Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 396. Updated Tuesday, 11 February 2014

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News in brief

Rewarding the Councils
  The National Awards
for Local Government 2014, recognising innovative and resourceful solutions to complex local problems, are open for nominations
  Nominations will be accepted by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development until 21 March.
  More information is available at this PS News link.

Valuable assistance
  APS Values,
Employment Principles and Code of Conduct resources are included in a range of print-ready materials to assist Agencies in raising awareness of, and embedding, these principles.
  The materials include bookmarks, the Values Embedding Plan, Strengthening a Values-based Culture: A Plan for Integrating the APS Values into the Way we Work, and posters.
  For more information go to this PS News link.

Interest in child care
  The Productivity Commission
has received almost 1,000 submissions and comments for its inquiry into child care and early childhood learning - and the number is still rising.
  More than 250 full submissions have been published on the Commission’s website.
  The website, will continue to be updated over the coming week.
  The Commission will deliver its draft report in mid-year, followed by public hearings. The final report is due in October.

Weather hits crops
  A significant decline
in summer crop production is expected following low rainfall and the recent heatwaves.
  The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences said the poor seasonal conditions had reduced the total summer crop planting area by 15 per cent and forecast summer crop production by 25 per cent, to a total of four million tonnes.
  Total winter crop production is estimated to have increased by 17 per cent in 2013–14 to 44 million tonnes, the second largest winter crop on record.
  The Australian Crop Report is available at this PS News link.


A coin for Anzac

  A new circulating coin
commemorating the Anzac Centenary has been unveiled at the Royal Australian Mint.
  The 2014 $1 circulating coin, 100 Years of ANZAC – The Spirit Lives, features the Anzac Centenary logo, including the image of an Australian Digger, head bowed and rifle reversed in solemn reflection and the words ‘100 Years of Anzac – The Spirit Lives’.
  The coin is entering general circulation and is not available for purchase in uncirculated or proof finish.

Earlier this week
Cut in Murray services
 Funding cuts by State Governments will result in Murray River services being reduced, Chair of the Basin Authority, Craig Knowles says  Mr Knowles said the Authority was drawing up a list of river services that could be reduced. He said services such as salt interceptor schemes, native fish strategies and opening times for locks and weirs were facing cutbacks.  "There is an inevitability that things like wage packets, jobs in local towns, opportunities for leisure and recreation will be impacted," Mr Knowles said.


 Boost to PNG ties
 Australia is to provide $1 million over three years to strengthen economic and social ties between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
 The initiative will be hosted by Australia's Lowy Institute and PNG partner organisations that will have strong links across business, civil society and academia.
 It is aimed at ensuring that existing arrangements such as the Emerging Leaders' Dialogue, scholarships, volunteering and twinning initiatives are connected and complementary.



Locate 14 speakers named
 Key speakers at the Locate 14 Australasian Spatial and Surveying Industry Conference include Secretary of the Department of Communications, Drew Clarke, and Rachael Robertson, a former Antarctic expedition leader, Chief Ranger and leader with 20 years of ‘extreme’ leadership experience.
 A topic speaker, Executive Director, Communications and Outreach for Open Geospatial Consortium UK, Denise McKenzie, will give her address on ‘Locating the Digital Economy’
 Locate14 will be held at the National Convention Centre in Canberra from 7 to 9 April and will be a forum to connect with industry leaders and to learn about new advancements in the industry, IT and Government.  
 It combines three previous national events—the spatial@gov Conference, the Surveying & Spatial Sciences Conference and the Asia- Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards to form a single premier Australian and New Zealand industry event.

 Criminal history trial expanded
 Australia and New Zealand employers are to have greater access to respective national criminal history checks for employment vetting purposes.
 The move follows a successful trial of criminal history information sharing between New Zealand and Queensland. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will now be developed to expand the trial to all Australian States and to all eligible Australian and New Zealand organisations. The decision was made in Sydney as part of the Australia-New Zealand Joint Cabinet Meeting.
 As part of the existing trial, participating employers were able to request criminal history checks on behalf of job candidates who had given consent.
 The expanded service supports efforts to enhance the free movement of people across the Tasman and complements other trans-Tasman efforts underway to make communities safer.

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