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                    [post_content] => 8397298761_2f234dfb3a_z_opt

 

Controversial pub and club lockout laws like those in Sydney and Brisbane will have a limited on effect reducing violence and harm unless a lot more is done to change Australia’s culture of partying, says one of Australia’s leading research centres into accidents and road safety.

Psychologist Dr Gavan Palk from Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety (CARRS-Q) believes authorities and venue owners need to take a hard look at the effect of drugs like ecstasy and speed on the behaviour of partygoers along with the behaviour of bouncers.

The comments come after Queensland passed legislation to enable the lockout laws last week.

“The clubs drugs MDMA or ecstasy, and speed combine to increase disinhibition and make people more likely to think something like a coward punch is funny,” Dr Palk said.

“To be truly effective and keep people safe from street violence, my research showed that changing the lock-out hours was just one part of the total move needed.”

Dr Palk, who conducted studies on the trial Gold Coast and Brisbane lock-outs in 2004 and 2005, specifically points to the link between alcohol and aggression and the role of security and venue staff in getting patrons and drinkers to calm down before escalate to a physical level.

With testosterone a known ingredient in aggressive incidents involving males, the stereotype of a beefed-up male bouncer on a pub or club door to convey an implicit physical threat is one of the things that needs to change to de-escalate the potential for violence.

Dr Palk said frankly that more female bouncers were needed.

“We know that women bouncers are successful in talking aggressive people down and resolving issues,” he said.

Not just throwing problem patrons out onto the street is another measure Dr Palk wants considered.

“Time out rooms where an intoxicated person could sit in a quiet place till they calm down are a better solution than putting them out on the street,” Dr Palk said.

How that proposed measure will sit with police and licencing authorities is open to question, given that most liquor laws already say people who are intoxicated shouldn’t be on the premises or served.

Dr Palk said police needed to do more “walk throughs” while hoteliers needed to be more responsible for asking people to leave.

In Sydney crowds turned out in force on the weekend to protest against lockout laws in the CBD as the Baird Government conducts a formal review of the laws.
                    [post_title] => Hire female bouncers: lockout laws researcher
                    [post_excerpt] => Dial down testosterone to prevent violence.
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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_22313" align="alignleft" width="287"]12304134_545038718988207_4941167547392172195_o Paul Fletcher helping out Trent Zimmerman.[/caption]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia’s 565 local governments copped a serious belting in the last federal Budget (and a serious loss of portfolio relevance in Canberra) under jettisoned PM Tony Abbott, but now successor Malcolm Turnbull and his Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government Paul Fletcher are moving fast to repair some of the major damage.

In a deliberate overture to help heal the yawning rift opened by the previous federal Coalition leadership, Paul Fletcher late last week quietly told the nation’s Mayors they were firmly back on the federal policy agenda. After a cold and lonely stint on the sidelines, winter is over.

“This is the first time for some years that there has been a Minister whose title includes specific reference to local government,” Fletcher pointedly observed in a blog on his website.

“There are at least three important reasons why the Turnbull Government has chosen to underline the importance of local government in this way.”

Like most government lists, the real deal usually sits somewhere towards the end.

Fletcher’s third ‘reason’ says this:

“As Prime Minister Turnbull has made clear, he sees a renewed role for the Commonwealth in working to support and plan for the growth of our cities – which collectively in 2011 contributed $854 billion to our national economy according to the Infrastructure Australia audit issued earlier this year.”

Look at full name of many councils, and you’ll see the name “City of …” in front of many of them; and not just state capitals.

Parramatta City Council has more than 170,000 people living in it, a bit under half of Canberra’s population of 380,000. The City of the Gold Coast has close to 500,000.

Get your local government policy right and there are large numbers of people pleased. Get it wrong and the electoral consequences can be pivotal.

The big problem many populous local governments have these days though is that the highly polarised nature of Australia’s political system can find councils pointlessly punished for accidently falling on the wrong side of the partisan fence –especially when it’s highly localised rather than ideological issues that decide results.

Who fixed a bridge, upgraded broadband or mobile phone reception, fixed a parking problem or got a movie to film in a town. Politicians might want to ‘own’ solutions but they are more often than not based on pragmatism than ideology.

The bone-headed, semi-fanatical opposition of NSW Labor to the renewal of light rail infrastructure in Sydney stands as a case in point.

Sadly, the example sits cheek-by-jowl with the Abbott government’s vindictively punitive treatment of the renewable energy sector.

Stuff the utility, give the other side nothing . . . their gain is our loss so bugger the opportunity cost.

Transport renewal and energy efficiency offer councils a real prospect of improving their communities and saving money at the local level. That opportunity has since been seized with both hands by a far more pragmatic and progressive Baird government that is laser focused on demonstrable results rather than dogma.

Fletcher and Turnbull now have a golden opportunity to positively reset relations between councils and Canberra by backing the kinds of grass roots projects that can make a difference and deliver to local communities in smart and innovative ways that eschew community damaging pettiness -- and potentially take state government or three along for the ride.

“When Australians engage with government, nothing annoys them more than buck-passing and finger pointing between different governments,” Fletcher notes.

“Of course it is true that different levels of government have different responsibilities – but all of us have a responsibility to work together to deliver the best possible outcomes for citizens and residents.”

Fletcher’s first major overture to councils obligatorily calls out Roads to Recovery as a cornerstone agenda item, but the real test will be how broadminded the Commonwealth can be when considering projects that offer savings to local communities yet don’t immediately tick stodgy procurement guidelines or fire up the daily news cycle.

There is also a case for overcoming a paralysing fear that credit for good deeds could be claimed by immediate opponents, or worse still Greens and Independents.

Take for example the hysterical campaign run against LED street lighting by some sections of the electricity sector that stood to lose handsome ratepayer revenue in the event councils found a much cheaper way to light up.

Or the Quixotesque war on wind power replete with its own Commissioner.

Energy costs are not everything, but overseas examples that demonstrate savings in emissions and power consumption that come from innovations such as tapping methane from landfill, biomass and water treatment could make a real difference to rates bills, or at least infrastructure maintenance.

In the US there are sewage plants that generate and sell electricity.

Should Canberra be able to become an enabling catalyst for new ideas and innovation, there could be a decent payoff for the initial capital outlay – both financial and political.

As the coal lobby likes to point out, affordable energy fosters economic growth; even if some producers don’t like competition from less capital and carbon intensive methods of production.

“A wide range of critical functions, such as planning, waste disposal and infrastructure provision (including roads and footpaths, parks and sporting grounds, and in many areas sewerage, water and even power) are delivered by local government,” Fletcher observes.

“If it were not for local government, many of the services that Australians take for granted simply would not be there.”

Improving those services without getting hung-up on labels could go a very long way and Paul Fletcher understands the nature of networks better than most, including how to optimise their performance.

Just don’t mention council mergers.
                    [post_title] => Turnbull & Fletcher schmooze local councils
                    [post_excerpt] => Renewed focus on cities, big and small.
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                    [post_content] => Tram Circular-Quay
Malcolm Turnbull’s weekend announcement that the Commonwealth will provide $95 million in funding towards the extension of the Gold Coast’s light rail system gives further impetus to the quite remarkable popularity of the technology in Australia.

Trams were once Australia’s most popular form of public transport, operating even in comparatively small cities such as Geelong and Ballarat. Now they are flavour of the month for Australia’s growing band of public transport advocates, the chief of which is our new Prime Minister.

Malcolm Turnbull delights in being seen on public transport, in great contrast to his predecessor, who believed cars made ‘kings’ of ordinary people. It has not taken long for the new Prime Minister’s ideas to see action.

“Public transport infrastructure is absolutely critical to the development of our cities,” he said when announcing the Gold Coast deal, “which are absolutely critical to ensuring our future prosperity as a nation.

“Our cities are the crucibles of innovation and enterprise. They are where so much of our GDP is created and it's vital that they have the right infrastructure, whether it is telecommunications infrastructure or transport infrastructure.”

Sydney’s CBD has had its buses taken off George St, the city’s main north-south artery, as construction of a massive new light rail line begins. The Gold Coast line has converted many former opponents into light rail enthusiasts.

Light rail in Australia is booming – there is even a major conference on the subject planned for 2016. The are many projects in the offing:

In operation
  • Melbourne: Melbourne’s 250km metropolitan tram system rivals St Petersburg as the most extensive light rail system in the world.
  • Sydney: From Central Railway to Dulwich Hill, built on old tram tracks and an obsolete goods line, servicing the southern CBD, Darling Harbour, and the Inner West.
  • Adelaide: A single 12km line from the CBD to the beachside suborn of Glenelg was retained when Adelaide’s tram network was decommissioned in 1956. It has since been extended to North Terrace and along Port Road to Hindmarsh.
  • Gold Coast: The existing G:link line from Griffith University’s Southport campus to Broadbeach was opened in 2014.
Under construction and planned
  • Sydney: Major extension of the network, with a new line from Circular Quay down the spine of the CBD along George St, past Central Railway, through Surry Hills and branching at Moore Park into separate lines to Randwick and Kingsford.
  • Canberra: Capital Metro announced in early 2015, to run 12km from Gungahlin in the north, down Northbourne Avenue to Civic. Construction planned 2016-19. There is a proposal to extend it along the northern shore of Lake Burley Griffin to Russell.
  • Perth: MAX (Metro Area Express), announced by the WA state government but now deferred, with construction planned from 2017 to 2022. The planned route is from Mirabooka in the north to the Perth CBD, with spurs to the University of Western Australia in the south west and Victoria Park in the south east. There are also proposals to eventually extend the line to Fremantle.
  • Gold Coast: Extension of existing line north to heavy rail station at Helensvale, to be completed before the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
Proposed
  • Adelaide: A number of extensions have been proposed, to Port Adelaide, Adelaide Airport, Semaphore and Mitcham, as well as more tracks in the CBD.
  • Hobart: Riverline, a proposed light rail system from the CBD along the southern bank of the Derwent River and perhaps across the river to Bridgewater, has been shelved after the Abbott Government scrapped a feasibility study in 2014. Expect to see it back on the table soon.
  • Newcastle: The NSW government closed the heavy rail spur between Hamilton and Newcastle’s CBD in 2014, replacing it with buses. Two options have been proposed for a light rail system – one long the old rail lines, and another on Hunter St. The government is conducting a study, but there has been no announcement.
  • Parramatta: The city council has conducted a $1 million feasibility study for a network connecting the CBD with Macquarie Park and Castle Hill, with possible extensions to Bankstown and Olympic Park.
  • Sunshine Coast: The council has conducted a feasibility study of a route from Caloundra to Maroochydore, and has talked about an opening date of 2025.
There have also been calls for the introduction of light rail in major regional cities such as Geelong, Townsville and Wollongong. Trams are not a new idea, but except in Melbourne they have been out of fashion for decades. Now the wheel has turned. Light rail is cool. The Prime Minister again: “Federal governments over the years have been reluctant to invest in public transport infrastructure. There is a range of reasons for that, but they are essentially historical. “The reality is that you should assess the merit of infrastructure on its merits and not favour one road over rail or rail over road. As cities become more densely settled, public transport infrastructure is of greater and greater importance. “So, if you can't have a roads-only solution, you can't obviously have a rail-only solution either. It's just a question of taking a pragmatic, business-like, practical approach to it, no ideology involved. This is just business-like.” Business wins out over ideology. How Australia is changing. [post_title] => ANALYSIS: Boom time for light rail in Australia [post_excerpt] => From Perth to Townsville, trams are on the agenda [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => analysis-boom-time-for-light-rail-in-australia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-10-13 10:11:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-10-12 23:11:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=21729 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 21484 [post_author] => 664 [post_date] => 2015-09-21 15:04:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-09-21 05:04:31 [post_content] =>   [caption id="attachment_21485" align="alignnone" width="300"]turnbull train Malcolm takes the train[/caption] The new broom sweeping through Canberra may have significant consequences for major state government rail projects. Malcolm Turnbull has specifically repudiated his predecessor Tony Abbott’s comment that Commonwealth government funding for infrastructure should be limited to roads. Turnbull, a noted bus and train traveller, said the Commonwealth should not discriminate between modes of transportation. “There is no ‘roads are not better than mass transit’ or vice versa, each has their place,” said Mr Turnbull after winning the leadership of the Liberal Party. “Infrastructure should be assessed objectively and rationally on its merit. There is no place for ideology here at all.’’ A number of state leaders have taken Mr Turnbull's comments as a sign that he may back public transport projects in their own backyards. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews met with Mr Turnbull within days of his elevation to the prime ministership. They discussed, amongst other things, funding for Melbourne Metro rail project, which is proceeding apace after the incoming Andrews Labor government cancelled the giant East-west link road project, “I would welcome a strong and significant financial contribution from the Turnbull government in recognition of the new Prime Minister's clear sense that public transport is so important,” Mr Andrews said. Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said she had already sent list of potential rail projects to Mr Turnbull, including a ‘no brainer’ business case for extending the Gold Coast’s successful light right project ahead of the city’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games in April 2018. Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett said on ABC radio that he hoped Mr Turnbull would expand the Federal Government's infrastructure funding to include rail as well as roads. Mr Barnett’s government is facing funding problems with its proposed Max light rail project and airport rail link. Mr Turnbull's comments about funding have been interpreted as a direct dig at Tony Abbott, who wrote in his 2009 book Battlelines of ‘Kings in Their Own Cars’, saying public transport was not suited to Australia’s sprawling ‘suburban metropolises’. “In Australia’s big cities, public transport is generally slow, expensive, not especially reliable and a still a hideous drain of the public purse. Part of the problem is inefficient, over-manned, union-dominated, government-run train and bus systems," Mr Abbott said in his book. “Mostly, there just aren’t enough people wanting to go from a particular place to a particular destination at a particular time to justify any vehicle larger than a car, and cars need roads.” Mr Abbott’s bias against public transport was seen by many as part of his ideological mindset. In 2013 he said: “We have no history of funding urban rail and I think it is important that we stick to our knitting. And the Commonwealth’s knitting when it comes to funding infrastructure is roads.” If a week is a long time in politics, then the last seven days has been an eternity.       [post_title] => PM’s public transport comments encourage state leaders [post_excerpt] => Infrastructure does not mean only roads, says Malcolm Turnbull [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => pms-public-transport-comments-encourage-state-leaders [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-09-21 17:08:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-09-21 07:08:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=21484 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 15600 [post_author] => 2 [post_date] => 2014-07-08 09:22:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-07 23:22:11 [post_content] => goldcoasttram It may have had plenty of problems with the concept in Opposition, but Queensland’s Campbell Newman government is adamant that a new $1.2 billion light rail system for Gold Coast commuters won’t run late on its delivery after it nominated Monday 21st July 2014 as the official start date for the new service. Intended to reduce transport congestion in one of the country’s fastest growing cities, the new public transport addition has been in the design and construction works phase for the past three years and will finally offer commuters an integrated public transport system that connects timetables between buses, trams and trains. According to transport authorities the tramway’s debut will kick off with a free service on the first day of service followed by paid services that will max out at just over $4 for Go Card holders wanting to travel the light rail’s full run. However the journey to make light rail a reality in Queensland has been a long one. The imminent opening follows an extensive public works project that was first proposed in 1998 as part of the Gold Coast City Council’s Transport Plan. That was followed by a joint Queensland Transport and council feasibility study that developed plans for a possible light rail or bus rapid transit system in 2004. But it wasn’t until 2011 that the state government finally selected a developer and operator called GoldLinQ, which was brought in under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. The project has been jointly funded by the state and federal governments and the council, consisting of 14 trams and 16 stations servicing a 13-kilometre route through the heart of the city. The rollout is a big deal for the image of the Gold Coast as a grown-up metropolis because it puts the highly-urbanised area on par with Sydney and Melbourne which already have well patronised tram and light rail services that have a higher capacity than buses. Other cities including Canberra, Newcastle, Adelaide and Perth are similarly grappling with putting in their own light rail services as a way to speed travel times and ease congestion. Proponents of light rail as viable public transport option point to the stimulus the infrastructure can provide. Even before the new Gold Coast system opened, it has proven to be beneficial to the local economy because of the GoldLinQ consortium’s spend of $530 million with local businesses for labour and materials, which came from 400 suppliers since construction began in early 2012. Queensland Minster for Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson said the eagerly awaited date of its opening follows confirmation that all parties are satisfied that the light rail is ready to go. “As a government we have a strong plan to get more people on to public transport and light rail provides an easy-to-use, frequent service ensuring a bright future for anyone traveling in and around the Gold Coast,” Mr Emerson said. He said trams will run every seven-and-a-half minutes, to Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. [post_title] => Gold Coast trams ready to roll in two weeks [post_excerpt] => The Queensland government says it will meet the mid-year opening deadline for the new light rail system on the Gold Coast, making it the third operating system of its kind in Australia. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => gold-coast-trams-ready-roll-two-weeks [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-07-08 15:23:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-07-08 05:23:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=15600 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 15274 [post_author] => 2 [post_date] => 2014-06-05 11:45:12 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-06-05 01:45:12 [post_content] => Gold Coast Australia from Q1 Building The Queensland government has put forward radical changes to the state’s planning laws in an attempt to stamp out wild, all night parties and disturbances being created by the short term letting of purposely marketed ‘party houses’ in tourist areas that have become a suburban nightmare for residents and police alike. The crackdown being put forward by the Newman government means that operators of the lucrative rental properties will finally have to apply to councils for development approvals to operate the facilities that have for years thrived on legal loopholes and regulatory ambiguity surrounding the recreational rental market. Councils and the state government have been under attack from residents and mainstream investors fed up with a lack of powers to deal with brawls, drunken arguments, excessive noise, litter and other illegal and criminal activity caused by large groups renting large houses for weekends of wild excess. Now authorities are seeking to amend the Sustainable Planning Act so local governments can designate where party house venues can operate and ban back lot party strips that attract not just partygoers but large numbers of gate crashers. As part of the reforms the state government will allow councils to define ‘party houses’ as residential dwellings that are leased, hired or rented on a regular basis for events such as weddings, bucks nights and other parties. The new measures will also allow councils to designate a ‘party house restriction area’ in planning schemes so that hot spots on the nose with neighbours can be shut down under the laws. However it will be up to individual councils as to whether they ‘opt in’ to the new planning laws, a flexibility provision that avoids the imposition of a state-wide mandate that may otherwise have amended all planning schemes. That concession is intended to reflect the fact that the ‘party house’ problem is really only an issue for a relatively small number of local government areas. The state government has specified areas such as the Gold Coast, Noosa on the Sunshine Coast, Cairns and North Stradbroke Island as critical hotspots that need to be addressed under the new laws. However party politics is never far away from the new policing provisions. Queensland’s Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney has been quick to blame the previous Labor government for allowing the proliferation of “nuisance” dwellings in tourist areas because of its “lack of planning”. Mr Seeney said the Newman government had listened to community concerns and has already taken action by giving police greater power to deal with anti-social behaviour at out of control events. State member for Mermaid Beach, Ray Stevens said the new amendments will be a win for families that have “suffered at the hands of party house operators who deliberately and knowingly flouted the rules”. “These operators come in where they’re not wanted and compete most unfairly with legitimate holiday accommodation providers who do the right thing,” Mr Stevens said. Member for Noosa, Glen Elmes, said the new council powers honoured an election promise he made to help target the problem in Noosa of large homes being converted into mass rentals. [post_title] => 'Party house' crackdown powers given to QLD councils [post_excerpt] => Raucous rental properties in tourist hotspots to be targeted by councils under new laws. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => party-house-crackdown-powers-given-qld-councils [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-06-10 12:01:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-06-10 02:01:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=15274 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 14345 [post_author] => 2 [post_date] => 2014-03-21 11:08:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-03-21 00:08:58 [post_content] => 4109239083_18be3e6fe6_b Queensland’s Gold Coast has become the test bed for a new emergency services technology that enables traffic lights to detect oncoming ambulances, fire trucks and police cars and prioritise their passage through intersections on a green light rather than being forced to legally break road rules. The new system operates by recognising the flashing lights and sirens of an emergency vehicle attempting to pass through a intersections via an automated system that triggers the lights to change in favour of a priority vehicle and thus maintaining its passage with a more natural flow of traffic rather than driving against oncoming vehicles. Dubbed Emergency Vehicle Priority (EVP), the project is being tested at 52 intersections in the Southport area in conjunction with 10 Queensland Ambulance Service vehicles. Although accidents involving emergency vehicles are relatively uncommon compared to regular traffic, their impact is highly significant because another response team must then be dispatched to either the scene of where the first vehicle was headed, or to the scene of the accident if, for example, an ambulance is ferrying an injured or ill person to hospital. The cost of investigating emergency vehicle collisions is also significant because of the level of resources involved in determining the cause of the accident as well as higher repair and replacement costs of damaged vehicles. Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services Jack Dempsey said the new EVP technology was a “perfect demonstration” of how the Newman government is revitalising frontline services for the benefit of Queenslanders. “Not only will it decrease response times, it also means emergency service workers no longer have to put their own lives on the line trying to navigate their way through red lights when other traffic can be coming from another direction,” Mr Dempsey said. Although a similar technology has already been applied in Sydney and Melbourne, it’s also being trialled by the Queensland government to see whether it works in minimising the disruption to traffic and returning it to normal conditions as quickly as possible after the emergency vehicle has passed. Minister for Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson said EVP technology will improve safety for all road users “but it’s important to remember drivers must always give way to emergency vehicles if they approach under lights and sirens”. If the trial proves successful as the Queensland government hopes, it plans to expand the project to reach more areas in the coming months. [post_title] => New emergency vehicle sensors trialled on Gold Coast traffic lights [post_excerpt] => The Queensland government is seeking to reduce emergency service response times by trialling new traffic light triggers that can detect the flashing lights and sirens of approaching vehicles and automatically switch signals to green to minimise traffic disruption. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => new-emergency-vehicle-sensors-trialled-gold-coast-traffic-lights [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-03-25 11:29:27 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-03-25 00:29:27 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=14345 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7315 [post_author] => 655 [post_date] => 2013-12-09 16:56:23 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-12-09 16:56:23 [post_content] => 3105123976_5e25e5abab_b - Copy By Julian Bajkowski Queensland premier Campbell Newman has confirmed that a ban on IBM securing new public sector business in the state is still standing after the government commenced legal action for damages late last week in the Supreme Court of Queensland. A spokesman for the Premier told Government News that there has been “no change in position” in relation to the ban that was put in place in August this year following the release of findings from a special Commission of Inquiry into the $1.2 billion Queensland Health Payroll software disaster that labelled the incident as possibly the worst IT project failure Australia has ever seen. Technology industry sources outside IBM have told Government News they believe that the ban appears aimed at giving the Newman government better leverage in terms of attempting to force IBM to the table to come to a financial settlement. Although largely symbolic rather than monetary, the continuation of the overt ban on IBM is nonetheless an albatross around the global technology vendor’s neck because it provides a highly negative reference point for other state and federal purchasers across the world scoping potential procurements. Some technology analysts are known to have privately told government and industry clients that because of the reach of IBM’s products across government, the idea of stopping renewal deals like necessary upgrades or maintenance of hardware and software could be effectively impossible to enforce. Even so, the observation by Commission of Inquiry head Richard Chesterman AO RFD QC in his report that “there are now no means by which the State may seek damages from IBM for breach of contract” does not appear to have been accepted by the Queensland Government now that that it has lodged a writ for damages in the Supreme Court on 4th December. The amount in damages that the government is seeking is not immediately clear. IBM is not taking the latest action lightly and has publicly hit back at the Newman government by accusing it of using the legal action “to rewrite history by erasing the settlement it reached in 2010 to resolve its differences with IBM over the Queensland Health Project.” “The government’s actions also ignore the findings of its own Commission of Inquiry. After a detailed investigation, the Commission Report found no evidence that IBM had breached any law or contractual provision when performing on the project. Instead, the government’s hand-picked Commission concluded: the primary cause of the problems suffered by the Payroll System project was the State’s “unjustified and grossly negligent” conduct,” IBM’s statement said. IBM said that it now “intends to vigorously defend against the government’s continued efforts to shift blame to the company for the government’s own shortcomings on the project.” Notably, the Queensland public sector ban on IBM does not extend to local governments in the state that have individual purchasing autonomy over their computer systems. Access to the mid-market local government sector is a big deal for IBM as it continues to try and generate new business through initiatives like its “Smarter Cities Challenge” which it bills as its “single-largest philanthropic initiative” that hands out “competitive” grants worth $50 million over three years. Queensland cities that have been awarded grants include the Gold Coast and Townsville, with Geraldton in Western Australia also picking up a grant. Partner at law firm Henry Davis York, Matt McMillan, said that “based on issues I see arising time and time again in the context of public sector IT projects” effective government IT procurement , first and foremost  required a good understanding of the potential risks involved in a project. This required government agencies “to do their homework” and invest significant input and management time into a project – including doing a pre-contract risk assessment to plan to identify “can best manage or modify the risks or their consequences,” Mr McMillan said. “Once the project is up and running, it is about having effective governance structures in place to ensure that both parties are actively engaged on the project and the chances of miscommunication between the parties is minimised,” Mr McMillan said. IBM’s full statement on the matter is as follows: IBM statement attributed to an IBM spokesperson "The government's lawsuit seeks to rewrite history by erasing the settlement it reached in 2010 to resolve its differences with IBM over the Queensland Health Project. The government's actions also ignore the findings of its own Commission of Inquiry.  After a detailed investigation, the Commission Report found no evidence that IBM had breached any law or contractual provision when performing on the project.  Instead, the government's hand-picked Commission concluded:  the primary cause of the problems suffered by the Payroll System project was the State’s “unjustified and grossly negligent” conduct. IBM worked in challenging circumstances throughout the project - challenges created in large part by the government's unwillingness or inability to perform its own obligations. As the Commission found: Communicating the State’s business requirements to IBM was required to “result in a functional payroll system.” The State’s failure to provide these requirements to IBM was a “serious shortcoming” and a “material contribution to increased cost of the System to the State, and the problems concerning scope which plagued the system until it went live.” Furthermore, once the lack of direction in requirements led to system issues, the State dealt with these issues “in an ad hoc manner” leading to increased costs. This volatility in the Project introduced by the State's actions “caused the quality of the system to be compromised” and “produced great difficulty for IBM having to build and test a system… in a state of flux.” IBM made “genuine attempts” to elicit the requirements, was “sufficiently clear in stating [the] limitations” to its scope and, during the project, “made an attempt to have scope locked down.” IBM intends to vigorously defend against the government's continued efforts to shift blame to the company for the government's own shortcomings on the project." [post_title] => QLD's ban on IBM stays put as state government sues for damages [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => qlds-ban-on-ibm-stays-put-as-state-government-sues-for-damages [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-02-11 11:40:48 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-02-11 00:40:48 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7272 [post_author] => 655 [post_date] => 2013-11-08 08:58:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-11-08 08:58:11 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_9570" align="alignnone" width="525"]Image: Capital Metro, Canberra. Image: Capital Metro, Canberra.[/caption] By Paul Hemsley and Julian Bajkowski Australia’s metropolitan revival of light rail and tramways is showing no sign of slowing down soon. As the nation’s capital, Canberra, finally makes tentative progress towards installing one of the tramways conspicuously drawn into the designer city’s original masterplan by Walter Burley Griffin a century ago, Melbourne this week started test driving trams the size of a small train. At 33 metres long and 2.65 metres wide, Melbourne’s new jumbo-size light rail vehicles from Bombardier carry 210 people, or roughly four times the capacity of most busses, and will ply the grid-lined city’s more heavily patronised runs. Melbourne’s latest trams – of which 50 are provisionally planned - are so long that new parking provisions flagged for St Kilda’s iconic Acland Street to give it space have some shopkeepers up in arms over the sacrifice of parking spaces required make room for stops on its run. It’s a problem that increasingly congested Canberra can so far only dream of as it goes through the long and necessary process of community consultation to entice more people to commute from the suburbs on public transport. So far, survey run by the Australian Capital Territory government has reckoned that the public appears eager to use light rail as its preferred public transport option. It says it has received generally “positive” and “constructive” comments from over 370 Canberra residents who have taken a Light Rail Integration Study online survey. This survey was set up to identify and assess options for integrating the proposed light rail run from the recently built satellite city of Gungahlin in Canberra’s north with the city’s wider transport network. The thought of commuting to work (or getting anywhere) without a car in Canberra is a relative novelty for most Canberra residents once generally able to access free but increasingly crowded parking around public service offices. That concession was halted in the final Budget of the Labor government after the federal National Capital Authority was ordered to instigate pay parking within the Parliamentary Triangle to generate $73 million a year in revenue. The Abbott government has so far given no indication it will repeal pay-parking on federally controlled land, opting instead to ease competition for car spots by eliminating 12,000 jobs from the Australian Public Service   a strategy that most locals remain deeply ambivalent about. Canberran loathing for pay parking has been compounded by Territory and Federal Budget demarcation lines that mean none of the forecast $73 million in small change shaken out of local pockets will be directly reinvested into improved public transport infrastructure. According to a spokesperson for Capital Metro, the local government body overseeing transport, light rail is largely viewed as good for Canberra by the online respondents so far. More than 70 per cent of survey respondents indicated that they are more likely catch a light rail service than the existing ‘Red Rapid’ bus service on the Gungahlin to city route. The survey also indicated that half of the respondents would walk 800 metres or more to a light rail stop and that majority prefer faster travel speeds with fewer stops instead than having more stops to increase accessibility. Respondents rated good integration with the bus network as s “very important” and strong integration with the cycling network is similarly supported, with bike parking at light rail stops and the ability to take bikes on the light rail vehicles. Many of Canberra’s existing busses already have bike rack attached to the front of them to accommodate hybrid commuters. Actually knowing when the next tram is (really) coming is also a big incentive to get on board in a city where morning temperatures can be close to or below 0 degrees centigrade on winter mornings and evenings “Real time passenger information is seen as one of the most important facilities to have at light rail stops,” the Metro spokesperson said. If the ACT government’s plan for light rail is finally realised, it will join Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and the Gold Coast in their recently unveiled plans to create similar transport infrastructure in their own cities. Melbourne and Sydney have also enabled relatively long running tram and light rail services – the latter of which recently suffered an outage that lasted for three weeks due to two simultaneous derailments. The consultation period of the ACT government’s survey began on 25th September 2013 and is scheduled to finish on 15th November 2013. A summary report from the consultation will be made publicly available. [post_title] => Canberra light rail momentum gains as Melbourne gets new Jumbo Tram [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => canberra-light-rail-momentum-gains-as-melbourne-gets-new-jumbo-tram [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-02-11 11:41:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-02-11 00:41:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7251 [post_author] => 655 [post_date] => 2013-10-22 10:01:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-10-22 10:01:22 [post_content] =>

By Paul Hemsley

As if shooting sharks didn’t make it safe to go back in the water, Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett has bolstered the state’s coastal defences by starting a trial with the City of Busselton to install a “shark-proof beach enclosure” at the Old Dunsborough beach to keep marine predators away from people.

The WA government’s trial with the council is valued at $165,370 under the state’s Shark Hazard Mitigation Strategy and aims to test the suitability of the human enclosures that will extend 100 metres from the shore and run parallel with the beach for 300 metres.

Mr Barnett described the enclosure as a barrier similar to those operating on the Gold Coast to protect against Bull Sharks - rather than a shark netting system similar to those deployed off Sydney beaches which aimed to trap and kill sharks.

“This enclosure is designed to keep swimmers safe while ensuring marine animals, including sharks, are not trapped in the netting,” Mr Barnett said.

However a WA government spokesperson described the barrier as more of a “mesh” made of nylon rather than a net by saying that “when I say net, you envisage in your mind a fairly fine fishing net and that’s what it’s not”.

The spokesperson told Government News that the mesh panels will be attached to piles (or posts) and will act as a “wall to their highly attuned sensory system, making it less likely that they would attempt to get past it”.

The worthiness of the barrier’s deployment has been warranted by the numerous shark sightings in the Dunsborough beach area, which also holds school swimming lessons and surf lifesaving.

The spokesperson also made assurance that the barrier will only prevent sharks’ entry into the enclosed area and will not kill the sharks as the Great White shark is a protected species nationally and internationally.

Although the City of Busselton has been allocated the high profile funding from the state government and will run the trial, technical details about the shark barrier itself are more elusive.

The latest shark deterrent significantly eases off Barnett government’s previous hard-line scheme in September 2012 that meant shooting a shark if it was caught even being near beachgoers.

The new “meshing” barrier follows advice from a study by Queensland’s Bond University and the WA Department of Fisheries that highlighted the pros and cons of shark netting, finding that nets are not reliable at preventing sharks from entering protected areas and were also likely to become a hazard towards other marine creatures like dolphins.

[post_title] => Barnett raises shark shields at Dunsborough beach [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => barnett-raises-shark-shields-at-dunsborough-beach [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-02-11 11:39:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-02-11 00:39:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 5966 [post_author] => 655 [post_date] => 2010-09-07 13:29:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2010-09-07 13:29:56 [post_content] =>

By Angela Dorizas

The western edge of Melbourne has become the fastest growing region in Australia, according to new research.

KPMG demographer Bernard Salt said the municipalities of Wyndham and Melton added 18,000 new residents over the past 12 months to June 2009. They have overtaken the Gold Coast by 1000 residents to become Australia’s fastest growing region.

Mr Salt said the finding had come as a surprise to KPMG researchers.

“This extraordinary growth in Melbourne’s West has come out of the blue,” he said.

“Just ten years earlier this region was attracting approximately 4000 new residents per year, but is now attracting more people than the Gold Coast.”

Mr Salt said Melbourne was “rebalancing to the West” due to housing affordability.

“There are new house and land packages on the market in Werribee for less than $280,000, compared to Melton South where packages start at around $260,000.”

The research also found that over the next decade the Western edge was projected to add 175,000 residents and 82,000 dwellings.

The analysis was commissioned by the Western Bulldogs in order to better understand the western suburbs community. It drew together official population estimates and forecasts, making comparisons with other regions throughout Australia.

Other findings:

  • Corporate Australia and the property development industry are well represented in Melbourne’s west, with many head offices located in the region.
  • Over the last 20 years most growth in Melbourne’s west has been in the ‘family’ stage of the lifecycle (between 30 and 55).
  • Over the next 20 years there will be a surge in the under-20 population and the grandparent population (aged 60-80) in Melbourne’s west.
  • Melbourne residents have experienced a change in attitude towards the west following the completion of the Westgate Bridge more than 30 years ago and the opening of the Western Ring Road in 1998.
[post_title] => Western Melbourne overtakes the Gold Coast on population growth [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => western-melbourne-overtakes-the-gold-coast-on-population-growth [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-02-11 12:12:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-02-11 01:12:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 5738 [post_author] => 655 [post_date] => 2010-03-12 12:18:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2010-03-12 12:18:55 [post_content] =>

By Angela Dorizas

Queensland’s corruption watchdog, the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC), has cleared Gold Coast City Council of alleged misconduct over the purchase of Tipplers Resort.

Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke said the finding of the CMC was that there were no abnormalities in council’s purchase of two leases associated with Tipplers Resort on South Stradbroke Island.

Tipplers Resort was closed in March last year after Gold Coast City Council purchased it for $7 million in borrowed funds, with the total cost estimated to reach $13.3 million. A formal complaint from former Surfers Paradise Alliance chief executive officer, Richard Holliday, prompted the CMC to investigate.

The CMC cleared Cr Clarke and Cr Grant Pforr of having any conflict of interest and dismissed claims that they deceived Council to undertake the purchase of the resort.

“Importantly, the CMC confirmed that there was no suspicion of official misconduct on the part of any councillor or council employee,” Cr Clarke said.

“As Mayor, I am extremely disappointed that the complainant tried to slur the reputation of Council administration staff, or councillors, through this exercise.”

The council is now seeking expressions of interest from business and the community to continue planned development of the site.

“I look forward to seeing Tipplers continue to expand and become a unique parklands area in council’s 3590-plus hectares of parkland,” Cr Clarke said.
 

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Gold Coast, Queensland
Gold Coast City Council is on the way to setting a new environmental benchmark. Image: Murray Waite, Tourism Queensland.

By Rachel Borchardt

When rampant developers known as the ‘white shoe brigade’ led the high-rise and canal building boom on Queensland’s Gold Coast in the 1960s and 70s, environmental sensitivity did not appear on the radar.

The tide has been turning since then for Gold Coast City Council, which – having recently voted for a bold new Nature Conservation Strategy – is now well on the way to setting an environmental benchmark for other local governments throughout Australia.

The council aims to have 55 per cent of the city’s land area covered by native vegetation in 2040. According to chairman of the council’s Sustainable City Future committee, Peter Young, the new strategy is a unique step forward for the Gold Coast environment.

“There’s a lot of criticism of the Gold Coast because of the perception that it’s development at all costs,” Cr Young said.

“This document and its full endorsement by council is evidence that even though we welcome and encourage growth we are really sensitive about respecting those natural values which are so incredibly important for our quality of life.”

With the population of the Gold Coast expected to grow by more than 400,000 people in the next 25 years, Cr Young said there was a need for a balanced approach between developers and the environment.

“This kind of strategy gives us the real potential to manage those two issues and ensure that we do protect the areas that we need to protect and that we can properly encourage development where it should be.”

Outlined in the new strategy is continued acquisition of high-end environmental land for protection as well as the mediation and growing of carbon sinks and forests for wildlife.

“We’re looking at continuing and ramping up our schemes where private property landholders can be involved so they can commit their land to conservation purposes, and we provide certain benefits including financial incentives to achieve that,” Cr Young said.

The new strategy represented a complete review of the council’s first nature conservation strategy, “a landmark document”, according to Cr Young, which benchmarked the city’s natural inventory in 1998.  He said it would help ensure local nature conservation issues were recognised.

“We have around 23,000 species of plants and animals on the Gold Coast,” he said.

“We’ve got to do our best to ensure that when we pass on there’s still that same number, if not more.

“It may seem like it’s difficult to do in terms of financial and economic pressures at the moment, in particular, but if you don’t commit yourself to a long-term strategy like this and stay with it then you’re doomed to failure.”

[post_title] => City changes from gold to green [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => city-changes-from-gold-to-green [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-02-21 10:09:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-02-20 23:09:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 13 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23125 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-02-23 10:55:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-02-22 23:55:34 [post_content] => 8397298761_2f234dfb3a_z_opt   Controversial pub and club lockout laws like those in Sydney and Brisbane will have a limited on effect reducing violence and harm unless a lot more is done to change Australia’s culture of partying, says one of Australia’s leading research centres into accidents and road safety. Psychologist Dr Gavan Palk from Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety (CARRS-Q) believes authorities and venue owners need to take a hard look at the effect of drugs like ecstasy and speed on the behaviour of partygoers along with the behaviour of bouncers. The comments come after Queensland passed legislation to enable the lockout laws last week. “The clubs drugs MDMA or ecstasy, and speed combine to increase disinhibition and make people more likely to think something like a coward punch is funny,” Dr Palk said. “To be truly effective and keep people safe from street violence, my research showed that changing the lock-out hours was just one part of the total move needed.” Dr Palk, who conducted studies on the trial Gold Coast and Brisbane lock-outs in 2004 and 2005, specifically points to the link between alcohol and aggression and the role of security and venue staff in getting patrons and drinkers to calm down before escalate to a physical level. With testosterone a known ingredient in aggressive incidents involving males, the stereotype of a beefed-up male bouncer on a pub or club door to convey an implicit physical threat is one of the things that needs to change to de-escalate the potential for violence. Dr Palk said frankly that more female bouncers were needed. “We know that women bouncers are successful in talking aggressive people down and resolving issues,” he said. Not just throwing problem patrons out onto the street is another measure Dr Palk wants considered. “Time out rooms where an intoxicated person could sit in a quiet place till they calm down are a better solution than putting them out on the street,” Dr Palk said. How that proposed measure will sit with police and licencing authorities is open to question, given that most liquor laws already say people who are intoxicated shouldn’t be on the premises or served. Dr Palk said police needed to do more “walk throughs” while hoteliers needed to be more responsible for asking people to leave. In Sydney crowds turned out in force on the weekend to protest against lockout laws in the CBD as the Baird Government conducts a formal review of the laws. [post_title] => Hire female bouncers: lockout laws researcher [post_excerpt] => Dial down testosterone to prevent violence. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => hire-female-bouncers-lockout-laws-researcher [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-25 20:48:42 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-25 09:48:42 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=23125 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 13 [max_num_pages] => 1 [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] => [is_tag] => 1 [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] => 3116f875833e790fc6b0d71ed4c775d1 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )

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gold-coast

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Canberra light rail momentum gains as Melbourne gets new Jumbo Tram

By Paul Hemsley and Julian Bajkowski Australia’s metropolitan revival of light rail and tramways is showing no sign of slowing down soon. As the nation’s capital, Canberra, finally makes tentative progress towards installing one of the tramways conspicuously drawn into the designer city’s original masterplan by Walter Burley Griffin a century ago, Melbourne this week […]

Barnett raises shark shields at Dunsborough beach

By Paul Hemsley As if shooting sharks didn’t make it safe to go back in the water, Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett has bolstered the state’s coastal defences by starting a trial with the City of Busselton to install a “shark-proof beach enclosure” at the Old Dunsborough beach to keep marine predators away from people. […]

Western Melbourne overtakes the Gold Coast on population growth

By Angela Dorizas The western edge of Melbourne has become the fastest growing region in Australia, according to new research. KPMG demographer Bernard Salt said the municipalities of Wyndham and Melton added 18,000 new residents over the past 12 months to June 2009. They have overtaken the Gold Coast by 1000 residents to become Australia’s […]

CMC clears Gold Coast Council of misconduct

By Angela Dorizas Queensland’s corruption watchdog, the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC), has cleared Gold Coast City Council of alleged misconduct over the purchase of Tipplers Resort. Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke said the finding of the CMC was that there were no abnormalities in council’s purchase of two leases associated with Tipplers Resort on South […]

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City changes from gold to green

Gold Coast City Council is on the way to setting a new environmental benchmark. Image: Murray Waite, Tourism Queensland. By Rachel Borchardt When rampant developers known as the ‘white shoe brigade’ led the high-rise and canal building boom on Queensland’s Gold Coast in the 1960s and 70s, environmental sensitivity did not appear on the radar. […]