almost two-thirds of the total amount for the state - and country people had a lot to thank him for. “Right across NSW, drivers only have to look out their car windows to see all of the roads under construction – from Mulgoa to Molong to Moree. “Duncan has been a firm and unshakeable figure in the Nationals for more than 40 years,” Mr Burke said. "The lives of people in regional NSW are markedly better because of Duncan and the party is supremely grateful for his lifetime of service.” Deputy Leader of the NSW Nationals, Niall Blair said Mr Gay would be missed by all sides of the Chamber. “History will record Duncan as one of the giants of the Legislative Council,” Mr Blair said. “His contributions over 28 years are too many to list and his record for fighting for the best deal in regional NSW will serve as a great example for those of us who remain.” Mr Gay's last sitting day will be June 22. [post_title] => Nationals' leading light reaches end of the road: Duncan Gay calls it quits [post_excerpt] => Former NSW Roads Minister retires. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-nationals-leading-light-reaches-end-road [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-19 10:48:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-19 00:48:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27169 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27158 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-18 13:07:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-18 03:07:35 [post_content] => Fighting for deamalgamation: former Pittwater councillor Bob Grace. Pic: YouTube. Residents are gearing up to push NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to deamalgamate NSW councils forcibly merged in May last year, galvanised by recent court successes of two councils opposing their mergers. Ku-ring-gai Council, on Sydney’s upper north shore, scored a victory against the NSW government in March when the Court of Appeal found it had been “denied procedural process” during its merger because delegate Garry West relied on a report from consultants KPMG, which contained financial modelling that the council could not access. The state government was ordered to pay the council’s costs and decided not to appeal the decision but Ms Berejiklian has made it clear she will not back down on the merger and her next move is uncertain. Rebel councils had another opportunity to celebrate after Woollahra Council was granted special leave to appeal against its forced merger with Randwick and Waverley in the High Court last week, reigniting the council’s hopes after a failed attempt to challenge the legality of its amalgamation in the Land and Environment Court in December last year. The Ku-ring-gai and Woollahra cases have helped inspire the recent formation of two residents’ groups, which are hoping to stop some mergers and deamalgamate others. Local Democracy Matters represents people opposed to the merger of Woollahra, Randwick and Waverley Councils, which is still on the cards. Protect Pittwater is pushing for the succession of Pittwater from the Northern Beaches Council, which emerged from the former Manly, Pittwater and Warringah Councils in May last year. Both groups are considering their options and legal challenges are likely. Protect Pittwater is also planning to submit a proposal to the NSW Local Government Minister to redefine council boundaries and reinstate Pittwater Council under the NSW Local Government Act but first the group must gather the signatures of 250 of the enrolled voters for the area; or 10 per cent, whichever is greater. Minister Gabrielle Upton, would then have to refer the proposal for examination and report to the Boundaries Commission or to the Departmental Chief Executive if the action was taken under Section 218E of the act, which deals with boundary alterations. This could kick off the whole delegate, public hearing process all over again. Bob Grace from Protect Pittwater, who served for three years on Warringah Council and 20 years on Pittwater Council, said the action was necessary to protect the area from high rises and dense development, similar to that already visited upon Manly and Dee Why. He said there would only be three councillors out of 15 on the Northern Beaches council after the September local government elections and Warringah would hold sway. “They’ve sold us out and I think everyone agrees with that. We will win this case if we go to court,” Mr Grace, a retired barrister, said. “There is really strong feeling up here. People in Pittwater are different. They don’t want a vibrant atmosphere like Manly and they don’t want high rise.” The group will crowdfund the money needed for legal fees. “Crowdfunding will enable the community to contribute and take action on their [own] behalf. They can get their council back if they want to contribute,” Mr Grace said. “People are realising that this Northern Beaches Council is all spin. Services are going down and staff are leaving.” Local Democracy Matters spokeperson Richard Horniblow said residents wanted to keep councils ‘genuinely local’ but some councils had not put up enough resistance to the government’s merger plans. “While Woollahra [Council] has been working hard to protect its residents from a forced amalgamation, we have seen too little too late from Randwick and dreadful complicity by the Liberal majority in Waverley,” Mr Horniblow said. “Our association has members from across the political spectrum who are coming together with one goal: to protect our right to genuinely local government that meets the needs of local residents.” NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge said other councils where feelings still ran high could follow suit, for example Leichhardt, Gundagai and Tumbarumba. “It is really heartening to see residents standing up so strongly for their councils and for their local democracy,” Mr Shoebridge said. “Residents in the east aren’t waiting for Waverley and Randwick Councils to come good and oppose the amalgamation but are now taking the state government to court themselves.” He said the Ku-ring-gai decision applied to all the government’s amalgamation proposals ‘on the face of it’ and this included Woollahra, Waverley and Randwick. Randwick Council agreed on Tuesday this week that it would mount a late legal challenge to its merger after two liberal councillors withdrew a rescission motion. Randwick Mayor Noel D’Souza said the council had received legal advice, which the council has said it will publish, which suggested it had grounds for appeal. “Randwick Council’s position has consistently been that we are financially viable and strong enough to stand alone,” Mr D’Souza said. “With the climate changing it’s prudent that we consider our options.” Merger court cases are still in progress for several hold-out councils, including Ku-ring-gai, Hunters Hill, North Sydney, Strathfield, Mosman, and Lane Cove. [post_title] => Residents clamour for NSW council deamalgamation after recent court wins [post_excerpt] => Randwick Council’s late legal challenge. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27158 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-19 10:52:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-19 00:52:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27158 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27129 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-16 11:09:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-16 01:09:20 [post_content] => The Sydney bus war rages on. Bus services in Sydney’s Inner West will be snatched away from State Transit and given to the private sector to run. NSW Transport and Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance said inner-west bus services had attracted the highest number of complaints in the Sydney metro area, “well above” complaints about buses operated by the private sector in adjoining areas. They also had some of the worst on-time running results, he said. “There have been improvements in recent years, but State Transit still lags a long way behind its industry competitors in measures like on-time running and reliability,” Mr Constance said. “If the bus industry can provide quality in western Sydney, the Inner West deserves the same, especially as Sydney grows.” The services that will go out to competitive tender are in Bus Region 6, which services suburbs from the city west to Strathfield and Olympic Park with the tender beginning in July 2017 and likely to be completed by July 2018. The government will retain ownership of the region’s buses and assets, including depots, continue to set Opal fares and timetables and regulate safety and operational standards. But while Mr Constance was talking up his prediction that the “world’s best operators” would compete for the tender, which will come up for renewal every five to ten years, and deliver better services for customers the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) of NSW is predicting disaster. RTBU Bus Division Secretary Chris Preston said the government’s decision to privatise bus services would slash routes, close bus stops and cost 1,200 public transport workers their jobs. He called the privatisation “a complete betrayal” of Sydney commuters and bus drivers. “We oppose privatisation because we know at the end of the day, it’s the commuters who’ll pay,” Mr Preston said. “Less popular, less profitable bus routes get the chop and commuters are left stranded. “Private bus operators put profits before the public. To make money they’ll slash services and cut back on maintenance. We’ve seen it happen before.” He said the State Transit Authority told bus drivers their jobs were safe for five years in December last year but they would now “get the chop”, something Mr Constance appeared to deny when he said the government would be “growing transport jobs because we want to grow and improve services”. Mr Preston said the government’s intention was to privatise all public transport across NSW. “Every Sydney commuter needs to be asking, ‘is my bus next on the chopping block?’ “. Sydney Buses will continue to operate regions seven, eight and nine, which includes the inner metropolitan areas of the eastern, and southern and northern suburbs, including the CBD. Meanwhile the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) waded into the debate and backed the minister. Chief Executive of TTF, Margy Osmond, said competitive contracting would deliver “enormous financial and service benefits to both commuters and government”. “The management of bus networks is an area of transport policy in which the private sector has proven time and time again it can deliver quality services at best value for taxpayers’ money,” Ms Osmond said. “Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Darwin already have bus networks that are completely managed by private operators, not government, and their experience is that franchising has delivered significantly better results across their networks.” TTF’s 2016 report, On the Buses: The Benefits of Private Sector Involvement in the Delivery of Bus Services, claimed the government would save up to half a billion dollars over five years if Sydney Buses were run by a private operator. The report also said privatisation would improve customer experience, increase operational efficiency and save taxpayers money that could be reinvested into public transport. “Franchising also keeps the infrastructure, including the buses and depots, in public hands but contracts out the operation of these assets to experienced private operators for the period of the contract,” Ms Osmond said. “Today’s [Monday] announcement the NSW Government will franchise the Inner West STA region is a very good start that hopefully signals a shift towards franchising more and more regions in due course.” [post_title] => NSW Transport Minister throws State Transit under a bus [post_excerpt] => Sydney’s inner-west services to go private. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bjus [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-17 13:40:57 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-17 03:40:57 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27129 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27126 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-16 10:15:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-16 00:15:57 [post_content] =>By Andy Young The NSW RSL is set to face an independent inquiry, which will look into allegations of financial misconduct which have plagued the organisation. The NSW State Government will reveal the details of the inquiry later today, but it will be headed by former NSW Supreme Court justice Patricia Bergin SC. It is expected the inquiry will have royal commission-like powers to compel witnesses to appear and be able to seize evidence. The inquiry comes after a series of allegations of financial rorting by the RSL's NSW branch, which have already seen an inquiry by Australia's charities watchdog. In December former NSW RSL president Don Rowe was referred to NSW Police over claims he used his corporate credit card to withdraw $200,000 in cash. NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Matt Kean today told the ABC, that enough was enough and it was time to be clear on what was happening at the RSL. "We will get to the bottom of these allegations once and for all," Kean said. "These are serious complaints and the fact that they've allegedly been committed in the name of one of our oldest and most respected institutions is totally unacceptable. "We want to clean up the mess and make sure it never happens again." Veterans Affairs Minister David Elliott told Fairfax Media that he was "completely fed up". "Based on the emails, letters and conversations I have with veterans around NSW, as well as their sub-branches, there is overwhelming support for the government to intervene," Elliott said. "It is heartbreaking to see the NSW RSL trashed in such a way and this is an opportunity to restore public confidence in this iconic organisation." Ministers Elliott and Kean will address media this afternoon to announce the full details of the inquiry. This story first appeared in The Shout.[post_title] => NSW Government to launch independent RSL inquiry [post_excerpt] => Amidst allegations of financial rorting. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-government-launch-independent-rsl-inquiry [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-16 15:50:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-16 05:50:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27126 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27112 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-12 11:41:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-12 01:41:48 [post_content] => By Charles Pauka While Scott Morrison’s 2017 Federal Budget has been praised for some of its big announcements for freight and infrastructure, the shortage of immediate commitment has earned it the moniker of the “planning to plan budget”. The positive The Australian Logistics Council’s Michael Kilgariff heaped praise on the budget. “The Government should be commended for making clear commitments to two significant infrastructure projects crucial to the freight and logistics industry,” said the ALC managing director. “The transformative potential of the Inland Rail project has been talked about for decades, with incremental progress being made over the past several years, including a positive assessment of the business case by Infrastructure Australia. The $8.4 billion commitment announced in the Treasurer’s speech will finally allow its construction. At long last, we can stop merely talking about this project’s potential, and instead begin to witness it. “Establishing a safe, reliable port-to-port rail link for freight between Melbourne and Brisbane is the only way we can simultaneously meet Australia’s burgeoning freight task, alleviate congestion on existing freight networks, create regional jobs and boost growth,” he said. “To fully unleash the benefits of this project, the line must run to the ports of Melbourne and Brisbane, and comprise efficient rail linkages to the ports of Botany, Kembla and Newcastle in NSW. We must also support the development of intermodal freight hubs at appropriate intervals along the route.” Read more here. This story first appeared in Transport and Logistics and News. [post_title] => Budget 2017: wishful thinking [post_excerpt] => Infrastructure and freight announcements. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27112 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-12 11:44:16 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-12 01:44:16 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27112 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27106 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-12 11:29:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-12 01:29:31 [post_content] => First medicinal cannabis import: CanniMed cannabis oil. Seriously ill Australians can now access imported medicinal cannabis after the first licensed imports of the drug arrived in Perth last week. The drug was imported by Australian wholesale company Health House International and ASX-listed cannabis company Creso Pharma, a Swiss company. The cargo contained three different types of cannabis oil from Canadian company CanniMed, each designed to tackle different symptoms and retailing for about $350 a bottle, which should last patients about a month. The federal government gave the go ahead for companies to grow and manufacture medicinal cannabis late last year but it will still be a while before patients can access Australian product, said Health House Director Paul Mavor. Mr Mavor said it would take some time for companies to get permission to set up their operations and then get them reinspected and licensed. “Within 12 to 24 months we will be starting to see some really good [Australian] product and hopefully we will be exporting that,” Mr Mavor said. Health House International was granted one of the first medicinal cannabis import licences in February, soon after Health Minister Greg Hunt gave the go ahead to fast-track medicinal cannabis imports while local cultivation catches up. Australian product should be cheaper for patients as there will be much lower shipping costs and no freight duties but this will also depend on domestic (and possibly overseas) demand and whether companies can achieve economies of scale. Around 100,000 Canadians currently use medicinal cannabis and Mr Mavor is predicting about 70,000 Australians will eventually follow suit. Interestingly, Mr Mavor said that he had been speaking to some private insurance funds who had indicated they may be interested in subsidising the drug for some people, for example, those involved in car crashes or war veterans, because it could keep them out of hospital and keep costs down. In a few years it is possible that medicinal cannabis will be listed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, once it has been tested in the local market, says Mavor. “It is likely. Some conditions that some patients are using medical cannabis for, they don’t have any other options.” Cannabis is cost-effective because it has five different uses in one hit: it can relieve nausea, vomiting, anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain. Health House International's Paul Mavor. Pic: Supplied. But Mr Mavor said while demand in Australia is strong, the process for prescribing medicinal cannabis had been made torturously difficult by the federal government, which has left states and territories to set their own rules. Many demand that patients get approval from both the federal and state or territory health departments because the drug is listed as a Special Access category B drug. Federal legislation to make the drug category A, which would have allowed doctors to complete online form and obtain instant approval, was blocked in the senate this week by Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and the Nick Xenophon team. Australian Greens Leader Dr Richard Di Natale said he was deeply disappointed that politicians had put the needs of terminally ill patients second to “their own political games”. “Patients are currently waiting weeks and sometimes months for access to these treatments. This motion could have reduced that to a day or possibly hours,” Mr Di Natale said. “For some of these patients, speedy access to medicinal cannabis is the difference between being able to eat or wasting away. These changes add time, stress, and difficulty for terminally ill patients accessing medicinal cannabis.” Mr Mavor says the strictest prescription regime is in Western Australia, where a huge amount of information is demanded and approval must be sought from federal and state health departments and from the practitioner’s ethics board. He said the easiest system was in South Australia, where doctors could prescribe the drug for two months for patients at any one time and Queensland, Victoria and NSW were passable. Once prescription problems are ironed out the industry looks set to have a bright future ahead of it. David Russell, Chief Operating Officer of Creso Pharma said the first successful import of medicinal cannabis products into Australia was “a ground-breaking moment for patients and the medical industry”. “The Australian market has been catching up with community expectations while the regulatory framework around medicinal cannabis was being developed,” Mr Russell said. “Now these products will allow patients to have the option of medicinal cannabis treatments if it is prescribed by their physician. This is particularly important given the unmet but often immediate need to access a timely medicinal cannabis supply across Australia.” To be prescribed medicinal cannabis products, patients must see a physician who is an authorised prescriber, or apply for SAS Category B prescription under the Therapeutic Goods Administration regulations. [post_title] => First medicinal cannabis imports arrive in Australia [post_excerpt] => Prescription rules hold patients up. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => first-medicinal-cannabis-imports-arrive-australia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-12 11:29:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-12 01:29:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27106 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27069 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-05 15:44:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-05 05:44:58 [post_content] => Aldi WA store wins appeal to sell alcohol, provided it doesn't chill it. By James Wells The WA Premier Mark McGown said he is “uncomfortable” that Aldi has successfully won an appeal to sell liquor in its Harrisdale store after an appeal. The Premier made the comments after the Aldi store at Harrisdale won an appeal to sell liquor – making it the third store within the German supermarket chain’s stores in Western Australia. "The Liquor Commission and the Director of Liquor Licensing are independent and make these decisions, but personally I'm uncomfortable with it," Mr McGowan was reported to have said. "The Director of Liquor Licensing takes into account all the community feedback and the like before making these decisions, but personally as I said I don't like alcohol been sold in supermarkets but it's something outside my control,” McGowan said. The Aldi Harrisdale store, located in a suburb in south-eastern Perth with a population of 3807 people, initially had its proposal to sell wine as low as $2.79 across three different SKUs, even though a licence in the same area was granted to Woolworths. Read more here. This story first appeared in The Shout. [post_title] => WA premier ‘uncomfortable’ with Aldi liquor win [post_excerpt] => But beer can't be cold. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => wa-premier-uncomfortable-aldi-liquor-win [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-05 15:44:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-05 05:44:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27069 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27059 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-05 15:15:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-05 05:15:39 [post_content] => By Kymberley Martin Support for the Federal Government among small and medium businesses (SMBs) has dipped to its lowest level since Malcolm Turnbull took over as Prime Minister, according to the latest Sensis Business Index (SBI) survey. “After we saw Malcolm Turnbull take over as Prime Minister in 2015 we saw confidence in the government rise, with businesses telling us they were optimistic about the change, ” Sensis chief executive, John Allan said. However, since then the government’s approval rating has fallen nine points and is 20 points lower than the highest score under Tony Abbott, following the pro-business 2015 Federal Budget. “To find a lower score we need to go back to the March 2015 survey, which was taken after Tony Abbott had survived a leadership spill. While perceptions of the economy remain strong, less than one in seven businesses have faith in the government’s policies, with the biggest concerns being excessive bureaucracy and red tape, as well as there being too much focus on the interests of big business,” Allan said. The Index, which reflects the views of 1,000 small and medium businesses from across Australia, also revealed that despite a tough quarter for the Government the long term projections for the economy have improved to their best level in 2 ½ years. Read more here. This story first appeared on Appliance Retailer. [post_title] => Support for Turbull dips from small and medium businesses [post_excerpt] => State by state results. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => support-turbull-dips-small-medium-businesses [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-05 15:15:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-05 05:15:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27059 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27047 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-04 15:28:59 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-04 05:28:59 [post_content] => Corruption and Crime Commission head John McKechnie. Pic: YouTube. Western Australia’s Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) has denounced the former Chief Executive of Exmouth Shire Council for serious misconduct after he flouted local government tender rules on a multi-million dollar project; fraudulently charged booze, cabs and hire cars to the council’s credit card; approved his own leave; faked documents; lied and chucked sickies. CCC head and former Supreme Court Judge John McKechnie QC found that the council’s CEO, Bill Price, did not put a $32 million contract for a science hub and aquarium at Ningaloo Reef out to tender; charged personal expenses to the corporate credit card; approved his own leave or did not log any leave; did dodgy deals for friends and covered up his wrongdoing when he realised the CCC was onto him after council officers tipped them off. Mr McKechnie said: “Any good that he had done was overshadowed by his arrogation of power. He was a law unto himself. “Serious misconduct flourishes when there is inadequate governance, whether due to friendship, ignorance or some other reason. Serious misconduct flourished in Exmouth.” Disgraced Exmouth Council CEO Bill Price. Pic: LinkedIn He said the CEO should set standards of honesty and integrity for Exmouth Council staff, “If the CEO is rorting the system, how can council, ratepayers or staff have any confidence in the executive?” The report also slammed the council for showing “stunning indifference” to Mr Price’s egregious behaviour, despite being alerted to it by the CCC. In fact, the council gave him an extra two weeks’ annual leave while the investigation was in full swing. The council only acted when the Minister for Local Government and Communities, Paul Miles, intervened. The CCC found that Mr Price:
- Saddled Exmouth Council with a possible $1 million debt after signing a contract with a new company with no assets that it had failed to investigate
- Lied to the council about it and forged documents
- Had never had his leave approved by any of the three councils he had worked in as CEO
- Used the council’s credit card to pay for dinners, hire cars, alcohol and taxis while on leave or relaxing at the weekend
- Faked a sick day and went to the Perth Caravan and Camping Show instead
- Concocted a fictitious rental agreement to give his friend (also employed by the council) tax-free income he was not entitled to
- A culture of entitlement
- Flouting of local government policy
- Very significant procurement and contract management left to administrators who were not necessarily properly qualified, experienced or monitored
- Councillors ill-equipped to manage complex and often high-stakes activities, particularly in procurement and contract management
- Confusion among councillors about what they can ask administrative staff
- Difficulty and conflicts arising for people aware of potentially corrupt activity but reticent to speak up
Former NSW Roads Minister retires.
Randwick Council’s late legal challenge.
Sydney’s inner-west services to go private.
Amidst allegations of financial rorting.
Infrastructure and freight announcements.
Prescription rules hold patients up.
Ratepayers pay for council boss’ booze, cabs and dinners.
Museum collection could be shared.
Residents could take up the fight if council loses.
Some workers owed almost $25k.