Main Menu

WP_Query Object
    [query] => Array
            [tag] => polar-slider

    [query_vars] => Array
            [tag] => polar-slider
            [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] => 22402
            [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] => polar-slider

            [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] => polar-slider

                            [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] => polar-slider

                            [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] => 22402
            [name] => polar-slider
            [slug] => polar-slider
            [term_group] => 0
            [term_taxonomy_id] => 22395
            [taxonomy] => post_tag
            [description] => 
            [parent] => 0
            [count] => 142
            [filter] => raw

    [queried_object_id] => 22402
    [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)
  wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id IN (22395)
) 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] => 26966
                    [post_author] => 658
                    [post_date] => 2017-04-21 11:14:39
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-21 01:14:39
                    [post_content] => 

By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier   Hoteliers and the wider hospitality industry are on edge, as they await more details in regards to the Federal Government’s 457 visa replacement. Yesterday (Tuesday), Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the scrapping of the 457 visa program, stating: “We are ensuring that Australian jobs and Australian values are first, placed first. During the press conference, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, announced that 457 visa will be replaced with two alternate visas, that do not foster as much agency for permanent residency. “What we propose is that under the Temporary Skills Shortage Visa short-term stream there will be a two-year visa, with the options of two-years, but there would not be permanent residency outcomes at the end of that. “In relation to the medium-term stream, which as the Prime Minister pointed out, is targeted at higher skills, a much shorter skills list, that will be for a period of four years, can be applied for onshore or offshore, and it's a significant tightening of the way in which that programme operates. According to the Department of Immigration, in 2014 cooks represented the third-largest usage of the 457 visa, after software/application programmers and general practitioners and residential medical officers. The AHA has called on the Government to ensure that the needs of the hospitality industry are met within the new visa program. “The hospitality industry is growing at unprecedented rates at the present and the demand for skilled labour is at all-time highs with this complete transformation of Australia’s hotel industry,” said AHA CEO, Stephen Ferguson. Indeed, the Government’s own Australian Tourism Labour Force Report estimated that the tourism and hospitality sector will require an additional 123,000 workers by 2020, including 60,000 skilled positions. “Australia’s hospitality sector has responded with a wide range of training and career development programs, but with such a rapid increase in tourism it is impossible to meet the demand for skilled labour in the short-term through local channels, especially in regional and remote Australia.” With the exact details of the new Temporary Short- and Medium-Term Visa programs, yet to be revealed, most hoteliers are withholding judgment at this stage, but a few were wary of the additional strain the scrapping of the 457 visa would place on finding kitchen staff. “I am still waiting to hear the finer detail about the announcement from Turnbull so as to fully understand the implications of this for the hospitality sector. But on face value, it does not seem to be founded in a sound consideration of the facts attributable to the current skills shortages being experienced in the hospitality sector,” opined Christian Denny, licensee of Hotel Harry and The Dolphin. For Angela Gallagher, group general manager of Gallagher Hotels, the replacement of the 457 visa program will create another hurdle in finding quality staff. Read more here. This story first appeared in The Shout. 
[post_title] => Hospitality industry reacts to 457 visa scrapping [post_excerpt] => Chefs third most sought after under visa program. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => hospitaliy-industry-reacts-457-visa-scrapping [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-21 11:14:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-21 01:14:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => 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] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26953 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-21 10:32:59 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-21 00:32:59 [post_content] =>   A scene from the new smartphone app Magical Park.   Local councils in Australia and New Zealand and an NZ games developer have hit upon a brilliant way to use mobile phones to draw children to play in urban parks again. A new free smartphone app has unleashed the augmented reality game Magical Park, targeted at kids aged six to 11, which encourages children and their families to explore a magical fantasy world in their local park. In the game children can interact with fairies, dragons, kittens, dinosaurs and aliens and complete missions, like finding dinosaur eggs, using their phone or tablet camera. The game is positioned in a selected large, flat park space in the shape of a virtual circle, which holds the game content kids can play. The idea was born during last month’s Parks Week celebrations, where 47 Australian councils and 19 NZ councils put their heads together to find a way to kick kids off the sofa and into the great outdoors, interacting with their families at the same time. The project is a partnership between The Parks and Leisure Australia, the New Zealand Recreation Association and Kiwi game developer Geo AR Games. Magical Park attracted over 24,000 park visitors during Parks Week, with an average of 1069 number of game sessions played per day and participants running an average of 1.45km per game. Families across Australia and New Zealand spent more than 1,200 hours playing Magical Park together. Councils pay a subscription fee for the app, which is geo-located to a specific park. The app will only open in a designated park area. The families find out about the app via the council or through signs put up in the park by their council. The hotspots for gaming activity were Heywood Park in Unley, Perth; the Wilson Botanic Garden in the City of Casey, Melbourne and Westward Park in Clarence Valley Council in NSW. Teresa Turner, New Plymouth District Council’s Recreation and Culture Manager, praised the app. “I think what really appealed was that families could do this together – parents and kids both could hunt for dinosaurs and fairies and swap stories about their experiences after.” GEO AR Games CEO Melanie Langlotz said: “Augmented reality is a powerful tool to get kids engaged and we have had a lot of queries from schools, who would like us to develop educational content. “We have another product on our road map, which will eventually allow kids to upload their own 3D models and build their own worlds and games to share with their friends in their local park.” Brian Eales, Principal from the Clive Primary School in New Zealand voted the trial a success. “Magical Park opens up a whole new dimension for children linking the engaging world of devices and the great outdoors. “It allows for the creative use of devices and mathematical concepts while maintaining physical activity. It can strengthen the tuakana teina relationship when older students work with young students.”     Sue Wilson, Assistant Principal from the Pomaria Primary School in Henderson, Auckland agreed it had had a positive effect on children’s learning, increasing in both writing and oral language skills. While some councils are looking at bringing Magical Park back for the school holidays, permanent Magical Parks are set up in Heywood Park in the City of Unley and Rhodes Park in Kwinana. Magical Park is the second augmented reality app from Geo AR Games. The company also developed Sharks in the Park, which brought an underwater world to kids in parks across New Zealand in 2016. For more information visit Want the latest public sector news delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up the Government News newsletter.         [post_title] => Move over Pokemon, new app draws kids to urban parks [post_excerpt] => Local councils use Magical Park. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 26953 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-21 11:51:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-21 01:51:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26947 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-20 04:00:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-19 18:00:25 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_26950" align="alignnone" width="350"] Is the party over for Airbnb in NSW before it even began? NSW government says slow down. [/caption]     After three public hearings, 212 submissions and a parliamentary report the NSW government has announced it is not yet ready to make a decision about how to regulate short-term holiday letting through online booking services like Airbnb and Stayz. Instead, the NSW government will conduct a ‘broad consultation’ with the public and the short-term accommodation industry, including bed and breakfasts and hotels, before publishing an options paper next month. The options paper, which the Departments of Planning and Environment and Fair Trading will also contribute to, will explore land use and planning issues and strata management concerns, including the impact on the lives and safety of existing residents. This morning’s announcement (Thursday) was in response to an October 2016 report by the NSW Parliamentary Legislative Assembly Committee on Environment on the best way to regulate the explosion of short-term accommodation letting and the continued rise of Airbnb in the state. The report recommended the government make it easier for homeowners to rent out a whole or part of their house and for it to adopt a light regulatory touch. This approach included relaxing state planning laws so that local councils could class short-term letting as exempt development, providing it did not have excessive impact on other residents. But the government offered only ‘qualified support’ to the committee’s recommendations, stating they needed further consideration and more public consultation. It has been slow going. After submissions closed in November 2015 there were three public hearings between March and May 2016 followed by the final report on October 19, 2016 and the government’s response six months later. NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts said it was too complicated and divisive an issue to rush. “It’s no surprise that NSW and Sydney are highly sought after destinations for international and domestic visitors, however, we must find a balance between providing options for accommodation and residents being able to go about their daily lives. This will support the best environment for residents and visitors so that it is a great destination,” Mr Roberts said.  “The inquiry recommendations make sense, but the regulation of short-term letting needs broader engagement with the industry and the community to establish a model that enables it to continue to flourish and innovate whilst ensuring the amenity and safety of users and the wider community are protected.   “It's sensible to take time on a complex issue like this, which is why we are releasing an options paper next month.” The government supported the report’s recommendations around communicating with councils and residents any changes and that councils take the lead on informing landowners about their rights and duties. Also supported was giving owners’ corporations more powers to respond to any negative consequences of short-term lets in their buildings, through amending strata regulations. NSW Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean said the government would concentrate on finding common ground to address the concerns of everyone involved. “We need to find what will work best for the people of NSW, which is why we’re issuing an options paper for discussion with relevant stakeholders,” Mr Kean said.  “We don’t want a holiday accommodation market that’s so over-regulated it puts people off coming here but the rights of residents who live near these properties must be considered too.    “While short-term holiday letting, if properly managed and respected by all parties, can be a boost to the local economy, the need to protect people’s rights to the quiet enjoyment of their own homes is equally important.”     Meanwhile, Airbnb Australia Country Manager Sam McDonagh called the government's response a 'strong, positive step towards ensuring fair and progressive rules and regulation for residents and visitors to NSW'. “We appreciate that these things take time and that it’s important to get the balance right," Mr McDonagh said. "We’re confident that Premier Berejiklian and the NSW government will join the state governments in Tasmania and South Australia, in embracing home sharing, and introduce fair regulations that allow more people in NSW to share their extra space.”   Want the latest public sector news delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up the Government News newsletter.         [post_title] => NSW government delays Airbnb decision [post_excerpt] => Options paper by next month. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-government-delays-airbnb-decision [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-21 11:16:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-21 01:16:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26935 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-04-19 10:59:32 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-19 00:59:32 [post_content] =>
SafeWork NSW is waiving the five-day asbestos removal work notification period to allow immediate clean-up of asbestos debris from storm-damaged properties in north east NSW. Property owners in the Ballina, Byron Shire, Kyogle, Lismore and Tweed local government areas will have their assessments fast-tracked to ensure asbestos-containing material can be removed as quickly as possible. SafeWork NSW executive director, Peter Dunphy, urged residents to seek information on the potential risks of being exposed to asbestos and how to manage it safely when cleaning up after a storm or flood. “Flood-affected homes may contain asbestos materials which need to be safely managed and removed so that the health of the community is protected,” Dunphy said. “As the State Emergency Service assesses the damage and residents begin to clean-up or repair properties, we want them to be aware of the dangers.
  Read more here. This story first appeared in INCLEAN Magazine.  [post_title] => SafeWork NSW fast tracks asbestos assessments on flood damage [post_excerpt] => Managing the clean up. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => safework-nsw-fast-tracks-asbestos-assessments-flood-damage [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-19 10:59:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-19 00:59:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26922 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-18 16:21:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-18 06:21:39 [post_content] => Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announces the end of 457 visas. Pic: YouTube.   By Madeline Woolway   Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced today that his government would abolish 457 visas, replacing them with a new temporary visa. “We’ll no longer allow 457 visas to be passports to jobs that could and should go to Australians,” Turnbull said via a Facebook video. “However, it is important businesses still get access to the skills they need to grow and invest, so the 457 visa will be replaced by a new temporary visa to recruit the best and the brightest in the national interest.” Mr Turnbull said the 457 visa scheme had "lost its credibility".  The new visa will require workers to have previous work experience, a police check, better English language proficiency and labour market testing. The government will also establish a new training fund with the aim of filling skills gaps.   It is understood that there will be two types of visa: a two-year visa, with a 'substantially reduced' number of skills that qualify or a four-year visa, where better English skills will be demanded.      In March 2017, the government cancelled fast tracked 457 visas for the fast food industry. Writing for Hospitality after Trump's election, Justin Browne said the 457 visa program was at its lowest level of approvals in five years, outlining the merits of utilising overseas talent under the program. With the hospitality industry in the midst of a skills shortage, a number of chefs have taken to social media to air their thoughts on the decision.  On Bishop Sessa's Facebook page a message read:  "Good luck Australia! Good luck finding Australians willing to work and be trained. "Who genuinely thinks we prefer to employee foreigners? "Who imagines investing time, money and effort in an employee with a finite future in our business is our preferred business model? "Who really believes that given an option between an Australian resident and a visa holder with the same experience/qualifications we would choose the visa holder? Eau De Vie's Sven Almenning said:  "This has the potential of being absolutely devastating for the hospitality industry. Chefs in particular are in high demand with a very limited local 'supply' of trained chefs. As someone who sponsors a number of people I can testify to always looking for Australian residents first (sponsorships are both expensive and risky for us), but often there simply are not enough locals with the skill level or experience that we need that apply for these jobs. Personally I am quite concerned about what this populist election move will mean for our industry."   This story first appeared in Hospitality Magazine.  [post_title] => Turnbull abolishes 457 visas [post_excerpt] => Temporary visas come in. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => turnbull-abolishes-457-visas [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-18 16:46:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-18 06:46:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26914 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-04-18 11:24:15 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-18 01:24:15 [post_content] =>

By Claire Hibbit 
Exploitation of workers cannot be stamped out if the settings remain the same, warns Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James. In her opening address to give evidence before the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee Inquiry into the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017, James said that despite the successes the Ombudsman has had, “stories continue to emerge”. “For every one we take to court, there are others we cannot take action against and still others we do not even know about because people are too scared to report them to us,” James said. “These cases reflect badly on our country and on the majority of employers who are trying to do the right thing.” The Protecting Vulnerable Workers Bill introduces new civil penalties for ‘serious contraventions’ which are ten times higher than those currently set out in the Act. This Bill contains a number of measures that would adjust the settings in the Fair Work Act. The measures draw on the References Committee’s report on Australia’s temporary work visa programs, as well as the Fair Work Ombudsman’s work in this area, especially its inquiry into worker exploitation throughout the 7-Eleven network. Read more here.
This story first appeared in INCLEAN.  [post_title] => Fair Work Ombudsman backs Bill to support vulnerable workers [post_excerpt] => Something has to change, says Ombudsman. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fair-work-ombudsman-backs-bill-support-vulnerable-workers [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-18 11:24:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-18 01:24:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => 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] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26899 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-12 15:11:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-12 05:11:22 [post_content] =>     The 35-year lease to run the NSW's profitable  land titles registry has been sold to a consortium led by First State Super and Hastings Fund Management for $2.6 billion, in a move heralded by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian as a ‘massive infrastructure boost’ and by almost everyone else as a bad idea. The only profitable part of the state’s Land and Property Information (LPI), the land titles registry, which currently makes about $130 million in net profit annually, was bought by Australian Registry Investments (ARI), a consortium made up of 80 per cent Australian institutional investors. Investors include First State Super, investment funds from Hastings Funds Management and a 20 per cent stake held by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group’s pension fund, also managed by Hastings. The winners beat off competition from three other consortiums: Borealis and Computershare; the Carlyle Group and Macquarie’s MIRA and Link Group. The NSW government called it a 'phenomenal result' for NSW. “Once again today's result has significantly exceeded expectations,” Ms Berejiklian said. “It means even more funding for the schools, hospitals, public transport and roads that people depend on every day.” The government will drop $1 billion of the sale proceeds on upgrading Parramatta and ANZ Stadiums and refurbishing Allianz Stadium, while the remaining $1.6 billion will be invested into other infrastructure projects under its Restart NSW fund, which often funds roads and public transport projects. The Premier has promised that at least 30 per cent of the total proceeds will be spent in regional NSW. But while the government has argued that selling the lease to operate the land titles registry to the private sector would spur ICT investment and speed up the system, scores of real estate agents, surveyors, lawyers, unions and community groups have slammed the sell-off and called it a disaster. They have argued that it will imperil the quality and reliability of the service, make it more expensive for ordinary people and push skilled staff out the door.  Opposition to the sell-off spilled over into a public rally in Sydney’s CBD in March. Land titles  defines the legal ownership and boundaries of land parcels and is integral to buying and selling property, as well as taking out and paying off mortgages, leasing and inheriting property. Despite the majority of people being blissfully unaware of the system until they need it, land titles underpins billions of dollars spent in the NSW economy and a $1.2 trillion real estate market.  The Public Service Association (PSA) called it a 'a recipe for disaster for millions of property owners across NSW'. “It is hands down, the most appalling fire sale decision yet by a Government with a strong track record in that area”, said PSA General Secretary, Stewart Little. “The government trumpets its efforts on ‘life-changing projects’ but what could be more life changing for millions of people across NSW than to lose the security on their own property? “Just as the PSA feared all along, ultimately the personal property records of the people in NSW will be held offshore given a portion of the successful consortium is based in London.” But NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet defended the lease arrangement and said it had ‘rigorous legislative and contractual safeguards’ in place to ensure the continued security of property rights and data. He said any increases in price were capped at CPI for the entire length of the lease and the government would continue to guarantee title, with the Torrens Assurance Fund compensating landowners who lost out due to fraud or error on the register, as happens now. A new external regulator has been established – the Registrar General – to monitor ARI’s performance and resume control, if necessary. Mr Perrottet praised ARI and said the company had prepared ‘a technology roadmap’ as part of its bid, helped by Advara, the private company that runs Western Australia’s land titles service. He said Advara had introduced ‘world-leading titling and registry technology’ to WA and added that the Registrar General would review and approve any major changes to LPI’s IT system in NSW. “This is an industry on the cusp of huge technological advances, and today we have partnered with some of Australia’s most reputable investors who will make sure the people of NSW get the benefit of those advances,” Mr Perrottet said. “Combined with the tight regulatory framework we have established, the investment, innovation and experience ARI will bring mean citizens can expect a better experience.” He said the ARI consortium had received approval from Commonwealth regulators including the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Foreign Investment Review Board and the transition to the new operator was likely to be finalised over the coming months. LPI staff have a four-year job guarantee as they transition to the new operator. More to come.   [post_title] => NSW land titles lease sold to consortium for $2.6 billion [post_excerpt] => Massive infrastructure boost or recipe for disaster? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => land-titles-lease-sold-consortium-2-6-billion [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-18 11:05:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-18 01:05:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26894 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-12 12:19:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-12 02:19:26 [post_content] =>   Trains in NSW will struggle to arrive on time and be blighted by overcrowding unless the capacity of the rail network is ‘increased significantly’ by 2019, says a report by the NSW Auditor-General. The audit of passenger rail services and rail punctuality in Sydney and regional areas, services overseen by Transport for NSW and contracted out to Sydney Trains and NSW Trains, found that the rail agencies were ‘well placed’ to manage the forecasted increase in passengers up to 2019 but would battle to stay on time beyond this date. But Auditor-General Margaret Crawford warned that this needed to be tackled. “Based on forecast patronage increases, the rail agencies will find it hard to maintain punctuality after 2019 unless the capacity of the network to carry trains and people is increased significantly,” Ms Crawford said. “If recent higher than forecast patronage growth continues, the network may struggle to maintain punctuality before 2019.” The NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan predicts there will be a 26 per cent increase in passengers between 2012 and 2031 and that passenger numbers may well overtake this figure. Forecasts have underestimated passenger numbers in the past, particularly in the morning peak. There has been an annual growth of 6.6 per cent since May 2014, twice as much as was predicted by the NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan. More passengers usually mean more delays as trains wait longer at stations for passengers to get on and off. Ms Crawford said Transport or NSW had been making progress but was not close to submitting a costed plan to the government to address these challenges. “If patronage continues to increase at a faster rate than forecast, particularly during the morning peak, the network will struggle to cope before 2019," she said. “There is a significant risk that investments will not be made soon enough to handle future patronage levels. Ideally planning and investment decisions should have been made already.” While the audit found that system-wide punctuality was good overall, it pinpointed poor punctuality in some areas of the network. Problem areas
  • Snarl ups around North Sydney affecting afternoon peak services out to Western Sydney and Hornsby via Strathfield
  • East Hills express trains in the afternoon peak performed ‘well below target’
  • Intercity trains were less punctual than suburban trains with declining punctuality between 2011 and 2014
But the Auditor-General was relatively sanguine about how these problems were being tackled, noting that Transport for NSW and Sydney Trains were ‘well advanced’ with strategies to address the North Sydney blockage with improved infrastructure, more staff training, new timetables  and fewer speed restrictions. Train timetable changes should correct the East Hills delays within three years, she said. Replacing old intercity trains and ensuring good staff training would ease intercity delays but MS Crawford said improvements to contracts would also help, given that Sydney Trains was responsible for train, track and signal maintenance and managing trains on the rail network. She said that Transport for NSW, Sydney Trains and NSW Trains were now working collaboratively to make improvements to the contracts. Recommendations
  • Transport for NSW should submit plans to address passenger growth over the next five to ten years to the government as soon as possible
  • Sydney Trains and Transport for NSW should: a) oversee and resource all plans to address passenger increases b) adjust strategies for any patronage growth above projections
  • Sydney Trains, NSW Trains and Transport for NSW should publish customer delay results by June 2018
  • Transport for NSW, Sydney Trains and NSW Trains should agree by December 2017: a) specific performance targets for intercity train, track and signal availability and reliability b) guidelines for train priorities during disruptions and indicators of control centre performance when implementing these guidelines
  • Sydney Trains, NSW Trains and Transport for NSW should by June 2018: a) improve the accuracy of measuring passenger numbers and develop a better understanding of growth trends b) address small errors in the adjustment factors used to determine a train’s punctuality c) improve their understanding of the factors impacting on intercity punctuality
  • Transport for NSW should, commencing June 2017, explore the potential to use behavioural insights to encourage more passengers to travel outside the height of the morning peak between 8 am and 9 am
Want the latest public sector news delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up the Government News newsletter. [post_title] => NSW trains will struggle with delays and overcrowding by 2019, says audit   [post_excerpt] => Problem areas of network revealed. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 26894 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-18 11:05:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-18 01:05:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26887 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-04-12 09:54:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-11 23:54:26 [post_content] =>
  By Paul Shetler This blog first appeared on   When any service can be virtualised, or held to the standards of the best digital companies, then it doesn’t make sense for companies to think of ‘digital’ and ‘the business’ as two separate things: digital is the business.
Keeping digital separate means putting the rest of the business on a path towards decline.
It’s easy for organisations in Australia to be complacent about their future – especially when they’ve reached a level of size and success that allows them to become bureaucratised. Sandy Plunkett belled the cat back in 2014 in her piece Board to death: Our fat, dumb corporations are clueless on innovationSadly, at the time, few appeared to be listening. Too many organisations dismiss the cautionary tales and are only now beginning to respond to digital change, if at all. “Evolution not revolution” appears to be the preferred strategy. Organisations ignore the disruption in entire industries like retail (Amazon), travel (Expedia), hospitality (Airbnb) or in businesses like Kodak or Blockbuster. For many Australians, changes to the economies in the USA and the UK are things that happened ‘over there’ with limited impact on our economy. In fact, Australian consumers have been beneficiaries of the change. In the USA, UK, Israel, China, Estonia, Singapore and other digital economies, organisations are embracing the new economics of IT. There is a realisation that the old strategies that organisations relied on – outsourcing, heavy governance, incremental evolution towards digital – will not help them be competitive. Organisations in these economies understand they need to embrace radical transformation if they want to survive and thrive in the digital era. In Australia, there remains a belief that there is still time, that we can take a decade to manage change, that digital offerings are not going to have an impact on our businesses. Too many of our largest institutions remain in denial. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Australian retail sector is about to see first hand the devastation that Amazon can have on its industry. Take for instance the impact that online shopping has had on traditional retail in the USA. Recently, it was reported that: “Macy’s has already said that it’s planning to close 100 stores, or about 15% of its fleet, in 2017. Sears is shuttering at least 30 Sears and Kmart stores by April, and additional closures are expected to be announced soon. CVS [a shopping centre owner] also said this month that it’s planning to shut down 70 locations. Mall stores like Aeropostale, which filed for bankruptcy in May, American Eagle, Chicos, Finish Line, Men’s Wearhouse, and The Children’s Place are also in the midst of multi-year plans to close stores.” More.


The rise of the digital economy isn’t new, it’s been happening for a while. The economics of IT have fundamentally changed. Take storage costs. In 1980, it cost $438,000 to store a GB of data; in 2000, it cost $11; in 2012, it cost $0.10. Now, you can have your first 15 GB of data stored free on Google Drive. This is the result of a virtuous cycle of cloud computing. Network effects established early leaders, who invested billions in capital that drastically drove down per unit storage and compute costs. This encouraged more users to consume the cloud leading to more investment by the early leaders. Now, there are really only three players, of which Amazon Web Services is dominant, with Google and Microsoft in close pursuit. It is highly unlikely that any other competitors will replicate the success of the early entrants who made the most of network effects with fast and massive continuous investment. The new economics of IT has radical implications for how organisations should think about their business. Every company is becoming a software company. We used to think some industries were not under threat, but look at what’s happened in transport (Uber), storage and compute (Cloud), media (Buzzfeed, Huffington Post and Breitbart), payments (PayPal), car share (goGet), publishing (Kindle), music (Spotify and iTunes), education (Moocs and Khan Academy) and recruitment (LinkedIn) – all of these industries have been impacted by hyper digital competition. Users are demanding more products and services that can be consumed online, anytime. Even businesses with digital offerings are finding they have to continually improve their services to keep competitors at bay. Amazon now has Prime, Fresh and Go. Google is buying, developing, refining and retiring offerings to remain relevant. Everyone is on the same network for the first time in history This means that everyone has access to all available products. Every market is now global. This allows for both rapid growth and scale-up as a result of network effects and the fulfilment of niche user needs which has resulted in the growth of internet subcultures and patterns of consumption. You only need to look at Tumblr4chan and YouTube to see the growth of niche subcultures online. Think of Vaporwave as a music genre - it only exists on the internet. The same holds true for blogging, where there are specialised blogs that can reach big audiences because the entire addressable market is global – with this trend being exploited by LinkedIn and Medium. Competition is growing as the barriers to entry fall Cheap cloud computing has flattened barriers to entry, allowing new competitors to challenge incumbents. It’s also opened the door to global digital companies, who no longer obey geographic boundaries: they rapidly acquire market share in new countries. That means for instance, Australian retailers are competing against efficient and low cost providers. Amazon is able to track and respond to demand shifts quickly, because of the data it collects – with extremely efficient processes for payments and delivery. This is competition the likes of which local retailers have never dealt with before. The threat posed by new competitors is even more acute because of the nature of platform economics: the first digital movers – think eBay, Amazon and Uber – have set up rapidly scalable platforms that allowed them to grab huge market share. Companies that wait too long are now being left behind or, worse, are locked out. Soon, analysts will measure the value of a company's share price based on the size, scale and pace of their digital transformation programs and boards will be scrutinised for their success in overseeing radical transformation. The smarter analysts will also be examining the type of investment in digital and quizzing CEOs on the scope, speed and outcomes of their transformation efforts. We’re shifting from CAPEX to OPEX Twenty years ago, when you needed to spend enormous amounts on licences and physical computers just to get started, it made sense to have heavy governance and lengthy contracts with specialised vendors. Today, you can avoid paying for licenses altogether if you elect to use open source software. Startups no longer need physical servers, physical firewalls, physical routers, database management system licences, operating system licences – they don’t need to buy any of the software or the hardware required to run their business. They pay by consumption. This is a radical shift that has levelled the playing field and made it easier for new competitors to enter markets. Institutions can take advantage of the same opportunities. They can begin to act like the very startups trying to disrupt them. They can run experiments, they can do things quickly, they don’t have to go through long CAPEX cycles. Today, they can go onto AWS and quickly experiment to test their ideas. They don’t have to wait for the boxes to arrive before starting, significantly reducing cycle times and cost. Consider the opportunities for large employers who were paying millions for Solaris, Oracle RDMBS, WebSphere, Oracle SOA Suite, Microsoft Windows servers, SQL servers, BizTalk servers, not to mention the physical servers, routers and firewalls. These days, you might lose your job if you do buy proprietary software, or spend money on physical servers and the facilities to host them. With the change to procurement, existing governance structures suited to the age of CAPEX also need to be upgraded.
The low cost of computing means companies can afford to use a credit card to buy services. This provides the single greatest opportunity for established businesses of any size to streamline procurement processes and access the service offerings of lower cost competitors.
The pace of change is fast – and getting faster The low cost of IT is encouraging experimentation and rapid learning. That means the rate of automation is intensifying. It’s not just Amazon that’s rapidly increasing its robot workforcefrom 1,000 to 45,000 units in three years. Machine learning and mechanised processes are playing a greater role in white-collar professions like law and accounting. Consumers consistently demonstrate they want cheap and reliable services, and don’t have much interest in engaging with their advisers, with offshoring customer enquiries to call centres being superseded by cognitive interfaces and voice command. The economics of IT have changed Business processes and products need to change with the new economicsDigital transformation means:
  • Responding in real time to consumer needs, not waiting six months for the next release cycle
  • Expanding the market for a product to everyone with a network address, not just people in geographic proximity to shopfronts
  • Applying cheap modern technology to build great products, not relying on ancient legacy systems
  • Reducing risk as teams experiment with products to see what works, rather than aiming for perfection at the end of a project, before finding out users don’t want what’s been delivered
  • Delivering faster, simpler, better products that meet user needs and create increased profitability.


Organisations are gradually coming to realise this is a new industrial revolution. It is not a phase. It doesn’t require change management. It does require fundamental and radical change, quickly. A Sloan Management Review survey found that 90% of executives anticipate their industry will be digitally disrupted to either a great or moderate extent. But taking action is much harder; in the same study, only 44% of executives thought their company’s preparation for disruption was adequate. Lord Francis Maude, who drove the transformation of government services in the UK between 2010-2015 recently reflected: “... I was sadly disillusioned by the extent of sheer inertia and obstruction, often passive but sometimes active obstruction in the civil service. The worst thing is when civil servants don’t give advice, saying ‘minister, this is a really stupid thing to do’ and rather go along with it but then don’t do it. That is just intolerable and there was far too much of that. So for me it was a disillusioning experience.” The old strategies for outsourcing, governance, procurement and IT, that organisations think are helping them are in fact often holding them back to the detriment of their shareholders, customers, suppliers and most significantly, to their employees. Applying the old model of outsourcing to the new economics of IT won’t suffice Outsourcing to large vendors made sense in the age of CAPEX, when it was expensive to experiment with IT. Now that organisations are competing against firms iterating thousands of times a day, it doesn’t make sense to wait six months for every release cycle, or to put up with exorbitant fees for changes in scope. Even so, too many organisations still apply the old model of outsourcing to the new economics of IT. This outdated strategy creates an opportunity for new entrants to grab market share from industry leaders. As Jeff Bezos famously observed “your margin is my opportunity”. Companies are being held hostage to the Triangle of Despair I’ve written before about how any bureaucracy holds back digital transformation. When I worked to fix government services in the UK, we used to call it the ‘Triangle of Despair’:
  • inappropriate procurement practices that made it impossible to change course
  • heavy governance from the era of CAPEX, even when dealing with the novel, user-facing problems that suit Agile
  • using ancient, proprietary IT systems with far too much manual processing.
Each of these problems feeds off a deskilled workforce that encourages a company to rely on vendors and apply heavy governance to manage risk, rather than building in-house capacity and trusting in their ability to deliver. Transforming a company today means re-skilling every layer, from the boardroom to the call centre. Organisations think they still have time to move Just last month, Myer’s CEO said that he was confident the company was already well-placed to compete with Amazon. That’s the same thing Macy’s CEO was saying last year, before the company was forced to close 100 stores and cut over 10,000 jobs. We’ve already seen digital disruption in the media industry, with Fairfax announcing another $30 million worth of cost cutting just this week. The pace of change is slower in highly-regulated industries like financial services, but we can already see FinTech start-ups undermining incumbents’ margins. Insurers are said to be preparing for a radical reduction of their advisor network. The world’s equity crowdfunding market is doubling in size every year, and continues to be dominated by start-ups. Consumer financial services are now ranked by executives as the third most likely sector to experience significant disruption in the near future. These startups may not kill off the banks but they’ll focus on the most profitable parts of the business, and leave behind those lines that are unprofitable for the incumbents to manage. While the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims in the AFR recently challenged the pace of change in Fintech, Jost Stollman at Tyro made it clear where he thought the challenges lay and more importantly what the future might hold if the industry doesn’t transform itself: “One day we might not be talking about the Big Four but AT&T Financial Services and Alibaba owning banking services in Australia.” Take a moment to consider that the existing financial institutions employ over 420,000 Australians and may be left with the least profitable parts of their current business having moved too slowly to protect their interest from digital competitors to new platforms. Financial institutions that have twigged to the opportunities have moved quickly. Take for instance JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs. Both institutions are applying digital solutions to transform themselves. They’re becoming different businesses, they’re changing their workforces and their offering: “At JPMorgan Chase & Co., a learning machine is parsing financial deals that once kept legal teams busy for thousands of hours. The program, called COIN, for Contract Intelligence, does the mind-numbing job of interpreting commercial-loan agreements that, until the project went online in June, consumed 360,000 hours of work each year by lawyers and loan officers. The software reviews documents in seconds, is less error-prone and never asks for vacation.” More. Goldman Sachs has built an enormous data lake and is applying machine learning to it, with plans to make that information available via APIs: “Historically, the API has been human beings talking to other human beings over the telephone, and all the tools, the content, the analytics, is on the internal platform only. We are shifting this radically and shifting this fast, and we’re packaging everything we do, and actually, we’re redesigning the whole company, around APIs,” he said.” More. What transformation requires If companies are to survive, they need to accept the fact that they are now a software company: that they must own and deliver their digital services, and take full responsibility for their digital offerings. To do that, they’ll need to take three steps. 1/ Re-design their internal structure - It doesn’t make sense to split services between a Chief Digital Officer responsible for the front-end and a Chief Information Officer working on the back-end. Great services rely on a front-office and back-office that work together. Both functions should fall underneath a Chief Digital and Information Officer with responsibility for digital service delivery, while highly commoditised systems like ERPs are handled by shared services centres. Switching to digital also means thinking about the aptitudes and skills of a digital workforce. In Simon Wardley’s parlance Pioneers who are comfortable with Lean and Agile methodologies shouldn’t be allocated tasks involving absolute stability like processing platforms; they need to work on novel, user-facing problems where experimentation and rapid learning is essential. Settlers with the skills to turn MVPs into broader-based products should be encouraged to steal the things Pioneers build, and industrialise them. Town planners skilled in scaling up and perfecting products should be tasked with commoditising existing services. That creates a conveyor built to move products from ideation through to platformization. 2/ Tackle the Triangle of Despair of inappropriate procurement, heavy governance, and broken IT - Procurement should be fast and unbundled, so that companies can reduce costs and access innovative solutions from startups and SMEs; that’s the reason why government agencies are flocking to Australia’s Digital Marketplace and the UK’s G-Cloud. Governance of agile developments don’t involve heavy business cases, which stop teams from changing course based on what they’ve learned; organisations should trust the internal governance built into regular experimentation with users. Legacy systems that leave employees waiting for external systems integrators to give them access to their own data should be retired, in favour of state-of-the-art modern technology they can adapt themselves. Tackling the Triangle of Despair also means solving the deskilling of the workforce on which it feeds. You can’t improve digital capability in a hothouse like an Innovation Lab, and then expect the business to change around it. The small number of employees who get introduced to modern ways of working become frustrated with the bureaucracy around them, and head elsewhere. Instead, there needs to be digital training at every level of the organisation. That includes in the executive suite.
The people running a software company need to know about the software market they are competing within.
3/ Demonstrate political will - Transformation can be painful, especially for people in an organisation’s legacy areas. Too often, that’s an excuse for digital leaders to pull back and create the theatre of transformation – halfway-house solutions they hope will be enough. A range of these is described in my earlier postTransformation requires the political will to see these solutions for what they are: a pretence of digital, that will leave the whole organisation vulnerable to disruption. Instead, leaders need to articulate the need for transformation, and understand that it requires sustained and decisive action, rather than incremental transition. It requires change, not change management. The alternative is to watch the decline of their organisations and plan the transition of workers onto the unemployment queue.


Australian organisations are unaccustomed to crisis or intense competition. Twenty-six consecutive years of GDP growth have allowed many Australian companies to prosper; but this has also meant that the current generation of Australia’s business leadership has never had to deal with widespread adversity or a serious challenge. Something they have in common with many ‘smashed avocado’ eating millennials. The leaders of the economy's oldest, largest organisations - the brownfields - where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by hazardous legacy IT/culture - cannot compete with greenfield startups by doing the same thing they’ve always done. And it’s not just Silicon Valley we need to worry about. A rising digital China has 800m users, it spends $369bn on research and development each year and only last year filed 1.3 million patent applications. Its universities are graduating over 600,000 engineers. How do Australian companies survive when faced with this level of competition? Waiting any longer to embrace the change driven by the digital economy and its impact means exposing Australia's leading employers to the great risk of being unable to compete. In time, it will mean putting an organisation on a Receiver’s watch list. Organisations that want to survive and thrive in the digital age need to embrace the changed economics of IT and take decisive, sustained action to transform themselves immediately. This means redesigning their internal structure, tackling the Triangle of Despair, and having the political will to transform themselves, even where it’s painful. Only by taking these steps now can an organisation hope to have a future. ............................ Paul Shetler is an adviser to governments and organisations around the world who are transforming their business. He is a speaker on digital transformation and organisational change. Paul was the CEO of the Digital Transformation Office and the Chief Digital Officer of the Australian Government’s Digital Transformation Agency. You can follow Paul on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @paul_shetler and stay in touch with his work at
[post_title] => Paul Shetler on the new industrial revolution: Digital disruption [post_excerpt] => Transformation not transition, argues Shetler. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => paul-shetler-new-industrial-revolution-digital-disruption [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-12 16:00:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-12 06:00:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 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] => 2017-04-11 11:09:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-11 01:09:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => 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] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26869 [post_author] => 667 [post_date] => 2017-04-11 09:16:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-10 23:16:48 [post_content] => Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, explores spatial data in virtual reality at  Locate17.   The launch of a new Location Information Knowledge Platform (or LINK for short) delivers an exciting new era of open access to essential spatial datasets across all levels of government and Australia’s different states and territories. LINK was announced last week at the Locate17 and Digital Earth Symposium held in Sydney, and creates simplified access to a wealth of fundamental spatial datasets. Before the advent of LINK, access to these data could only occur by conducting extensive searches across nine jurisdictions of Australia. All up, LINK incorporates datasets from no less than 73 agencies: 26 federal agencies; 40 state and territory-based agencies; 4 commercial agencies; and 3 non-jurisdictional agencies. LINK is already up and running to deliver open public location datasets via cloud services to all users. It takes the conceptual Foundation Spatial Data Framework (FSDF), first published in 2012, and delivers a comprehensive online knowledge base. The extensive range of FSDF datasets already available via LINK help define locations and spatial extent of a range of data across ten broad themes:
  1. Geocoded Addressing
  2. Administrative Boundaries
  3. Positioning
  4. Place Names
  5. Land Parcel and Property
  • Imagery
  • Transport
  • Water
  • Elevation and Depth
  • Land Cover
  Read more here. This story first appeared in Spatial Source.  [post_title] => National spatial data sharing: 73 government agencies join forces [post_excerpt] => Linking information to location. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => national-data [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-11 09:16:48 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-10 23:16:48 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [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] => 26966 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-04-21 11:14:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-21 01:14:39 [post_content] =>

By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier   Hoteliers and the wider hospitality industry are on edge, as they await more details in regards to the Federal Government’s 457 visa replacement. Yesterday (Tuesday), Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the scrapping of the 457 visa program, stating: “We are ensuring that Australian jobs and Australian values are first, placed first. During the press conference, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, announced that 457 visa will be replaced with two alternate visas, that do not foster as much agency for permanent residency. “What we propose is that under the Temporary Skills Shortage Visa short-term stream there will be a two-year visa, with the options of two-years, but there would not be permanent residency outcomes at the end of that. “In relation to the medium-term stream, which as the Prime Minister pointed out, is targeted at higher skills, a much shorter skills list, that will be for a period of four years, can be applied for onshore or offshore, and it's a significant tightening of the way in which that programme operates. According to the Department of Immigration, in 2014 cooks represented the third-largest usage of the 457 visa, after software/application programmers and general practitioners and residential medical officers. The AHA has called on the Government to ensure that the needs of the hospitality industry are met within the new visa program. “The hospitality industry is growing at unprecedented rates at the present and the demand for skilled labour is at all-time highs with this complete transformation of Australia’s hotel industry,” said AHA CEO, Stephen Ferguson. Indeed, the Government’s own Australian Tourism Labour Force Report estimated that the tourism and hospitality sector will require an additional 123,000 workers by 2020, including 60,000 skilled positions. “Australia’s hospitality sector has responded with a wide range of training and career development programs, but with such a rapid increase in tourism it is impossible to meet the demand for skilled labour in the short-term through local channels, especially in regional and remote Australia.” With the exact details of the new Temporary Short- and Medium-Term Visa programs, yet to be revealed, most hoteliers are withholding judgment at this stage, but a few were wary of the additional strain the scrapping of the 457 visa would place on finding kitchen staff. “I am still waiting to hear the finer detail about the announcement from Turnbull so as to fully understand the implications of this for the hospitality sector. But on face value, it does not seem to be founded in a sound consideration of the facts attributable to the current skills shortages being experienced in the hospitality sector,” opined Christian Denny, licensee of Hotel Harry and The Dolphin. For Angela Gallagher, group general manager of Gallagher Hotels, the replacement of the 457 visa program will create another hurdle in finding quality staff. Read more here. This story first appeared in The Shout. 
[post_title] => Hospitality industry reacts to 457 visa scrapping [post_excerpt] => Chefs third most sought after under visa program. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => hospitaliy-industry-reacts-457-visa-scrapping [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-21 11:14:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-21 01:14:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 141 [max_num_pages] => 11 [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] => 7c27e480b4a7dd01c5fc45cac017b754 [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 ) )