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The Federal Government’s refusal to adopt the Chief Scientist’s recommendation for a Clean Energy Target has been roundly criticised by its political opponents. As you would expect. But what does it mean for the relationships between Australia’s different levels of government? The Government’s new policy, which will see the end of any subsidy for renewable energy by 2020, means that the unedifying and at times vicious squabbling that has marked what passes for debate on climate change and energy policy in this country will continue. The Federal Opposition has said, understandably, that it will not cooperate with the new policy and will oppose it in Parliament. Any dispassionate reading of the situation will show that it is Labor that has been prepared to compromise, and it is the Government that has retreated from bipartisanship. That fact alone will cause continued uncertainty, which most observers agree is a significant cause of the investment paralysis that is behind much of the increase in energy pricing in Australia in recent years. The Government has chosen the path of continued uncertainty and short-term political expediency over any attempt at providing a clear way forward. At the state level, the Labor States of Victoria, South Australia have indicated that they will pursue their own renewable targets. Western Australia, which is not part of the National Electricity Market, is looking at its own policy. Queensland, effectively in election mode and with the Adani mine a major issue, is more equivocal. NSW has a Liberal government and will not want to be seen to be fighting the Feds. But it also has its own target of 20 percent renewables by 2020, and it too is facing an election, in less than 18 months. NSW will have to walk a fine line between maintaining Tory solidarity and not alienating voters. Both the Turnbull led Coalition and federal Labor believe they have the right policies on climate change and energy to appeal to voters. Coalition believes this so strongly that it is actually going out of its way to retreat from the modest climate policies of even the Abbott government (which, remember, supported a renewables target). Labor will push the necessity for action on climate, the Coalition will push energy security. Both will say their policies will achieve those objectives, and that their opponents’ will not. So Australia will have separate federal and state energy policies. On top of that, many local government authorities will have their own policies. There will be no national consensus, no certainty on investment, and no spirit of cooperation. Australia’s climate and energy policy landscape will be much like that of Donald Trump’s America. What a great example to follow. One difference will be that we will at least pay lip service to the Paris Climate agreement, but that means little, since under the Coalition’s policies we will have no chance of meeting our commitments. As in the US, we will have separate local, state and federal policies. The Special Energy COAG in November should be a lulu. Climate change, ‘the great moral issue of our time’, will in Australia continue to be a policy wasteland and political graveyard. Just last week we reported on the United Kingdom’s adoption of carbon pricing. We commented on how that country, under a Conservative government, has somehow managed to avoid the acrimony of the Australian debate. Climate change and energy policy in Australia remains broken. It represents a great failure of political will and the victory of short-termism over the common good. A few years ago I had a market research and analysis company specialising in climate change and energy efficiency. Most of our clients were the energy retailers and distributors. Then, during the years of the Gillard government, the whole debate turned poisonous. Nobody wanted to do anything. They didn’t want to plan, they didn’t want to invest, and they certainly didn’t want to buy market research. Policy uncertainty and wilful disinformation cost me my business. Let us hope it does not cost Australia much more. [post_title] => Renewables, climate and intergovernmental relations – OPINION [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => renewables-climate-intergovernmental-relations-opinion [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-17 19:10:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-17 08:10:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28306 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28300 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-17 14:43:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-17 03:43:07 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28302" align="alignnone" width="300"] Dr Tony Bartone at his day job[/caption] The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has written to all state and territory health departments urging them to use new guidelines it has developed to communicate better with the health profession. The AMA says the Guide will inform the development of policy and improve the standards of care being provided to patients. It has also been distributed to all major operators of private hospitals. The Guide, with the snappy title ‘10 Minimum Standards for Communicating between Health Services and General Practitioners and other Treating Doctors’, has been adapted from an AMA Victoria document. AMA Vice President Dr Tony Bartone says the Guide provides key criteria for communication that can improve quality of care for patients, and also reduce duplication and waste in the health system. “The Guide encourages all health care providers and institutions to share the responsibility for improved communication across the whole patient journey from the community setting to treatment in a hospital or healthcare facility and return to the community,” Dr Bartone said. “That includes the clinical handover back to the patient’s general practitioner. Improving the communication between all the different providers in the health system can help to reduce re-admissions and minimise adverse events. “More effective communication delivers improvements in satisfaction and experience for patients, carers, families, doctors, and other health practitioners.” Dr Bartone, himself a GP, said the development of the AMA Guide was led by GPs, who are often frustrated by the lack of timely information or inadequate information about their patient’s progress in the health system. “GPs are the key coordinators of patient care, monitoring and managing their care and treatment. Any disruption to clear communication channels can have an adverse effect on patients,” he said. “We are delivering very good outcomes for patients in the Australian health system, but we can and should do better. We are confident that the AMA Guide will contribute to improved communication and, in turn, better overall care.” The AMA Guide covers vital criteria such as the timeliness of communication and its content; communication processes; the interface with practice software systems; good quality referrals, better discharge processes, and secure electronic communication systems. The Guide can be downloaded here. 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The NSW Government has released an online tool that shows graphically key demographic attributes of the state’s regions. The People and Places Dashboard shows data such as population age groups, household composition, and land usage. The data is projected 20 years into the future. The website was launched by Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts, who said it will help anyone looking to build a house, relocate to a new area or satisfy a curiosity about the current population projections in any local area. “This is a fantastic new online tool that gives great insight into any part of NSW now and in the future. Even those not exactly tech-savvy will find it simple to use – and schoolkids will love it. If you want to know the population make-up in your area, this is the tool to use,” he said. The data comes from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. “The dashboard is the type of thing that could expand over time and more and more relevant statistics added to paint a really detailed picture of our state and city,” said Mr Roberts. The dashboard presents official NSW population projections for every five years from 2016 to 2036 and allows users to:
  • find information on people and household demographics for the six districts in Sydney and nine districts in regional NSW.
  • look at the breakdown of five age-groups (0-19, 20-34, 35-49, 50-64 and 65+) and what percentage those age-groups are of the total population.
  • find out about recreational, green and open spaces in any area of NSW.
  • find out how your local council is performing in terms of housing approval times
“There is no denying that NSW is a great place to live and work. However, the best cities don’t just happen, they are planned, and planning for the future of our state is critical,” he said. “Launching the dashboard is an informed step towards identifying changes in our population and planning carefully for our children’s future.” There are 7.7 million people in NSW, projected to grow to 10 million by 2036. The analysis divides the state into Metropolitan Sydney and nine regions: North Coast, New England North West, Central Coast, Hunter, Central West and Orana, Riverina-Murray, Far West, Illawarra-Shoalhaven, and South East and Tablelands. Metropolitan Sydney is further divided into six districts. The tool is available at www.peopleandplaces.nsw.gov.au [post_title] => NSW releases graphical statistics dashboard [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-releases-graphical-statistics-dashboard [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-17 06:42:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-16 19:42:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28295 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28292 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-16 14:29:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-16 03:29:52 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28293" align="alignnone" width="300"] Muru CEO Mitchell Ross[/caption] On 7 September the Federal Government implemented a new Stationery and Office Supplies (SOS II) Panel. Last year sales through the previous SOS Panel were worth $38 million. One supplier says the new contract unfairly favours foreign-owned companies over Australian suppliers, because the only manufacturer of Australian made indigenous paper refuses to supply the only Australian owned company on the Panel. “Instead of creating fairness for Australian businesses, the SOS Panel II has unknowingly created a system where the Government is favouring two foreign owned companies over Australian owned businesses,” says Mitchell Ross, CEO of Muru Group, a Sydney based and Australian owned stationery business. The Panel makes it mandatory for all non-corporate Commonwealth entities to make all future purchases with the two SOS II panellists – Complete Office Supplies (COS) and Winc. COS is Australian owned, and Winc (formerly known as Staples) is US owned. COS supplies paper from Muru. The problem, Mr Ross, told Government News, is in the sourcing of paper. “What the Government did not realise is that the Japanese owned Australian Paper Mills (APM) holds a monopoly on all paper produced in Australia. “While APM has been producing paper for Winc, it has repeatedly declined requests to produce the Muru brand for Australian owned COS. That means COS and Muru cannot supply Australian-made paper. “Through clever marketing APM has convinced the Government that buying Australian produced paper is beneficial to Australia and will save the Government money, but what about Australian businesses who truly support Australian workers and the community? “If APM refuses to supply us Australian made paper, we must source our paper from overseas. But we are Australian owned and we’re doing more for Australia.” He says that Muru supports Australian jobs and contributes 15 percent of its profits to ‘closing the gap’ initiatives for Indigenous communities. “These initiatives include the support of an early childhood education program in far north Queensland for Indigenous pre-school children, as well as donating computers to Indigenous community organisations across Australia to create a positive legacy for future generations.” Mr Ross says that Government agencies should think more deeply about their procurement decisions, and that buying Australian product does not mean you are supporting Australians. “Australian businesses want to produce product in Australia, to see more jobs go to Australian workers, and to benefit our economy. Both COS and Muru Group rigorously and continually request to engage in services with APM, but with no success.”   [post_title] => ‘Buy local’ purchasing plan backfires [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => buy-local-purchasing-plan-backfires [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-16 14:39:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-16 03:39:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28292 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28285 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-16 12:58:47 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-16 01:58:47 [post_content] =>

Ongoing economic uncertainty and a slowdown in government technology investment continue to delay or limit the adoption of digital innovation and radically redesigned service models. But CIOs at all levels of government can help ease the path. Part of the problem is that the structure of government has remained largely unchanged for more than half a century, while the needs and expectations of citizens and businesses have outpaced the ability to adequately address them. Technological capabilities and social forces have now converged to move government organisations beyond simple online efficiencies. Technology now enables them to optimise, transform or create entirely new services, while renovating back-end systems. As the digitalisation of society progresses, many government organisations are focused on digital transformation strategies. Gartner believes their CIOs need to take the lead in opening government to citizens and industry, while breaking down the traditional barriers that stifle innovation.   Leading the transition CIOs can lead the transition to optimised and secure public services by adopting organisational capabilities that take advantage of available digital and data analytics technologies. In addition to deploying proven technologies – the cloud, social, mobile, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) – to support the optimisation and transformation of government services, CIOs should explore the potential of emerging trends. These include blockchain, distributed ledgers and applied artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Government organisations are increasingly operating in large digital ecosystems. Public and private sector enterprises, competitors, customers and citizens, regulators and other stakeholders are forming interdependent, coexisting business networks. While these ecosystems will give CIOs unprecedented opportunities to revolutionise government business, they also add an entirely new dimension of technical complexity and risk. Given the pivotal role of information in digital ecosystems, CIOs must affirm the value of their role by stepping beyond hardware provisioning or network performance. Instead, the need to pay attention to design standards-based digital platforms that focus innovation on citizen experience and service model transformation, while promoting rapid experimentation and change. This increased organisational visibility and leadership responsibility are changing the CIO’s role to that of a business executive who is also competent in technology and data management.   Developing an effective strategy Many government organisations struggle to articulate a compelling business vision to base a digital strategy on. There is often confusion about how previous eGovernment objectives differ from those of digital transformation. Digital government relies on the use and reuse of data and analytics to simplify transactions for end users. It creates information from data to support and enhance decision making. It fosters the creation of new, collaborative and disruptive service delivery models. In the process, underlying service models are re-engineered to improve mission effectiveness and to achieve long-range cost savings through optimised outcomes. Government leaders recognise the critical role of data as a strategic asset. It is the innovative use and reuse of digital data that powers business transformation and delivers value that is recognised by legislative bodies, citizens and the workforce. Leveraging its vast repositories of data, government leaders can drive transformative change by ensuring that data is semantically defined and available, accessible and readily shareable. It can then be analysed and combined to create new value streams across wide service networks. To be successful, a digital government strategy must address a variety of issues. These include:
  • Establishing a sustainable collaboration among stakeholders in different domains and tiers
  • Adopting more flexible funding, agile procurement and project management processes
  • Improving IT workforce skills and management practices
  • Securing the technologies and services needed to support the digitalisation of government business functions.
  Successfully implementing a strategy There are many challenges that affects a digital government strategy. These include the workload impact of increased levels of migrants and asylum seekers on border control, the struggle to boost economic growth and curb unemployment, the improvement of education, retirement and health care for an aging population, and continuous pressure to reduce the cost of government. All of this needs to be done while staying on pace with the increasing levels of government services that citizens require. Digital government strategies are shaped by the level of direct citizen interaction. Activities such as motor vehicle registration and licensing, social services, law enforcement or the adjudication of legal cases, are often administered in collaboration with other agencies and jurisdictions. This drives the need for better application integration and interoperability across back-office systems, so that front office, point-of-service interactions are effective and efficient. Where citizens or businesses engage with government more frequently, CIOs face greater urgency to transform their public services to deliver better outcomes within a large portfolio of services, and with severe resource constraints. Successful digital strategic planning and implementation require strong governance maturity to ensure that these initiatives deliver real business and mission value on shorter time horizons, while positioning the government organisation to continually develop its digital capabilities, sustainably across administrations. When appropriations are tied to individual programs that operate in silos, CIOs must develop strong collaborative relationships among peer executives to ensure visible and sustained business sponsorship, direction, oversight and support. Rick Holgate is a research director at Gartner, advising government CIOs on digital government, cloud, mobility, digital workplace, information security, IT procurement, shared services, case management and legacy system modernisation. He will speak about the future of digital government at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Australia, 30 October-2 November 2017. [post_title] => CIOs and the transition to digital government [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => cios-transition-digital-government [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-16 14:20:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-16 03:20:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28285 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => 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. [post_title] => Australia’s cities not so ‘liveable’ after all [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => australias-cities-not-liveable [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-16 13:02:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-16 02:02:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28280 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28267 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-13 13:30:47 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-13 02:30:47 [post_content] =>

Americans are more scared of government and its corrupt officials than they are of anything else, including nuclear war or climate change. Three quarters (74. 5 percent) of people surveyed in the annual ‘Chapman University Survey on American Fears’ study said they were afraid of corrupt government officials. Second on the list, at 55 percent, was also a government issue – concern over ‘Trumpcare’, or what the unpredictable US President may do to the American Health Act. Rounding out the Top Ten were: pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes (53.1 percent), pollution of drinking water (50.4 percent), not having enough money for the future (50.2 percent), high medical bills (48.4 percent), that the US will be involved in another World War (48.4 percent), global warming and climate change (48.0 percent), North Korea using weapons (47.5 percent), and air pollution (44.9 percent). The results are very different from the 2016 survey. In that study corrupt government officials were also placed first, but were mentioned by only 60.6 percent of respondents. Americans are becoming much more anxious overall. Second last year was fear of a terrorist attack (41.0 percent). That grew this year to 43.3 percent, but in terms of position it declined sharply to 13th position. All of the top 15 fears this year rated higher than the second greatest fear last year. “The 2017 list of fears clearly reflects political unrest and uncertainty in the wake of Donald Trump’s election as president,” says the report. “Increased tensions with North Korea, concerns about sweeping changes proposed to health care and discussion (at the time the survey was administered) of the United States leaving the Paris Climate Accords produced a much different list from 2016. “What is most striking about American fear in 2017 is that environmental fears, including water pollution and drinking water quality, figure more prominently than ever before. Environmental issues never cracked the top ten fears in our previous surveys. “In 2017, there was a sharp increase in environmental fears, likely due to fears about policy changes in Washington. The Trump Administration has charted a drastically different path; ordering the US Environmental Protection Agency not to enforce major pollution laws, and firing the EPA’s entire Science Advisory Board. The survey was a random sample of 1,207 American adults. Chapman University is a private Christian institution in Orange County, California. The survey findings are available here. [post_title] => Americans scared of government - survey [post_excerpt] => Americans are more scared of government and its corrupt officials than they are of anything else, including nuclear war or climate change. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => americans-scared-government [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-16 13:00:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-16 02:00:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28267 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => 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 ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28252 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-12 11:35:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-12 00:35:11 [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 ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28248 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-12 10:21:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-11 23:21:56 [post_content] => We are moving rapidly towards a world where robots and artificial intelligence (AI) systems are connected to and influenced by social media, the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data. Technological developments are moving fast, and AI has many governments concerned. Given the pace of technological advancement, how do rule-makers set legislation for AI while allowing the safe evolution of technology? Who thinks about and enforces these guidelines, and what work is being done, or should be done, with governments to craft AI policy? Moves by the European Parliament to consider granting some form of legal status to AI have revived questions of liability and responsibility. For example, who is liable when an intelligent system makes a mistake, causes an accident, damage or becomes corrupted? The manufacturer, developer, the person controlling it, the robot? Or is it simply a matter of allocating appropriate risk, liability and responsibility? As autonomy and self-learning capabilities increase, robots and intelligent systems will feel less like machines and tools. New laws will certainly be required to handle AI as it develops. While the European Union is leading the way in considering these issues, Australia is watching closely and we will need to make our own decisions around these issues in the foreseeable future. So far, attention has been focused mainly around autonomous cars and drones. But the rapid adoption of AI into diverse areas of our lives, from business, education, healthcare and communication through to infrastructure, logistics, defence, entertainment and agriculture, means that any laws involving liability will need to consider a broad range of contexts and possibilities. Clear boundaries and filters will be needed. Governments will need to legislate on what technology can be developed legally. Weaponising AI, for example, should be against the law, but this needs to be approached with a degree of common sense and a sensible overview of the whole industry and the development of the technology. Additionally, we will need to establish specific protection for potential victims of AI-related incidents to give people confidence that they will have legal recourse if something goes wrong. As software replaces human effort, governments need to deal with job losses to prepare for the longer-term impacts of such innovation. AI can help to reduce the burden on the public sector significantly by automating basic customer enquiries through bots. Legislation to repair the damage from jobs lost not only adversely impacts the innovation agenda, it is also too late for those who are out of work. The UK government has created a select committee for AI, designed to gather knowledge and advice on how best to address some of the challenges that AI presents to both society and the economy. But more needs to be done. To prepare for the shift in how we work, the Australian Government needs to partner with major employers and organisations responsible for creating and implementing bots in marketplaces around the world. Government bodies need to be working alongside private organisations and forums in order to fully comprehend and prepare for the upcoming changes. Training and education programs must be advertised to develop skills geared towards industries that will be around in the longer term. We also need to create software platforms that rely upon human input and labour in areas where AI is less applicable. Introducing a robust regulatory framework with relevant input from industry, policymakers and government would create greater incentive for AI developers and manufacturers to build in safeguards and minimise the potential risks. Such regulation would pave the way for an evolutionary adoption of AI. This new paradigm will ultimately require a significant rethink and restructure of some of our long established legal principles. *Andrew Cannington is Research Vice President APAC for LivePerson   [post_title] => Artificial Intelligence and government regulation [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => artificial-intelligence-government-regulation [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-12 11:05:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-12 00:05:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28248 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28243 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-11 15:30:23 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-11 04:30:23 [post_content] => A leaked report to the NSW Government has recommended that cruise ships be permitted to use the Royal Australian Navy dockyard at Garden Island. At present cruise ships use the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay and a secondary terminal at White Bay, 3km west of the CBD. But to use White Bay they must go under the Harbour Bridge, which is impossible for the new breed of larger cruise liners. The number of cruise ships coming to Sydney at more than doubled in the last five years, and already some operators are saying that they are avoiding Sydney because of congestion. In July the State government commissioned a report on the matter, asking for recommendations on how to handle the increasing demand. Heading the inquiry was Peter Collins, who was state Liberal leader and Leader of the Opposition from 1995 to 1998. His former seat of Willoughby is now held by Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Collins was also a longtime office in the RAN Reserve, reaching the rank of Captain. He handed his report to the Government on 6 October. Its contents have not been made public, but in an increasingly common practice, it seems to have been deliberately leaked the Murdoch press. Sydney’s Daily Telegraph has run a splash on it. It says the Collins report recommends the use of Garden Island, a massive facility in the middle of the city, close to Kings Cross and on the eastern side of Woolloomooloo Bay. As a military base, Garden Island certainly has the capacity, but agreement would have to be reached with the Navy and the Federal Government to allow its use for commercial purposes. Immigration and other facilities would also have to be built. The other option considered and rejected by Collins was to move some cruise ships to Botany Bay, which is where most of Sydney’s commercial port activity now takes place. But Port Botany or another facility on Botany Bay would also need new facilities, and it is an unattractive industrial precinct 10 km from the CBD. The recommendation is likely to reignite debate about the future of Garden Island. It is a prime waterfront location in the middle of Sydney, and ripe for redevelopment. But it is also Australia’s largest naval base, and moving it is not a trivial exercise. During the 2013 election campaign, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd suggested moving the Navy out of Sydney Harbour, an idea that was ridiculed at the time.  But there is no logical reason for the Navy to be located there. There have been many suggestions over the years that it be moved to Jervis Bay 150 km south of Sydney, where the Navy already has a presence, or to the north of Australia, possibly Darwin, which is much closer to the areas where the Navy mostly operates. This is likely to happen eventually. Garden Island is an incredibly valuable and very high profile location. It would make for a massive urban renewal project. The Daily Telegraph also ran a piece on what a potential redevelopment would look like, with cruise ship facilities, parks and gardens, and apartments. It would be much bigger and more visible than Barangaroo. Industry body Tourism and Transport Forum Australia (TTF) has called on the NSW Government to adopt Collins’ recommendation for the cruise-ship industry to be allowed permanent access to Garden Island. TTF Chief Executive Margy Osmond said Australia’s cruise industry is now worth $5 billion annually and needed better facilities. “The cruise industry reference group and its head Peter Collins must be congratulated on coming up with a common sense solution to address Sydney’s looming cruise crisis,” she said. “Cruise shipping is the most dynamic and fastest growing sector of the Australian visitor economy, and has rapidly become one of the great success stories for Australian tourism. “But with port facilities at Circular Quay at full capacity, and an increasing number of ships too large to pass beneath Sydney Harbour Bridge to access the White Bay terminal, the only deep-water option in the city which is able to accommodate growth is Garden Island. “Port Botany is not the answer. The big drawcard is Sydney Harbour. It is not just international tourists that crave the 'big picture' moment of sailing through the heads - this is also about Aussie tourists who want to feel that sense of excitement and pride that comes from sailing in and out of their Harbour City. “I commend the NSW Government and the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey for initiating this review, and I urge them to adopt the recommendations of this report and allow cruise ships to access the infrastructure at Garden Island.” [post_title] => Park cruise ships at Garden Island, Government told [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => park-cruise-ships-garden-island-government-told [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-13 08:45:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-12 21:45:07 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28243 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28238 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-11 09:14:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-10 22:14:05 [post_content] =>

Local Government NSW and four major NSW councils will hold a forum on the Night Time Economy.. They have formalised the term into an acronym – NTE. The forum will be held in the Parkroyal Parramatta hotel on 12 October (during the daytime). Details here. The forum is the first tangible result of a work from a NTE Working Group formed in 2016 by LGNSW and the councils of Wollongong City, City of Sydney, City of Newcastle, City of Parramatta and Waverley Council. The City of Sydney’s Transport, Heritage and Planning Sub-Committee has released a discussion paper ahead of the forum called ‘An Open and Creative City – planning for culture and the night time economy’. The discussion paper sets out proposals and options that “aim to make it easier for shops and businesses to open later in the city’s business precincts, support more small-scale cultural uses in existing under-used buildings, and provide a clear and fair approach to managing noise from entertainment venues.” The discussion paper also asks for feedback from stakeholders, through submission and planned briefings, workshops and community focus groups. City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the forum was an important opportunity for night-time economy experts from across NSW to build their knowledge and share experiences. “NSW has the largest night-time economy in Australia, so it’s essential that experts from local governments across the state work together to ensure the sector continues to grow,” she said. “This forum will give policymakers from both inner city areas and regional centres the opportunity to share best-practice approaches, workshop the challenges they’re facing, and develop their capacity to shape vibrant, safe and sustainable night-time economies.” The forum organisers are expecting representatives on 29 councils and state government agencies at the forum. Presentations, workshops and panel discussions will explore topics including culture and creativity, placemaking and urban design, policy and research, planning and regulation, and services, infrastructure and safety. “NSW’s night-time economy is valued at $37.3 billion and supports more than 34,000 businesses and 342,000 jobs,” said Lord Mayor Moore. She quoted figures that showed that 61 percent of all core night-time economy businesses are food-related, 31 percent are entertainment-led and 8 per cent are drink related businesses such as pubs and clubs. The City of Sydney discussion paper said there are several steps required to make changes to the City’s planning controls to boost the Night Time Economy, which will involve amendments to the Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012 and the Sydney Development Control Plan 2012. A key proposal is to allow shops to open until 10pm without the need for council approval. “Exempt development is of minor impact and does not need a development approval from the City as long as it meets certain criteria. “The criteria we propose include limiting its application to shops and some business, with licensed premises and cafes and restaurants excluded. The areas where this will apply are those that have existing retail and businesses, to ensure consistency with the overall character of the neighbourhood. “Removing the requirement for a shop or business to get development approval to extend their opening hours will make it easier for operators to respond flexibly to changing retail opportunities, such as local festivals and longer summer evenings. Combined with other initiatives, such as destination marketing and our grants program, we can support and encourage later opening hours.” [post_title] => NSW Councils to boost the ‘Night Time Economy’ [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-councils-boost-night-time-economy [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-13 08:47:52 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-12 21:47:52 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28238 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28233 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-10 15:05:59 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-10 04:05:59 [post_content] =>

Sydney’s Barangaroo Reserve has won the prestigious best landscape design of the year award in the 2017 international American Architecture Prize. The 22-hectare headland park was designed by Australian landscape architects Johnson Pilton Walker in association with PWP Landscape Architecture, a firm based in Berkeley near San Francisco, and built by Lend Lease. It opened in August 2015. The prize is awarded annually. There are 41 prizes across three categories: architecture, interior design and landscaping. The Barangaroo award was one of only three ‘best in show’ awards. There were other awards for Australia in this year’s prizes. Sydney firm FJMT (Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp) won the Tall Buildings award for its EY Centre in Sydney’s CBD, and Perth firm Iredale Pedersen Hook won awards for Perth Zoo’s Orangutan Exhibit and Boardwalk Experience, and for domestic architecture with its Casa31_4 house. “Barangaroo is a globally-significant waterfront renewal project that redefines Sydney Harbour and its Central Business District,” says the award citation. “Barangaroo Reserve was the first phase in the three-district precinct to open. The project re-creates Millers Point headland in its original location by transforming a concrete container port into a naturalistic park with over 75,000 plantings native to the Sydney region. “Guided by historical maps and paintings, the design of the headland includes a foreshore of 10,000 sandstone blocks excavated directly from the site. “Walking and bicycle pathways separated by the ‘1836 Wall’ symbolically mark the original precolonial shoreline. Barangaroo Reserve is carbon-neutral, water-positive, and committed to creating zero waste. “Selected as a Clinton Global Initiative, One Planet Living, and C40 Climate Positive development, the project recycled all existing materials onsite to form the headland. “Hidden beneath the artificial headland, the ‘Cutaway’ is a massive void formed through the sandstone excavation operations to host art exhibits, performances, and a future Aboriginal Cultural Centre. “Barangaroo Reserve transforms a huge expanse of empty concrete into humane, usable space, marking the transformation of an industrialised site into a modern reinvention of its more sustainable past.”   [post_title] => Barangaroo wins US landscaping award [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => barangaroo-wins-us-landscaping-award [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-13 08:47:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-12 21:47:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28233 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28229 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-10 13:58:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-10 02:58:44 [post_content] =>   Famous sports teams and individual sportsman are increasingly referred to as ‘brands’. In a celebrity-driven world where most money comes from corporate sponsorship, this makes sense. It also works for countries. Brand value is determined by the size of the economy, but also by such factors as the quality and volume of goods and services, the level of investment, and the functioning of society. Marketing agency Brand Finance has released its annual ‘Nation Brands’ report on the brand value of individual countries. Australia does well, but the report says its reputation is at risk because of a poor record and continued inaction on taxation. Australia is in 11th place overall, after the Top Ten:
  1. USA
  2. China
  3. Germany
  4. Japan
  5. United Kingdom
  6. France
  7. Canada
  8. India
  9. Italy
  10. South Korea
“Australia continues to perform consistently, maintaining an AAA nation brand strength rating with a nation brand value of US$1.5 trillion,” said Mark Crowe, Managing Director of Brand Finance Australia. “The country performs very well across all the key pillars except one – it has a relatively poor score in regard to taxation. “Inertia over reform to the taxation system will continue to hurt Australia’s brand image. The country risks being seen as a much less attractive location for overseas investment. “There is also a negative perception towards tourism in Australia in terms of value for money. If not addressed, this perception can have an adverse impact on other areas of the Australian economy.”   The Trump Effect With a value of US$21.1 trillion, the US remains the most valuable nation brand in the world, but a low 2 percent annual growth rate is putting its long term dominance at risk. “Its stagnation can be attributed to macroeconomic challenges such as the declining participation rate caused by the mass-retirement of baby boomers, ultimately contributing to a slow pace of GDP growth compared to previous expansions,” says the report, “Nor are perceptions of Donald Trump’s presidency helping Brand America. Trump’s administration is seen as increasingly unpredictable, and America’s image in the world is waning. “Sabre rattling in the Middle East and Asia, closing borders to migrants and refugees, and breaching global commitments in relation to climate change, have all seriously undermined US global leadership. Recovering that influence in the future may be close to impossible.”   The growth of Asia According to the study, China is the fastest-growing nation brand of 2017 in absolute terms, with a change of over US$3.1 trillion year on year. This figure is equal to the entire nation brand value of the United Kingdom, which illustrates just by how much China is outpacing other countries. In relative terms, China’s nation brand value grew 44 percent year on year, or at a 20 times faster pace than the US. But at US$10.2 trillion, China’s nation brand value is still only half that of America’s, and sustaining growth will be key to narrow the gap, says the report. “The dynamic between American and Chinese nation brands is mirrored by the broader trends of Western stagnation and Asian advance. Established European nation brands, such as Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, record either a decline or a negligible growth of value. At the same time, Asian nation brands grow at breakneck speed.” Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and South Korea have all added between 37 to 43 percent to their nation brand value last year. Singapore has the strongest Brand Strength Index of 92.9, the only country to score over 90. The report is available here. [post_title] => Australia’s ‘brand’ at risk [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => australias-brand-risk [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-10 14:00:48 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-10 03:00:48 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28229 [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] => 28306 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-17 19:08:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-17 08:08:30 [post_content] =>

The Federal Government’s refusal to adopt the Chief Scientist’s recommendation for a Clean Energy Target has been roundly criticised by its political opponents. As you would expect. But what does it mean for the relationships between Australia’s different levels of government? The Government’s new policy, which will see the end of any subsidy for renewable energy by 2020, means that the unedifying and at times vicious squabbling that has marked what passes for debate on climate change and energy policy in this country will continue. The Federal Opposition has said, understandably, that it will not cooperate with the new policy and will oppose it in Parliament. Any dispassionate reading of the situation will show that it is Labor that has been prepared to compromise, and it is the Government that has retreated from bipartisanship. That fact alone will cause continued uncertainty, which most observers agree is a significant cause of the investment paralysis that is behind much of the increase in energy pricing in Australia in recent years. The Government has chosen the path of continued uncertainty and short-term political expediency over any attempt at providing a clear way forward. At the state level, the Labor States of Victoria, South Australia have indicated that they will pursue their own renewable targets. Western Australia, which is not part of the National Electricity Market, is looking at its own policy. Queensland, effectively in election mode and with the Adani mine a major issue, is more equivocal. NSW has a Liberal government and will not want to be seen to be fighting the Feds. But it also has its own target of 20 percent renewables by 2020, and it too is facing an election, in less than 18 months. NSW will have to walk a fine line between maintaining Tory solidarity and not alienating voters. Both the Turnbull led Coalition and federal Labor believe they have the right policies on climate change and energy to appeal to voters. Coalition believes this so strongly that it is actually going out of its way to retreat from the modest climate policies of even the Abbott government (which, remember, supported a renewables target). Labor will push the necessity for action on climate, the Coalition will push energy security. Both will say their policies will achieve those objectives, and that their opponents’ will not. So Australia will have separate federal and state energy policies. On top of that, many local government authorities will have their own policies. There will be no national consensus, no certainty on investment, and no spirit of cooperation. Australia’s climate and energy policy landscape will be much like that of Donald Trump’s America. What a great example to follow. One difference will be that we will at least pay lip service to the Paris Climate agreement, but that means little, since under the Coalition’s policies we will have no chance of meeting our commitments. As in the US, we will have separate local, state and federal policies. The Special Energy COAG in November should be a lulu. Climate change, ‘the great moral issue of our time’, will in Australia continue to be a policy wasteland and political graveyard. Just last week we reported on the United Kingdom’s adoption of carbon pricing. We commented on how that country, under a Conservative government, has somehow managed to avoid the acrimony of the Australian debate. Climate change and energy policy in Australia remains broken. It represents a great failure of political will and the victory of short-termism over the common good. A few years ago I had a market research and analysis company specialising in climate change and energy efficiency. Most of our clients were the energy retailers and distributors. Then, during the years of the Gillard government, the whole debate turned poisonous. Nobody wanted to do anything. They didn’t want to plan, they didn’t want to invest, and they certainly didn’t want to buy market research. Policy uncertainty and wilful disinformation cost me my business. Let us hope it does not cost Australia much more. 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State Solar

Renewables, climate and intergovernmental relations – OPINION

The Federal Government’s refusal to adopt the Chief Scientist’s recommendation for a Clean Energy Target has been roundly criticised by its political opponents. As you would expect. But what does it mean for the relationships between Australia’s different levels of government? The Government’s new policy, which will see the end of any subsidy for renewable […]

Mitchell Ross

‘Buy local’ purchasing plan backfires

On 7 September the Federal Government implemented a new Stationery and Office Supplies (SOS II) Panel. Last year sales through the previous SOS Panel were worth $38 million. One supplier says the new contract unfairly favours foreign-owned companies over Australian suppliers, because the only manufacturer of Australian made indigenous paper refuses to supply the only […]

eGOv

CIOs and the transition to digital government

Ongoing economic uncertainty and a slowdown in government technology investment continue to delay or limit the adoption of digital innovation and radically redesigned service models. But CIOs at all levels of government can help ease the path. Part of the problem is that the structure of government has remained largely unchanged for more than half […]

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 […]

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 […]

AI

Artificial Intelligence and government regulation

We are moving rapidly towards a world where robots and artificial intelligence (AI) systems are connected to and influenced by social media, the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data. Technological developments are moving fast, and AI has many governments concerned. Given the pace of technological advancement, how do rule-makers set legislation for AI while […]

Barangaroo

Barangaroo wins US landscaping award

Sydney’s Barangaroo Reserve has won the prestigious best landscape design of the year award in the 2017 international American Architecture Prize. The 22-hectare headland park was designed by Australian landscape architects Johnson Pilton Walker in association with PWP Landscape Architecture, a firm based in Berkeley near San Francisco, and built by Lend Lease. It opened […]

aust balloon

Australia’s ‘brand’ at risk

  Famous sports teams and individual sportsman are increasingly referred to as ‘brands’. In a celebrity-driven world where most money comes from corporate sponsorship, this makes sense. It also works for countries. Brand value is determined by the size of the economy, but also by such factors as the quality and volume of goods and […]