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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28281" align="alignnone" width="267"] Professor Billie Giles-Corti. RMIT University[/caption]

Australia’s big cities often rate well on international ‘liveability’ indexes. But all is not as it seems.

Life for many residents in Australia’s cities isn’t nearly as good as we would like to believe, a new report from RMIT University has found.

The new ‘Creating Liveable Cities in Australia’ study is the culmination of five years of research, intended to create a baseline measure of liveability in Australia’s state and territory capitals.

The report examines seven aspects of a city’s liveability: walkability, public transport, public open spaces, housing affordability, employment and the food and alcohol environments.

“No Australian capital city performs well across all the liveability indicators,” says Professor Billie Giles-Corti, who led the research and is Director of RMIT’s Urban Futures Enabling Capability Platform. “Many also failing to meet policy targets aimed at ensuring liveability.

“There is widespread evidence of geographical inequities in the delivery of liveability policies within and between cities, with outer suburban areas less well served than inner-city suburbs. Measurable policies and targets to deliver liveable communities are often not in place, and often those that are in place are not strong enough.

“Many policies aren’t making best use of the available evidence. There are no spatial measurable policy standards or targets in any capital city for local employment, housing affordability, promoting access to healthy food choices, or limiting access to alcohol outlets.”

Professor Giles-Corti said the report is the first of its kind, and shows that better policies are urgently needed to maintain and enhance liveability and ensure the wellbeing of residents, particularly as Australia faces a doubling of its population by 2050.

“One significant way to create liveable cities and to improve people’s health and wellbeing is through urban design and planning that create walkable, pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods,” she said. “But Australian cities are still being designed for cars.

“Our study shows that only a minority of residents in Australian cities live in walkable communities, and most of our city’s density targets for new areas are still too low. This means walkable communities will never be achieved in outer suburbs.

“Higher residential densities and street connectivity, mixed land-uses, and high-quality footpaths are all desperately needed to achieve walkable cities. But we don’t have the policy frameworks in place in Australia to create vibrant walkable communities,” she said.

Public transport also rates poorly. “While many residents might live nearby a public transport stop, most dwellings in state capitals lack close access to stops serviced at least twice an hour. This creates a risk of increasing inequity in our cities, with some residents doubly disadvantaged.

“Given that outer suburbs have poorer access to public transport, household expenditure on cars is likely to be higher there than in other areas, meaning these residents are losing out twice over.”

Professor Giles-Corti said the report is a useful diagnostic tool for understanding the current state of liveability in Australian cities, and that could it should be repeated regularly.

“What’s even more important is what governments should do about it,” she said. :We’ve made seven recommendations in the report which we’ll be pushing to see adopted at local, state and federal level.”

The report was produced by RMIT University in collaboration with researchers from the Australian Catholic University and the University of Western Australia. The research team received funding from the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program, the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, and the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy Liveable Communities.

The report is available here.
                    [post_title] => Australia’s cities not so ‘liveable’ after all
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                    [post_date] => 2017-10-09 06:13:28
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                    [post_content] => 

The Federal Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), announced with great fanfare 18 months ago, has yet to invest in single project.

“This facility will provide financing to build the transport, energy, water and communications infrastructure needed in our north,” said Josh Frydenberg, the Minister for Industry Innovation and Science, when he announced the fund in May 2016.

“This will create jobs, enhance investment, and unlock the full potential of this vibrant region to grow the northern Australian economy.” Fine words, but there appears to be little urgency to putting them into action.

The NAIF came into existence on 1 July 2016. Costs so far include over $1 million for wages, $630,000 for directors’ fees, $100,000 for travel, and $13,000 for functions.

CEO Laurie Walker, a banker and lawyer who has worked at a senior level for both ANZ and CBA, receives a $410,000 salary. The agency’s website shows that she has given many presentations at conferences, but she has yet to sign off on a single investment, after more than a year on the job.

So far there is nothing to show for the agency’s establishment, and the natives are getting restless. Two weeks ago the Government said the first project would be announced that week, but still nothing has happened.

It is widely believed that the first investment is intended to be a low interest $1 billion loan to Indian coal company Adani for a rail line to its controversial giant Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. But that announcement seems to be on hold as disquiet grows about the government’s energy policy and about Adani itself.

On 2 October the ABCs Four Corners TV program exposed the Indian company’s sometimes dodgy business practices, and community resistance to the mine culminated in major demonstrations across Australia last weekend.

Some have blamed NAIF’s inaction on political uncertainty. Resources Minister Matt Canavan had responsibility for the agency, but resigned from Cabinet after doubts were raised about his citizenship. Responsibility now lives with Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who is also under a cloud.

Mr Joyce says this is not a problem, and that NAIF is a statutory body that can make its own investment decisions. But the fact that it has not yet made any, well over a year after it was formed, has called into question why it is needed at all.

Even Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited, normally supportive of the government, is critical of the inaction. “$5 billion North Australia fund yet to approve a single project,” screamed a headline in the Courier-Mail last month. “Still waiting for NAIF,” said the Townsville Bulletin.

Predictably, the Opposition is not happy. Bill Shorten told the NT News, another Murdoch outlet, in a prominently displayed article, that the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund was a “poster child for inaction.

“Its dealings are opaque ... nothing has happened,” he was quoted as saying. “Some of its directors are faced with allegations of conflict of interest. It is like a high rollers club and you don’t get in without $100 million.”

The same article gave examples of investors in the Kimberley region of Western Australia laying off staff because of NAIF’s inaction.

NAIF has also been criticised for blocking freedom of information requests about information as basic as the dates and locations of its board meeting. It says it is keeping this information secret  because of concerns over protests and “media interest.”

It is not a good look. Nor is it likely to get much better.

If NAIF approves the Adani loan, it is likely to face a High Court challenge because of Adani’s past behaviour and the project’s proven environmental challenges. If it does not, its continued inability to make any investment decision at all will also cause it problems.

NAIF, uncapitalised, is a word from the French which means an innocent person who doesn’t know what’s happening. It seems an appropriate acronym.
                    [post_title] => $5 billion fund has done nothing
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                    [post_date] => 2017-10-04 14:56:50
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                    [post_content] => 

The Gold Coast is gearing up for its biggest ever event. The Commonwealth Games will be staged in the sunny city for on 4-15 April 2018.

It will be the fifth time the event has been held in Australia, but only the first time it will be staged outside of a capital city.

Both the Gold Coast City Council and the Queensland State Government are playing the event for all it is worth. Controversial pro-development mayor Tom Tate is using the Games as a tool to beat up the Labor State Government.

In June he criticised Games Chairman, former Labor Premier Peter Beattie, telling him to “control his mouth” after Beattie made comments about Council CEO Dale Dickson buying tickets for council staff before they are available to the general public. There has since been very public bickering over the issue.

In a statement marking the six month countdown, Queensland Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones said the Games will achieve “a lasting and positive legacy for Queensland well beyond the 11 days of sporting competition.”

But she could not help reminding people that “it was a Labor Government that bid for the Games because we knew it would grow jobs, infrastructure and tourism.”

The Games were awarded to the Gold Coast back in November 2011, with the Gold Coast beating a rival bid from the Sri Lankan city of Hambantota. It was very much a joint effort by then Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and Gold Coast Mayor, former Olympian and world record holding runner Ron Clarke. Clarke was mayor from 2004 to 2012, and died in 2015.

Jones said the Games will inject more than $4 billion into Queensland’s economy, “supporting thousands of jobs and delivering world-class sporting facilities that will benefit Queenslanders for years to come.

“More than 15,000 workers have been engaged in the construction of venues and the Games village alone, with almost 90 percent of construction contracts awarded to Queensland companies.”

She said one of the major legacies will be the new Gold Coast Health and Knowledge precinct, a 200 hectare site which is home to the Gold Coast University Hospital, a private hospital, Griffith University and the Games Village. The Games have driven substantial other infrastructure investment, including a substantial light rail system.

“It will become a thriving hub for world-class biomedical and health technology, and cutting-edge research, and is expected to inject more than $1 billion into the local economy and create up to 26,000 jobs at its peak,” she said.

Jones pointedly did not refer to the Gold Coast City Council in her statement.

The Council did not choose to mark the six months-to-go timeframe, but has consistently used the Games to highlight the city’s increasing maturity and importance. With a population of 640,000 people, it is easily the largest city in Australia outside of the Big Five mainland state capitals.

“Post Games will be challenging but we have a plan to launch the biggest jobs-generating program from this council in decades, said Mayor Tate. “We will look at what civic infrastructure is needed and get it built and this will keep our Coast tradies busy.”
                    [post_title] => Six month countdown to Gold Coast games
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                    [post_date] => 2017-09-29 09:39:12
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-28 23:39:12
                    [post_content] => 

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) has been looking at the role of vocational education and training (VET) in supporting the growing need for digital skills in the Australian workforce.

The five RMIT University researchers, Victor Gekara, Alemayehu Molla, Darryn Snell, Stan Karanasios and Amanda Thomas, have released their interim report (Developing appropriate workforce skills for Australia’s emerging digital economy: working paper), which provides an opportunity for stakeholders to engage with the research mid-way through the project, enabling early results and findings to be used to inform decisions as needed.

The project

The overarching aim of this project is to identify the digital skills requirements for the broader Australian workforce and examine the capacity of the vocational education and training (VET) system and industry training packages to effectively meet the growing need for digital skills. As part of the project’s outputs, the study will develop a replicable methodology for reviewing the alignment between skills needs and training capacity, as well as propose a digital skills framework to guide the development of adequate and appropriate digital skills for the emerging digital economy.

The analysis is based on two sectors as case studies — transport and logistics, and public safety and correctional services — with the intention of the findings being broadly transferable across the economy. The study is based on the premise that digital skills are becoming increasingly important for enabling individuals to participate effectively in today’s society.

Why digital?

Digital technologies are increasingly interwoven into all parts of our lives and impact on the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of individuals as private citizens and as workers. As growth in Australia’s digital economy accelerates from 5% of GDP in 2014 to a projected 7% of GDP in 2020 (Deloitte, 2016, p.3), digital skills will become increasingly important across Australia’s workforce.

For the purpose of this study, and the analysis involved, digital skills are defined as a combination of a digital mindset (hardware, software, information, systems, security and innovation), knowledge (theoretical comprehension and understanding), competence (cognitive and practical knowhow), and attitude (value and beliefs).

Study methods

The study employs a mixed method approach, combining both qualitative and quantitative analyses. It involves industry training package content analysis, content extraction and analysis from online job vacancy advertisements, and key industry interviews, as well as a quantitative employer survey. This paper primarily relies on data from the first two methods.

In the online job vacancy analysis, a total of 1,708 job advertisements covering 74 occupations/job titles were analysed to explore digital skills requirements. These occupations were drawn from a list of occupations identified as ‘in demand’ in the 2015 environmental scans produced by the respective industry skills councils of the two sectors under consideration. In addition, a detailed content analysis was conducted of 11 training packages, with a specific focus on the qualifications for these occupations. In this analysis, 758 units of competency were analysed to examine how and the extent to which digital skills provision is embedded into qualifications.

Study findings

From the online job vacancy skills analysis a number of key observations are made:
  • Of the 1,708 jobs searched, only 204 job vacancies across all of the selected occupations specifically mentioned digital skills. This poses important questions regarding employers’ articulation of digital skills and how well they are explicitly stated rather than perhaps assumed. This is important, considering that industry evidence suggests that occupations are changing as the economy enters a digital age, characterised by sophisticated efficiency and productivity-enhancing mechanical and digital technologies.
  • Even in the job advertisements where digital skills were specifically mentioned, the level of expected application is largely vague and mostly basic. Employers used descriptions of expected performance like ‘strong’, ‘good’, ‘sound’, ‘solid’ and ‘basic’. This suggests that employers are not clearly articulating their specific skills needs.
  • Additionally, employers seem to require a very basic level of skills: mostly basic computer operations and digital literacy. However, we identified some trends in terms of skill levels and digital tools across industries and occupations, and across position levels (for example, managers/professions and technical/trades).
  • It is also evident that employers tend to conceptualise and articulate digital skills from a tools perspective. Instead of listing the skills they require, they simply describe the tools they would like prospective employees to be able to use and operate.
The digital skills training content analysis of the 11 training packages reveals a number of important findings:
  • The VET system clearly contains a significant amount of digital training content, spread across different units of competence.
  • However, a large number of these units of competence are elective rather than core to the qualifications of the respective occupations. While this provides greater flexibility for training providers, trainees and employers, it suggests that perhaps the training system is not according digital skills the same ‘essential skills status’ as would be expected, considering their growing importance.
  • Digital training content in the training packages is expressed broadly and generically, with little reference to specific tools and systems. This is done deliberately, with the aim of making the package flexible and adaptable to the wide variety of workplace tools and systems used by different industries across the sectors.
  • It also shows that the training is more geared towards developing skills at the lower skills end; that is, for the basic use of computer hardware and software in processing data and information from organisational databases, as well as for online internet and web sources. This is counter to growing industry evidence of an increasing need for higher-level skills in data analytics, cyber-security, social media and mobile-related digital skills (see Deloitte 2016; Hajkowicz et al. 2016).
  • The analysis also suggests that digital skills training content is available for all occupations across the sectors and at all levels. Interestingly, there appears to be more digital skills content in the lower-skills occupations; that is, in operational and non-supervisory than in higher-skills occupations such as managers. This is an indication that, as digital skills become essential in all work settings, there is an assumption that people training for and entering higher-skill occupations already possess the necessary digital skills.
Summary assessment There seems to be a number of differences and similarities between what employers want (job advertisements) and the articulation of digital training content in the training packages. One key difference is that, while employers tend to define skills from a tools perspective, the training packages seem to provide a highly open-ended and broad layout of the training needed to equip people to work in a digital economy. A key similarity is that both the employers and training package developers appear to have a basic and generic view of digital competency but frame these differently. This implies, therefore, that the way employers understand and articulate their skills needs (at least to potential employees) is different from the way training package developers understand and craft training guidelines. This is a problem that is attributable to the observation, from the literature, of lack of a uniform industry approach to conceptualising and articulating what constitutes digital skills and how they should be measured. Since the development and updating of training packages is a tripartite exercise, with strong representation from industry employers through industry reference committee (IRC) and skills service organisation (SSO) arrangements, it is possible that employers are failing to clearly articulate the kinds and levels of digital skills they require in this area. This is leading training package developers to present a largely basic and open interpretation of technical content. Thus, while the findings from this stage of the research are important, they raise several critical questions and signal the need for further exploration to establish in-depth explanations for the observations here. Next steps The next stage of this project — comprising key industry interviews and a survey of employers — will further explore what employers have specified as digital skills needs in job advertisements and how this compares with the content in the relevant training packages. Considering the lack of uniform articulation of digital skills requirements and training package content, it is apparent that a ‘national digital skills framework’, akin to the National Literacy and Numeracy Framework, would be useful in supporting the needs of employers and training developers. The framework could guide the development of appropriate and adequate skills for the emerging economy. Such a framework is also needed to help define digital skills training content — to encompass the technological, informational and contextual aspects that are fundamental for the sustained productivity of the workforce in the continually transforming digital environment. This effort would be informed by existing international practices such as the European digital competency framework, which defines key components of digital competence in the five areas of: information and data literacy; communication and collaboration; digital content creation; safety; and problem-solving.   [post_title] => Preparing for the digital economy [post_excerpt] => The role of VET in supporting the growing need for digital skills in the Australian workforce. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => preparing-digital-economy [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-06 10:31:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-05 23:31:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28132 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28117 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-26 10:59:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-26 00:59:36 [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. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => cyber-crc-50m-space-0-csiro-data61-15 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-06 10:32:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-05 23:32:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28117 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28105 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-25 12:54:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-25 02:54:21 [post_content] => A new report from the University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for Local Government (UTS CLG) explores the role of local government involvement in local and regional economic development strategies. The report highlights the varying roles and levels of engagement that councils play in regards to leadership, organisation and delivery of local and regional economic development in Australia. “The principle that economic development is a co-responsibility tends to be accepted by all tiers of governments and social and economic actors. However, how this translates into practice remains ambiguous and contested,” said Professor Lee Pugalis, co-author of the report. The promotion of economic development is a relatively recent feature of the activity of local government in Australia. “There is huge diversity of economic development roles across the landscape of local government. For the majority of councils it remains an ‘additional’ rather than ‘general’ function, although this can often downplay their positive role in local and regional economic development,” said Professor Roberta Ryan, director of UTS CLG. “This research has brought to the forefront the importance of internal and external perceptions and how these shape the role of councils in economic development.” Each tier of government is involved in promoting economic development, although in distinct ways that do not necessarily complement one another. The report’s findings support a strong case for advocating the involvement of all tiers of government in the pursuit of local and regional economic development. “The local government sector has an important role to play in promoting economic development, but one that evades a singular model. This poses a distinct challenge to higher tiers of government in terms of how they interface with specific councils as well as how councils interface with their stakeholders,” said Professor Pugalis. The report provides local governments and their stakeholders with research and evidence to help them to better understand regional and local economic development in Australia, and how it can be improved. You can download The Role of Local Government in Local and Regional Economic Development report here.     [post_title] => Local government and economic development [post_excerpt] => New report highlights importance of local government in local and regional economic development. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => local-government-economic-development [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-25 13:18:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-25 03:18:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28105 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28099 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-25 12:13:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-25 02:13:38 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28102" align="alignnone" width="287"] Unlikely as it seems but The Rock, NSW, is an innovation hub. Photo by Golden Wattle - own work, via WikiPedia.[/caption] Kim Houghton, University of CanberraInnovation is the highest in regional centres that have research and development institutions and there are only 26 of these in regional Australia. But more than 150 regional areas have potential to match this innovation, a new index finds. In conjunction with the Regional Australia Institute, we’ve developed an Innovation Index that maps the national spread of two complementary aspects of innovation – research and development, and 'business dynamo'. The measure of research and development is focused on technical expertise and the number of applications for patents, and the business dynamo measure incorporates startup rates, trademarks and the number of business-to-business services. Judging by these two measures, it’s true that big cities are the nation’s key innovation assets. One cause of this is the number of registered research and development institutions (174 out of around 200 nationwide), which are located in our big cities. This is to where much of the research and development investment flows. But there are 49 local government areas like Hobart (Tas), Palerang and Yass Valley (NSW/ACT), Queenscliff (Vic), Toodyay (WA) and Darwin (NT) that score highly in both measures of the index. These areas combine a local business network with a high rate of trademark applications. This suggests that existing businesses in these places are innovating successfully. The concerning contrast to this are Australia’s old industrial centres, such as Burnie and Glenorchy (Tas), Port Pirie (SA), Broken Hill (NSW) and Benalla (Vic). There are 195 areas like this across Australia, which have lost many businesses and jobs over the last 20 years. They are also among the worst performers in terms of innovation in regional Australia. This 195 included a large number of areas with low populations, agricultural industries and areas that are remote. There were 77 local government areas that scored strongly in engineering, science, and research and development, but weaker in the business dynamo measure. These areas are largely a mix of longstanding mining and minerals processing, like Whyalla (SA), Mt Isa (Qld), Muswellbrook and Singleton (NSW Hunter Valley), and new mining hotspots like Karratha (WA), Pilbara (WA), Weipa (QLD) and Roxby Downs (SA). We found 110 areas were strong in business dynamo but with limited research and development capacity. These areas usually have strong lifestyle appeal like Hepburn (Vic), the Gold and Sunshine Coasts (Qld), Claire Valley and Victor Harbour (SA) and Busselton (WA). This also includes regional entrepreneurial centres like Griffith (NSW) and Ballarat (Vic).

How regional areas are innovating

Innovation in regional Australia is big business. A Commonwealth Bank report found regional businesses perform better than their metropolitan counterparts on measures like asking employees for new ideas and looking to benefit from technology changes. The report estimated that regional businesses are seeing a financial return from their investment in innovation to be an average of A$279,000, contributing A$19 billion to the economy each year. If all regional businesses reached this benchmark, the report believes the regional economy could grow by A$44 billion every year. We found there are many regional businesses using innovative approaches and technologies to solve problems for not only their own communities, but others as well. One example is Therapy Connect, a business founded in Deniliquin, NSW, that operates solely online. It has become recognised as a leader in the field of providing online speech and occupational therapy supports to children and families in Australia. The business has provided services to over 25 new regional areas across states and territories in Australia and reaches as far as Asia, all from its own regional bases in New South Wales & Victoria. Another example is business Pointer Remote Role, a platform that matches professional candidate profiles with roles that can be conducted remotely and that are specific to their skill set and experience. Think hookup app Tinder, but for remote employment. The business is based in The Rock, NSW, and was started to create a more level playing field for professionals living regionally. States, too, are active. Queensland has a Regional Innovation Hubs program, which is starting to fund spaces and activities to foster innovation in regional places. NSW, too, has an augmented NSW incubators and accelerators program, and South Australia has both early stage and venture capital funds. Mapping out these regional innovation ecosystems gives us a better idea of how these interventions can be even more targeted to addressing known weaknesses. Longreach’s Entrepreneur in Residence is a great example of how dedicated people and a little financial support can address a key gap. Longreach in Central West Queensland hosted an Entrepreneur in Residence, Daniel Johnsen, from California. Johnsen is a US-based Startup Weekend facilitator and mentor. These Startup Weekends are 54-hour events, where different people gather to pitch ideas for new startups, form teams around those ideas, and work to develop a working prototype, demo, or presentation by the Sunday evening. Johnsen set up the first Startup Weekend Outback Edition in August. He said:
"The pitches and ideas were on par with those that I have seen all over the world. I look forward to facilitating another one in the region before my time as Entrepreneur in Residence finishes next June."
The ConversationThis is the kind of targeted approach, involving partnerships and collaboration with regional innovators and resource organisations, that’s needed to lift other regions performing badly in the index, to innovate better. Kim Houghton, Adjunct Associate Professor IGPA, University of Canberra This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. [post_title] => Innovate in the regions [post_excerpt] => Which local government areas are the powerhouses when it comes to innovation? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => heres-49-small-communities-innovating-well-big-cities [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-25 12:29:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-25 02:29:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28099 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28087 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-22 09:40:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-21 23:40:49 [post_content] => The Western Australian Government has moved to reduce large compensation payouts for senior bureaucrats when a contract is brought to an early end. The Public Sector Commissioner has decided to apply a new approach when determining compensation payments. Currently, senior members of the public service may seek a compensation payment of up to 12 months' remuneration, which includes salary, motor vehicle allowances and superannuation. Under the new policy, in operation from 1 September 2017, compensation payments will be applied on the basis of four months' remuneration for each full year of the contract remaining, up to a maximum of 12 months. Further legislative changes will also limit the maximum compensation payment when officers' contracts are brought to an early end, to 12 months' salary rather than remuneration. If this approach had been applied to Senior Executive Service officers since March 2017, the total compensation costs would have been reduced by about 41 per cent. As part of the government's workforce reform, legislation will be introduced to also remove the existing 'right of return' provision available to Senior Executive Service officers appointed under the Public Sector Management Act 1994 and health executives appointed under the Health Services Act 2016. Following the enactment of the legislation, a six-month transition period will be in place, enabling officers to exercise their right to return to a permanent tenure if they wish to do so. WA Premier Mark McGowan said: “A number of people leave the public service for various reasons. While there is an initial cost that the state government is trying to reduce, there is also long-term savings.”   [post_title] => WA to cut back SES payouts, benefits [post_excerpt] => New approach to reduce large compensation payments to WA's most senior bureaucrats. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => wa-cut-back-payouts-benefits-senior-bureaucrats [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-22 09:42:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-21 23:42:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28087 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28078 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-21 20:49:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-21 10:49:44 [post_content] => The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has released the findings of a national survey on Australians’ attitudes towards technology and its impact on future employment opportunities. While nearly all Australians believe that innovation is important to Australia’s future prosperity (99%) and feel positive about future work and job opportunities (97%), only one in four attribute their positive outlook to the belief that government will develop the right policies in areas such as education and training. Instead, people were more likely to attribute their positive attitude about the future to the fact that technological revolutions throughout history have always resulted in the emergence of new industries and jobs (54%), Australia is a strong, stable country that will be able to adapt to change (52%), and because Australian entrepreneurs will take advantage of emerging opportunities in new industries (45%). The survey on Australians’ attitude towards innovation, jobs and future employment was conducted by Galaxy Research on behalf of AIIA*. “There is widespread commentary that technological disruption will cause job loss without job replacement. However, our poll indicates the majority of Australians are actually positive about the future, despite fear mongering about loss of jobs as technology develops,” said Rob Fitzpatrick, CEO of AIIA. “The survey also found that the majority of Australians believe they will need to take charge of their own careers and reskilling as jobs evolve due to technology advancements, irrespective of the industry in which they are working.” To adapt to technological change, Australians say workers need to stay up to date with changing technology in their industry (76%), undertake self-learning/further education (55%), access professional development through their workplace (53%), and be prepared to change careers or jobs as new roles emerge (51%).  “History has demonstrated that technology and automation have increased productivity, improved the quality of goods and services, reduced prices and led to improved standards of living. It’s great that people are prepared to manage their own careers, however, it’s crucial that industry and government also respond appropriately to ensure Australians are well positioned to take advantage of new jobs and industries that will emerge on the back of new technologies,” said Mr Fitzpatrick. The survey indicated many Australians believe it is vitally important to support young people so they are prepared for the jobs of the future. The most popular approach is to improve education standards and the curriculum in STEM subjects (68%), while large numbers also said Australia should provide more workplace training opportunities for university and high school students (64%), develop more relevant vocational and education training programs (59%), and develop programs that promote resilience and confidence in young people (53%). Areas respondents would like to see embracing innovation and technology include medical research and development to deliver cures and better health management (72%), helping disadvantaged people gain better access to appropriate support services (65%), and investing in technological change in existing Australian industries such as manufacturing and agriculture (58%). The survey results coincide with the release of AIIA's Skills for Today, Jobs for Tomorrow whitepaper, which focuses on the urgent need for a practical strategy and action plan for the future of jobs. “ICT and digital leaders must work proactively with governments and communities to develop practical strategies to build Australia’s digital literacy capabilities to prevent social and economic dislocation,” said Mr Fitzpatrick. “While history shows technology will ultimately add productivity and economic growth, our whitepaper is the start of what needs to be an ongoing conversation about developing an action plan to ensure Australians are adequately prepared for the jobs of the future,” he said. * The Galaxy Poll was conducted online among a nationally representative sample of 1,004 Australians 18 years and older. [post_title] => Technology, jobs, and government input [post_excerpt] => What impact will new technologies have on future employment, and what's the government's role? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => future-jobs-technology-government-input [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-21 20:52:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-21 10:52:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28078 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27998 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-11 14:15:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-11 04:15:30 [post_content] => People Matter is an employee perception survey conducted by the University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for Local Government (UTS CLG). It is regularly conducted across state government public sectors and provides important information and insights for departments, organisations and sector stakeholders on workplace experiences and employee engagement. Local government makes up almost 10% of the total public sector workforce in Australia. This research utilises a tailored version People Matter survey tool to gain feedback on employee experiences and perceptions of working in the local government sector. Approximately 1,500 NSW local government employees responded to the anonymous survey from an estimated fifteen local government areas between December 2016 and April 2017. Research findings include the following from the local government employees who responded to the survey:
  • There is a strong understanding of what is expected from them of in terms of their role (86%) and respondents are highly enthusiastic when it comes to look for ways to perform their job better (95%). Employees who responded have a strong appreciation (87%) of how their position contributes to positive outcomes for their council and community.
  • While wellbeing is mostly perceived positively, unacceptable workloads (19%) and detrimental work stress (15%) is reported. A third of the respondents rate work-life balance as less than good.
  • There are positive perceptions of how their immediate workgroup or team works together (70%). There are some negative perceptions (14%) when it comes to rating ‘team spirit’.
  • In terms of performance and development, employees who responded are able to have open and honest conversation with their supervisors about the quality of work required (70%), although a proportion (39%) do not have a current performance plan that sets out objectives. There is a strong desire for career advancement (65%); however, there is dissatisfaction with opportunities for career progression or the merit system within their organisation (30%). Managing underperformance was one area that a significant proportion of respondents perceived in a negative light (27%).
  • There are mostly positive perceptions of managers with many managers being seen to encourage employee input (73%). However, a smaller number of managers are seen to consider this input when making decisions in the organisation (58%). Less than half of the respondents have positive perceptions of council senior managers. Demonstrating collaboration and leading change are perceived as being areas for improvement for senior executive teams.
  • Council organisations are rated well when it comes to understanding and building relationships with communities (79%). Whilst a large proportion of the respondents agree that councils are making the necessary improvements to meet challenges of the future (65%), a quarter perceives that change is not handled well. Most of the employees who responded (67%) would recommend their organisation as a great place to work.
  • The majority of respondents (85%) can see how diversity and inclusion in the workplace contributes to better business outcomes and feel able to voice different views to their managers and colleagues (70%). Gender and age are seen as a barrier to success within some of the respondents’ council organisations (8%-12%).
Download the report: People Matter for Local Government: Pilot NSW Survey, University of Technology Sydney. [post_title] => People matter for local government [post_excerpt] => Approximately 1,500 NSW local government employees responded to the latest People Matter employee perception survey. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => people-matter-local-government [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-11 14:26:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-11 04:26:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27998 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27959 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-04 21:22:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-04 11:22:43 [post_content] =>   Joshua Healy, University of Melbourne and Daniel Nicholson, University of Melbourne Workers aren’t being compensated as much as they should be for precarious work in casual positions. One in four Australian employees today is a casual worker. Among younger workers (15-24 year olds) the numbers are higher still: more than half of them are casuals. These jobs come without some of the benefits of permanent employment, such as paid annual holiday leave and sick leave. In exchange for giving up these entitlements, casual workers are supposed to receive a higher hourly rate of pay – known as a casual 'loading'. But the costs of casual work are now outweighing the benefits in wages.

Costs and benefits of casual work

Casual jobs offer flexibility, but also come with costs. For workers, apart from missing out on paid leave, there are other compromises: less predictable working hours and earnings, and the prospect of dismissal without notice. Uncertainty about their future employment can hinder casual workers in other ways, such as making family arrangements, getting a mortgage, and juggling education with work. Not surprisingly, casual workers have lower expectations about keeping their current job. For example the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found 19% expect to leave their job within 12 months, compared to 7% of other workers. Casuals are also much less likely to get work-related training, which limits their opportunities for skills development. The employers of casual workers also face higher costs. High staff turnover adds to recruitment costs. But perhaps the main cost is the “loading” that casual workers are supposed to be paid on top of their ordinary hourly wage. Australia’s system of minimum wage awards specifies a casual loading of 25%. So, a casual worker paid under an award should get 25% more for each hour than another worker doing the same job on a permanent basis. In enterprise agreements, the casual loading varies by sector, but tends to be between 15 and 25%. The practice of paying a casual loading developed for two reasons. One was to provide some compensation for workers missing out on paid leave. The other, quite different, motivation was to make casual employment more expensive and discourage excessive use of it. However this disincentive has not prevented the casual sector of the workforce from growing substantially.

Casual jobs aren’t much better paid

One approach in determining whether casual workers are paid more is simply to compare the hourly wages of casual and “non-casual” (permanent and fixed-term) employees in the same occupations. This can be done using data from the 2016 ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours. We compared median hourly wages for adult non-managerial employees, based on their ordinary earnings and hours of work (i.e. excluding overtime payments). If the median wage for casuals is higher than for non-casuals, there is a casual premium. If the median casual wage is lower, there is a penalty. The 10 occupations below accounted for over half of all adult casual workers in 2016. In most of these occupations, there is a modest casual wage premium - in the order of 4-5%. The size of the typical casual wage premium is much smaller, in most cases, than the loadings written into awards and agreements. Only one occupation (school teachers) has a premium (22%) in line with what might be expected. Three of the 10 largest casual occupations actually penalise this sort of work. And overall for these 10 occupations there is a casual wage penalty of 5%. This method of analysis suggests that few casual workers enjoy substantially higher wages as a trade-off for paid leave. Taking a closer look involves controlling for a wider range of differences between casual and non-casual workers. One major Australian study in 2005 compared wages after taking account of many factors other than occupation, including age, education, job location, and employer size. All else equal, it found that part-time, casual workers do receive an hourly wage premium over full-time, permanent workers. The premium is worth around 10%, on average, for men and between 4 and 7% for women. These results imply that most casual workers (who are in part-time positions) can expect to receive higher hourly wages than comparable employees in full-time, permanent positions. However, the value of the benefit is again found to be less than would be expected, given the larger casual loadings mentioned in awards and agreements. It seems that while there is some short-term financial benefit to being a casual worker, this advantage is worth less in practice than on paper. A recent study, using 14 years of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey (HILDA), finds no evidence of any long-term pay benefit for casual workers. The study’s authors estimate that, among men, there is an average casual wage penalty of 10% - the opposite of what we should see if casual loadings fully offset the foregone leave and insecurity of casual jobs. Among female casual workers, there is also a wage penalty, but this is smaller, at around 4%. This study also finds that the size of the negative casual wage effect tends to reduce over time for individual workers, bringing them closer to equality with permanent workers. But very few casual workers out-earn permanent workers in the long-term.

Inferior jobs, but fewer alternatives

The evidence on hourly wage differences leads us to conclude that casual workers are not being adequately compensated for the lack of paid leave, or for other forms of insecurity they face. This makes casual jobs a less appealing option for workers. This does not mean that all casual workers dislike their jobs – indeed, many are satisfied. But a clear-eyed look at what these jobs pay suggests their benefits are skewed in favour of employers. Despite this, the choice for many workers - especially young jobseekers - is increasingly between a casual job or no job at all. Half of employed 15-24 year olds are in casual jobs. The ConversationIn a labour market characterised by high underemployment and intensifying job competition, young people with little or no work experience are understandably willing to make some sacrifices to get a start in the workforce. The option of 'holding out' for a permanent job looks increasingly risky as these opportunities dwindle. Joshua Healy, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Workplace Leadership, University of Melbourne and Daniel Nicholson, Research Assistant, Industrial Relations, University of Melbourne. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. [post_title] => The costs of a casual job [post_excerpt] => The costs of a casual job are now outweighing any pay benefits. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => costs-casual-job [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-04 21:25:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-04 11:25:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27959 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27956 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-04 16:05:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-04 06:05:10 [post_content] => Each year on Equal Pay Day, politicians boast about (or denigrate, depending on their political persuasion and position in parliament) the progress made towards bridging the gender pay gap and undertake to continue efforts to ensure women are equal in the workforce. This year, the Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, said it was encouraging that the gender pay gap narrowed further over the last twelve months, with latest figures showing it has fallen from 16.3 per cent to 15.3 per cent. “The further reduction in the gender pay gap demonstrates the Turnbull Government’s policies to assist women breakdown barriers in the workforce are delivering results, yet, I remain acutely aware that more work needs to be done,” Minister Cash said. Senator Cash then proceeded to list the government’s programs, for example that in July 2017 the Turnbull Government launched Towards 2025, an Australian Government strategy to boost women’s workforce participation that outlined the government’s roadmap to reduce the gender participation gap by 25 per cent by 2025. The strategy detailed actions the government was planning to take to address some of the drivers of pay inequity in Australia, including for flexible work, childcare costs and early education. “By boosting workforce participation of women we can further close the gender pay gap, raise living standards across the board and secure Australia’s future prosperity,” Minister Cash said. The programs include:
  • Funding new child care and early learning reforms, which are estimated to encourage more than 230,000 families increase their workforce participation.
  • Expanding the ParentsNext pre-employment program, which helps parents of young children plan and prepare for work by connecting them with services in their local community.
  • Implementing the Australian Public Service Gender Equality Strategy, which requires every agency to set targets for gender equality in leadership positions and boost gender equality more broadly.
  • Investing $13 million over five years in getting more women into science, technology, engineering and maths under the National Innovation and Science Agenda.
  • Setting a target of women holding 50 per cent of government board positions overall and strengthening the BoardLink program.
  • Partnering with businesses to support women into leadership positions through scholarships provided by the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
  • Continuing funding the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
The opposition disagrees Labor said today’s Equal Pay Day marks the 66th extra day since the end of the financial year that women must work to earn the same as men. Shadow Minister For Education and Shadow Minister For Women The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP said in a statement: “For 20 years, there has been no real progress reducing gender pay inequity in Australia. And earlier this year, a Federal Government agency told Parliament that Australia is 50 years away from closing the pay gap. “A recent Senate Inquiry, led by Labor Senator Jenny McAllister, found Australia needed a national policy framework to achieve gender pay equity. “Instead, the government has thrown his full support behind cuts to penalty rates, which have been proven to have a disproportionate impact on women.” (Such as childcare workers, earning on average $21 per hour.)     [post_title] => How far have we come on Equal Pay? [post_excerpt] => Equal Pay Day was on Monday - what have we achieved? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => far-come-equal-pay [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-04 16:11:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-04 06:11:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27956 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27950 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-31 21:52:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-31 11:52:53 [post_content] => Report authors: Jane Schueler, TeaHQ, and John Stanwick and Phil Loveder, National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). The National Centre for Vocational Education Research has completed a report into the return on investment that individuals, organisations and governments can expect from Technical and Vocational Education and Training. Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is seen as an important strategy in contributing to equitable, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies. The United Nations (2015) lists one of its sustainable development goals as to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’. However, this comes with challenges for the funding and financing of TVET systems internationally and also for providing evidence for the return on investment (ROI) in TVET. Providing information on ROI in TVET is important as it provides governments and funders of the system with analytical information on the performance of the system and further provides justification for the expenditure on TVET. Information on ROI is also useful at the level of the enterprise and the individual. However, the measurement of ROI is not straightforward and thinking through what is involved in the ROI calculation can give a better understanding as to what type of information and data is required to calculate the measure. This may also vary depending on the context of the country’s TVET system. Therefore this report presents a conceptual framework for measuring ROI in TVET that can be tested in international contexts. It builds on previous work done as part of a larger collaborative project by UNESCO-UNEVOC in association with the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) in Australia, and other UNEVOC Centres in the Asia-Pacific region. The aim of the collaborative project is to investigate measurement of ROI across different contexts including across varying countries. The longer-term aim of the ROI project is to equip organisations in various countries to be able to systematically investigate evidence of ROI in TVET and to engage a range of stakeholders in this process. Part of this is the development and testing of a suitable ROI framework that can be applied internationally. There may well be variations between countries in terms of priorities regarding the costs and benefits of TVET. There will almost certainly be variations in terms of the data that is available to measure ROI in TVET. The report firstly summarises some of the main issues that need to be thought through in measuring ROI. It then introduces an analytical framework that looks at the ROI equation from a range of perspectives, including economic and social and for different stakeholders; including individuals, businesses, governments and societies. For the purposes of this report:
  • Return on investment or ROI refers to a measure of the benefit of an investment relative to the cost of that investment. So in the TVET context, ROI is the benefits derived by individuals, firms and nations from investing in training (VET Glossary 2016).
  • Returns to education refer to the individual gain from investing in more education, especially focussed on the relationship between education attainment and earnings. However, for consistency and simplicity, this report tends to use the terminology of Return on Investment or ROI.
  • Technical and Vocational Education and Training or TVET comprises education, training and skills development for a wide range of occupations. It can take place in secondary school and tertiary education and includes work-based learning and continuing education and training.
Key messages The authors highlight the following key observations:
  1. The key types of ROI for individuals arising from TVET are primarily employment and productivity supporting higher wages. Attainment of employability skills and improved labour force status are also highly valued job-related returns. Non job-related indicators focus on well-being such as self-esteem and confidence, foundation skill gains, along with social inclusion and improved socioeconomic status.
  2. The key indicators of ROI for employers arising from TVET cover employee productivity, business profitability, improving quality of products and services and business innovation. Businesses operate similar to small communities and as such generate social and environmental benefits. In particular employee well-being, employee engagement (which reduces absenteeism and staff turnover), a safe workplace and environmental sustainability practices are key non-market indicators of business returns.
  3. The key indicator of ROI in the economy from TVET is economic growth. This relates to labour market participation, reduced unemployment rates and a more skilled workforce. TVET returns to education and training, bring other benefits to society, including improved health, social cohesion (increased democratisation and human rights), and improved social equity particularly for disadvantaged groups and strengthens social capital.
The full report is available here. [post_title] => TVET’s ROI [post_excerpt] => What ROI can individuals, organisations and governments expect from TVET? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => tvets-roi [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-31 21:52:53 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-31 11:52:53 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27950 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27899 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-24 17:44:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-24 07:44:41 [post_content] => The Cross River Rail business case released by the Queensland Government “demonstrates it will create jobs, bust congestion and be the catalyst for a world-class turn up and go public transport system”. Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure Jackie Trad said the Cross River Rail Business Case 2017 details the challenges and opportunities facing South East Queensland’s (SEQ) rail network. “[We] have fully funded Cross River Rail and we are getting on with the job of building it,” Ms Trad said. “The business case demonstrates what we have already known for a decade – we need another rail crossing to increase rail services in the South East and the solution is Cross River Rail. “Our rail network has a key choke point at its core preventing extra train services being brought into regions like the Gold Coast, Logan, Caboolture and the Redlands. “Nearly 2 million people will move into SEQ over the next two decades and with some lines, like the Gold Coast, already operating at 100 per cent capacity during peak periods, we need to build Cross River Rail before we reach a crisis point. “It will unlock smarter integration of rail and bus networks, providing quick turn up and go services and positioning SEQ for a more sustainable and competitive future “The business case specifically states the full benefits of both Cross River Rail and the Brisbane Metro can only be completely realised once both projects are constructed and are operational. Ms Trad said the business case incorporated the latest information on the impact of policy and demographic changes over the last 12 months. “The BCR for the project is now 1.41, up from 1.21 in the 2016 Business Case. This means that for every $1 invested in the Cross River Rail project, $1.41 is returned to the people of Queensland,” Ms Trad said. CRR business case key findings include:
  • For every $1 invested in the project, it returns $1.41 to the people of Queensland.
  • The project will generate an average of 1,500 jobs each year over the construction period, with a peak of 3,000 in the most intensive year.
  • CRR will provide capacity for ‘turn-up-and-go’ services.
  • CRR will help reduce pressure on the region’s roads, freeing them up for commercial vehicles and commuter buses.
  • It will enable greater integration of bus and rail services, which will help to maximise the state government’s rail network investments and Brisbane City Council’s investment in Brisbane Metro and improved bus services.
  • Total daily public transport trips (bus & rail) will climb from around 510,000 to more than 880,000 in 2026 and to more than 1.1 million by 2036.
Now get on and build it The detailed business case for the Cross River Rail is a welcome step towards the government improving transparency about infrastructure decisions, said the Infrastructure Association of Queensland (IAQ). Bolstered by expert peer reviews, the latest business case addresses some of the key concerns raised by Infrastructure Australia in their recent project evaluation, including rail patronage forecasts and road user benefits. “Brisbane has a looming capacity problem and Cross River Rail is the smart solution,” said IAQ CEO Steve Abson. To satisfy demands from the Turnbull Government, the business case also reveals possible approaches towards sharing value created by the project. “Because the project includes significant urban renewal and opportunity for major development at station precincts, value capture might create up to 10% of the funds needed for it.” “Most Queenslanders know that some developers and business often receive windfall gains and privately benefit from government infrastructure investment and planning decisions. Capturing and sharing these gains is not easy, but as long as the beneficiaries are fairly identified it can be a pretty reasonable approach,” said Mr Abson. Set to be commissioned in 2023, Cross River Rail is a long-running project that will run across at least two state elections. The IAQ warns of dire consequence should any new government decide to hold off investment. “Both Queenslanders and industry are pretty sick and tired of seeing critical infrastructure used as a political football. Not once in the last eight years have we seen all sides lining up behind our greatest infrastructure project and it’s been through at least three different incarnations to get to an optimum solution,” said Mr Abson. “With funding secured and early works now set to commence before Christmas, the last thing we need is risk of taxpayer-funded cheques written to rip up contracts already placed with local businesses,” he added. The Cross River Rail Delivery Authority will conduct an industry briefing next Wednesday 30/07 where it will outline the procurement approach, details of major work packages, delivery strategy, commercial considerations and governance. It will be held at the Pullman Hotel, King George Square, Brisbane from 2:00pm, Wednesday 30 August 2017. Click here to register. [post_title] => Cross-River Rail: just build it [post_excerpt] => The CRR business case demonstrates it will create jobs, bust congestion and must be built, said the IAQ. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => cross-river-rail-just-build [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-24 21:54:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-24 11:54:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27899 [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] => 28280 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-16 09:51:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-15 22:51:41 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28281" align="alignnone" width="267"] Professor Billie Giles-Corti. RMIT University[/caption] Australia’s big cities often rate well on international ‘liveability’ indexes. But all is not as it seems. Life for many residents in Australia’s cities isn’t nearly as good as we would like to believe, a new report from RMIT University has found. The new ‘Creating Liveable Cities in Australia’ study is the culmination of five years of research, intended to create a baseline measure of liveability in Australia’s state and territory capitals. The report examines seven aspects of a city’s liveability: walkability, public transport, public open spaces, housing affordability, employment and the food and alcohol environments. “No Australian capital city performs well across all the liveability indicators,” says Professor Billie Giles-Corti, who led the research and is Director of RMIT’s Urban Futures Enabling Capability Platform. “Many also failing to meet policy targets aimed at ensuring liveability. “There is widespread evidence of geographical inequities in the delivery of liveability policies within and between cities, with outer suburban areas less well served than inner-city suburbs. Measurable policies and targets to deliver liveable communities are often not in place, and often those that are in place are not strong enough. “Many policies aren’t making best use of the available evidence. There are no spatial measurable policy standards or targets in any capital city for local employment, housing affordability, promoting access to healthy food choices, or limiting access to alcohol outlets.” Professor Giles-Corti said the report is the first of its kind, and shows that better policies are urgently needed to maintain and enhance liveability and ensure the wellbeing of residents, particularly as Australia faces a doubling of its population by 2050. “One significant way to create liveable cities and to improve people’s health and wellbeing is through urban design and planning that create walkable, pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods,” she said. “But Australian cities are still being designed for cars. “Our study shows that only a minority of residents in Australian cities live in walkable communities, and most of our city’s density targets for new areas are still too low. This means walkable communities will never be achieved in outer suburbs. “Higher residential densities and street connectivity, mixed land-uses, and high-quality footpaths are all desperately needed to achieve walkable cities. But we don’t have the policy frameworks in place in Australia to create vibrant walkable communities,” she said. Public transport also rates poorly. “While many residents might live nearby a public transport stop, most dwellings in state capitals lack close access to stops serviced at least twice an hour. This creates a risk of increasing inequity in our cities, with some residents doubly disadvantaged. “Given that outer suburbs have poorer access to public transport, household expenditure on cars is likely to be higher there than in other areas, meaning these residents are losing out twice over.” Professor Giles-Corti said the report is a useful diagnostic tool for understanding the current state of liveability in Australian cities, and that could it should be repeated regularly. “What’s even more important is what governments should do about it,” she said. :We’ve made seven recommendations in the report which we’ll be pushing to see adopted at local, state and federal level.” The report was produced by RMIT University in collaboration with researchers from the Australian Catholic University and the University of Western Australia. The research team received funding from the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program, the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, and the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy Liveable Communities. The report is available here. 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Giles-Corti

Australia’s cities not so ‘liveable’ after all

Australia’s big cities often rate well on international ‘liveability’ indexes. But all is not as it seems. Life for many residents in Australia’s cities isn’t nearly as good as we would like to believe, a new report from RMIT University has found. The new ‘Creating Liveable Cities in Australia’ study is the culmination of five […]

NAIF

$5 billion fund has done nothing

The Federal Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), announced with great fanfare 18 months ago, has yet to invest in single project. “This facility will provide financing to build the transport, energy, water and communications infrastructure needed in our north,” said Josh Frydenberg, the Minister for Industry Innovation and Science, when he announced the fund […]