Concerns unfounded, says Australian cannabis expert.
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Pic: supplied. Australian Medical Association (AMA) President Dr Michael Gannon has criticised Tuesday’s senate vote, which makes it easier for terminally ill patients to buy unregistered medicinal cannabis from overseas, saying he fears the drug could end up in the wrong hands but cannabis experts have called his reaction unfounded. The vote was led by Greens leader Richard Di Natale after he lost the same vote in May, but this time it won the support of Labor, One Nation and various crossbenchers after a procedural loophole allowed a re-vote. Medicinal cannabis will now be classed as a category A drug on the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) list, making it easier for doctors to prescribe the medication to terminally ill people and drastically reducing the time it takes for patients to get hold of it. The senate vote also means terminally ill people can legally import the drug more easily from regulated overseas markets, provided they have a prescription. The first medicinal cannabis imports came into Australia in May from Canadian company CanniMed. The Australian medicinal cannabis market is currently in its infancy after it became legal to cultivate, produce and manufacture medicinal cannabis products on October 30 2016. Good domestic product is probably 12 to 24 months away so securing an overseas supply is a necessary option for sick Australians. Supply is not the only problem, draconian rules around prescription are too. When the federal government legislated to make medicinal cannabis legal for some terminally ill patients last year, it also tightened up the conditions that had to be met before it could be prescribed. The drug was previously classified as a category B drug under the special access scheme, which meant doctors had to get prior approval from the TGA, their state or territory health department and their hospital ethics committee or relevant association, before treating terminally ill patients, rather than just informing the TGA they intended to prescribe it. It has obviously had an impact. Fairfax reported this week that only 133 people have been able to access medicinal cannabis since new laws came in. But some doctors aren’t in favour of relaxing the rules. Dr Gannon told Sky News he was ‘disappointed’ with the senate’s decision and said that giving patients access to unregistered medicinal cannabis products from overseas would knock doctors’ confidence in prescribing it. “You’ve already got a situation where doctors are querying exactly how effective medicinal cannabis is. If you in any way put any doubt in their minds about the safety, you're simply not going to see it prescribed by many doctors,” Dr Gannon said. But he admitted the risks to patients were minimal. “Certainly, in the palliative care setting, we're not worried about addiction and, to be honest, we're not too worried about major potential side effects. But we remain concerned about potential diversion into the general community.” Dr Gannon said cannabis was still a major source of mental illness in the wider community and it was ‘absolutely essential’ any imports were safe. “If cannabis was the panacea that the people who seem desperate to import it - if it really was that good, then it would be in liberal use across the entire medical system,” he said. “We're excited about its potential in palliative care, we're excited about its potential when it comes to juvenile epilepsy, and forms of spasticity, but let's look for the evidence.” His views echo those of federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, who called the senate’s decision ‘reckless and irresponsible’ and argued that cannabis could end up in the pockets of criminals and out on the streets. AMA’s fears unfounded, says expert But medicinal cannabis expert Rhys Cohen, who works for the Australian subsidiary of Israeli medicinal cannabis company Cann10, called Dr Gannon’s statements contradictory and ‘completely unfounded’. He said medicinal cannabis was unlikely to be diverted illegally, partly because it was already ‘incredibly cheap and incredibly accessible’ in Australia and medicinal cannabis was considerably more expensive. He said only a few countries, including Israel, Canada and the Netherlands, legally exported cannabis and they all tightly controlled their product. Companies needed export licenses and permits and Australian companies needed import licenses and permits. Prescriptions could still come only from specialist medical practitioners. “The changes allow people who are very soon going to die to access it faster than previously,” Mr Cohen said. “We’re not talking about Joe Bloggs with a bad leg here but people on their death beds dying of cancer wanting to get relief from pain. “The idea that there’s a chance they will sell it on the street is just ridiculous.” While Dr Gannon has argued that cannabis should be treated the same as every other drug, operation or therapy Mr Cohen said it had always been treated very differently from other drugs. “Any unregistered drug in the medicine world was accessible through special access A, except cannabis,” he said. Mr Cohen said he thought the AMA’s misgivings were that doctors would be put under more pressure to prescribe medicinal cannabis, especially given pent up demand. However, while he agreed these concerns were legitimate he said doctors were responsible for educating themselves about medicinal cannabis, especially when it had been proven to work so well for chronic pain, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. [post_title] => Doctors on a downer over medicinal cannabis imports [post_excerpt] => Concerns unfounded, says Australian cannabis expert. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => doctors-downer-medicinal-cannabis-imports [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-16 12:05:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-16 02:05:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27391 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27102 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-12 10:52:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-12 00:52:13 [post_content] => By Natalie Mast, Associate Director, Business Intelligence & Analytics, University of Western Australia Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is under real pressure for the first time since the 2016 election, as the government attempts to wedge Labor with a circuit-breaker budget. Shorten used his budget-in-reply speech to appeal to middle Australia, putting forward an argument that Labor is the only party that can be trusted to deliver a fair go. He argued the government’s so-called “Labor-lite budget” is unfair, bringing benefits only to rich. Since the election, it seems everything – including the polls – has gone Labor’s way. The Turnbull government has been plagued by infighting and its messages have failed to resonate with the electorate. However, over the last few weeks – starting with changes to 457 visas and the expansion of the Snowy Hydro scheme – the Coalition has begun a new conversation with the electorate.
Shorten’s pitchThe 2017 budget positioned the government as more centrist. It contained several policy positions ordinarily associated with Labor. The government’s three-word slogan for the budget was “fairness, opportunity and security”. It has tried to position itself as a “doing government”, taking on good debt to invest in infrastructure, funding the NDIS into the future, and adopting measures from the Gonski schools funding plan. Shorten’s speech was framed around modern class politics. He claimed Labor is the only party that can be trusted to protect low-income workers, and look after the interests of the middle class in terms of Medicare, universities and schools. Shorten refuted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s claim that the budget is a fair one:This prime minister of many words has learned a new one – fairness – and he’s saying it as often as he can. But repetition is no substitute for conviction … This isn’t a Labor budget – and it’s not a fair budget … Fairness isn’t measured by what you say – it’s revealed by what you do.It is highly unlikely that this budget will be viewed as negatively as the 2014 budget. But Labor needs to convincingly discredit it to the point that the government cannot use it to help restore its standing in the eyes of voters. Labor will need to attack on two fronts. The first will be scare tactics. Voters will need to be convinced they are unnecessarily worse off under this budget. Shorten claimed:There’s nothing fair about making middle-class and working-class Australians pay more, while millionaires and multinationals pay less.He highlighted higher tax rates for low-income workers, as a result of the increase in the Medicare levy, as well as the traditional Liberal threat to Medicare. Shorten also posited schools would be much worse off due to the gap in promised funding between Labor and the government. The second line of attack will be providing an alternative set of policy options that voters view as more attractive than those put forward by the government.
What is Labor offering voters?In his speech, Shorten promised a Labor government would remove the Medicare rebate freeze, rather than wait for indexation to begin in July 2020 – thereby reducing the cost of health care. Labor will also restore A$22 billion to the schools sector. As an alternative to the measures to assist first home buyers through a savings scheme, Shorten said Labor had a plan for affordable housing that would include the construction of 55,000 new homes over three years, and create 25,000 new jobs every year. He also noted Labor’s commitment to developing more public housing. In what is likely to prove a popular idea, Labor will seek to close the loopholes allowing multinational companies avoiding tax in Australia. Likewise, in an effort to halt tax avoidance by wealthy individuals, Labor plans to limit the amount an individual can deduct for the management of their tax affairs to A$3,000 per year. Shorten claimed that less than 1% of taxpayers would be affected, and that measure would save the budget A$1.3 billion over the medium term. Shorten continued to argue that a royal commission into the banking industry is required.
Where does Labor stand on individual budget items?Labor needs time to review the proposed legislation resulting from the budget in order to determine what it is willing to support. But Shorten outlined Labor’s position on several measures.
- It supports the additional Medicare levy to fund the NDIS. However, it wants to limit the levy to the top two tax brackets, so that only those earning more than $87,000 per year will be impacted.
- It supports the bank levy – but simultaneously put pressure on the government, claiming it is responsible for stopping the banks from passing the cost onto customers.
- It does not support the cuts to universities or the proposed increase in university fees for students.
- It does not support the plan to allow first home buyers to use up to $30,000 in voluntary superannuation contributions. Shorten described the policy as “microscopic assistance”.
In this game, it’s the message that mattersThis is a political budget, and so we should expect in the coming weeks that both parties will attempt to appeal to voters’ base instincts, rather than presenting considered arguments for or against policies. Thus, the government is focusing on forcing greedy banks to “pay their fair share”, secure in the knowledge that former Queensland premier Anna Bligh, as head of the Australian Bankers’ Association, is unlikely to be able to cut through the bank-bashing mentality of the average Australian voter. Likewise, Shorten will campaign hard on the natural end of the temporary budget repair levy, which was introduced in the 2014 budget. He is claiming this is a tax cut for the rich at the same time as the government is making everyday Australians pay more tax through a higher Medicare levy.
Interesting times aheadShorten is right: this budget is about trust. The government and the opposition both need to convince average working and middle class voters that their policies will provide Australians with the best outcome. In some ways, this is politics as usual. But, with the polls leaning to Labor and voters’ faith in the government’s ability to deliver low, the stakes seem higher than normal – especially as voters are presented with two positions not as divergent as they have been in recent years. This story first appeared in The Conversation. [post_title] => Shorten fights on fairness in budget reply, but will it be enough? [post_excerpt] => Labor's lines of attack. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => shorten-fights-fairness-budget-reply-will-enough [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-12 11:54:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-12 01:54:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27102 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27082 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-09 11:16:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-09 01:16:39 [post_content] => Labor’s most recent televisual forays have landed Opposition Bill Mr Shorten and renegade senator Sam Mr Dastyari in hot water with some voters. A shiny-suited Mr Shorten fronted a television ad previewed on 9NEWS on Sunday night, shown only in Queensland and appearing to pander to Pauline Hanson’s support base or persuade swinging voters. It featured the Trumpian slogan “Australia First” and attacked 457 visas and overseas workers. But trouble erupted after viewers noticed that of the twelve people in the ad supposed to represent Australian workers and variously decked out as tradies, admin staff and medics, only one was not white: an Asian women. Mr Shorten says in the ad: “A Shorten Labor government will build Australian first, buy Australian first and employ Australians first”, echoing the ads rather sinister undertones of the White Australia policy from the 1950s and 60s. Labor copped it on on social media yesterday with many people levelling accusations of racism, which Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen conceded was “appalling” but underlined it was a “rare misstep” for the Opposition leader on Lateline last night. One Facebook commentator said: “In this increasingly divisive "us & them" world, political campaigns like this peddle peoples' prejudices when they should be challenging them.” Another added: “Is he trying Trump’s strategy? Attempting to appeal to the overwhelming number of redneck Australian voters that deep down really believe they are 'owed' something for having lighter skin.” However, others waded in to defend the Labor leader on social media. One person said: “Everyone tries their best to be offended these days, they call anyone who disagrees with them 'racist' so the word has lost all credibility now, and when something is genuinely 'racist' everyone ignores it, it doesn't take much to cause a race storm in a teacup these days, you can thank political correctness for that.” Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese called the ad “a shocker” and said “it should never have been produced and it should never have been shown”, intensifying speculation that he was jostling for the party leadership, a ballot he lost against Mr Shorten in 2013. It later emerged that it was highly probable that Mr Shorten’s office had seen and approved the ad before it aired. Mr Shorten himself would not confirm or deny this but called criticisms of the ad “a fair cop”. Meanwhile, Senator Sam Mr Dastyari caused his own social media storm after he hopped on board a Bill Shorten campaign bus to travel to three of Sydney’s outer suburbs and bemoan what $1 million buys in the city’s overheated real estate market. In the short film, which went viral, Mr Dastyari holds up examples of seemingly undesirable homes or locations which nevertheless attract a million buck price tag. He says: “Everyone loves talking about house prices but what does a million dollars in Sydney actually buy you? Not much.” In the northwest suburb of Ryde he stands outside a house and says: “Immaculately kept, as it’s been told, and on one of the busiest roads in Sydney, to boot. “And you know if it’s got security shutters you’re onto a good thing”. The three-bed home on Lane Cove Road sold at auction for $1.3 million last weekend. The film then cuts to a vacant block in Toongabbie. “People like to talk about how a generation of young people are being picky. We are an hour and 20 away in peak-hour traffic from the CBD of Sydney and all a million bucks will buy you is essentially a block of land across the road from not only a power station but also the train line.” A scene filmed in Northmead is just as bleak, as Mr Dastyari sits atop a pile of furniture left out for kerbside collection to deliver his next tirade. "This is what a million dollars will buy you in Northmead but it's ok because it's described as having a functional kitchen. For a f---ing million dollars you'd like to think the kitchen would work," he says, before piling old furniture into the campaign bus. "If you gotta save a million bucks, you gotta be prepared to be a little bit frugal.” He goes on to calculate that a $1 million mortgage for a modest Sydney home would mean $1050 a week in repayments at today’s interest rates and if these went up by one per cent repayments would increase to $1200. But the video led to some viewers accusing him of snobbery and of ridiculing people’s houses while others criticised him for not offering a solution to the problem. “Seriously, imagine if that was your house and some halfwit stood outside it critiquing what you'd worked your whole life for,” said one. “This is offensive. Running around disrespecting peoples’ homes. And who hasn't salvaged furniture from the street? @samMr Dastyari is a snob” said another. However, others praised him for highlighting the affordable housing problem. “Sam, it's about time someone said the truth, the real estate agents have not only auctioned our homes to get higher prices, but they've auctioned our dignity away, and you're bloody right, a million dollar house should have a fully functioning … EVERYTHING… you said what we've all thought.” Mr Dastyari said that it was never his attention to upset anyone but to shine a spotlight on housing affordability. “If it takes me swearing on Facebook to draw attention to housing affordability, then I welcome it,” he told news.com.au. “It was never my intention to offend anyone,” he said. “It was only my intention to highlight how obscene house prices in Sydney have become.” Mr Bowen made reference to Mr Dastyari’s “edgy communication style” on Lateline last night but did not criticise the video. [post_title] => Labor’s adventures in TV land: Shorten’s 'white Australia', Dastyari’s $1m house hunt [post_excerpt] => Accusations of racism and snobbery. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => labors-adventures-tvland-shortens-white-australia-ad-dastyaris-1m-house-hunt [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-09 14:42:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-09 04:42:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27082 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26875 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-11 10:29:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-11 00:29:17 [post_content] => Election result reprieve for NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Pic: YouTube. The NSW Liberals held onto Manly and North Shore in the state by-elections, despite serious swings against it, while Paralympian basketball player Liesl Tesch won Gosford and extended Labor’s lead to become the state’s first MP in a wheelchair. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian will be relieved that she has made it through her first election test since former Premier Mike Baird quit in January and comforted that her party was able to hold on to what were previously considered safe seats. Ms Berejiklian would have been haunted by fears of a repeat of the Orange by-election upset last November when the Shooters and Fishers toppled the Nationals candidate but in the end she was spared the indignity. The Premier had admitted she was braced for 'huge swings' against the government but added that sometimes voted just needed to vent. Liberal James Griffin retained Mike Baird’s old seat of Manly, albeit with a primary vote swing of 24.7 per cent swing against him, while Felicity Wilson took ex-NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner’s former North Shore seat, where the swing was 15.4 per cent against the government. Some pundits had been predicting that North Shore could fall to Independent Carolyn Corrigan and cause Ms Berejiklian a major embarrassment but it was never transpired. Pressure had been mounting on the Liberals in the weeks leading up to the by-elections, with Mr Griffin and Ms Wilson both mired in controversy. A company Mr Griffin co-founded was accused of trading while insolvent and Ms Wilson was caught exaggerating how long she had lived on the North on her statutory declaration and nomination form. She later slipped up on social media, claiming that she had cast her first ever vote for John Howard in Bennelong in 2001. Fairfax countered her claim by saying she lived in Marrickville at the time, in the Grayndler electorate, and could not have done so. Ms Berejiklian would have been expected a backlash against her government, at least partly made up of those disaffected by transport problems, overcrowded schools, forced council mergers, greyhound racing and NSW hospital scandals. The Premier will be preparing in earnest for the next state elections in 2019 when voters may be more eager to punish the incumbent government after eight years in office. It was good news for Labor in the Central Coast seat of Gosford as Liesl Tesch and widened the party’s margin in what had been the state’s most precarious seat with a 14 per cent swing. Labor MP Kathy Smith, who retired due to ill health earlier this year, beat Liberal state MP Chris Holstein in the 2015 Gosford election by only 203 votes. NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley said Ms Berejiklian should take responsibility for the major swings against the Liberals, which he said were more than 25 per cent in some polling booths. “In November the voters in three seats said the Government should change – it changed Premier but it didn’t change direction. Today voters in three different seats told the Government again it needs to change direction – it is time for Ms Berejiklian to start listening," Mr Foley said. He praised Ms Tesch and said she had fought a strong campaign. “This is a great victory for the Central Coast. Liesl is a fighter. She has been a success at everything she has attempted in life and I know she will be a great representative for the people of the Central Coast when she takes up her position in the State Parliament.” [post_title] => Relief for Berejiklian in state by-elections despite serious swings [post_excerpt] => Labor keeps Gosford, increases margin. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => relief-berejiklian-state-elections-despite-serious-swings-government [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-11 11:03:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-11 01:03:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26875 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26847 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-07 10:22:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-07 00:22:17 [post_content] => If the bookies are right, Independent candidate Carolyn Corrigan could cause a huge upset in tomorrow’s (Saturday) North Shore by-election and topple the Liberals right where it hurts: in its leafy Sydney heartland. As the contest hots up in former NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner’s North Shore seat, online bookmaker Sportsbet.com.au has revealed that a flurry of late bets on Ms Corrigan’s chances have made the Libs look wobbly in a seat they hold by a 30.4 per cent margin. Will Byrne from Sportsbet.com.au said there was strong support for Ms Corrigan, whose odds had shortened significantly in the run-up to the election from $4.00 into $2.50, suggesting that Saturday’s state by-election will be a close run thing. “The Liberals looked safe in North Shore but there’s been some money in the past few days to suggest the race is not run there yet,” Mr Byrne said. The North Shore electorate takes in the local government areas of Mosman and North Sydney and both councils have stridently resisted the state government’s attempts to merge them with their neighbours. Ms Corrigan is a former president of anti-forced council amalgamation community group Save Our Councils and she will be hoping the community’s rebellious sentiment continues to the ballot box. Independent candidate Carolyn Corrigan But all is not lost for Liberal candidate Felicity Wilson, a former president of the NSW Liberal Women's Council, and she is still odds on to win at $1.50. Ms Wilson came under fire earlier this week when Fairfax published a story rubbishing her claims that she had lived in the lower North Shore electorate – in Neutral Bay, Waverton and Wollstonecraft - for more than a decade. Electoral records showed she had lived in several addresses outside the electorate at various points during five of those twelve years. Ms Wilson later apologised, calling it an ‘unintentional error’. She was also criticised for claiming that the first ever vote she cast was for John Howard in Bennelong in 2001. Fairfax countered her claim by saying she lived in Marrickville, in the Grayndler electorate, at the time and could not have done so. She later admitted she had made a mistake. But whether this controversy is serious enough to cruel Ms Wilson’s chances is another matter. North Shore has been considered a very safe blue ribbon Liberal seat since 1991, although it has fallen to independents in the past, most notably to Independent North Sydney Mayor Ted Mack. Interestingly, it is not a two horse race. In fact, the Greens have outpolled Labor to come second in the last three state elections. However, Sportsbet has Greens candidate Justin Alick at $34, with a Donald Trump-style shock needed for a payout. Liberal candidate Felicity Wilson with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian Sportsbet will be hoping it makes a better fist of predicting the North Shore result than it did when Donald Trump scored a shock victory in the US election in November last year when the company reportedly paid out $11 million to 25,000 punters who picked Trump for POTUS. This weekend also sees two other NSW by-elections, former NSW Premier Mike Baird’s seat of Manly and Gosford, which was vacated by Labor MP Kathy Smith when she retired due to ill health earlier this year. The bookies have both seats as clear wins: one for Labor and one for the Liberals. Manly is tipped to go to the Liberals ($1.10) and Gosford to Labor ($1.05), despite Gosford being the state’s most marginal seat and held by Labor by only 0.2 per cent. Ms Smith narrowly beat Liberal state MP Chris Holstein in 2015 by only 203 votes. Gosford is another seat where council mergers could affect the result and the forced amalgamation between Gosford City and Wyong Shire Councils could tip the balance against the Liberals. Labor’s candidate for Gosford is Liesl Tesch, an Australian wheelchair basketball player and sailor, while the Liberals are fielding organ donation campaigner and office manager Jilly Pilon. What are the odds? North Shore by-election $1.50 Liberal $2.50 Independent (Carolyn Corrigan) $16 Independent (Ian Mutton) $16 Independent (Harry Fine) $34 Green $51 Animal Justice Party $51 Voluntary Euthanasia $101 Christian Democrats Gosford by-election $1.05 Labor $8.50 Liberal $16 Shooters, Fishers and Farmers $51 Animal Justice Party $51 Christian Democrats $101 Green Manly by-election $1.10 Liberal $7.50 Independent (Ron Delezio) $9.00 Independent (Kathryn Ridge) $11 Green $21 Independent (running for One Nation) $21 Independent (John Cook) $21 Independent (Haris Jackman) $26 Independent (Brian Clare) $26 Independent (Victor Waterson) $51 Voluntary Euthanasia (Kerry Bromson) $51 Animal Justice (Ellie Robertson) $51 Christian Democrats $51 Independent (James Mathison) [post_title] => Bookies shorten odds for independent to win North Shore by-election [post_excerpt] => Will the Libs topple in leafy la-la land? 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Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA), representing companies responsible for the majority of container transport to and from the Port of Melbourne, has called on the Andrews’ Victorian Labor Government to help container transport operators get a ‘fair go’ in the toll pricing to use the West Gate Tunnel. CTAA was responding to the announcements by the Victorian Premier that a consortium headlined by John Holland and CPB Contractors has been selected to build the West Gate Tunnel Project (formally known as the Western Distributor Project) to commence in early 2018, and that once completed, there would be 24/7 ‘bans’ on trucks on roads in the inner west of Melbourne. CTAA director Neil Chambers said: “Not surprisingly, container transport operators in the inner and outer Western industrial suburbs undertake numerous truck trips to and from the Port of Melbourne during the day, at night and on weekends, to service vital container trade volumes through the biggest container port in Australia.” “The original government business case called for Transurban to consider a reduced toll price for transport operators undertaking these shuttle operations, as well as suitable trip caps, and the favourable treatment of Higher Productivity Freight Vehicles.” Read more here. This story first appeared in Transport and Logistics News. [post_title] => Will the West Gate Tunnel ‘ban trucks’? [post_excerpt] => 24/7 'ban' on trucks in inner western Melbourne. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => will-west-gate-tunnel-ban-trucks [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-06 15:28:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-06 05:28:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26841 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26630 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-03-24 10:06:59 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-23 23:06:59 [post_content] =>
- The error rates of debt notices, when these were identified and action taken to remedy this
- Centrelink’s complaints and review process - The government’s response to concerns raised by affected individuals, Centrelink and departmental staff, community groups and parliamentarians
- How well DHS staff and systems have coped with higher levels of demand since the compliance program began
- The adequacy of data matching Centrelink and ATO information
- Contracts related to the debt collection system and how these were awarded
- Whether the debt recovery scheme complies with debt collection guidelines and Australian privacy and consumer laws
- How well the department managed the workload of the OCI, including the impact of the roll out and subsequent complaints on staff; staff training; the adequacy of IT and telephone systems; what risk analysis was done and feedback from staff from system testing
- The impact of the debt collection process on the elderly, job seekers, students, families and people with disabilities
- The administration and management of customers’ records by Centrelink
- Election of anti-mosque campaigner Julie Hoskins in Greater Bendigo
- Socialist Alliance candidate Sue Bolton elected in Moreland
- Number of female councillors up by 4 per cent on 2012 elections. Fifteen councils now have a female majority
- Greens do well in inner Melbourne councils such as Yarra, Port Phillip and Moreland but not so well elsewhere
- Melbourne Mayor Robert Doyle wins a record third term
- Brimbank council runs elections after an eight-year hiatus following council sacking amid allegations of councillor corruption and misconduct
- Two members of the sacked Brimbank Council re-elected: Margaret Guidice and Sam David.
- Tony Briffa, reportedly the world’s first intersex mayor, re-elected to Hobsons Bay Council after resigning midterm in 2014
- Shock exit of MAV President Bill McArthur
- A total of 2135 candidates nominated for 637 vacancies across 78 municipalities (Geelong will not have an election until 2017)
- 314 of 637 vacancies were filled by incumbent councillors, 323 were new councillors and 152 contesting councillors were defeated
- 243 or 38.1 per cent of all councillors elected are women, up from 34 per cent in 2012
- All 78 councils have women councillors
- Fifteen councils have a majority of women councillors: Brimbank (7/11), Corangamite (5/7), Darebin (6/9), Greater Bendigo (5/9), Indigo (4/7), Macedon Ranges (5/9), Manningham (5/9), Maribyrnong (5/7), Melton (5/9), Moonee Valley (5/9), Murrindindi (5/7), Stonnington (5/9), Surf Coast (5/9), Whitehorse (6/10), Yarra (5/9).
- 47 incumbent mayors were returned, 15 mayors retired, and 14 contesting mayors were defeated.
Labor’s lines of attack.
Accusations of racism and snobbery.
Will the Libs topple in leafy la-la land?
24/7 ‘ban’ on trucks in inner western Melbourne.
Undermines Fair Work, says retail peak body.
Double time to time-and-a-half.
But $7m revenue at stake.
Full terms of reference revealed.
Medicare still major battleground.
Flood plain risk.
Shock exits, election complaints, more women