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                    [post_date] => 2017-10-02 21:25:41
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-02 10:25:41
                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28148" align="alignnone" width="300"] A pair of CubeSats, with the Earth’s limb in the background, is seen moments after being ejected from a small satellite deployer outside of the space station’s Kibo lab module in May 2017. Photo: NASA.[/caption]

Nick Ellis

UNSW Canberra and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will develop three Cubesats to be used for maritime surveillance, with the first lifting off in early 2018.

UNSW Canberra has signed a $9.96 million contract with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to develop new ways to enhance Australia’s future Defence space capability.

Engineers and scientists from UNSW Canberra Space will design and build three Cubesat spacecraft for two space missions, to be launched into Low Earth Orbit.

Cubesats are miniaturised satellites with a standardised form that fits into ‘piggy-back’ dispensers on most commercial rocket launch services

They are made up of units that are 10 centimetres cubed, use a variety of off-the-shelf and bespoke electronic components and sensors. They are economical, can be applied to a wide array of space-based purposes (particularly for space research, Earth observations and communications), and can be rapidly designed and built to high standards.

3 unit (3U) Cubesats are roughly the size of a loaf of bread and weigh approximately 4kg. 6 unit (6U) Cubesats are twice the size as 3U.

Director of UNSW Canberra Space, Professor Russell Boyce says the Cubesats will be used for maritime surveillance.

"These spacecraft are able to gather remote sensing information with radios and cameras, and are the sort of innovative space capability that can help meet many ground-based needs in ways that make sense for Australia,” Professor Boyce said.

“Because they have re-programmable software defined radios on board, we can change their purpose on the fly during the mission, which greatly improves the spacecraft’s functional capabilities for multiple use by Defence."

The first will lift-off in early 2018, followed by the second in 2019.

The space missions will also deliver research and educational outcomes for Defence and civilian students studying engineering at UNSW Canberra.

UNSW Canberra Rector, Professor Michael Frater, said the space program is built on the university’s strengths in satellite and sensor R&D.

“UNSW Canberra has invested significantly to build a very large world class team of space scientists and engineers. With the announcement this week of a national space agency, we are very excited about the future of space in Australia. We look forward to having a leading role in the space industry, both through education and research.”

 
                    [post_title] => RAAF, UNSW to cooperate in space
                    [post_excerpt] => UNSW Canberra and the RAAF will develop three Cubesats for maritime surveillance.
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                    [post_date] => 2017-09-26 10:59:36
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                    [post_content] => 

The Australian Government will outlay $50 million over the next seven years to establish the Cyber Security CRC.

The new cyber security Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), long campaigned for by the industry, has been announced in time for CyberWeek Sydney and “will build Australia’s cyber security capability and deliver solutions to ensure the safety of our businesses and citizens in cyberspace”.

While the funding “will leverage more than $89 million from the 25 industry, research and government partners”, the $50m announcement comes at a time when the just-also-announced Australian space agency has no funding committed to it, and the CSIRO’s highly praised Data61 technology unit is losing 15 of its researchers.

Data61 said the “impacted teams are confined to the Communications systems group within the Cyber Physical Systems program, which is comprised of small teams in the electromagnetics, microwave systems, communications and project management capabilities.” Sounds like just the people you need for a space program.

High hopes for Cyber CRC

“This investment will contribute to Australia’s reputation as a secure and trusted place to do business, enabling industry to attract and increase investment, trade and commerce and delivering broad economic benefit,” Craig Laundy MP, Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, said.

“This will give the Australian community confidence they are safe and secure as they conduct their business online.

“The Cyber Security CRC will deliver solutions to increase the security of critical infrastructure and that benefit businesses and their customers.

“These include frameworks, products and approaches that will service existing and future ICT enterprises across a broad range of platforms and operating systems,” Mr Laundy said.

He said the government’s Cyber Security Strategy addresses “how we can protect ourselves and be more resilient to malicious cyber activity and highlights the importance of a targeted and coordinated approach to research and development within the cyber security ecosystem.

“The activities of the Cyber Security CRC will contribute to these objectives while improving the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries.”

 

 
                    [post_title] => Cyber CRC $50m, space $0, Data61 -15
                    [post_excerpt] => The cyber security industry gets its wish for funding, whilst others face cutbacks.
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                    [post_content] => The Senate Inquiry into Flag of Convenience (FOC) Shipping has found serious risks.

The Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee report chronicles gaping holes in Australia’s national security framework, with the report being published  just one day after a government announcement to create the new Ministry of Home Affairs.

FOC shipping refers to international trading vessels that are registered in tax havens such as Liberia, Panama and the Marshall Islands. These registries are renowned for their lax labour laws, poor investment controls and lack of ownership oversight.

The Australian Border Force Submission states: “The Department notes that whilst a significant proportion of legitimate sea trade is conducted by ships with FOC registration, there are features of FOC registration, regulation and practice that organised crime syndicates or terrorist groups may seek to exploit. These features are:
  • A lack of transparency of the identity of shipowners and consequent impediment to holding the owner to account for a ship’s actions.
  • Insufficient flag state regulatory enforcement and adherence to standards.
The Senate Report states: “The committee maintains that [FOC] vessels present serious security risks to the Australian coast, which need to be properly addressed. “The committee takes the view that, by not agreeing to review the current state of the maritime sector in Australia, the government is failing to address the serious security, economic, human rights and environmental vulnerabilities in the sector.” The committee called on the Federal Government to grow the Australian maritime industry in the face of what it calls “very real and current risks to our nation” posed by FOC vessels and their crew. In a recently published opinion peace, Opposition transport spokesman Anthony Albanese also referred to the security implications of not having a domestic shipping industry. “Indeed, defence experts have long recognised the importance of maintaining a domestic maritime workforce,” Mr Albanese said. “It ensures that Australia has a pool of highly skilled labour that can be quickly mobilised during times of war or other national emergencies. “Furthermore, Australian seafarers undergo stringent background checks to ensure they pose no security threats.  Overseas seafarers whose backgrounds are a mystery to us do not undergo such close scrutiny.” International Transport Federation (ITF) president Paddy Crumlin said the conservative Australian Government is intentionally encouraging the morally ambiguous – and at times criminal – underbelly of FOC shipping. “The Turnbull Government has allowed Australian seafarers to be replaced by FOC lawlessness that now threatens our very national security. “Under their legislative abuses Australian seafarers, properly trained, security-screened and resident taxpayers, have been sacked and their jobs in a domestic transport sector given away to whoever comes over the horizon without a word of inquiry about their background. “The solution is simple: stop destroying and start supporting and growing  our domestic shipping industry and the Australian working men and women that work there, and in doing so we will help keep our borders safe,” Mr Crumlin said. ITF national coordinator Dean Summers said the inquiry had officially laid bare the murky world of FOC shipping that the Turnbull Government has so far chosen to ignore. “The Senate Inquiry heard multiple accounts of the very worst of what FOC shipping has to offer – murders, gun-running, intimidation, bullying, harassment and slave labour,” Mr Summers said. “The appalling case of multiple murders at sea onboard the Sage Sagittarius was the basis for this inquiry and serves as a shocking reminder of what can happen when an entire industry is little more than a race to the bottom. The committee called for a comprehensive whole-of-government review into the potential economic, security and environmental risks presented by FOC shipping. The committee said it was very concerned by FOC vessels carrying dangerous goods around Australia’s coast, including ammonium nitrate and petroleum products. Last financial year, only 1,072 of the 15,715 commercial vessels arriving in Australia were searched by ABF. “The committee is very disturbed by the many examples of job losses, poor working conditions, inadequate wages and deaths and disappearances at sea,” it stated. “To have seafarers disappearing and dying in and around Australian waters, and while in transit to Australian ports is unacceptable.” The committee recommended that:
  1. The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) implement an inspection program for ships with foreign seafarers to verify paid wages meet Australian legal requirements.
  2. The Federal Government fund the FWO wages inspection program.
  3. The Federal Government implement clear procedures on how to respond to deaths that occur on ships travelling in or to Australian waters.
  4. The Federal Government consider legislative amendments to provide clarity on jurisdictional responsibility for investigating deaths on ships travelling in Australian waters.
  5. The re-establishment of an advisory body made up of key maritime industry stakeholders to advise government on new Australian shipping policies and workforce development and training opportunities.
  6. The Federal Government review the Australian maritime industry with a view to grow and support it.
  7. The Federal Government review the potential economic, security and environmental risks presented by FOC vessels and foreign crew.
The committee’s full report can be found here.   [post_title] => Homeland Security could start with 'flags of convenience' [post_excerpt] => The Senate Inquiry into Flag of Convenience (FOC) Shipping has found serious risks. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => homeland-security-start-flags-convenience [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-20 17:21:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-20 07:21:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27656 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27635 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-17 22:30:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-17 12:30:02 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27636" align="alignnone" width="300"] The Rheinmetall Boxer CRV.[/caption] One of the contenders for a looming $5 billion defence contract will base itself in Queensland if it is successful, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced. Rheinmetall Defence Australia would establish its Australia-New Zealand headquarters and a manufacturing and vehicle maintenance facility in South East Queensland if it wins the upcoming LAND 400 Phase 2 contract to supply Australia’s new armoured vehicles, potentially generating 450 long-term jobs and contributing more than $1 billion to the state’s economy over the next 10 years. Currently the largest supplier of military vehicles to the Australian Defence Force, Rheinmetall will establish the MILVEHCOE as a sovereign industrial capability for the continuous design, manufacture, export and support for military vehicles, turrets and tactical systems. The MILVEHCOE will also draw on a supply network across Australia to deliver products and services from local industry into Rheinmetall’s global supply chain. Rheinmetall is delivering more than 2,500 logistics trucks to the Australian Army under the LAND 121 Phase 3B program and is currently bidding for the supply of the armoured combat reconnaissance vehicle under the Commonwealth of Australia’s Land 400 Phase 2 program. Rheinmetall Defence Australia has selected Queensland as its preferred location to build the ‘military vehicle centre of excellence’ (MILVEHCOE) if it wins the contract to deliver 225 combat reconnaissance vehicles for the Australian Army.  Around 100 of these vehicles are expected to be located at the Townsville and Enoggera bases. Defence industries employ approximately 6,500 people across the state and generate more than $4.2 billion in annual revenue. Most of the new jobs would be expected to be highly skilled, highly paid advanced manufacturing and engineering jobs. Under the LAND 400 Phase 2 contract, Rheinmetall would need to have its facility completed by mid-2020 to supply the first Boxer CRV by 2022. Rheinmetall is one of two companies vying for the Department of Defence’s Land 400 Phase 2 contract, which is expected to be announced in the first quarter of next year. The other company is BAE Systems Australia, which has yet to announce where it would manufacture its vehicles if it were to win the Land 400 contract. An existing network of Queensland-based companies supports many of Rheinmetall’s current projects in Australia and overseas, including Nioa, Penske, Holmwood Highgate, Hilton, Harris Communications, Haulmark, ELBIT and LaserDyne Technologies. Supashock: from partnership to purchase In the lead-up to the LAND 400 Phase 2 contract decision, Rheinmetall has purchased one of its suppliers, South Australia-based Supashock. Supashock creates active suspension for motorsport and automotive applications to improve performance, safety and ride quality. Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) provided funding to Supashock in May 2017 to develop an integrated active suspension system and intelligent load handling system for the Australian and international markets that will substantially increase the capability and safety of RMMV’s military trucks in demanding on and off-road environments. Through comparative testing, Supashock’s suspension technology has been shown to substantially improve the mobility of Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) trucks, while at the same time enhancing on-road safety and reducing the shock and vibration experienced by the load the truck is carrying.   [post_title] => Queensland in line for billion-dollar defence contract [post_excerpt] => One of the contenders for a $5bn defence contract has undertaken to base itself in Qld. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => queensland-scores-billion-dollar-defence-contract-battle-maybe [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-18 19:04:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-18 09:04:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27635 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27463 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-06-23 10:36:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-23 00:36:19 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27464" align="alignnone" width="300"] Department of Defence photo from the Royal Australian Air Force taken during Exercise Diamond Storm.[/caption] Department of Defence staff will have a new enterprise agreement after three years of negotiations, with staff voting on a deal that improved on the three previously rejected offers, with more rights protected. These include:
  • Comprehensive Terms of Reference for the National Workplace Relations Committee (NWRC), which includes representation rights for members and workplace delegates, and dispute escalation and settlement protocols;
  • The application of enforceable policy and process in areas of the agreement that cover situations where members’ jobs may be at risk, such as performance management and excess declaration; and
  • A proper performance management process written into the agreement.
The ballot saw 61% voting Yes to the agreement. 84% of eligible staff participated, in the first Defence ballot since December last year. Defence is one of several major agencies voting in June, with Agriculture staff also approving a new deal earlier this week and ballots soon in the Tax Office, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and CSIRO. CSIRO staff have also narrowly voted to approve a new enterprise agreement, with their reluctance underlining the importance and difficulty management faces in rebuilding trust in the organisation. The agreement was secured with a 57.74% Yes vote. The ballot closed late on Thursday night, with 77% of eligible CSIRO staff participating. CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said: “Defence staff have finally voted up a new agreement, albeit reluctantly. This deal is a real improvement on those they’ve previously rejected but it’s far from perfect and also massively unfair that they're copping a three-year plus pay freeze.” The deal includes a 6% pay rise over the three-year term of the agreement. The deal has been negotiated on a single-agency basis, as are the other public service agreements. This despite calls for single-agency negotiations to be discontinued by former public service commissioner Andrew Podger, currently a professor at the Australian National University, who was the public service commissioner between 2002 and 2004. As reported in Government News (Dump single agency bargaining in the APS, says former Public Service Commissioner), Professor Podger said single agency bargaining has had serious, negative consequences for the public service which have outweighed the promised benefits, chiefly around flexibility. “This has caused very serious damage to the integrity of the whole pay system in the Public Service with tangible impact on mobility within the service, serious management problems for agencies affected by machinery of government changes, justified complaints of unfairness across and within agencies, and unknown impacts on attraction and retention of the skills the APS requires,” Prof Podger told the 2016 senate inquiry into APS bargaining. Prof Podger said single agency negotiations have created pay disparities for similar jobs  in different departments and agencies and has also damaged staff morale and caused resentment. “What’s happened is they’ve all gone their different ways and none of them have been able to focus on the market,” says Prof Podger. “Strict central rules led to different pay rates, not because they are useful but because they are forced to be there.” [post_title] => Defence, CSIRO to finally get a pay rise [post_excerpt] => Department of Defence staff will get a pay rise after three years of negotiations. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => defence-finally-get-pay-rise [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-23 11:11:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-23 01:11:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27463 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27126 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-16 10:15:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-16 00:15:57 [post_content] =>

 
By Andy Young The NSW RSL is set to face an independent inquiry, which will look into allegations of financial misconduct which have plagued the organisation. The NSW State Government will reveal the details of the inquiry later today, but it will be headed by former NSW Supreme Court justice Patricia Bergin SC. It is expected the inquiry will have royal commission-like powers to compel witnesses to appear and be able to seize evidence. The inquiry comes after a series of allegations of financial rorting by the RSL's NSW branch, which have already seen an inquiry by Australia's charities watchdog. In December former NSW RSL president Don Rowe was referred to NSW Police over claims he used his corporate credit card to withdraw $200,000 in cash. NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Matt Kean today told the ABC, that enough was enough and it was time to be clear on what was happening at the RSL. "We will get to the bottom of these allegations once and for all," Kean said. "These are serious complaints and the fact that they've allegedly been committed in the name of one of our oldest and most respected institutions is totally unacceptable. "We want to clean up the mess and make sure it never happens again." Veterans Affairs Minister David Elliott told Fairfax Media that he was "completely fed up". "Based on the emails, letters and conversations I have with veterans around NSW, as well as their sub-branches, there is overwhelming support for the government to intervene," Elliott said. "It is heartbreaking to see the NSW RSL trashed in such a way and this is an opportunity to restore public confidence in this iconic organisation." Ministers Elliott and Kean will address media this afternoon to announce the full details of the inquiry.   This story first appeared in The Shout. 
[post_title] => NSW Government to launch independent RSL inquiry [post_excerpt] => Amidst allegations of financial rorting. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-government-launch-independent-rsl-inquiry [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-16 15:50:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-16 05:50:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27126 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25923 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-12-21 10:59:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-20 23:59:48 [post_content] => artificial-intelligence   By Anthony Wallace   As we enter another year much transformed to the one passing, you are not alone in wondering what changes the next 12 months will bring. For technology-led sectors like surveying and spatial, it is a difficult path to predict. Thankfully, the Cooperative Research Council for Spatial Information (CRCSI) has been busy in recent months compiling a global outlook report that identifies and assesses the 18 trends that are most likely to shape the spatial and surveying sectors in the coming years. Overall, the Global Outlook 2016: Spatial Information Industry report provides an update on the specific technological trends and advances that have a high likelihood of converging with the industry, as well as how these are set to evolve over the coming years. The report groups the 18 following trends into four categories, ‘Infrastructure’, ‘Smart systems’, ‘People’ and ‘Issues’: Read more here. This story first appeared in Spatial Source.  [post_title] => 18 spatial industry trends to watch in 2017 [post_excerpt] => Virtual reality, smart systems. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 25923 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-21 10:59:48 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-20 23:59:48 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25923 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25790 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-12-07 10:45:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-06 23:45:57 [post_content] => Man putting a ballot into a voting box.   Public servants working at the Department of Defence have rejected the government's most recent pay offer for the third time, this time by 58.4 per cent - an increased margin from both of the last votes.  The turnout was high, with 84 per cent of staff voting on the proposed enterprise agreement.  Of those, 58.4% voted ‘no’ and 41.6% voted ‘yes’.   The vote was always expected to be extremely close, after the second agreement was voted down in May by 55 per cent. The first vote in March led to a 50.9 per cent ‘no’ vote. The federal government will be wringing its hands over its failure to get the 18,500-strong department over the line, dashing its hopes of persuading other large hold-out agencies, such as Human Services and the Australian Tax Office (ATO), to follow suit. The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) advised its members at Defence to vote down the agreement, which it says represents only a 1 per cent pay rise each year; removes rights and conditions from the EBA and into policy (which can be changed later); removes the need to consult about issues like major organisational change and attacks areas such as performance pay and fair dispute resolution. The Union's National Secretary, Nadine Flood said: “Just days after Minister Cash rejected the outcomes of the senate inquiry into this three year dispute, Defence staff have delivered another damning indictment of the Turnbull Government’s public sector bargaining policy. This is now the third time Defence staff have voted 'no' to dud deals framed under the policy, and it’s telling the margin of the defeat has grown each time. “This mess in Defence started three years ago with an attack on ADF pay and conditions and it's still not fixed. Minister Michaelia Cash’s pretence there isn't a problem with government’s bargaining policy looks completely threadbare when the opposition in a major agency like Defence is growing each time they go to a vote.” The CPSU and the technical union Professionals Australia, representing many Defence scientists and engineers, have said that a third ‘no’ vote would motivate them to ask the Fair Work Commission to step in an arbitrate, something that is already happening with staff at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, but the Defence Department is known to be highly resistant to the move. Another critical vote for the government opens tomorrow (Thursday), when 20,000 staff at the ATO cast their votes, with the result expected a week later. Public Service Minister Michaelia Cash has pledged to continue the government’s hard-line bargaining approach, commenting that she will completely ignore the recent Labor/Greens senate report into the three-year APS bargaining slog. The report, which was countered by a dissenting report from Coalition senators, called the government’s approach to the dispute “toxic” and “cruel and heartless”. [post_title] => Defence votes 'no' for the third time [post_excerpt] => Cash fails to get Defence over the line. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => defence-votes-no-third-time [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-09 09:50:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-08 22:50:07 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25790 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25774 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-12-06 14:42:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-06 03:42:45 [post_content] =>  malcolm-turnbull-1_opt   The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has mounted a campaign to force Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to act on senate recommendations and end the divisive enterprise bargaining stand-off for tens for thousands of public servants. The three-year Australian Public Service (APS) dispute over pay and working rights and conditions was the subject of a recent Senate inquiry, which found Mr Turnbull’s bargaining policy “cruel and heartless”, although Coalition senators wrote a dissenting report accusing the union of “unrealistic wage demands” and of refusing to compromise. The Education and Employment References Committee released its report Siege of attrition: the Government's APS Bargaining Policy last week with a list of recommendations including:
  • Public Service Minister Michaelia Cash should sit down with union representatives and agencies to reach “a reasonable conclusion” to the extended bargaining dispute
  • Savings accumulated from a three-year wage freeze should be used to compensate workers with higher pay offers
  • Staff affected by machinery of government changes, e.g. Department of Immigration and Border Protection, should not have their pay or working conditions diluted
  • Ending the prohibition on back pay or finding another way to compensate staff for the protracted dispute
  • Retaining access to family friendly conditions, including hours of work protections to support workers with caring responsibilities
  • Supporting domestic violence leave
  • The Australian Public Service Commission and the CPSU to establish a framework to deal with future enterprise bargaining well before agreements expire
  • Retaining rights to consultation and dispute resolution 
The report concluded: "This is shabby and appalling treatment of hard working and dedicated public servants across the APS. It stands as a shameful indictment of a cruel and callous government that it has turned its back on tens of thousands of its own workers on average and below average incomes and dismissed their legitimate claims with comments that are not only snide and insulting but also deliberately false and misleading." The CPSU is encouraging its members and the public to sign an online petition and to write, ring or visit their MP and to pressurise the Prime Minister into acting on the senate report and dropping the government's hardline bargaining approach.    cpsu-breaking-news Pic: CPSU website.    There are two ballots under APS bargaining happening this week: Defence, which closes today (Tuesday December 6) with the results expected by tomorrow and the Australian Tax Office (ATO), which opens on Thursday and the results will probably be known a week later. The Defence vote is impossible to predict with any accuracy. The last vote in May was so close, with a 55 per cent ‘no’ vote. The ATO vote, also in May, rejected the government’s offer by 72 per cent. The ballot for Australian Bureau of Statistics interviewers opens on December 13 and closes three days later. Over at the 36,594-strong Department of Human Services, union members are striking over four days this month, which will include staff at call centres and customer service centres, and end on Friday December 16. Meanwhile, the Fair Work Commission is currently arbitrating between the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the CPSU after the two sides failed to reach an agreement but with no clear end date in sight. [post_title] => Union petitions PM to change “cruel and heartless” APS bargaining stance [post_excerpt] => Pressure mounts: Strikes, ballots, petitions. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 25774 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-09 09:51:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-08 22:51:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25774 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25675 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-11-28 16:41:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-28 05:41:05 [post_content] =>   Gold Coast, Australia - April 25, 2010: Two elderly, unidentified, Australian military veterans wearing suits adorned with service medals make a speech at an ANZAC Day memorial service. This image focuses on body language and medals, no faces are visible.   State and territory governments and the federal government have agreed to work together to collect better data on areas such as veterans’ suicide, homelessness and incarceration rates and to press for a new military service question on the next Census. Veterans’ Affairs ministers from every state and territory have agreed to co-ordinate their efforts to give governments more accurate and meaningful data about veterans’ lives after they leave the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and transition to civilian life. A recent parliamentary inquiry by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee highlighted the current paucity of data on ex-service men and women. The Committee’s report, due on March 30 2017, is likely to recommend better data collection about the lives of veterans in order to track trends and to better target support services. It is likely that rates of suicide and poor mental health among veterans is under-reported. The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) told Government News last week that it did not have a complete picture of suicides among veterans. “While Defence records all incidences of suspected or confirmed suicide among current serving members of the ADF, DVA does not have a complete picture of suicides in the ex-serving population. This is because DVA only becomes officially aware of a death by suicide of a veteran if a claim for compensation is lodged by a dependant in respect of the death of a veteran.  In this case, a cause of death must be investigated to establish a relationship with service," said the DVA. Data improvements agreed by the ministers:
  • Ask for a military service-related question in the next Census
  • Developing standardised military service history indicators to use in data collections for suicide and homelessness
  • To meet with state-based and national ex-service organisations to discuss better coordinating efforts addressing homelessness and other services
  • NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia currently collect data on veteran incarceration; other states and territories will investigate following suit
  • NSW and Victoria to share information on their veterans’ homelessness programs
  • State and territory governments to provide information on their services as part of every ADF transition session for those leaving the military
  • Commonwealth to advise states and territories when ADF personnel are medically-discharged to help plan support services
  • Commonwealth to ensure all medically-discharged veterans have a Medicare card when they leave the ADF
The federal Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said the first ever meeting of Veterans’ Affairs Ministers had underscored their joint commitment “to re-double our efforts tackling the challenges faced by our veterans".  “All levels of government are providing important support and services to our veterans that recognise their service and sacrifice but we have to ensure we are coordinating our efforts,” Mr Tehan said. “Our veterans will benefit from a more unified approach as a result of getting all the relevant ministers together in one room to better coordinate services and gather important data.”   [post_title] => State governments to co-ordinate veterans' data [post_excerpt] => Military service question on Census? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 25675 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-29 10:45:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-28 23:45:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25675 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25643 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-11-23 15:03:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-23 04:03:24 [post_content] => Feet of soldiers marching at an ANZAC Day parade on the streets of a regional country town     Suicide rates for serving military personnel and veterans are likely to have been underestimated, says an ex-serviceman working with Australian Defence Force (ADF) members who have been wounded, injured or got sick from serving. Recent unofficial figures from a Herald Sun investigation of suicide among serving military and veterans suggested that as many as 50 ADF personnel have killed themselves this year, more than the 41 who died over 13 years in the Afghanistan conflict. Simon Sauer is CEO of Mates4Mates, an organisation which runs physical, social and psychological support programs for current and ex-servicemen and women. He said suicide figures were “potentially under-reported”. Mr Sauer said the government had “no handle” on how many suicides occurred because once people left the service Defence did not track veterans, except if they were registered with the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA). Veterans usually registered with the DVA because they had been wounded and got sick or injured during service and needed to pursue compensation claims. “If you’re leaving Defence and you think you’re ok, or you have made the choice not to register with DVA because you don’t trust them then there’s nothing in your record that flags you as ex-Defence,” Mr Sauer said. “You could be Korean War veteran and your wife may not know you had ever served.” In the US, the social security numbers of individuals match their number in the forces and the two are linked.  This is not the case in Australia. Mr Sauer said it was important to collect the statistics and track what was happening. He said other professions such as police, paramedics and farmers also tended to have higher suicide rates. “Maybe Defence hasn’t got a problem. We don’t really know,” he said. “It comes back to mental health. Yes, it’s a problem for each of these [professions] but it’s actually a national problem and that’s what we need to be focusing on right from early school. Young boys need to be able to ask for help.” The recent parliamentary inquiry by Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References into suicide among veterans has been brought the issue into sharp focus and highlighted the fact that there are no official statistics available. Voluntary organisation Soldier On, which helps veterans of contemporary conflicts adapt to civilian life, wrote in its submission to the inquiry that the government needed to make a much bigger effort to collect these statistics and gain a better understanding of how to tackle suicide. Soldier On CEO John Bale said there was no one answer to explain why Australian veterans were taking their own lives at such high rates but that it was “often a complex mix of multiple factors”, such as family and relationship issues; financial stress; unemployment; housing uncertainty, depression and anxiety; PTSD; alcohol and drug use and addiction and chronic pain. He wrote: “The number of veteran suicides in 2016 alone indicated that a significant number of ex- service personnel who have been adversely affected by their service, are not receiving the level of care and ongoing support they require.” Mr Bale said ADF members often experienced problems when they transitioned to civilian life and they started to feel lonely and isolated. This was particularly acute when they were medically discharged. “In the ADF, members are constantly surrounded by like-minded individuals, rules and systems they understand and a purpose greater than themselves,” Mr Bale wrote. “When they transition from the ADF to the civilian life, they often lose their friends, their job and their understanding of how life operates.  Their sense of identity, tribal connection and purpose disappears in that one moment.” Government News understands that the DVA is currently collecting suicide statistics by cross-checking coroners’ reports with service records - possibly going back to 2002 – in an attempt to get a clearer picture of suicide rates. A DVA spokesperson said suicide prevention and supporting families affected by suicide was its highest priority. "While Defence records all incidences of suspected or confirmed suicide among current serving members of the ADF, DVA does not have a complete picture of suicides in the ex-serving population. This is because DVA only becomes officially aware of a death by suicide of a veteran if a claim for compensation is lodged by a dependant in respect of the death of a veteran.  In this case, a cause of death must be investigated to establish a relationship with service." The DVA has been working with Defence and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare since 2014 to understand the incidence of suicide among former serving members of the ADF, and  investigating whether there is a difference compared with the Australian population. Preliminary findings of this research will be released by the end of the month. The DVA is also developing a new pilot suicide awareness and prevention training program to complement its current suicide prevention programs, which includes face-to-face Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshops delivered by the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service. The new pilot program for veterans and their families is expected to equip individuals with the skills and confidence to identify and respond to veterans who might be at risk of suicide, or who have attempted suicide, and give ex-serving members and their families self-care strategies. The DVA is also working on its Early Engagement Model, which it says will engage ADF members early in their careers so that they are aware of what support and services are available to them and promote early intervention and prevention of any mental or physical health conditions. Meanwhile, veterans will be hoping that this model will help streamline their compensation claims by sharing data between Defence and the DVA, something that has been held up in the past due to privacy concerns over data sharing between the two departments. This would mean that people would have to provide some information only once, for example, about their injuries and treatment. But this step forward needs substantial investment. The federal government announced in February this year that it would spend billions to upgrade Defence’s retro ICT systems under its Integrated Investment Program in the Defence White paper. Both organisations have been strongly criticised because compensation claims can be demanding to prove and take many years to conclude thus exacerbating mental health problems for veterans and leaving them and their families struggling financially. Mr Sauer said the DVA had introduced non-liability healthcare so that veterans could access treatment immediately while their claim was being processed, which he said this was a positive step but did not help families survive financially, particularly when claims can take multiple years to be settled. In a submission to the inquiry, the Partners and Veterans Association of Australia said that the ADF and the DVA paid lip service to the partners and families of service men and women but often failed to give them any tangible help. “Little thought is given to the financial situation of the veteran and family when a veteran’s disability precludes his/her ability to work,” the submission said. “Often the claim process through DVA is difficult, with stumbling blocks at every turn and may drag on interminably, leading to extra stress on top of an already volatile home life. Loss of income and the extra strain this puts on the family is one of the major hurdles to overcome.”   [post_title] => Military and veteran suicides probably underestimated [post_excerpt] => DVA trying to collect statistics. 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Photo: NASA.[/caption] Nick Ellis UNSW Canberra and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will develop three Cubesats to be used for maritime surveillance, with the first lifting off in early 2018. UNSW Canberra has signed a $9.96 million contract with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to develop new ways to enhance Australia’s future Defence space capability. Engineers and scientists from UNSW Canberra Space will design and build three Cubesat spacecraft for two space missions, to be launched into Low Earth Orbit. Cubesats are miniaturised satellites with a standardised form that fits into ‘piggy-back’ dispensers on most commercial rocket launch services They are made up of units that are 10 centimetres cubed, use a variety of off-the-shelf and bespoke electronic components and sensors. They are economical, can be applied to a wide array of space-based purposes (particularly for space research, Earth observations and communications), and can be rapidly designed and built to high standards. 3 unit (3U) Cubesats are roughly the size of a loaf of bread and weigh approximately 4kg. 6 unit (6U) Cubesats are twice the size as 3U. Director of UNSW Canberra Space, Professor Russell Boyce says the Cubesats will be used for maritime surveillance. "These spacecraft are able to gather remote sensing information with radios and cameras, and are the sort of innovative space capability that can help meet many ground-based needs in ways that make sense for Australia,” Professor Boyce said. “Because they have re-programmable software defined radios on board, we can change their purpose on the fly during the mission, which greatly improves the spacecraft’s functional capabilities for multiple use by Defence." The first will lift-off in early 2018, followed by the second in 2019. The space missions will also deliver research and educational outcomes for Defence and civilian students studying engineering at UNSW Canberra. UNSW Canberra Rector, Professor Michael Frater, said the space program is built on the university’s strengths in satellite and sensor R&D. “UNSW Canberra has invested significantly to build a very large world class team of space scientists and engineers. With the announcement this week of a national space agency, we are very excited about the future of space in Australia. We look forward to having a leading role in the space industry, both through education and research.”   [post_title] => RAAF, UNSW to cooperate in space [post_excerpt] => UNSW Canberra and the RAAF will develop three Cubesats for maritime surveillance. 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Defence