Main Menu

WP_Query Object
(
    [query] => Array
        (
            [tag] => news-3
        )

    [query_vars] => Array
        (
            [tag] => news-3
            [error] => 
            [m] => 
            [p] => 0
            [post_parent] => 
            [subpost] => 
            [subpost_id] => 
            [attachment] => 
            [attachment_id] => 0
            [name] => 
            [static] => 
            [pagename] => 
            [page_id] => 0
            [second] => 
            [minute] => 
            [hour] => 
            [day] => 0
            [monthnum] => 0
            [year] => 0
            [w] => 0
            [category_name] => 
            [cat] => 
            [tag_id] => 15924
            [author] => 
            [author_name] => 
            [feed] => 
            [tb] => 
            [paged] => 0
            [meta_key] => 
            [meta_value] => 
            [preview] => 
            [s] => 
            [sentence] => 
            [title] => 
            [fields] => 
            [menu_order] => 
            [embed] => 
            [category__in] => Array
                (
                )

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

            [category__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_name__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__in] => Array
                (
                    [0] => news-3
                )

            [tag_slug__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

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

    [tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                    [0] => Array
                        (
                            [taxonomy] => category
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => 22371
                                )

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

                    [1] => Array
                        (
                            [taxonomy] => post_tag
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => news-3
                                )

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

                )

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

            [queried_terms] => Array
                (
                    [post_tag] => Array
                        (
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => news-3
                                )

                            [field] => slug
                        )

                )

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

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

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

            [clauses:protected] => Array
                (
                )

            [has_or_relation:protected] => 
        )

    [date_query] => 
    [queried_object] => WP_Term Object
        (
            [term_id] => 15924
            [name] => news-3
            [slug] => news-3
            [term_group] => 0
            [term_taxonomy_id] => 15924
            [taxonomy] => post_tag
            [description] => 
            [parent] => 0
            [count] => 267
            [filter] => raw
        )

    [queried_object_id] => 15924
    [request] => SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS  wp_posts.ID FROM wp_posts  LEFT JOIN wp_term_relationships ON (wp_posts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) WHERE 1=1  AND ( 
  wp_posts.ID NOT IN (
				SELECT object_id
				FROM wp_term_relationships
				WHERE term_taxonomy_id IN (22364)
			) 
  AND 
  wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id IN (15924)
) AND wp_posts.post_type = 'post' AND (wp_posts.post_status = 'publish') GROUP BY wp_posts.ID ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 0, 14
    [posts] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 27207
                    [post_author] => 659
                    [post_date] => 2017-05-24 12:33:44
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-24 02:33:44
                    [post_content] => 

 

An audit of underperformance in eight Commonwealth agencies and departments, including the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), has found there is ‘significant room for improvement’ in dealing with poor performers and that managers avoided tackling the problem and encouraged workers to take redundancy or retire instead.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) looked into underperformance of eight federal government agencies and departments between 2012 and 2016, including the Attorney-General’s Department; Australian Taxation Office; Department of Agriculture and Water Resources; Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; Department of Social Services; Department of Veterans’ Affairs; IP Australia; and the National Film and Sound Archive. These eight were chosen to provide a mix of size and function, as well as a mix of how they had been rated for managing poor performers by their staff.

The audit focused on how well agencies managed underperformance through policies, procedures and management practices and said it was important to address because weak performance management could impact negatively on productivity, efficiency and morale.

“In most agencies underperformance is not being accurately identified and the proportion of employees undergoing structured underperformance processes is very low in all agencies," said the report, although it found that where it was addressed agencies stuck to procedural fairness.

“Probation processes are not generally used robustly to test the suitability of newly appointed employees (except in the Australian Taxation Office and the National Film and Sound Archive).”

The Audit Office said managers should not rely on encouraging badly performing staff to take redundancies or opt for retirement, “while these may be cost-effective approaches in situations of excess staffing or in particularly complex cases they should not be used to replace or undermine ongoing, robust underperformance management procedures.”

The number of staff going through structured underperformance processes was 'very low', with the lowest rate of the eight departments being 0.03 per cent of staff at the ATO. The highest was the National Film and Sound Archive at 0.28 per cent. 

It said management culture and the lack of support and training for senior and middle managers were the main barriers in dealing with underperformance in the workplace, noting an unwillingness to tackle poor performers, give feedback or set clear expectations from some managers. 

Staff perceptions of how well government departments and agencies were doing were also unfavourable. Between 70 to 84 per cent of staff thought their department did not do a good job of managing substandard workers, although around half considered their supervisors did a decent job.  

It acknowledged that the causes of underperformance could be complex and include mental health or physical problems and personal issues as well as lax recruitment processes that fail to hire the right person for the job.  Access to training and development could also play a role.

Main findings
  • Managers often avoided addressing underperformance, mainly due to lack of support, capability or incentives to do so
  • Managers shied away from confronting poor performers, relying instead on redundancies or retirement, against Australian Public Service Commission guidelines
  • The performance management process was being underused to manage poor performers
  • Probation procedures were deficient in every agency
  • Underperformance policies needed cleaning up and the procedures managing senior staff should be made more transparent
  • Managers in every agency need to make a stronger commitment to dealing with poor performance, including setting clear expectations and giving feedback to staff
Recommendations
  • More commitment from managers to tackle poor performance, rather than using retirement or redundancy
  • Better training and support needed for managers, including the early involvement of an HR professional to help 
  • Clearer guidelines to make it easier for managers to identify inadequate performance
  • Holding managers more accountable for the way they manage underperformance
  • Improve the performance management framework with more ‘check-ins’ between managers and staff
The audit used a variety of data sources including Australian Public Service Commission data from the annual employee census and annual agency survey; agency policies and procedures and interviews with employee representatives, corporate support staff and academics. It cost the ANAO $530,000 to conduct. [post_title] => APS underperformance ignored by managers, says audit [post_excerpt] => Poor performers encouraged to resign or retire. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => aps-underperformance-left-fester-managers-says-audit [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-25 16:23:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-25 06:23:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27207 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27196 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-23 12:33:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-23 02:33:54 [post_content] =>
 
By Linda Cheng This story first appeared in ArchitectureAu and appears here by kind permission of the author. In its 2017–18 budget, the federal government released what it called “comprehensive plan to address housing affordability.” While promising “no silver bullet,” the government claimed its plan was “designed to improve outcomes across the housing spectrum.” The plan includes measures such as a $1 billion National Housing and Infrastructure Facility (NHIF), releasing surplus Commonwealth land for housing, a Western Sydney City Deal that will provide opportunities for planning and zoning reform, as well as a range of financial incentives to assist first-home buyers, downsizing for older Australians and to encourage private-sector investment in affordable housing. The Australian Institute of Architects and the Planning Institute of Australian have cautiously welcomed the measures. Ken Maher, outgoing president of the Australian Institute of Architects characterized the government’s housing affordability plan as having “good intentions,” but said there were a number of “missed opportunities” on “critical” issues such as density, climate change and public transport. “There’s a real absence of mention in the budget of climate change,” Maher said. “In the built environment area, there’s quite a lot that can be done to reduce carbon emissions.” He pointed to the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council’s (ASBEC) Low Carbon, High Performance report released in May 2016, which outlined “the potential for the Australian built environment sector to make a major contribution to” reaching a zero-net emissions goal by 2050. The report called on policy makers to adopt a nation plan that includes minimum standards for buildings and targeted incentives. Read more here
[post_title] => ‘Good intentions’ or ‘cruel hoax’? Budget 2017’s housing affordability plan draws vexed reactions [post_excerpt] => Architects cautious, some critical. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27196 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-23 12:42:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-23 02:42:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27196 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27154 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-18 10:46:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-18 00:46:53 [post_content] =>     Australian Information and Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim. Pic: YouTube. A new Australian Public Service (APS) Privacy Code covering the data citizens give to the federal government will be in place by 2018, prompted by the outcry over Centrelink robo debt and data matching. Today’s [Thursday] joint announcement by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) said the two would work collaboratively on the new code, which aims to ensure a balance between data protection and privacy and data innovation and its use by Commonwealth agencies. Australian Information and Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim told the Senate Community Affairs References Committee, which is conducting a public hearing into the Department of Human Services’ Online Compliance Initiative (OCI) in Canberra today, that the code would cover how data should be ‘respected, protected’ and regulated into the future, consistent with community expectations. Mr Pilgrim said the code would be binding and failure to comply would be a breach of the Privacy Act. The current guidelines are voluntary. He said penalties could range from asking for a written undertaking that an organisation would change their processes and comply - ultimately enforceable in the federal court – to civil penalties in a federal court which could reach up to $1.8 million for serious breaches. The OAIC will lead on the code’s development due to the organisation’s specific privacy expertise and the code will be implemented APS-wide. All agencies will also need to have a privacy management plan in place under the new code. The Department and the OAIC said the code was vital to maximise the value of publicly held data. “The code can therefore be a catalyst to transform the Australian government’s data performance – increasing both internal capacity and external transparency to stakeholders,” they said. Commissioner Pilgrim said the code would ‘support government data innovation that integrates personal data protection’ while giving the APS the ‘skills and capabilities’ it needed to manage personal information. A storm over data privacy occurred after Fairfax published a piece by blogger Andie Fox in February which was highly critical of the DHS’ automated debt recovery drive, designed to claw back more than $1.5 billion over five years. In her article, Ms Fox claimed she had been pursued and ‘terrorised’ by DHS for money she did not owe after a relationship breakdown. In response, DHS disputed Ms Fox’s account and leaked some of her personal information to a journalist, including her Family Tax Benefit claims and relationship details. The government later defended itself arguing that it was allowed to release personal information to correct inaccurate public statements under social security legislation. Federal Labor MP Linda Burney later referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police but the AFP concluded that Human Services Minister Alan Tudge had not breached Commonwealth legislation. The government said the new privacy code would be developed in close collaboration with the APS and data stakeholders and it would apply to all Australian Government entities subject to the Australian Privacy Act 1988.   [post_title] => New APS privacy code on the back of Centrelink robo debt [post_excerpt] => Penalties of up to $1.8m for serious breaches. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => new-aps-privacy-code-back-centrelink-robo-debt [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-19 10:51:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-19 00:51:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27154 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27117 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-15 17:25:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-15 07:25:03 [post_content] =>     NSW government can learn from other governments internationally about how to develop and promote a culture of open data and data sharing, says a report commissioned by the Information and Privacy Commission of NSW and the NSW Open Data Advocate. The UNSW Law report, Conditions Enabling Open Data and Promoting a Data Sharing Culture 2017, released yesterday (Monday) looks at the progress of five other countries – the UK, France, Canada, the US and New Zealand – towards recognising the importance of open data and doing something about it. All five are considered to be leading the way globally. Open data is data that can be freely used, shared and built-on by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose and offered free or at minimal cost. The data can come from a wide range of sources, including government departments and agencies; universities; corporations; charities; NGOs; groups and individuals and it can encompass statistics, maps, scientific research, reports, and weather amongst other things.   To qualify as open, data should be available in bulk and able to be processed by a computer. The UNSW Law report identified six main drivers for achieving open data and went on to show how the NSW government could use international best practice and put more emphasis on open data. These drivers included:
  • Leadership and public support by government, ministers and agency heads to create processes and a culture that encourage the release and sharing of data
  • Legislation that sets out the rights and responsibilities governing access, sharing and protection of data for those who want the data and those who keep it. For example, the UK, US and France have mandated that data be open by default and be machine-readable and in in a standardised format
  • Policies to guide agency and staff decisions and priorities around open data and privacy, data security and collaboration
  • Regulations to provide certainty and to set expectations and obligations, as well as providing oversight and punishing non-compliance. These should balance rights to data with concerns over privacy and anticipating risk
  • Promoting culture and collaboration that supports open data within government and with the public, for example co-operation between agencies and between international, national and sub-national levels of government
  • Developing strategies to make data open, including funding open data, sharing success stories and engaging communities and individuals, for example the UKAuthority.
NSW Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Tydd said the independent research report was the first of its kind in Australia. “The research demonstrates how open data is being achieved internationally through an examination of leading jurisdictions,” Ms Tydd said. “The research acknowledges NSW’s progress and, importantly, offers new and significant insights to inform our approach to opening up valuable NSW data resources.”   She said opening data was “an impactful, contemporary approach to opening government” that promoted “effective and accountable government and enables meaningful public participation”. A recent IPC community attitudes survey found strong support for Open Data in NSW with 83 per cent of people agreeing that de-identified information should inform government service planning and delivery. The report provides suggestions on how NSW can move further towards open government and open data. These include recommendations to:
  • Publish a complete catalogue of all datasets, including restricted datasets
  • Moving from a legislative framework authorising data release to one that proactively encourages it
  • Mandating departments to open specific datasets and set quotas for datasets to force collaboration
  • Identify which datasets are important economic drivers for growth in regional areas and prioritise these
  • Mandate departments to create machine-readable standardised formats for datasets to allow analytics and linked data applications
  • Explicitly fund departments opening up high-value datasets in machine-readable format
  • Adopt an anticipatory regulatory approach that promotes open data but ensures ongoing evaluation and assessment of security and privacy risks
  • Develop in-depth guidelines on anonymisation and de-identification
  • Identify workforce skills/knowledge gaps and opportunities to work with local government and other government agencies
  • Adopt an incubator model where an open data company is embedded with an agency to co-develop ideas and applications on models, or engage with entities such as Code for Australia to bring in ideas and expertise
The research underpinning the report was guided by a steering committee comprising NSW agencies and experts, including the Data Analytics Centre, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Data61, the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation and the Department of Justice.  [post_title] => Global open data leaders give NSW lessons in data sharing [post_excerpt] => Promoting a culture of open data and data sharing. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27117 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-16 11:54:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-16 01:54:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27117 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => 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 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 pitch

The 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 matters

This 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 ahead

Shorten 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 ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27086 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-09 11:31:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-09 01:31:40 [post_content] =>   By Anthony Wallace Australia and New Zealand have been named among the top nations in providing open government data. The latest results of an global open data index reveal that Australia is ranked equal first out of 94 countries. Tying equal first with Australia was the nation of Taiwan. New Zealand also had a strong result, beating the Unites States and Brazil to take out number seven on the index. The Global Open Data Index (GODI) aims to provide the most comprehensive snapshot available of the state of open government data publication. Published by The Open Knowledge Institute annually, GODI ranks how well nations publish open government data against 14 key categories. Australia scored full marks in three of the spatial categories including, “Administration Boundaries,” “National Maps,” and “Locations.” The datasets where Australia did not perform well include “Land Ownership,” “Government Spending” and “Water Quality.” Australia’s Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, said the GODI results confirmed the Australian Government was on track with its commitment to making data more openly available. Read more here.   This story first appeared in Spatial Source.  [post_title] => Australia leads the world in open govt data [post_excerpt] => Ties with Taiwan. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27086 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-09 11:31:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-09 01:31:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27086 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27053 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-05 11:52:29 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-05 01:52:29 [post_content] =>   Talking data: Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor. Pic: YouTube.      The federal government’s Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, put data at the heart of transforming how Australians deal with the government in a speech to public servants this week but he did avoided any talk of how matching datasets can cause mayhem, as it did in the recent Centrelink robo-debt debacle.   Mr Taylor said data was essential to ensuring “efficient payments or preventative compliance” when he spoke at the Chief Data Analytics Officer Public Sector Forum earlier this week (Wednesday). The government’s online compliance intervention (OCI), which began in June last year, caused an avalanche of complaints from distressed Centrelink clients, many of whom found it difficult to get through to a Human Services human being to help them resolve the issue. At one point, up to 20,000 people a week were receiving debt notices. The notices were automatically generated if a discrepancy was found between Tax Office data and benefits paid. Mr Taylor told the forum: “Now when we mention compliance people immediately think of debt collecting but what I'm talking about is making sure the payment that goes out the door is right. “It's a fundamentally important service delivery tool for the citizen and for many years and across both sides of government beneficiaries of payments have been incurring debts which often are unintended.” He called it “a big problem for citizens and a big problem for government” because every dollar paid out incorrectly to claimants cost more to recoup. But he steered clear of name checking the Centrelink robo-debt crisis, which blew up before Christmas last year, after thousands of benefit claimants, past and present, received letters asking them to explain a discrepancy between ATO data and their Centrelink benefits or pay back a chunk of money. A Commonwealth Ombudsman report later criticised the Department of Human Services for placing “unreasonable” expectations on claimants and communicating poorly with them but did not condemn the data matching process itself or question its accuracy. Mr Taylor extolled the virtues of the government’s Geocoded-National Address File as he spoke, adding that the file enabled correct payments and tackled fraud. “There can be zero error or fraud from either the beneficiary or the public servant processing the claim. But because of an inaccurate dataset we could make the wrong payment,” he said. “So improving the quality of our information has immediate and substantial benefit to both.” After the Ombudsman’s inquiry, DHS agreed to use registered post to contact customers, as some letters never reached their recipients. Despite the problems caused by robo debt and the online Census meltdown in August, which he said had taught the government ‘real lessons’, Mr Taylor did not resile from putting technology and data front and centre of the government’s service improvements. One of his top priorities, he said, was “a smooth easy log on experience and the ability to streamline your identities with government”, citing GovPass and my Gov 2 as good examples of achieving this.  “The way I think about technology transforming customer service is broad. It's not just portals and services, although those things are important,”Mr Taylor told the forum. “The delivery of a high quality application programming interface has just as much potential to serve the needs of a customer as any other project.” Mr Taylor praised data.gov.au, the national open data portal containing over 20,000 datasets, and the NationalMap’s geospatial datasets. “We firmly believe it is time to build on our initial success and transform how government uses data - from what remains a cottage industry - into a central plank of how government works.” “To do that we must focus on three main areas: analytics, policy problems and efficient payments.” He placed ‘smaller agile projects’ over ‘big traditional waterfall projects’ and said that research of 50,000 projects internationally showed that only 3 per cent of large projects were untroubled, compared with 58 per cent of smaller agile projects. Mr Taylor said the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) had more powers to review and monitor projects than the federal government had ever done before. “This is a critical point – no government of either stripe has had the strategic overview that this government is now conducting into the Australian people's multi-billion-dollar investment.” [post_title] => Digital Transformation Minister talks data, avoids Centrelink robo debt [post_excerpt] => Says DTA's powers at their height. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => digital-transformation-minister-talks-data-avoids-centrelink-robo-debt [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-05 12:12:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-05 02:12:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27053 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27010 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-02 12:43:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-02 02:43:27 [post_content] =>   By Catriona May, University of Melbourne   The number of GPs in Australia is falling in real terms, as more and more medical graduates choose specialisations over general practice. A major report from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research has found that, while the number of new GPs in Australia is growing relatively slowly, for every new GP there are nearly ten new specialists. Professor Anthony Scott, who leads the team behind the report, says the trend could prove expensive in the long run, and has implications for patient care. “If we don’t have enough GPs, patients will end up in hospital more than they should,” he says. “If patients can’t get in to see their GP they end up in the emergency department, where they’ll be seen by specialists. “Specialists tend to do more procedures, which means more expense for the public purse. Potentially, patients may also end up receiving unnecessary treatments.” The ANZ-Melbourne Institute Health Sector Report is the first major health check of general practice in Australia. It uses data collected through Medicare and the Institute’s Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) survey, which has been running for 10 years and includes data from over 10,000 doctors. The results suggest general practice is still relatively unattractive to medical graduates, says Professor Scott. How Australia is losing the health fight “Money does matter,” he says. “Specialists are paid two-to-three times what most GPs are, and that’s the route junior doctors want to take. Often it is those who can’t become specialists that move into general practice. “Unfortunately, it’s seen as second fiddle to specialisation, in terms of reputation and earnings.”   Read more here. This story first appeared in Melbourne University's Pursuit website. [post_title] => Taking the pulse of general practice: GPs face a crisis in morale [post_excerpt] => GP numbers falling in real terms. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27010 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-02 12:43:27 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-02 02:43:27 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27010 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26994 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-04-28 11:43:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-28 01:43:21 [post_content] =>

The Canberra school cleaners who took their underpayment claim to the Federal Court. Source: United Voice   By Claire Hibbit 
A Canberra-based cleaning company, which was contracted to clean 10 public schools in the ACT, has been found guilty of Fair Work Act breaches for underpayments. United Voice launched the case against Philip Cleaning Services on behalf of 22 workers in 2015, alleging in court documents that some of the cleaners were owed almost $25,000. Of the 22 workers, 19 are S’gaw Karen refugees from Myanmar and Thailand, who spent two decades in refugee camps in Thailand before being resettled in Australia. According to United Voice, the permanent part-time school cleaners were pressured into signing contracts they did not understand, variously paid from different business entities (without explanation either to the workers or the ACT Government) and routinely exposed to unsafe working conditions. Read more here. This story first appeared in INCLEAN.
[post_title] => Canberra school cleaning company guilty of Fair Work Act breaches [post_excerpt] => Some workers owed almost $25k. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => canberra-cleaning-company-guilty-fair-work-act-breaches [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-28 11:43:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-28 01:43:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26994 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26963 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-04-21 11:03:16 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-21 01:03:16 [post_content] => UNSW-EC0, built by UNSW’s Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research and one of the three Australian satellites launched overnight.     By Anthony Wallace Australia is back in the space race, following the launch of three miniature satellites. At 1am Sydney time on Tuesday 19 April 2017, three Australian research cubesats blasted off for space as part of a NASA mission to resupply the International Space Station. The event marked the first launch of an Australian-built satellite for 15 years. It is also the nation’s first foray into cubesats for a host of new applications, from scientific discovery to remote sensing and satellite navigation.

The Atlas 5 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Tuesday night.  Photo: NASA

The trio of Australian cubesats is part of the international QB50 mission, consisting of 36 small satellites known as ‘cubesats’. Each instrument weighs about 1.3 kg each and is about the size of a shoebox. The combined effort will carry out the most extensive measurements ever undertaken of the little-understood thermosphere, a region between 200-380 km above Earth. This usually inaccessible zone helps shield Earth from cosmic rays and solar radiation, and is vital for communications and weather formation. Twenty-eight of the QB50 satellites, including the three Australian cubesats, were aboard the Atlas 5 rocket when it launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida overnight. The three Australian cubesats are UNSW-EC0, built by UNSW’s Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER); INSPIRE-2, by the University of Sydney, UNSW and the Australian National University; and SuSAT, by the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia. Read more here. This story first appeared in Spatial Source.  [post_title] => Launched: first Australian satellites in 15 years [post_excerpt] => Oz is back in the space race. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => satellite [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-21 13:41:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-21 03:41:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26963 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26910 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-18 11:03:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-18 01:03:25 [post_content] =>   Local Government Excellence Awards Local Government Professionals NSW revealed the winners of its Oscars for local councils earlier this month. Full list below.  President LG Professionals, NSW Barry Smith said the awards recognised and showcased the pinnacle of excellence in the local government sector in NSW and significant achievements by NSW councils over the past year as well as the outstanding professional development achievements of our members. “Local government works hard for the communities in New South Wales, and we were thrilled that the Deputy Premier and Local Government Minister joined us in acknowledging the sector’s professionalism and dedication," Mr Smith said.   

Excellence in Innovative Leadership and Management

Recognising the use of superior management and leadership skills to achieve outstanding benefits for the organisation and/or for the community.   Winner: Tweed Shire Council Highly Commended: Lachlan Shire Council, City of Ryde Council Community Partnerships and Collaboration Recognising genuine and effective partnerships and collaborations that have resulted in better outcomes for council, as well as initiatives that demonstrate a commitment to working with and/or in the community to achieve positive outcomes.   Population over 15,000 Winner: Port Stephens Council Highly Commended: Blacktown City Council, Lake Macquarie City Council   Population under 15,000 Winner: Warrumbungle Shire Council Excellence in Local Economic Contribution Recognising innovation in leadership and management for a project/initiative that has enhanced the economic wellbeing of their local government area and increased the value proposition to ratepayers and residents, in parts or all, of their city, town, district or region.   Winner: Liverpool City Council Highly Commended: Lake Macquarie City Council Excellence in Environmental Leadership and Sustainability Recognising dedication to sustainability as evidenced by the implementation of corporate process improvements, projects or initiatives that demonstrate significant real or potential benefit to the environment.   Population over 100,000 Winner: Campbelltown City Council Highly Commended: Canterbury-Bankstown Council, Central Coast Council   Population under 100,000 Winner: City of Canada Bay Council Highly Commended: Byron Shire Council  

Special Project Initiative

Recognising leadership where an individual, team or council has developed a concept or practice that significantly improves the business in which they work, development of processes or practices that has had a major impact on the organisation or its customers. Population over 15,000 Winner: Lake Macquarie City Council Highly Commended: Central Coast Council, North Sydney Council   Population under 15,000 Winner: Hunter’s Hill Council  

Excellence in Community Development and Services

Recognising leadership in community services as evidenced by way of corporate process improvements, a particular project initiative, innovation in management and leadership practices or demonstrated practicality and resourcefulness. Winner: Canterbury-Bankstown Council Highly Commended: Cumberland Council

Excellence in Asset Management and Infrastructure Initiatives

Recognising excellence in Asset Management as evidenced by the implementation of corporate process improvements, projects or initiatives that demonstrate significant real or potential benefit in asset management. Winner: Campbelltown City Council Highly Commended: Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Wentworth Shire council

Excellence in Risk Management

Recognising the community and/or Council benefits (strategic, operational or financial) delivered through the identification, control and mitigation of risks within a council’s unique risk profile. Winner: Wollongong City Council Highly Commended: City of Canada Bay Council

Excellence in Creative Communities

Recognising excellence in bring together communities through art and cultural creative projects. Population over 15,000 Winner: Campbelltown City Council Highly Commended: Bega Valley Shire Council, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council   Population under 15,000 Winner: Narrabri Shire Council  

Excellence in Operational and Management Effectiveness

The Excellence in Operational and Management Effectiveness Award is open to all NSW councils who have participated in the Australasian LG Performance Excellence Program. Winner: Willoughby City Council Dux of the Governance Intensive Course The Governance in Local Government Intensive Course has been developed to enhance the governance knowledge and skills of professionals working in the local government sector. Dux: Christine Priest, Wagga Wagga City Council Dux of the Finance Intensive Course Covering all aspects of local government finance this one week intensive residential course will benefit new finance managers, senior accounting and accounting officers or anyone with a financial background wishing to expand their knowledge of local government finance. Dux: Tracy Wilde, Sutherland Shire Council     NSW Environmental Excellence Awards Nominations are open for the NSW Environmental Excellence Awards, which celebrate councils and council staff who have done outstanding environmental work in the state. Local Government NSW President Keith Rhoades said local government was the closest level of government to communities and had the most direct influence on local environments. "But what is often forgotten is that local government is one of the biggest sectors in the NSW economy,” Mr Rhoades said. "Councils are responsible for maintaining and upgrading $142 billion in infrastructure and land assets, including parks, reserves, roads, community facilities and water and sewerage systems. He said the sector employed more than 50,000 people and injected $11 billion into the state's economy every year. "Combine that economic power with a commitment to environmental sustainability and best practice, and you have a sector making a very real contribution to the environment in NSW." There are 15 award categories, including the prestigious Local Sustainability Award for overall council performance and the Louise Petchell Memorial Award for Individual Sustainability awarded to an individual. They will be announced on October 11 at the University of Technology Sydney and they cover projects and programs from January 2016 to May 2017. The prize for overall winner of the Local Sustainability Award is an overseas study tour or a professional development program for staff, valued at $10,000.  Individual councils, county councils and regional council groupings are all eligible to enter, and compete against similarly sized councils in one of three levels: populations of less than 30,000; between 30,000 and 70,000; and more than 70,000.  Nomination applications close on 31 May, with further details available on LGNSW's website National Reconciliation Week funding Councils have until the end of this week to apply for federal government funding to support celebrations for National Reconciliation Week, which runs from May 27 to June 3. Celebrations are particularly poignant this year with the upcoming 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Mabo High Court decision. The funding round closes on Friday 21 April 2017. President of the Australian Local Government Association, David O’Loughlin said councils can use the funding to partner with a local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community organisation to mark these two historic events through activities that honour and respect their significance to all Australians. “It is a great compliment to the sector that the Turnbull Government has chosen local councils as partners in celebrating this national milestone,” Mr O’Loughlin said. “I would hate to see any council miss out so I urge all councils to submit applications for this funding via the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.” Bill Shorten to address local councils Labor leader Bill Shorten will address this year’s National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA) on Tuesday 20 June in Canberra. This week, the Opposition came out in support of ALGA’s call to end the freeze on Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) indexation agreeing that local government funding has been under pressure following the 2014-15 freeze. The party called on the Government to rule out any extension of the FAGs indexation freeze beyond 30 June 2017.   The NGA is the peak annual event for local government, attracting in excess of 800 Mayors and Councillors each year. Themed Building Tomorrow’s Communities, this year’s NGA will be held from 18 - 21 June. [post_title] => Around the councils [post_excerpt] => Full list of NSW Local Government Excellence Award winners. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => around-the-councils [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-18 14:07:16 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-18 04:07:16 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26910 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26882 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-04-11 11:00:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-11 01:00:53 [post_content] => Newtown's nightlife has intensified since the 2014 lockout laws came in. Pic: Google Images.    By Lecturer in Criminology, UNSW This story first appeared in The Conversation.     It is vital that public policy be driven by rigorous research. In the last decade key policy changes have had profound impacts on nightlife in Sydney’s inner city and suburbs. The most significant and controversial of these has been the 2014 “lockout laws”. These were a series of legislative and regulatory policies aimed at reducing alcohol-related violence and disorder through new criminal penalties and key trading restrictions, including 1.30am lockouts and a 3am end to service in select urban “hotspots”. A range of lobbyists, including New South Wales Police and accident and emergency services, welcomed these initiatives. By contrast, venue operators, industry organisations and patron groups have made repeated but largely anecdotal claims that these changes caused a sharp downturn in profit, employment and cultural vibrancy in targeted areas. They also claim that the “lockouts” have caused drinking-related problems to spill over into urban areas that are less equipped to cope with them.

Crime is down

However, in late 2016, the Callinan Review referenced compelling evidence in support of the current policy. According to the latest research, recorded rates of crime are down by around 49% in the designated Kings Cross precinct and 13% in Sydney’s CBD. In contrast, what little research has been produced by opponents of strict nightlife regulation has been criticised as unreliable, inaccurate and poorly deployed.  
The pattern of assaults has shifted since the lockout laws began. BOCSAR, Author provided
The Callinan Review noted the lack of verifiable claims about the negative impacts of the policy in submissions from the main opponents of the lockout laws. This has led to a great deal of assumption in the final report about where, for example, revellers, jobs, entertainment and revenue might have been displaced to, or how the policy changes affected them. In many respects, the passing over of claims made by anti-lockout groups is rather unfair. These groups are not official state bodies with the capacity to produce the type of data or evidence on which the policy has been justified and defended. As such, their “unscientific” observations and experiences have been largely dismissed. To critically balance and juxtapose opposing claims, more impact data and research are needed.

We must take a city-wide perspective

If the lockout policy is judged on the original goal of decreasing crime in designated “hotspots”, then it appears to have been a success. However, from a city-wide perspective there are other issues to consider. Not the least of these is the effects in other nightlife sites across Sydney. Despite initially finding no displacement of violence to nearby nightlife sites, the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) has just released findings showing significant displacement in rates of recorded non-domestic-related violence in destinations outside the lockout zone. Reported crime rates in Newtown, one of the displacement sites listed in the BOCSAR study (along with Bondi and Double Bay), increased by 17% in the 32 months following the lockouts. These new findings appear to vindicate some local complaints about increased night violence – including attacks targeting LGBTI victims – that has led to much resident irritation and even political protest in recent years.

Adjusting our nightlife habits

So, how can we better judge the veracity of these claims about the displacement of nuisance and violence? Mapping patronage trends is a key means of understanding how and why rates of assault have now increased despite initially showing little to no change. To this end, Kevin McIsaac and I, with data from Transport for NSW, have set out to ascertain if and how nightlife participation in Sydney has been influenced by the lockouts. Our analysis focused on night-time aggregated train validation data (turnstile counts) from January 2013 to July 2016 for stations servicing the designated nightlife precincts (Kings Cross, Town Hall) and precincts outside the lock-out zone (Newtown, Parramatta). Using Bayesian Change Point (BCP) detection we found the following:
  • no evidence of changes to Kings Cross or Parramatta exit traffic from the introduction of the lockout laws;
  • evidence of strong growth in the Parramatta Friday-night exit traffic by about 200% since January 2013, which is independent of the lockout laws;
  • evidence of an increase of about 300% in the Newtown Friday-night exit traffic as a result of the lock-out laws; and
  • in all stations, the BCP algorithm detected a change when OPAL card usage exceeded magnetic ticket usage. This suggests the jumps seen in the graphs below are due to the higher exit reporting from OPAL. The switch from flat to slow growth in trend is probably an artefact of the relative increase in OPAL usage.
Kings Cross change point Friday night.
Kings Cross change point Saturday night.
Newtown change point Friday night.
Newtown change point Saturday night.
Parramatta change point Friday night.
Parramatta change point Saturday night.
  These findings provide new insights into the way people have adjusted their nightlife habits. The most interesting finding is the dramatic increase in access to Newtown nightlife. Exits in Newtown have increased 300% since the lock-outs were introduced in 2014. As can be seen from the graph, the rate of increase has been steady over the study period. This raises questions about whether there is a threshold at which patron density becomes an issue that potentially results in increased nuisance and violence.

Big data’s capacity to help

While this research is still in its early phases, the transport data tell one small, yet significant, part of the story. However, to draw definite conclusions, there is far more that needs to be considered. Many nightlife patrons travel into the city by different means, or don’t travel at all (those who live in and around the city). We need alternative data to try to identify patterns concerning these groups. Several different organisations have data that could help paint a more complete picture, including telcos, Google, Taxis NSW and Uber. While these organisations should be protective of their data, the value of anonymous aggregate location data is how it can inform and advance public policy through ethical research. This information is key to breaking down access barriers. Without access to these anonymous aggregations of privately controlled data, the capacity of research is limited. As such, there is a need for greater communication, collaboration and co-operation between producers of big data, the government and researchers into social impact. By building stronger evidence for all manner of policies, such partnerships have an amazing potential to contribute to the public good. [post_title] => Public transport data begins to reveal true impact of Sydney's lockout laws [post_excerpt] => Newtown's 300% nightlife jump. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 26882 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-02 15:16:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-02 05:16:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26882 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26810 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-05 10:37:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-05 00:37:27 [post_content] =>   Chief Secretary's Building, which houses the NSW Industrial Relations Commission. Pic: Supplied.    Barrister Peter Kite SC has been appointed as the NSW Industrial Relations Commission‘s (IRC) first Chief Commissioner after the Supreme Court swallowed up the Commission’s judicial functions last year.   The IRC was pitched into controversy late last year after the state government decided to move its judicial functions from the Industrial Court to the Common Law Division of the Supreme Court, justifying it by saying the Industrial Court’s workload had fallen dramatically in the past decade from 766 matters in 2005 to 35 matters in 2015. The government attributed the reduction in litigation to the introduction of the national workplace relations system and changes which saw work health and safety prosecutions transferred to the NSW District Court in 2010. The Industrial Relations Amendment (Industrial Court) Bill 2016, which brought the changes into effect in November 2016, created a new Chief Commissioner to lead the IRC, bringing the number of commissioners to five, and moved the sole judge of the IRC’s Industrial Court, Justice Michael J Walton, to the Supreme Court. The government maintained the changes would make the process more efficient and allow litigation to be presided over by a more diverse range of judges. ​But some criticised the Supreme Court move, saying it would make cases more expensive and more intimidating for plaintiffs. Unions NSW argued that the Supreme Court was more used to hearing commercial or criminal cases, not industrial. Greens MP and former barrister David Shoebridge said at the time that the integration was “killing a specialist industrial tribunal through death by a thousand cuts”. Peter Kite SC, New Chief Commissioner of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission. Pic: supplied.    The IRC has non-judicial functions like the arbitration of industrial disputes and setting wages and conditions of employment and judicial functions, such as determining unfair dismissal cases and underpayment of wages and superannuation appeals. It is an important body in NSW because it affects the employment pay and conditions of public servants like teachers, council workers, doctors in public hospitals, paramedics, nurses and police. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian will be hoping that the government can put past controversies behind it with the appointment of Mr Kite, who started his new job this week. Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations Dominic Perrottet said Mr Kite brought a wealth of experience to the job. “Peter has been a senior industrial relations practitioner for more than three decades, and has served as Acting Deputy President of the IRC of New South Wales and Acting Judge of the Industrial Court of New South Wales,” Mr Perrottet said. “I have no doubt he will make a valuable contribution in leading the IRC here in NSW, and I wish him all the best in this role.” Mr Kite’s experience includes more than 30 years as a barrister specialising in industrial law and unfair contracts. He is also an accredited mediator with the NSW Bar Association. The Chief Commissioner will lead the IRC’s operations in resolving industrial disputes and settling employment conditions and remuneration for employees, primarily in the NSW public sector and local government. The role of Chief Commissioner replaces the former role of President of the IRC.                        [post_title] => NSW Industrial Relations Commission gets first Chief Commissioner [post_excerpt] => Supreme Court moves plays out. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 26810 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-07 10:24:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-07 00:24:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26810 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26755 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-04-04 11:18:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-04 01:18:19 [post_content] =>

                    By Anthony Wallace As Australasia’s biggest annual spatial event, the Locate Conference and Digital Earth Symposium (Locate17 and ISDE), can be an intimidating affair. Not only does it combine two events, it spans four days, features eight separate subject streams, offers four free workshops, features an awards night, networking functions and exclusive international assemblies. It’s safe to say that you won’t be able to experience everything that Locate17 and Digital Earth has to offer, but you can at least learn something new, find a few opportunity, or perhaps create some lasting connections with fellow attendees. Here’s your simplified guide to making the most of Locate17 and Digital Earth Symposium.

Locate17 and ISDE Must do’s:

  1. Learn something new: It’s highly unlikely you’re familiarised with each of the multiple program streams on offer, so why not learn about Virtual Globes, Crowd-sorting or Data lakes?
  2. Find out how ‘real’ reality modelling is: Speak to the likes of Nearmap, Spookfish, PSMA Australia, AEROMetrex to discover the amazing things being done with spatial data.
  3. Watch out for ministers: Big-wigs of Australian parliament have been known to attend Locate. In 2015, we saw Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (then minister for communications) and last year Assistant Minister Angus Young appeared ahead of launching the Smart cities initiative. Who might it be this year?
  Read more here. This story first appeared in Spatial Source.  [post_title] => Your Survival Guide to Locate17 and ISDE [post_excerpt] => Australasia’s biggest annual spatial event. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => survival-guide-locate17-isde [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-04 11:18:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-04 01:18:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26755 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27207 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-24 12:33:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-24 02:33:44 [post_content] =>   An audit of underperformance in eight Commonwealth agencies and departments, including the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), has found there is ‘significant room for improvement’ in dealing with poor performers and that managers avoided tackling the problem and encouraged workers to take redundancy or retire instead. The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) looked into underperformance of eight federal government agencies and departments between 2012 and 2016, including the Attorney-General’s Department; Australian Taxation Office; Department of Agriculture and Water Resources; Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; Department of Social Services; Department of Veterans’ Affairs; IP Australia; and the National Film and Sound Archive. These eight were chosen to provide a mix of size and function, as well as a mix of how they had been rated for managing poor performers by their staff. The audit focused on how well agencies managed underperformance through policies, procedures and management practices and said it was important to address because weak performance management could impact negatively on productivity, efficiency and morale. “In most agencies underperformance is not being accurately identified and the proportion of employees undergoing structured underperformance processes is very low in all agencies," said the report, although it found that where it was addressed agencies stuck to procedural fairness. “Probation processes are not generally used robustly to test the suitability of newly appointed employees (except in the Australian Taxation Office and the National Film and Sound Archive).” The Audit Office said managers should not rely on encouraging badly performing staff to take redundancies or opt for retirement, “while these may be cost-effective approaches in situations of excess staffing or in particularly complex cases they should not be used to replace or undermine ongoing, robust underperformance management procedures.” The number of staff going through structured underperformance processes was 'very low', with the lowest rate of the eight departments being 0.03 per cent of staff at the ATO. The highest was the National Film and Sound Archive at 0.28 per cent.  It said management culture and the lack of support and training for senior and middle managers were the main barriers in dealing with underperformance in the workplace, noting an unwillingness to tackle poor performers, give feedback or set clear expectations from some managers.  Staff perceptions of how well government departments and agencies were doing were also unfavourable. Between 70 to 84 per cent of staff thought their department did not do a good job of managing substandard workers, although around half considered their supervisors did a decent job.   It acknowledged that the causes of underperformance could be complex and include mental health or physical problems and personal issues as well as lax recruitment processes that fail to hire the right person for the job.  Access to training and development could also play a role. Main findings
  • Managers often avoided addressing underperformance, mainly due to lack of support, capability or incentives to do so
  • Managers shied away from confronting poor performers, relying instead on redundancies or retirement, against Australian Public Service Commission guidelines
  • The performance management process was being underused to manage poor performers
  • Probation procedures were deficient in every agency
  • Underperformance policies needed cleaning up and the procedures managing senior staff should be made more transparent
  • Managers in every agency need to make a stronger commitment to dealing with poor performance, including setting clear expectations and giving feedback to staff
Recommendations
  • More commitment from managers to tackle poor performance, rather than using retirement or redundancy
  • Better training and support needed for managers, including the early involvement of an HR professional to help 
  • Clearer guidelines to make it easier for managers to identify inadequate performance
  • Holding managers more accountable for the way they manage underperformance
  • Improve the performance management framework with more ‘check-ins’ between managers and staff
The audit used a variety of data sources including Australian Public Service Commission data from the annual employee census and annual agency survey; agency policies and procedures and interviews with employee representatives, corporate support staff and academics. It cost the ANAO $530,000 to conduct. [post_title] => APS underperformance ignored by managers, says audit [post_excerpt] => Poor performers encouraged to resign or retire. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => aps-underperformance-left-fester-managers-says-audit [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-25 16:23:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-25 06:23:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27207 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 267 [max_num_pages] => 20 [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] => 2430e1c156dd1f568912987f66151f05 [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 ) )

news-3