The Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb has released his Health of Australian Science report, providing an overview of Australia's science system in schools and universities, through to research sectors and industry.

 

Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra, Professor Chubb said that said that overall, ours was a healthy and robust system, but that some identified challenges would lead to long term issues for Australia if no action is taken.

 

“We should be proud of what our scientists, our engineers and our mathematicians achieve. We are well represented in the international arena; our researchers are some of the most productive in the world,” Professor Chubb said.

 

“But the future prosperity of Australia is dependent on having a strong supply of graduates in the right areas coming through the education system. There are some areas of expertise that are crucial to our national interest which are lacking what they need to prosper,” he said.

 

Agricultural sciences, physics, mathematics and chemistry are highlighted in the report as being vulnerable and all are crucial forAustralia’s future. The total numbers in Engineering don’t meet demand and there are shifts between disciplines.

 

Professor Chubb noted areas of concern in his Foreword to the report.

 

“Much of our discipline profile is heavily dependent on undergraduate study choices—more students mean more funding, more staff and a greater mass in a discipline. Whether this outcome is in our medium- to long-term strategic interest as a nation is debatable. The options available to address the issue may well be the focus of future work. Indeed, I hope that this report will encourage more specific analysis and recommendations for Government in such areas.”

 

Opportunities outlined in the report include developing a more strategic funding system and improving the relationships between science and industry.

 

The Chief Scientist also remarked that we need to develop a culture that appreciates a science education, both the students and the teachers of it.

 

“The science degree prepares students for a lifetime of critical thinking, a drive to find evidence and an understanding of how our society fits into the broader picture of the world, all of which are invaluable for the development of a prosperousAustralia,” he said.

 

Professor Chubb said the release of the report provides the trigger for careful preparation and planning.

 

“The report should lead us to a position where any gaps in our capability will be by design and not the unintended consequence of a failure to notice. “

 

“The Health of Australian Science Report is not a story about rebuilding after a train wreck.  We do not have a train wreck.  But the Report is a signal: it encourages us to be alert; to be prudent while willing to take bold action when we need to.”

 

The Health of Australian Science Report is here.

 

 

New South Wales’ Independent Local Government Review Panel has held its inaugural meeting, holding a meeting with the NSW Minister for Local Government Don Page.

 

Built on the Destination 2036 partnership between State and local governments, the review is tasked with identifying how councils can best govern and be structured to support the future prosperity of the state.

 

The Panel is chaired by Professor Graham Sansom, who currently heads up the Australian Centre for Excellence in Local Government, and also consists of Ms Jude Munro AO, former CEO of Brisbane City Council, and Mr Glenn Inglis, former General Manager of Tamworth Regional Council.

 

The Panel will begin its wide ranging consultation with a background paper to be published by early July. This will be followed by a series of regional meetings with councils, the community and other key stakeholders to understand the issues facing local and regional areas and to shape principles for reform.

 

The Panel is due to report back to the State Government in July 2013.

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

Australia’s consulting engineering, architecture and associated industries are set to experience a chaotic next three years with continual restructures required in order to remain globally competitive, according to Consult Australia’s 2012 Economic Forecast report.


The Report, written by former BHP Chief Economist, Geoffrey Bills is considered one of the industry’s most valuable economic predictors and is used by many of Australia’s largest firms, including Parsons Brinkerhoff, SMEC, Hyder, GHD and AECOM.


In the short-term, the Report forecasts a fairly rosy future for the industry.


The backlog of work in engineering construction is set to sustain high levels of activity until 2016 with firms operating in this space expected to experience 22 per cent growth over the next 12 months.


Consult Australia CEO, Megan Motto said this signifies a welcome commitment to infrastructure development in the short-term but warned it wasn’t all good news.


“Curtailed public spending due to significant budget constraints has concerning long-term implications, particularly given the trend towards contracting out,” said Ms Motto.


The Report shows that private sector work is unlikely to pick up quickly enough to compensate for this fall, an issue compounded by the fact that approvals in the 2011 calendar year fell by six per cent from 2010.


Mining and infrastructure work will continue to dominate the industry, coinciding with a sharp drop in non-residential activity as stimulus spending comes to an end.


The strong dollar has also made exporting Australia’s professional services from the industry more difficult.


“Australian consultants operating in this space are extremely well regarded internationally,” said Ms Motto.


“Fortunately this does help cushion the effects many firms are feeling from the strong Australian dollar, however it has made securing overseas work a lot more challenging for many firms.”


Difficulties exporting services have been compounded by increasing competition from imports, which have jumped from a six-year average of $1.27 billion a year to $2.3 billion last year.


“The increase in imported services is due to the growing importance of major oil and gas developments and the ongoing skills shortage in Australia,” said Ms Motto.


Despite the numerous challenges facing the industry, the future looks bright with market trends towards contracting out, the diversifying nature of large consulting firms, new technologies and changed major national markets forecast to strengthen the industry.


According to the Report, Australian firms can expect to experience up to 18 per cent growth in revenue to $37.5 billion in the next two years alone.


The report is available at www.consultaustralia.com.au

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten has expressed his concern over Qantas’ decision to cut over 500 jobs through the company’s restructuring of its heavy maintenance operations.

 

“I’m concerned about the impact this decision by Qantas may have on the Australian aviation industry’s long term skills capacity,” Mr Shorten said.

 

“Consultations have occurred with various stakeholders during the review, including with unions and state governments. I encourage Qantas to continue to work closely with employees and unions to ensure those affected by this decision are treated with respect.

 

Mr Shorten stressed that the redundant workers will have access to a range of Government services through the Job Services Australia network.

 

“These workers are highly trained, highly skilled, and the government will do everything possible to assist affected workers find new employment,” Mr Shorten said.

 

“To this end, I have asked my Department to make sure that any affected Qantas workers are provided with information about the support available to them.”

 

 

 

Norsk Hydro has announced it is considering ceasing its operations at its Kurri Kurri aluminium plant following the curtailing of three pot lines in January this year, citing the effects of the Federal Government's carbon tax. 

 

"Our Kurri Kurri workforce has worked intensively to improve the plant's cost position and no stone has been left unturned. Despite extensive efforts to improve profitability, we are faced with a very challenging situation at Kurri Kurri," says Hilde Merete Aasheim, executive vice president of Hydro's Primary Metal business area.

 

Hydro has also blamed ongoing weak macro-economic conditions, with low metal prices and an uncertain market outlook compounding the effects of the strong Australian dollar.

 

"The current cash losses are significant, with no sign of improvement anytime soon. We have therefore started to consult about full curtailment and will maintain a close dialogue with employees, unions and local stakeholders," Mr Aasheim said.

 

The plant, located near Newcastle in New South Wales, currently employs 344 people.

 

The South Australian Government has passed its TAFE SA Statutory Authority Bill through the state’s House of Assembly, a major step in the state’s Skills for All reform.

 

State Employment, Higher Education and Skills Minister, Tom Kenyon, said the legislation will modernize governance arrangements by allowing TAFE SA to operate in a more commercial and competitive capacity.

 

“TAFE SA will become even more responsive to market needs by providing greater commercial autonomy and accountability through a Board of Directors, as well as flexibility and independence from government processes,” Mr Kenyon said.

 

The legislation establishes a separation between TAFE SA and the State Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology, allowing it to make independent decisions on funding and investment.

 

TAFE SA is currently the state’s largest public training provider, with around 80,000 students in the system each year.

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The Western Australian Government has called on the people of Perth to submit comments on draft proposals for the suite of changes being made to the state’s local government structure.

 

The Metropolitan Local Government Review panel’s Draft Findings paper, released last month, discussed proposed changes to ensure future effective local government structures and governance models for the next 50 years.

 

State Local Government Minister John Castrilli encouraged people to submit online forms before the closing date of Friday, May25.

 

The draft findings proposed consideration of sweeping changes to local government structures and governance.  The panel is considering models for fewer local governments in the metropolitan area, including changes to local government roles and responsibilities.

 

“There is a need for considerable change in local government in Perth, and as a city we are going to need significantly enhanced strategic thinking and leadership to manage extraordinary growth into the future,” Mr Castrilli said.

 

More information can be found here

 

 

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

The Victorian Government has outlined new planning controls for the state’s major ports in a bid to ensure future productivity in the sector.

 

The Ports and Environs Advisory Committee released the new set of planning controls for the ports of Melbourne, Hastings, Geelong and Portland.

 

State Planning Minister Matthew Guy welcomed the report, saying that a robust ports planning framework is paramount to the future economic growth of the state.

 

Mr Guy accepted the key recommendation from the Committee for a formation of a Port Zone, which will specifically recognise the interests of the port and the port’s significance to Victoria’s economy.

 

The State Government also accepted the recommendation that a new Ministerial Direction be introduced to prevent the encroachment of sensitive land uses, such as dwellings and hospitals, near ports.

 

The Department of Planning and Community Development will work with Port of Melbourne Corporation to develop further planning measures to account for the recently announced expansion of Webb Dock, which was not considered as part of the Advisory Committee's scope.

 

The Ports and Environs Advisory Committee Report and Ministerial Direction 14 will be made available at:www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/panelsandcommittees 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Mark Dreyfus, has released a statement on how the carbon price will apply to pollution from local landfill sites and the potential impact this might have on rates for local communities.

 

Mr Dreyfus said that in a number of cases, the potential effect on rates has been over-estimated, misrepresented or misreported.

 

He said that in determining any impact, some facts need to be taken into account:

  • Most councils will have no carbon price liability at all from landfills. Only large sites generating more than 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas pollution a year are covered. The majority of landfills are too small to be covered.
  • The carbon price does not apply to pollution from waste deposited in a landfill before 1 July 2012.
  • The Government has made rules deeming landfill emissions in 2012/13 to be zero, so council with large landfills will have no obligation in 2012/13.
  • Councils can capture methane gas to earn 'carbon credits' under the Government's Carbon Farming Initiative. Councils can use credits to meet their carbon price liability or generate income by selling them to high-emitting polluters. This income can be re-invested in the local community.
  • Best practice rates of gas capture can reduce methane emissions by more than 75% and reduce any carbon price liability to less than $8 per tonne of waste deposited in 2012.
  • Capturing enough methane to reduce a council's liability below the 25,000 tonne threshold will mean that the council will not incur the carbon price. Providing an incentive to cut pollution is what the carbon price is designed to do.
  • Councils can also use captured methane to generate electricity for the local community and generate another source of income under the Renewable Energy Target. Newcastle City Council currently uses its landfill gas to create enough power to supply 3,000 homes.
  • Any potential increase in council rates are factored into the Government's household assistance package.
  • Household assistance is, on average, $10.10 per household per week. It is being delivered through tax cuts, increased family payments, pensions and other Government benefits. Some payments have already begun.
  • By contrast, any council rate rises associated with a carbon price on landfill pollution are estimated to be as low as 13 cents per household, per week.
  • Regarding waste after natural disasters: the Australian Government provides comprehensive disaster recovery assistance and financial support to communities in recovery and clean-up activities. For example, Queensland communities received $6 billion in assistance following Cyclone Yasi. The Government provides assistance on the basis of overall costs which will include various factors, such as the carbon price, where these are relevant.

 

The Government is working with councils to provide guidance and information on the implementation of these policies to cut pollution and create clean energy.

 

As part of this, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Mark Dreyfus has written twice to every council in Australia and provided a landfill factsheet.

 

Earlier this month, a number of councils attended a two day landfill conference in Canberra run by the Australian Local Government Association and Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. ALGA has also provided information in its weekly newsletter to councils.

 

The Clean Energy Regulator and the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency have and will continue to hold information sessions for local councils. Councils can also visit the CER website (www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au) to work out if they are covered by the carbon price.

 

In addition, the Government has made available $200 million dollars in grants to local councils to improve energy efficiency in council buildings and street lighting to save money on energy costs. The successful recipients will be announced shortly.

 

More information available at www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au and the Regulator's website www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au

 

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

The Australian and Malaysian Governments have signed a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) that will see significant reductions in tariffs in bilateral trade.

 

Signed by Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson, and his Malaysian counterpart, Mustapa Mohamed, the deal will solidify Australia as Malaysia’s closest ASEAN trade partner.  The agreement will see Australian goods enjoy the same tariff-free entry into Malaysia as currently enjoyed by Singapore.

 

The FTA will guarantee tariff-free entry for 97.6 per cent of current goods exported to Malaysia once it comes into force, and will rise to 99 per cent by 2017.

 

Malaysian exporters will enjoy duty-free entry into the Australian market.

 

Also signed was an agreement to provide a three-year package of up to 21 short and long-term scholarships, fellowships, awards and exchanges in a bid to support Malaysia’s current suite of economic reforms.

 

Malaysia is Australia's 10th largest trading partner, with two-way trade worth almost $16 billion in the 2010-11 financial year.

 

Australian exporters of automotive parts, iron, steel and dairy products will benefit from improved market access under the agreement.

 

The FTA will also help diversify the trading relationship by opening Malaysia's services sector to Australian companies.

 

Malaysia has committed to allowing majority Australian ownership of service providers in a range of industries, including telecommunications, insurance, education, tourism, research and development, accountancy and mining-related services.

 

 

The South Australian Government and the SA Local Government Association have signed a State/Local Government Relations Agreement.

 

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill and LGA President Mayor Kym McHugh signed the agreement that will underpin the future relationship between the two tiers of government.

 

“The State Government has identified seven strategic priorities for South Australia and we will need the co-operation of the State’s 68 councils to deliver the best outcomes for the community,” Mr Weatherill said.

 

Mayor McHugh welcomed the move towards a more cooperative based system, saying the document will ensure strong communication between State and Local level governments.

 

“In areas of planning and development reforms, infrastructure, regional development and investment and in recycling and water security, it is vital that we form partnerships with the State Government,” Mayor McHugh said.

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

The NSW Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dubai International Finance Centre Authority Dubai to work closer together to grow their banking and financial services sectors.

 

In Dubai, the Premier Barry O’Farrell said the MoU recognises that Sydney and Dubai have common interests, expertise and objectives and can work together to achieve their objectives.

 

He said the agreement will facilitate greater contact between Sydney and Dubai and promote potential investment opportunities in NSW and in the Gulf Cooperation Council region.

 

“Sydney and Dubai will also collaborate on education and research projects and organise conferences and seminars on financial issues.

 

“The Centre has also expressed interest in attracting experts from Australian universities, institutes, companies and governments, particularly in innovation in finance, to develop the people who work in financial services in the region.”

 

Mr O’Farrell took part in an Islamic finance roundtable organised by the Dubai Government.

 

“Attracting conventional and Islamic finance investment into infrastructure and other sectors in NSW is an important part of my Government’s efforts to enhance Sydney’s position as a leading international financial services centre.

 

“The roundtable was an opportunity to discuss the potential of Islamic finance in NSW as the State embarks on funding infrastructure and other projects and to gain an understanding of what NSW needs to do to attract Islamic finance which is a growing source of funding.”

 

"I was honoured to have the man many consider to be the father of Islamic finance, Dr Hussain Hassan make a presentation. He made it very clear Middle Eastern countries are ready to explore the potential to invest in NSW.

 

"I've received some practical ideas on how NSW and Australia can better accommodate this type of investment and I intend to feed those into the Federal Government consideration of the Islamic finance which is currently underway."

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The Queensland Coordinator-General has declared the $2.2 billion coal terminal at Yarwun in the Port of Gladstone a ‘significant project’, meaning the project will now undergo an environmental assessment.

 

State Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Jeff Seeney, has called for the public to submit comments on the project’s draft terms of reference that will form part of its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

 

Mr Seeney said, that if approved, the project will provide significant benefits for the region and the state as a whole.

 

“The proposed terminal, to be delivered by Tenement to Terminal Limited (3TL), could export up to 50 million tonnes of coal per year, adding to Gladstone’s planned coal terminal capacity, such as Wiggins Island, Stage 1 of which is now fully committed,” Mr Seeney said.

 

“If this project goes ahead, it will help facilitate the efficient transport and export of coal, hauling in more dollars for Queensland’s economy.” 

 

The Tenement to Terminal (3TL) project will include:

  • a 14-kilometre dual gauge rail line 
  • a balloon loop and coal unloading facilities 
  • a coal stockyard 
  • two new berths 
  • an out-loading wharf, jetty facilities and associated infrastructure. 

 

The draft terms of reference can be viewed on-line at www.projects.industry.qld.gov.au, or at the following locations from Monday 28 May to close of business on Monday 25 June 2012: 

  • Gladstone Regional Council, 101 Goondoon Street, Gladstone 
  • Gladstone Regional Library, 39 Goondoon Street, Gladstone 
  • Mount Larcom Library, Raglan Street, Mount Larcom 
  • National Library, Parkes Place, Canberra 
  • State Library of Queensland, Cultural Centre, Stanley Place, South Bank, Brisbane. 

 

All public submissions should be made in writing and received by the Coordinator-General by 5pm on Monday 25 June 2012. 

Post: The Coordinator-General 
c/- EIS project manager – Yarwun Coal Terminal project 
Significant Projects Coordination 
Office of the Coordinator-General 
PO Box 15517 
City East QLD 4002 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The Federal Government has announced that seven Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees have received funding to assist in the development of strategies for the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) in their communities.

 

$200,000 has been awarded to the committees for Stage One and Stage Two of the rollout to conduct development and implementation strategy studies.

 

"One of the greatest enablers of regional economic diversification, growth and service delivery is the NBN," Regional Development Australia Minister Simon Crean said.

 

"It will transform the way regional businesses operate, how health services are delivered and how regional students access educational and career opportunities.

 

"That is why when I visit the regions, people aren't asking why we're investing in the NBN - they're asking when and how they can access it."

 

The seven RDA committees to be awarded funding are:

  • RDA Mid West Gascoyne (WA) - $30,000 to develop a regional digital plan and connected implementation strategies and projects.
  • RDA Sydney (NSW) - $17,500 to conduct a Community e-Care Workshop.
  • RDA Northern Inland (NSW) - $33,000 to conduct regional information sessions, and develop stakeholder implementation strategies and an integrated digital regional plan.
  • RDA Northern Melbourne (VIC) - $33,500 to conduct a project on the present use of ICT by small-to-medium sized businesses.
  • RDA Darling Downs and South West (QLD) - $31,000 to establish a local NBN demonstration booth and develop a local government NBN awareness and preparedness project.
  • RDA Ipswich and West Moreton (QLD) - $30,000 to support a regional digital economy forum and the development of a 10 year digital economy strategy.
  • RDA Brisbane City (QLD) - $25,000 to conduct a survey of not-for-profit organisations, organise a digital expo and publish findings.

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

The Northern Territory Government has announced construction has started on the $34 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.

 

Expected to create over 4,000 jobs, the project is the combined effort of Japanese company INPEX and French energy giant Total.

 

 “The first contract awarded by JKC went to locally based companies Macmahon and John Holland - the $340 million site development civil works contract is the biggest contract awarded in the Territory’s history to date,” Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul Henderson said.

 

“From this massive contract alone, the greatest proportion of work by Macmahon and John Holland will be undertaken through their local supply chain - this means opportunities for smaller local business and more jobs for Territorians.”

 

“The project will help establish Darwin as the gas capital of northern Australia - we offer investors unique opportunities including our Marine Supply Base, proximity to Asia, deep sea port, our skilled and flexible workforce and capital city facilities.”

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The Victorian Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business Louise Asher has called for applications for the 2012 Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation, and the 2012 Victoria Fellowships.

 

Ms Asher said the Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation will recognise two outstanding scientists this year for their lifelong commitment and achievements. Two individual awards of $50,000 each will be presented – one for work in life sciences and one for work in physical sciences.

 

As part of the Victoria Fellowships, the Government will provide $18,000 to up to twelve outstanding early-career researchers and innovators to enhance their careers with international study missions.

 

Applications close on Friday 29 June 2012. Application forms are available at www.business.vic.gov.au/vicprize or www.business.vic.gov.au/vicfellows 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

 Eighteen local government councils have been awarded funding under the Federal Government’s $20 million Liveable Cities program, which aims to help make Australia's 18 major cities more productive, sustainable and liveable.

 

The largest grants of $3,750,000 each were awarded to the City of Parramatta and the City of Sydney. 

 

The City of  Parramatta will build a separate cycling and walking link between the University of Western Sydney, housing developments in the area and key employment precincts of the Parramatta city centre. 

 

Funds allocated to the City of Sydney will contribute to the Green Square Town Centre Trigeneration, Australia's first large scale low carbon trigeneration energy network that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 40,000 tonnes a year and help the City of Sydney reach its target of a 70 percent reduction in emissions by 2030.

 

Other councils which were awarded funding include the Melton Shire Council, the Wyndham City Council, Logan City Council, City of Cockburn, City of Melville, Campbelltown City Council, City of Port Adelaide, Maitland City Council, Sunshine Coast Regional Council, Hobart City Council, Kingborough Council, Townsville City Council, Darwin City Council, Launceston City Council, Albury City Council and Whittlesea City Council.

 

Seven further awards were made to state government agencies.

 

The funding will be used for a range of urban planning projects, infrastructure projects, civic facilities and public transport  improvements.

 

More information about the program is here.

http://www.nationbuildingprogram.gov.au/funding/liveablecities/index.aspx

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

The Western Australian Government has outlined a $26.4 billion capital works program to be rolled out over the next four years, with $7.6 billion expected to be spent in the 2012-13 year.

 

Treasurer Christian Porter said the funding will enable future growth while ensuring that the state can accommodate for the continuing population increase.

 

“About 1,000 people are moving to WA every week and this creates enormous demands on infrastructure,” Mr Porter said.

 

“The State Government is responding to this unprecedented growth by planning for the future with a number of capital works projects, including the Perth Stadium, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Perth City Link and the Perth Waterfront.”

 

Mr Porter said construction had commenced on civil engineering works for the Perth Waterfront project and $167 million of the total $270 million project would be spent in 2012-13 to continue development of the inlet and public domain.

 

The Budget provides $183 million in 2012-13 on the $744 million Perth City Link project, with 2012-13 funding focusing on sinking the Perth to Fremantle railway line west of Perth station.

 

Also included in the capital works program is an additional $281 million for the $2 billion Fiona Stanley Hospital, as well as a $227 million on the $1.2 billion Children’s Hospital at the Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre. 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The Western Australian Government has posted a surplus of $196 million for the state’s 2012-13 Budget, with surpluses projected to continue for the period going to 2015-16.

 

State Treasurer Christian Porter said the state’s projected growth of 4.75 per cent GDP underpinned the state’s ongoing strong growth.

 

“Business investment is strong, particularly in the resources sector, and exports will drive growth in 2012-13 and the next three years of this budget period,” Mr Porter said.

 

But the Treasurer said despite the strong economic outlook, the State faced a challenging revenue and fiscal outlook.

 

“This reflects growth being concentrated in areas not covered directly by the State’s revenue base, most noticeably the massive LNG projects such as Gorgon and Wheatstone which fall under the Commonwealth’s Petroleum Resource Rent Tax,” he said.

 

The Treasurer said the 2012-13 State Budget contained major re-prioritisation of service delivery, with a range of new State Government initiatives being introduced and funded through savings measures.

 

Mr Porter said the savings initiatives totalled $4.9billion over four years and included:

  • an efficiency dividend to be applied to public sector agencies from 2012-13, starting at two per cent for all departments (one per cent for Education), with additional one per cent dividends to be achieved in each of the three financial years to 2015-16
  • a further efficiency dividend for Government Trading Enterprises to be measured as a percentage of the discretionary spending, starting at 2.5 per cent in 2012-13 with an additional 1.5 per cent in 2013-14, 1.5 per cent in 2014-15 and 0.5 per cent in 2015-16
  • a two-year cap on the growth in the number of public sector workers to further control public sector salaries expenses. This measure will require all departments to operate for the next two financial years inside their FTE cap as it was set in 2011-12
  • a formal policy of limiting general government sector FTE growth to 1.5 per cent per year in 2014-15 and 2015-16
  • deferral of spending on a range of capital works projects across a number of agencies.

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The Victorian Government has announced it will introduce legislation to extend the Administration of the Brimbank City Council through until March 2015.

 

Brimbank Council was sacked in 2009  following a report by the Ombudsman report that found that councillors had behaved improperly in relation to funds, and the Council was “generally dysfunctional and marked by in-fighting and interpersonal conflicts”.

 

The decision to extend the period of Administration was recommended by two independent reports which led the Minister for Local Government Jeanette Powell to the conclusion that the best course of action was to maintain Administration while work was finalised.

 

"Both reports identified that the premature return to an elected council carries the very real risk of a return to the discredited and damaging practices of the past and the derailing of numerous important projects commenced under Administration,” she said.

 

Ms Powell said that, subject to the passage of the legislation, a rotation and refocusing would occur amongst the team of administrators at Brimbank.

 

"Jo Anderson and Meredith Sussex will step down at the end of October this year, roughly in line with the general Local Council elections. Peter Lewinsky will relinquish his role as Chief Administrator but remain a member of the Administration team.”

 

Ms Powell said that she wanted to put on the record her personal thanks to the current Administrators for the outstanding job they have done at the council and acknowledge the role of the former Minister Richard Wynne in the decision to appoint them.

 

"The community of Brimbank have been fortunate to have the skills and dedication of Jo and Meredith working for them during this difficult period," Mrs Powell said.

 

"The final phase of administration will feature a comprehensive community engagement strategy to prepare for the return of an elected council. I have asked the current Chair Peter Lewinsky to stay on as an administrator, thereby giving the team important continuity.

 

"John Watson, the current Executive Director of Local Government Victoria, will retire in October and will then assume the role of Chief Administrator at Brimbank.

 

"John Watson is highly respected for his skills and abilities throughout the sector and by both sides of politics. Upon learning of his intention to retire from LGV, I asked him to take on the role of Chair of the Brimbank Administrators.”

 

The third administrator's position will go to an individual with strong qualifications in community engagement.

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

Leighton subsidiary Metronode has been selected by the New South Wales Government to consolidate its 130 data centres. The company will be contracted to construct two new centres to consolidate the state’s public sector data hosting requirements.

 

“The NSW Government estimates construction of the centres will create 250 jobs across both sites, while the operational phase will support network and ICT jobs in NSW on an ongoing basis,” State Minister for Finance and Services Greg Pearce said.

 

The contract forms part of the NSW Government’s ICE Strategy 2012 released earlier this month.

 

“The two centres will provide up to 9MW each of IT load allowing the NSW Government to consolidate Government data centres and reduce unnecessary technologies used in its daily operations, with the decommissioning of existing data capacity to begin once the new facilities are complete,” Mr Pearce said.

 

 

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State