PC Report on Government Services – Community Services

The Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services (RoGS) contain a large section on Community Services. It breaks the sector into four categories: aged care, services for people with disabilities, child protection services, and youth justice services. It is an enormous sector, second only to health. Total Federal, state and territory government recurrent expenditure on community […]

NSW adds cocaine to driver drug testing

New South Wales is the first Australian state to test drivers for cocaine use. All Australian states now have random driver drug testing, similar to random breath testing for alcohol. But the existing kits in all states test only THC (Cannabis), methamphetamine (speed and ice) and MDMA (ecstasy). Cocaine, a drug widely associated with more […]

Open data – too much sharing, too little care

Who’s reading your health information now? There can be benefits from sharing health and other personal information among health care professionals and researchers. But any such sharing must be based on an understanding of potential risks. It must occur only within an effective legal framework, with controls appropriate for those risks. A ‘Trust me, I’m […]

2018 a busy year for elections

A spate of elections in 2018 could well change the Australian political landscape. There is the strong possibility of a Federal election, and the states of South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania will definitely be going to the polls. There will also be local government elections in Tasmania and South Australia. The Federal Government does not […]

Effective security means better systems

The Australian urban streetscape has long featured video surveillance via high definition cameras. But there is more to security than high quality hardware – you need the right systems and techniques behind it. Many countries are now stepping up their security in terms of technology, budget and the number and skills of people involved in […]

Consumers to own their own data, with new bill

The Federal Government has announced plans to legislate a national ‘Consumer Data Right’ bill, which will allow customers of banks, utilities and telecommunications companies better access to their transactional data. Under the proposed legislation consumers will own the data, not the companies they are dealing with. This will make it much easier for people to […]

Copyright Agency sues NSW Government

The Copyright Agency says it has been ‘pushed to the last resort’ and is suing the NSW Government over the non-payment of fees for copyrighted material being shared within and between state government agencies. The Agency is the industry body representing the copyright and licensing interests of thousands of Australian authors, publishers, photographers, and other […]

Victoria remains odd one out on licencing

Victoria has rejected a recommendation to lower the driving age to 17. It will remain the only jurisdiction in Australia that does not allow unaccompanied driving until age 18. The decision was flagged earlier this year by Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donellan. It has now been formalised, as part of a package […]

Councillors behaving badly put on notice

The NSW Government has released a draft of an updated Model Code of Conduct for councillors and council staff in the state. It has been released for consultation, with submissions closing on 4 December. In a press release titled ‘Crackdown on badly behaved councillors’, Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton said most councillors do the right […]

Feds tell satirist not to be funny

The National Symbols Office has written to satirical news site The Juice Media asking it to stop using a parody of the Australian government logo on its ‘Honest Government Adverts’ YouTube channel. The logo misspells ‘Australian’ (as ‘Australien’), has the motto ‘not the real logo’ and substitutes the emu’s head with a toilet roll (and […]

Experts raise concerns on AI in law and government

A US artificial intelligence thinktank has raised serious concerns about the use of the technology in government, and especially in the legal system. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the use of computers to simulate human thought. AI is increasingly being used to make decisions in business, most notably in systems called robotic process automation (RPA), which […]

Queensland local government cops a pasting

Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has handed down a report making 31 recommendations to improve transparency and integrity in local government in the state. The reports follows Operation Belcarra, a program the CCC put in place following March 2016 Queensland local government elections, which led to a number of complaints about the corrupt practices […]

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