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                    [post_date] => 2017-09-15 12:29:39
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                    [post_content] => 

Representatives from the rail industry came together to meet with Commonwealth ministers to discuss the need for a National Rail Industry Plan for the Benefit of Australia.

“Today is a significant day for the rail industry as we build momentum for a National Rail Industry Plan and meeting with Commonwealth ministers is our first step,” said Danny Broad, chief executive officer of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA).

“The rail industry makes a significant contribution to the Australian economy. Investment in rail by Australian governments will be in the order of $100 billion through to 2030. We are meeting with Commonwealth ministers today to say: we need a plan to coordinate this effort and we need your support.

“Through better coordination and long-term certainty, we can ensure the industry is well positioned to take advantage of all the lessons from the past and position ourselves for the future.

“The Commonwealth Government will be investing $89 billion in naval shipbuilding through to 2055. This investment will be supported by a Naval Shipbuilding Plan. Rail’s contribution to Australia is no less than shipbuilding.

“Next we will be meeting with state and territory governments, as well as opposition representatives to discuss our plan, seeking their support.

“To get this right we really need a combined effort by Commonwealth, state and territory governments, as well as industry support.”

The emphasis of any National Rail Industry Plan will need to include five key areas of focus, Mr Broad said:
  1. Recognising the importance of rail for Australia’s infrastructure development, urban planning and freight movements
  2. Harmonising standards, minimising regulations and maximising economies of scale
  3. Growing the capabilities of individuals and companies
  4. Maximising opportunities for rail companies
  5. Fostering innovation, research and development.”
Federal Government happy to help Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester, together with the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator Arthur Sinodinos and the Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, met with key rail stakeholders in Canberra to canvas ideas for growing Australia's rail industry. Mr Chester said engagement with stakeholders, including business and industry groups, was essential for securing a strong national transport system that meets the needs of our freight and passenger rail task in the future. “Rail plays a significant role in the productivity of our nation, and I am always keen to hear the views of industry on how we can ensure rail continues to meet the needs of both commuters and industry,” Mr Chester said. Mr Chester said rail was a core component of the Australian Government $75 billion infrastructure investment program, including a $20 million commitment to examine faster rail. “Through the 2017-18 Budget, the Australian Government committed $20 billion toward the delivery of rail projects, including the $10 billion National Rail Program, and the $8.4 billion Inland Rail,” he said. “This significant investment will not only support freight operators and commuters, but also directly invest in the rail industry by providing high-quality — and road-competitive — rail links. “Industry engagement will continue to play an important role in ensuring we get the policy and investment settings right.” Mr Chester said supporting the rail industry—including investing in major projects—had the potential to boost national prosperity. “The Inland Rail will deliver 16,000 direct and indirect jobs at the peak of construction,” he said. “It will stimulate complementary private sector investments, such as fleet upgrades, new metropolitan and regional terminals and integrated freight precincts. “I am looking forward to seeing the roll-out of the National Rail Program and projects like Inland Rail, Perth Metronet and the Victorian Regional Rail Package.”   [post_title] => Rail: $20 billion spending, 16,000+ jobs [post_excerpt] => The rail industry met with Commonwealth ministers to discuss a National Rail Industry Plan. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => rail-20-billion-spending-16000-jobs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-15 12:30:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-15 02:30:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28045 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => 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 ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27895 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-24 20:15:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-24 10:15:53 [post_content] => The Commonwealth Government has announced significant reforms to the way businesses can sell IT services to the government. Starting immediately, government IT contracts will be capped at a maximum value of $100 million or three years’ duration. This is to allow small- and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to bid for smaller components of larger projects. Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said the Government was aiming to inject an additional $650 million annually into small Australian tech companies. “Government is targeting an increase of 10% of its annual $6.5 billion IT spending to smaller operators,” Assistant Minister Taylor said. “A cap is now in place to limit the term and value of government IT contracts. We are reducing the number of IT panels to make it easier for small players to supply services. We are actively encouraging small innovators to sell us their ideas.” The reforms were recommendations from the ICT Procurement Taskforce report. The taskforce found “a culture of risk-aversion in government procurement had undermined the freedom to innovate and experiment”. The ten recommendations from the taskforce cover issues such as developing ICT-specific procurement principles, building strategic partnerships, data-driven reporting, enhancing the Australian Public Service’s procurement skills, and new procurement methods. Work will continue over the next 12 months to deliver more pathways to improve coordination and reduce duplication of ICT procurement across government. The DTA’s increased oversight of the government’s IT investment portfolio and its work to build digital capability will address the calls for a more strategic IT procurement approach and a stronger technical workforce. The ICT procurement taskforce was established within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in October 2016 and became the responsibility of the Digital Transformation Agency in February 2017, the Minister said. Industry welcomes the move Rob Fitzpatrick, chief executive officer of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) said the changes were an important step forward to make it easier and less expensive for smaller Australian ICT companies to bid for components of larger projects and have the opportunity to do business with the Government. “We welcome the government’s commitment to build improved procurement capabilities and introduce new ICT procurement options aimed to streamline and speed up processes for both government and vendors. “These changes are in line with recommendations made by AIIA to provide a more level playing field. “We are particularly pleased to hear the Minister’s strong commitment to cloud services across government and to reforming existing panel arrangements. “To succeed, it will be important to implement the spirit of these changes effectively, and industry looks forward to working with the government to ensure an effective rollout.” [post_title] => Federal Govt restructures IT procurement worth $6.5bn [post_excerpt] => The Commonwealth has made significant changes to the way businesses can sell IT services to the government. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => federal-govt-restructure-procurement-worth-6-5bn [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-24 21:55:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-24 11:55:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27895 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27867 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-21 11:45:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-21 01:45:30 [post_content] =>   The Australian Border Force (ABF) has identified a number of labour hire intermediaries sourcing illegal labour and sending money derived from this exploitation overseas. Following an Australia-wide operation codenamed Bonasus, more than 225 people working in breach of their visa conditions were also located during the operation. Video footage of the operation can be viewed here. ABF officers inspected 48 properties, including businesses and residential premises, as part of the operation targeting organised visa fraud, illegal work and the exploitation of foreign nationals. The illegal workers were from Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Vietnam Tunisia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. They were located working in industries ranging from agriculture to retail and hospitality. In addition, more than 300 individuals were refused entry into Australia as part of the operation. ABF Commander Field and Removal Operations Robyn Miller said the operation should act as a warning to both employers of illegal workers and non-citizens who are, or are intending to, work illegally in Australia. "The facilitation of, and engagement in, illegal work can have lasting negative impact on Australian communities and individuals," Commander Miller said. "This includes significant underpayment and substandard living conditions for foreign workers, and reputational damage for rural and metropolitan industry sectors. "Small and medium businesses are also disadvantaged due to the unfair competitive advantage gained by those who do not adhere to the law." Investigations into these labour hire intermediaries are continuing. Penalties for businesses organising illegal work range up to ten years imprisonment and/or fines of up to $210,000. Individuals caught working illegally may be detained and removed. Individuals also face being banned from re-entering Australia for three years and may be liable for the costs of their removal. A majority of the unlawful non-citizens and foreign nationals caught working illegally have been removed to their country of origin. A small number of the group are assisting the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to resolve their immigration status. Anyone who is aware of an individual, business or employer who may be facilitating visa fraud or illegal work is urged to contact Border Watch on 1800 009 623 or visit www.border.gov.au/report. Information can be provided anonymously.
State/Territory Number of warrants Illegal workers located Locations
Victoria/Tasmania 14 More than 50 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Melbourne, Mildura, Shepparton, and Sunbury.
NSW/ACT 16 More than 110 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Sydney, Coffs Harbour, Mittagong and Griffith.
Queensland 4 More than 25 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Brisbane, Bundaberg and Mareeba.
Western Australia 12 Almost 40 Warrants occurred in metropolitan Perth.
South Australia/Northern Territory 2 Fewer than 5 Warrants occurred in Golden Heights and Whyalla Stuart.   
Total 48 More than 225  
The Department does not report on cohorts fewer than five for privacy reasons.   [post_title] => Customs targets employers of illegal workers [post_excerpt] => ABF officers have inspected businesses and residential premises targeting organised visa fraud and illegal work. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => customs-targets-employers-illegal-workers [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-21 13:31:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-21 03:31:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27867 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27847 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-17 16:27:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-17 06:27:31 [post_content] => The Federal Government has released a consultation paper that outlines the government’s proposal to create a Modern Slavery in Supply Chains Reporting Requirement. This will require large corporations and other entities operating in Australia to publish annual statements outlining their actions to address slavery. Responding to exploitation in supply chains is a key focus of Australia’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and Slavery 2015-19. Consistent with this focus, the National Roundtable established an expert Supply Chains Working Group to bring together relevant stakeholders from business, civil society and government agencies. This working group subsequently recommended that government introduce a modern slavery in supply chains reporting requirement. The proposed reporting requirement will support the business community to respond more effectively to modern slavery. It will raise business awareness of this issue, create a level playing field for businesses to share information about what they are doing to eliminate modern slavery, and encourage businesses to use their market influence to improve workplace standards and practices. The proposed reporting requirement will also improve information available to consumers and investors about modern slavery. The Attorney-General’s Department will lead a national consultation process to refine the Government’s proposed model. This consultation process will provide an important opportunity for the business community and civil society to help design a reporting requirement that is simple, sensible and as effective as possible. It will also ensure that the proposed reporting requirement reflects community expectations. Consultation paper available now The consultation paper outlines the Australian government’s proposed model for a Modern Slavery in Supply Chains Reporting Requirement. The proposed reporting requirement will require large corporations and other entities operating in Australia to publish annual statements outlining their actions to address modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. Key elements of the Government’s proposal include the following:
  • The introduction of a requirement to produce an annual Modern Slavery Statement.
  • The reporting requirement would be applicable to a range of entities:
    • with a proposed revenue threshold no lower than $100 million total annual revenue, and
    • headquartered in Australia or that have any part of their operations in Australia.
  • Entities will be required to report on their actions to address modern slavery in both their operations and supply chains (including beyond first tier suppliers).
  • Entities will be required to report, at a minimum, against four criteria (which cover the optional criteria set out in the UK Modern Slavery Act):
    • the entity’s structure, its operations and its supply chains;
    • the modern slavery risks present in the entity’s operations and supply chains;
    • the entity’s policies and processes to address modern slavery in its operations and supply chains and their effectiveness (such as codes of conduct, supplier contract terms and training for staff), and
    • the entity’s due diligence processes relating to modern slavery in its operations and supply chains and their effectiveness.
  • Modern Slavery Statements would need to be approved at board level and be signed by a director.
  • Entities would be required to publish their Modern Slavery Statement within five months after the end of the Australian financial year.
  • Entities would be required to publish their Modern Slavery Statement on their websites, with the Government also proposing a publicly accessible central repository.
  • Punitive penalties for non-compliance are not proposed but options for oversight are being considered.
  • The Government will provide guidance and awareness-raising materials for business.
The Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department will lead a national consultation process with business and civil society to refine the Government’s proposed model over August – December 2017. Submissions for the consultation will close on 20 October 2017. [post_title] => Federal Government to target modern slavery [post_excerpt] => A consultation paper outlines the government’s Modern Slavery in Supply Chains Reporting Requirement. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => federal-government-target-modern-slavery [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-17 19:12:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-17 09:12:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27847 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27781 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-07 09:03:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-06 23:03:28 [post_content] => Andrew Ferrington The third series of 'Utopia', the fan favourite for all who have worked in an office, premiered last month. The series — created by the prolific Working Dog team — tells of the National Building Authority's coexisting contrary tensions of bureaucracy and ‘blue sky’ ambitions. At the outset, let me disclose that I spent more than 15 years in a variety of roles in public service and am now back in the private world. The show is great — the ministerial adviser tries to highlight the positives of the NBA's ambitions, while the authority itself grapples with its commission to be ambitious in its outlook. The show makes its mark by illustrating the tensions between the government, its ministers and the institutions that oversee it, all while the NBA attempts to complete public brief it has to envision the future. The thing that concerns me is not the laughs at the bureaucracy's expense, it’s what it points out about the private sector. The big-picture thinking that always gets a laugh, is now nowhere to be seen. Because it can't be. Only government is able to take the risk to lead such big change. The private sector not only can't – but won't. It doesn't have the mandate, the appetite or the ability to dream large with these projects. The trope that "we don't need the government" as Rob Sitch's character says in episode one, becomes simply wrong. No entity but the government can make a decision or show the leadership that is needed to execute projects that bring about fundamental changes to society. Further, the contemporary discussion about ‘small’ government and that it should get out of the way of business is also a nonsense. If we didn't have government imagining these large projects, taking risks that the private sector can't even conceive of, and spending the money (yes, our money), society would be nothing like it is today. We do well to understand the context in which government works, because it is important. This leadership trickles down: while the government mandates that women, people with a disability or indigenous peoples have a significant contribution to play in society, the private sector is far behind. As a former bureaucrat, 'Utopia' makes me laugh. Yes, I've seen these behaviours: where the tyranny and vanity of politics overrules all. But it also makes me sad, because it mocks the leadership role that government plays, and the vision and ideas that the private sector can't possibly imagine. Next time you leave home (which is standing solidly, because government regulations mandated it should be built to a certain standard), think about the water, electricity and other services you use, the roads you drive on, footpaths you walk on, and trains you might catch. While they may be delivered by the private sector, they were planned and imagined by governments. And without them, we would be significantly worse off. Andrew Ferrington is the national tenders manager at Findex Group.   [post_title] => There is no private ‘Utopia’ [post_excerpt] => Government is the only one working to create a 'Utopia'. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => no-private-utopia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-07 15:04:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-07 05:04:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27781 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27743 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-02 14:33:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-02 04:33:30 [post_content] => Andrew Hudson The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton used his opening address at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIPB) Industry Summit on Monday morning (31 July 2017) to assure those in the private supply chain and their clients that the current work agenda would be maintained under the proposed Home Affairs department. Along with the Acting Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF), Minister Dutton reiterated that the ABF would continue in its traditional ‘Customs’ role and the ABF, as part of the DIBP, would also continue its vital engagement with industry and development of trade facilitation measures to assist in the legitimate trade in goods and movement in people. At the time of the announcement of the creation of the new Department of Home Affairs (DHA), the focus of the commentary was on national and border security issues with no comment on the traditional ‘Customs’ role of the ABF or its ongoing engagement with industry and the facilitation of international trade at the border. Naturally, there were some concerns that the failure to address these important roles could mean that the importance of those roles was being downgraded and that momentum on various initiatives here and overseas could be lost with an increased focus on security and intervention in trade. Both speakers made the point that the involvement of the ABF with the DHA would allow the ABF to have access to additional information at an earlier stage than is presently the case, which would actually enhance the ability of the ABF to carry out its roles. These outcomes were all consistent with the theme of the industry summit being “Border Innovation: strengthening our nation’s economy, security and society.” In terms of the work of the DIBP and the ABF in the engagement with industry in relation to the movement of goods, there was reference to recent achievements and future commitments with such initiatives as:
  • The creation of a ‘single window’ for trade such as in Singapore and New Zealand.
  • The expansion of the Australian Trusted Trader Program (ATTP).
  • The recent completion of four Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) with other customs services for those in the ATTP.
  • The promise of more MRA with customs services in other trading partners.
  • The development and implementation of Free Trade Agreements (FTA) to improve the use of those current and future FTAs by the adoption of robust Rules of Origin, enhanced border clearance facilitation.
  • The increased use of more advance technology and reporting systems.
There were similar references to commitments in the migration space as relating to the movement of persons. The comments provide a degree of assurance to industry that the current work agenda would be maintained and developed and that the engagement with industry remained a priority. While the reference to the achievements and initiative represents only a reiteration of those developments currently known to industry, their clear support from the Federal Government filled in a gap in the story that arose with the announcements relating to the DHA. Industry looks forward to continued engagement on these projects and its ongoing collaborative work with government, whether the DIBP, the ABF or other agencies that have a role at the border. Andrew Hudson is Partner with Rigby Cooke Lawyers’ Litigation Team, specialising in all areas of trade including international trade conventions, dispute resolution and arbitration, trade financing options, commodity and freight contracts as well as dealing with regulation of the movement of goods at the border by all Government agencies. He is also a member of many of the consultative bodies established by Government in the trade space, including the National Committee on Trade Facilitation convened by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the International Trade Remedies Forum convened by the Anti - Dumping Commission (ADC) as well as associated sub-committees. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Export Council of Australia (ECA) and the Food and Beverage Importers Association (FBIA) and works closely with other industry associations representing those in the supply chain. [post_title] => When all things change, Customs stays the same [post_excerpt] => Minister Dutton has assured those in the supply chain that the current work agenda would be maintained under the Home Affairs department. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => things-change-customs-stays [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-02 14:36:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-02 04:36:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27743 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27711 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-27 18:26:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-27 08:26:35 [post_content] => Opinion - Everald Compton Bill Shorten has recommended to Malcolm Turnbull that they join together in a bi-partisan attempt to hold a Referendum on Constitutional Change which will enable the Australian Parliament to have four year fixed terms. To his credit, Turnbull has left the door open for further discussions. This is a good initiative that I will strongly support and I hope that you will too. It will enable governments to spend at least their first year of office implementing difficult policies before they inevitably become obsessed with their pressing need to hold on to power at the next election. In addition, fixed terms will cause Prime Ministers to cease their appallingly undemocratic practice of calling elections on a political whim, treating us all as fools in the process, just as Campbell Newman did so disastrously in Queensland and Theresa May did so arrogantly in Britain. However, a referendum will succeed only if other constitutional changes are made at the same time. The first is that changes are needed in the Senate which is the most undemocratic institution on the planet, filled with people who have an enormously distorted vision of their unintended power and enjoy languishing there for six unaccountable years. If the current practice of Senators serving double terms continues to be tolerated, they will have eight years before they face the voters again, which will be an absolute abuse of privilege, appalling by any democratic standards. So, the Constitution must be changed so they serve one four year term only, exactly the same as the Members of the House of Representatives, with their elections being held at exactly the same time. The Constitution currently does not provide for this. And the number of Senators must be drastically reduced. Australia does not need a Parliament that elects 12 Senators from each State, most of whom do not have a clue as to how to fill their days. Five from each State is plenty and the financial savings will be enormous. This will mean that there will also be a lesser number of crossbenchers who can stop a Government from carrying out the mandates on which they were elected. At the same time, the Constitution must be changed to say that the House of Representatives can never have more than 100 electorates. We have far too many Members of Parliament, over 150 in fact, despite the fact that we live in a world where most voters are disgusted with politics and want the least number of politicians possible. Along with this, we must also abolish preferential voting which is massively manipulated by politicians and creates situations in which it can takes months to decide who won. Whoever is first past the post must always win and we can know on Election night who our next government will be. If we can achieve this in one referendum, that will be an enormous achievement by comparison with the fate of previous referendums, but it can be done. Indeed, the vote to reduce the number of Members and Senators will get a 99% positive vote. I have allowed 1% for the votes of politicians and their families and friends. After giving the voters a few years rest, we must then have another referendum to totally abolish the Senate. Quite simply, it is not needed. When drafting the Constitution in the 1890’s, our Founding Fathers created a Senate for one purpose only, to protect the small States against the big ones. But, in one and a quarter centuries, there has never been an occasion when Senators from one State have ever banded together to vote to protect their State. They have always voted by direction of their political parties. Nor do we need a Senate as a House of Review. When we elect a Government, we must let them govern and not have one hand constantly tied behind their backs. Democracy allows us to toss them out at the next election if they betray their mandate. After waiting for a few more years of voter respite, we can then have another go and force all six States to scrap Local Governments and break their States up into smaller States. We will need about 50 of them nation wide, who will assume the current powers of both State and Local Governments. The Constitution already gives States the power to break up into smaller States while, strangely, that same Constitution does not mention Local Governments at all. This significant change will cause enormous rural and regional development to occur, utterly decentralising Australia, as the needs of our existing capital cities are absolutely different from those of the rest of Australia. State Governors will be no longer needed. All fifty States will have an Administrator who is responsible to the Governor General for ensuring that responsible government prevails. Whilst I am a staunch Republican and want to see that happen quickly, I also can see all of the above changes as being equally necessary to the final removal of the remnants of unsatisfactory government by Colonial England. Clearly, it is long overdue to reform Australian politics and voters are now in a mood to take a huge hit at a complacent Establishment which is serving us badly. Let’s start right now. Yours at Large Everald Compton [post_title] => Political reformation [post_excerpt] => A referendum on fixed terms will succeed only if other constitutional changes are made. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => political-reformation [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-27 18:29:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-27 08:29:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27711 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27681 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-24 18:00:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-24 08:00:17 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_23593" align="alignnone" width="300"] Centrelink is using the services of spyware company, Cellebrite.[/caption] Monique Mann, Queensland University of Technology; Adam Molnar, Deakin University, and Ian Warren, Deakin University An Australian Tax Office (ATO) staffer recently leaked on LinkedIn a step-by-step guide to hacking a smartphone. The documents, which have since been removed, indicate that the ATO has access to Universal Forensic Extraction software made by the Israeli company Cellebrite. This technology is part of a commercial industry that profits from bypassing the security features of devices to gain access to private data. The ATO later stated that while it does use these methods to aid criminal investigations, it “does not monitor taxpayers’ mobile phones or remotely access their mobile devices”. Nevertheless, the distribution of commercial spyware to government agencies appears to be common practice in Australia. This is generally considered to be lawful surveillance. But without proper oversight, there are serious risks to the proliferation of these tools, here and around the world. The dangers of the spyware market The spyware market is estimated to be worth millions of dollars globally. And as Canadian privacy research group Citizen Lab has noted, spyware vendors have been willing to sell their wares to autocratic governments. There are numerous examples of spyware being used by states with dubious human-rights records. These include the surveillance of journalists, political opponents and human rights advocates, including more recently by the Mexican government and in the United Arab Emirates. In Bahrain, the tools have reportedly been used to silence political dissent. Commercial spyware often steps in when mainstream technology companies resist cooperating with law enforcement because of security concerns. In 2016, for example, Apple refused to assist the FBI in circumventing the security features of an iPhone. Apple claimed that being forced to redesign their products could undermine the security and privacy of all iPhone users. The FBI eventually dropped its case against Apple, and it was later reported the FBI paid almost US$1.3 million to a spyware company, reportedly Cellebrite, for technology to hack the device instead. This has never been officially confirmed. For its part, Cellebrite claims on its website to provide technologies allowing “investigators to quickly extract, decode, analyse and share evidence from mobile devices”. Its services are “widely used by federal government customers”, it adds. Spyware merchants and the Australian Government The Australian government has shown considerable appetite for spyware. Tender records show Cellebrite currently holds Australian government contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the specific details of these contracts remain unclear. Fairfax Media has reported that the ATO, Australian Securities and Investment Commission, Department of Employment , Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Department of Defence all have contracts with Cellebrite. The Department of Human Services has had a contract with Cellebrite, and Centrelink apparently uses spyware to hack the phones of suspected welfare frauds. In 2015 WikiLeaks released emails from Hacking Team, an Italian spyware company. These documents revealed negotiations with the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the AFP and other law enforcement agencies.

Laws and licensing

In Australia, the legality of spyware use varies according to government agency. Digital forensics tools are used with a warrant by the ATO to conduct federal criminal investigations. A warrant is typically required before Australian police agencies can use spyware. ASIO, on the other hand, has its own powers, and those under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979, that enable spyware use when authorised by the attorney-general. ASIO also has expanded powers to hack phones and computer networks. These powers raise concerns about the adequacy of independent oversight. International control of these tools is also being considered. The Wassenaar Arrangement, of which Australia is participant, is an international export control regime that aims to limit the movement of goods and technologies that can be used for both military and civilian purposes. But there are questions about whether this agreement can be enforced. Security experts also question whether it could criminalise some forms of cybersecurity research and limit the exchange of important encryption technology. Australia has export control laws that apply to intrusion software, but the process lacks transparency about the domestic export of spyware technologies to overseas governments. Currently, there are few import controls. There are also moves to regulate spyware through licensing schemes. For example, Singapore is considering a license for ethical hackers. This could potentially improve transparency and control of the sale of intrusion software. It’s also concerning that “off-the-shelf” spyware is readily accessible to the public.

‘War on math’ and government hacking

The use of spyware in Australia should be viewed alongside the recent announcement of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s so-called war on maths. The prime minister has announced laws will be introduced obliging technology companies to intercept encrypted communications to fight terrorism and other crimes. This is part of a general appetite to undermine security features that are designed to provide the public at large with privacy and safety when using smartphones and other devices. Despite the prime minister’s statements to the contrary, these policies can’t help but force technology companies to build backdoors into, or otherwise weaken or undermine, encrypted messaging services and the security of the hardware itself. While the government tries to bypass encryption, spyware technologies already rely on the inherent weaknesses of our digital ecosystem. This is a secretive, lucrative and unregulated industry with serious potential for abuse. The ConversationThere needs to be more transparency, oversight and strong steps toward developing a robust framework of accountability for both the government and private spyware companies. Monique Mann, Lecturer, School of Justice, Researcher at the Crime and Justice Research Centre and Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Research Group, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology; Adam Molnar, Lecturer in Criminology, Deakin University; and Ian Warren, Senior Lecturer, Criminology, Deakin University. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. [post_title] => Spyware merchants: the risks of outsourcing government hacking [post_excerpt] => The distribution of commercial spyware to government agencies appears to be common practice in Australia. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => spyware-merchants-risks-outsourcing-government-hacking [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-25 12:20:42 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-25 02:20:42 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27681 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27549 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-05 16:01:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-05 06:01:40 [post_content] => Matt Grudnoff The announcement of a new state level bank levy in South Australia has upset the big banks. This is not surprising and the big banks along with their lobby group the Australian Bankers Association have launched a self-interested campaign to stop the levy. Like most industry political campaigns it relies on exaggerated claims about the impact of the bank levy on ordinary people and the South Australian economy. The South Australian bank levy is designed in the same way as the federal bank levy. Banks cannot avoid the levy by not banking or investing in South Australia. The proposed levy will therefore not disadvantage South Australia compared to any other state or territory. As with the federal bank levy, it will only impact the big four banks (Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ and NAB) as well as Australia’s largest investment bank Macquarie Bank. The rate of the levy is set so it will raise from SA the same amount as the federal levy that comes from South Australia. This is achieved by calculated the ratio of South Australia’s Gross State Product and Gross Domestic Product. At the moment this is about six per cent of the total levy. This effectively means the South Australian bank levy is the same size as the federal levy in South Australia. The South Australian bank levy is proposed at 0.0036 per cent or 0.36 basis points. That is $3.60 in every $1,000,000 of determined liabilities. It is expected to raise about $90 million per year over the next four years. Together the five CEOs of the big banks make about half of what the levy is expected to raise each year. The amount the levy is expected to rise also represents just 0.2 per cent of the $44 billion in pre-tax profits the big five made last year.  

"The reality is that the bank levy will have no real impact on ordinary South Australians and its design means that it will not disadvantage South Australia compared to any other state or territory."

  The bank levy is not a new idea and has been implemented in many other countries around the world, particularly in Europe. This, along with the size of the levy, means it will have no material impact on sovereign risk. The bank levy also represents a good opportunity for the federal government to encourage state governments to raise more of their own revenue. The federal government has recently complained that the states are too reliant on it for their revenue. When the states want more revenue they have in past suggested the federal government increase the GST. This means the states get all the revenue and the federal government suffers all the political pain of increasing a tax. The federal government should take this opportunity to encourage the state governments to follow South Australia’s lead and implement their own bank levies. This means state governments would be more reliant and responsible for their own taxes. The federal government should use the COAG process to encourage this to happen. The banks are as unhappy with the announced South Australian levy as they were unhappy with the federal government’s bank levy. This is not unexpected as it opens up an additional tax on the banks and if the South Australian government is successful, it could see other states follow suit. The South Australian bank levy is only tiny in size but the ferocious reaction of the banks is in part because they are concerned that other states will follow South Australia’s lead. As is increasingly the case in Australia, the reaction has been over blown with exaggerated claims of sovereign risk and lost investment opportunities for the South Australian economy. Such exaggeration needs a closer examination. Matt Grudnoff is The Australia Institute’s senior economist. This article is a summary of the discussion paper Bank levy in South Australia: Doing as the Treasurer says, doing as the Treasurer does. [post_title] => The impact of the South Australian bank levy [post_excerpt] => The federal govt should encourage the states to implement their own bank levies. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => impact-south-australian-bank-levy [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-05 16:10:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-05 06:10:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27549 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27527 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-03 22:19:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-03 12:19:40 [post_content] => Australian Retailers Association (ARA) executive director Russell Zimmerman and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have launched a program designed for young people entering the retail workforce with the assistance of the Government’s Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare-Trial-Hire) program. The ARA said its aim is growing employment in the retail sector and has been working with the Federal Government to assist internships to young Australians looking to get into retail through the Youth Jobs PaTH program, run by Employment Minister Michaelia Cash. Russell Zimmerman said retail is transforming from a stepping-stone industry into a long-term and professionally fulfilling career, with some of Australia’s most successful business people starting on the shop floor. “We are very excited to be a part of the PaTH program. Our retailers are already major employers of young people and these PaTH internships will now provide another way that employers can give young people a fair go,” Mr Zimmerman said. “With the diverse range of careers in the retail industry, we need our young staff to not only have basic vocational skills but also have a wide range of qualifications before they can start on the job.” The churning danger The Greens and Labor believe the internships are just another way for employers to not have to pay award wages to staff and that the internships will replace full-time, full-wage jobs. “Although I’m sure the Australian Retailers Association was well-intentioned in brokering this deal with the government, I do have questions about why these young people can’t just be offered work under the usual conditions rather than internships where they can be potentially exploited,” Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said. “Under the PaTH process, people are not paid the same as their colleagues. Overseas we have seen examples where businesses use government-funded internship programs to churn through workers, offering them no long-term prospects. “I also have questions about working conditions – it must be ensured that protections that you would see in other employment contracts are available to young people entering these internships, “This rollout must be closely monitored so that young jobseekers aren’t being churned through and viewed as an opportunity for cheap labour by businesses.” The Labor opposition was equally denigrating. “The day after the Turnbull Government supported cutting penalty rates for nearly 700,000 workers, it’s bragging about a program that forces young people to work for less than the minimum wage,” Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Brendan O’Connor said. “The Turnbull Government can’t explain how the Youth PaTh program won’t displace jobs that could go to full-paid employees. “The government has not outlined how its agreement with retailers will stop subsidised workers from being used by some retailers to avoid paying penalty rates - by engaging subsidised, so-called ‘interns’ in penalty shifts that would normally be staffed by employees,” he said. The government responds In launching the program, Mr Turnbull said: “Now we have in Australia at the moment about 12.7 per cent of young people between 15 and 24 who are looking for work in the workforce or are unable to get a job. “Now that’s far too high. If we reduce that by 20,000, that is a full percentage point. So you can see that the 120,000 over four years, if that sets tens of thousands of young people onto the pathway to employment, as it will, who would otherwise not have done that, it makes a very big material difference. Not just to their lives, to give them the chance to get ahead, but to the nation as a whole.” When asked by a journalist “How likely is this to create churn in the workforce?”, the Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash said: “These are new jobs and … the employer has to certify that there is a job available or there is a high likelihood of a job available. This is about getting our young people off welfare and into work and the government has worked very closely with employers in particular to ensure that there are the appropriate processes in place. “We’ve also been very, very clear - if at the end of the internship a job is not offered, there will be an investigation as to why. So very much when this government says we are getting our youth off welfare and into work, I can assure you we are putting in place the programs that are going to do that.” Brendan O’Connor wasn’t convinced, however. “Instead of coming up with a serious jobs plan to help bring down Australia's high rate of youth unemployment, the Turnbull Government is rolling out programs that are replacing properly-paid, entry level jobs,” he said. [post_title] => Retail internships: PaTH to jobs or poverty? [post_excerpt] => Retailers and the Prime Minister have launched a retail internship program for young people. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => retail-internships-path-jobs-poverty [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-04 11:12:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-04 01:12:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27527 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27524 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-03 20:17:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-03 10:17:02 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27525" align="alignnone" width="300"] Sydney Metro is expected to take a large number of the new apprentices. Barangaroo Station shown.[/caption] The Australian and NSW Governments are to open what they say are Australia’s first one-stop-shop training centres for infrastructure jobs and skills training to meet the demands of Sydney’s infrastructure program, including Sydney Metro and the Western Sydney Airport (Badgery’s Creek). In a joint project between the Australian Government, the NSW Government’s Sydney Metro project, and TAFE NSW’s three infrastructure skills centres in Annandale, Nirimba and Ingleburn, these colleges will engage “industry experienced teachers to train apprentices, trainees and a new generation of workers”. The NSW Government is providing $4.97 million of the total cost of approximately $6 million through TAFE NSW, with a capital grant from the Australian Government of $950,000. This funding will enable a dedicated services provider to operate on-site, as well as secure equipment to support pre-employment training courses. It is not known whether the “dedicated services provider” will be TAFE NSW itself or an outside contractor/s leasing premises from TAFE. NSW Assistant Minister for Skills Adam Marshall said the network of three TAFE NSW campuses delivering specialist training centres would be Australia’s first one-stop infrastructure-focused skills centres. “The three infrastructure skills centres will extend TAFE NSW’s training services to other infrastructure projects and large construction projects such as Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, Parramatta Square and the Western Sydney Stadium,” Mr Marshall said. The NSW Infrastructure Skills Centre at Annandale was designed in conjunction with Sydney Metro to address skills and jobs requirements across the project. A majority of Sydney Metro’s workforce will undertake accredited pre-commencement training at the centre, addressing critical skills gaps and support the transferability of skills to workers as well as encourage them to pursue further learning. Tailored pre-employment training will be available to a range of special groups including young people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, culturally and linguistically diverse individuals, and women working in non-traditional roles. Fourteen Indigenous job seekers have already graduated from the centre’s first pre-employment training course, with the majority having been interviewed for jobs on the Sydney Metro project. Many of the successful candidates will also commence training for a Certificate II in Civil Construction to further develop their skills. Sydney Metro anticipates more than 500 entry-level employees will undertake training through the Infrastructure Skills Centre over five years. TAFE NSW will also deliver training to more than 20,000 workers over the next five years through the Infrastructure Skills Centres supporting major construction projects, including Sydney Metro.   [post_title] => TAFE back in favour: governments set up building centres [post_excerpt] => TAFE NSW is to open three dedicated infrastructure skills centres. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => tafe-back-favour-governments-set-building-centres [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-03 20:17:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-03 10:17:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27524 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27504 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-06-29 15:22:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-29 05:22:26 [post_content] => The Joint Select Committee on Government Procurement has released its final report into the Australian Government’s procurement rules, including a range of recommendations for improving the rules on how the government spends its money. The committee’s recommendations include:
  • Amending the rules to require all goods purchased by the Australian Government to comply with national standards.
  • The introduction of policies to promote environmentally sustainable procurement and best practice terms and conditions for subcontractors.
  • The appointment of an independent Industry Advocate to provide support for businesses to access Commonwealth contracts, to provide advice to government agencies, and to evaluate and monitor the economic benefit associated with government procurement.
  • The publication of comprehensive guidelines to inform officials’ application of the rules in a consistent, transparent and equitable manner.
Committee chairman Senator Nick Xenophon believes the new procurement rules, to be introduced in March, have the potential to deliver significant benefit to the Australian economy by providing important support to Australian industry. “Implemented effectively, the new rules will enable a broader, more accurate consideration of value-for-money in procurement decision making,” Senator Xenophon said. “However, their impact will be dampened unless the Australian Government acts swiftly to address the implementation concerns identified in this report. “A national Industry Advocate, cast on the highly successfully South Australian model, is urgently needed to overcome a current procurement culture focused on lowest cost rather than value for money, lacking in transparency and unaware of the benefits of engaging Australian businesses.” Last financial year more than $56.9 billion was spent by the Australian Government on the goods and services required to deliver its policy objectives. More than 10,000 businesses were contracted to deliver these items, including 9,595 small to medium businesses. The Joint Select Committee on Government Procurement was formed to investigate the implementation of the new Commonwealth Procurement Rules, which came into effect on 1 March 2017. The Committee considered how the implementation of the new rules could be strengthened to increase the economic benefit procurement delivers to the Australian economy. For more information about the Committee and to view its final report, visit the Committee’s website.   [post_title] => Government procurement rules to change [post_excerpt] => The Joint Select Committee on Government Procurement has released its recommendations for improving how the government spends its money. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => government-procurement-rules-change [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-30 11:45:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-30 01:45:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27504 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27490 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-06-29 12:19:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-29 02:19:13 [post_content] => The Department of Human Services has advised the CPSU that approximately 2,000 permanent jobs will be created in order to improve services for customers and reduce pressure on staff. The agency covering Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support said it expects the majority of new permanent positions will be filled by current casual staff, as the department seeks to reduce its use of non-going workers. The department expects recruitment for the permanent jobs will be concluded in August, with the roles mostly to cover call centre and processing work in offices around the country. CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “This is an enormously significant announcement that will give a much-needed boost to service standards for Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support customers whilst easing the intense pressure faced by DHS staff. We’re working closely with DHS to ensure these jobs are created quickly and fairly. “This will provide around 2,000 people in communities around the country with quality, permanent employment and offer some desperately needed support to their colleagues struggling under impossible workloads and also dealing with increased customer agitation and aggression as a result. “People employed casually by DHS already make a valuable contribution, but giving them permanent jobs will mean they receive the comprehensive training that is required to fully help customers through sensitive issues and often complex processes.” “The department deserves congratulations for taking this first step to turn around what has been an unacceptable slide in service standards, as we’ve seen with the 42 million calls blocked with a busy signal just in the first 10 months of this financial year and with the tens of thousands of people unfairly caught up in robo-debt.” The decision follows months of controversy over the robo-debt debacle and lack of service availability at Centrelink, culminating in Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support staff stepping up strikes in April. “DHS has been described as an agency in crisis,” Ms Flood said. “These jobs will help repair that damage, while the department also needs to agree a fair and reasonable outcome to resolve enterprise bargaining and implement the key recommendations of last week's inquiry report into robo-debt.” Meanwhile in NSW, 400 may be cut The Public Service Association believes the NSW Government will slash more than 400 jobs in disability services and child protection. The cuts will be of frontline jobs in areas such as disability services, child protection and housing, as part of the 2017-2018 budget. Under the Family and Community Services (FACS) Cluster Operating Model, the NSW Government has outlined plans to shed at least 429 jobs across Sydney and regional NSW. Even more jobs are expected to go as further cuts are announced to corporate and state-wide services in the coming weeks. The PSA says many of these jobs are in regional and remote NSW where service provision is already stretched and comparable employment isn’t available.     [post_title] => Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support to get 2,000 permanent jobs, NSW to lose 400 [post_excerpt] => The Department of Human Services will create approximately 2,000 permanent jobs in Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => centrelink-medicare-child-support-get-2000-permanent-positions [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-30 11:34:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-30 01:34:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27490 [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] => 28045 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-15 12:29:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-15 02:29:39 [post_content] => Representatives from the rail industry came together to meet with Commonwealth ministers to discuss the need for a National Rail Industry Plan for the Benefit of Australia. “Today is a significant day for the rail industry as we build momentum for a National Rail Industry Plan and meeting with Commonwealth ministers is our first step,” said Danny Broad, chief executive officer of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA). “The rail industry makes a significant contribution to the Australian economy. Investment in rail by Australian governments will be in the order of $100 billion through to 2030. We are meeting with Commonwealth ministers today to say: we need a plan to coordinate this effort and we need your support. “Through better coordination and long-term certainty, we can ensure the industry is well positioned to take advantage of all the lessons from the past and position ourselves for the future. “The Commonwealth Government will be investing $89 billion in naval shipbuilding through to 2055. This investment will be supported by a Naval Shipbuilding Plan. Rail’s contribution to Australia is no less than shipbuilding. “Next we will be meeting with state and territory governments, as well as opposition representatives to discuss our plan, seeking their support. “To get this right we really need a combined effort by Commonwealth, state and territory governments, as well as industry support.” The emphasis of any National Rail Industry Plan will need to include five key areas of focus, Mr Broad said:
  1. Recognising the importance of rail for Australia’s infrastructure development, urban planning and freight movements
  2. Harmonising standards, minimising regulations and maximising economies of scale
  3. Growing the capabilities of individuals and companies
  4. Maximising opportunities for rail companies
  5. Fostering innovation, research and development.”
Federal Government happy to help Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester, together with the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator Arthur Sinodinos and the Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, met with key rail stakeholders in Canberra to canvas ideas for growing Australia's rail industry. Mr Chester said engagement with stakeholders, including business and industry groups, was essential for securing a strong national transport system that meets the needs of our freight and passenger rail task in the future. “Rail plays a significant role in the productivity of our nation, and I am always keen to hear the views of industry on how we can ensure rail continues to meet the needs of both commuters and industry,” Mr Chester said. Mr Chester said rail was a core component of the Australian Government $75 billion infrastructure investment program, including a $20 million commitment to examine faster rail. “Through the 2017-18 Budget, the Australian Government committed $20 billion toward the delivery of rail projects, including the $10 billion National Rail Program, and the $8.4 billion Inland Rail,” he said. “This significant investment will not only support freight operators and commuters, but also directly invest in the rail industry by providing high-quality — and road-competitive — rail links. “Industry engagement will continue to play an important role in ensuring we get the policy and investment settings right.” Mr Chester said supporting the rail industry—including investing in major projects—had the potential to boost national prosperity. “The Inland Rail will deliver 16,000 direct and indirect jobs at the peak of construction,” he said. “It will stimulate complementary private sector investments, such as fleet upgrades, new metropolitan and regional terminals and integrated freight precincts. “I am looking forward to seeing the roll-out of the National Rail Program and projects like Inland Rail, Perth Metronet and the Victorian Regional Rail Package.”   [post_title] => Rail: $20 billion spending, 16,000+ jobs [post_excerpt] => The rail industry met with Commonwealth ministers to discuss a National Rail Industry Plan. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => rail-20-billion-spending-16000-jobs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-15 12:30:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-15 02:30:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28045 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 172 [max_num_pages] => 13 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => 1 [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 8541a1fe8d680ec78c0f610574241786 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )

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