And in other news...Union concern at TV salaries
The Community and Public Sector Union has criticised a push to reveal the salaries of ABC television presenters.
The union said it feared a Freedom of Information request by a media outlet and a recent decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal could open the floodgates for personal information about ABC TV staff to enter the public domain.
It said it viewed the request as “nothing more than an intrusion of someone’s privacy”.
New border patrol boats
A new Customs and Border Protection patrol boat has been launched.
Australia’s first CapeClass patrol boat is one of eight new patrol boats which were expected to be operational in late 2015.
The CapeClass patrol boats were said to be faster and bigger than the current Bay Class patrol boats – 58.1 metres long compared with the 38.2-metre current vessels - and would be capable of patrolling for 28 days at a time and travelling 4,000 nautical miles before refuelling.
CSIRO’s material gain
Australian scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have produced a breakthrough two-dimensional material that could revolutionise the electronics market.
Working with researchers from Melbourne’s RMIT University, CSIRO scientists developed the new material which is made up of layers of crystal known as molybdenum oxides and has unique properties that encourage the free flow of electrons at ultra-high speeds.
The project saw a revolutionary material known as graphene adapted to create a new conductive nano-material.
Vitamin pill illegal
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has warned consumers that the supply of Libigirl vitamin capsules was illegal.
The TGA said the capsules had not been assessed for quality, safety or efficacy, as required under Australian legislation, and the place of manufacture was not approved by the TGA.
It said investigations had shown that a number of people in Australia had bought the product online.
Previously this week... Australia in top seat
Australia is set to lead global sanctions efforts against al-Qaida, the Taliban and Iran after being appointed Chair of the UN Security Council Committees overseeing these issues.
The Sanctions Committees have delegated authority from the Security Council to determine which persons or entities the al-Qaida and Taliban sanctions apply to.
In addition to its appointment as Chair of the Sanctions Committees for al-Qaida, the Taliban and Iran, Australia will be vice-chair of sanctions committees addressing situations in the Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire and Lebanon.
Ahead of schedule
An Indigenous housing program has exceeded its set targets ahead of schedule.
Under the $5.5 billion National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing more than 5,000 homes in remote Indigenous communities have been refurbished or rebuilt nearly two years ahead of schedule.
The overall target of 4,876 refurbishments by 2014 has been surpassed already with all jurisdictions either exceeding or on track to meet their individual targets.
Fit for defence contract
Two Australian companies are to manufacture the Standard Combat Uniform worn by Australian Defence Force members.
Local companies Australian Defence Apparel in Bendigo and Pacific Brands Workwear Group in West Footscray will produce the uniforms in a five-year contract, worth an estimated $14.5 million per year.
Minister for Defence Materiel, Jason Clare said he had made it clear that the standard combat uniform worn by soldiers should be made in Australia.
A new smartphone app and mobile website for 30 of Canberra’s national attractions has been officially launched.
The Canberra Guide was developed in collaboration between the National Capital Authority (NCA) and the National Capital Attractions Association (NCAA).
The app is available for download on Google Play.
Melbourne airport upgrade
Work to double the number of SmartGate terminals at Melbourne Airport has been completed.
SmartGate is a self-service system that allows eligible travellers to scan their passport to clear customs faster.
The works were the first phase of the SmartGate expansion project to increase automated passenger processing at Australia’s international airports.
ATO donation ruling
Donations of up to $10 supporting bushfire relief efforts will not require a receipt for tax purposes, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has announced.
The ATO said the announcement meant people could claim small donations made to “bucket appeals” for the recent bushfires in their 2013 tax returns without a receipt.
It said however for donations greater than $10, people should keep a receipt to substantiate their claim.
Health fellowships open
Applications for the Preventive Health Research Fellowship Program are now open.
An initiative of the Australian National Preventive Health Agency, the program enables preventive health knowledge development and exchange between researchers and policy/program officers.
The Agency is awarding up to three full-time fellowships for researchers where the proposed research will be undertaken for two years in the first instance, with the possibility of extension for another year.
A review into the Franchising Code of Conduct is calling for submissions from the franchising sector.
The primary purpose of the review is to verify that the amendments to the Code made in 2008 and 2010 were working as intended.
Marine reserves plans
Draft management plans on the newly proclaimed Commonwealth marine reserves have been released for public comment.
Individual plans are available for the South-west, North-west, North, Coral Sea and Temperate East marine reserves and set out how they will be managed and what activities can and cannot take place in the reserves over the next 10 years.
The Australian National University’s Siding Spring Observatory in north-western NSW has been damaged by a bushfire burning in the Warrumbungle National Park.
A number of homes in the area and one building at the observatory, the scientific facility's visitors' centre, were destroyed in the fire but other key scientific facilities appear to have escaped major damage.
Staff at the facility were forced to evacuate to nearby Coonabarabran.
Edition 344, 15 January 2013