And in Other News...Postage rise sought
Australia Post is applying for a 10c rise in the cost of a standard postage stamp, bringing it to 70c.
The postal service is lodging a formal request for the price rise with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, seeking the increase from the end of March.
But in an attempt to ease the impact on low income earners, Australia Post will propose freezing the cost of stamps for concession card holders until 2017.
The Agricultural Industry Advisory Council has been established to assist the Government to reduce red tape and drive regulatory reform.
Members are: Luke Bowen, Eliza Brown, Rob de Fegely, Lenore Johnstone, Hamish McLaren, David Moon, Stuart Richey, Kevin Sorgiovanni, Dean Wormald and Susan Bower.
The council has already met via teleconference and is expected to hold its first face-to-face meeting soon.
A proposed national accreditation scheme for pilot and escort drivers accompanying the transport of large and heavy loads across State borders is open for public comment.
In 2012, representatives of State and Territory Road Agencies agreed that the development of a national accreditation scheme and operational guideline for pilot and escort drivers was important in order to meet the growing demand for the movements of oversize loads, especially from the mining and agricultural industry.
Submissions to the National Transport Commission are open until 21 February.
Navy Pavilion for centenary
The Australian National Maritime Museum will build a state-of-the-art Warships (Royal Australian Navy) Pavilion to mark the centenary of World War I and commemorate 100 years of submarine and surface service by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
Located adjacent to the museum’s ex-Navy destroyer HMAS Vampire, submarine HMAS Onslow and patrol boat HMAS Advance, the pavilion will provide a dynamic, immersive entry experience for visitors on the history of the RAN and its people.
A memorial to AE1 will also form part of the entry to the pavilion.
Earlier this weekNew system for TFNs
A partnership between the Australian Taxation Office and Australia Post will result in easier Tax File Number (TFN) applications by the public.
TFN applications can now be applied for online and verified at more than 460 Australia Post retail outlets throughout the country.
Applicants complete their TFN application online at www.ato.gov.au/TFNapply, print out their application summary and take it to their nearest participating Australia Post retail outlet.
More information about this and other services now available at Australia Post can be found at this PS News link.
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 has replaced the APS whistleblowing scheme.
Under the new Act people are encouraged to disclose information by public officials they suspect of wrongdoing in the public sector.
The Act ensures public officials who make public interest disclosures are supported and protected from adverse consequences as well as ensuring these disclosures are properly investigated and dealt with.
Each Agency now needs to have available information on how people can make a protected disclosure about suspected wrongdoing within that Agency.
A CSIRO study into whether agricultural development is possible in North Queensland's semi-arid Flinders and Gilbert Rivers catchment areas has been presented to the Office of Northern Australia.
The Flinders and Gilbert Agricultural Resource Assessment is one component of the North Queensland Irrigated Agriculture Strategy, a $10 million collaborative initiative involving the Australian Government's Office of Northern Australia and the Queensland Government's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
The Government has instigated an independent examination of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) after it was revealed it would run out of money in April.
The investigation will cover the ACCC's governance, budget controls and financial position.
At the same time the Government will work with Chair of the ACCC, Rod Sims to remedy the Commission's financial predicament and improve its internal governance, organisational leadership, accountabilities, operational efficiencies and financial discipline.
Defence Tribunal vacancies
The Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal is seeking new members.
The independent statutory body is seeking to appoint five part-time members in mid-2014 and a further five next year.
Members review and make decisions on individual Defence awards and recommendations on honours referred to the Tribunal by the Government.
Applications close 14 February.
Edition 399, 04 March 2014