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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The report is available here.
                    [post_title] => Australia’s cities not so ‘liveable’ after all
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                    [post_date] => 2017-10-12 11:35:11
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                    [post_content] => 

How can local government continue to meet the needs of residents and provide excellence in services, and still stay on budget? Do services need to be point scored to be considered as core essentials? What are the best ways to drive efficiency? The pressures on local government to get key investment, resource allocation and delivery model decisions right have never been greater. Increasing demand for services, rapid technology change and the constant requirement to invest in asset construction and renewal are forcing councils to reconsider traditional business models. In responding to these pressures and re-examining the way the business of local government is run, leadership is contending with three key factors:
  1. Limitations on traditional revenue sources
Pressures on local government have been further compounded by the Commonwealth decision in the 2014-15 Budget to pause the indexation of Financial Assistance Grants to local government. The Productivity Commission recognizes that local government is near its maximum capacity to generate its own revenue. Victoria has also seen the introduction of ‘Fair Go rate capping’.
  1. The change in residents’ expectations and the move to customer-centricity
The arrival of social media and other new technologies has meant that constituents are not afraid to express themselves vocally if they believe that issues are not being addressed or council services fall short. This is aligned to the growing perception of residents as customers, rather than merely ratepayers. Customers expect the same levels of service from government as from commercial transactions.
  1. New and rapidly advancing technologies
The landscape of available technologies is changing at an increasing rate. Council officers delivering customer-facing services and those in the back office both need to drive efficiency and providing value for money while stretching the dollar further.   KPMG also sees a number of other factors that individual councils must address: Ageing technology and under-investment Many councils currently support a large number of outdated IT systems, set within a complex and inefficient infrastructure that is not keeping pace with current practices. This limits their ability to grow. In addition, the capability and operating models within internal IT departments have not evolved and can no longer meet local government demands. Historical planning methods Most councils’ approach to planning has not adapted to the changing environment.It has not caught up with ongoing development and is largely still run on a functional or organisational level, rather than being service-led. But it is service-led planning that will enable strategic direction setting, realistic cost assessments, individual staff KPIs, and appropriate funding for technology or outsourcing.   To deal with this new landscape, we suggest considering the following key actions: Place the customer at the centre As the most granular tier of government, councils have the greatest capacity to identify and respond to emerging community needs. Across Australia, local governments are striving to move towards customer-centric models of service delivery that anticipate and respond to community needs in a sustainable and agile manner. Re-think business as usual Changing community expectations requires a continual process of self-reflection and evaluation by councils on the way they do business. This requires fresh thinking, of challenging the way things have always been done. This involves:
  • redesigning operating models and organisational structures
  • adopting best practice processes
  • driving cultural change
  • adopting different and innovative methods for engaging key stakeholders
  • considering alternative approaches and models for service delivery
  • critically examining every component of the organisation.
Revisit and reshape IT Councils need to invest in the creation of a future-proof IT architecture, incorporating modern technology principles and practices such as cloud, ‘As a Service’ delivery mofdels, business and process led specification, and agile development methods. With today’s shift towards cloud-based software as a service solution, systems that were previously out of reach are now affordable to local government. The higher rate of change also requires a greater level of innovation and adjustment in what systems offer to residents. There is an opportunity to take a fresh look at systems, and to challenge the assumptions that local government is highly specialised, with only limited options available to it. Think collaboratively Local governments can no longer afford to only think locally. Regional partners at a local, state and federal level are fundamental to the achievement of better social and economic outcomes within a fiscally constrained environment. KPMG sees heightened collaboration with like-minded councils around investment in IT service profiling and reviews, operational shared services and innovative knowledge sharing. Leveraging regional and national partnerships is critical to ensuring local investment can be amplified through complementary investments from regional and national partners. Have an innovation agenda Innovation is already on the agenda of most councils, but open and effective innovation management requires nurturing and ongoing development. One area of innovation is what is ‘Smart Cities’. Underpinned by emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and ubiquitous connectivity, alongside advances in cognitive computing and machine learning (AI), Smart Cities can enable greater citizen engagement, improve quality of life, provide opportunities for economic development and unlock efficiencies in service delivery.   Does all of this seem daunting? It needn’t be. Challenges are simply opportunities under another guise. As we approach 2020, local councils can take stock, re-evaluate and prepare. They have every chance to get ready for the dramatic shifts and changes in the years ahead. *Toni Jones is a Partner, Enterprise Advisory, for KPMG. Developed in collaboration with KPMG Partner Paul Low and KPMG Directors Paul Francis and Michael Alf. [post_title] => How KPMG sees the future of local government [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => kpmg-sees-future-local-government [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-13 08:45:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-12 21:45:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28252 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28208 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-07 16:28:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-07 05:28:46 [post_content] => Service NSW, the NSW Government’s ‘one stop shop’ program, is proving popular with the public. But it has been expensive, and will take more than three years longer to recoup its investment than what the Government said. Both the NSW Opposition and Fairfax Media have obtained copies of an unreleased KPMG report into Service NSW’s costs. The report was commissioned by the Government after the state’s Auditor General found last February that there were shortcomings in accountability and in monitoring the benefits of the program. “Agencies involved in the initiative have not adopted an effective benefits realisation approach for the initiative. This means that no one is currently monitoring whole-of-government benefits and savings, and there is insufficient data available to fully value or identify individual agency and whole-of-government savings and benefits,” said the Auditor General. Service NSW is part of a total revamp of the way NSW government agencies deliver their services. The strategy was initiated by Premier Barry O’Farrell after his massive victory at the 2011 state election, and has continued under his successors Mike Baird and Gladys Berejiklian. A centrepiece to the strategy has been a consolidation of all data processing by the state’s agencies into just two data centres, from the hundred plus that had previously operated. A GovDC marketplace serves as a central clearing house for all IT services. From the citizen’s viewpoint, the main effects of the Service NSW initiative have been the disappearance of motor registries and other stand-alone service centres and their replacement with multipurpose shopfronts. Many transactions that previously required a visit to an agency can now be done online. More than 40 motor registries and 15 Fair Trading offices were closed, and replaced with multi-agency shopfronts and pop-up kiosks in shopping centres and libraries. Even the critics of Service NSW’s costs admit that these initiatives are popular, but they are worried about the cost and the lack of oversight. The Auditor-General said the Government was overstating the benefits and understating the complexity of the Service NSW rollout. ”Service NSW has blown out by more than $100 million in its first two years of operation,” said the ALP’s Shadow Minister for Finance, Services and Property Clayton Barr. “The Berejiklian Government was told in February that Service NSW had blown its budget,” he said, referring to the Auditor-General’s findings. Now he has obtained a copy of the subsequent KPMG report. That report shows that the business case for the rollout of Service NSW, also known as the Accelerated Distribution Strategy (ADS), outlined a total budget in 2015-16 of $346 million – $278 million for operational expenditure and $68 million for capital expenditure. The report reveals that $450 million was actually spent  - $329 million for operational expenditure and $121 million for capital expenditure – a blowout of $104 million. It also shows that, while the business case predicted a payback period of seven years, KPMG now says it will now be ‘over ten years’. “The KPMG report shows taxpayers will now be waiting more than a decade to reap the full benefits of the Service NSW initiative,” said Mr Barr. “The report blames bungled planning processes, delays and mispricing for the cost explosion. “The Government’s secret report says the Service NSW rollout is off rails. Taxpayers will be footing the bill for more than a decade. “This blowout explains why Service NSW hiked over 300 fees and charges for customers across NSW. My worry is if the fee hikes are not enough to plug the budget blackhole, they’ll take money from NSW schools and hospitals. “With all parties committed to better customer service, it is sad to see customers having to dip into their pockets to pay for the Government’s mistakes.” [post_title] => Service NSW – Popular, but expensive [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => service-nsw-popular-expensive [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-10 11:10:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-10 00:10:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28208 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28168 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-04 13:12:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-04 02:12:39 [post_content] => The Federal Government will ask the states and territories to provide photos and personal information from drivers licences to build a national facial recognition scheme. The push is part of the Government’s continually escalating War on Terror. It will be on the agenda of the ‘Special COAG on Counter Terrorism’ meeting, held in Canberra on 5 October. Canberra is increasingly pressuring the states to do more to combat terrorism, which is increasingly the ‘law and order’ issue of the modern age. And generally speaking the states are keen to cooperate, so they can be seen to be taking the matter seriously. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull flagged the use of drivers licence in an interview with ABC’s Sabra Lane on Wednesday morning (4 October). “Drivers licence photographs are already used to identify people, and we have passport photos. About half the adult population has their photo in one Federal Government system or another. "If we bring in drivers licences we will be able to build up a national system that will enable us to more quickly identify people who are suspected of terrorist activities.” When asked by Lane if the national facial recognition system could be used in places like airports and shopping malls, Turnbull agreed. “Absolutely," he said. Lane then suggested that tech experts had said that such a system could be hacked, and that therefore someone’s biometric data could be forever compromised. The Prime Minister said the alternative was not to use data at all. “There has to be a balance. The Government’s main aim is to keep Australia safe.” The Opposition is on board. In a separate radio interview on ABC radio in Adelaide, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Penny Wong, indicated bipartisan support. “I'm a member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. Consistent with Labor's bipartisan approach, we've taken a very collective approach to looking at these sorts of proposals. “Labor is always prepared to look at what laws are needed to ensure that we keep Australians safe and we will consider these laws that the Prime Minister is flagging, very carefully, including what safeguards are required.” The Greens and many civil libertarians are resisting the move. “The wider use of facial recognition software will affect every Australian's privacy,” said Greens Justice spokesperson Nick McKim. “Labor and the Liberals have colluded to erode freedom and the rule of law in Australia for fifteen years, and tomorrow they should resist the Prime Minister’s national security machismo.” “For too long we’ve watched as governments have deliberately set out to scare people to make it easier to weaken their rights. This latest expansion of state powers is one of the reasons why the Greens will move in the current term of Parliament to introduce, debate and vote on a Charter of Rights.” “Our basic freedoms and liberties are too important to lose.” [post_title] => Feds want drivers licenses for facial recognition [post_excerpt] => The Federal Government will ask the states and territories to provide photos and personal information from drivers licences to build a national facial recognition scheme. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => feds-want-drivers-licenses-facial-recognition [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-06 10:28:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-05 23:28:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28168 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28105 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-25 12:54:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-25 02:54:21 [post_content] => A new report from the University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for Local Government (UTS CLG) explores the role of local government involvement in local and regional economic development strategies. The report highlights the varying roles and levels of engagement that councils play in regards to leadership, organisation and delivery of local and regional economic development in Australia. “The principle that economic development is a co-responsibility tends to be accepted by all tiers of governments and social and economic actors. However, how this translates into practice remains ambiguous and contested,” said Professor Lee Pugalis, co-author of the report. The promotion of economic development is a relatively recent feature of the activity of local government in Australia. “There is huge diversity of economic development roles across the landscape of local government. For the majority of councils it remains an ‘additional’ rather than ‘general’ function, although this can often downplay their positive role in local and regional economic development,” said Professor Roberta Ryan, director of UTS CLG. “This research has brought to the forefront the importance of internal and external perceptions and how these shape the role of councils in economic development.” Each tier of government is involved in promoting economic development, although in distinct ways that do not necessarily complement one another. The report’s findings support a strong case for advocating the involvement of all tiers of government in the pursuit of local and regional economic development. “The local government sector has an important role to play in promoting economic development, but one that evades a singular model. This poses a distinct challenge to higher tiers of government in terms of how they interface with specific councils as well as how councils interface with their stakeholders,” said Professor Pugalis. The report provides local governments and their stakeholders with research and evidence to help them to better understand regional and local economic development in Australia, and how it can be improved. You can download The Role of Local Government in Local and Regional Economic Development report here.     [post_title] => Local government and economic development [post_excerpt] => New report highlights importance of local government in local and regional economic development. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => local-government-economic-development [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-25 13:18:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-25 03:18:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28105 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28084 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-21 21:12:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-21 11:12:04 [post_content] => Peter Tran Whether citizens realise it or not, most cities are on the cusp of becoming smart cities through the use of connected information systems that have the ability to ‘learn’, interact and scale across multiple domains and critical services. These include healthcare, transportation, public safety, supply chains, water and energy/grid. Add another layer to this with the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), and it’s clear that many communities will have smart capabilities in the next few years. With the rise of smart cities, however, comes the associated danger of bad actors seizing control of critical systems through IoT or other vulnerabilities. The cities of tomorrow are here today and hacking isn’t a futuristic, science fiction idea, it’s a reality that governments and its citizens need to consider as part of their day-to-day living. Just over two years ago hackers seized control of the power systems in several cities in Estonia, knocking out the electricity for over 100,000 residents. Compounding the problem was that the hackers were able to remotely trip circuit breakers forcing power plant workers to visit substations and manually flip a switch to restore energy services. It’s with the rise of IoT that we will see cities move from simple interconnection to being ‘smart’. Gartner estimates that by 2020, there will be in excess of 20 billion internet connected devices around the globe, and that number will only grow. Where the danger lies is in the nature of IoT devices, which are defined by function and connectivity, not security. IoT devices are designed to be inexpensive, ubiquitous, fast and highly connected, but little thought has gone into making them ‘security aware’, to monitor and detect for threats from bad actors. So where is the problem? With the rise of smart cities, IoT devices are being used as sensors for traffic monitoring, to keep track of pedestrian numbers, air quality, urban congestion and flag when public garbage bins are reaching capacity. Street lamps are linked into the public information system to turn themselves on when pedestrians are around. Traffic lights report back on road congestion, and the list goes on. Put simply, if there’s a function that can be made smarter, then it probably will be. As we’ve discovered, however, these sensors are designed to be cheap, fast and interconnected. Not secure. So a traffic system could have a critical integration point to a power system. A garbage monitor could provide a sensor pathway into water treatment, while air quality monitors could eventually provide an insecure path back into a city’s core ERP and financials. Gaps in security could allow hackers to take control of financials, effectively shutting down the city because workers can’t be paid and taxes can’t be remitted. Good security means good practices The way to monitor and defend against risks and threats is to apply good security practices to IoT. Just because an air quality sensor isn’t a core system, doesn’t mean that it is exempt from the very information security practices that keep a city’s ERP, financials and disaster recovery safe. Where progress needs to be made is in adapting current effective security protocols and practices at scale to federate to the massively growing world of IoT. This means examining where security blind spots could be, designing smart cities by function, monitoring functional relationships between IoT sensors, moving to IoT specific device and data authentication, access, authorisation relationships and detecting for and responding to behavioural anomalies across sensors from core information systems in a centrally controlled manner… the IoT ‘map of the earth’. Legislation is also an important tool in protecting cities against IoT vulnerabilities. Recent laws proposed in the United States have called for baseline IoT security for equipment being sold to the US federal government. These laws would stipulate that there are no hard-coded universal passwords, and that IoT devices are standardised to meet certain security requirements such as being patch capable against flaws discovered in the future. In Australia, where the Australian Government has declared that the nation should become a leader in smart cities via its 2016 Smart Cities program, laws about the security aspects of IoT haven’t been contemplated. The closest Australia has come is with a study from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner looking at the privacy aspects of IoT devices, which was conducted during 2016. This review of privacy could provide the basis for IoT laws governing security, however that remains something that hasn’t yet been proposed domestically. In essence, Australia is slip-streaming global moves on IoT security, and hoping that moves like the proposed legislation in the US will also provide protection for devices being sold and installed in the domestic market. Looking for the upside It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to smart cities and IoT. Security aside – and we can’t forget security is a major issue – smart cities have the potential to radically improve the quality of life of its citizens. This could come through the better and timelier provision of current and new connected living services and more efficient provision of government and private sector services. The IoT could, for example, be a literal life-saver when it comes to natural disasters in Australia and around the globe. Sensors installed in communities could pinpoint areas that are no-go zones, conduct audits of the movement of traffic and streamline evacuations, as well as identify areas of damage due to wind, water or fire as well as geolocation of citizens in need of emergency rescue. What’s clear is that the door has opened onto smart cities and IoT. The proliferation of IoT devices and their interconnection with city systems means that, with little planning, communities will become smart by default. The key to making this transition work is twofold. First and top of mind, security considerations needs to be addressed. This is something that can happen using existing security best-practice and protocols. It’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel when it comes to IoT security. Instead, what needs to happen is that security must become part of the design of smart cities, and security needs to be an ongoing life cycle of IoT, not something that is a ‘one hit wonder’. The second aspect and equally important of becoming a smart city is data integrity. Sensors generate masses of data, and smart cities need to have technology and processes put in place to analyse data in the context of smart city critical function, in order to directly align to the connected lives of its citizens and determine in real time if there are indications of compromise and/or risk. With those two aspects in place, smart cities are achievable, quality life enhancing, safe and cyber secure. Peter Tran is GM and Sr. Director of Worldwide Advance Cyber Defence Practice, RSA. [post_title] => The rise and risks of smart cities [post_excerpt] => Smart cities are possible and, indeed, inevitable with smart management from governments. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => rise-risks-smart-cities [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-21 21:12:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-21 11:12:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28084 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28061 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-18 15:20:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-18 05:20:00 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28064" align="alignnone" width="300"] ALGA President Mayor David O'Loughlin.[/caption] Mayor David O'Loughlin Warnings in the Victorian Parliament this week about the financial struggles facing small rural councils should trouble us all. Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) President Mary Lalios gave a gloomy but accurate assessment of smaller councils’ inability to deal with lower levels of Commonwealth funding and a 2 per cent cap on rate increases. Similar concerns have arisen in my home state of South Australia, where the Liberal Opposition Party has said it will peg council rates if it wins government at the state election due next March. NSW councils have laboured under rate capping since 1978, and last November were told by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (which sets the allowable rate increase) that they could increase their rates for the next financial year by no more than 1.5 per cent. IPART said the 1.5 per cent figure was fair given low inflation and slow wage growth. But as my colleague Local Government NSW President Keith Rhoades said at the time, IPART’s conclusions ignored the 1.8 per cent increase in CPI, the equivalent increase in employment benefits and non-residential building costs greater than 1.5 per cent. And he pointed out, rightly in my view, that the rage peg was “a financial noose which continued to tighten” around councils and local communities. Yet surely it would be a brave observer who concluded that the Sydney market would be overly sensitive to rate rises when the same market is still growing despite the largest increase in property costs and rents in Australia in recent years. Yet there's no sign of an IPART equivalent seeking to intervene on rents or property prices. Consider this: Sydney councils have been rate-pegged for the longest duration in the nation, and many of them now impose the highest developer charges in the nation for new homes. The Sydney market has the longest running housing supply shortfall and, as a direct consequence, the highest average rents in the nation. Perhaps it's just me, but in my mind, these factors are intrinsically linked. What is wrong with Councils determining their own level of rates? After all, as the recent NSW council elections demonstrated, we are ultimately accountable to our voters, and if we get the balance wrong we risk being thrown out of office. It's a proven mechanism – it's called democracy. Meanwhile, the well-intentioned but unelected IPART need never worry about facing the voters about the short and long-term impacts of rate pegging. This week Cr Lalios told the Victorian Parliament that capital spending in small rural shires would decline by 30 per cent from 2016-20, with the three-year freeze in Financial Assistance Grants, the cancellation of the Country Roads and Bridges Program in 2105, and  the two per cent rate cap contributing substantially to that reduction. The immediate consequences of rate capping, particularly for councils with limited access to other revenue like parking fees, fines and charges, are an increase in debt levels, a drop in service levels, or a combination of both. Over the longer term, however, that’s unsustainable. The Commonwealth’s “efficiency dividends’’ show year-on-year budget cuts imposed on departments and agencies inevitably lead to reduced or cancelled public services. Why would Local Government be any different? Councils have the narrowest revenue base of the three levels of government, yet the heaviest roads and infrastructure burden. Rate caps are the financial equivalent of a ball and chain. And it is ratepayers and local businesses who are hit hardest by truncated services, deteriorating infrastructure, and a lack of capacity to innovate and respond to emerging community needs. Councils are already attempting to offset the double whammy of rate caps and lower Commonwealth funding by using collaborative procurement, improved asset management, and by developing cost-sharing partnerships and other options – but this may not be enough to change the fundamentals. As I advocate for a return to sustainable federal funding, I am drawing a clear link to the call for an end to rates caps in favour of local decision-making. I make it clear that for every dollar councils are unable to raise locally, they will be looking for it elsewhere – with the Commonwealth a primary target. Mayor David O’Loughlin is the president of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).   [post_title] => Small councils to go hungry [post_excerpt] => Warnings about the financial struggles facing small rural councils should trouble us all. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => small-councils-go-hungry [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-19 09:33:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-18 23:33:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28061 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28033 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-15 10:55:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-15 00:55:13 [post_content] => The Western Australian State Government is to spend $5 million on a state-of-the-art robotic system that will be used to treat prostate cancer. Known as the da Vinci system, the robot will be the first of its kind in a WA public hospital and will bring the state in line with other health jurisdictions that have a similar metropolitan population. Set to be established at Fiona Stanley Hospital, the da Vinci system will provide urological procedures, focused on robotic-assisted prostatectomies, partial nephrectomies and radical nephrectomies. It will also allow for 3D vision, magnification capabilities, and enhanced dexterity, so surgeons are able to manipulate and dissect areas where access is challenging or limited with the human hand. Compared to traditional techniques, the da Vinci system will result in patients having faster recovery, reduced length of stay in hospital, and faster return to normal day activities. It is also expected to deliver greater efficiencies due to improved surgical outcomes, and a lower likelihood of subsequent treatments. While the new robotic surgical service will initially provide for patients within the South Metropolitan Health Service catchment, it is expected that the technology will be available for other WA patients where appropriate. WA Health Minister Roger Cook said: "We are committed to building a sustainable, world-class health system, and will drive innovation, integration and culture change, and establish 'Centres of Excellence' in robotic surgery and clinical innovation to ensure the WA health system will be able to attract and train expert clinicians. "Our Future Health Research and Innovation Fund commits the government to establishing a $1 billion fund to drive medical research and innovation, including a cancer research plan for the next decade, an innovation hub at Royal Perth Hospital, and incentives for corporate and philanthropic contributions for health and medical research. "Fiona Stanley Hospital has already employed a urology specialist who has undertaken additional national and international training to lead the robotic surgery program.”   [post_title] => WA’s public hospital to get robotic surgical system [post_excerpt] => State-of-the-art robotic system to revolutionise prostate treatment service to be established at Fiona Stanley Hospital. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => public-hospitals-get-robotic-surgical-system [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-15 11:17:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-15 01:17:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28033 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27998 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-11 14:15:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-11 04:15:30 [post_content] => People Matter is an employee perception survey conducted by the University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for Local Government (UTS CLG). It is regularly conducted across state government public sectors and provides important information and insights for departments, organisations and sector stakeholders on workplace experiences and employee engagement. Local government makes up almost 10% of the total public sector workforce in Australia. This research utilises a tailored version People Matter survey tool to gain feedback on employee experiences and perceptions of working in the local government sector. Approximately 1,500 NSW local government employees responded to the anonymous survey from an estimated fifteen local government areas between December 2016 and April 2017. Research findings include the following from the local government employees who responded to the survey:
  • There is a strong understanding of what is expected from them of in terms of their role (86%) and respondents are highly enthusiastic when it comes to look for ways to perform their job better (95%). Employees who responded have a strong appreciation (87%) of how their position contributes to positive outcomes for their council and community.
  • While wellbeing is mostly perceived positively, unacceptable workloads (19%) and detrimental work stress (15%) is reported. A third of the respondents rate work-life balance as less than good.
  • There are positive perceptions of how their immediate workgroup or team works together (70%). There are some negative perceptions (14%) when it comes to rating ‘team spirit’.
  • In terms of performance and development, employees who responded are able to have open and honest conversation with their supervisors about the quality of work required (70%), although a proportion (39%) do not have a current performance plan that sets out objectives. There is a strong desire for career advancement (65%); however, there is dissatisfaction with opportunities for career progression or the merit system within their organisation (30%). Managing underperformance was one area that a significant proportion of respondents perceived in a negative light (27%).
  • There are mostly positive perceptions of managers with many managers being seen to encourage employee input (73%). However, a smaller number of managers are seen to consider this input when making decisions in the organisation (58%). Less than half of the respondents have positive perceptions of council senior managers. Demonstrating collaboration and leading change are perceived as being areas for improvement for senior executive teams.
  • Council organisations are rated well when it comes to understanding and building relationships with communities (79%). Whilst a large proportion of the respondents agree that councils are making the necessary improvements to meet challenges of the future (65%), a quarter perceives that change is not handled well. Most of the employees who responded (67%) would recommend their organisation as a great place to work.
  • The majority of respondents (85%) can see how diversity and inclusion in the workplace contributes to better business outcomes and feel able to voice different views to their managers and colleagues (70%). Gender and age are seen as a barrier to success within some of the respondents’ council organisations (8%-12%).
Download the report: People Matter for Local Government: Pilot NSW Survey, University of Technology Sydney. [post_title] => People matter for local government [post_excerpt] => Approximately 1,500 NSW local government employees responded to the latest People Matter employee perception survey. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => people-matter-local-government [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-11 14:26:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-11 04:26:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27998 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27979 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-08 08:27:47 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-07 22:27:47 [post_content] => Volkswagen has been ordered to publish a nationwide notice  concerning the class actions related to the global Dieselgate emissions scandal. The Federal Court has ordered that the notices be displayed on the VW, Audi and Skoda corporate websites and Australian Facebook pages, in what is believed to be first instance of Facebook being used in a federal consumer class action. Abridged versions of these notices are also to be published in major state and national newspapers from next week, clarifying key issues relating to the voluntary recall being undertaken by the manufacturers. Law firm Maurice Blackburn had requested Court orders that the notices be issued, in part to better inform those unwittingly caught up in the global diesel emissions scandal. In handing down judgment on the issue, presiding Judge, Justice Lindsay Foster, remarked that it was “necessary to put the record straight” on suggestions from Volkswagen that the Australian vehicle approval authority, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (DIRD) had said the voluntary recall work would have no impact on performance, fuel economy or service intervals of affected vehicles, when they hadn’t. Class action principal at Maurice Blackburn running the case Jason Geisker said ever since the emissions scandal broke VW has attempted to gloss over its failings and only ever provided a one-sided story to motorists. “A real issue needing clarification for VW, Audi and Skoda customers relates to controversial suggestions about the impact of the proposed voluntary ‘fix’ on the performance, fuel economy and service requirements of the vehicles – these class actions will determine whether these claims are accurate or not,” Mr Geisker said. “We think it is important for affected motorists to understand that any suggestion that Australian authorities have confirmed that the voluntary recall has no impact on these vehicles is simply not true. “These notices will help ensure that affected motorists are better informed about the issues being decided by the court through the class actions arising out of the diesel emissions scandal, including the controversies surrounding the voluntary recall.” Key aspects of the notices that will appear on the car manufacturer websites and pushed out to their social media accounts include the following: “The Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda software update does not simply remove the test mode. The software update will affect the manner in which the engine runs. It will:
  • Change the fuel injection settings, the number, timing and fuel quantity of injections used.
  • Increase the production of particulate matter (soot), which likely will lead to more frequent regeneration of the diesel particulate filter.
  • Increase the fuel injection pressure.
  • Increase the extent of exhaust gas recirculation into the engine.
  • In the case of Audi Q5 vehicles equipped with an SCR system, change its operation resulting in the use of a larger amount of AdBlue.
Further details will include telling customers that:
  • Having the recall work done is not compulsory. Your consent is required before any recall work is done. Contrary to what we know some VW customers have been told, people are still entitled to access servicing, repairs or spare parts for their vehicle whether or not they’ve chosen to have the recall work done.
  • In addition, there is no impact on existing warranties for those that have decided not to have the recall work performed on their vehicles and not getting the recall work is not a waiver of any of your rights in our class action or otherwise.
  [post_title] => Volkswagen ordered to come clean, even on Facebook [post_excerpt] => Volkswagen has been ordered to publish a nationwide notice on the Dieselgate emissions scandal. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => volkswagen-ordered-come-clean-even-facebook [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-08 10:22:53 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-08 00:22:53 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27979 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => 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 ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27939 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-31 15:12:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-31 05:12:30 [post_content] => Shannon Gillespie Today, everyone knows that an idea isn’t a good one until it ‘trends’. Last year, the City of Sydney’s Zero Waste marketing campaign featured the creation of an outdoor vinyl sticker campaign that made use of clever situational placement and optical illusions to highlight the problem of dumping household waste throughout the city. Designed for city dwellers to interact with, each piece was customised to its environment to amuse and educate people about the city’s free pickup service. One of the installations was a giant stack of household waste on the side of a building that increased in size every week for three weeks. As a by-product, the hashtag #freepickup and bookafreepickup.com site shot to stardom as people snapped and shared photos of themselves with old fridges, washing machines and the like in odd, but memorable, locations such as the middle of a cycle path. The result, the City claims, was “a virtual doubling of the number of calls to the free pickup service within a week of installation”. Imagine if we took the principles of this social marketing campaign and applied it to our engineering problems. How often do we spend megabucks on infrastructure projects, but do relatively little, if anything, to educate people about the right way to operate infrastructure or to change their behaviours when using it? The 2000 Sydney Olympics was hailed as “the best organised Olympic Games ever” and was the epitome of how an effective marketing and communications plan can solve complex problems. With a population of four million people and an expected influx of half a million visitors to Sydney for the Olympic Games, drastic measures were required to cope with the pressure on infrastructure. But instead of focusing on developing new transport infrastructure, a major public communications plan was executed to modify the travel behaviour of visitors and spectators. The message was simple – Olympic transport will be different but will work well. And it did! The Sydney Olympic Games achieved the first-ever 100 per cent spectator accessibility by public transport. As engineers, our natural response is to design highly sophisticated and intelligent infrastructure that automatically adapts itself to meet the demand. We design complex and expensive control systems to control infrastructures performance and operation. The infrastructure is designed to modulate in response to the variables which, in most cases, are people. But are we looking at society’s complex challenges through the wrong lens? The recent heatwave in South Australia put pressure on the state’s electricity network due to people turning on their air conditioning. As a consequence, 90 000 properties suffered a blackout during load shedding at the end of a 42 degrees Celsius day. While the problem appears to have been a technical one, could we not have modified the behaviour of the people? Experts say that in order to conserve energy in a heatwave, people should not lower their air conditioning below 26 degrees Celsius – this has nothing to do with the comfort of individuals but everything to do with avoiding a catastrophic power outage. Whilst it may not be a long-term solution, an effective marketing campaign would help solve the problem in the interim. We are living in a world where more than ever before, we need our facilities to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible  ̶  not only from an environmental perspective but also from optimising the use of capital. According to the World Economic Forum, global spending on basic infrastructure – transport, water and communications – currently totals USD 2.7 trillion a year, USD 1 trillion short of what is needed. The difference is nearly as large as South Korea’s GDP. As pressure on our natural and economic resources increases, so too does our ability to design effective infrastructure projects. If engineers treated marketing as another tool in their toolkit, how many of our complex infrastructure problems could be solved? How many millions of dollars could be saved on new infrastructure projects simply through marketing campaigns targeted at changing user behaviour? More and more, engineers should be telling their clients that a well-designed behavioural campaign should go hand in hand with a well-designed infrastructure project. In future, we might see Marketing Fundamentals become a standard feature of the Bachelor of Engineering curriculum. Shannon Gillespie is with Aurecon. [post_title] => Facebook and infrastructure [post_excerpt] => What does Facebook have to do with infrastructure? Everything, it would seem! [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => facebook-and-infrastructure [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-31 20:02:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-31 10:02:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27939 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27921 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-28 16:12:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-28 06:12:30 [post_content] => The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), the Internet of Things Alliance Australia (IOTAA) and the Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand (SCCANZ) have announced they will collaborate to build the street of the future in Sydney’s CBD. The installation - The Future Street - is to be part of AILA’s national Festival of Landscape Architecture, a four-day event on conceiving, reimagining and transforming the outside world from streetscapes to parks and playgrounds, transport solutions to tourism strategies, to new suburbs and even cities. AILA CEO Shahana McKenzie said: “The Future Street is the culmination of numerous converging ideas around landscape, infrastructure and technology, that have resulted in a unique collaboration to help imagine the important role our streets can play in the future.” SCCANZ executive director Adam Beck described the event as a project that “provides us with the opportunity to show government, industry and the community the exciting outcomes from weaving the digital, natural and built environments together in this important public space: the street.” The idea behind The Future Street originated from an event run by AILA and SCCANZ in late 2016, where a number of planning and design professionals gathered to reimagine the role of streets under a range of disruptions, such as climate change, autonomous vehicles, and rapid technological change. The third partner of The Future Street, IOTAA, has joined AILA and SCCANZ to help deliver a showcase of the Internet of Things (IoT). IOTAA CEO Frank Zeichner said of the installation: “This project provides the opportunity to showcase the benefit of IoT to our cities, economy, and the community. IOT provides the opportunity to grow Australia’s competitiveness, innovation landscape and liveability, by connecting data, devices, people, processes and things to the internet. It helps people make better and more informed decisions to get the best possible outcomes.” The Future Street will be open for public viewing during the Festival of Landscape Architecture, from 12-15 October 2017, and showcase a range of landscape, IoT, utilities, transport and urban design and place-making features. The installation will be supported by a program of topical discussions and case studies. It is also planned that the installation will gather and report on real-time data, highlighting the capabilities of technology and the effectiveness of various deployed strategies. If you are interested in being part of the installation contact Shelley Kemp at shelley.kemp@aila.org.au.   [post_title] => Industry and government collaborate on streets of the future [post_excerpt] => The Future Street is the culmination of numerous converging ideas around landscape, infrastructure and technology. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => industry-government-collaborate-design-streets-future [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-28 16:14:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-28 06:14:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27921 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27899 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-24 17:44:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-24 07:44:41 [post_content] => The Cross River Rail business case released by the Queensland Government “demonstrates it will create jobs, bust congestion and be the catalyst for a world-class turn up and go public transport system”. Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure Jackie Trad said the Cross River Rail Business Case 2017 details the challenges and opportunities facing South East Queensland’s (SEQ) rail network. “[We] have fully funded Cross River Rail and we are getting on with the job of building it,” Ms Trad said. “The business case demonstrates what we have already known for a decade – we need another rail crossing to increase rail services in the South East and the solution is Cross River Rail. “Our rail network has a key choke point at its core preventing extra train services being brought into regions like the Gold Coast, Logan, Caboolture and the Redlands. “Nearly 2 million people will move into SEQ over the next two decades and with some lines, like the Gold Coast, already operating at 100 per cent capacity during peak periods, we need to build Cross River Rail before we reach a crisis point. “It will unlock smarter integration of rail and bus networks, providing quick turn up and go services and positioning SEQ for a more sustainable and competitive future “The business case specifically states the full benefits of both Cross River Rail and the Brisbane Metro can only be completely realised once both projects are constructed and are operational. Ms Trad said the business case incorporated the latest information on the impact of policy and demographic changes over the last 12 months. “The BCR for the project is now 1.41, up from 1.21 in the 2016 Business Case. This means that for every $1 invested in the Cross River Rail project, $1.41 is returned to the people of Queensland,” Ms Trad said. CRR business case key findings include:
  • For every $1 invested in the project, it returns $1.41 to the people of Queensland.
  • The project will generate an average of 1,500 jobs each year over the construction period, with a peak of 3,000 in the most intensive year.
  • CRR will provide capacity for ‘turn-up-and-go’ services.
  • CRR will help reduce pressure on the region’s roads, freeing them up for commercial vehicles and commuter buses.
  • It will enable greater integration of bus and rail services, which will help to maximise the state government’s rail network investments and Brisbane City Council’s investment in Brisbane Metro and improved bus services.
  • Total daily public transport trips (bus & rail) will climb from around 510,000 to more than 880,000 in 2026 and to more than 1.1 million by 2036.
Now get on and build it The detailed business case for the Cross River Rail is a welcome step towards the government improving transparency about infrastructure decisions, said the Infrastructure Association of Queensland (IAQ). Bolstered by expert peer reviews, the latest business case addresses some of the key concerns raised by Infrastructure Australia in their recent project evaluation, including rail patronage forecasts and road user benefits. “Brisbane has a looming capacity problem and Cross River Rail is the smart solution,” said IAQ CEO Steve Abson. To satisfy demands from the Turnbull Government, the business case also reveals possible approaches towards sharing value created by the project. “Because the project includes significant urban renewal and opportunity for major development at station precincts, value capture might create up to 10% of the funds needed for it.” “Most Queenslanders know that some developers and business often receive windfall gains and privately benefit from government infrastructure investment and planning decisions. Capturing and sharing these gains is not easy, but as long as the beneficiaries are fairly identified it can be a pretty reasonable approach,” said Mr Abson. Set to be commissioned in 2023, Cross River Rail is a long-running project that will run across at least two state elections. The IAQ warns of dire consequence should any new government decide to hold off investment. “Both Queenslanders and industry are pretty sick and tired of seeing critical infrastructure used as a political football. Not once in the last eight years have we seen all sides lining up behind our greatest infrastructure project and it’s been through at least three different incarnations to get to an optimum solution,” said Mr Abson. “With funding secured and early works now set to commence before Christmas, the last thing we need is risk of taxpayer-funded cheques written to rip up contracts already placed with local businesses,” he added. The Cross River Rail Delivery Authority will conduct an industry briefing next Wednesday 30/07 where it will outline the procurement approach, details of major work packages, delivery strategy, commercial considerations and governance. It will be held at the Pullman Hotel, King George Square, Brisbane from 2:00pm, Wednesday 30 August 2017. Click here to register. [post_title] => Cross-River Rail: just build it [post_excerpt] => The CRR business case demonstrates it will create jobs, bust congestion and must be built, said the IAQ. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => cross-river-rail-just-build [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-24 21:54:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-24 11:54:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27899 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28280 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-16 09:51:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-15 22:51:41 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28281" align="alignnone" width="267"] Professor Billie Giles-Corti. RMIT University[/caption] Australia’s big cities often rate well on international ‘liveability’ indexes. But all is not as it seems. Life for many residents in Australia’s cities isn’t nearly as good as we would like to believe, a new report from RMIT University has found. The new ‘Creating Liveable Cities in Australia’ study is the culmination of five years of research, intended to create a baseline measure of liveability in Australia’s state and territory capitals. The report examines seven aspects of a city’s liveability: walkability, public transport, public open spaces, housing affordability, employment and the food and alcohol environments. “No Australian capital city performs well across all the liveability indicators,” says Professor Billie Giles-Corti, who led the research and is Director of RMIT’s Urban Futures Enabling Capability Platform. “Many also failing to meet policy targets aimed at ensuring liveability. “There is widespread evidence of geographical inequities in the delivery of liveability policies within and between cities, with outer suburban areas less well served than inner-city suburbs. Measurable policies and targets to deliver liveable communities are often not in place, and often those that are in place are not strong enough. “Many policies aren’t making best use of the available evidence. There are no spatial measurable policy standards or targets in any capital city for local employment, housing affordability, promoting access to healthy food choices, or limiting access to alcohol outlets.” Professor Giles-Corti said the report is the first of its kind, and shows that better policies are urgently needed to maintain and enhance liveability and ensure the wellbeing of residents, particularly as Australia faces a doubling of its population by 2050. “One significant way to create liveable cities and to improve people’s health and wellbeing is through urban design and planning that create walkable, pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods,” she said. “But Australian cities are still being designed for cars. “Our study shows that only a minority of residents in Australian cities live in walkable communities, and most of our city’s density targets for new areas are still too low. This means walkable communities will never be achieved in outer suburbs. “Higher residential densities and street connectivity, mixed land-uses, and high-quality footpaths are all desperately needed to achieve walkable cities. But we don’t have the policy frameworks in place in Australia to create vibrant walkable communities,” she said. Public transport also rates poorly. “While many residents might live nearby a public transport stop, most dwellings in state capitals lack close access to stops serviced at least twice an hour. This creates a risk of increasing inequity in our cities, with some residents doubly disadvantaged. “Given that outer suburbs have poorer access to public transport, household expenditure on cars is likely to be higher there than in other areas, meaning these residents are losing out twice over.” Professor Giles-Corti said the report is a useful diagnostic tool for understanding the current state of liveability in Australian cities, and that could it should be repeated regularly. “What’s even more important is what governments should do about it,” she said. :We’ve made seven recommendations in the report which we’ll be pushing to see adopted at local, state and federal level.” The report was produced by RMIT University in collaboration with researchers from the Australian Catholic University and the University of Western Australia. The research team received funding from the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program, the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, and the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy Liveable Communities. The report is available here. 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Giles-Corti

Australia’s cities not so ‘liveable’ after all

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

Service NSW

Service NSW – Popular, but expensive

Service NSW, the NSW Government’s ‘one stop shop’ program, is proving popular with the public. But it has been expensive, and will take more than three years longer to recoup its investment than what the Government said. Both the NSW Opposition and Fairfax Media have obtained copies of an unreleased KPMG report into Service NSW’s costs. […]