The Federal Government has announced the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will start from July 2013 in up to four locations across the country.

 

Coverage will extend to 10,000 people with significant permanent disabilities by 2013, with that figure set to rise to 20,000 by July 2014.

 

“The timeframe announced today means the first stage of an NDIS will be delivered a full year ahead of the timetable set out by the Productivity Commission,” Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in a statement.

The Federal Government has announced it will fund its share of the cost of the initial stage of the NDIS in the coming May Budget.

 

The initial launch locations will be determined in consultation with the states and territories - who have all agreed their shared responsibility for the fundamental reform of disability care and support.

 

 

The South Australian Government has announced an agreement as been reached with the conservation, recreational and commercial fishing sectors on the future zoning approach for South Australia’s marine parks.

 

Premier Jay Weatherill and State Ministers Paul Caica and Gail Gago released the details of the agreement and plans for the next stage of public consultation to create the parks.

 

Leaders from the conservation, recreational and commercial fishing sectors met Minister Caica and Minister Gago earlier this month and have agreed on priority areas for conservation after the State Government announced in November it was postponing draft plans to allow further discussions with these groups.

 

“Through detailed discussions at a two-day forum this month, the sector leaders considered the areas of high ecological significance, research, education and ecotourism value – as well as the social and economic implications and management considerations such as compliance and monitoring,” Mr Weatherill said.

 

The State Government will now prepare a draft management plan and impact stations to be released for public consultation. 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The New South Wales Government has announced a $100 million blitz of the state’s public transport, with an aim to improve services and undertake much-needed upgrades.

 

The blitz forms part of a wider push by the State Government to deliver integrated transport infrastructure as part of the new Transport Access Program.

 

The program will see Transport ofr NSW take over the planning and organisation of improvements that were previously delivered under six separate programs by different agencies.

 

The works that have already been outlined are:

 

  • Stations that are accessible to the disabled, ageing and parents with prams
  • Modern buildings and facilities for all modes that meet the needs of a growing population
  • Modern interchanges that support an integrated network and allow seamless transfers between all modes for all customers
  • Safety improvements including extra lighting, help points, fences and security measures for car parks and interchanges, including stations, bus stops and wharves 
  • Signage improvements so customers can more easily use public transport and transfer between modes at interchanges
  • Other improvements and maintenance such as painting, new fencing and roof replacements.

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

As part of a new National Partnership Agreement (NP) on Mental Health, the Labor Government will provide the NSW Government with $57.6 million over 5 years for three new projects that will improve the care and support provided to people living with severe mental illness.

Under the NP, NSW is receiving the largest share of funding of all states and territories.

The following projects will receive Commonwealth funding:

  • $35.2 million for the expansion of the existing NSW Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative (HASI) to enable more people to live in the community in stable and secure accommodation, with links to clinical mental health and rehabilitation services for people who require 16 or 24 hour support.
  • $12.3 million for the provision of intensive, family focussed support to mothers with mental illness and their children to keep them together, through the provision of high, medium and low packages of care and short term housing.
  • $10.2 million for in-reach support services to boarding house residents who have been assessed as having mental health issues, through the provision of 200 continuous and ongoing new low support packages.

Federal Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler said the NP was a key feature of the Government’s $2.2 billion mental health package.

“Our agreement with NSW will ensure we respond better to the needs of people with severe and debilitating mental illness so they stay well and lead functional lives,” Mr Butler said.

“Together, we’re investing in projects that break new ground and expanding existing services that we know work well. For example, one of the projects we’re funding will ensure that more mothers living with mental illness and their children get intensive, family focussed support and access to stable accommodation.

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The Victorian Government has confirmed $4.5 million in funding for a biomass plant that will convert organic waste into electricity.

 

State Energy and Resources Minister Michael O’Brien said the Government had made the initial offer last year, but an agreement had taken months to finalise for stage payments to Pacific Pyrolysis and its partners for the project.

 

"This innovative renewable energy technology will access under-utilised waste organics resources," Mr O'Brien said.

 

The pilot plant will use non-crop organic material such as green waste and waste wood from demolished buildings to power a renewable electricity pilot plant with a capacity of about one megawatt.

 

The project will offer local employment opportunities, as well as sub-contracting. A site is yet to be selected, but will be in outer metropolitan Melbourne.

 

The plant will produce a by-product called biochar, which can provide a long-lasting boost to soil fertility and provide a carbon sequestration tool for primary industry.

 

"The Pacific Pyrolysis biomass pilot plant has the potential to deliver a win-win by producing clean energy as well as providing benefits for Victoria's primary industry sector."

 

The plant will provide an advanced processing alternative for wood waste and green waste which would otherwise end up in landfill where it would produce greenhouse gases.

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

Work on Perth’s $440 million redevelopment has commenced after Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett attended a groundbreaking ceremony.

 

The Premier said the works will see 10ha of prime riverfront land into a vibrant, contemporary development, set around a 2.7ha inlet and connected by promenades and boardwalks.

 

“This is a very exciting time for Western Australia - a period of significant transformation, renewal and development that will change the face of Perth and ensure our city can accommodate a rapidly growing population,” Mr Barnett said.

 

“Perth Waterfront will deliver a new destination that continues the public’s use and enjoyment of this area of the city and address the critical need for more residential, commercial and hotel accommodation in the CBD.”

 

Planning Minister John Day said the State Government had awarded a $50million forward works contract to Georgiou Group - one of two major construction packages for Perth Waterfront.

 

“Over the next 12-18 months the removal and relocation of trees, demolition and deconstruction of existing structures, road works and service infrastructure upgrades will be completed to prepare the site for construction of the inlet,” he said.

 

Mr Day said the forward works program for Perth Waterfront also included: 

  • construction of a new two-way road from under the Narrows Bridge to William Street providing direct access into the CBD from Mounts Bay Road
  • demolition of the existing buildings and structures on the Esplanade Reserve
  • deconstruction and storage of the Florence Hummerston Kiosk, ready to be rebuilt at a suitable new location
  • archaeological investigations
  • jetty reconstruction works at Barrack Square
  • full reconstruction of William Street (south of The Esplanade) as a two-way street.

 

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The Western Australian Government has announced it has awarded the $22 million contract for road and infrastructure works at Perth’s Riverside project to Broad Construction.

 

Planning Minister John Day said the next stage of works would stabilise ground conditions and ensure the site was ready for future public spaces and development.

 

“The Riverside project will create new connections and cater for the growing number of people who will live, work and socialise in the area,” Mr Day said.

 

“When complete, Riverside will deliver more than 4,000 new dwellings for 7,000 new residents, and 90,000sqm of retail and commercial space for 6,000 new workers in the area. 

 

Works include site stabilisation and road works that will realign the existing slip lane from Hay Street to the Causeway; the construction of a new two-way road between Trinity College and the WACA; and re-opening Hale Street to private vehicles and two-way traffic.

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The Federal Government has announced the country is drought free for the first time in over a decade after the two final Exceptional Circumstances (EC) declarations expire.

 

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Joe Ludwig said the expiry of EC declarations in Bundarra and Eurobodalla marks a major milestone for agriculture in Australia.

 

“Now is the time to progress drought reform. We need to take this opportunity to transition from reacting to crises, to a pro-active policy approach that prepares our farmers for the future,” Senator Ludwig said.

 

The Federal Government is working with State and Territory Governments to progress new drought policy, with reform a key topic for discussion at the first Standing Council on Primary Industries meeting held in Adelaide.

 

“As previously agreed with State and Territory Ministers, and recommended by the review of pilot drought reform measures in Western Australia, our reform will see a national framework introduced which focuses on risk management and preparedness, rather than on crisis management,” Senator Ludwig said.

 

“A major step toward that framework will be phasing out the EC interest rate subsidy, which given the end of the final two EC declarations, will conclude on 30 June this year.”

 

 

The development of South Australia’s next major uranium mining development has inched closer after the signing of a 10-year least for the Four Mile site.

 

State Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy Tom Koutsantonis said the lease has been accepted by proponents of the project near the Beverley uranium mine in the state’s far north.

 

“PACE funding played a crucial role in discovering the resource at Four Mile, one of the most significant uranium deposits anywhere in the world in the past 25 years,” Mr Koutsantonis says.

 

“The lease accepted by Quasar, an affiliate of Heathgate Resources, the owner and operator of the Beverley Mine, and ASX-listed Alliance Resources allows these joint venturers to develop a mining and rehabilitation program for the Four Mile project.”

 

The minister said he expects the mine to cater heavily for demand from both China and India.

 

“China’s domestic production of uranium can only meet a small part of the demand created by its 13 operating nuclear reactors and the 27 more under construction,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

 

“India on the other hand is expected to increase its use of nuclear power from its current three percent of electricity generation to 40 percent by 2050."

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The Federal Government has announced it will provide the NSW Government with $57.6 million over five years for three new projects to improve the care and support provided to those living with severe mental illnesses.

 

Under the new National Partnership Agreement (NP), NSW will receive the largest funding boost of all states and territories.

 

Outlined in the funding package, the spending will support the following:

 

  • $35.2 million for the expansion of the existing NSW Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative (HASI) to enable more people to live in the community in stable and secure accommodation, with links to clinical mental health and rehabilitation services for people who require 16 or 24 hour support.
  • $12.3 million for the provision of intensive, family focussed support to mothers with mental illness and their children to keep them together, through the provision of high, medium and low packages of care and short term housing.
  • $10.2 million for in-reach support services to boarding house residents who have been assessed as having mental health issues, through the provision of 200 continuous and ongoing new low support packages.

 

Requests for tenders for the initiatives for will be advertised on the NSW Government e-tendering website https://tenders.nsw.gov.au/health/ in May 2012. Interested parties may register on the site to receive e-mail notifications when new tenders are published.

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The Federal Government has announced the first phase of the Empowering Local Schools initiative that will allow public schools to join together to form ‘confederations’ to allow greater integrated decision-making and community engagement.

 

The Federal Government will provide over $480 million over the next seven years to roll out the intiative, including $69 million in funding to roll the scheme out to 1000 schools in the next two years.

 

Under the program:

 

  • Schools will be able to form confederations to work together to achieve greater flexibility and make collective decisions. This could include shared staffing arrangements.
  • Regional and rural schools can join with schools in metropolitan areas to increase the curriculum options available to their students.
  • Small regional schools can join with other schools to form ‘centres of excellence’ in areas such as joint financial management.
  • Schools will be provided funding to change or improve their operations or service delivery in areas such as governance, school operations, maintenance and infrastructure, and workforce issues such as staff recruitment and performance. Schools taking part will consult with their local community, including parents, business and local government, about the changes they wish to make.
  • Schools will receive a grant of $40-50,000 to help implement changes.

 

More information on the initiative can be found here

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The Federal Government has released a discussion paper on high cost, small amount loans, commonly referred to as ‘payday loans’.

 

Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation said that the paper was a response to the concerns raised by consumer groups, industry and consumers.

 

"Payday lending can be high risk for vulnerable or low-income consumers. People often borrow money from payday lenders in order to meet short-term commitments like rent and groceries. The interest charged on the loan is often so exorbitant it only worsens the financial position of the consumer in the long-term, who may need to take out further loans in order to pay off the original loan and the interest," Mr Shorten said.

 

"This Government acknowledges that there is no quick fix to problems related to payday lending. As such, we fund a range of programs which help consumers address their financial issues before they resort to payday loans."

 

The paper outlines three major goals that Government has identified:

  • reduce the need for high cost, short term, small amount credit by improving access to low-cost and/or fairer alternative assistance;
  • encourage more alternatives to high cost, short term, small amount lending; and
  • improve assistance to those in a debt cycle so they are provided with constructive long-term solutions.

 

The discussion paper can be found here

 

The deadline for submissions is June 4.

 

 

 

The Federal Government has announced a new $1.5 billion Remote Jobs and Communities Program to start from July 2013.

 

The program will aim to provide a more integrated and flexible approach to employment and participation services for people living in remote areas of the country.

 

The program will see jobseekers assisted by a single provider with a permanent presence in their region, while also ensuring that people who are not working are participating in activities that support skill increases.

 

The Federal Government has announced that the program will see Job Services Australia, Disability Employment Services, Community Development Employment Projects and the Indigenous Employment Program rolled into a single integrated service.

 

 

The New South Wales Government has announced it is currently searching for a Head of NSW State Government Senior IT Manager.

 

The State Government is calling for an experienced ICT professional, with experience in senior roles as well as experience in developing new opportunities with customers and key industry stakeholders.

 

The State Government has announced the following prerequisites for candidates

  • Strong market profile
  • Established networks within NSW and other state Governments
  • Demonstrable history in building sustainable senior relationships, particularly dealing with CIO level.
  • Inside government experience will be considered very favorably

 

More details can be viewed here

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The first interim report of the independent GST Distribution Review has been published.

 

The review, being conducted by panel members John Brumby, Bruce Carter and Nick Greiner, is currently considering whether the current horizontal fiscal equalization can be improved.

 

The first interim report outlines the Panel's current thinking on proposals and seeks further submissions from states, territories and other interested parties on the information and concepts outlined in this interim report.

 

“I thank the Panel for their work to date and look forward to receiving a second interim report on issues relating to state taxes and mineral royalties in mid-2012, followed by a final report later in 2012,” Treasurer Wayne Swan said.

 

“After the release of the final report, I will convene a meeting with State and Territory Treasurers to discuss the Panel's recommendations.” 

 

The review can be found here 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

Superfund members will benefit from the Federal Government tax relief that enables superfunds to merge without triggering adverse tax consequences that would hit members' savings, according to estimates released by the Government

 

The Government will implement changes to the income tax law to support the implementation of its MySuper reforms by encouraging fund mergers that lower fees and costs for members.

 

"The Gillard Government is reforming superannuation so that fees and costs are lower.  The tax relief announced today removes a barrier that would have prevented otherwise sound superfund mergers from proceeding," the Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation Bill Shorten said.

 

Estimates undertaken by superfund AGEST about the impact of their proposed merger with Australian Super, show a 38 year old female worker earning around $44,000 will have $14,000 more in retirement savings thanks to the efficiency gains from the proposed merger.

 

Given the potential benefits to members of industry consolidation and the possible costs for some entities transitioning to MySuper, the Government will provide:

 

  • from 1 June 2012 to 1 July 2017, optional loss relief for mergers of complying superannuation funds on the same terms and conditions as the former temporary loss relief with some exceptions including an optional roll-over for capital gains and appropriate integrity provisions (see Attachment); and 
  • from 1 July 2013 to 1 July 2017, an optional roll-over and loss relief for capital gains and capital losses on mandatory transfers of default members' benefits and relevant assets to a MySuper product in another complying superannuation fund.
  •  

Self-managed superannuation funds will be excluded from the relief because the MySuper requirements do not apply to them.

The Federal Government has announced all federally leased airports will be offered the protection of a Tripartite Deed, giving them greater certainty in securing financing for infrastructure developments.

 

Last year, the Government agreed to extend existing tripartite deeds for 12 major airports by another 30 years, removing an obstacle to airports’ planned investment of up to $9 billion to expand and modernise their facilities.

 

The protection of the Tripartite Deed will be offered to the remaining nine federally leased airports on the same terms as the other major airports. 

 

The nine airports to be offered these deeds are Parafield, Archerfield, Tennant Creek, Camden, Essendon, Mount Isa, Jandakot, Moorabbin, and Hobart.

 

Over the past decade Tripartite Deeds have clarified the rights of financers in the event an operator of a federally leased airport, to which they have lent money, goes out of business or loses its operating licence. 

 

These deeds has given financiers the confidence to invest, and operators the certainty to plan for the long term.

 

The announcement puts all federally-leased airports on a level-playing field when it comes to securing financing for major infrastructure developments and upgrades on airport land.

The Victorian government has announced a $1.2 billion re-development of the Port of Melbourne and will see the construction of a new container terminal at Webb Dock and further infrastructure upgrades as Swanson Dock to increase capacity.

 

The project is expected to generate in excess of 2,600 jobs and significantly enhance the economic prospects in the state, according to Premier Ted Baillieu.

 

"This major infrastructure project is an exciting opportunity to cement Victoria's reputation as the freight and logistics capital of Australia," Mr Baillieu said.

 

"The project will provide 700 direct jobs and 1,900 indirect jobs across Victoria, in addition to ensuring we are well placed to cater for the forecast demand in container freight.

 

"In 2010/11 the port handled a record 2.5 million twenty-foot equivalent containers (TEU) and has continued to set new trade records in recent months.

 

"With container movements in and out of Melbourne increasing in excess of six per cent every year and tipped to reach 8 million TEU by 2035, this announcement is an important part of the Coalition Government's plan to provide the infrastructure required to meet growing demand.”

 

Minister for Ports Denis Napthine said all Victorians would benefit from an improved and efficient port.

 

"With the port handling $82 billion worth of international import and export trade per annum, the Coalition Government recognises managing the port effectively is essential to maintaining the lifestyle, livelihood and trade benefits for Victorian people and Victorian businesses," Dr Napthine said.

 

 

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - State

The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has requested public input over its recently released a draft copy of the proposed Strategic Plan for 2012-13.

The draft was developed with ‘extensive’ member input from the series of recent planning sessions held across Victoria and has been released to MAV representatives and CEOs.

 

The MAV is seeking feedback on the draft before its presented to State Council on 17 May. Comments can be submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

The working group tasked with considering governance issues associated with a possible move to a single water and sewerage corporation in Tasmania has met for the first time.

 

Chaired by the Mayor of Brighton, Councillor Tony Foster, the working group has considered a range of matters relating to how councils would integrated separately owned assets into a single entity.

 

“The meeting was very productive, with two representatives of owner councils from each region, along with the Chair of the current water and sewerage corporations and the CEO of the Local Government Association in attendance,” Mayor Foster said.

 

“Councils have had concerns from the beginning about the amount of input they have into this sector as the owners of the entities. The governance proposals under consideration are about ensuring that as owners, Local Government has a more direct relationship with the board(s) and corporation(s),” he said.  

 

“Selection processes, board structure and numbers, communication between the Board and owners, accountability and reporting along with the basis for dividend distribution are key matters for the working group to address.”

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

The Federal Labor Government will provide grants of up to $110,000 to airlines flying to small and remote tourism destinations like Kangaroo Island to help them get ready for new, increased aviation security measures.

 

From July 1 this year, the Government will require a number of regional airports to have security screening of passengers and baggage for the first time.

 

Many small and remote airports cannot afford the purchase and upkeep of screening equipment, especially considering the bulk of traffic is infrequent flights run by regional airlines for tourism or fly-in-fly-out mining operations.

 

Eligible tourism operators and regional airlines will be able to purchase small portable passenger screening kits that can be carried on board and used at remote locations where screening would not otherwise be available.

 

It means tourists, miners and others can keep flying to remote places like Kangaroo Island, Lake Eyre, Coober Pedy, Birdsville, King Island, Bourke, and Broken Hill.

 

The introduction of screening technology is being funded by the Federal Government’s $200 million Strengthening Aviation Security Initiative.