The South Australian Government has announced it will cut 1000 full time equivalent positions from its public sector over the next three years, while setting greater efficiency targets.

 

Treasurer Jack Snelling announced the cuts will save the state $166.8 million over the three years and will be balanced by $60.4 million in targeted voluntary separation packages (TVSPs).

 

“Savings measures are needed to reduce the size of the Government, reducing the pressure on the state’s finances while creating a leaner Government,” Mr Snelling said.

 

Mr Snelling also announced the state expects to save over $255.6 million through improved efficiency targets.

 

“This represents an increase in the current efficiency dividend from 0.25 per cent to 1.0 per cent from 2013-14,” Mr Snelling said.

 

“As is currently the case, agencies will have the flexibility to tailor the savings to their particular structures but we believe agencies will be able to find these efficiencies.”

 

“A smaller public sector needs to be more productive and it is, therefore, vital we retain the skills of our most experienced public servants,”

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

Fair Work Australia has announced a 2.9 per cent increase to the country’s minimum wage, with the national wage rising to $606.40 per week, or $15.96 an our. The increase equates to an additional $17.10 for the country’s lowest paid.

 

The increase applies to minimum wages for junior employees, employees to whom training arrangements apply and employees with disability, and to piece rates through the operation of the methods applying to the calculation of those wages. 

 

"In this review we have decided that the relevant statutory considerations favour a moderate increase, which will improve the real value of award wages and assist the living standards of the low paid," Fair Work President Justice Ian Ross said. 

The Victorian Government is urging the public to submit their comments on the future of the state’s water management fter a number of the sate’s water aurthorities released consultation papers on their draft water plans.

 

The four-month consultation period will allow Victorians to review and comment on their local water plan and proposed water pricing which will cover proposed services and prices from mid 2013 to mid 2018.

 

Minister for Water Peter Walsh said he strongly encouraged all members of the community to provide comment on the draft plans which will outline the pricing structure for water.

 

"Victorians have an opportunity to provide their feedback on how much they will pay for their water in the future, and what services will be included in this cost.

 

Mr Walsh said Melbourne water retailers had proposed price increases of between 19.4 per cent and 21.8 per cent over the five-year period.

 

Public comment is sought on these plans prior to submission of final Water Plans in September 2012 to the Essential Services Commission (ESC).

 

More information can be found here

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

Australia’s economic global competitiveness has slipped for a second consecutive year according to a report released by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA). The report found Australia slipped from 9th place to 15th in world competiveness rankings.

 

In releasing Australia's 2012 World Competitiveness Yearbook results, CEDA Chief Executive, Professor the Hon Stephen Martin said key factors in Australia's poor ranking for labour market competitiveness included the high Australian dollar, skills shortages and the re-emergence of industrial relations as a key national issue, with a number of high profile disputes.

 

"The high Australian dollar and strong terms of trade have resulted in a drop in Australia's international trade competitiveness which has occurred at the same time as many other countries' economies have slowed," he said.

 

"With the exception of the mining sector, this has made Australian exports less competitive and negatively impacted industries such as tourism, retail and manufacturing.

 

"These industries were already struggling with rising global competition and a structural readjustment has been occurring in our economy as a result, with the strong Australian dollar further exacerbating this change.

 

Despite the slip in rankings, the committee warned against governmental interference with subsides, but rather urged a reduction in regulatory burdens placed on businesses, coupled with a targeted investment in skills and innovation.

 

"In two years Australia has slipped from five to 15 in global competitiveness rankings and if we are to help protect Australia from future declines we need to increase investment in business innovation and skills," Professor Martin said.

 

The rankings can be found here

 

 

A senate committee lead by former Federal Greens leader Senator Bob Brown has recommended the dropping of a bill that seeks to make a range of changes to planning requirements for mobile phone towers.

 

The laws surrounding the mobile phone tower construction have been a concern for local government bodies since their inception in 1997, with exemption of state and territory planning requirements causing particular concern amongst local government bodies.

 

The committee also heard that the bill may have a range of unintended consequences relating to the deployment and maintenance of telecommunications infrastructure, such as emergency communications facilities, simple maintenance and state and territory planning legislation.

 

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) argued that the rollout of telecommunications infrastructure should be subject to planning and regulations that best serve the interest of the local community.

 

The ALGA also supported a greater emphasis on heath and safety concerns relating to electromagnetic radiation, welcoming Senator Brown's intention to mandate the precautionary principle and on placing a greater emphasis on addressing health and safety concerns.

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

Legislation to establish an independent expert scientific committee to provide advice on impacts of coal seam gas and large coal mining proposals on our water resources has passed the House of Representatives.

 

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said the legislation would allow for more rigorous scientific assessment of coal seam gas and large coal mining proposals, in particular how these proposals will affect underground water resources and our rivers.

 

"I know that there is significant community concern about the impact of coal seam gas and coal mining developments on our water resources," Mr Burke said.

 

"That's why the Gillard Government has acted to create The Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development.

 

"We want to make sure that decisions by governments in relation to coal and coal seam gas developments are informed by the most rigorous scientific evidence available, in particular where those developments are likely to have a significant impact on water.

 

"The Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development will play a vital role in ensuring that independent scientific advice is available to all governments when they consider applications for these types of developments.

 

"In this way, we have established the independent committee and we have funded it.

 

"It will provide local communities and other stakeholders with accessible and reliable information as well as giving the coal seam gas and mining industries greater guidance on the sustainable management of water resources in areas where they propose developments."

 

An interim committee was set up in January pending formal establishment of the Independent Expert Scientific Committee. The interim committee has already provided valuable independent advice to the Australian Government and will continue until it hands over to the new committee from 1 July, 2012.

 

The legislation, which amends the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to set up the committee, will now be introduced into the Senate.

 

Mr Burke said the committee would provide advice on research priorities that address critical gaps in scientific understanding, and oversee research commissioned by myself in line with those research priorities.

 

"When requested, the committee will provide further evidence to inform regulatory decisions made by governments," Mr Burke said.

 

"It will provide advice on options for increasing the quality and accessibility of knowledge available on the impacts to water resources from coal seam gas and large coal mining developments, for example, in the collection of data.

 

"The committee's work will be supported by a national partnership agreement with relevant state and territory governments that will require them to seek and take account of the committee's advice when considering approvals for coal seam gas and large coal mining developments.

 

"So far Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia have signed the agreement – negotiations with Victoria and the Northern Territory are continuing."

 

Mr Burke said the committee would also provide advice on the priority areas for bioregional assessments and oversee their delivery. The interim committee has started work on the first five bioregional assessments in regions facing significant levels of coal seam gas and coal mining developments, such as the Galilee, Gunnedah, Gloucester and Clarence-Moreton basins.

 

The Australian Government has provided $200 million to establish the new Independent Expert Scientific Committee and assist states that are parties to the national partnership agreement to introduce the necessary reforms to seek the committee's advice when deciding on coal seam gas and coal mining applications.

 

For more information visit www.environment.gov.au/coal-seam-gas-mining.

The Federal Government has announced ‘reward’ funding of more than $147 million for States and Territories for their progress in literacy and numeracy targets.

 

The funding will be distributed as follows:

 

  • Victoria: $48 million
  • Queensland: $41.2 million
  • Western Australia: $27.4 million
  • New South Wales: $12.9 million   
  • South Australia: $6.4 million
  • Northern Territory: $ 5.7 million
  • Tasmania: $3.5 million
  • ACT: $2.2 million

 

 A report by the COAG Reform Council (CRC), released by School Education Minister Peter Garrett, confirmed that the  Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership was helping to lift achievement standards in 1200 schools.

 

“The CRC report found that schools participating in the partnership generally improved their performance in literacy and numeracy. The results for indigenous students were particularly pleasing – for example, indigenous students in Year 7 in Western Australia recorded a 16.9 per cent improvement in reading, while Year 3 reading in the Northern Territory improved by 16.1 per cent,”  School Education Minister Peter Garrett said.

 

“The majority of states and territories have either met or are making good progress towards most of their targets, which is reflected in the reward funding the Gillard Government will allocate.”

 

The CRC report highlighted that states and territories either made good progress towards, or fully achieved, 83.8 per cent of their agreed NAPLAN targets and 76.1 per cent of local measure targets to improve literacy and numeracy.

 

Mr Garrett said $147.3 million of the $211.5 million available in reward funding has been allocated this year.

 

He said that of the unallocated funding, $40 million would be directed towards boosting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education in around 200 schools through the ‘Focus Schools’ program.

 

“This means that all 900 schools identified in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action plan will receive extra funding ….to boost literacy and numeracy results, engagement and attendance among indigenous students.”

 

Under the Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership, schools received funding to develop and trial a range of programs to help improve reading, writing and maths. Schools have been able to hire literacy and numeracy coaches; develop individual learning plans for students who need extra help; and purchase resources to assist students struggling with core skills.

 

“Around half a million students across the country are benefiting from funding provided through this partnership.  Since 2008, many participating schools have improved the proportion of students performing above national minimum standards,” Mr Garrett said.

 

“We’ve also made available an additional $243 million over the next 18 months to advance the work that has already taken place.”

 

For more information on the Smarter Schools National Partnerships, visit www.smarterschools.gov.au.

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

A report released by the mental health advocacy group Inspire Foundation has found that mental illnesses in young men is costing the Australian economy $3 billon each year.

 

The Counting the Cost: The Impact of Young Men’s Mental Health on the Australian Economy builds on previous research conducted in 2010 and aims to better understand the mental health help-seeking attitudes and patterns in young men.

 

The report found that mental illnesses in young men aged between 12 and 25 cost the Australian economy $387,000 every hour and results in over nine million working days lost per year. The Federal Government covers 31 per cent on these costs via direct health costs, disability welfare payments, unemployment support and direct costs associated with imprisonment, with the private sector accounting for the rest of the costs.

 

“For the first time we are starting to understand that there are productivity opportunities and risks associated with the mental health of young men. The failure to act presents a serious threat to Australia’s future productivity and to the individual prosperity of young men affected by poor mental health,” Inspire Foundation CEO Jonathan Nicholas.

 

“Until such impacts are made clear, the mental health of young men would continue to be seen as primarily a health issue for the attention of the government and community sectors. Helping young men with mental illness with education and training opportunities will assist higher wages and productivity for the economy.”

 

Federal Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, said more must be done to ensure the problem does not further escalate.

 

“Two thirds of mental illness emerges before the age of 21. If that illness is left untreated, it can impact on a person’s education, and later in life on their future career prospects and financial security,” Mr Butler said.

 

“The clear message from Counting the Cost is that we must intervene early and invest smarter to reduce the cost and impacts associated with young men’s mental illness. We stand to gain from both a happier, healthier population and increased productivity.” 

The report makes three main recommendations, including:

  • improving educational outcomes for young boys and adolescents;
  • improving employers’ understanding of mental health and reducing the stigma that some workers with mental health difficulties face in their jobs; and
  • improving understanding around Government investments in mental health

 

The full report can be found here

 

 

The Liverpool City Council is continuing to campaign against the Federal Government’s proposed $587 million Moorebank Intermodal Terminal project, calling for community representatives for its No Intermodal Working Party.

 

The working party has been established to undertake the following:

  • To develop a centralised and collaborative approach to coordinate Council's response to the Moorebank freight intermodal proposals.
  • To assess detailed information and studies relating to the proposed applications for the intermodal facilities.
  • To investigate and act upon opportunities to lobby Federal and State Ministers and Departments.
  • To initiate and develop partnerships with relevant stakeholders, environmental groups, and key organisations.
  • To make recommendations to Council regarding the utilisation of resources to best effect.

 

The Federal Government is pushing ahead with its planned terminal, planning to have the facility operational by 2017. When operational, the terminal would house one-and-a-half million shipping containers on site.

 

The council fears that the massive increase in freight movement will equate to a substantial increase of trucks on the surrounding roads.

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

The City of Melbourne has secured its 11th consecutive AAA/A-1+ rating from ratings agency Standard & Poor’s, the highest possible level.

 

In a statement, Standard and Poor’s said that the City of Melbourne displays excellent financial management and has a strong balance sheet, a predictable and supportive institutional framework, and strong budgetary flexibility and performance.

 

“The ratings affirmation reflects our opinion of the council’s strong management team and very strong financial position which provides it with flexibility to withstand adverse economic conditions.

 

“The Standard & Poor’s rating is an independent measure that affirms the City of Melbourne’s strong financial position and underlines Council’s economic responsibility,” Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said.

 

“It is this economic management that allowed council to propose a record $481 million draft 2012/13 budget that will deliver vital infrastructure and services for a growing population.”

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

The Queensland Government has announced plans to significantly cut the state’s green tape, saying that the surrounding bureaucracy has ‘suffocated small business and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.”

 

“After consulting with industry in the lead up to and after the March 2012 election, it is evident that businesses need certainty to invest and flexibility to allow for growth. The amendments I have introduced this week will deliver just that,” State Minister for Environment Andrew Powell said.

 

“The Newman government has a mandate to cut regulation and red tape by 20 per cent, and the changes I’m announcing today will go a long way towards that.”

 

The State Government has proposed a move away from the ‘one size fits all’ environmental approval system.

 

“These changes to legislation will offer three ways to apply for approval of environmentally relevant activities (ERAs) – including an automatic approval process - depending on the size and environmental risk posed by business activities,” Mr Powell said.

 

“The Bill will cut 90 pages from reduction in the Environmental Protection Act, replacing duplicated provisions with a single clear process.”

 

Despite the cuts, Mr Powell stressed his government remains committed to pursuing high standards of environmental protection.

 

“Let me be clear, this is in no way a weakening of environmental protection laws or environmental conditions. Rather, this Bill is aimed at streamlining administrative process without reducing or removing any environmental standards that businesses are required to meet,” Mr Powell said.

 

The Queensland Greens have hit out at the move, saying it sends the wrong message to the state’s business and could undermine environmental protection.

 

“The Greens support streamlining bureaucratic duplication and reducing time frames for compliance. However, if automatic application processes mean turning a blind eye to rigorous assessment of mining and gas approvals and the effect of other industries on the environment, the Minister's proposals are irresponsible,” Greens Spokesman Dr Jim McDonald said. 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The Victorian Government has appointed Greg Garde QC as a judge of the Supreme Court and President of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

 

Attorney-General Robert Clark said Mr Garde's extensive legal background and wide experience made him an ideal candidate both to serve on the Supreme Court and to lead a large and diverse tribunal.

 

"Mr Garde has 37 years' experience at the Bar, practising in a broad range of commercial law areas as well as planning, environmental and local government law, and being appointed as Queen's Counsel in 1989," Mr Clark said.

 

"Mr Garde has also lectured in constitutional and administrative law and served as Chairman of the Environmental, Planning and Local Government Law Section of the Commercial Bar Association.

 

"In addition, Mr Garde has more than four decades of distinguished military service. He initially enlisted in the Melbourne University Regiment in 1967 and has undertaken a wide range of responsible and demanding roles, as well as service to veterans and their families," Mr Clark said.

 

Mr Garde rose to the rank of Major General and from 2001 to 2004 served as Chief of Reserves and Head of Reserve Policy, the highest position for a reserve officer in the Australian Defence Force.

 

Mr Garde was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1995 for exceptional service to the Army Reserve, and was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2005 for distinguished service to the Australian Defence Force Reserves.

 

Mr Garde's appointment to the Supreme Court takes effect immediately. His appointment as President of VCAT will take effect from Friday 1 June.

 

Mr Clark also thanked Judge John Bowman for his contribution as the acting President of VCAT during the past three months.

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The Federal Government has announced it will provide over $170 million in funding to state and territory governments in reward payments for their progress in national teacher quality reforms. The funding forms part of the $550 million Smarter Schools National Partnership for Improving Teacher Quality.

 

“This funding recognises and rewards the effort of governments and schools to improve the quality of our nation’s teachers and school leaders,”  Federal School Education Minister Peter Garrett.

 

The reward funding comes after the COAG Reform Council  (CRC) released its findings into the progress being made by states and territories in meeting the National Partnership Goals.

 

“The COAG report makes it clear the reforms are being implemented, with 96 per cent of agreed milestones achieved and significant progress made towards achieving the remaining four per cent,” Mr Garrett said.

 

Under the partnership, governments are delivering nationally significant and long-lasting reforms targeting key points in the teacher ‘lifecycle’ to attract, train, place, develop and retain quality teachers and leaders in our schools and classrooms.

 

Reforms include:

  • introducing the first ever National Standards for both principals and teachers
  • improved reward structures for teachers and leaders who work in disadvantaged Indigenous, rural/remote and hard-to-staff schools
  • increased school-based decision-making about recruitment, staffing mix and budget
  • improving the quality of teacher training in partnership with universities
  • improved in-school support for teachers and leaders, particularly in disadvantaged Indigenous, rural/remote and hard-to-staff schools. 

 

“The CRC has acknowledged that much work has been done by states and territories to improve teacher quality through the facilitation phase of the partnership,” Mr Garrett said.

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The Federal Government has announced $47 million in reward funding under the National Partnership on Youth Attainment and Transitions.

 

Federal School Education Minister Peter Garrett announced the funding after a report released by the COAG Reform Council confirmed that most states and territories have made ‘excellent progress’ in reaching targets outlined by the partnership in increasing the number of young people attaining Year 12 or vocation education and training qualifications.

 

“The $46.7 million I announce today rewards those states and territories that have increased the number of young Australians participating in senior secondary education or VET.”

 

Mr Garrett said that due to the extra challenges the Northern Territory faces it did not achieve its target and therefore did not receive reward funding.

 

“Recognising the unique challenges in the Northern Territory we are investing $583 million over ten years as part of the Australian Government’s Stronger Futures package,” Mr Garrett said.

 

The Northern Territory’s unallocated reward funding will be made available for achievement of its 2012 attainment target.

 

For more information on the National Partnership and state and territory implementation plans and targets visit http://www.deewr.gov.au/youth/youthattainmentandtransitions/pages/nationalpartnership.aspx

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The South Australian Government has released five regional implementation plans that map out the state’s long-term priorities for health services in regional and rural South Australia. The five plans outline the first three years of action on the recommendations of individual Health Advisory Councils across the state.

 

State Minister for Health and Ageing John Hill said each of the groups’ work would contribute to a customised health plan for each particular region.

 

“For some time now, Country Health SA has been working with local clinicians, community members and other interested parties, planning the most appropriate health services for each region,” Mr Hill said.

 

“Each of these plans outlines the first steps in achieving the long-term vision for health services in country South Australia and I understand the early action proposed will now be integrated into Country Health SA’s 2012-2013 Business Plan.”

 

All five plans are available in full at http://bit.ly/Ll1oDj and there’s more information on the work of the Health Advisory Councils on the Country Health SA website www.countryhealthsa.sa.gov.au

 

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The University of Wollongong has launched its StartPad ideas incubator, a joint initiative with Wollongong City Council, NSW Trade & Investment, Enterprise Connect, and RDA Illawarra local business and entrepreneurs.

 

With initial funding of $50,000 from NSW Trade & Investment and Wollongong Council providing the space, in iHub, StartPad has also been supported by state and local governments.

 

Councillor Bradbery said: “The development and nurturing of companies in StartPad shows that Wollongong is developing as a city where companies and entrepreneurs can work innovative applications and tools to deliver new businesses and employment opportunities.

 

“Council is keen to see this area of the city cultivated to support entrepreneurs who have ideas and foresight,” Cr Bradbery said. “This is an opportune time to support a dynamic growth industry in our city.”

 

“We have a tidal wave of innovation going on and we need to get involved in this evolving digital age. We may become the ‘silicon beach’,” he said.

 

StartPad is a component of the iAccelerate program built around entrepreneurship and fast growth businesses. The program was developed by the University of Wollongong to position the Illawarra as the capital for ICT in NSW.

 

The driving force behind iAccelerate, Elizabeth Eastland, Innovation and Commercial Research Director at The University of Wollongong said: “iAccelerate and its associated programs represents a turning point in the industry profile of the Illawarra and will support the growing innovation ecosystem here.

 

“StartPad delivers real opportunities for companies identified through the Universities Entrepreneur Club, a pipeline of highly engaged and talented graduates into the Illawarra innovation ecosystem.”

 

Dr Tamantha Stutchbury, General Manager of StartPad said: “Already, in the short time we have been operating, we have seen our eight companies grow and achieve some big goals. Having 16 entrepreneurs co-located in an open-plan space makes for an amazingly vibrant and creative environment.”

 

A call for applications from early staged technology businesses to join StartPad will begin in mid-2012. For more information about StartPad go to www.startpad.com.au

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The South Australian Government has announced $8.3 million over four years for the implementation of an Advanced Manufacturing Strategy. The State Government announced the move after recommendations were made in the Manufacturing into the future report compiled by Thinker-in-Residence Professor Göran Roos.

 

“The development of an Advanced Manufacturing Strategy will help to deliver two of the Government’s priority areas; growing advanced manufacturing and releasing the benefits of the mining boom for all South Australians,” Treasurer Jack Snelling said.

 

“Our manufacturing strategy must be linked with opportunities to support the growing mineral and resources sector, and to driving innovation to achieve higher value manufacturing and take advantage of new business opportunities.”

 

State Minister for Manufacturing, Innovation and Trade Tom Koutsantonis said the strategy will be aimed at assisting local industry gear up and gain access to the benefits and opportunities emerging from the state’s mining and energy sectors.

 

“The strategy will support a Mining Industry Participation Office, an Advanced Manufacturing Council, industry intelligence and capability mapping, as well as improving links between research institutions and industry to drive innovation,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The Victorian Government has officially opened the state’s new $4.8 million biodiesel at Shell’s Newport Terminal.

 

"The Barnawartha refining facility represents a $60 million investment in regional Victoria, which can produce up to 60 million litres of biodiesel each year," State Minister for Manufacturing and Exports Richard Dalla-Riva said.

 

"Shell's investment in this facility will give people in Victoria greater access to biodiesel produced in regional Victoria, which will support jobs and investment and expand the local biofuels industry."

 

The Newport facility will allow for the distribution of up to 50 million litres of biodiesel into the state’s retail distribution channels.

 

"This will improve the diversity of fuel supplied in Victoria and underpin the future of Australian Renewable Fuels' (ARF's) Barnawartha plant and its 24 employees. It will also create many more indirect jobs that support the regional supply chain," State Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said.

 

"Replacing diesel with biodiesel reduces emissions. Biodiesel is non-toxic, biodegradable and suitable for sensitive environments. It has a higher flashpoint which makes it safer to store and transport."

 

Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government had provided $2 million funding towards the storage facility.

 

Shell Vice-President of Downstream Australia Andrew Smith said after a lengthy and robust quality assurance process he was confident of supplying a B20 product of consistently high quality to the Victorian market.

 

"This has been a collaborative effort between Shell, the Victorian Government and ARF in Barnawartha," Mr Smith said.

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

A research study conducted by the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) has found that nearly 3 million Australians lack access to fundamental financial services.

 

Funded by the NAB, the Measuring Financial Exclusion in Australia report measures the lack of access to appropriate and affordable financial services and products, such as bank accounts, insurance and a ‘moderate amount of credit,'

 

In an alarming finding, the report shows that 17.2 per cent of the population are considered severely or fully financially excluded from affordable financial services.

 

“Financial inclusion has an obvious and invaluable social impact, but there is also a very strong economic case, like greater workforce participation, reduced welfare and health costs, that validate and confirm its importance,” NAB Group CEO Cameron Clyne said.

 

In a country with a banking system and economy as strong as ours, it is simply unacceptable that nearly three million Australians are financially excluded from affordable financial services.”

 

The report identified the following factors contributing to financial exclusion:

  • Cost: The cost of motor vehicle and home insurance has increased at a rate higher than inflation, bringing the average premium up to $898 (compared to $855 last year). When combined with the annual cost of a credit card ($808 average) and basic bank account ($88), this represents 15% of the income for 12.7% of the country’s population.
  • Demographics:  Indigenous Australians, young adult Australians, and those living in low-income outer suburban and regional areas are cited as some of the most vulnerable to financial exclusion. 43.1% of Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islanders (ATSI) are considered financially excluded. 49.2% of 18-24 year olds are now considered financially excluded.
  • Language and documents:Communication difficulties and a lack of appropriate identification documentation were also cited as key barriers to credit. Most study respondents seeking credit did so to cover basic household necessities, such as food, rent and utility bills.

 

The full report can be found here

 

 

The Western Australian Government has called for comment on the development of a plan to ensure continued availability of high quality drinking water in Esperance.

 

Department of Water Manager Water Source Protection Planning Nigel Mantle said the Esperance Water Reserve drinking water source protection plandraft for public commentreleased today is part of a strategy that aims to protect drinking water sources throughout Western Australia.

 

“This is an important issue and we want to be sure everyone has an opportunity to be involved in the protection of this drinking water source,” Mr Mantle said.


When finalised, the revised plan will replace the 1999 Esperance Water Reserve water protection plan.

 

The update proposes amending the water reserve boundary to remove two sections from the water reserve, and adjusting the priority of three sections to reflect current zoning. No private landowners will have the priority area of their land increased.

 

“The draft plan outlines the location of the water reserve, existing and future land uses and potential water quality risks,” Mr Mantle said.

 

The draft plan:

  • identifies land uses, activities and risks to water quality within the Esperance Water Reserve
  • recommends management strategies to improve protection of water quality to ensure a reliable, safe and high quality water supply
  • proposes priority areas and wellhead protection zones to protect against incompatible land uses and activities in the catchment
  • proposes to proclaim amended boundaries for the Esperance Water Reserve under the Country Areas Water Supply Act 1947.

 

The plan can be found here

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The Tasmanian Government has granted a mining lease for the long awaited Livingstone project near Tullah, in the state’s north-west.

 

State Minister for Energy and Resources, Bryan Green, said the proposed mine would create 30 construction jobs and a similar number when it was operational 

 

"Venture Minerals is proceeding with development plans and hopes to receive final approvals to allow work to start on the mine before the end of the year," Mr Green said.

 

The project is a forerunner to Venture Minerals proposed large scale tin and tungsten mine planned at nearby Mount Lindsay, which is expected to generate 1,000 direct jobs during construction and 200 full time jobs when the mine is operational.

 

“These projects are a great vote of confidence in the Tasmanian mining industry which comes on the back of record investment in mineral exploration,” Mr Green said.

 

"This will provide a major economic boost to the North-West and West Coasts and the broader Tasmanian economy.

 

Mr Green said this was highlighted by a Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics report released last week that showed hundreds of millions of dollars of mining investment in the pipeline for Tasmania.

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State