Main Menu

WP_Query Object
(
    [query] => Array
        (
            [tag] => news-1
        )

    [query_vars] => Array
        (
            [tag] => news-1
            [error] => 
            [m] => 
            [p] => 0
            [post_parent] => 
            [subpost] => 
            [subpost_id] => 
            [attachment] => 
            [attachment_id] => 0
            [name] => 
            [static] => 
            [pagename] => 
            [page_id] => 0
            [second] => 
            [minute] => 
            [hour] => 
            [day] => 0
            [monthnum] => 0
            [year] => 0
            [w] => 0
            [category_name] => 
            [cat] => 
            [tag_id] => 15922
            [author] => 
            [author_name] => 
            [feed] => 
            [tb] => 
            [paged] => 0
            [meta_key] => 
            [meta_value] => 
            [preview] => 
            [s] => 
            [sentence] => 
            [title] => 
            [fields] => 
            [menu_order] => 
            [embed] => 
            [category__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__not_in] => Array
                (
                    [0] => 22371
                )

            [category__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_name__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__in] => Array
                (
                    [0] => news-1
                )

            [tag_slug__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [ignore_sticky_posts] => 
            [suppress_filters] => 
            [cache_results] => 1
            [update_post_term_cache] => 1
            [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1
            [update_post_meta_cache] => 1
            [post_type] => 
            [posts_per_page] => 14
            [nopaging] => 
            [comments_per_page] => 50
            [no_found_rows] => 
            [order] => DESC
        )

    [tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                    [0] => Array
                        (
                            [taxonomy] => category
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => 22371
                                )

                            [field] => term_id
                            [operator] => NOT IN
                            [include_children] => 
                        )

                    [1] => Array
                        (
                            [taxonomy] => post_tag
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => news-1
                                )

                            [field] => slug
                            [operator] => IN
                            [include_children] => 1
                        )

                )

            [relation] => AND
            [table_aliases:protected] => Array
                (
                    [0] => wp_term_relationships
                )

            [queried_terms] => Array
                (
                    [post_tag] => Array
                        (
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => news-1
                                )

                            [field] => slug
                        )

                )

            [primary_table] => wp_posts
            [primary_id_column] => ID
        )

    [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                )

            [relation] => 
            [meta_table] => 
            [meta_id_column] => 
            [primary_table] => 
            [primary_id_column] => 
            [table_aliases:protected] => Array
                (
                )

            [clauses:protected] => Array
                (
                )

            [has_or_relation:protected] => 
        )

    [date_query] => 
    [queried_object] => WP_Term Object
        (
            [term_id] => 15922
            [name] => news-1
            [slug] => news-1
            [term_group] => 0
            [term_taxonomy_id] => 15922
            [taxonomy] => post_tag
            [description] => 
            [parent] => 0
            [count] => 263
            [filter] => raw
        )

    [queried_object_id] => 15922
    [request] => SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS  wp_posts.ID FROM wp_posts  LEFT JOIN wp_term_relationships ON (wp_posts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) WHERE 1=1  AND ( 
  wp_posts.ID NOT IN (
				SELECT object_id
				FROM wp_term_relationships
				WHERE term_taxonomy_id IN (22364)
			) 
  AND 
  wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id IN (15922)
) AND wp_posts.post_type = 'post' AND (wp_posts.post_status = 'publish') GROUP BY wp_posts.ID ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 0, 14
    [posts] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 28273
                    [post_author] => 673
                    [post_date] => 2017-10-13 15:41:24
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-13 04:41:24
                    [post_content] => 

While climate and energy policy in Australia remain mired in acrimonious squabbling, the UK’s Conservative Government has released a bold new plan for a low carbon future. And it includes a carbon price. The new UK Clean Growth Strategy is a comprehensive 163 page document. It was released on 12 October by Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark. He described it as “the government’s strategy on how the whole country can benefit from low carbon economic opportunities through the creation of new technologies and new businesses, which creates jobs and prosperity across the UK, while meeting our ambitious national targets to tackle climate change. “This government has put clean growth at the heart of its industrial strategy to increase productivity, boost people’s earning power and ensure Britain continues to lead the world in efforts to tackle climate change. “For the first time in a generation, the British government is leading the way on taking decisions on new nuclear, rolling out smart meters and investing in low carbon innovation. “The world is moving from being powered by polluting fossil fuels to clean energy. It’s as big a change as the move from the age of steam to the age of oil and Britain is showing the way.” Perhaps someone should tell the Australian Government. The report sets out in detail 50 policies and proposals in seven categories:
  • Accelerating clean growth: a number of financial incentives
  • Improving business and industry efficiency: develop a package of measures to support businesses to improve their energy productivity, by at least 20 percent by 2030.
  • Improving the energy efficiency of homes.
  • Accelerating the shift to low carbon transport
  • Delivering clean, smart, flexible power: including the phasing out of ‘unabated’ coal by 2025, and an increase in the use of nuclear energy.
  • Enhancing the benefits and value of the UK’s natural resources
  • Public sector efficiencies and “government leadership in driving clean growth.”
A key aspect of the UK strategy is the introduction of a price on carbon, a strategy adopted by the Australian Government in 2010 by the Gillard Labor Government but subsequently abandoned by Tony Abbot’s Liberals. The UK Government will “target a total carbon price in the power sector which will give businesses greater clarity on the total price they will pay for each tonne of emissions. Further details on carbon prices for the 2020s will be set out in the Autumn 2017 Budget.” The report talks a lot about wind power, and the expansion of Britain’s nuclear energy program. Solar does not get much of a mention, but then the country is not known for its sunny skies and warm temperatures. The full strategy is available here. The contrast with Australia’s lack of strategy could not be sharper. The UK has its share of climate sceptics, but they are not strongly represented in the Government as they are in Australia. The UK also does not have a federal system, and it does not have a powerful Senate. It has more than double Australia’s population (the differential was much greater not so long ago), but its wheels of government turn much more smoothly. More importantly, it has political leaders capable of making decisions. Australia’s turn. [post_title] => UK Government to adopt carbon pricing [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => uk-government-adopt-carbon-pricing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-16 12:59:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-16 01:59:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28273 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28256 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-12 12:58:33 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-12 01:58:33 [post_content] =>

State based affordable housing schemes only work if supported by strong political leadership. That’s the key finding of a major new report, ‘Government led innovations in affordable housing delivery’. The report, by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) analysed the affordable housing market in Australia. It found that effective strategies and programs:
  • rely on strong political leadership
  • adopt a whole-of-housing industry approach to consultation and implementation
  • communicate objectives effectively to all stakeholders
  • are resilient to changes of government
  • are best run from a central agency with a flexible organisational structure that can respond quickly to opportunities.
The project examined state government-led innovations in affordable housing through analysis of two state-level strategies (the WA Affordable Housing Strategy and the ACT Affordable Housing Action Plan and two state level programs (the NSW Asset Vesting Program and the WA East Kimberley Transitional Housing Program). The reports found that some programs, such as the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) and state housing transfers, appear across states. Others, such as shared equity housing and low deposit home loans, are much less common. The research examined what makes a successful affordable housing strategy or program, and looked at the lessons that can be learnt from state governments that have successfully delivered affordable housing. “Of all the elements examined in this project, it is clear that leadership is the most important,” says the report. “The delivery of better housing outcomes in a city or region is a long and complex process that requires the support, and sometimes the active participation, of many different stakeholders, including a range of government agencies and the private sector. “The ACT case clearly demonstrated that very strong leadership is needed to bring all these elements together—a situation mirrored in WA. “Without the leadership of the housing minister of the time and the CEO of the Housing Authority it is unlikely the WA affordable housing strategy would have been developed at all, let alone implemented as successfully as it was. “The support of the State Treasury is very important. The East Kimberly Transitional Housing program provides another illustration of just how a driven collection of individuals can make a real difference if provided with the support to implement ideas.” The report also found that affordable housing programs must be resilient enough to survive a change of government, and must be able to maintain their initial momentum through continual reinforcement of key messages and regular communication of achievements. It also said that strategies should be run from a central agency “with a flexible organisational structure that can respond quickly to opportunities arising from housing market conditions and unexpected funding sources. AHURI is a national independent research network with an expert not-for-profit research management company, AHURI Limited, at its centre. It is funded by government grants, its university partners, and payment for professional services. The report is available here. [post_title] => Affordable housing needs strong leadership [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => affordable-housing-needs-strong-leadership [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-13 08:39:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-12 21:39:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28256 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28222 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-09 11:16:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-09 00:16:09 [post_content] => The Productivity Commission (PC) has delivered its draft report on Horizontal Fiscal Equalisation to Treasurer, Scott Morrison. It highlights many shortcomings in the current system and recommends a complete overhaul. Horizontal Fiscal Equalisation (HFE) is the term given to the sharing of GST revenues to the states to even out their fiscal capabilities. In practice it means the wealthy states like Western Australia subsidise poorer states like Tasmania. This has led to many arguments and remains a serious point of issue in Commonwealth-State relations in Australia. The Productivity Commission report is not likely to make things any easier, at least in the short term. The report, which can be downloaded here, does not beat around the bush. It is very clearly written and makes strong recommendations. It says that while HFE has broad support, it is under significant strain and changes are needed. Its strongest recommendations are that the formula be simplified and made more transparent, and that distortions caused by such events as Western Australia’s mining boom be given less importance when assessing equalisation criteria. “The practice of HFE has evolved over time, and now embodies an undeliverable ideal: to give states the same fiscal capacity,” says the report. “In other words, all states are brought up to the fiscal capacity of the fiscally strongest state (currently Western Australia). “Notwithstanding anomalies, the current system of HFE has good points. It achieves an almost complete degree of equalisation — unique among OECD countries “It has well‑established processes that involve consultation and regular methodology reviews. And HFE does not result in significant distortions to interstate migration or economic growth.” But, says the report waxing lyrical, “the pure may be the enemy of the good.” It says the current HFE system is struggling with extreme circumstances, and this is corroding confidence in the system. “Equalising comprehensively and to the fiscally strongest state means that the redistribution task is too great for any jurisdiction to bear; and is volatile at times of significant cyclical and structural change. “There is scope for it to discourage desirable mineral and energy resources policies (royalties and development) and state policy for major tax reform (a costly first‑mover disadvantage).” The system is beyond comprehension by the public, it says, and poorly understood by most within government. “This leads to a myriad of myths and confused accountability.” The report says the Government should articulate a revised objective for HFE.” While equity should remain at the heart of HFE, it should aim to provide the states with the fiscal capacity to provide a reasonable level of services. “Equalisation should no longer be to the highest state, but instead the average or the second highest state — still providing states a high level of fiscal capacity, but not distorted by the extreme swings of one state.” The report points out that changes to the system will most likely lead to a significant redistribution of the GST. “Timing and careful transition are paramount, especially to ensure the fiscally weaker states are not significantly disadvantaged.” It also recommends the Government should simplify the assessment process, even if it results in less precise equalisation. “Reforming HFE will deliver benefits to the Australian community. But ultimately, greater benefits will only come from more fundamental reforms to Australia’s federal financial relations: namely, to spending and revenue raising responsibilities and accountabilities.” That is the nub. It is not just about redistributing GST. It is about the wider issue of Commonwealth State relations, how revenue is raised, and who is responsible for expenditure. That is a much larger can of worms. In any case, nothing will happen for a while. This is just a draft report, with written submissions invited until 10 November, and hearing held in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney later in November. The Productivity Commission intends to hand down its final report on 31 January 2018. [post_title] => GST sharing needs a fix, says Productivity Commission [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 28222 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-10 11:09:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-10 00:09:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28222 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28184 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-05 11:56:33 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-05 00:56:33 [post_content] => 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 of many candidates. The CCC looked at the behaviour of a number of candidates in Gold Coast, Ipswich, Moreton Bay and Logan councils. The 31 recommendations are contained in the CCC’s report Operation Belcarra: A blueprint for integrity and addressing corruption risk in local government, tabled in the Queensland Parliament on 4 October. CCC Chair Alan MacSporran QC (pictured)  said Operation Belcarra and other recent investigations have identified number of significant weaknesses in the current Queensland local government electoral framework. He says reform is needed to deliver equity, transparency, integrity and better accountability in council elections and council decision-making. “The report tabled in Parliament today demonstrates why reform of the local government sector is required,” he said. “If supported by Parliament, the recommendations i will result in the most substantial reform of the local government sector in Queensland’s history.” The recommendations target four key components of the local government sector: councillors, candidates, donors and the Electoral Commission. The report identifies widespread non-compliance with Queensland’s Local Government Electoral Act 2011. It also identifies deficiencies in how the Electoral Commission Queensland (ECQ) currently operates, and has recommended changes to broaden its role. The CCC said it will not pursue criminal prosecutions where it identified the current framework may have contributed to the non-compliance or where the time period for a prosecution has expired. This includes allegation against Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate, who has been under fire for failing to operate a dedicated banks account during the election. He escapes prosecution because the practice was widespread (‘systemic’ says the report), and because more than 12 months has elapsed since the offence.  But the CCC has recommended prosecuting failed Gold Coast mayoral candidate Penny Toland for not declaring more than $30,000 in donations. Key recommendations:
  • Consider the introduction of campaign expenditure caps
  • Introduce real-time disclosure of electoral expenditure
  • Make all candidates’ interests, including party political membership, known to voters before polling day
  • More clearly define what is meant by a “group” of candidates
  • Ensure all donations are known to voters before polling day
  • Make more information about donors and donations available to the public
  • Prohibit donations from property developers to local government councillors and candidates
  • Improve compliance by candidates and donors with disclosure obligations
  • Improve candidates’ management of campaign funds
  • Improve how councillors identify and manage conflicts of interest
  • Strengthen regulatory responses to non-compliance.
The full report is available at:www.ccc.qld.gov.au/operationbelcarra Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says her Government is “considering” the recommendations. “The CCC report is comprehensive and thorough,” she said. “Two of the report’s major recommendations are a ban on developer donations, and better means to deal with perceived conflicts of interest for councillors. I fully support both those recommendations. “The report highlights serious cultural and structural issues within specific councils, and Queensland local government more broadly. “I will bring a submission to cabinet on Monday that addresses all the implications of this report.” [post_title] => Queensland local government cops a pasting [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => queensland-local-government-cops-pasting [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-07 03:30:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-06 16:30:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28184 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => 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 ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28071 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-19 09:28:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-18 23:28:31 [post_content] => New Zealand leads the world in zero emission renewable grid electricity now at 85%. With a nice balance between geothermal, hydroelectric, unusually continuous wind power and some solar, the country has less intermittency of green power than most. Transpower NZ, the government-owned power company, made NZD 208.4m profit in 2016-17 (AUD 190m) and has investigated grid-scale battery systems for near-term investment. Battery storage under investigation Building energy storage systems across New Zealand would represent an economic ‘game-changer’ for the country within the next few years, according to new research by national grid owner-operator Transpower. The company said its research findings show distribution-connected or community-scale batteries are expected to be economic for homes and business from 2020— promising “real potential and benefits from batteries for New Zealand consumers”. Now Transpower is preparing to conduct trials of battery storage systems, while working with industry leaders to push for market and pricing reforms the company said will be needed to “unlock the value of battery systems to maximise their value”. Transpower’s general manager for grid development Stephen Jay said: “We are actively evaluating opportunities for using new technologies throughout our network. We are preparing for what that future looks like and this battery research is the first of a number of reports we will release looking at technologies that could possibly have an impact on our business. “Battery projects at lower voltage distribution substations and at a consumer level are forecast to be economic in the next few years, due to the declining cost of battery systems,” Mr Jay said. “Over time, we believe they will also become economic for the high voltage transmission grid and this will then provide battery resilience across the whole supply chain.” Mr Jay said Transpower is not planning large-scale high voltage trials with batteries “in the near term— but we will seek opportunities to work with and learn from others in joint projects where appropriate.” According to Transpower’s study, the functionality of a battery as both a load and a generator at various times “will need to be examined, and regulatory and technical barriers to entry addressed”. In the long-term, the study said battery storage at any location in the supply chain is expected to delay or replace the need to build additional thermal peaking plant and should over time reduce the cost of electricity to consumers. Container-based battery storage systems in the order of 1-2MW “have the advantage that they can be implemented relatively quickly to target specific grid constraints in a controlled manner”, the report said. They can be ‘right sized’ for the first year of need, “with the possibility of increasing the storage capacity over time if load growth occurs”. This would “optimise initial capital expenditure and leverage the declining cost curve of future expansion”, the report said. In addition, the report said ramping up battery storage projects would support national plans to boost the take-up of electric vehicles. According to Transpower, there are currently around 3,000 electric vehicles in the country, but government policy is targeting 64,000 vehicles by 2021-22. “In future, we expect that electric vehicle batteries could have the capability to be part of a battery network, providing services when the vehicle is plugged in to charge overnight,” Transpower said. With IDTechEx. You can download the Transpower report here. [post_title] => NZ hits 85% renewables, profitably [post_excerpt] => NZ Government makes $190m from electricity, focuses on renewables and grid battery storage. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nz-hits-85-renewable-electricity-profitably [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-19 09:48:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-18 23:48:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28071 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => 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 ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28007 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-12 10:13:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-12 00:13:13 [post_content] => Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) and Veolia Australia and New Zealand have opened the Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) facility at Woodlawn Eco-precinct in the town of Tarago, located 240 kilometres from Sydney, NSW. Previously, the town of Tarago was home to the adjoining Woodlawn Mine site drilling for zinc, copper, lead, gold and silver. For SSROC and its member councils this has been an almost 10-year journey from the initial concept to the delivery of a $100 million state-of-the-art MBT facility that in this financial year alone will save the six councils more than $9.5 million collectively. President of the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) Inc., Cr Sally Betts said: “For SSROC and our councils, reducing the impact of our household waste is a priority, with Sydney-siders responsible for generating around 2,000 kg of waste per person. The new MBT facility is a cost effective and sustainable way of reducing the quantity of waste that ends up in landfill.” The Woodlawn MBT facility will use cutting-edge resource recovery technology to produce compost to rehabilitate an on-site mine. Household municipal waste will be rotated in large drums along with air and water to separate compostable material from inorganic, recovering recyclables such as metals along the way. This process will divert 55% of household waste from landfill, transforming residual waste into clean heat for the on-site barramundi farm and green energy for the grid. General manager of SSROC Namoi Dougall recognised the dedication of SSROC member councils to delivering value for money and sustainable solutions to their residents: “In NSW, our councils are paying a levy of $138 per tonne of municipal waste, so by diverting more than half of our waste from landfill we are estimating that the six participating councils will be saving ratepayers $9.5 million in the first year alone. It is a sign of the dedication and foresight of our councils, that we have worked to establish this project for nearly 10 years. This is a positive step in the way we process waste, and I look forward to the MBTs evolution over the coming years.” The SSROC region is host to a newly established Veolia waste transfer terminal at Banksmeadow, which will transport containerised waste by rail to the new Woodlawn MBT facility. The use of rail, including the existing Clyde site, to transfer the waste will result in a reduction by around 30,000 heavy truck movements on Sydney’s already congested roads. Veolia’s executive general manager - Eastern Region Danny Conlon said: “The facility will process 144,000T of waste per annum and will divert more than half of participating councils’ general waste tonnes away from landfill. Ten years of collaboration amongst a number of stakeholders, inclusive of SSROC, NSROC, state government and community members have led us to this end-result, and this partnership will enable Veolia to make a positive impact on the NSW Government’s diversion target of 70 per cent by 2021. This project will also save millions of dollars in waste levy charges for Sydney’s ratepayers and will additionally produce an organic compost to be used to rehabilitate Australian mining land, ultimately allowing us to give back to the nation’s people and communities.” The collaboration with Veolia has generated over 50 jobs have between the Banksmeadow and Woodlawn facilities. [post_title] => Sydney councils adopt new waste management technology [post_excerpt] => SSROC and Veolia ANZ have opened an advanced Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) facility. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => sydney-councils-adopt-new-waste-management-technology [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-15 11:35:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-15 01:35:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28007 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27975 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-08 10:00:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-08 00:00:57 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27976" align="alignnone" width="300"] The NorthConnex in Sydney is one of IA's projects.[/caption] In time for Julieanne Alroe commencing her role as the new chairwoman of Infrastructure Australia (IA), the organisation has begun the process of updating its Infrastructure Priority List (IPL), with the next full edition to be published in February 2018. Welcome Julianne Roe – and four more Chief executive of Infrastructure Australia Philip Davies welcomed Ms Alroe to her new position, who has been a member of the board since 2015. In turn, Ms Alroe welcomed three new board appointments — Deena Shiff, a former senior Telstra executive, Andrew Ethell, a former senior Toll executive, and Dr Peter Wood, a former Evans & Peck executive. They will be joined in January 2018 by Reece Waldock, the former Director-General of the Western Australian Department of Transport. Updating the IPL As part of this update, Infrastructure Australia is calling on Australian governments and non-government bodies to identify infrastructure problems and opportunities of national significance. The 2018 IPL will build on the current list, with new initiatives to reflect emerging infrastructure priorities across Australia, as well as update existing initiatives. Infrastructure Australia says it is open to submissions for all types of infrastructure, including programs of related works and programs for network optimisation. The submission period will close on 27 October 2017. Mind the framework Proponents should align their submissions with IA’s recently updated Assessment Framework. The Infrastructure Australia Act requires that the Assessment Framework be reviewed at least every two years. This ensures that it remains current, and consistent with similar frameworks used elsewhere in Australia and overseas. The Assessment Framework sets out the process Infrastructure Australia uses to consider initiatives and projects for inclusion on the Infrastructure Priority List. The Assessment Framework provides information about what Infrastructure Australia does and how initiatives and projects are assessed, to enable proponents to develop their submissions. The Assessment Framework was most recently updated in June 2017 with a focus on improving usability and readability. This included:
  • Merging the Assessment Framework overview and the detailed technical guidance into a single document.
  • Updating the existing templates, and developing new checklists, to simplify the submission process for proponents.
  • Providing better clarity on the role of Infrastructure Australia and the proponent at each step of the five-stage assessment process.
Proponents can make a submission via the Infrastructure Priority List—Call for submissions page.   [post_title] => Infrastructure Australia is open to new ideas [post_excerpt] => Infrastructure Australia has begun updating its Infrastructure Priority List. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => infrastructure-australia-open-new-ideas [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-08 10:22:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-08 00:22:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27975 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27964 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-03 12:54:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-03 02:54:52 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27965" align="alignnone" width="300"] Dr Ian McPhee.[/caption] Dr Ian McPhee is a medical specialist with a career that began more than 35 years ago in Anaesthesia. Three years ago, at the age of 59, he was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive T-cell lymphoma. In spite of extensive treatment, including chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, his cancer has spread to several sites, and is now in an advanced stage. Dr McPhee is a strong supporter of palliative care, and considers it a vital part of the medical system. He believes that for many, it is the difference between extreme suffering, and achieving some respite at the last stage of life. However, for himself, he is seeking an alternative option. Dr McPhee has arranged to access a drug that will enable him to end his life. He has discussed this with his family, and they are fully supportive. He has agreed to speak publicly about his situation in the hope that it will provide a better understanding of why some terminally ill individuals want the option of an assisted death. In the time he has left, Dr McPhee is urging MPs to support the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill when it is debated in Parliament next month. To this end, he has participated in a video made by Dying with Dignity NSW, promoting end of life choices. Dr Sarah Edelman, president of Dying with Dignity NSW, said that Dr McPhee has the personal contacts that will enable him to access medication to ensure a peaceful death. “This option is only available to those who have resources and connections, or those who have an advocate who is prepared to break the law on their behalf. The vast majority of Australians also want this choice”. An Essential opinion poll conducted during August found that 73% of Australians support voluntary assisted dying, with 81% support amongst those over 55 years. In the video, Dr McPhee says that his pain is likely to become unbearable and despite having access to every type of medication, none of it is capable of eliminating pain completely. “It will be nothing less than a form of torture,” he said. Dr McPhee says knowing that he will have control over the final stage of his life provides enormous reassurance. Dr Edelman, a clinical psychologist, points out that “one of the greatest benefits of voluntary assisted dying is the reduction in anxiety that comes with the knowledge that the option of a peaceful death will be always be available.” You can view the video here. Another article on medically assisted dying can be read here. [post_title] => Why can’t we die with dignity? [post_excerpt] => Intensive care specialist says: “It will be nothing less than a form of torture.” [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => cant-die-dignity [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-08 10:50:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-08 00:50:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27964 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => 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 ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27932 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-29 10:19:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-29 00:19:44 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27933" align="alignnone" width="300"] Photo (L-R): Stewart Seal (The Hills Shire Council Manager of Forward Planning – Strategic Planning), Janelle Atkins (Hills Shire Council’s Acting Manger of Forward Planning – Strategic Planning, Maria Kovacic (Founder of Western Sydney Women and on the board of The Hills Community Aid), Julian Leeser MP, Mayor Yvonne Keane MP, Chris Johnson (CEO of Urban Taskforce), Councillor Ray Harty, Maria Scott of PAYCE, Michael Edgar (General Manager of The Hills Shire Council) and Stephen McIntyre (Chief Executive Officer of Wentworth Community Housing).[/caption] In a first for Local Government, Mayor of The Hills Shire Councillor Yvonne Keane has introduced a new planning model, the Transitional Housing Policy Framework, that recognises the importance of transitional housing and highlights the lack of current stock. The model encourages willing developers to provide a small number of transitional dwellings within new developments in return for an ‘uplift’ in development yield. The framework provides incentives to assist local government and other not-for-profit organisations provide a safe and temporary home for those escaping from domestic and family violence. It is different from social and affordable housing – see below for a detailed explanation. “For some time, I’ve been thinking of ways in which The Hills Shire Council might play a key role in delivering tools to help our community respond to domestic violence. We have a wonderful women’s shelter, The Sanctuary, but the missing link is transitional housing,” Mayor Keane said. “Transitional housing provides safe, comfortable and secure accommodation for women and their children to recover, re-build and make informed and empowered decisions about their lives and their future. “It is the essential ‘next-step’ towards real independence. Without it, a woman is faced with the possibility of returning to the cycle of violence. “The real beauty of this model is that it provides a mechanism to swiftly create a supply of transitional housing – and it does so at no cost to the community and the state and federal governments. “I am so enormously proud of the proposal to solve the transitional housing issue in The Hills and I am even more proud that it was unanimously supported by council,” Mayor Keane added.  CEO of Women’s Community Shelters Annabelle Daniel said moving on from domestic and family violence is a process that can take a number of years and the council’s Transitional Housing Policy Framework would help provide more homes to those seeking assistance. “Stable, affordable transitional housing, where women and children continue to receive support from people they trust, helps them enormously in building lives free from abuse,” Ms Daniel’s said.  “Supported accommodation, such as that encouraged by this proposal, will ensure women can focus on stability, opportunity and contribution, for themselves and for their children.” CEO of Wentworth Community Housing Stephen McIntyre welcomed the leadership of the council in responding to family and domestic violence and expanded on the important role that transitional housing can play to ensure its success. “This innovative policy will promote partnerships between property developers and community housing providers to provide much needed transitional housing, providing a safe home and pathway to future independence,” Mr McIntyre said. “The community housing sector is well regulated with annual compliance required against national standards. This means that providers like Wentworth are ideally suited to ensure the properties are professionally managed and that women and children are well supported during their transition period.” The model allows for transition dwellings to be provided in well-located and serviced areas at no direct cost to council, federal and state governments and the community. The planning proposal is currently being assessed by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment as part of the Gateway Process. Developers come on board The Transitional Housing proposal by The Hills Shire Council is fully supported by the developers’ body Urban Taskforce, as it has appropriate incentives to encourage developers. “The Council proposal is to encourage developers to provide a single apartment for a 10-year period by allowing two extra apartments above the current planning limits,” said Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson. “This approach is similar to the Urban Taskforce proposal to providing affordable housing for a ten-year period through an uplift in floor space and height. The development industry can contribute subsidised housing over a ten-year period if the incentives for extra floor space are sufficient to make this economically viable.” “A number of Urban Taskforce members who are developing apartment projects in The Hills Shire Council area, including Sekisui, Mirvac, Aqualand, Dyldam and PAYCE, have expressed their support for the Transitional Housing proposal. Major developers like PAYCE have run the numbers over the proposal and believe it is a viable approach to help provide the subsidised housing that council is encouraging.” What is Transitional Housing? Hills Local Area Command reported that approximately five cases of domestic violence are reported per week within The Hills, which equates to up to 245 cases per year. While those cases are seen to by the local police, many more go unreported. As well as the immediate crisis, there are long term issues that need to be attended to when someone is put into this position – this can often involve having to leave their family home or worse their community, which can sometimes be quite difficult for the victim. Transitional Housing provides refuge and protection to those, particularly women and children, escaping from abhorrent scenes of domestic and family violence, and needing a temporary and secure place to stay. It is important that residents feel safe, comfortable and secure in their community so they can rebuild self-esteem and make empowered and informed decisions about their lives. Together, Mayor Yvonne Keane and The Hills Shire Council worked to create a potential mechanism to encourage and incentivise the provision of transitional housing within new residential development throughout The Hills. This mechanism proposes an additional clause to the Hills Local Environmental Plan 2012, and has been put forward to the Department of Planning and Environment for Gateway Determination. If agreed, this will enable further consultation with stakeholders and the community prior to being finalised. How does it work? For the policy to work effectively, the council decided that for a small portion of uplift in developments, particularly around the rail corridors, that an enormously large social issue could be solved. A floor space incentive was therefore suggested, where developers can have the opportunity to incorporate a small portion of transitional housing in their high density development. The provision ensures that it would facilitate only a moderate uplift in residential yield, to prevent unreasonable impact on surrounding residents. The incentive would be voluntary and would ensure that the developer retains the ownership of the transitional homes. The proposed provision will have the following characteristics:
  • The policy will only apply to residential flat buildings and shop top housing developments within the R4 High Density Residential, R1 General Residential or B4 Mixed Use zone;
  • The bonus floor space ratio will be available if the development includes a minimum of 50 dwellings (excluding ‘transitional group home dwellings’);
  • The bonus floor space shall not exceed 10 per cent of the maximum floor space ratio permitted on the site, up to a maximum of 900m2 gross floor area (capped regardless of the site area);
  • An additional 300m2 of gross floor area would be available for every ‘transitional group home’ provided, which would allow for two bonus dwellings (each with an average internal floor area of no less than 100m2 gross floor area) comprising:
  • One ‘transitional group home’ (to be used as a group home (subject to agreement with a suitable provider/s) and then returned to the developer after a period of use - potentially 10 years); and
  • Two standard dwellings above the yield otherwise achievable by the developer;
  • The maximum additional yield achievable within the bonus floor space will be nine dwellings (of which three would need to be a ‘transitional group home’);
  • The timing of the developer’s incentive is staged:
    • Upfront: two bonus (unrestricted) dwellings; and
    • After 10 years: one bonus dwelling (when use as a transitional dwelling has ceased).
The proposed provision has been prepared in consultation with service providers and the development industry. Where is it at? Transitional housing within The Hills was urged and supported by speakers Annabelle Daniel of Women’s Community Shelters, Detective Chief Inspector Jim Bilton from the Castle Hill Local Area Command, and Maria Kovacic from Hills Community Aid at the 25 July 2017 Council Meeting. Their feedback was that all possible mechanisms are to be viewed as the need for a safe community is paramount, and it is council’s responsibility to consider pathways to keep women and children safe. As a result of the overwhelmingly positive feedback from stakeholders and fellow councillors, a planning proposal is currently with the Department of Planning and Environment for Gateway Determination. Should a Gateway Determination be issued by the Department of Planning and Environment, the planning proposal will be exhibited for public comment. Council will then consider a post exhibition report and make a decision as to whether to progress the amendment to finalisation.   [post_title] => The Hills Shire Council pioneers Transitional Housing [post_excerpt] => The Hills Shire Council has introduced Transitional Housing into council policy. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => hills-shire-council-pioneers-transitional-housing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-29 10:35:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-29 00:35:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27932 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27904 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-24 21:20:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-24 11:20:52 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27905" align="alignnone" width="300"] Artist's impression of Sydney Metro Waterloo station.[/caption]   Alok Patel Everyone’s talking about smart cities. Local councils are in the enviable position to make them a reality. Local government is the level of administration closest to the people, and councils are best placed to know what technologies are going to improve the lives of their constituents. In addition, local government areas can be mobilised far more quickly than they can be through the federal or state government to facilitate change. Now, here’s the rub. Councils are also among the worst to pitch to. They are mired in complex bureaucracy and often have outdated procurement processes that are no longer fit for purpose. We recently held a series of roundtables to examine the challenges and opportunities that smart cities present. Participants included experts in start-ups, communications, business, construction and local government. These experts, who were able to offer different perspectives on dealing with all levels of government, named local councils as the great hope of smart cities innovation. But they also pointed to reforms that are needed to realise them. To begin with procurement, current processes favour project delivery by big corporates (purely due to their financial ability to weather the cost of onerous government compliance and processes), typically resulting in a less innovative approach. Visionary start-ups may not even reach tender stage after being dissuaded by the abovementioned onerous procurement compliance burden. Dump the thin, bureaucratic straw In addition to this bottleneck, cutting-edge technology is not being deployed because there is still a central planning mentality rather than an iterative start-up mentality that could more effectively deliver solutions. Local council hierarchy and procurement processes can slow or even stymie progress. As one participant said, “the current council structure is one CEO, five departments and 2,000 staff, using procurement processes that go back 40 to 50 years”. While there is investment being made by the private sector in speculative technology,  there is little hope of any of this cash making it through what ends up being a very thin bureaucratic straw. The way forward is for councils to partner with private enterprise to develop cheap, small, proof-of-concept innovations that can be quickly altered or dumped with little cost in much the same way that John Maxwell recommends that you “fail fast, but forward” – or learn from your mistakes and use what you’ve learned in your next cunning plan. In this way the private sector can take the risk – meaning the lion’s share of the expense – while councils reap the benefits and no small kudos for improving the lives of their residents; and, importantly, saving them time and money. Councils already showing the way One way government could move more quickly would be to embrace the iterative approach discussed above, where technology is proven on a small scale, then picked up in other areas. This type of approach in turn lends itself to creative financing options: investments are no longer so massive that only large corporations can propose a solution. Instead, smaller players can bid for projects using models that break investments into funding parcels over a 12 to 24-month period, with returns coming within five years. Already, there are self-contained precincts already being built in New York City, The Hudson Yards, and Yeerongpilly Green in Brisbane, and on a smaller scale, the green space of the Finery in Waterloo, Sydney. None of these projects would have been possible without the blessing of far-sighted local council pioneers. All are built on top of or near railway stations - the new Waterloo Metro station for Sydney’s Finery and New York City Hall extending the 7-line train in Manhattan to service The Yards. These are just some examples of how the private sector is teaming up with local governments to create a prototype smart precinct for citizens – or in the case of The Yards, a city within a city with its own microgrid – with green spaces, pools or water features, and high levels of walkability. While the private sector is coming to the party and acknowledging the way forward to smart cities, it is up to government give a ‘big-picture’ commitment to ensuring quality of life and happiness of its citizens. Roundtable participants were also excited by the opportunity for smart cities to go beyond social cohesion and improve citizens’ connectedness to the government. Improving people’s lives today This call for a vision for the smart city and a commitment to the happiness of the people is a crucial element to come from our roundtables. This is achievable now. While we should not be daunted by undertaking tasks that will take years to complete, what matters is wellbeing, now. And the financing options outlined above show the way forward. With the technology we have available, Australia has the ability and the opportunity to build smart cities and improve people’s lives today. Our goal must be an improved urban space where people can be their best as they live, work, trade and play in comfort and safety. The avantgarde councils that will pave the way will reap rewards beyond savings, awards, recognition, swank and the glory of seeing scaled-up versions of their advances implemented around the world. They will improve the lives of their citizens. Alok Patel is the CEO of Azcende, a venture capital firm in the smart cities space. He is also the author of Habitats for Humans, a white paper that came out of a recent series of roundtables held in Sydney and Melbourne, which is available to download here.   [post_title] => Local councils can be the vanguards of smart city reform [post_excerpt] => Everyone’s talking about smart cities. Local councils are in the enviable position to make them a reality. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => local-councils-can-vanguards-smart-city-reform [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-24 21:27:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-24 11:27:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27904 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27880 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-22 09:42:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-21 23:42:45 [post_content] => Commercial fitness operators will have to register with the City of Bendigo before operating in public parks. Following a six-month trial, the Greater Bendigo City Council has adopted a new Fitness Operators Policy for businesses that conduct commercial operations in local parks, gardens and sporting reserves. The new policy means commercial fitness operators will now need to obtain a permit to conduct their operations at local parks, gardens and reserves. City of Greater Bendigo active and healthy lifestyles manager Lincoln Fitzgerald said an increase in the number of commercial fitness operators in recent years had prompted the City to develop the policy. “The six-month trial conducted by the City relied on operators to voluntarily register their commercial activity, and for the industry to self-regulate compliance with limited support from City staff.  This was done to allow the trial to take place with no fees and to limit the costs associated with its enforcement,” Mr Fitzgerald said. “During the trial period, 13 businesses registered as regular providers and three as casual providers. However, the City understands there is a number of other fitness businesses operating on public land without permission and any regulation of their activities. “During and after the trial, the City consulted with those impacted by the policy including commercial fitness operators, class participants, park users and City staff responsible for maintaining the public space and enforcing the policy. “Overall, consultation supported a more regulated approach to ensure an equitable, protected, respected and consistent industry. “The City recognises that commercial fitness operators do provide a range of alternative physical recreation activities for residents that would otherwise not be available. However, the policy places conditions on the types of equipment and activities that can take place. “The aim of the new policy is to manage these activities in a manner that balances industry needs, provides protection of public built and natural assets and maintains community access and amenity to these facilities.” The new policy will be integrated within the review of the City’s Local Law Number 5 Municipal Places which is set to be reviewed late 2017.   [post_title] => The park is for the public [post_excerpt] => Commercial fitness operators will have to register with the City of Bendigo before operating in public parks. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-park-is-for-the-public [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-22 10:21:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-22 00:21:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27880 [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] => 28273 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-13 15:41:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-13 04:41:24 [post_content] =>

While climate and energy policy in Australia remain mired in acrimonious squabbling, the UK’s Conservative Government has released a bold new plan for a low carbon future. And it includes a carbon price. The new UK Clean Growth Strategy is a comprehensive 163 page document. It was released on 12 October by Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark. He described it as “the government’s strategy on how the whole country can benefit from low carbon economic opportunities through the creation of new technologies and new businesses, which creates jobs and prosperity across the UK, while meeting our ambitious national targets to tackle climate change. “This government has put clean growth at the heart of its industrial strategy to increase productivity, boost people’s earning power and ensure Britain continues to lead the world in efforts to tackle climate change. “For the first time in a generation, the British government is leading the way on taking decisions on new nuclear, rolling out smart meters and investing in low carbon innovation. “The world is moving from being powered by polluting fossil fuels to clean energy. It’s as big a change as the move from the age of steam to the age of oil and Britain is showing the way.” Perhaps someone should tell the Australian Government. The report sets out in detail 50 policies and proposals in seven categories:
  • Accelerating clean growth: a number of financial incentives
  • Improving business and industry efficiency: develop a package of measures to support businesses to improve their energy productivity, by at least 20 percent by 2030.
  • Improving the energy efficiency of homes.
  • Accelerating the shift to low carbon transport
  • Delivering clean, smart, flexible power: including the phasing out of ‘unabated’ coal by 2025, and an increase in the use of nuclear energy.
  • Enhancing the benefits and value of the UK’s natural resources
  • Public sector efficiencies and “government leadership in driving clean growth.”
A key aspect of the UK strategy is the introduction of a price on carbon, a strategy adopted by the Australian Government in 2010 by the Gillard Labor Government but subsequently abandoned by Tony Abbot’s Liberals. The UK Government will “target a total carbon price in the power sector which will give businesses greater clarity on the total price they will pay for each tonne of emissions. Further details on carbon prices for the 2020s will be set out in the Autumn 2017 Budget.” The report talks a lot about wind power, and the expansion of Britain’s nuclear energy program. Solar does not get much of a mention, but then the country is not known for its sunny skies and warm temperatures. The full strategy is available here. The contrast with Australia’s lack of strategy could not be sharper. The UK has its share of climate sceptics, but they are not strongly represented in the Government as they are in Australia. The UK also does not have a federal system, and it does not have a powerful Senate. It has more than double Australia’s population (the differential was much greater not so long ago), but its wheels of government turn much more smoothly. More importantly, it has political leaders capable of making decisions. Australia’s turn. [post_title] => UK Government to adopt carbon pricing [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => uk-government-adopt-carbon-pricing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-16 12:59:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-16 01:59:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28273 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 263 [max_num_pages] => 19 [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] => 0f6a756e3330e13cdef02ada383c83f1 [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 ) )

news-1

UK green

UK Government to adopt carbon pricing

While climate and energy policy in Australia remain mired in acrimonious squabbling, the UK’s Conservative Government has released a bold new plan for a low carbon future. And it includes a carbon price. The new UK Clean Growth Strategy is a comprehensive 163 page document. It was released on 12 October by Business and Energy […]

Housing

Affordable housing needs strong leadership

State based affordable housing schemes only work if supported by strong political leadership. That’s the key finding of a major new report, ‘Government led innovations in affordable housing delivery’. The report, by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) analysed the affordable housing market in Australia. It found that effective strategies and programs: rely […]

HFE

GST sharing needs a fix, says Productivity Commission

The Productivity Commission (PC) has delivered its draft report on Horizontal Fiscal Equalisation to Treasurer, Scott Morrison. It highlights many shortcomings in the current system and recommends a complete overhaul. Horizontal Fiscal Equalisation (HFE) is the term given to the sharing of GST revenues to the states to even out their fiscal capabilities. In practice […]

Macsporran

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 […]