28 July, 2010

Ombudsman warns
on on-the-spot fines

The NSW Ombudsman has given his thumbs-up to the issuing of on-the-spot fines for minor criminal offences but has called for closer monitoring of their adverse impacts.
   The Ombudsman’s report, Review of the Impact of Criminal Infringement Notices on Aboriginal Communities, has been tabled in Parliament with the Government agreeing to support in principle 22 of the 25 recommendations it makes.
   The report examines the police use of Criminal Infringement Notices (CINs) to fine adults suspected of offensive conduct, offensive language, shoplifting and a limited range of other minor offences.
   The Ombudsman, Bruce Barbour said CINs gave police an additional, intermediate option between cautioning offenders on the one hand, and arresting and charging them on the other.
   “The scheme can provide a second chance to minor offenders in appropriate cases,” Mr Barbour said.
   The report identified some risks associated with issuing on-the-spot fines, including the possibility that at least some offenders were being fined in circumstances where previously they would have been warned or cautioned.
    There were also risks that homeless people, people with mental illnesses and other vulnerable groups would be caught up in the fines enforcement process.
   Following a trial in 12 locations, the CINs scheme was extended State-wide on 1 November 2007 with Parliament requiring the Ombudsman to review the expanded scheme, including how the provisions impacted on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
   The Ombudsman found that the number of CINs issued to Aboriginal people increased sharply after the scheme was extended and that 45 per cent of CINs issued to Aboriginal people were for offensive language.
   The recommendations in the report included procedural measures aimed at improving the administration of the scheme by both the NSW Police and the State Debt Recovery Office.
   As part of its response, the Government is to set up a working party of representatives of the Department of Justice and Attorney General, the NSW Police Force, the Office of State Revenue and Aboriginal Affairs NSW with the task of giving more consideration to seven of the recommendations and the implementation of the others.


28 July, 2010

PS copyright bills
in the mail

Departments and Agencies have been advised to expect invoices for copyright fees shortly following a new agreement between the Government and the Copyright Agency Limited (CAL).
   The Department of Premier and Cabinet has issued a Circular stating that Agencies are obliged to pay the fees as compensation to copyright holders for Government employees copying published material such as books, newspapers, magazines and journals.
   It says the Government has entered an agreement with CAL to settle all outstanding liability for fees for reproduction and communication dating back a number of years.
   This includes copying, including digital copying and/or electronic transmission via Intranet and internal emailing of published works.
   The agreement does not cover the posting of copyright material on websites or emailing such material outside of the Government. These activities can only be undertaken with the agreement of the copyright owner.
   Agency payments made to CAL between 2001-02 and 2005-06 did not cover digital copying, for which Agencies are also liable. Payments made to CAL between 2006-07 and 2008-09 were made on an interim basis pending resolution of the new agreement.
   According to the Circular, the amounts to be paid by Agencies are $3.75 per full time employee for the outstanding liability for digital copying for the financial years 2001-02 to 2005-06; an additional $3 per full time employee per annum for the outstanding liability for copying for the financial years 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09; and $11 per full time employee for the financial year 2009-10.
   CAL has advised that the invoices will be issued by the end of this month with payment to be made within 30 days of receipt.
   More information is available from the DPC Circular which can be accessed at www.dpc.nsw.gov.au


28 July, 2010

Household fires
ignite concern

NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) has issued an urgent warning to householders to take care to avoid home fires following a spate of damaging incidents across NSW in recent weeks.
   The brigades have attended more than 500 residential fires this winter, including more than 50 in the past few days. Five people have died.
   Of the most recent house fires, at least 25 started in the kitchen, six in the bedroom and four involved heaters. Of the kitchen fires, at least 11 resulted from cooking left unattended.
   According to the Commissioner of NSWFB, Greg Mullins, winter is traditionally the most dangerous time of year for home fires and it was important that residents remained alert to the risk.
   Commissioner Mullins said in the event of a home fire, residents should get out quickly, call Triple Zero and wait for the Fire Brigade.
   “With the cold weather continuing, it is important people take simple steps to reduce fire risks to avoid any tragic loss of life or property,’’ Commissioner Mullins said.
   He said this included ensuring working smoke alarms were on every level of the home; switching off the stove before leaving the kitchen and never leaving cooking unattended; keeping portable heaters at least one metre away from flammable materials such as curtains, clothing and bedding; and switching all appliances, including room heaters, off when going to bed.
   He said power points should also be checked to ensure they weren’t overloaded; electric blankets should be checked for faults; and the lint filter in clothes dryers should be cleaned each time before use.


28 July, 2010

Crimes website
a big hit

A police website setting out unclaimed rewards for information has attracted over 50,000 visits since it was launched two years ago.
   Minister for Police, Michael Daley said the website, available via police.nsw.gov.au gave the community a reminder of each and every reward on offer whenever they accessed it.
   “These rewards are an important tool for investigators to catch the public’s attention about these criminal acts as well as providing incentive for people to provide information for investigations,” Mr Daley said.
   “The rewards offered by the NSW Government range from information to solve the State’s most tragic murders, to puzzling and suspicious disappearances, to armed robbery offenders.”
   He said the second anniversary of the website’s launch was also an opportunity to encourage members of the community who had not looked at the website to get online and see if they could help solve a crime.
   “The Government took advice from many victims’ support groups in setting up the website as they believed having the rewards online could provide that extra help needed to get justice,” the Minister said.
   “The dozens of families left devastated by these cases deserve some closure – in some cases victims who are presumed murdered have never been found.”
   Of the 18,600 views of the NSW Police Rewards website in 2010, the top 10 reward profiles viewed were: $250,000 to solve the triple-murder of Steven Brooks, Barbara Brooks, and Stacey Willoughby; $500,000 to solve the murder of Michelle Bright; $250,000 to solve the disappearance and suspected murder of Revelle Balmain; $250,000 to solve the disappearance of Trudie Adams; $250,000 to solve the murder of David Breckenbridge; $200,000 to solve the murder of Dragan Sekeljica; $200,000 to solve a series of ATM explosions; $100,000 to solve the double-murder of Robert Pashkuss and Stacey McMaugh; $50,000 to solve the disappearance of Bill Roach and $100,000 to solve the murder of Michelle Pogmore.


28 July, 2010

Numbers wanted
for telco inquiry

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has called for as many examples of customer service problems with telecommunications companies as it can find to include in an official inquiry into the industry.  
   Chair of the national communications watchdog, Chris Chapman said the aim of ACMA’s telecommunications industry inquiry was to improve outcomes for consumers.
   “We want to understand what the problems are,” Mr Chapman said. “The way the telecommunications industry is dealing with its customers and the root causes of those problems.
   “And critically, we want to identify enduring solutions that will improve customer service and complaints-handling, both now and into the foreseeable future.”
    Mr Chapman said ACMA wanted to gather evidence to explain the reasons for the high number of complaints being made to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, problems which were broadly corroborated by strong anecdotal feedback.
   He said the Authority would also be looking for ways to facilitate best practice customer service in what was an increasingly complex communications environment.
   “We want consumers to regain confidence that they will receive the services they need in a way that meets their expectations,” Mr Chapman said.
   Releasing a consultation paper and the inquiry’s Terms of Reference, Mr Chapman urged members of the public, consumer groups, telecommunications companies and other regulatory Agencies to have their say.
   He said it was important for ACMA to work with industry players and other key stakeholders, including other regulators, in order for the inquiry to succeed.
   He said the paper was designed to allow for both general and more detailed, targeted responses and workshops and other forums would be held to engage with consumers.
   More information is available from www.acma.gov.au or phone 1800 062 130.


28 July, 2010

Call for changes
to Family Law

Academics involved in an official study of the Family law have called for changes to the legislation.
   Associate Professor Dale Bagshaw of the University of South Australia and Professor Thea Brown of Monash University in Victoria were commissioned by the Federal Attorney-General to look into the impact of reforms to the Family Law Act that were introduced in 2006.
    They surveyed more than 1,000 adults and 112 children, concluding that the system required a major overhaul if it was to give children’s safety the highest priority.
   Associate Professor Bagshaw said the study revealed that parents who reported family violence were often not believed, while many children were not consulted or asked for their input into new parenting arrangements. She said if they were, their views were often disregarded.
   “Putting the needs of children first was said to be a priority in the 2006 family law reform, yet the children we spoke to felt powerless and that they had no voice,” Professor Bagshaw said.
   “There are children who are being subjected to serious abuse and neglect because under the current system, shared parenting is given higher priority and children’s voices are often not heard.”
   Professor Bagshaw said children wanted to be consulted about parenting arrangements, particularly where there was family violence.
   She said there are some cases where parents have separated, and the children are put in a dangerous situation when they spend time alone with the perpetrator.
   The 2006 changes to the Family Law Act were supposed to restructure and expand services to promote a change of thinking and behaviour in post-separation parenting.
   Instead the study found that, where there was family violence, both men and women were very dissatisfied with responses from lawyers, Family Relationship Centres, Centrelink, the Child Support Agency and the Family Courts.
   Professor Bagshaw said respondents to the survey did not think the services understood family violence, its impact on them or on their children regarding their care, both before and after the 2006 legislation.
   The study also found that a presence or a history of family violence affected mothers, fathers and children in terms of their decisions to separate, to access services, how they used them and how they parented post separation.
   The report is available at www.apo.org.au


28 July, 2010

Researchers have
word on sentences

A new report issued by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research has found that Courts were increasingly suspending sentences, not as an alternative to imprisonment but in place of community service orders and weekend detention.
   The Bureau examined trends in the use of suspended sentences and other sanctions between 1994 and 2008 and found that since they were re-introduced to NSW in April 2000, the use of suspended prison sentences had tripled in Local Courts and more than doubled in Higher (District and Supreme) criminal courts.
   BOCSAR found that in Local Courts, the proportional use of full-time custody decreased slightly after the introduction of suspended sentences (from 23.5 per cent in 1999 to 20.2 per cent in 2008) but the main change was a decline in the use of Community Service Orders (CSOs).
   Whereas 20.4 per cent of people received a CSO in 1999, this had decreased to 11.5 per cent by 2008.
   The proportion of people receiving periodic detention also decreased markedly in the Local Courts following the introduction of suspended sentences (from 5.4 per cent of penalties more serious than a fine in 1999 to 2.4 per cent in 2008).
   In the Higher Criminal Courts in 1999, 77.1 per cent of convicted offenders received a full-time sentence of imprisonment. By 2008, this had declined to 74.9 per cent. Once again, however, BOCSAR found the main change to be a reduction in the use of CSOs.
   Commenting on the findings, the Director of the Bureau, Don Weatherburn said that suspended sentences appear to be being used in circumstances where a sentence of imprisonment would not have been imposed.
   “This seems to run counter to the legislation governing the use of suspended sentences,” Dr Weatherburn said.
   “Under the legislation governing their use, before imposing a suspended sentence a Court must decide whether the crime warrants a sentence of imprisonment,” he said.
   “Only if imprisonment is deemed to be appropriate can a Judge or Magistrate decide to suspend the prison term.”


28 July, 2010

Watered down licence
for water authority

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has published an Issues Paper as part of its review of the Sydney Catchment Authority’s (SCA) licence to provide a bulk water supply service for to Sydney.
   IPART intends granting the licence for an interim period of 15 months.
   The paper says that since the last review of the licence, there had been some important developments that would have a substantial impact on SCA’s operating environment.
   It says the desalination plant at Kurnell had the capacity to provide up to 15 per cent of Sydney’s water needs and its operation would be governed by specific rules setting out the quantity of water to be produced by the plant and the timing of its production. These rules had yet to be finalised.
   “The detail of these rules will have a significant impact on SCA’s operations because the overall demand for water is to be met from a combination of sources that includes the dams managed by SCA and the desalination plant,” the paper says.
   The paper forecasts that details of the Metropolitan Water Plan, water sharing plans for surface water from rivers and streams and groundwater, as well as the operating rules for the desalination plant would be finalised by the Government later this year.
   “However, this timeframe does not allow us to undertake a comprehensive review of the SCA’s licence before it expires in April 2011,” it says.
   “As an interim measure we propose to recommend a new licence that would only involve minimal changes to the existing licence.”
   The interim licence would expire on 30 June 2012, a term of approximately 15 months. By this time IPART said the review would be complete and a new five-year licence could be issued.


28 July, 2010

Green rail corridor
gets green light

A new light rail corridor between Lilyfield and Dulwich Hill has been proposed which will become Sydney’s first environmentally sustainable and integrated “GreenWay.”
   Premier, Kristina Keneally said the corridor would be used by families, commuters, cyclists, walkers and joggers.
   “People will be able to walk or cycle from the Cooks River to Iron Cove, through Canterbury, Marrickville, Ashfield and Leichhardt Council areas,” Ms Keneally said.
   “Converting the old freight corridor between Lilyfield and Dulwich for light rail use will significantly improve transport for commuters.”
   The Premier said she wanted to ensure the corridor would benefit the whole community with the incorporation of a cycling and walking path, as well as the retention of critical bush care sites along the extension.
   “Design and construction work on the GreenWay will be undertaken at the same time as work on the light rail line, which we expect to be complete within two years,” she said.
   “Transport NSW will lodge the project application and Preliminary Environmental Assessment with the Department of Planning, followed by community consultation.”
   Nine stops have been identified as part of the project application, following consideration of aspects such as the GreenWay, transport connections, walking distances, accessibility and proximity to retail, residential and recreational areas.
   The recommended stops would be Leichhardt North, Hawthorne, Marion, Taverners Hill, Lewisham West, Waratah Mills, Arlington, Dulwich Grove and Dulwich Hill Interchange.


28 July, 2010

Prison Officer
caught by ICAC

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found a Senior Corrective Services Officer to have engaged in corrupt conduct.
   In its report on the Investigation into the smuggling of contraband into the John Morony Correctional Centre, the Commission found that a senior Public Servant obtained contraband from associates of two inmates and gave them to the inmates.
   ICAC found the employee did this on at least four occasions in return for payments ranging from $300 to $1,000.
   According to the report, the smuggled items included compact discs, sunglasses, a T-shirt, alcohol, cannabis and paprika.
   The report revealed the Corrective Services Officer was apprehended and arrested during an attempt to smuggle contraband into the centre for a third inmate.
   The Commission’s report notes that a senior officer at the correctional centre received information from an inmate that the officer was being paid $500 to bring steroids and prohibited drugs into the centre for inmates.
   The report said that Corrective Services informed ICAC of the accusation more than a month later.
   In its report, ICAC made 14 recommendations designed to improve the security measures at correctional centres with particular attention to preventing the type of activity uncovered in this case.
   The recommendations included using sniffer dogs during random searches of staff, lockers and vehicles.
   The report also recommended amending the relevant legislation to allow for correctional officers thought to be unsuitable for the job to be removed. The report called on Corrective Service to take disciplinary action against the allegedly corrupt officer.
   The full report could be accessed at www.icac.nsw.gov.au


28 July, 2010

Metrobus pulls
out the stops

The Metrobus network is to be expanded across Sydney with an additional eight routes introduced over the coming year.
   The expanded network will reach Parramatta, Bankstown and Liverpool in the west; Hornsby in the north; Castle Hill and Baulkham Hills in the north-west and Hurstville and Sutherland Shire in the South.
   Metrobuses run seven days a week, with a 10-minute frequency during peak periods, every 15 minutes during the weekday off-peak, and 20 minutes in the evening and on weekends. Around 380 bus drivers will be rostered on each weekday to run services across the expanded 13 route Metrobus network by the middle of next year.
   The expanded Metrobus network will provide high-frequency, high-capacity links between key employment and growth centres across Sydney.
   Metrobuses will be supported by the rollout of 150 new three-door bendy buses over the next 18 months – the first 33 of which have already been delivered.
   The ‘bendys’ are in addition to the 200 new rigid buses already on order, the first of 1,000 new buses to be commissioned over 10 years as part of the Metropolitan Transport Plan.
   The expanded Metrobus network is a mix of new routes and upgrades of existing routes where there is demand for more frequent, higher-capacity services.
   The first new route will be Metrobus 52, which starts on 8 August between Parramatta and the Sydney CBD along Victoria Road, providing 40,000 extra passenger places a week.


28 July, 2010

Redfern revival a
breath of fresh air

The Redfern-Waterloo Authority (RWA) has joined a new partnership to promote the virtues of Redfern-Waterloo to the wider community.
   The Roll Up Redfern group comprises the RWA, City of Sydney, Redfern Waterloo Chamber of Commerce (RWCC), REDWatch and the South Sydney Rabbitohs Rugby League club.
   Roll up Redfern was formed in 2009 to work collaboratively on business and community issues in the Redfern and Waterloo area.
   The partnership consults with residents, community groups and local businesses to identify and celebrate the key strengths of the Redfern-Waterloo area and how best to market them.
   Chief Executive of RWA, Roy Wakelin-King said the group would was working hard to demonstrate Redfern-Waterloo was a place of vibrancy, discovery and opportunity.
   “We will be implementing a brand and creative strategy highlighting iconic landmarks, the people, and the culture, which will provide a great opportunity to promote life in the community and to help shape its future,” Mr Wakelin-King said.
   Chief Executive of the City of Sydney, Monica Barone said the new brand would stimulate new activity, provide opportunities for economic development and create a unique identity for the area.
   A workshop with the community was held in May with the results shaping the marketing strategy. The strategy was expected to be finalised by September.


28 July, 2010

Education Week a
lesson to us all

The Minister for Education and Training has issued a special message in the lead-up to Education Week next week.
   The Minister, Verity Firth said Education Week was an opportunity for people to visit their local public schools and see first-hand the things that were being achieved by students and teachers.
   “It’s an opportunity for schools to exhibit their academic strengths and outstanding results in arts, sports and extra-curricular activities, with a focus on teaching strong values,” Ms Firth said.
   “Our students continue to achieve results that match the best in the world thanks to excellent teaching and a rigorous curriculum.”
   She said the theme of Education Week 2010 was The Year of Learning for Sustainability.
   “This shows how our students and teachers are learning about the environment and the need to preserve, conserve, and sustain our natural world,” the Minister said.
   “All across NSW, our public schools are working on projects which encourage schools, families, and communities to focus on sustainability.”
   She said that in addition to this there would be the more familiar events such as Principal for a Day, where business and community leaders experienced a day in the life of a school principal, and Director-General for a Day, where two students see what it is like to run the largest Education Department in Australia.
   “There will be the traditional open days with displays, entertainment and food,” Ms Firth said.
   “All of our Education Week events will reflect the fact that students, teachers and communities across NSW are witnessing an exciting time in public schools.”


28 July, 2010

Bugs ironed out of
locust package

A new package of assistance and support for NSW farmers has been announced to help them face the worst locust plague in 30 years predicted for later this year.
   Premier, Kristina Keneally said the $18.5 million package would be money well spent.
   “Past campaigns have shown that for every $1,000 spent controlling locusts, at least $20,000 worth of crops and pastures have been saved,” Ms Keneally said.
   “It is estimated that this funding could help farmers save up to $370 million worth of crops and pastures.”
   She said the NSW Plague Locust Emergency Preparedness Response Plan included enough insecticide on hand and on order to treat more than half a million hectares of locusts – five times the amount used in the 2008-2009 campaign; about 40 aircraft on stand-by for Spring and Summer; more than 100 field staff ready to be called up for the campaign; and experts available to map locust and egg bed locations.
   In addition, she said a team would work on an operational plan, preparing to distribute insecticide to landholders and that a high-level Plague Locust Management Group, comprising Government and industry representatives, including the NSW Farmers’ Association, would be formed.
   Ms Keneally made the announcement at the annual meeting of the NSW Farmers Association.
   “Our farmers have fought through a long drought and a winter deluge – and we are now stepping in to help them protect their crops,” Ms Keneally said.


28 July, 2010

Garden trainees get
down-to-earth help

Housing NSW has announced a new round of Horticultural Landscaping Traineeships for Greater Western Sydney.
   A total of 20 social housing residents across Greater Western Sydney will be able to access a Horticultural Certificate 2 Accreditation providing them with the opportunity to gain new skills and improve their communities.
   Minister for Housing, Frank Terenzini, said Job Network agencies had been invited to deliver the traineeships for successful candidates, including Certificate II Landscaping and Horticulture, occupational health and safety and other life skills through workshops and case management.
   “The Horticultural Landscaping Traineeships program has been a true success story for Housing NSW,” Mr Terenzini said.
   “Since we began the program in 1997, 160 training and employment positions have been secured for Western Sydney public housing residents.”
   He said about 80 per cent of participants in the program had gone on to secure permanent employment or further training and development opportunities.
   “That includes people who have now secured jobs in bowling clubs, Local Councils and nurseries,” he said.
   “Trainees have completed modules of their course through the landscaping of Housing NSW properties in areas of high social housing concentration.”
   Mr Terenzini said the last intake of trainees was in February last year, and many had already secured permanent employment.
   “Two of the trainees, one from Western Sydney and one from South Western Sydney, will soon be formally recognised through the presentation of a special award for outstanding commitment to achieving excellence in landscaping,” he said.


28 July, 2010

Researchers discover
funding goldmine

New South Wales is to receive more Commonwealth money for research than any other State in the latest round of funding announced under the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence program.
   Minister for Science and Medical Research, Jodi McKay, said over $150 million in funding would be allocated to support eight centres of research excellence.
   “Securing the majority of funding in this round of the Commonwealth’s Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence program reaffirms NSW as the number one research State,” Ms McKay said.
   “NSW attracted significantly more funding than any other State, which is an outstanding result for our universities and research organisations.”
   She said the eight centres receiving ARC Centre of Excellence funding would be:
  • The Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (University of Sydney) - $20.6 million;
  • The Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science (University of NSW) - $21.4 million;
  • The Centre of Excellence for Core-to-Crust Fluid System (Macquarie University) - $12.4 million;
  • The Centre of Excellence for Geotechnical Science and Engineering (University of Newcastle) - $14.4 million;
  • The Centre of Excellence for Population Ageing Research (University of NSW) - $12.7 million;
  • The Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (University of NSW) - $24.5 million;
  • The Centre of Excellence for Study of Cognition and its Disorders (Macquarie University) - $21 million; and
  • The Centre of Excellence for Ultrahigh Bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (University of Sydney) - $23.8 million.
   Ms McKay said the centres were conducting cutting-edge research in areas that would deliver benefits to the environment, health services and the IT and communications industries.
   “The $150 million provided by the Commonwealth is great news for the NSW research sector and will help create high-skilled jobs as well as contribute to our economy and industry sectors,” she said.


28 July, 2010
DPC issues super circular
The Department of the Premier and Cabinet has issued a Circular detailing the
maximum contribution base for superannuation contribution payments.
   Director-General of DPC, Brendan O’Reilly said from 1 July 2010, superannuation contributions will be capped at $15,199.20 for officers receiving $168,880, the highest level for which the Superannuation guarantee applies.
   The Circular can be accessed at www.dpc.nsw.gov.au

OK for China Centre
In-principle support has been given to a formal partnership between the Government and a new China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.
   The Centre will develop business, language and cultural links between the two nations.
   It will also be a hub for leadership dialogue, research partnerships and business and government development between Australia and China. The Centre will begin operations on 1 January, 2011.

Schools embrace artists
A total of 16 schools from across regional and metropolitan NSW will host professional artists under the Artists in Schools program.
   The program, a joint Federal and NSW Government initiative, funds residencies by professional artists and arts organisations to work with local students, teachers and communities.
   Three professional arts organisations and 13 individual artists have been selected to take part.

Scaffold campaign goes up
A national campaign to improve scaffolding safety in the construction industry has entered its second phase. .
   This stage will see workplace safety inspectors visit residential and commercial construction sites to ensure scaffolding safe work procedures are in place.
   The campaign supports the National Occupational Health and Safety Strategy 2002 – 2012 to facilitate the development of consistent approaches to agreed Australian and New Zealand workplace safety priorities.

Dog attacks on rise
A 16 per cent increase in the number of dog attacks in NSW has been recorded over the past quarter.
   Minister for Local Government, Barbara Perry said this was a serious reminder that dog owners needed to take greater responsibility for their pets.
The attacks prompted Local Councils to issue 321 infringements and 108 dangerous dog declarations, seize 187 dogs and destroy 180. There were 588 continuing investigations.

Wyong safer in surf
A $5 million contract to assist Wyong Shire Council build two new surf life saving facilities at Shelly and Soldiers beaches on the Central Coast has been signed by the Federal Government.
   Tenders have been called and construction is expected to start soon.
   It is expected construction work will support 50 jobs with another 10 jobs created over the longer term.

Life saving boost
An investment of $8 million over four years is to be made to upgrade NSW surf life saving facilities.
   The funding will ensure the facilities are functional, accessible and durable.
   South Maroubra Surf Life Saving Club received $250,000 for facility upgrades under last year’s program enabling it to expand its top floor training room and enclose exposed space.


21 July, 2010

Circular straightens
out election rules

The Department of Premier and Cabinet has issued a Circular setting out the requirements for PS staff involved with State or Federal elections.
   The Circular, signed by the Director General of DPC, Brendan O’Reilly, says employees were not permitted to engage in party political activities while on duty.
   It says with regard to Federal elections, PS staff were required to resign before nominating as a candidate to contest the election.
   “If not elected, a public sector employee may seek reappointment if they do so within two months of the declaration of the election results,” it says.
   Entitled Contesting Elections the Circular says Public Servants contesting State elections were required to resign only when elected.
   “If nominated as a candidate, a public sector employee may apply for and be granted a leave of absence until the election is declared,” it says.
   It says for Local Government elections, PS employees were not required to resign to contest an election or even if they are successfully elected.
   Mr O’Reilly said affected staff were expected to be aware of and comply with any ethical obligations that arise from their involvement in the elections as well as any legislative requirements affecting their employment if they intended to stand as a candidate.
   He encouraged employees contesting elections to read the ‘frequently asked questions’ document on the DPC website, saying it addressed legislative and policy issues surrounding elections.
   Mr O’Reilly said legislative provisions in the Public Sector Employment and Management Act 2002 for resignation and reappointment in Federal elections and leave of absence for State elections applied to all PS Agencies including State Owned Corporations.
   He reminded staff they must adhere to the Model Code of Conduct for NSW Public Sector Employees (issued May 1997) and the Code of Conduct and Ethics for Public Sector Executives (issued December 1997).
   Mr O’Reilly said adhering to the Codes meant employees must ensure any participation in party political activities did not conflict with their duty as a public employee to serve the Government of the day in an apolitical manner.
   According to the Circular, the general obligations on public sector employees contesting elections are:
  • avoid conflicts of interest;
  • avoid misuse of official information or resources;
  • make no party political comment while on duty; and
  • undertake duties in politically neutral manner.
   The Circular, C2010-22 Contesting elections, could be accessed at www.dpc.nsw.gov.au


21 July, 2010

Names being taken
for PS Awards

Nominations are now being accepted for the Premier’s Public Sector Awards 2010.
   The Department of Premier and Cabinet said the Awards, established in 1997, formally recognise and reward outstanding performance and achievement by the public sector.
   The DPC said the awards encouraged continuous improvement of systems and services to enhance effective service delivery and urged sector-wide reflection on performance levels and motivated individuals and teams.
   It said they also recognised success and promoted excellence that could lead to the continual renewal and improvement of services, projects and practices.
   According to the Department, the awards were a way of promoting the adoption of business and management practices that could develop and grow a culture of continual improvement, innovation, reform and change.
   The Award categories for 2010 are: Leading Change; Delivering Services; Engaging with the Community; Project Delivery – Making it Happen; Succeeding Through Innovation; Premier’s Priority Category – Increasing Jobs for Young People; and the Premier’s Award for Individual Excellence.
   The DPC invited nominations from all NSW public sector Agencies including Departments, Agencies and other bodies in the Departmental cluster.
   Nominations for the 2010 awards close on 30 August and further information and guidelines were available from www.dpc.nsw.gov.au


21 July, 2010

Network dials up
new planning rules

Changes to the State’s planning system are to be made to allow new telecommunications projects, including the national broadband network, to be fast-tracked.
   Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly said streamlined planning processes would make NSW a national leader in the roll-out of the Federal Government’s National Broadband Network, and would benefit rural communities.
   “The delivery of a National Broadband Network requires a great deal of infrastructure such as cabling, satellite dishes and telecommunications towers,” Mr Kelly said.
   “The NSW Government has acted to ensure these essential facilities can be rolled out efficiently and effectively, while still ensuring community safety and appropriate protection of the local environment and amenity.”
   The Minister said proposed amendments to the Infrastructure State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) had been publicly exhibited last year along with a draft Telecommunications Guideline.
   He said the exhibited drafts outlined the types of infrastructure that, subject to strict criteria, could be processed as “exempt” or “complying” developments – that is, either with no requirement for approval at all or through a simple 10-day approval system.
   Mr Kelly said this approach removed the need to lodge a time-consuming and costly development application with the Local Council for some low-impact facilities.
   He said under the new measures, all new telecommunications facilities in NSW must be consistent with a set of principles covering issues such as site selection, design, construction and operation.
   Mr Kelly said a number of changes were made in finalising the policy based on feedback received in submissions.
   “New telecommunications towers required to deliver broadband or mobile phone access in certain rural or industrial zones would be allowed as complying development subject to amenity and safety issues like height limits and separation from residential areas,” he said.
   “And the installation of broadband internet access via satellite in rural areas will be made easier by allowing larger satellite dishes to be classed as exempt development than is currently the case under existing planning provisions.”


21 July, 2010

Housing opens door
to congratulations

Housing NSW has been congratulated by the Commonwealth Government for exceeding its target of new homes under the Remote Indigenous Housing National Partnership Agreement.
   Minister for Housing, Frank Terenzini said the Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin wrote to Housing NSW expressing her pleasure after it exceeded its capital works target of 50 new homes by eight and delivered almost double the number targeted for people needing to be close to work and study.
   Mr Terenzini said negotiations were now underway to purchase further student accommodation, family-style dwellings and singles accommodation for employment-related needs in regional centres.
   He said NSW had also been given the target of building or purchasing 40 new homes in towns such as Cobar, Lake Cargelligo, Coonamble, Brewarrina and Nyngan, and had delivered a total of 41.
   Mr Terenzini said the homes would be upgraded and readied for new tenants from the Aboriginal Housing Office waiting list in the near future.
   “These are the first of more than 120 homes to be delivered by July next year for Aboriginal families in NSW, targeting towns such as Walgett and Wilcannia in particular,” he said.
   He said NSW had also progressed in its bid to deliver an expanded program of 150 refurbishments, well above the initial target of 20 houses.
   “The targets set for new home building and refurbishing homes demonstrate the commitment of NSW to get on with the job of securing decent housing for Aboriginal families in need,” Mr Terenzini said.
   He said NSW was receiving over $396 million from the Federal Government to purchase, upgrade and repair homes in remote areas.


21 July, 2010

Legal Aid takes
case to regions

Legal Aid services are to be expanded across the State following a new funding agreement being entered with the Commonwealth.
   Attorney General, John Hatzistergos said NSW had signed the new National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services to guarantee it would receive $10 million more in funding than previously.
   “This agreement provides a significant boost to Legal Aid services in NSW which has in the past suffered as a result of funding cuts,” Mr Hatzistergos said.
   He said the agreement would strengthen early intervention legal services, community legal information and advice services.
   “As a result of this agreement, Legal Aid NSW will be able to deliver more preventative legal services such as legal education and information, early intervention services, legal advice and minor assistance, across both Commonwealth and State areas of law,” Mr Hatzistergos said.
   “The funding will allow Legal Aid NSW to expand Family Dispute Resolution services, to assist more people to resolve family disputes without the need to go to Court.”
   The Attorney General said the funds would also allow Legal Aid to expand its legal assistance program for families experiencing mortgage stress.
   Mr Hatzistergos said he was pleased the Commonwealth had committed additional funding over four years to Indigenous services such as the Aboriginal Legal Service, to improve access to legal advice for Aboriginal people in NSW.
   Chief Executive Office of Legal Aid NSW, Alan Kirkland welcomed the new funding agreement.
   “This boost in funding recognises the valuable work provided by legal aid lawyers every day, in Courts and community Agencies across New South Wales,” Mr Kirkland said.


21 July, 2010

Orient express to
train more PS

More training programs for Public Servants and closer cooperation in Government administration are features of a new friendship agreement between NSW and Beijing signed by the Premier in China recently.
   Premier Kristina Keneally and the Mayor of Beijing, Guo Jinlong signed a Friendship Cooperation Agreement aimed at strengthening the relationship between NSW and China’s capital city.
   Ms Keneally said the agreement would further cement the State’s growing relationship with China and would foster closer cooperation in areas of mutual interest.
   She said those areas included Government administration; economy, trade and finance; urban infrastructure development and environment protection; and public health, medicine, science and technology.
   Ms Keneally said the agreement would also forge closer cooperation in education, culture, art and sport; agriculture; information and communications technology; and training programs for Public Servants.
   “NSW and China already have strong ties through our long-standing Sister State relationship with Guangdong and a friendship agreement with Shanghai,” the Premier said.
   “This agreement with the country’s capital and second largest city, Beijing, will enhance and strengthen our relationship.”
   Ms Keneally said the agreement would provide the framework for building further Government-to-Government relationships.
   China is NSW’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade between NSW and China growing by around 138 per cent over the past five years.
   Ms Keneally said China was also one of NSW’s fastest growing tourism markets.


21 July, 2010

Fair Trading finds
scammer in the works

NSW Fair Trading has issued a warning to residents to beware of scammers offering false refunds for excess bank fees.
   Deputy Fair Trading Commissioner, Steve Griffin referred to the example of a Tweed Heads resident who was contacted by a scammer calling himself Thomas Wilson and alleging he was from NSW Fair Trading.
   Mr Griffin said the scammer advised the resident she was entitled to a refund on overcharged bank fees.
   “The scammer told the resident she would need to pay an upfront fee of $300, payable via Western Union, into an account in New Delhi or provide her credit card details directly to him,” Mr Griffin said.
   “Thomas Wilson does not work for NSW Fair Trading and the phone number he provided to the Tweed resident does not exist.”
   The Deputy Commissioner said NSW Fair Trading would never place calls to people recommending they make payments to any business or organisation.
   “This is a scam and Fair Trading has this week received two additional, similar reports from residents in Tweed Heads, as well as reports from residents in Lismore, Queanbeyan and Wollongong,” Mr Griffin said.
   “People should be extremely wary about anyone offering cash, refunds or other forms of financial benefit.”
   He said the best way to avoid being exploited by scammers was to verify any claims or offers with financial institutions or businesses mentioned.
   “You should contact the organisation directly by telephone or through official websites,” Mr Griffin said.
   “Don’t use phone numbers given to you by the person making the offer and don’t click on web links in emails because they can take you to elaborate hoax sites that might look legitimate.”
   He said the authenticity of any calls purporting to be from NSW Fair Trading could be checked by contacting 13 32 20.
   Mr Griffin encouraged consumers to use the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission SCAMwatch website, www.scamwatch.gov.au, for the latest information on scams.


21 July, 2010

Real estate lands
property changes

Changes to the NSW real estate system that would require owners to pay for reports from experts before selling their properties have been proposed and thrown open for public comment.
   Minister for Lands, Tony Kelly said public comment and written submissions were being sought as part of a review of the vendor disclosure requirements for real estate property sales in NSW.
   “Building and pest inspection reports cost around $500 and in auction situations with only one successful bidder for example, it means other parties have virtually wasted their money,” Mr Kelly said.
   “The financial burden is multiplied for potential purchasers where several reports have been commissioned on different properties during the house hunting experience.”
   He said if the reports were available with the contract, potential purchasers would have access to at least one set of pre-purchase inspection reports.
   Mr Kelly said the potential changes meant NSW would be the second jurisdiction to introduce changes to the property inspection system, following the ACT.
   He said the review would be overseen by the MP for Kiama, Matt Brown.
   Mr Kelly expected it would be finalised by November, at which time Mr Brown would submit the final report and recommendations to the Government.
   “This will be in time for any nationally coordinated change after the Council of Australian Governments indicated it wants to look at an Australia-wide approach to aspects of vendor disclosure,” he said.
   “I encourage the public to have their say in this review process.”
   A discussion paper, full terms of reference and further information were available on the Land and Property Management Authority’s (LPMA) website, www.lpma.nsw.gov.au
   Submissions close on 1 September 2010.


21 July, 2010

Flu warning is
good medicine

The Chief Health Officer has renewed her call for more people to have an influenza vaccination as the flu season approaches.
   Dr Kerry Chant said NSW Health Survey data from June showed about 40 per cent of the community had already been vaccinated.
   Dr Chant said while influenza activity was still at low levels, people were already presenting themselves to hospital, with the number of cases expected to escalate in the coming weeks.
   “We have been very happy with the response from the community to get vaccinated with either the pandemic H1N1 vaccine or the seasonal influenza vaccine which also protects against the pandemic strain,” Dr Chant said.
   “For people who have not yet been vaccinated, now is the best opportunity to get the vaccine before influenza takes off.” 
   She said pregnant women were strongly encouraged to be vaccinated.
   “Women in this category can also help protect their baby by being vaccinated and by encouraging people who will be helping to care for their baby to be vaccinated,” Dr Chant said.
   She said other people considered more vulnerable to the flu included those with underlying chronic medical conditions such as heart and lung disease, cancer, HIV, asthma and diabetes; people who were morbidly obese; and Indigenous people.
   In June the Commonwealth’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jim Bishop, advised the seasonal flu vaccination continue to be suspended for healthy children under five.
   The advice came after consideration of the results of a comprehensive investigation into the safety of the seasonal flu vaccine for young children. 
   For further information about flu vaccinations was available from www.health.nsw.gov.au


21 July, 2010

Preschool CD gets
a wiggle on

Staff of Community Services have partnered with industry to produce a CD of songs designed to encourage Aboriginal families to send their children to preschool.
   Minister for Community Services, Linda Burney said the CD, entitled Little School, showed kids how much fun attending preschool could be.
   Ms Burney said attending preschool improved child development and school performance, and was especially important for children who were disadvantaged.
   “The campaign will be reaching Aboriginal communities and families to show them the value of engaging with early childhood services, using culturally appropriate ways, including music and song,” Ms Burney said.
   “Another important aspect of the campaign is to offer guidance and ideas for children’s services providers so they can connect effectively with the Aboriginal families in their local areas.”
   She said the Commonwealth had provided $100,000 under its Universal Access to Early Childhood Education fund to enable Community Service’s Preschool Access for Indigenous Families to run the campaign.
   The Preschool Access for Indigenous Families included representation from Aboriginal staff members at Community Services and Lady Gowrie’s Indigenous Professional Support Unit.
   Ms Burney said Little School featured two songs written by Emma Donovan, a singer, songwriter and member of Black Arm Band.
   She said the CD was produced by Brendan Gallagher who has worked as a musician, composer and music producer for over 30 years.
   “These songs will have young children singing and dancing,” Ms Burney said.
   “This innovative resource gives Aboriginal families and their children a chance to talk and sing about preschool and day care in a positive way.
   “The messages are simple and engaging and the lyrics are culturally appropriate.”
   The Minister said new pages had been added to the Community Services’ website for Children’s Services to make the site’s advice, ideas and resources more welcoming and inclusive to Indigenous families.
   The CD is being distributed to Aboriginal families with young children in NSW.


21 July, 2010

Weather Bureau
warms up forecast

An improved marine weather forecasting service for NSW is to be launched by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology on 1 September.
   Senior Meteorologist at the Bureau, Julie Evans said the upgrade came in response to ongoing feedback from members of the marine community.
   Ms Evans said the coastal waters forecasts would be upgraded to include wind, sea and swell conditions for all days of the forecast period.
   “This is aimed at assisting mariners to better plan their trips around the safest and most comfortable times of the day,” Ms Evans said.
   She said the changes formed part of a new forecasting service being introduced by the Bureau, which would provide detailed maps of forecast wind and wave conditions a week in advance.
   “We have also created easily recognisable geographic coastal water zones,” Ms Evans said.
   She said the former South Coast zone would be split into two new zones called Batemans and Eden, the Mid North Coast zone would be divided into two new zones known as Coffs and Macquarie and the current Far North Coast zone would be renamed Byron.
   Ms Evans said wave information within coastal waters warnings would now be provided in terms of the total wave height to better describe the expected conditions.
   She said the upgrades were part of a federally funded weather services upgrade to be rolled-out around Australia over the next five years.
   She said over the next couple of months the Bureau would be holding free information sessions along the NSW coast.
   Details of the sessions could be found on the Bureau website: www.bom.gov.au


21 July, 2010

Tourist campaign
just the ticket

A new tourism campaign promoting Sydney to the Chinese has been launched by the Premier, Kristina Keneally at the World Expo in Shanghai.
   Ms Keneally said the launch coincided with NSW Week at the Australian Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo and signalled a major push by NSW into one of the world’s fastest growing tourism markets, China.
   Ms Keneally said NSW and Sydney already had the leading market share of Chinese visitors to Australia and the Sydney campaign aimed to continue capitalising on the tourism sector.
   She said the campaign was based on the recent ‘Sydnicity’ promotion and would combine major print and billboard advertising with social media promotions and digital media to reach China’s 365 million internet users.
   Ms Keneally said the campaign would be referred to as ‘Sydney: City of Infinite Choices’.
   The campaign is to focus on promoting Sydney Harbour; whale watching; the city’s thriving food scene; romantic escapes; and famous Sydneysiders such as Greg Norman and Layne Beachley sharing their inspiring ‘Sydney’ moments.
   “The Chinese tourism market is one of the world’s fastest growing and the new City of Infinite Choices campaign will encourage visitors to come and experience all that Sydney has to offer,” Ms Keneally said.
   “Sydney is Australia’s premier tourist destination and we want China and the rest of the world to come and experience its natural beauty, beaches, entertainment and lifestyle for themselves.”
   The Premier said in the past year over 242,000 Chinese tourists visited NSW, spending 9.2 million nights in hotels and injecting more than $1 billion into the State economy.
   Ms Keneally said the campaign would also be rolled out at G’Day UK in September 2010 and G’Day USA in January 2011.


21 July, 2010

Indigenous plan on
10-year track

Aboriginal Affairs NSW has released its third report on the 10-year whole-of-Government plan to improve the wellbeing of Indigenous people and communities.
   Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Paul Lynch said the 2009 Two Ways Together Report on Indicators provided an analysis of the demographic characteristics of NSW’s Aboriginal population.
   Mr Lynch said it showed indicators measuring outcomes across seven priority areas identified in the plan – health, justice, families and young people, culture and heritage, housing and infrastructure, education and economic development.
   He said the indicators comprised census data and information from NSW Government Agencies.
   “This third Two Ways Together Report on Indicators shows improvements in outcomes for Aboriginal people, particularly in education,” My Lynch said.
   “The number of young Aboriginal people starting and finishing school and achieving higher level qualifications has increased over a sustained period.”
   The Minister said since the second Two Ways Together Report was released two years ago, the Government had renewed and strengthened its commitment to Aboriginal people.
   He said the plan required Government Agencies to work together and in partnership with Aboriginal people to ensure the services utilised by Indigenous people were accessible, culturally appropriate and delivered results.
   “Many of the indicators show a wide outcomes gap between Aboriginal people and the general population of NSW,” the Two Ways Together report said.
   “In some areas, the gap appears to be narrowing; however, in many areas the gap remains either the same or is widening.”
   The report found Aboriginal representation in the NSW Public Service was growing but was not yet on track to meet the Government’s target of 2.6 per cent by 2015.
   It reported a reduction in the gap between Aboriginal and all NSW infant mortality rates but found an income gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people working in the same occupation remained, as did the over-representation of Indigenous women and children as victims of violence and personal crimes.
   It said young Aboriginal males were eight times more likely to appear in a NSW criminal Court than non-Aboriginal males and that children and young people continued to be over-represented in reports of child abuse and neglect.
   Mr Lynch said the report highlighted the “undeniable need” to improve the wellbeing of Aboriginal people.
   “The challenges remain significant, but I am encouraged by the progress already made,” he said.
   The report was available from www.daa.nsw.gov.au and was prepared by a Monitoring Evaluation team consisting of An


21 July, 2010

Planning rules
redesigned

Changes to the rules for assessing landfill applications will lead to more environmentally friendly outcomes according to the Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly.
   Mr Kelly said the Infrastructure State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) had been amended to ensure issues such as waste minimisation, best practice design and site location were considered when development applications were determined.
   He said the changes would reduce the long-term impacts of waste disposal.
   “The new criteria included in the SEPP allows the relevant consent authority to consider whether the proposed facility will adopt important principles such as waste minimisation,” Mr Kelly said.
   “These are standards and principles which the community has rightly come to expect and it is appropriate they are given statutory weight in the State’s planning laws.”
   He said the new provisions updated the previous limited requirement to consider whether a proposal had demonstrated there was “justifiable demand” for the facility.
   Mr Kelly said the new approach retained the overall principle of justifying demand for landfill space but greatly strengthened how it needed to be demonstrated.
   “Essentially, the applicant will now need to show concrete evidence of its measures to reduce waste, therefore demonstrating any residual demand for landfill is genuine,” he said.
   Mr Kelly said the amendment was the Government’s latest response to the findings of the 2009 review into landfill capacity and demand undertaken by an independent waste expert, who found Government initiatives were having a marked impact on waste levels and resource recovery rates.
   He said the new assessment criteria would further ensure that where land filling was still necessary, it was minimised through stringent resource recovery.
   Mr Kelly said in addition to waste minimisation criteria, the new provisions considered whether the proposed landfill site was degraded, such as a disused mine, and whether transport links were optimised.
   He said the provisions would apply to non-putrescible and putrescible waste and would take effect immediately, including in the assessment of existing landfill proposals.
   Further information was available from www.planning.nsw.gov.au


21 July, 2010

Youngsters anxious
in stats report

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released figures showing that one in four young Australians suffered from a mental disorder in 2007.
   According to the Bureau, anxiety disorders were the most common among youths, affecting 15 per cent of young people.
   It said Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was the most commonly experienced Anxiety disorder at 8 per cent.  
   The ABS said substance use disorders affected 13 per cent of young people, with harmful use of alcohol the most common cause at 9 per cent.
   The statistics showed about 6 per cent of young people had an affective disorder with bipolar disorder and depression (3 per cent each) the most common.  
   The figures revealed almost one-third of young women had a mental health disorder compared with around one-quarter of young men.
   The Bureau said young people with a mental disorder were more than five times as likely as those without mental disorders to use illicit drugs or misuse legal drugs, were twice as likely to be current smokers and about 1.5 times more likely to drink alcohol at least weekly.
   The ABS found that while the prevalence of mental illness was relatively high in young people, their use of mental health services was relatively low, with just under a quarter of those affected using the services in the previous year.
   It said young people with a severe level of impairment were more likely to use mental health services (51 per cent) than those with milder levels of impairment (18 per cent).
   The figures showed general practitioners were the service most frequently accessed (15 per cent) followed by psychologists (10 per cent).
   Of young people who did not access services, 85 per cent did not feel that they had a need for any type of assistance.


21 July, 2010

Children’s services
to keep them safe

Three new services for supporting children at risk have been launched by the Minister for Community Services, Linda Burney, at Mt Druitt.
   Ms Burney said the three Family Referral Services, co-ordinated by NSW Health, were part of Keep Them Safe, the Government’s action plan to reform the child protection system in NSW.
   Ms Burney said the services had opened their doors on 3 May for a 12-month trial and were operated by Relationships Australia NSW in Mt Druitt, The Benevolent Society in Newcastle and UnitingCare Burnside in Dubbo.
   “The role of Family Referral Services is to connect families to services in their local area,” she said.
   “They will support families who make direct contact asking for help and they will also support families who have been referred by others in the community such as schools, hospitals and childcare facilities.”
   Ms Burney said the children, young people and families supported by the Family Referral Services were those who didn’t need statutory intervention by Community Services but needed help before problems escalated.
   “Our goal is to refer these children and families to support early rather than see their problems increase with the risk that they may escalate through the child protection system,” she said.
   “Family Referral Services will help families address their current difficulties and work towards preventing problems down the track.”
   Ms Burney said the Referral Services were a key recommendation made by Special Commissioner James Wood in his report on child protection services.
   “We selected three areas of high need to trial the Family Referral Services so families receive appropriate help to address their individual circumstances close to home,” she said.
   The Minister said two different models were being piloted: a telephone referral service and a more comprehensive service which had the capacity for face-to-face referrals, providing some case coordination and using brokerage funding to supplement client access to support services.
   Ms Burney said an independent evaluation of the pilots was being conducted over the next 12 months and would inform the Government’s decision on the State-wide rollout of the service over the next four years.
   She said further information on Keep Them Safe initiatives was available at www.keepthemsafe.nsw.gov.au


21 July, 2010
Breastfeeding at work
The Public Service Association has encouraged members to pin up copies of its new ‘breastfeeding friendly workplace’ poster on notice boards around their offices.
   The poster, which proclaims “This is a breastfeeding friendly workplace”, could be accessed at www.psa.labor.net.au.
   The PSA said members should only display the poster if appropriate, and urged them to check the breastfeeding status of their Agency by contacting the PSA women’s unit on (02) 9220 0906.

Privacy relocates
Privacy NSW has re-located to new premises at Castlereagh Street in Sydney.
   New phone and fax numbers are now in operation, however the old general enquiries and fax numbers will continue to operate until 30 June 2011.
   All mail should be addressed to GPO Box 7011 Sydney NSW 2001 and new contact numbers are phone: (02) 8019 1600 and fax: (02) 8114 3755.

Rescuers in challenge
The NSW Fire Brigades and the State Emergency Service will be represented by their respective teams at the Australasian Rescue Challenge in Melbourne from 25 to 27 July.   The Rescue Challenge provides emergency service workers with the opportunity to practice and develop their skills, and demonstrate to the community and their peers their professionalism and expertise.
   Station Officer Clayton Allison from Hurstville will lead the NSW Fire Brigades team, while Noel Surness from Coffs Harbour City is the team leader for the SES side.

Sawmill warning
WorkCover NSW has reminded the sawmilling industry to make sure adequate safety precautions are taken when working in the mills.
   The warning came after a number of workplace incidents occurred in the industry, such as a sawmill worker in Nundle suffering injuries to his hand.
   WorkCover said the industry needed to ensure sawmills had safe equipment, effective work systems and proper staff training in place. Further information was available in the Sawmilling industry: Code of Practice at www.workcover.nsw.gov.au

Plumbing draft released
Draft changes to the 2011 Plumbing Provisions, earmarked for inclusion in the new National Construction Code series, are available for public comment.
   The National Plumbing Regulatory Forum (NPRF) and the ABCB were asked by the Building Ministers’ Forum in February 2010 to deliver consolidated building and plumbing regulation.
   The development of the National Construction Code will eventually result in the consolidation of all on-site construction regulation (building, plumbing, electrical and telecommunications).
   Submissions close 1 September and the draft changes were available from the Australian Building Codes Board website, www.abcb.gov.au


14 July, 2010

Appeals move appeals
to IR Commission

Appeals against promotions and disciplinary proceedings in the NSW Public Service have been transferred from the Government and Related Employees Appeal Tribunal (GREAT) to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (NSW IRC).
   A Circular signed by the Director General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Brendan O’Reilly said the new arrangements started on July 1.
   Mr O’Reilly said the President of the NSW IRC had assumed the role of Chairperson of the Transport Appeal Boards (TAB) and would decide how any ongoing hearings initiated before 1 July would proceed.
   He said matters already lodged with GREAT and TAB would be heard under the new arrangements.
   Mr O’Reilly said the Industrial Relations Amendment (Public Sector Appeals) Act 2010 amended the Industrial Relations Act 1996 (IR Act), introducing a new Part 7 to allow for the review of decisions concerning the promotion and discipline of PS employees.
   “Promotion appeals are still to be heard informally, subject to the rules of the NSW IRC and any practice notes,” Mr O’Reilly said.
   “The NSW IRC will endeavour to settle disciplinary appeals by conciliation.”
   He said PS staff would still be able to exercise their appeal rights in unfair dismissals under either Part 6 or Part 7 of the IR Act.
   He said Practice Notes would be issued by the IRC on the practice and procedures to be followed in relation to PS appeals, transport worker appeals and police hurt on duty appeals.
   The Director General said amendments to the Transport Appeal Boards Act 1980 allowed the President to review decisions concerning the promotion and discipline of officers and employees of the State Transit Authority, Sydney Ferries, the Roads and Traffic Authority and RailCorp.
   However, he said in practice this power would be delegated by the President to other members of the NSW IRC which had also been granted jurisdiction under the Police Act 1990 to consider appeals relating to leave when a police officer is hurt on duty.
   Mr O’Reilly said the NSW IRC had developed approved forms, practice notes and other information for various appeals matters, which were available at www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au
   The DPC Circular can be downloaded from www.dpc.nsw.gov.au


14 July, 2010

Planning processes go
according to plan

Departments and Agencies have been found to be processing Development Applications within 40 days, nine out of 10 times.
   Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly said the Concurrence and Referral Monitoring report for the period from 1 July to 31 December 2009 outlined the performance of individual State Agencies in responding to requests for their approval or comments on development applications.
   “During the report’s period, 9,125 development applications were processed by State Agencies, with an average net processing time of 14.15 days,” Mr Kelly said.
   He said the net period excluded time waiting for more information from applicants and time taken receiving, and sending, the proposal to Local Councils.
   Mr Kelly said the Department of Planning would continue to examine ways to keep Agency decision times down.
   “For instance, in December 2008, the NSW Government removed 1,336 unnecessary clauses across 250 planning instruments which required Councils to refer development issues to State Agencies,” he said.
   “Many of these clauses covered matters where comprehensive guidelines were already in place to assist Councils assessing development proposals.”
   Mr Kelly said the most recent development application (DA) figures indicated removing the clauses was likely to have helped with the timely processing of DAs by State Agencies.
   He said the report card could be found at www.planning.nsw.gov.au under “Performance Monitoring” reports.


14 July, 2010

Old consumer laws
reach use-by date

The Minister for Fair Trading has assured NSW consumers that their existing protections would remain in place while new national credit laws were phased in.
   The Minister, Virginia Judge said finance brokers and micro lenders would remain bound by NSW laws until they were replaced by national measures.
   “The new laws now in effect will prevent NSW consumers being exposed to unscrupulous brokers and exorbitant fees,” Ms Judge said.
   She said that in October 2008, the Council of Australian Governments agreed to harmonise credit laws and transfer regulation of consumer credit and finance broking to the Commonwealth.
   Ms Judge said the NSW Credit (Commonwealth Powers) Act 2010, which provided for the start of the handover of consumer credit regulation from 1 July 2010, came into force on 1 April 2010.
   “I support the commonsense national reforms which bring the consumer credit market in line with all other sectors of the financial services industry,” she said.
   “Industry members are required to register with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in order to continue operating.”
   Ms Judge said the State Government would retain key protections for NSW consumers throughout the staged implementation process, which will run through to 1 July 2011.
   She said protections included a ban on upfront broking fees; the right to challenge excessive broking fees or inappropriate conduct; written disclosure of all broking fees and charges in a single document; and retention of the State’s 48 per cent maximum annual interest rate cap on all consumer credit contracts.
   Co-ordinator of the Consumer Credit Legal Centre (NSW), Karen Cox said the organisation strongly supported the State’s stance on the retention of the maximum interest rate cap.
   “The cap represents vitally important protection for vulnerable borrowers,” Ms Cox said.
   “The cap allows some fringe lending to continue, but places a clear line in the sand that says how much is too much.”
   Ms Judge said fringe brokers who charged excessive fees and referred clients to high-interest lenders could increase financial distress for borrowers who could least afford them.


14 July, 2010

Guilty plea program
loses Court decision

The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research has revealed that a pilot scheme of pre-trial conferencing to reduce the number of late guilty pleas in the District Court has enjoyed only limited success.
   Director of BOCSAR, Don Weatherburn said the Criminal Case Conferencing (CCC) scheme required representatives of the defence and prosecution to convene a conference prior to the committal hearing.
   He said if the defendant pleaded guilty prior to committal, the sentencing Court must allow a 25 per cent discount on the sentence that would otherwise have been imposed.
   If the defendant pleaded guilty after committal, the Court could allow a sentence discount of up to 12.5 per cent.
   Dr Weatherburn said it was hoped the scheme would produce four outcomes in the District Court: a reduction in the number of trial case registrations; an increase in the proportion of sentence case registrations; an increase in the proportion of defendants committed for trial whose cases actually proceeded to trial; and a decrease in the number of cases where the accused changed his/her plea from ‘not guilty’ to ‘guilty’ close to the first day of the trial.
   He said BOCSAR evaluated the CCC scheme by comparing trends in the four categories at the Sydney District Court (where the CCC trial took place) against corresponding trends in Courts outside Sydney.
   He said only one of the four measures showed effects consistent with a reduction in late guilty pleas - there was a small decrease in trial registrations (less than 1 per cent per week) that was not present in the comparison site.
   Dr Weatherburn identified three possible explanations for the scheme’s apparent failure.
   The first was that the legislative version of the scheme conferred no benefits beyond those already conferred by the administrative version of the scheme that preceded it; secondly, the scheme was not implemented consistently enough to influence the outcomes; and third, the defendants and/or their legal representatives could be sceptical about the promise of sentence discounts.
   The BOCSAR report, The impact of Criminal Case Conferencing on early guilty pleas in the NSW District Criminal Court could be accessed at www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au


14 July, 2010

Water price forums
to float new charges

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) is to hold a series of public meetings to discuss new water management prices proposed by the NSW Office of Water.
   The NOW has recommended significant increases for most valleys and water sources as well as a change in the pricing structure.
   Chief Executive and Acting Chairman of IPART, Jim Cox said according to NOW the proposed charges would be based on entitlement only, replacing the current system of entitlement and usage prices.
   Mr Cox said in its submission to the Tribunal, the NOW estimated water management charges would increase by between 10 and 650 per cent per Megalitre of entitlement by 2012/13 and prices for many entitlement holders would increase by more than 100 per cent.
   He said the exceptions were unregulated river charges in the Hunter and South Coast valleys.
   Mr Cox said according to the NOW the proposed price increases were primarily driven by the need to spend more on water management activities, as well as changes to the quantities of entitlements.
   He said IPART would also review the Office of Water’s proposal to levy a service charge on entitlement holders with a meter, which would range from $33 per year in areas where there was currently meter reading activity, to $379 per annum where there was no meter reading activity.
   “The Office of Water is proposing price increases for many users,” Mr Cox said.
   “It needs to explain its pricing proposal and answer questions from IPART, members of the public and invited stakeholders.”
   He said the public forums would provide a valuable opportunity for stakeholders to present their views to IPART.
   The public hearings are to be held in Sydney on 23 July, Wagga Wagga on 19 July and Tamworth on 22 July.
   Those interested in attending are asked to register by ringing IPART on (02) 9290 8472.


14 July, 2010

Fire protection
sparks record

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has just completed its biggest hazard reduction season on record.
   Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, Frank Sartor said favourable weather conditions allowed NPWS to conduct more than 260 burns during the last financial year, treating an area of over 92,000 hectares.
   “Hazard reduction burning is one of a range of key tools used to protect homes and property before the bushfire season,” Mr Sartor said.
   “Combined with fire trail maintenance, firefighter training and state of the art equipment, hazard reduction can slow the path of a bushfire.”
   He said NPWS had taken every opportunity to complete the burns depending on weather conditions.
   Mr Sartor said hazard reduction burning in the past financial year included over 7,750 hectares in the Blue Mountain region; almost 20,000 hectares in the Snowy Mountains and South West slopes; and more than 16,490 hectares across the Northern Tablelands.
   MP for Blue Mountains, Phil Koperberg said good weather conditions had been great news for conducting the burns.
   “Good conditions have allowed NPWS firefighters, the Rural Fire Service and NSW Fire Brigades to ensure burns are strategically located to guarantee the highest level of protection for national park neighbours and infrastructure,” Mr Koperberg said.
   Mr Sartor said NPWS firefighters were currently undergoing fitness assessments and helicopter training to ensure they were fit to attend to fires next summer.


14 July, 2010

First class plans for
Education Week

Education Week 2010 is to be held from 2 to 6 August.
   Each year the week is celebrated with themed days and regional, community and local events.
   This year the Department of Education and Training is focusing on NSW Public Schools - leading the way, and is showcasing its Year of Learning for Sustainability.
   The Department said schools could register their activities until the end of July for the launch of Education Week 2010 at midday on 2 August.
   It said from 3 to 6 August, the NSW State Student Representative Council Conference Accept, Engage, Time for Change would take place and would include 130 secondary student leaders representing all educational regions.
   According to the Department, each day of the conference would be filled with fun and motivational activities, such as student leadership skill development workshops, a dance and a Student Forum.
   On 4 August the annual Principal for a Day event would take place, providing business and community leaders with the opportunity to experience managing a Government school first-hand by taking part in in-depth leadership discussions with school principals, taking classes with students and talking to parents and staff.
   Director-General for a Day will also be held on 4 August to provide secondary students with the opportunity to learn about the challenges and satisfactions of working in senior management in the Department and to show students how educational policy related to schools.
   The Department of Education and Training said during Education Week the Foundation for Young Australians would launch ‘Our Schools’, a national campaign aimed at building on the success of the ‘Back to School’ campaign.
   The Foundation for Young Australians said the campaign encouraged parents, teachers, students, artists and Chief Executives to contribute to the education of young Australians.
   Further information on the campaign was available from www.ourschools.org.au and more details on Education week activities could be accessed at www.schools.nsw.edu.au


14 July, 2010

Minister breaks ice
with winter pool call

The Minister for Local Government, Barbara Perry has joined with Royal Life Saving NSW to call on pool owners to conduct a mid-winter safety check of their pools.
   With more than 300,000 backyard swimming pools in NSW, Ms Perry said it was important residents remained vigilant about pool safety, regardless of the season.
   “It’s the middle of winter but pool-related dangers still exist,” Ms Perry said.
   “I would urge all pool owners to do a mid-winter pool safety check to ensure their pool is as safe as possible.”
   She reminded pool owners to make sure their gate was locking properly and to check they had nothing propped up against the pool fence that children could use to climb into the pool area.
   “Winter is also the perfect time to learn CPR,” Ms Perry said.
   She said the reminder about pool safety came as new swimming pool laws designed to reduce the incidence of toddler drownings came into effect.
   She said as of 1 July, new private pools constructed in NSW must be enclosed by a four-sided, child resistant barrier.
   Chief Executive of Royal Life Saving NSW, David Macallister said a Royal Life Saving NSW Drowning Report found of the 10 children who drowned in 2008/2009, seven drowned in backyard swimming pools.
   “The message doesn’t seem to be getting through to pool owners that it is vital to check and maintain pool fences all year around to protect young children from drowning,” Mr Macallister said.
   He said all NSW Councils had a Home Pool Safety in a Box kit, an initiative of Royal Life Saving and the NSW Government designed to encourage more home pool owners to learn CPR.
   Mr Macallister said the kits could be purchased from Local Councils and included a DVD on CPR; a checklist outlining how to check, fix and maintain a pool fence; and a booklet with information to keep children safe around water.
   For more information visit www.royalnsw.com.au


14 July, 2010

Workers cool after
asbestos training

Workers trained in health and safety issues are more likely to understand the dangers of asbestos according to a report issued by Safe Work Australia.
   Following up a 2009 study Asbestos Exposure and Compliance Study of Construction and Maintenance Workers the findings of which were published in February, SafeWork Australia said the focus had been on four trades - electricians, carpenters, plumbers and painters.
   The follow up report reviewed the literature on worker safety behaviour and the factors that influenced their understanding of the health risks of asbestos exposure.
   According to the Chair of Safe Work Australia, Tom Phillips, it also examined the factors that influenced compliance with safe work practices when working with asbestos.
   “This report provides reliable information that can influence the safety behaviour of workers,” Mr Phillips said, “however further research is needed to identify additional behavioural factors that may affect the safety of workers.
   “It is vital for the safety of all Australians to ensure access to the most current and reliable information to protect workers from exposure to workplace hazards including asbestos.”
   He said the report found carpenters were more likely to report an understanding of the risks of asbestos than painters and that workers who had completed asbestos health and safety training were more likely to report an understanding of the risks of exposure to asbestos than those without such training.
   Mr Phillips said workers who received information on risks of exposure to asbestos from trade training, trade associations or trade unions were more likely to report having a greater understanding of the risks compared to workers who received information from the media.
   He said according to the report, a person’s age and whether they worked alone or with others did not significantly influence their understanding of the risks of asbestos.
The Asbestos Exposure and Compliance Study of Construction and Maintenance Workers: Follow-up Report was available at www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au


14 July, 2010

Transport on track
for Aboriginal needs

A new State-wide transport initiative to support Aboriginal people attending events of cultural significance has been announced by the Minister for Transport, John Robertson.
   Mr Robertson said the Government would contribute an initial $190,000 to the project, which would be coordinated by the Disability and Aged Information Service Inc.
   “It’s important Aboriginal people living in remote areas have access to transport to get to and from culturally significant events,” Mr Robertson said.
   “This is especially important when it comes to funeral services, especially those of Elders.”
   He said there was also a range of other events that were significant to many Aboriginal people and the new transport project was designed to help communities get to and from those celebrations.
   Mr Robertson said the project would be the catalyst for local organisations and transport providers to get together and develop transport policies addressing the needs of the local communities.
   “This project will engage and empower local communities and provide the opportunity for skills development in the coordination of transport for the community,” he said.
   “This is one of many local initiatives that are being rolled-out across regional NSW as part of the NSW Government’s support for local and community transport solutions.”
   Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Paul Lynch said a number of community organisations would contribute funding and in kind support for the project.
   “There are a lot of people behind this initiative,” Mr Lynch said.
   “We hope to see it up and running next month, with initial funding for the next 18 months.”


14 July, 2010

Rusty pipes study
to go with the flow

The Better Regulation Office has joined with Industry & Investment NSW to conduct a review into the regulation of corrosion protection in NSW.
   An issues paper has been released to encourage feedback on the current and alternative approaches to corrosion in NSW in an effort to create the most efficient and effective way to manage protection.  
   According to the issues paper, Review of NSW corrosion protection regulation, there is over $18 billion worth of underground metallic structures in NSW, many of which deliver water, gas, electricity, and telecommunication services.
   The paper said corrosion could cause significant maintenance and repair costs and where it caused a structure to fail, could jeopardise public safety and service delivery.
   It said corrosion protection systems were used to keep the pipes, cables and buildings safe, operational and rust-free.
   However it also said that while some systems protected the structure from corrosion, they could cause corrosion to other buildings or pipes that were nearby.
   Currently, the Government makes sure the systems are operating safely and effectively by approving them and keeping information about them on a register.
   The review is to examine the approach to regulating corrosion protection systems (CPS), identify the risks in using CPS and the most appropriate Government response to mitigate those risks.
   A range of options for reform, including maintaining the current approach, removing the regulatory framework and industry self-regulation are set out in the issues paper.
   The issues paper can be viewed at www.betterregulation.nsw.gov.au
   Submissions close on 13 August.


14 July, 2010

Lifesavers buoyed by
new lifejacket rules

New rules governing the use of lifejackets on the water have been unveiled by the Minister for Ports and Waterways, Paul McLeay.
   Mr McLeay said 23 lives had been lost in boating incidents over the past 12 months, with lifejackets often being on board but not being worn.
   “A lifejacket can’t save your life unless you’re wearing it, and so we’re changing the rules to ensure that in times of heightened risk it’s now essential rather than optional,” Mr McLeay said.
   “We want boating to be fun so we haven’t said a lifejacket has to be worn at all times. Instead, we’ve worked with boaters to identify the higher risk boating activities where lifejackets will now be required.”
   He said under the new rules, lifejackets had to be worn by children under 12 years of age when in a vessel smaller than 4.8 metres or when in an open area of a vessel less than 8m in length.
   Mr McLeay said all boaters would be required to wear a life jacket when they were in a vessel less than 4.8m in the following situations: at night; on open (ocean) waters; on alpine lakes; when boating alone; and, when the boat was being used as a tender more than 400m from shore.
   He said the rules also stipulated boaters must put on a life jacket at times of ‘Skipper Judgement and Direction’ in ‘heightened risk’ situations such as when the weather worsens or the boat breaks down; when water-skiing or wakeboarding; or when operating a canoe or kayak on enclosed waters more than 100m from shore or on ocean waters.
   Mr McLeay said the changes would take effect from 1 November and would include a 12 month advisory period to allow boaters to get used to the new rules.
   During the advisory period NSW Maritime will only penalise repeat offenders.
   Further information on the new rules was available from www.maritime.nsw.gov.au


14 July, 2010

Legal survey to
be by the book

A public survey to gather community opinions on the creation of a national legal profession has been announced by the Federal Attorney-General, Robert McClelland.
   Mr McClelland said the survey would provide a clear and accessible way for consumers to contribute to the consultation process.
   He said the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) had established the National Legal Profession Reform Project with the aims of not only creating a single national market for legal services, but also simplifying and increasing the effectiveness of regulation of the legal profession.
   Developed by an independent consultant engaged by the National Legal Profession Reform Taskforce, the survey is part of a consumer consultation process which includes consumer panels and workshops, telephone interviews and submissions.
   “We are interested in views on the draft legislation, including ideas on how the reforms might better enhance consumer protection,” Mr McClelland said.
   The Attorney-General said survey responses would be used to form part of a consumer report to the Taskforce.
   He said responses would be confidential and people would not be required to provide their name or other personal information.
   “I encourage everyone with an interest in Australia’s legal profession to complete the survey and to make submissions to the Taskforce, as both will form an invaluable part of the reform process,” Mr McClelland said.
   The survey was available at www.ag.gov.au as was further information on the National Legal Profession Reform Project.


14 July, 2010

Flare up over
faulty heater

Consumers have been warned about a recall program for a dangerous heater and unsafe lamps.
   Deputy Commissioner of Fair Trading, Steve Griffin issued the warning saying the products posed a risk of electrocution and fire.
   Mr Griffin said The Reject Shop was recalling a Homeplex Fan Heater 2000W (Barcode Number: 9336672017819, model number FH-A02) due to several reports of fires.
   “The fan heaters have a mechanical fault that may lead to overheating, resulting in potential fire or hazardous melting of internal product components,” Mr Griffin said.
   “The heater was sold at The Reject Shop from March 2010. A total of 13,570 have been sold, with 5,116 of those sold in NSW.”
   He said consumers should cease using the heater immediately and return it to the nearest Reject Shop for a full refund or phone The Reject Shop on 1800 633 886 for more information.
   Mr Griffin said Typo Pty Ltd was also recalling the Mr. P Lamp (model number FFX-047/FQ) and the Lips Lamp (model number E27 108, style number 191669), both of which did not comply with Australian standards and posed a risk of electrocution or fire.
   “The Mr. P Lamp has live parts that are accessible without the use of a tool and the Lips Lamp is not double insulated,” he said.
   “The Mr. P Lamp was sold in TYPO, Cotton On and selected Borders stores in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales between 5 October 2009 and 15 June 2010. A total of 2,765 were sold, with 1,134 of those sold in NSW.”
   Mr Griffin said 58 Lips Lamp were sold in NSW through TYPO and Cotton On stores.
   He said further information was available from www.recalls.gov.au or by phoning 1800 048 822.


14 July, 2010

Headland design is
prominent plan

The proposed design of the Barangaroo Headland Park has been unveiled by the Barangaroo Design Excellence Review Panel and submitted to the Department of Planning for evaluation.
   Premier, Kristina Keneally said the Headland Park would feature a cultural centre built within the headland as well as picnic areas, walking paths, water access and tidal pools.
   Ms Keneally said construction of the Headland Park, created by one of the world’s leading landscape architects, Peter Walker, would commence later this year after consideration of the design by the Department.
   She said construction was expected to be complete by 2014 and would be funded by development of the southern commercial precinct and delivered at no cost to NSW taxpayers.
   She said the new cultural space, which would be provided under the naturalistic form of headland, was expected to allow for between 10,000 and 20,000 square metres in floor area.
   “The magnificent Headland Park will be an asset for Sydney and NSW for generations to come,” Ms Keneally said.
   “The park itself will closely resemble its form before 1836.
   “It will reflect the rugged sandstone topography of the harbour and will include the planting of large Port Jackson fig trees, Angophora, and other native trees.”
   The Premier said the Government would work with the community, visual and performing arts organisations and benefactors to determine the most important cultural needs for the site.
   She said strong support had already been expressed for recognition of Indigenous culture at Barangaroo, and this was being considered alongside other possible uses for the site.
   Ms Keneally said the plans for Headland Park would be subject to the full public exhibition and planning approval process.


14 July, 2010

Discussion paper
to set fax right

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has released a discussion paper on the development of a national standard for marketing faxes.
   Chairman of ACMA, Chris Chapman said a national standard for the fax marketing industry would form an important part of the Do Not Call Register scheme, which was recently expanded to allow fax numbers to be listed.
   “The development of a national fax marketing industry standard is intended to provide the community with greater certainty regarding the minimum level of behaviour they can expect from fax marketers,” Mr Chapman said.
   “It is also intended to encourage best practice in fax marketing.”
   He said the discussion paper, Developing an Industry Standard for the Fax
Marketing Industry, covered minimum standards of conduct for the industry.
   He said it included standards such as the days and times marketing faxes could be sent and the kind of information marketers could be obliged to divulge about themselves and the organisations they represented.
   He urged consumers and industry stakeholders to comment on the discussion paper.
   Mr Chapman said ACMA would hold information forums for members of the fax marketing industry in NSW, Queensland and Victoria this month.
   The discussion paper was available at www.acma.gov.au and submissions close on 9 August.
   More information on the forums in NSW was available by contacting Mellanie Shaylor on (03) 9663 6867.


14 July, 2010
Records risk extra
NSW State Records has announced an extra date for its workshop on managing recordkeeping risk in business systems.
   The workshop, which is based on State Records’ checklist for assessing business systems (RIB 42), will now also be held on 3 August at the Sydney Records Centre.
   The workshop is designed to help participants to manage risks in their organisations caused by business systems and will also be held on 27 and 30 July.
   Go to www.records.nsw.gov.au for details and to register.

Dubbo census trial
The Australian Bureau of Statistics is to commence a test run of the processes and procedures for next year’s Agricultural Census in the Dubbo region.
   The test will be undertaken via a mail out, mail back system.
   The Agricultural Census is conducted every five years to allow farmers to contribute information about crops, livestock and other commodity production.

Privacy training upgrade
The Privacy Commission’s online training program for the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 has been upgraded to improve functionality and reliability.
   The program is interactive and designed to promote a greater understanding of privacy issues through information on the 12 Personal Information Protection Principles and a quiz.
Acting NSW Privacy Commissioner,John McAteer said Government Agencies who wanted to access the program or undertake the training should email privacy_nsw@agd.nsw.gov.au

Olympic cauldron listing
Public comment is being sought on a proposal to list the Sydney Olympic cauldron on the State Heritage List.
   Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly, said the cauldron was a reminder of the opening ceremony and that being listed as a State heritage item would protect it under the Heritage Act for future generations.
   Feedback on the proposed listing, which is on public exhibition, can be made until 22 July by emailing bronwyn.hanna@planning.nsw.gov.au

More NBN sites
Two new sites in NSW have been added to the National Broadband Network trial.
   Coffs Harbour and Riverstone in Western Sydney will join Armidale in the Northern Tablelands and Kiama and Minnamurra Downs on the South Coast as roll out sites for the network.
   NBN Co, the company delivering the National Broadband Network, is expected to start construction in Armidale and Kiama and Minnamurra Downs this month, while construction on Coffs Harbour and Riverstone was expected in 2011.

Plant sessions success
Forty-three landholders learned to identify paddock plants in the Murrumbidgee and Upper-Murray Catchments last month.
   Project officer with Industry & Investment NSW, Tony Cox said field days held at Tooma, Gundagai, Adelong and Humula were part of the Communities in Landscapes project.
   Mr Cox said the project targeted high-value environmental assets on private land to boost biodiversity and production and was funded through the Commonwealth’s Caring for our Country program.

Wyong wing
A wing of the Wyong Hospital is to be extended and refurbished to create an Integrated Education Centre.
   Northern Sydney Central Coast Health (NSCCH) is to receive around $4.5 million in Commonwealth funding for the project.
   The NSCCH, the University of Newcastle and the University of New England have all contributed funds enable the hospital to become a teaching facility.

Mission on register
The Warangesda Mission site at Darling Point near Griffith has been listed on the State Heritage Register.
   The Mission was one of 10 in NSW in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and was built between 1879 and 1884.
   It’s the only mission or reserve site to retain its original 19th century building ruins and archaeological relics, including a school teacher’s cottage, ruins of the school house, girls’ dormitory and ration shed. The remains of two burial sites – an infant and an adult cemetery – are also now recognised by the listing.

Jetty touched up
The finishing touches are being put on the $700,000 upgrade of the iconic Clifton Gardens Jetty at Mosman.
   The improved jetty will include facilities for docking charter fishing boats and commercial, emergency and defence vessels; a measurement station, waste disposal area and retail outlets.
   Marine biologists, scientists, divers and snorkelers will also use the jetty to observe marine habitats that develop around the structure and on the netting.


7 July, 2010

Information watchdog
shows off new tricks

The new Information Commissioner has hit the ground running after the State’s significantly improved information laws came into effect on 1 July.
   Commissioner Deirdre O’Donnell has made it clear that much is expected of Departments and Agencies under the new regime and she would make it her business to ensure that the public’s access to Government information would be made easier than ever.
   “There will no longer be any excuse for long drawn-out applications for every piece of information requested by a member of the public or a journalist,” Ms O’Donnell said.
   “Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act (GIPA Act), all Government Agencies must try to provide the requested information quickly and informally, with formal applications an absolute last resort.”
   She said the GIPA Act replaced the former Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and recognised as a key part of its legislation, that people have a right to information.
   “This means State Government Agencies, Local Councils, State-owned corporations, universities and Government Ministers will be proactively releasing more information to the public than ever before,” she said.
   “Agencies’ websites will now feature a range of information of interest to the public, including their policy documents, publications, documents tabled in Parliament and other data that can be publicly released.”
   The Commissioner said under the new system, requesting information from Agencies would also be easier.
   She said the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) was an independent statutory authority that provided advice, assistance and training to Government Agencies and members of the public and handled complaints.
   She said further information about the new right to information system was available from www.oic.nsw.gov.au or by phoning 1800 InfoCom (463 626).


7 July, 2010

Style Guide for
logo with style

A new Style Guide governing the use and application of the NSW Government logo has been issued by the Department of Services, Technology and Administration.
   The waratah logo was modified slightly in April and a Circular has been issued by the Department of Premier and Cabinet drawing attention to the new Guide and its use.
   In the Circular NSW Government Branding Style Guide and revised logo, the Director General of DPC, Brendan O’Reilly said the Guide would help Departments and Agencies properly and consistently use the logo, which is to be adopted broadly across the public sector.
   Mr O’Reilly said the Guide, NSW Government Branding Style Guide, provides technical specifications and guidance on the development of Agency logos, co-branding and application to advertising collateral.
   He said the logo was inspired by the floral emblem of NSW and was a “branding device used to establish the corporate identity of the NSW Government.”
   “The logo is to replace existing Agency branding on all communications materials,” Mr O’Reilly said.
   “As the logo change is a minor typographical realignment, Departments and Agencies should run down existing stocks of printed material that use the current waratah branding.”
   He said the revised design had been provided to optimise flexibility of use in different sizes and formats.
   Mr O’Reilly said the logo must be used in its entirety and reproduced from original digital images.
   He said the logo must have a prominent position on Agency communication and clear space must be maintained around it.
   The Style Guide and revised artwork were available from www.services.nsw.gov.au while the Circular, C2010-20 NSW Government Branding Style Guide and revised logo, could be accessed at www.dpc.nsw.gov.au


7 July, 2010

Privacy opened up
by public interest

The Principal Privacy Officer at Privacy NSW has made two new Public Interest Directions to allow certain Agencies to collect, use and disclose personal and health information in cases of domestic and family violence.
The PPO, John McAteer made the Directions under delegation from the Privacy Commissioner.
   Mr McAteer said the health and privacy Directions applied to Agencies working within the Cross Agency Risk Assessment and Management - Domestic and Family Violence (CARAM-DFV) framework.
   He said his Directions changed the requirements for Agencies to comply with some information protection principles (IPPs) and health privacy principles (HPPs) under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002.
   Mr McAteer said the Directions allowed Agencies and Non-Government organisations operating within the CARAM-DFV framework to assess the extent to which victims of domestic and family violence were at risk of experiencing future violence, provided they were at least 16.
   He said Agencies must follow current legislative and policy directions in relation to children at risk of harm.
   “The participating Agencies and NGOs regularly come into contact with victims of domestic and family violence,” he said.
   “This Direction has been made to permit the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by participating Agencies for the purposes of the CARAM-DFV framework.”
   Mr McAteer said he was satisfied the public interest in making the directions was greater than the public interest in requiring the participating Agencies to comply with the IPPs and HPPs contained in the two Acts.
   He said the Directions laid out a number of situations where Agencies did not need to adhere to IPPs and HPPs when collecting, using and disclosing personal information relating to victims of domestic or family violence and third parties.
   The two Directions, Direction under s.41(1) of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 in relation to CARAM-FFV framework and Direction under s.62(1) of the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 in relation to CARAM-DFV framework could be accessed at www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au
   The Directions were signed on 30 June and remain effective for one year.


7 July, 2010

Charities cash in on
funding reforms

Departments and Agencies funding not-for-profit organisations are to use a standardised approach to financial reporting under national reforms welcomed by the Minister for Regulatory Reform, John Hatzistergos.
   Mr Hatzistergos said the changes commenced on 1 July and meant not-for-profit groups that reported to more than one Government funder could choose to keep just one set of financial information to satisfy all their financial reporting requirements.
   “The NSW Government is committed to helping not-for-profits work effectively and efficiently, without being wrapped up in red tape,” Mr Hatzistergos said.
   “Harmonising the way that different Government funders ask basic financial questions will mean not-for-profits spend less time and money reporting to funders and more time doing their work and contributing to the community.”
   He said NSW joined with the other States and Territories in endorsing the national approach to financial reporting for Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in April this year.
   Mr Hatzistergos said that the NSW Better Regulation Office had consulted with all State Government Agencies and the not-for-profit sector on the national Standard Chart of Accounts that would guide requests for basic financial information.
   He said the national Standard Chart of Accounts would be used to guide the way all State and Federal Government Agencies asked not-for-profit groups to report basic financial information.
   Mr Hatzistergos said adoption of the standard by not-for-profit groups would be voluntary.
   He said the changes would harmonise reporting requests for grants awarded after 1 July 2010, saving the non-profit organisations time and money and reducing the regulatory burden.
   Mr Hatzistergos said the Standard was available at the Better Regulation Office’s website www.betterregulation.nsw.gov.au


7 July, 2010

Ombudsman finds
victims victimised

The NSW Ombudsman has found fault with the former Department of Community Services (now Community Services) in its handling of compensation claims for children and young people being cared for out of their own homes.
   In his report, The need to better support children and young people in statutory care who have been victims of violent crime, the Ombudsman, Bruce Barbour said it was completely unacceptable that some children and young people were deprived of their entitlements because of administration failure.
   Mr Barbour said all NSW victims of crime who were injured as a result of an offence were entitled to apply for financial compensation, including children and young people.
   He said for eligible children and young people in statutory care, the responsibility to lodge a claim for compensation fell to Community Services.
   “Between 2005 and 2009 only 368 victim’s compensation claims were lodged by Community Services on behalf of children and young people in statutory care,” Mr Barbour said.
   He said his investigation found significant deficiencies in Community Services’ identification and handling of victim’s compensation for children and young people in out-of-home care.
   The Ombudsman said the investigation found that for many young people, entitlement to victim’s compensation was either completely overlooked or only considered by Community Services when young people were about to leave care on turning 18.
   Mr Barbour said as a consequence, the responsibility for lodging the claim was transferred from Community Services to the youth.
   “This seems to be an unfair burden to place on young people who more often than not will face significantly greater challenges in achieving a successful move towards independence and adulthood than their peers who have supportive families,” the Ombudsman said.
   “Having their entitlements fully explored before leaving care would enhance care leavers’ likelihood of successful transition to independence by providing them with financial support when they most need it.”
   Mr Barbour said in response to his report, Community Services said it was committed to improving its practices.
   However he said he believed there was a “real risk” that the required changes would not occur because of broader inherent weaknesses in the out-of-home care system.
   The full Ombudsman’s report could be downloaded from www.ombo.nsw.gov.au


7 July, 2010

WorkCover walks the
talk in 14 languages

WorkCover NSW has launched its popular Come Home Safely Kits in 14 foreign languages.
   Minister for Finance, Michael Daley said the kits would now be available in Arabic, Cantonese, Dinka, Greek, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Mandarin, Sinhalese, Spanish, Swahili, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese as well as English.
   Mr Daley said more than 5,000 workers had ordered copies of the Come Home Safely Kit since the campaign first aired in March and it was important that people from all cultural and linguistic backgrounds understood workplace health and safety issues and had access to relevant information.
   “This information pack for workers will include material that will help to identify workplace hazards, reduce risks and prevent injuries,” Mr Daley said.
   “It will reinforce the messages of the recent Homecomings advertising campaign that has struck a chord with families and workers alike.”
   The Minister said workers from non-English speaking backgrounds could feel reluctant to report hazards to their employer and that language barriers might make it difficult to perceive hazards and risks.
   “Every worker has friends, family and loved ones who are counting on their safe return from work and these kits will provide greater access to the workplace safety message – and overcome the language barrier,” Mr Daley said.
   He said safety rates across workplaces were improving but there was still more work to do to spread the message of workplace safety.
   Kits could be ordered by phoning 1300 799 003 or visiting www.workcover.nsw.gov.au


7 July, 2010

Paper proposes
planning plan

A discussion paper proposing cuts of up to six months in the processing time for planning approvals has been issued for public comment.
   Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly said the Government planned to slash approval times for new homes and home extensions on small lots by up to 190 days.
   Mr Kelly said the changes would be made without sacrificing neighbourhood privacy and amenity.
   He said the discussion paper, Proposed expansion of the NSW Housing Code, outlined proposed changes to the NSW Housing Code and would be on public exhibition until 6 August 2010.
   He said the proposed amendments would allow new houses, attic conversions, extensions, basements, garages, carports and rear lane developments to be approved within 10 days.
   “We are already seeing significant improvements in the uptake of the code, with a number of Councils reporting between 80 and 100 per cent of their 10-day complying development approvals are via the code,” Mr Kelly said.
   He said planned amendments to the Code included extending the existing code to lots of at least 300 square metres (down from 450sqm) with frontage of at least 10 metres; changes to apply to small lots at least 200sqm and a frontage of between six and 10m; allowing minor external alterations; requiring at least 30 per cent of small lots to remain undeveloped; and limits on maximum floor area and height.
   “These changes could therefore extend these benefits to more homeowners, particularly when proposals for new dwellings in areas where a new small lots code would commonly apply are taking anywhere between 62 and 202 days to get approved,” he said.
   The Minister said the proposals were designed to protect the rights and amenity of neighbours through controls on building setbacks, floor space, site coverage and height.
   Mr Kelly said community members who wanted to have their say on the proposed amendments could access more information at www.planning.nsw.gov.au
   Submissions close on 6 August and could be emailed to codes@planning.nsw.gov.au


7 July, 2010

Minister puts weight
on waste watchers

The Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, Frank Sartor has called on members of the community to ‘dob in’ anyone they see illegally dumping waste.
   Mr Sartor said recent tip-offs from industry informers and a person out for a jog had proved vital in helping bring dumpers to justice.
   “In recent weeks the Land and Environment Court handed down almost $300,000 in fines, penalties and costs, and 920 hours of community service for dumpers prosecuted by the Environment Protection Authority,” Mr Sartor said.
   “Tip-offs from the waste industry and information from Local Councils were vital in getting these criminals to Court and in most cases the culprits were caught red handed by surveillance teams.”
   Mr Sartor said in one instance the quick thinking of a jogger on his morning run led to a conviction and $10,000 fine for a Lidcombe man seen dumping asbestos in Glenbrook Creek in Blue Mountains National Park.
   He said the NSW Government had specialist waste investigators who were experts in covert surveillance and forensic investigations of dumped material.
   Mr Sartor said the investigators worked hand-in-hand with Local Councils and Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) Squads on programs throughout Sydney and NSW.
   The Minister said the Eye in the Sky program employed helicopters and radar intelligence to feed information to investigation teams.
   He said investigators carried out 575 site inspections across Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Illawarra and the Hunter last year and that in 2009-2010 the Western Sydney RID Squad investigated 3,227 illegal dumping incidents involving more than 12,000 tonnes of waste.
   Mr Sartor said the investigations resulted in 112 clean-up notices and 520 penalty notices being issued.
   He encouraged people to report suspicious behaviour to Councils or by calling the Environment Line on 131 555.
   Mr Sartor said information for construction site managers about how to dispose of waste legally and responsibly was available at www.environment.nsw.gov.au


7 July, 2010

RTA sinks teeth into
dragons’ teethmarks

A report on the program of rolling out dragons’ teeth road markings for school zones across the State has concluded that they should all be installed by the end of the year.
   The markings are designed to make drivers aware they are entering a 40km/h school zone.
   A spokesperson for the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) said so far the Authority had installed markings at 1,075 schools across NSW.
   “The $14 million road marking initiative aims to help keep children safe around school zones,” the spokesperson said.
   “The program involves painting triangular markings or ‘dragon’s teeth’ on each side of a lane starting at the school zone sign and continuing for up to 32.5m along the lane.”
   The spokesperson said it was an important road safety initiative for schools and was an extra measure to make sure drivers were on the lookout for children.
   “The project is progressing well, of course with this type of work we require favourable weather conditions to apply the markings on to the road surface but so far we are on target to have dragon’s teeth installed at 10,000 school zones across the State by the end of the year,” the spokesperson said.
   NSW’s 3,200 schools have more than10,000 school zones.
   “Dragon’s teeth, combined with existing school zone signs and yellow ‘40’ road patches, alert motorists and help to remind them to slow down to 40km/h,” the spokesperson said.
   Further information on the progress of the program was available from www.rta.nsw.gov.au


7 July, 2010

Two centres circled
in data centre plan

The NSW Government data centre is to be set up across two locations, one in Sydney and the other in the Illawarra.
   Minister for the Illawarra, Paul McLeay said a shortlist of private sector organisations that could be invited to tender for the two data centres had been released
   Mr McLeay said constructing a centre to store data and computing capacity in the Illawarra region would create significant job opportunities.
   “The Illawarra region will get a share of the overall estimated 400 jobs from the construction and design phase of this project,” Mr McLeay said.
   “There will also be ongoing work in the private sector to staff, operate and maintain these facilities.”
   He said the shortlist of candidates included Global Switch Property (Australia) Pty Ltd; Gresham Rabo Management Ltd; Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd; Macquarie Capital Group Ltd; and The Plenary Group Unit Trust.
   Mr McLeay said the Government would release a comprehensive request-for-tender to the short-listed candidates in the near future, giving them the opportunity to tender for the construction, operation and ongoing management of the two facilities.
   Minister for Commerce, Paul Lynch, said the data centre reform process would secure enough capacity to efficiently meet the Government’s long-term demand without compromising security or adding to environmental pressures.
   “The establishment of the two facilities will give the people of NSW the assurance that Government data, which includes very sensitive information, is secure and backed up in the event of a major catastrophic event,” Mr Lynch said.
   “This project will not only ensure capacity and safety in relation to Government data needs but will also deliver important environmental benefits.”
   He said the data centre reform process had been welcomed by the market and would set the standard for Government data facilities in Australia.


7 July, 2010

Booklet turns page
for women’s health

A new booklet to improve the health of women living with an intellectual disability has been launched by NSW Health.
   Director of the Primary Health and Community Partnerships Branch of NSW Health, Catherine Lynch said Being a Healthy Woman was designed to assist women with an intellectual disability who were often less likely to understand life changes, the importance of a healthy lifestyle, or the need to see doctors when ill.
   “Research indicates many of these women visit doctors less frequently and health concerns can go undiagnosed or appropriately treated,” Ms Lynch said.
   She said the book was written in simple and accessible language which would improve communication between medical professionals and women with intellectual disabilities.
   Ms Lynch said the book was produced by the Centre for Education and Research on Ageing after extensive consultation with women with intellectual disabilities, their families, carers and support workers.
   She said it covered 16 topics including being healthy and happy, growing up, safe sex, parenting, breast health, dealing with grief and loss and growing older.
   Ms Lynch said Being a Healthy Woman was backed by a training package that was trialled by GPs and hospital registrars to improve the health outcomes for women with an intellectual disability.
   “The Being a Healthy Woman book is complemented by this training package which is available on DVD or in a power point presentation to address communication barriers medical professionals may have in effectively working with women with intellectual disabilities,” Ms Lynch said.
   “The book also contains an extensive list of health resources and where to find them which will help women with intellectual disabilities, family members and medical practitioners seeking more detailed information.”
   There are around 70,000 women with an intellectual disability living in NSW.
   She said the training package would be available from www.gpsynergy.com.au and the book would be available to group homes and residential facilities in NSW at www.health.nsw.gov.au


7 July, 2010

Healthy expansion for
health program

NSW’s telephone-based healthy lifestyle information service ‘Get Healthy’ has been picked up by the Governments of Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.
   Launched in NSW in early 2009, the information and coaching service is free and confidential and provides information and ongoing support to adults who would like to eat healthier, be more active or achieve and maintain a healthy weight. 
   Director of Health Advancement at NSW Health, Joanne Smith said the innovative service was a great example of NSW leading the way to provide accessible population based preventative health initiatives.
   “The NSW Government launched the NSW Get Healthy Information and Coaching Service in 2009 as the first service of its kind to be implemented State-wide in Australia,” Ms Smith said.
   “We are pleased that the ACT and Tasmanian Governments are joining the Get Healthy Service.”
   She said in NSW, more than 50 per cent of the adult population were overweight or obese.
   “The Get Healthy Service has achieved promising results, with participants losing an average of 3.45kg and 4.61cm from their waist after completing the 6 month coaching program,” Ms Smith said.
   “Importantly the proportion of participants who’s Body Mass Index placed them in the obese range has decreased from 53.8 per cent at baseline to 42.3 per cent at six months.”
   She said the Government was pleased the Service was reaching those people most in need, with 41.2 per cent of service users living in regional and remote regions of NSW and 2.1 per cent being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
   Ms Smith said NSW residents could obtain a detailed information kit or elect to take part in a six-month coaching program by visiting www.gethealthynsw.com.au or phoning 1300 806 258.


7 July, 2010

Couples relate to
relationships roll

The NSW Relationships Register has been officially launched by the Attorney General, John Hatzistergos.
   Mr Hatzistergos said the Register would make it easier for unmarried couples to access Government services, legal entitlements or records.
   He said it would also provide unmarried heterosexual and same-sex couples with a simple way of having their relationships recorded and respected.
   “Previous laws made it difficult for couples who are in de-facto or committed relationships to prove their relationship for the purpose of obtaining necessary documents,” Mr Hatzistergos said.
   “Couples who choose to register their relationship will now be provided with one document that helps prove their relationship sparing them the frustration of constantly having to supply Agencies with large amounts of paperwork.”
   The Attorney General said the Government welcomed the Commonwealth’s cooperation to implement complementary amendments to Commonwealth regulations.
   Mr Hatzistergos said the changes would enable couples registered under the NSW scheme to be recognised as de facto couples under a wide range of Commonwealth laws including taxation, social security, health, aged care and superannuation laws.
   He said the Relationships Register would not provide for civil unions, but would reflect the serious commitment made by couples who chose to register.
   “Couples will need to be able to prove they are eligible to be included on the Register and can have the registration terminated if the relationship dissolves,” Mr Hatzistergos said.
   He said to be eligible to register their relationship couples must be in a committed, exclusive relationship; must not be married or in another relationship that is registered or registrable; must be 18 or older; and one person must be a resident of NSW.
   Mr Hatzistergos said the NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages was managing the Register and more information was available by visiting www.bdm.nsw.gov.au


7 July, 2010

Inspectors to coast
into coastal towns

The Fair Work Ombudsman is to visit NSW businesses from the Central Coast to the South Coast, including Sydney, over the next three weeks.
   Director of the Fair Work Ombudsman NSW, Mark Davidson said Fair Work inspectors would doorknock businesses to provide information packs to employers who had entered the national workplace relations system.
   Mr Davidson said the informal visits were aimed at helping employers understand changes to national workplace laws including the new National Employment Standards and Modern Awards.
   He said the information packs included resources such as fact sheets, templates and Best Practice Guides and provided advice about practical steps employers could take to adjust to the new system.
   “We are very serious about our job of building knowledge and creating fairer workplaces and we are strongly focused on ensuring the community understands its workplace rights and obligations,” Mr Davidson said.
   “The best advice I can give to business operators is to get the basics right and everything else should start to fall into place.”
   He said the Fair Work Ombudsman would make educational visits to about 60 businesses in Wollongong over the next three weeks, focusing on the region’s commercial precincts.
   He said officers would also be doorknocking in Nowra, Liverpool, Engadine, Heathcote, Padstow, Riverwood, Pagewood and Cronulla; Bondi Junction’s commercial precinct; and about 70 businesses in Gosford.
   He said the Fair Work Ombudsman had a number of tools on its website - www.fairwork.gov.au - to assist employees and employers to check minimum rates of pay, including PayCheck and Payroll Check.
   He said employers or employees seeking assistance or further information could also contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 from 8am-6pm weekdays.


7 July, 2010

Steady future for
disability sector

A report into the direction of the not-for-profit disability sector in NSW is expected to set the policy framework for service delivery across the State for the next five years.
   Minister for Disability Services, Peter Primrose said the report, Directions for Industry Development, was released jointly by the Government and National Disability Services (NDS).
   Mr Primrose said the report focused on placing people with a disability, their families and carers firmly at the centre of service delivery.
   He said it included a range of activities to be considered by the State through Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) or through other areas of Government.
   “There are opportunities for true innovation in this report, particularly in building new partnerships with mainstream services, so that people with a disability get the same access to basic services that we all enjoy,” Mr Primrose said.
   He said the non-Government sector played an essential role in partnership with ADHC to support people with a disability and their families.
   “A strong, robust and effective non-Government sector is able to build the capacity of the community and able to develop ‘social capital' for the community’s benefit,” Mr Primrose said.
   He said the Industry Development Fund (IDF), announced in June 2009, would to be used by the disability sector to build the capacity and sustainability of services.
   State Manager for NDS, Patrick Maher said the report set out a strategic focus for the sector.
   “It moves us beyond a funding relationship into a partnership with the NSW Government which provides a powerful mechanism to achieve quality outcomes,” Mr Maher said.
   “Focusing on industry development will further support the transition to a more integrated, efficient, innovative, robust and responsive service system to achieve quality outcomes for people with a disability and their families.”
   Mr Primrose said an implementation group would oversee the development of detailed project plans and advise the IDF Governance Board on industry development projects and reforms.


7 July, 2010

Research institute
has right formula

A new $40 million research institute to study energy and resources has been established at the University of Newcastle.
   Funded primarily by the Commonwealth through its Education Investment Fund, the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources has been welcomed by the Minister for Science and Medical Research and Minister for the Hunter, Jodi McKay.
   Ms McKay said the Institute would be a first-class energy and resources research precinct and would be located at the former BHP Billiton Technology Centre.
   She said the Institute would include 20 mineral and chemical laboratories and industrial-scale pilot plant workshops.
   Ms McKay said the Institute would bring together researchers from various faculties at the University as from industry such as BHP Billiton, Laing O’Rourke, EnergyAustralia and AmpControl.
   “The Institute will build on extensive energy infrastructure in Newcastle such as the Enterprise Connect – Clean Energy Innovation Centre; Australian Solar Institute; the CSIRO Energy Technology Centre; and the University’s 100kW geothermal energy pilot plant,” she said.
   “The Institute will also play a key role in turning Newcastle into Australia’s first Smart Grid Smart City following Newcastle’s recent win of the $100 million Commonwealth program.”
   Ms McKay said researchers at the Institute would work on producing efficiency solutions for major industry sectors such as reducing energy and water consumption in minerals processing; reducing carbon emissions through storage; providing alternative energy sources such as geothermal and polymer solar cells; and improving efficiency in power generation and electricity distribution.
   She said four other NSW projects had received funding in the latest round of the Commonwealth’s Education Investment Fund including The Australian Institute for Nanoscience at the University of Sydney; Building for the Future: a Unique Interactive Learning Environment for C21 ITE at the University of Technology, Sydney; Retrofitting for Resilient and Sustainable Buildings at University of Wollongong; and AutoCel – A Transport Technology Centre of Excellence at TAFE NSW – Sydney Institute.


7 July, 2010
Women in gallery
A new digital gallery showcasing the lives of women in NSW has been launched online by the State Archives.
   The Gallery covers a number of women ranging from those who moved to NSW at the beginning of the colony in 1789 to women who lived in the mid-20th Century.
   It includes a short biography of the women and scanned copies of documents from State Records that relate to their lives.
   The Gallery, which includes the biographies of a cross-dressing convicted murderer, Henry Lawson’s mother and a horse thief could be visited at www.records.nsw.gov.au

Award for RTA
The Roads and Traffic Authority has won a prestigious urban design award.
   The RTA’s Beyond the Pavement: RTA urban design policy, procedures and design principles was one of three winning projects in the Planning Institute of Australia Award for Urban Designs.
   The award recognises the best of design and acknowledges the critical role urban design plays in developing liveable towns and cities.
   Beyond the Pavement was recognised for helping to improve the quality of NSW cities and as a model for all Australian States and Territories.
   For more Award results visit www.planning.org.au

Ticketing survey
Fair Trading has invited members of the public to participate in a new online survey on ticket scalping, ticket on-selling and its impact on them.
   NSW Fair Trading developed the survey as a fast and easy way for people across the State to have their say as part of a national review currently underway.
   An Issues Paper will be available for comment at www.treasury.gov.au until 23 July and the survey could be completed at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au

School projects complete
NSW is the first State to complete works undertaken as part of the National School Pride component of the Federal Government’s Building the Education Revolution.
   More than 2,000 projects were undertaken in public schools to refurbish existing infrastructure and provide new minor building works.
   The projects, which commenced in April last year included refurbishing toilet blocks; installing floor coverings; painting; installing and refurbishing fencing; refurbishing playgrounds and sports courts; and installing and refurbishing paving.

Leases point to auction
The leases for 20 properties in Millers Point belonging to Housing NSW are to be put up for auction, with the proceeds going towards public housing projects.
   The announcement follows the auction of the 99-year leases for two historic homes at Millers Point, which raised a total of $3.17 million.
   The sales project has so far included 16 vacant, high-value properties on 99-year leases in Millers Point since November 2008, raising more than $18 million, which has been used to fund redevelopments in Camperdown, Lilyfield, Concord and Abbotsford.

Reservists honoured
The National Reserves Forces Day Parade was held in Sydney on Sunday (4 July) to celebrate and commemorate Reservists’ vital contribution to the defence of Australia.
   Reserve Forces Day honours the service and achievements of all Australian Defence Force Reservists and provides an opportunity for the employers and families of Reserve personnel to be thanked for their ongoing support.
   This year’s parade participants included present-day and former Reservists who have served overseas in operations ranging from the Korean War to current humanitarian missions.

Police go mobile
The Sutherland Local Care Command is to receive a state-of-the-art Mobile Command Vehicle from the 2010-11 NSW Police Budget.
   The new vehicle is one of 25 mobile police commands being delivered and is expected to be operating by the end of the year.
   The unit is equipped with a location specific police radio, a Mobile Data Terminal with access to police databases, a television monitor, police warning lights, a digital message board and an interview room.

Taxis rolled out
One hundred more taxis have been rolled out on Sydney’s roads in 100 days.
   Over 800 applications for the licences were received with 78 issued to drivers and other individuals wanting to run their own businesses, 12 to corporations and 10 to a taxi network.

Disability win
A strategy to boost employment in the disability and community care sectors launched in March is already proving successful according to the Minister for Disability Services, Peter Primrose.
   Mr Primrose said Project ABLE aimed to change perceptions that secondary and tertiary students may have of working in the disability sector and inspire them try it out.
   As of the beginning of May, 321 students from 19 schools were participating in the project.

FDC expands role
The Festival Development Corporation has changed its name to the Central Coast Regional Development Corporation (CCRDC) and expanded its role to accelerate growth and private investment in the region.
   The CCRDC is responsible for managing the Mt Penang Parklands, a 156-hectare site near Gosford that consists of sporting fields, gardens, restaurants and a business park.
   Expansion of the role of the CCRDC will enable it to act as development broker in relation to strategic sites in the region; facilitate the development and renewal of regional centres and corridors; and manage the assets and property of public lands within the Mt Penang site.