Main Menu

WP_Query Object
(
    [query] => Array
        (
            [category_name] => security
        )

    [query_vars] => Array
        (
            [category_name] => security
            [error] => 
            [m] => 
            [p] => 0
            [post_parent] => 
            [subpost] => 
            [subpost_id] => 
            [attachment] => 
            [attachment_id] => 0
            [name] => 
            [static] => 
            [pagename] => 
            [page_id] => 0
            [second] => 
            [minute] => 
            [hour] => 
            [day] => 0
            [monthnum] => 0
            [year] => 0
            [w] => 0
            [tag] => 
            [cat] => 22
            [tag_id] => 
            [author] => 
            [author_name] => 
            [feed] => 
            [tb] => 
            [paged] => 0
            [meta_key] => 
            [meta_value] => 
            [preview] => 
            [s] => 
            [sentence] => 
            [title] => 
            [fields] => 
            [menu_order] => 
            [embed] => 
            [category__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__not_in] => Array
                (
                    [0] => 22371
                )

            [category__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_name__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [ignore_sticky_posts] => 
            [suppress_filters] => 
            [cache_results] => 
            [update_post_term_cache] => 1
            [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1
            [update_post_meta_cache] => 1
            [post_type] => 
            [posts_per_page] => 14
            [nopaging] => 
            [comments_per_page] => 50
            [no_found_rows] => 
            [order] => DESC
        )

    [tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                    [0] => Array
                        (
                            [taxonomy] => category
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => security
                                )

                            [field] => slug
                            [operator] => IN
                            [include_children] => 1
                        )

                    [1] => Array
                        (
                            [taxonomy] => category
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => 22371
                                )

                            [field] => term_id
                            [operator] => NOT IN
                            [include_children] => 
                        )

                )

            [relation] => AND
            [table_aliases:protected] => Array
                (
                    [0] => wp_term_relationships
                )

            [queried_terms] => Array
                (
                    [category] => Array
                        (
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => security
                                )

                            [field] => slug
                        )

                )

            [primary_table] => wp_posts
            [primary_id_column] => ID
        )

    [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                )

            [relation] => 
            [meta_table] => 
            [meta_id_column] => 
            [primary_table] => 
            [primary_id_column] => 
            [table_aliases:protected] => Array
                (
                )

            [clauses:protected] => Array
                (
                )

            [has_or_relation:protected] => 
        )

    [date_query] => 
    [queried_object] => WP_Term Object
        (
            [term_id] => 22
            [name] => Security
            [slug] => security
            [term_group] => 0
            [term_taxonomy_id] => 22
            [taxonomy] => category
            [description] => 
            [parent] => 0
            [count] => 209
            [filter] => raw
            [cat_ID] => 22
            [category_count] => 209
            [category_description] => 
            [cat_name] => Security
            [category_nicename] => security
            [category_parent] => 0
        )

    [queried_object_id] => 22
    [request] => SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS  wp_posts.ID FROM wp_posts  LEFT JOIN wp_term_relationships ON (wp_posts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) WHERE 1=1  AND ( 
  wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id IN (22) 
  AND 
  wp_posts.ID NOT IN (
				SELECT object_id
				FROM wp_term_relationships
				WHERE term_taxonomy_id IN (22364)
			)
) AND wp_posts.post_type = 'post' AND (wp_posts.post_status = 'publish') GROUP BY wp_posts.ID ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 0, 14
    [posts] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 27463
                    [post_author] => 670
                    [post_date] => 2017-06-23 10:36:19
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-23 00:36:19
                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27464" align="alignnone" width="300"] Department of Defence photo from the Royal Australian Air Force taken during Exercise Diamond Storm.[/caption]

Department of Defence staff will have a new enterprise agreement after three years of negotiations, with staff voting on a deal that improved on the three previously rejected offers, with more rights protected.

These include:
  • Comprehensive Terms of Reference for the National Workplace Relations Committee (NWRC), which includes representation rights for members and workplace delegates, and dispute escalation and settlement protocols;
  • The application of enforceable policy and process in areas of the agreement that cover situations where members’ jobs may be at risk, such as performance management and excess declaration; and
  • A proper performance management process written into the agreement.
The ballot saw 61% voting Yes to the agreement. 84% of eligible staff participated, in the first Defence ballot since December last year. Defence is one of several major agencies voting in June, with Agriculture staff also approving a new deal earlier this week and ballots soon in the Tax Office, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and CSIRO. CSIRO staff have also narrowly voted to approve a new enterprise agreement, with their reluctance underlining the importance and difficulty management faces in rebuilding trust in the organisation. The agreement was secured with a 57.74% Yes vote. The ballot closed late on Thursday night, with 77% of eligible CSIRO staff participating. CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said: “Defence staff have finally voted up a new agreement, albeit reluctantly. This deal is a real improvement on those they’ve previously rejected but it’s far from perfect and also massively unfair that they're copping a three-year plus pay freeze.” The deal includes a 6% pay rise over the three-year term of the agreement. The deal has been negotiated on a single-agency basis, as are the other public service agreements. This despite calls for single-agency negotiations to be discontinued by former public service commissioner Andrew Podger, currently a professor at the Australian National University, who was the public service commissioner between 2002 and 2004. As reported in Government News (Dump single agency bargaining in the APS, says former Public Service Commissioner), Professor Podger said single agency bargaining has had serious, negative consequences for the public service which have outweighed the promised benefits, chiefly around flexibility. “This has caused very serious damage to the integrity of the whole pay system in the Public Service with tangible impact on mobility within the service, serious management problems for agencies affected by machinery of government changes, justified complaints of unfairness across and within agencies, and unknown impacts on attraction and retention of the skills the APS requires,” Prof Podger told the 2016 senate inquiry into APS bargaining. Prof Podger said single agency negotiations have created pay disparities for similar jobs  in different departments and agencies and has also damaged staff morale and caused resentment. “What’s happened is they’ve all gone their different ways and none of them have been able to focus on the market,” says Prof Podger. “Strict central rules led to different pay rates, not because they are useful but because they are forced to be there.” [post_title] => Defence, CSIRO to finally get a pay rise [post_excerpt] => Department of Defence staff will get a pay rise after three years of negotiations. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => defence-finally-get-pay-rise [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-23 11:11:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-23 01:11:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27463 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27165 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-18 15:50:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-18 05:50:21 [post_content] =>   By Allen Koehn, Associate VP and GM – Public Sector at Infosys We are entering a new phase of human evolution. However, it is not one comprising new limbs or larger eyes. Rather, it involves the pursuit of ultimate control, despite human error, through technological innovation. The robotic automation of society alluded to in the science fiction of our past is finally becoming a reality - one technological advancement at a time. Human involvement, paper-heavy administration and room for error are exponentially decreasing as technologies like blockchain digitise and automate entire processes and interactions. What started as a platform for the transaction of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies now has the potential to span industries and verticals across the globe. There has been much hype about blockchain, with banks reporting annual savings of US$8-12 billion after its implementation1, but seemingly little understanding about what exactly it is and how it can be put to valuable use in different sectors. What is blockchain? Transactions - financial or otherwise - occur across networks every second. With blockchain, each time a transaction occurs, a network of computers carry out a series of algorithms, identifying the originating device and its user, and validating the transaction. This transaction is then added to a digital ledger (public or private) and attached to an irreversible chain of transactional “blocks”. Verified transactions are permanently recorded, traceable and updated across the entire network every 10 minutes. Blockchain is decentralised – it does not have a central server or administrator, but rather exists on and is managed by the network itself. Unimaginable computational processing power is needed to override the network. There are no singular points of vulnerability and the corruption of any one bit of data results in its network-wide corruption. Ultimate visibility and control makes unauthorised actions impossible. Consequently, blockchain is almost entirely secure in the face of human-led threats.  It’s not just about security Blockchain’s automation makes paper trails redundant, exponentially decreasing lost documents or delayed payments. Imagine a future where financial transactions within governments are automatically and irreversibly recorded, or citizens can transact confidentially without physical presence at a government office. Costs are reduced, efficiency is improved and the way for ultimate transparency is paved. Governments and organizations alike can achieve a true competitive advantage with blockchain (and its accompanying applications and digital technologies). So, for those working in government, scratching your head about how to leverage this new technology, here’s five ways that I see blockchain being used in the public sector:
  1.  Identification
Gone are the days of a 100 point ID checks. With digitised birth certificates and ID documents, blockchain enables a single personal identifier. It is an entirely new and reliable way of identifying members of an ecosystem – from citizens to government agencies – enabling everything from digital voting (which is in the works for Australia’s 2017 elections) to confidential legal disputes.
  1. Registries
Blockchain enables the digitization of property titles, car registrations, medical records and more. Once recorded, documents become digital proof, available – for example – for trusted use in legal battles. Printing and tracking costs decrease and smart contracts can automate actions when conditions are met. For example, a digital driver’s license can notify its owner of expiration, or simply auto-renew by triggering a debit off the owner’s account.
  1. Payments
There is room for (and talk of) the use of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in place of existing financial institutions. But blockchain technologies also have immense potential to eliminate fraud and tax avoidance, thanks to built-in transparency and trust protocols. Social benefits, grants, compensation, tax returns and inter-government payments can be automated, recorded and possibly even accessed by the public.
  1. Accountability
On that note, blockchain makes ultimate accountability in all spheres possible. Financial movements can be permanently recorded and traced, or voting results can be updated on a public network, keeping voters in the loop. Each time a change is made to a law recorded on the ledger, the public has full visibility. Public services can be delivered with ease to a trusting population, thanks to this layer of transparency.
  1. Automation
The processes of filing applications, making and receiving payments or benefits, getting visas and transferring permissions or titles can all be streamlined beyond what was previously possible – making blockchain particularly beneficial to developing markets whose existing infrastructure cannot otherwise accommodate such radical change. As with most innovations, the possible use cases of technological advancements like Blockchain are often only discovered much later in their lifecycle. Preconceived notions should not hinder the exploration of evolutionary innovations in new and unique contexts. The true power of technology is only truly realised when it evolves outside its original borders. Only when we colour outside our existing lines can we truly evolve. We believe that Blockchain has the potential to truly evolve the way our governments, organisations and society functions. [post_title] => Five ways blockchain will transform the public sector [post_excerpt] => Making paper trails redundant. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27165 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-19 10:50:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-19 00:50:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27165 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27154 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-18 10:46:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-18 00:46:53 [post_content] =>     Australian Information and Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim. Pic: YouTube. A new Australian Public Service (APS) Privacy Code covering the data citizens give to the federal government will be in place by 2018, prompted by the outcry over Centrelink robo debt and data matching. Today’s [Thursday] joint announcement by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) said the two would work collaboratively on the new code, which aims to ensure a balance between data protection and privacy and data innovation and its use by Commonwealth agencies. Australian Information and Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim told the Senate Community Affairs References Committee, which is conducting a public hearing into the Department of Human Services’ Online Compliance Initiative (OCI) in Canberra today, that the code would cover how data should be ‘respected, protected’ and regulated into the future, consistent with community expectations. Mr Pilgrim said the code would be binding and failure to comply would be a breach of the Privacy Act. The current guidelines are voluntary. He said penalties could range from asking for a written undertaking that an organisation would change their processes and comply - ultimately enforceable in the federal court – to civil penalties in a federal court which could reach up to $1.8 million for serious breaches. The OAIC will lead on the code’s development due to the organisation’s specific privacy expertise and the code will be implemented APS-wide. All agencies will also need to have a privacy management plan in place under the new code. The Department and the OAIC said the code was vital to maximise the value of publicly held data. “The code can therefore be a catalyst to transform the Australian government’s data performance – increasing both internal capacity and external transparency to stakeholders,” they said. Commissioner Pilgrim said the code would ‘support government data innovation that integrates personal data protection’ while giving the APS the ‘skills and capabilities’ it needed to manage personal information. A storm over data privacy occurred after Fairfax published a piece by blogger Andie Fox in February which was highly critical of the DHS’ automated debt recovery drive, designed to claw back more than $1.5 billion over five years. In her article, Ms Fox claimed she had been pursued and ‘terrorised’ by DHS for money she did not owe after a relationship breakdown. In response, DHS disputed Ms Fox’s account and leaked some of her personal information to a journalist, including her Family Tax Benefit claims and relationship details. The government later defended itself arguing that it was allowed to release personal information to correct inaccurate public statements under social security legislation. Federal Labor MP Linda Burney later referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police but the AFP concluded that Human Services Minister Alan Tudge had not breached Commonwealth legislation. The government said the new privacy code would be developed in close collaboration with the APS and data stakeholders and it would apply to all Australian Government entities subject to the Australian Privacy Act 1988.   [post_title] => New APS privacy code on the back of Centrelink robo debt [post_excerpt] => Penalties of up to $1.8m for serious breaches. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => new-aps-privacy-code-back-centrelink-robo-debt [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-19 10:51:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-19 00:51:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27154 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26578 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-03-20 17:55:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-20 06:55:36 [post_content] =>   DIBP Secretary Michael Pezzullo. Pic: YouTube.     Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) Secretary Michael Pezzullo has faced a barrage of questions at a public hearing over the $257 million fit-out of his department’s new Canberran headquarters. The department currently leases more than 100,000sqm of office space spread across 12 buildings and four suburbs in Canberra and leases are due to end progressively between 2017 and 2020. The aim is to consolidate staff across five buildings and two suburbs, while also reducing the amount of office space leased by 14,600sqm. The reorganisation was sparked by the July 2015 integration of the Department of Immigration and Customs and the need to quickly mount sensitive joint operations securely. Mr Pezzullo faced The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works today (Monday) after senators questioned the project’s quarter of a billion dollar tab. Many of the toughest questions came from senators asked him to justify relocating 2,000 staff to an office building at Molonglo Drive, near Canberra Airport. The plan also includes retaining about 4,000 staff across three locations in Belconnen to avoid a negative impact on local businesses if there was a wholesale move out of the suburb. But Labor Senator Alex Gallacher said he did not understand the department’s fascination with the Molonglo Drive site.   “You’re paying the maximum rate that you would pay for a lease in Canberra, in an area where the building is eight years old and there is allegedly somewhere between a 20 per cent and 40 per cent occupancy rate. In a less tightly held area, why do you pay the top rate?” But Mr Pezzullo defended the Headquarters Project which the department has said will save $236 million over 30 years, mostly through cutting the amount of office space leased, competitive procurement processes and more efficient whole of life costs. “The Commissioner and I don’t drive around Canberra saying “well that would be a nice place to live in or work in or whatever,” Mr Pezzullo said. “It’s not about its attraction. It’s what came through the process as representing the best fit for the operational requirements ... the best value for money in terms of what the market had come back with in terms of fit-out costs and lease incentives and through the tender evaluation process. Its superiority relative to other market bids that had come back.” He said there was “a massive net benefit to the Commonwealth” but this would have been even larger had the department been allowed to consolidate even more aggressively.” The Department’s First Assistant Secretary of Corporate Services, Ben Wright, told the inquiry: “They gave us a good deal. It’s not just the rent rate, it’s also the lease incentive provided. They provided a rebate as well. “When you take all that into consideration on a per square metre basis, it actually works out quite attractive.” Mr Wright said the department had looked at sites in Civic, Airport, Belconnen and Lowden but the airport building was the best value for money and tender bid. The department said in its submission to the inquiry that the modern, purpose-built fit-out would enable it to co-locate and integrate staff, particularly those involved with border monitoring and control operations. It would be flexible enough to quickly establish task forces and sensitive joint operations and operate them continuously and securely. “The proposed new office accommodation will be of modern design with large efficient floor plates to support future flexibility and provide an open office environment to promote collaboration and positive cultural renewal which has been highlighted as being a critical success factor for the Department’s accommodation objective,” the department’s submission said.   Want the latest public sector news delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up the Government News newsletter. [post_title] => Pezzullo grilled over $250 million Immigration reno [post_excerpt] => Canberra Airport site questioned. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => pezzullo-grilled-250-million-department-immigration-office-fit [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-03-21 10:52:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-20 23:52:07 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26578 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26259 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-02-15 16:07:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-15 05:07:53 [post_content] =>     By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier A lobby of roughly 20 Sydney hoteliers and other stakeholders has formed the City Safe proposal – a strategy that will see manifestly compliant venues push for exemptions to lockout legislation. The City Safe concept puts forth a two-pronged strategy to the New South Wales Government: firstly, that CBD and Kings Cross venues that can prove that they are compliant and implementing best practice policies through electronic incident registers will be exempted from the lockouts and return to their previous licensed trading hours. Exemptions have already been catered for in legislation – both the CBD and Kings Cross Precinct regulations have made provision for exemptions. The half-hour extension for live music venues, as implemented after the Callinan Review recommendation, uses these very provisions. The City Safe proposal would not need legislation to change, just government policy. The second facet of the City Safe proposal is to turn these exempted venues into ‘Sydney Safe Venues’. This program would work similarly to the Neighbourhood Watch programs prevalent in the 1990s. In essence, a Sydney Safe Venue, would have a sticker on their façade announcing themselves as such, and would provide shelter to anyone feeling vulnerable on the street. The venue would provide refuge while you wait for transport, will call an ambulance or police if necessary, and provide basic first aid and water.   Read more here.  This story first appeared in The Shout.  [post_title] => City Safe strategy a 'win-win' proposal on Sydney lockouts [post_excerpt] => Well-behaved venues want to create safe zones for night owls. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 26259 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-02-15 16:07:53 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-02-15 05:07:53 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26259 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26196 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-02-08 16:44:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-08 05:44:30 [post_content] => Melbourne Crown Casino      The Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) released a report today (Tuesday) slamming the state’s alcohol and gambling regulator for being too weak, divided and disorganised to address problem drinking and gambling and for being too soft on Melbourne's Crown Casino. Auditor-General Andrew Greaves gave the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) an emphatic thumbs down across a number of key issues in his report and said a big shake up of the organisation and its work was needed. What emerges is a picture of an agency which has dropped the ball on problem alcohol and gambling in Victoria; one which has put quotas, convenience and box ticking ahead of genuinely trying to head off high risk situations. He criticised the agency for failing to clamp down on rogue venues that supplied alcohol to minors and drunk people and venues that allowed both groups to gamble. The report said the Commission’s management approach and culture meant it employed “superficial inspection activities” and focused on meeting quotas rather than pursuing harm minimisation.   There are signs too that criminal elements have been given too much freedom inside Melbourne Casino, the only Victorian venue that provides gambling and alcohol round-the-clock and the holder of 13 liquor licenses. Mr Greaves said the Commission’s compliance division had “not applied a level of focus on the casino that reflects its status and risk as the largest gaming venue in the state” and its approach had been patchy, at best. He said the Commission had “not paid sufficient attention’ to problem areas like barring people who had been excluded by police or keeping an eye on money laundering and problem gambling. Melbourne's Crown Casino was the subject of court judgements on Chinese money laundering at the end of last year, activities which involved regular large buy-ins and cash-outs of chips. Players lost more than $1.8 billion at the casino in 2015–16. Other criticisms of the VCGLR included:
  • Licensing applications not thoroughly assessed before being approved. In some cases licenses were granted where applicants had hidden the truth about their past criminal convictions and associates
  • Allocating resources to compliance activities inflexibly and based on factors other than risk
  • Inadequate guidance and training for inspectors
  • Unreliable data about liquor and gambling inspections
  The A-G said the agency had an unstable management team and lacked leadership after delays filing the CEO role. He pointed to a negative, divided work culture where sloppy systems and procedures let abuses slip through the cracks. Mitigating factors But the Auditor-General acknowledged the multiple challenges the Commission faced, after suffering a 30 per cent reduction in staff and in its budget (in real terms) between 2012 and 2016. It also lost expertise after 46 experienced staff were made redundant in the first two years. VCGLR was formed in 2012 out of a merger between Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation (VCGR) and Responsible Alcohol Victoria (RAV), a business unit of the former Department of Justice. The A-G’s report found that the merger had ignited anger over pay and working conditions because inspectors brought in from two difference agencies were not paid the same. There were also 12 employee or industrial relations disputes which were a hangover from RAV, including serious bullying. Morale was low too, with a survey revealing the Commission had the second lowest staff satisfaction levels in the Victorian public sector. The Auditor General noted that the agency had to cope with venues being given responsibility for pokies at their own venues, which used to be controlled by a duopoly outside the Melbourne Casino and a dodgy IT system until integration in 2015. Mr Greaves also commented that the VCGLR had made progress over the last two years to reorganise the licensing division and had begun to take a more risk-based approach to licensing and provided better training for staff. But he concluded that ‘the scale of required reform is significant meaning that much work remains for VCGLR to become a fully effective regulator”. “Ongoing challenges in merging the people, systems and cultures from VCGLR's two predecessor regulatory bodies, along with the lack of a sufficiently risk-based approach, have precluded VCGLR from fully realising the benefits expected when creating a single regulator,” Mr Greaves said. “These significant shortcomings continue to reduce assurance that VCGLR's efforts are adequate to protect the Victorian community from the harms associated with the misuse and abuse of liquor and gambling.” Recommendations The chair recommended a number of measures to address these issues:
  • Building VCGLR's leadership capacity
  • Having a specialist team to monitor the Melbourne Crown Casino
  • Addressing serious systemic gaps in the compliance division
  • Seeking additional budget to establish a presence in regional Victoria
  • Reviewing and updating people and culture policies and practices
  • Working better with other regulatory and enforcement bodies such as Victoria Police.
[post_title] => Vic booze and gambling watchdog too soft on Melbourne's Crown Casino [post_excerpt] => Attorney-General speaks out. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => vic-booze-gambling-govt-agency-weak-soft-melbourne-casino [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-02-17 14:36:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-02-17 03:36:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26196 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26059 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-01-24 10:51:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-01-23 23:51:00 [post_content] =>   By Andy Young  Anti-lockout pressure group Keep Sydney Open’s plans to run a rally in Kings Cross on Saturday night were crushed by the Supreme Court on Friday. NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, headed to the Supreme Court to stop the planned night rally, arguing that a crowd of 7000 people would be too dangerous in the Kings Cross area on a Saturday night. In putting the case forward Scipione said that he “would, or might well, support a public protest in an open area during daylight hours” but added he had concerns regarding public safety and crowd management given that the event was to be held "at night and in a confined, semi-residential area". The Supreme Court also noted: “The proposed event involves large logistical questions about crowd management that bear upon the safety of participants, and the general community in the vicinity of the venue. The defendants have endeavoured to cater for the orderly conduct of the event (for example) by arranging for volunteer marshals to assist in crowd control, and for St John Ambulance officers to be available to render medical assistance, if required. They have not, however, made comprehensive arrangements (for example) for the control of traffic and pedestrians - they rely upon the police for that - and they do not presently have insurance cover in the event of misadventure.”   Read more here. This story first appeared in The Shout.  [post_title] => Supreme Court shuts down Keep Sydney Open rally [post_excerpt] => Scipione wins battle to stop rally. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => supreme-court-shuts-keep-sydney-open-rally [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-01-24 10:53:29 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-23 23:53:29 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26059 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23502 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-12-20 16:42:12 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-20 05:42:12 [post_content] => Census3   Plans to retain people’s names and addresses for this year’s Census have sparked fear that the information could be used by Centrelink, the Tax Office and ASIO and may lead to mass civil disobedience or people lying on their forms, privacy groups believe. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which has been around since 1905, conducts a Census every five years on the second Tuesday in August. While this has always involved collecting names and addresses, the difference is that this time it wants to hold on to all of this information. The Agency has said it wants to be able to combine Census data with other datasets, such as health and education statistics, to get a “richer and dynamic statistical picture of Australia.” Statisticians argue this could provide insights into many areas, for example, the employment outcomes of different educational programs or designing mental health services, and result in better service planning and delivery. Keeping names and addresses would also make surveys more efficient and reduce the cost and burden on Australian households, said the ABS. But Jon Lawrence from the Electronic Frontiers Australia said retaining such information was unwarranted and intrusive and “an exceptionally bad idea.” “At its very essence, it’s a massive invasion of the privacy of every Australian,” Mr Lawrence said. He said it could be used by successive governments to pursue Australians over Centrelink or tax misdemeanours or to investigate suspicions of terrorism or other criminal activity. “Once it’s there, the scope of these things tends to increase, data matching with the ATO and Centrelink. I don’t see any justification as to why these changes have been made.” Mr Lawrence said ASIO would love to get their hands on such a comprehensive dataset. For example, they could use it to identify Muslims and pinpoint where they lived. The most serious repercussions would be felt if people refuse to complete the survey or lie on their forms, leading to a dramatic drop in the quality and coverage of Census data, he said. "The biggest risk is that people will actually write rubbish. We have seen quite a lot of angst already and we haven’t really even started the campaign. This is just starting to get mainstream coverage and I think there’s a genuine issue there.” ABS statistician David Kalisch has insisted the Agency has never - and never will - release identifiable Census data. He said names and addresses will be stored securely and separately from other Census data. Despite these assurances, Mr Lawrence believes Census data is so detailed that people could be re-identified. “De-identification is a furphy,” Mr Lawrence said. “You can still do it in many circumstances. The reality is that people will be able to be identified by certain bits of Census data is very, very real (and) that information can be used.” Anna Johnston from Salinger Privacy, who is also a former NSW Deputy Privacy Commissioner, believes the ABS cannot give a cast-iron assurance that the data won’t be misused. In her blog for Salinger Privacy, Ms Johnston said opportunistic hackers, organised criminals, ABS staff or just negligence and human error could leak damaging, highly personal information and make fraud and identify theft a risk. “Seeking to justify the proposal by saying that the ABS will never release identifiable information ignores the point that they shouldn’t have it in the first place,” Ms Johnston said. “And, as my mother taught me – you shouldn’t make promises you cannot keep. “This is the greatest potential impact of the proposal – that the ABS becomes the unwitting tool of a government intent on mass population surveillance.” Ms Johnston said the agency’s own 2006 privacy review had identified the danger of “function creep”, where stored information is used more broadly than for the purpose it was originally intended. “The statisticians must be living in fantasy land if they think that once they hold identifiable data on all 24 million people in Australia, that not a single government department, minister or police force will be interested in tapping into that data for their own, non-research purposes,” she said. “Just look at the agencies queueing up to get their hands on the metadata that telecommunications companies must now keep by law.” She said it would give the government “a rich and deep picture of every Australian’s life, in an identifiable form.” A backlash has already begun on the agency's Facebook page. Andrew Graham said: "Australian Bureau of Statistics ... If you think I'm writing my personal data on the 2016 census, you can kindly shove it." Marc Zanin told the ABS: No matter what the govt of the day's says, they do NOT need this identifying information. They can't be given any chance of using it against their population. This is a nightmare for the ABS!!! A disaster! "If you lose the trust of the populace who can't fill it out, because it's just too scary, then why not return to the previous model? Please? It's a total and absolute FAIL, FAIL, FAIL for the ABS." For its part, the ABS has said data privacy is a “fundamental pillar of an official statistical system” and that function creep was highly unlikely: “In Australia these protections have existed since the foundation of the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1905. This will not change.” The Agency said that names and addresses will be removed from personal and household Census information after data collection and processing and stored separately. Statisticians will not be able to match Census answers with the person they were from. Proposals were floated last year to make the Census every decade, rather than every five years, as already happens in countries such as the US, the UK and most European countries. The Abbott government also had a discussion about abolishing the Census entirely in favour of data sampling, which would be much cheaper. The Census is an expensive undertaking. ABS statistician Mr Kalisch said the 2011 survey of every household cost $400 million to produce and employed 43,000 temporary workers. The Australian Bureau of Statistics was contacted for comment. [post_title] => Best of 2016: Centrelink, the Tax Office and ASIO could use Census 2016 data: privacy groups [post_excerpt] => Mass Census boycott possible. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => centrelink-the-tax-office-and-asio-could-use-census-2016-data-privacy-groups [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-20 16:43:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-20 05:43:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=23502 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23281 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-12-20 14:00:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-20 03:00:35 [post_content] =>   virtual-identity-69996_1280_opt   Australians will see an ‘alpha’ version prototype of a new, national opt-in digital identity credential for government services as early as August this year; with a fuller version likely to emerge in 2017 according to the new Head of Identity at the Digital Transformation Office (DTO). That’s the take from Rachel Dixon, the woman hand-picked to galvanise the agency’s efforts to develop a new user friendly, multi-agency key to provide secure and easy online access to government services and transactions for consumers. The recent appointment of Ms Dixon is a critical step forward for the DTO as it attempts to dramatically improve the public’s experience of dealing with government services by shifting to a so-called ‘user centric’ development model – one that is based on catering to the real world needs of citizens instead of forcing them conform to myriad of disconnected portals, passwords, information requirements and standards. Not everyone in the public service is happy with the DTO’s rapid and highly delivery focused schedule. But fewer, most of all agency customers, are satisfied with protracted waiting times and online services stuck a decade behind that of the mainstream digital economy. Notably, the revelation of the DTO’s big digital identity push comes hot on the heels of the disclosure that the existing myGov online access facility – which has been copping plenty of flak from users over recent months — is now be the subject of a formal audit from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) to determine its effectiveness. Few if any in government expect the latest ANAO probe into myGov’s performance to deliver any good news, especially after the monumental scale of dysfunction and chronic under-resourcing of welfare agency Centrelink’s call centres was laid bare in an excoriating audit report last year. Although the DTO’s big ramp-up on digital identity and the ANAO probe into myGov are not formally linked, the timing of the two announcements is so fortuitously close that it’s again rammed home the urgent need to arrest what DTO chief Paul Shetler has previously labelled the unacceptably high “failure cost” of poor and disconnected public services.   Public Services, private products The announcement of the rapid, ground-up development of a new national digital identity credential has far-reaching implications for the private sector too. Apart from the clear necessity for the federal government to urgently improve access to its services and transactions online, the appointment of a digital identity project chief has already aroused strong interest within the private sector, where online and offline identity verification requirements remain a significant cost and a major handbrake on rolling out integrated transaction services that can span business lines. Elements of the private sector – particularly banks, telecommunications carriers and other ‘identity regulated’ industries – have for at least a decade been hoping Canberra will get its act together on the digital identity front to replace costly paper and photographic based checks originally based on the 100 points identity verification scheme. Crucially, the DTO has confirmed it is actively evaluating the potential for a private sector digital identity marketplace here in Australia, hiring consultancy Deloitte to research and map the size of the opportunity. Getting business inside the tent to try and sell the idea won’t hurt either, especially given some banks have been more strident than others. Under a so-called ‘federated’ digital identity model such as that used in the UK, private sector organisations that provided trusted online services can also feed into customer verification mix – often using authorised private brokers – a model that at face value offers major synergies and cost savings across both government and private services and transactions. While the DTO’s Australian digital identity project is still in ‘discovery’ – that’s developer speak for researching and establishing core user and product requirements – Rachel Dixon is refreshingly frank about the challenges that Australia’s comparatively small population and complex system of government presents. “The thing I would say is that the market here is different than some other countries,” Ms Dixon told Government News. One of the key differences is that the federal government in Australia is already a market participant in identity verification services through the Document Verification Service (DVS) which is run out of the Attorney General’s Department and processed 21 million transactions last year. Originally an internal government facility, in 2014 the DVS was expanded substantially to offer checking services to the private sector, a move that created a sought-after new source of revenue for the government, especially the Attorney General’s Department. (In May 2014, Attorney General George Brandis cited a “study by the Secure Identity Alliance and Boston Consulting Group” that he said had estimated “that e-Government services, enabled by trusted digital identities, are set to yield an estimated $50 billion in annual global savings by 2020.”) While Ms Dixon flatly refused to discuss DVS pricing, Government News has previously attended presentations where the charge of an ID check – which is electronic – was outlined to be around $1 per transaction. That kind of turnover, especially at scale, has increasingly aroused the interest of private sector providers who are authorised to use the DVS to provide commercial identity verification services, a quagmire the DTO will soon have to navigate through. Although Ms Dixon candidly admits that a lot of people are now using the DVS, she’s equally unequivocal that commercial providers don’t always get it right when it comes to estimating the size of a market or the level of competition in it. “If you look at the experience in the UK, with that market, the original identity providers that went there with Verify, all overestimated the share of market they would get,” Ms Dixon said. “That is a risk in setting up a private market; unless they get to a viable business case, the boards of those companies are going to be unhappy with those business models. That’s a risk because at a certain point one … of the providers that is less successful may want to leave.” One of the problems for government is when a private provider does exit the market, what happens to its customers. Dixon makes no bones about the risk of taxpayers potentially propping up a half-broken business. “The issue then becomes do you expose the government to rent seeking at that point from a provider that wants to exit, but instead uses it to negotiate a better deal in order to stay in the market,” Ms Dixon says. “And that has happened where there has been monopoly providers. That’s something that obviously we’d want to take into account in our [DTO’s] commercial arrangements. If we were going to establish that market, that would be a big consideration in our negotiations.”   Opting in: what a Digital Identity will – and won’t – do It’s no secret that Australia two most recent attempts to launch a national, government issued identity credential or document ended in failure thanks to the complex and often toxic politics that surrounded them. Both Bob Hawke’s ‘Australia Card’ (essentially a national photo ID card) and later Joe Hockey’s ‘Access Card’ (a multi-agency government services smartcard also with a photo) died swiftly amid fears the instruments could give government new and invasive powers to keep tabs on citizens. Even the far less contested rollout of e-health has taken more than a decade thanks to the fractious politics of federation, privacy and various stakeholder groups. Although the debate around privacy in Australia has arguably changed (partly thanks to people increasingly putting more and more in the public domain through social media) two major problems that have endured are frustration with access to government services and stubborn rates of fraud and identity theft, also largely enabled by the internet. According to the DTO, a force fit is off the cards and foisting digital identity onto consumers is something Ms Dixon clearly doesn’t believe in. Rather she wants consumers to first buy-in to the functionality and convenience that any new credential can deliver, insisting it has to be designed to meet the public’s actual needs rather than the government’s. “If the history of successful systems tells us anything, it’s that just mandating something from on high – especially in Australia – that the government mandating a digital identity is not necessarily the path to success,” Ms Dixon says. “We have to give people a reason to want to have a credential to interact with government. In order for government to get the economic benefit of people doing things online, that comes back to consumers … what is good for people who use the system that are not in government.” That, Ms Dixon says, is why the DTO’s primary concern in terms of its research requires an “unpacking” of “where the problem points are in authentication and verification for consumers right now.” There is also a need to start defining how what is commonly called ‘identity’ works in enabling real-life transactions. “If you try and talk to consumers about identity it’s a difficult discussion because the question is ‘what is identity for?’ What is it used for and what are they exposed to?” Ms Dixon says, making a careful distinction. “Identity is better thought of as the ability to have trust online. That’s the key piece. The ability for the government to trust that you are who you say you are. And for you to trust that the government will deal with you in a fair and protective way … that they won’t spread your data around the universe or open you up to fraud.”   Brokering Trust A big part of the implicit bargain governments have to negotiate around trust, identity and online transactions is just getting the balance right in terms of what data needs to be provided to gain a credential for a service – or the number of hoops a customer has to jump through – versus the relative value of that service to a customer. Ms Dixon observes that while government services need a certain level of technical assurance in terms of you being who you say you are, the potential for friction starts in the trade-off between assurance and convenience. “Where you fall down is if the amount of data, or the amount of steps the government is asking people to go through – too much data or too many steps of verification – relative to what’s at stake in the transaction,” Ms Dixon says. “Different transactions need different levels of assurance,” she notes. “Do you need to know absolutely what the person looks like for this particular transaction?” Asked outright whether a photo will be part of a new digital identity credential, her response is forthright. “I think that’s the wrong question,” Ms Dixon says. “The first question is ‘what is the problem we are trying to solve’? The second one is ‘what are the tools we will use to do this?’” “There is a difference between the verification or the authentication of an identity versus the authentication of a transaction.”   Are Biometrics in the Digital Identity Mix? Of all the identity security and verification technologies that have climbed onto the digital bandwagon, biometrics was one of the fastest. For decades police and security services around the world have had access to electronic fingerprint matching, followed more recently by biometric photos and algorithms being embedded into passports and licenses. Despite being more and more pervasive, biometric technologies still attract their fair share of controversy ranging from the ability of surveillance cameras to spot and track faces in a crowd or mall to insurance companies using the tone of a person’s voice to detect if they are likely to be lying. What government agencies, as well as businesses, are now confronting is at what point consumers might opt to use biometrics as part of a digital identity mix or authentication ecosystem, especially if it’s easier than entering a password. Again, Ms Dixon stresses the distinction between authenticating a transaction and actually identifying a person. Apple’s iPhone doesn’t really care if it’s actually you putting your fingerprint on its scanner. “If you look at a thumbprint on an iPhone, that doesn’t have anything to do with your identity, Ms Dixon says. “That’s just a signal to a key that unlocks your phone. You don’t use the thumbprint for assurance, you use it for authentication.” The argument really comes down to what consumers are comfortable with and if it gets them into what they need more easily and reliably, especially if passwords become so onerous they risk locking you out of a service after multiple failed efforts (think iPhone and FBI). Dixon is clearly cautious about the implications of biometrics, but again defers to what consumers actually prefer to use as the real test. Certain biometrics could be convenient for people in authenticating access to something; that’s different than the establishment of an identity in the first place, which is the assurance. “The nice thing about thumbprints is that they get you over the hurdle of passwords,” Ms Dixon says. “You use the technology that suits the use case. The first thing to do is to map out what people want. Not the government mandating [what people must use]. Base it on some actual research with actual use cases.” One thing’s for sure. If the Digital Transformation Office’s research actually manages to accurately map consumer needs and sentiment, and then produces a working digital identity prototype that the public embraces in less than a year, banks will be queuing up to buy it. That may not be a bad thing. [post_title] => Australian Digital Identity ‘alpha’ launch by August: Digital Transformation Office [post_excerpt] => User centric rebuild of national online credentials. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 23281 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-02 15:08:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-02 05:08:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=23281 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24663 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-12-20 14:00:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-20 03:00:14 [post_content] =>  Census2_opt   The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has taken to social media to reassure people they will not be fined if they complete the Census late because they’ve lost their log-in details. The Census Australia Facebook page has been inundated with people who have not been able to get through to the helpline or by email to request the 12-digit log-in code needed to complete the Census online or to request a paper form, after losing their log-in details. One worried person said: “I have emailed a few days ago and have the email support number and nothing else and have also turned my house upside down searching for the letter with login.” Another said they had spent four days emailing and calling but had not received a response. The anxiety of the Facebook posters was evident as the queries piled up online. “I've been emailing and calling all week with no reply or answer. I have not received my letter and wish for someone to contact me ASAP” and another “Have sent two emails as I have moved and can't access my old place hence no pin. Would really like to get an email back so I don't get fined.” One poster was more blunt: “Census Australia your online idea is not working it won't let me log in it’s stuck on trying to get the page and left waiting on a blank page that won't change. We should now fine you $ 180 per day until you fix the problem.” Other people were determined not to complete the Census online and insisted on a paper form because they feared computer hackers would access their personal data. “2 weeks Census, 2 bloody weeks no-one has been able to get through on ANY of the numbers on the initial letter with our code that was sent to request the paper form to be sent out. “So much for requiring accurate information from us if you can't answer the dam (sic) phones! And no, I will not be using the online form, this year’s Census is riddled with enough privacy issues, let alone with the issue of online security!” There were also some sad and sorry Census tales, including one woman having to blow dry her Census form after her dog urinated all over it and a man who claimed he had dropped his form down the toilet. But the Bureau has remained steadfastly unruffled in the face of all the ‘a dog ate my homework’ excuses. “You will not be fined for accurately completing and returning your census after census night,” many of its posts said. “Don't worry, there is plenty of time to complete the Census and you won't be fined for being late. We would recommend calling back after August 10 to avoid long wait times. You could also submit a request via our online contact form.” The online form is open until 24 September. The ABS said people would receive reminder letters and that Census field officers would visit households that hadn’t completed the Census to make sure everyone was counted. This year’s Census – Australia’s 17th national headcount - has been mired in controversy after the ABS announced that it would keep data for up to four years and potentially cross-match it with other data sets, instead of destroying after processing, as has happened previously, Some have taken umbrage with the fact that data linkages keys will be kept indefinitely, which could mean some information, e.g. such as birthplace or religion, could be auto-filled when completing the next survey or used to link Census data to medical, criminal and administrative records. However, ABS Census chief Duncan Young has insisted that linkage keys are not released to a third party, that researchers would not see the keys and that the Bureau would be in charge of the linking. Young has maintained that linkage keys, the ability to use linkage keys to link data sets and the data sets themselves are three, mutually exclusive steps and that no one person can access more than one of these steps. The federal Minister responsible for the Census, Michael McCormack has also waded in - after earlier criticisms from the Opposition accusing him of going AWOL – and tried to soothe the public backlash against the survey. "I think we're making far too much of this, names and addresses and privacy breaches," McCormack said. "Anybody with a supermarket loyalty card, anybody who does tap-and-go, anybody who buys things online, they provide more information indeed probably to what is available to ABS staff." But organisations such as the Australian Privacy Foundation have not been mollified by his response and privacy concerns have also led to a handful of senators, led by Nick Xenophon, refusing to put their names on Census forms and risking a fine of up to $180 per day. Census Australia’s Facebook page justified the Bureau’s requirement for people to add their names saying it resulted in better data quality and helped households record the relevant information for each person. “Having names on the form also helps the ABS to identify if any people were missed during the Census, or accidently counted twice,” said the online response. “It can also assist in improving the quality of data we produce on families, especially where complex relationships, like blended families, exist. International studies have demonstrated that an anonymous Census results in poor quality data.” [post_title] => Best of 2016: ABS moves to quell Census panic on social media [post_excerpt] => Lost log-ins melt hotline. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => abs-moves-quell-census-panic-social-media [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-20 14:55:33 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-20 03:55:33 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24663 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25795 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2016-12-07 13:26:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-07 02:26:42 [post_content] => parliament-house-credit-john-gollings Parliament House. Pic: John Gollings    By Linda Cheng This story first appeared in ArchitectureAu and appears here by kind permission.    The Australian government’s proposal to build a 2.6-metre high fence around the perimeter of Parliament House designed by Mitchell Giurgola and Thorp, 1988, has drawn the ire of Australia’s most eminent architects. Ken Maher, national president of the Australian Institute of Architects was “deeply outraged” at the plans, which will restrict public access to the building’s grassy slopes. He said the proposed fence “flies in the face of the design intent of the architect, the late Romaldo Giurgola.” Read more here.  [post_title] => Architects condemn Parliament House fence plans [post_excerpt] => Perimeter fence draws ire. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => architects-condemn-parliament-house-fence-plans [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-09 09:50:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-08 22:50:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25795 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25643 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-11-23 15:03:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-23 04:03:24 [post_content] => Feet of soldiers marching at an ANZAC Day parade on the streets of a regional country town     Suicide rates for serving military personnel and veterans are likely to have been underestimated, says an ex-serviceman working with Australian Defence Force (ADF) members who have been wounded, injured or got sick from serving. Recent unofficial figures from a Herald Sun investigation of suicide among serving military and veterans suggested that as many as 50 ADF personnel have killed themselves this year, more than the 41 who died over 13 years in the Afghanistan conflict. Simon Sauer is CEO of Mates4Mates, an organisation which runs physical, social and psychological support programs for current and ex-servicemen and women. He said suicide figures were “potentially under-reported”. Mr Sauer said the government had “no handle” on how many suicides occurred because once people left the service Defence did not track veterans, except if they were registered with the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA). Veterans usually registered with the DVA because they had been wounded and got sick or injured during service and needed to pursue compensation claims. “If you’re leaving Defence and you think you’re ok, or you have made the choice not to register with DVA because you don’t trust them then there’s nothing in your record that flags you as ex-Defence,” Mr Sauer said. “You could be Korean War veteran and your wife may not know you had ever served.” In the US, the social security numbers of individuals match their number in the forces and the two are linked.  This is not the case in Australia. Mr Sauer said it was important to collect the statistics and track what was happening. He said other professions such as police, paramedics and farmers also tended to have higher suicide rates. “Maybe Defence hasn’t got a problem. We don’t really know,” he said. “It comes back to mental health. Yes, it’s a problem for each of these [professions] but it’s actually a national problem and that’s what we need to be focusing on right from early school. Young boys need to be able to ask for help.” The recent parliamentary inquiry by Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References into suicide among veterans has been brought the issue into sharp focus and highlighted the fact that there are no official statistics available. Voluntary organisation Soldier On, which helps veterans of contemporary conflicts adapt to civilian life, wrote in its submission to the inquiry that the government needed to make a much bigger effort to collect these statistics and gain a better understanding of how to tackle suicide. Soldier On CEO John Bale said there was no one answer to explain why Australian veterans were taking their own lives at such high rates but that it was “often a complex mix of multiple factors”, such as family and relationship issues; financial stress; unemployment; housing uncertainty, depression and anxiety; PTSD; alcohol and drug use and addiction and chronic pain. He wrote: “The number of veteran suicides in 2016 alone indicated that a significant number of ex- service personnel who have been adversely affected by their service, are not receiving the level of care and ongoing support they require.” Mr Bale said ADF members often experienced problems when they transitioned to civilian life and they started to feel lonely and isolated. This was particularly acute when they were medically discharged. “In the ADF, members are constantly surrounded by like-minded individuals, rules and systems they understand and a purpose greater than themselves,” Mr Bale wrote. “When they transition from the ADF to the civilian life, they often lose their friends, their job and their understanding of how life operates.  Their sense of identity, tribal connection and purpose disappears in that one moment.” Government News understands that the DVA is currently collecting suicide statistics by cross-checking coroners’ reports with service records - possibly going back to 2002 – in an attempt to get a clearer picture of suicide rates. A DVA spokesperson said suicide prevention and supporting families affected by suicide was its highest priority. "While Defence records all incidences of suspected or confirmed suicide among current serving members of the ADF, DVA does not have a complete picture of suicides in the ex-serving population. This is because DVA only becomes officially aware of a death by suicide of a veteran if a claim for compensation is lodged by a dependant in respect of the death of a veteran.  In this case, a cause of death must be investigated to establish a relationship with service." The DVA has been working with Defence and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare since 2014 to understand the incidence of suicide among former serving members of the ADF, and  investigating whether there is a difference compared with the Australian population. Preliminary findings of this research will be released by the end of the month. The DVA is also developing a new pilot suicide awareness and prevention training program to complement its current suicide prevention programs, which includes face-to-face Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshops delivered by the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service. The new pilot program for veterans and their families is expected to equip individuals with the skills and confidence to identify and respond to veterans who might be at risk of suicide, or who have attempted suicide, and give ex-serving members and their families self-care strategies. The DVA is also working on its Early Engagement Model, which it says will engage ADF members early in their careers so that they are aware of what support and services are available to them and promote early intervention and prevention of any mental or physical health conditions. Meanwhile, veterans will be hoping that this model will help streamline their compensation claims by sharing data between Defence and the DVA, something that has been held up in the past due to privacy concerns over data sharing between the two departments. This would mean that people would have to provide some information only once, for example, about their injuries and treatment. But this step forward needs substantial investment. The federal government announced in February this year that it would spend billions to upgrade Defence’s retro ICT systems under its Integrated Investment Program in the Defence White paper. Both organisations have been strongly criticised because compensation claims can be demanding to prove and take many years to conclude thus exacerbating mental health problems for veterans and leaving them and their families struggling financially. Mr Sauer said the DVA had introduced non-liability healthcare so that veterans could access treatment immediately while their claim was being processed, which he said this was a positive step but did not help families survive financially, particularly when claims can take multiple years to be settled. In a submission to the inquiry, the Partners and Veterans Association of Australia said that the ADF and the DVA paid lip service to the partners and families of service men and women but often failed to give them any tangible help. “Little thought is given to the financial situation of the veteran and family when a veteran’s disability precludes his/her ability to work,” the submission said. “Often the claim process through DVA is difficult, with stumbling blocks at every turn and may drag on interminably, leading to extra stress on top of an already volatile home life. Loss of income and the extra strain this puts on the family is one of the major hurdles to overcome.”   [post_title] => Military and veteran suicides probably underestimated [post_excerpt] => DVA trying to collect statistics. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => military-veteran-suicides-likely-underestimated [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-25 11:23:57 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-25 00:23:57 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25643 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25615 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-11-21 14:56:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-21 03:56:07 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_25617" align="alignnone" width="430"]The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation's (ASIO's) headquarters in Canberra,  Australia. Bye bye Ben Chifley: ASIO's headquarters in Canberra.[/caption]       The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is set to more than double in size and move from ASIO’s Canberra headquarters, subject to the outcome of a parliamentary inquiry. The $38 million relocation from the Ben Chifley Building down the road to Brindabella Business Park, near Canberra Airport, has been fuelled by the expansion of the ACSC, an expansion flagged in April in the federal government’s national security strategy. The Centre was established in 2014 to pull together the cyber security skills of staff working at a number of agencies including Defence, the Australian Signals Directorate; the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Attorney-General’s Department and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), as well as from industry, academia and the private sector. The strategy, Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy: Enabling innovation, growth and prosperity, recommended significant increases in personnel for the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Australia, the AFP and the ACIC. It means the Centre will soon outgrow the ASIO building, which currently houses 260 of its staff as well as other integrated and embedded staff, necessitating a move to offices in Brindabella and fitting them out to create workstations for up to 700 staff. Another key driver behind the move is to create office space less hamstrung by the high levels of security clearance required over at ASIO. It can take more than two years to secure top level security clearance and this has held back hiring new staff and hampered collaboration in the cyber security­ hub. While the Centre's current accommodation is almost full in some sections, other parts are under-used because they have a high security classification and many staff cannot enter. The new location will support multiple security levels - impossible in the Ben Chifley Building - as well as providing space for staff from academic institutions, industry and innovation initiatives. Defence’s submission to the Senate inquiry into the fit-out and relocation said that the move would support “multiple levels of classification” and “ facilitate greater levels of collaboration” between ASD and its ACSC partners, most of whose personnel currently did not hold the appropriate clearances needed in the Ben Chifley Building. Defence said ASD’s mission had changed from focussing on protecting highly classified information and networks – where a secure environment was essential – towards protecting government networks connected to the internet. “The nature of the work has evolved to the point where operating solely in a highly classified environment is a hindrance to ASD’s delivery of their cyber security mission," said Defence's submission. “The need for private industry partners to obtain security clearances – and even the overheads associated with organising visitor entry for short term visits – currently make achievement of the government’s intent considerably more difficult.” High classification levels had also made it difficult to recruit staff skilled in cyber security, which were in short supply and high demand. Defence said there was a “relatively high turnover” of experienced cyber security staff and retaining staff was often difficult when private sector wages were higher. Submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works can be sent until January 13. There will be public and in-camera hearings for the inquiry early in 2017. [post_title] => Cyber Security Centre outgrows ASIO HQ [post_excerpt] => $38 million move. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => cyber-security-centre-outgrows-asio-hq [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-22 11:02:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-22 00:02:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25615 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25490 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-11-07 15:24:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-07 04:24:45 [post_content] => dibp-stop-work     Workers in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) have voted down the government’s latest pay offer by an emphatic 82 per cent as the Fair Work Commission (FWC) prepares to step in and force an outcome between the warring parties. The ‘no’ vote was up slightly from the previous vote in March, where it reached 81 per cent, and the participation rate was also higher, with 84 per cent of eligible staff voting. It is the third time in three years that DIBP workers have rejected the Turnbull Government’s enterprise bargaining proposals covering pay, rights and conditions, and clears the way for the Full Bench of the FWC to go to compulsory arbitration, which many believe is likely to play out in the Union’s favour. This follows a series of DIBP strikes at airports, ports and terminal and the suspension of protected industrial action (PIA) by the Commission. The Commission terminated PIA on October 6 at the Union’s request, triggering supervised negotiations and now, arbitration. Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) National Secretary Nadine Flood called the vote a “dose of reality” for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Public Service Minister Michaelia Cash. “This is an emphatic rejection of the fundamentally unfair and unreasonable deal being pushed by Immigration and Border Force’s bosses and the Turnbull Government,” Ms Flood said. “Nearly 10,000 people voted ‘no’ because they know a bad deal when they see one. This offer would have hurt them, their families and their colleagues.” There will be a public committee hearing this Friday, which Ms Flood said would shine a light on the “human impact” of the government’s bargaining policy, which has left around 100,000 public servants without a pay rise for three years and little chance of back pay. She added: “The ball is now in the government's court. They can change their policy and have DIBP take something sensible into arbitration in Fair Work to fix this or they can keep punishing workers by fighting the legal process. “The rights, conditions and pay of DIBP workers will now be decided on through an independent process, so the government would be well advised to rethink their harsh industrial relations agenda.” In the meantime, Immigration Secretary Mike Pezzullo and Border Force Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg wrote to the Department’s 13,500 staff this week once again warning them that arbitration could be lengthy and underlining that they would get no say in the Commission’s verdict. Mr Pezzullo warned staff in October that the process could drag on for 18 months. Professor Ron McCallum, Emeritus Professor in the Faculty of Law of the University of Sydney, told Government News last month that the Commission would be “pretty determined” to expedite the verdict and it would probably be known by June 2017. He said that arbitration would probably achieve a better result for DIBP workers. “The Union will do much better [under arbitration] than they were likely to do in bargaining and I think the government is on the back foot. “The federal government’s two per cent [pay offer] and the amalgamating of people to create Border Force means there are all sorts of people coming from different wage areas and they all need to be realigned.” [post_title] => Immigration workers lash government pay offer for third time [post_excerpt] => Fair Work Commission decides. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => immigration-workers-lash-governments-pay-offer-third-time [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-08 09:39:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-07 22:39:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25490 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27463 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-06-23 10:36:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-23 00:36:19 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27464" align="alignnone" width="300"] Department of Defence photo from the Royal Australian Air Force taken during Exercise Diamond Storm.[/caption] Department of Defence staff will have a new enterprise agreement after three years of negotiations, with staff voting on a deal that improved on the three previously rejected offers, with more rights protected. These include:
  • Comprehensive Terms of Reference for the National Workplace Relations Committee (NWRC), which includes representation rights for members and workplace delegates, and dispute escalation and settlement protocols;
  • The application of enforceable policy and process in areas of the agreement that cover situations where members’ jobs may be at risk, such as performance management and excess declaration; and
  • A proper performance management process written into the agreement.
The ballot saw 61% voting Yes to the agreement. 84% of eligible staff participated, in the first Defence ballot since December last year. Defence is one of several major agencies voting in June, with Agriculture staff also approving a new deal earlier this week and ballots soon in the Tax Office, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and CSIRO. CSIRO staff have also narrowly voted to approve a new enterprise agreement, with their reluctance underlining the importance and difficulty management faces in rebuilding trust in the organisation. The agreement was secured with a 57.74% Yes vote. The ballot closed late on Thursday night, with 77% of eligible CSIRO staff participating. CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said: “Defence staff have finally voted up a new agreement, albeit reluctantly. This deal is a real improvement on those they’ve previously rejected but it’s far from perfect and also massively unfair that they're copping a three-year plus pay freeze.” The deal includes a 6% pay rise over the three-year term of the agreement. The deal has been negotiated on a single-agency basis, as are the other public service agreements. This despite calls for single-agency negotiations to be discontinued by former public service commissioner Andrew Podger, currently a professor at the Australian National University, who was the public service commissioner between 2002 and 2004. As reported in Government News (Dump single agency bargaining in the APS, says former Public Service Commissioner), Professor Podger said single agency bargaining has had serious, negative consequences for the public service which have outweighed the promised benefits, chiefly around flexibility. “This has caused very serious damage to the integrity of the whole pay system in the Public Service with tangible impact on mobility within the service, serious management problems for agencies affected by machinery of government changes, justified complaints of unfairness across and within agencies, and unknown impacts on attraction and retention of the skills the APS requires,” Prof Podger told the 2016 senate inquiry into APS bargaining. Prof Podger said single agency negotiations have created pay disparities for similar jobs  in different departments and agencies and has also damaged staff morale and caused resentment. “What’s happened is they’ve all gone their different ways and none of them have been able to focus on the market,” says Prof Podger. “Strict central rules led to different pay rates, not because they are useful but because they are forced to be there.” [post_title] => Defence, CSIRO to finally get a pay rise [post_excerpt] => Department of Defence staff will get a pay rise after three years of negotiations. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => defence-finally-get-pay-rise [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-23 11:11:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-23 01:11:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27463 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 209 [max_num_pages] => 15 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => 1 [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 97f51c8411d799bf5d8c7592dc5db2eb [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )

Security