SearchArchives for November 2005
28 November , 2005
Sports Institute Wins Gold for Tourism
The Australian Institute of Sport has been recognised for excellence in the Canberra and Capital Region Tourism Awards.
The AIS took out the special judges’ achievement award for outstanding effort as a tourism attraction, prompting CEO Mark Peters to say the award will further enhance the Institute’s reputation as one of the premier tourist attractions in the nation’s capital.
Mr Peters said the award recognised the exceptional work staff of the AIS put in to enhance the overall tourist experience as part of a wider package of tours, events and exhibitions.
“Winning this award adds another string to our bow,’’ Mr Peters said.
He said the recognition would boost promotion of the AIS in the increasingly competitive international tourism market.
“It will help the Sports Commission tap into markets overseas and hopefully attract more visitors to Canberra, particularly in the lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games,” he said.
The Institute’s Sport Visitors Centre welcomed more than 250,000 people in 2004/05, guided tours by elite athletes revealing a unique insight into what makes the AIS tick.
Mr Peters said visitors could see first hand how the Institute identifies, develops and produces champions.
“The AIS strives to achieve high standards of customer service and business practice,” Mr Peters said.
28 November , 2005
Minister Warms to Climate Scientists
Australia’s climate scientists were making their mark on the world’s understanding of climate, the Environment Minister claiming Government funding of their work was a “great investment.”
Senator Ian Campbell said Australian scientists were at the forefront of building an understanding of climate change, particularly as it affected Australia and the surrounding region.
“Australian scientists are making a world-class contribution,’’ Senator Campbell said. “While the debate on whether human activity is contributing to climate change is over we need to advance our understanding of issues such as how the earth system is responding to increasing global greenhouse gas concentration, how to make our social, economic and natural systems more resilient to future climate changes and how to manage our land and industries to minimise greenhouse gas emissions, including through new low-emission technologies.”
Senator Campbell said the Government’s $30.7 million investment in the Australian Climate Change Science Program would see climate change research continue until at least 2008.
“It is a key part of our $1.8 billion climate change strategy designed to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions, develop an effective global response to climate change and help prepare communities, industries and regions to adapt to the impacts of climate change,” he said.
The Minister also launched a range of publications - Australian Climate Change Science Programme: Major Achievements 1989-2004, Australian Climate Change Science Programme: Strategic Research Agenda 2004-08 and Climate Change Science—Your Questions Answered - saying they reflected Australia’s growing climate change science expertise.
28 November , 2005
Party Time as Festivals Get Funds from Government
Twenty-nine community festivals around Australia have been funded from a $500,000 Government program to get the country up and celebrating.
The Festivals Australia Program has made the funds available to parties as diverse as Coober Pedy’s “Ute Art” gathering, Townsville’s Australian Festival of Chamber Music and a program of readings, debates, discussion and interpretations of Antarctica.c alt="Click here to Subscribe" width="250" height="350" border="0" align="right" />
Announced by Arts and Sport Minister, Senator Rod Kemp, the Festivals program encourages communities to stage arts-based additions to regional and community festivals.
“Festivals are a great way for people to come together to celebrate, appreciate and understand their communities,’’ the Minister said.
“By funding innovative cultural activities through Festivals Australia, the Australian Government provides regional and remote communities with access to exciting arts experiences that would otherwise not be available.
He said many projects involved workshops that enabled community members to participate in the creation of artworks or performances alongside professional artists.
28 November , 2005
Family law overhaul takes another step
Another step on the road to improving Government services to families has been taken by the Attorney General’s Department and the Department of Family and Community Services which have called for applicants to run Family Relationships Centres in 15 locations.
The first of 65 Family Relationships Centres to be established Australia-wide, the new centres will provide services covering education and skills training, early intervention before separation, anti-violence programs, men’s and family relationship support as well as family dispute resolution and children’s contact services.
Attorney General’s Assistant Secretary, Sue Pidgeon said all organisations interested in running one of the first 15 centres, due to open mid-2006, were encouraged to apply.
Communities to benefit from the Family Relationship Centres in the first instance would be Lismore, Sutherland, Wollongong and Penrith in New South Wales; Mildura, Sunshine, Frankston and Ringwood in Victoria; Townsville and Strathpine in Queensland; Joondalup in WA; Salisbury in SA; Hobart in Tasmania; Darwin in the NT and Canberra in the ACT.
A series of information sessions was being held around the country and selection documentation was on the internet at www.ag.gov.au/tenders and www.facs.gov.au/frsp
Ms Pidgeon said applications would be received until 19 December.
The establishment of Family Relationship Centres is part of a four-year, $397 million reform of the family law system which the Government said included the most significant changes in 30 years.
28 November , 2005
Panucci Takes on Partnership Role at Australia Council
The Australia Council has appointed Frank Panucci to its new position of Director, Strategic Development for Community Partnerships.
Starting work on December 12, Mr Panucci will spend the next 12 months driving the establishment of the Australia Council's Community Partnerships section, managing implementation of the Community Partnerships Scoping Study and developing the Australia Council's long-term strategic framework for community partnerships.
Australia Council CEO Jennifer Bott said during that time Mr Panucci would work closely with the Australia Council's new Community Partnerships Committee, the Community Cultural Development Grants Assessment Committee and the Community Partnerships Scoping Study Reference Group as well as liaising broadly with the arts and community cultural development sector.
“Mr Panucci's appointment is a significant milestone in the establishment of the organisation's new Community Partnerships section,’’ Ms Bott said.
“Frank brings a wealth of hands-on experience in working with communities and the arts, and expertise in strategy and policy development that will shape the future direction of our community partnerships policy and programs.”
Mr Panucci said he was dedicated to seeing everyone had the opportunity to participate actively in the arts and contribute to Australia's cultural development. “I believe that community-based and directed cultural development is an important measure of the 'wellness' of a society,’’ he said.
Mr Panucci’s qualifications for the role include a lifetime of active involvement in the community, from research roles with a union, a community health centre and an immigrant association, to consultancy projects advising on issues affecting immigrants and people from non-English speaking backgrounds. He also has experience in community cultural development and the arts.
He has also held down senior management roles for the Australia Council, having responsibility for policy, communication and research, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts and the Community Cultural Development Fund. His most recent appointment was as CEO of Community Cultural Development NSW.
28 November , 2005
Sports Writers Go For Sports Commission Gold
Australia’s best sports writers are to be honoured by the Australian Sports Commission next Wednesday at its annual ASC Media Awards Dinner in Canberra.
The only dedicated awards program for sports journalism and broadcast media in Australia, the awards focus on analytical, insightful reporting and the presentation of sport and sporting issues with the ultimate aim of fostering improved coverage of key issues within sport.
A record number of entries were received from television and radio stations and newspapers and magazines from across the country this year with a number from non-sporting media such as current affairs and entertainment programs and non-sport publications.
The Commission has announced the finalists for the awards who are:
Best Reporting of an Issue:
Trevor Grant (Herald Sun)
Neil Jameson (Inside Sport)
Roy Masters (Sydney Morning Herald)
Patrick Smith (Australian)
Best Commitment to Coverage of Sport
ABC Grandstand (ABC)
Patrick McErlean (Radio TAB & SEN)
Hans Reimer et al (Radio RPH)
SBS Sport (SBS TV)
Best Profiling of Athlete or Team
Angus Fontaine (ACP/Inside Cricket)
Neil Jameson (Inside Sport)
Peter Lalor (Australian )
Wendy Page et al (ABC-TV)
Best Rural, Regional or Suburban
Ken Furdek (ABC Radio)
Christopher James Mitchell (Wangaratta Chronicle)
Kim Sporton (Fairfax Community Newspapers)
Ricky Tozer (Goulburn Post)
Best Community Sport
Robert Drane (Inside Sport)
Liz Hobday (ABC TV)
Brad McEwen (Network 10)
Karen Murphy/Marika Dobbin (Fairfax Community Newspapers)
Best on ASC-related Programs
John Baldock (SBS TV)
Robert Hogan/Rob Vanderzalm (The Golfer)
Chris Kimball (ABC TV)
Jacquelin Magnay (Sydney Morning Herald)
Best Sports Photography
Joe Armao (Age)
Michael Dodge (Herald Sun)
Nic Ellis (West Australian)
Nicole Garmston (Herald Sun)
Andy Zakelli (Fairfax)
More information about the awards can be obtained from the Sports Commission’s website www.ausport.gov.au
25 November , 2005
Australia Gives $2M to African Women
Australia is to give $2 million in aid to a hospital in Africa treating women with obstetric fistula.
Directed to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia over the next two years, the funds will assist medical teams treating the debilitating condition often suffered by pregnant women as a result of prolonged labour. Three in every 1 000 women in Ethiopia suffer from the condition which often results in social exclusion and family rejection.
The Addis Ababa hospital was founded by Australian doctors Reginald and Catherine Hamlin in 1974 and now treats 1 200 of the 8 000 or so new cases of the condition each year as well as providing training for medical personnel from all over the world.
Since 13 the Australia Government has provided more than $1.7 million for various activities of the hospital which offers services for women with childbirth difficulties. There are an estimated 2.9 million pregnant women in Ethiopia.
In May this year, as well as assisting the hospital, the Government contributed $300,000 to the United Nations Population Fund Campaign to End Fistula, which coordinates awareness-raising, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation programs.
The Government expects to spend about $106 million in 2005-06 assisting developing countries in areas such as combating HIV/AIDS, promoting sexual health, family planning and maternal health.
25 November , 2005
Media Authority on the Trail of Zombies
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has declared war on computer “zombies”, launching a new program to hound them down and destroy them.
Callled the Australian Internet Security Initiative, the trial program seeks out and identifies computers on the Australian internet that have been infected by a virus or a similar intrusion, including hacking. Once infected, a zombie computer can be used to commit online crimes remotely from anywhere in the world without its owner knowing. Among these crimes are sending spam and hosting offensive material with the owners often paying for bandwidth they didn’t know they were using.
According to the chair of ACMA, Lyn Maddock, there are “millions” of zombies in the world and they have become a major problem on the internet.
“Global software companies estimate that more than 60 per cent of all global spam is now relayed via zombies and I am delighted that ACMA is working closely with ISPs and the public on addressing this issue,’’ Ms Maddock said.
Under the trial program, ACMA will supply five Australian-based ISPs involved in the trial with a list of the infected internet addresses on their networks. Each ISP will then contact customers with infected computers to advise them on what they may need to do to fix the problem.
“If the owner either cannot or will not fix the problem and their computer remains a threat to other internet users, the ISPs may take steps under their acceptable use policy to disconnect the computer until the problem is resolved.”
The ISPs joining the trial include Telstra Bigpond, OptusNet, Westnet, Pacific Internet and West Australian Networks. The Australian Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT), the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and other online experts are also assisting.
Ms Maddock said the best way for a consumer or business to prevent their computer from being infected is to use anti-virus software and a firewall, and keep security patches up-to-date. They may also wish to consider anti-spyware software and a spam filter
25 November , 2005
Environment Minister Applauds Local Government Emission Cuts
Australian local governments have been applauded by the Minister for the Environment for their response to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water use.
The Minister, Senator Ian Campbell, said Australia’s local governments “lead the world.”
Speaking at an awards ceremony for local governments taking part in the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) Australia programme and the Water Campaign, Senator Campbell said the initiatives were delivering “real” results.
"Of the 675 local governments participating in the CCP programme internationally, Australia takes the lead with around 30 per cent of participants being Australian local governments," the Minister said.
"CCP Australia now has an incredible 207 local government participants representing almost 80 per cent of the Australian population."
He said the latest report on council results showed a 22 per cent increase in emission cuts in 2004-05, taking to 1.55 million tonnes the level of carbon dioxide-equivalent reductions reported by councils.
Senator Campbell said CCP was an international programme delivered in Australia in partnership with the Australian Greenhouse Office, in the Department of the Environment and Heritage, and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) which encourages and supports local governments to initiate greenhouse gas abatement action within their own operations and communities.
He said the success of CCP Australia is being replicated by the Water Campaign.
"There are now 67 councils participating in the Water Campaign implementing a range of actions to reduce water consumption and improve water quality," Senator Campbell said.
The Water Campaign is an international programme of ICLEI delivered in Australia with funding from the Department of the Environment and Heritage.
"Australian local governments should be proud of their achievements in tackling such critical environmental issues for Australia.
“It’s great to see so many local governments improving not just the environment, but the quality of life for their own communities."
25 November , 2005
Prominent Public Servant Michael Thwaites Dies
Former Director of Counter Espionage at ASIO and distinguished public servant of many years, Michael Thwaites has died, aged 90.
A Rhodes Scholar in 1937, Thwaites was an academic and poet until 1950 when invited to join ASIO because of his poet’s “imagination and analytical skills” and reached national prominence during the Petrov Affair of 1954. Thwaites lived in hiding with the defecting Russina couple for 18 months, eventually ghost-writing their book “Empire of Fear” in 1956.
After 20 years with ASIO, Thwaites joined the Parliamentary Library in Canberra, upgrading its research service before retiring and devoting more time to poetry for which he became nationally and internationally renowned.
Born in Brisbane, Thwaites won a scholarship to Geelong Grammar when the family moved to Melbourne and after his Rhodes Scholarship sojourn at Oxford returned to Melbourne University as an English lecturer. The University’s Trinity College appointed Thwaites a Fellow in 2000.
He was awarded membership of the Order of Australia in 2002.
Michael Rayner Thwaites AO
30 May 1915 – 1 November 2005.
25 November , 2005
Post Office Saves Planet with Cartridge Collection
Australia Post has delivered on environmental protection, collecting almost 12 tonnes of used printer cartridges during October in its Cartridges 4 Planet Ark recycling project.
The success of the initiative prompted Australia Post spokeswoman Lea Jaensch to compare the size of the returned cartridges to that of two African elephants.
“An adult male African Elephant weighs around six tones,’’ Ms Jaensch said, “and during October, Australia Post diverted the weight of almost two fully grown Elephants from landfill!”
She said in just one month, Australia Post outlets collected 11,647 kilograms of used printer, fax and copier cartridges in recycling bins located in its stores.
“Used printer cartridges have a huge impact on the environment,’ she said.
“The plastics and metals that they are made out of take hundreds of years to break down and toner dust can contain chemicals that are potentially hazardous to the environment, as they can leach from landfill into waterways and ground water.”
Ms Jaensch hailed the one-month result as outstanding saying it showed a strong desire among people to help the environment.
“Cartridges 4 Planet Ark has simplified what may have once been a difficult task for some people,” she said. “Now, when people want to recycle their printer cartridges, it’s easy to take one minute to drop them off at their local PostShop.”
The cartridge recycling project was launched in April 2003 in an attempt to curb the ever-increasing number of used cartridges making their way to landfill sites. Prior to the recycling program operating, up to 18 million used printer, fax and copier cartridges were sent to landfill each year.
Ms Jaensch said cartridges collected in the program are processed by ‘Close the Loop®’, a hi-tech recycling company, the majority of toner cartridges returned to their original manufacturers for re-manufacturing or component recovery.
She said the remaining cartridges were 100 per cent recycled and made into new products such as a new patented product called eWood™, which is used in both commercial and industrial applications as a timber replacement product.
PS News readers interested in locating their nearest Australia Post outlet participating in the ‘Cartridges 4 PlanetArk’ program can visit www.planetark.com/cartridges or telephone 13 13 18.
25 November , 2005
Major Overhaul for AirServices Australia <
The management of AirServices Australia is to be streamlined and reinvigorated in a far-reaching overhaul designed to prepare the Air Traffic organisation it for a new phase of development.
Chief Executive Officer Greg Russell announced the shake-up saying it followed a three month external review. Mr Russell said the new, flatter structure would prepare the organisation for growth while maintaining a clear emphasis on its role as a provider of safe air navigation services to the aviation industry.
”The changes are simple and sensible,” Mr Russell said. “Most of them are in head office and will have little impact on our field operations.”
AirServices Australia employs 3000 staff, about 1000 of whom are air traffic controllers.
Mr Russell said potential competition for air traffic management services as well as aviation rescue and fire fighting services together had prompted the review, combined with rapidly changing navigation technology and increasing customer expectations.
He said the new structure would be implemented over the next few months.
'We also recognise that there is a need to delineate between accountability for commercial development and core business and to introduce better governance.'
Three senior staff have already felt the impact of the changes, General Managers, Tom Grant, Andrew Fleming and Hisham El Ansary leaving the agency.
25 November , 2005
Carmody moves from Taxation to Customs<
Commissioner for Taxation, Michael Carmody, has been appointed new Chief Executive of the Australian Customs Service.
Reigning Customs chief, Lionel Woodward who has led the giant agency for more than a decade, bows out on 31 December.
The Minister for Customs Senator Chris Ellison congratulated Mr Woodward on his service, describing his record as “outstanding’” and saying he was the longest serving head of customs in the history of the agency.
“He was both the last Comptroller General and the first Chief Executive Officer of Customs,’ Senator Ellison said. “He will leave with the greatest respect and the immense fondness of some 5,000 Australian Customs Service officers.”
The Minster said Mr Woodward’s contract had already expired but he agreed to stay on as CEO until he retired at the end of this year.
Mr Carmody’s 5-year appointment comes at a time the Customs Service is gathering new responsibilities in light of the threat of terrorism and transnational crime.
He had been Tax Commissioner since 13 and will be replaced by Second Commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo.
25 November , 2005
Senator Calls for Advertising on ABC
The question of advertising on the ABC has been raised again, ACT Liberal Senator Gary Humphries arguing it could help pay for more drama production.
Senator Humphries said a recent Senate Estimates hearing learnt that the national broadcasting corporation produced jut three hours of new Australian drama last financial year compared to 83 hours in the financial year 2000-01.
He said while this showed there was a case that the ABC was underfunded by the Government he also believed the organisation should meet taxpayers “half-way” by accepting advertising
“Since 11 SBS has been permitted to broadcast advertisements within certain constraints,’’ Senator Humphries said.
“Advertising has not compromised its ability to fulfill its charter and has boosted its ability to fund locally-produced programs.’’
Senator Humphries said the same could apply to the ABC.
“This is not the big imposition on viewers some might imagine, after all the ABC already promotes its own products between programs.’’
He said a fixed percentage of the income generated by advertising could be put into a “drama fund” and the organization required to produce a set amount of drama a year.
“Additionally, I believe a minimum local content quota should be considered for the ABC.”
He said it was “ironic” that the ABC didn’t have a minimum Australian content quota while the commercial broadcasters did yet “The ABC is supposed to be the national broadcaster.’’
Senator Humphries said keeping Government funding for the ABC at its present level would also help.
“If the Government maintains funding to the ABC in real terms which it has since 17, this could provide a significant boost to the ABC’s coffers.’’
25 November , 2005
Asbestos Scare for 200 at DIMIA’s Canberra Office
About 200 DIMIA and some DEST staff in Canberra may have been exposed to asbestos after the dangerous dust was found in air conditioning ducts in their Belconnen building.
Departmental management acted swiftly to relocate the officers but the Community and Public Sector Union has called for a full report.
Renovations to the higher floors of the Blue Building in the Benjamin Offices complex were suspected of being implicated in the find but further investigations were needed to track its source and the extent of the contamination..
The departments closed the building immediately the dangerous substance was found and inspected other buildings nearby to see if it had spread. No further contamination was found and the other buildings were reopened for use.
Comcare and Health Services Australia were called in to advise the departments and affected staff were offered counselling.
CPSU has demanded that all staff involved in the incident have their files marked in case of future developments. Exposure to asbestos can lead to serious lung diseases but the lead-time can be decades.
The asbestos was expected to be removed and the Blue Building reopened in the very near future.
25 November , 2005
PS Well-Represented in IR Day of Protest
From administration support staff to off-duty fire fighters, thousands of public servants and private sector workers gathered in rallies across Australia last week to voice their concern over new Commonwealth industrial relations laws.
A National Day of Protest was organised by the union movement in a bid to persuade Senators, currently holding an inquiry into the changes, to vote against the controversial bill.
President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Sharan Burrow said the massive turnout at the rallies showed there was a huge level of concern in the community about the new workplace laws.
“People I have spoken to know that their living standards and job security are under threat,’’ Ms Burrow said.
“They know they will lose protection from being sacked unfairly and they know that their wages and conditions are at risk by the Government's changes.”
The protest was the first to be broadcast nationally and according to Ms Burrow the experiment was a huge success. “It was screened in more than 300 locations across the country, with many regional venues packed to the rafters.”
While union and Opposition spokespeople hailed the day of protest a success, reports were received that some public servants were discouraged from attending.
The Federal Opposition accused the Government of attempting to sabotage the protests by intimidating and bullying Commonwealth public servants through a series of confusing and contradictory managerial directives.
The Community and Public Sector Union said it would consider legal action against departments it said had cancelled staff leave in a bid to prevent workers from attending the protests.
ACT Labor Senator Kate Lundy said despite these attempts, many public servants still turned out at the protest.
“(They) refused to relinquish their right to protest and show their anger at the Howard Government's attempt to silence their concerns,” Senator Lundy said.
“(The) action has effectively launched a united campaign to fight against the most blatant attempt in over 100 years to reduce wages, worsen conditions of employment and exploit the most vulnerable Australian workers.”
Prime Minister, John Howard played down the unionists’ fears saying when the laws were in practice, concerns about their impacts would pass.
“In my view once these changes have been implemented – if that is the will of Parliament, and I believe it will be the will of Parliament – after they have been implemented for a period of time most Australians will look back on the criticism and the objections and the observations that have been made about them, with a sense of bewilderment,” Mr Howard said.
“The sky will not fall in, weekend barbeques will not be abolished, parents will still be able to spend Christmas Day with their children and importantly the greater flexibility that the new system brings in will boost industries such as the housing industry and will lead to very significant further job generation in small business.”
The Senate inquiry into the proposed industrial relations changes is well underway with the committee trawling through more than 5000 submissions. A deadline of 22 November has been set for it to complete its work and report.
PS News readers seeking more information on the proposed changes can find fact sheets on the Community and Public Sector Union website at http://www.cpsu.org.au/campaigns/IRCampaign or official Government information at www.workchoices.gov.au.
25 November , 2005
Hearing Research Makes Big Noise
Researchers at the National Acoustic Laboratories have found that personal stereo devices such as iPods and Walkmans can indeed cause hearing damage if played loudly enough.
The new data shows that about 25 per cent of users played music on the devices far too loudly.
Previous claims that simply by using earphones in conjunction with personal stereos could b enough to cause damage has been questioned, the new work seeming to show that volume levels could be the real culprit.
A spokesman for NAL said the organisation’s past research, based on questionnaires about personal stereo use, showed that heavy users of personal stereos had more hearing damage than those who did not use them.
“The aim of this research project was to directly test whether people listened at levels high enough to cause hearing damage, in real-life conditions,’’ the spokesman said.
Test subjects were selected randomly from crowds outside Flinders Street Station, Melbourne, and Sydney Town Hall. Individuals walking past who were wearing personal stereos were asked to participate by allowing their headset to be placed on an artificial ear in order to measure the sound level.
The estimated noise exposure level, calculated from the sound level multiplied by the time of use, was compared to the limits of noise exposure considered acceptable in workplace OHS regulations throughout Australia.
“The results showed that around 25 per cent of users had daily noise exposures high enough to eventually cause hearing damage,” the spokesman said.
“Some users were well above the limit at which damage occurs.”
The Laboratory’s research was published in International Journal of Audiology and can be found at www.internationaljournalofaudiology.com
The National Acoustic Laboratories, a Commonwealth Government agency, undertakes scientific investigations into hearing, hearing habilitation and rehabilitation, and the prevention of hearing loss.
18 November , 2005
18 November , 2005
IR Changes Spark Day of Protest
Commonwealth public servants across the nation are expected to join thousands of other workers in a mass day of protest today (Tuesday 15 November), sparked by the Federal Government’s changes to industrial relations laws.
Organised by unions across Australia, including the Community and Public Sector Union, a Sky Channel hook-up will link the rally with others around the country.
CPSU assistant national secretary Stephen Jones said a special bulletin would be published to address the most commonly asked questions about the new laws and bring the concerns of the public sector to the forefront.
In Canberra the rally will be at Thoroughbred Park and follows a recent petition that attracted more than 11,000 signatures from among Government staff ranks. The petition called on the Senate to reject the changes and was delivered to ACT Liberal Senator Garry Humphries on November 4.
According to Stephen Jones, the new IR laws are a threat to the decent pay and conditions of millions of Australians.
“They will restrict access to union advice and support, sideline the Industrial Relations Commission, force more workers onto individual contracts, undermine collective bargaining, weaken awards so conditions can be cut and remove unfair dismissal protection,” Mr Jones said.
He said the National Day of Protest would demonstrate the high level of community concern over the changes.
“Because of its majority the Government can – and most likely will – push its IR legislation through the Parliament.
“It will do this despite the strong objection of workers, academics, unions, religious groups and community organisations.”
He said National Day of Protest was the ordinary worker’s chance to stand together and say ‘No, I did not vote for this’.”
Sky Channel’s hook-up in Canberra is expected to take an hour from 8.30 to 9.30am, followed by an hour-long community rally.
The National Day of Protest is not considered industrial action so the CPSU has advised its members to make appropriate leave arrangements with their employers. Staff who wear uniforms to work have also been advised not to do so at the rally.
Mr Jones said as the National Day of Protest would be a community event, everybody including supporters, families, community groups as well as union members, were welcome to attend.
More information is available from http://.actu.asn.au/work_rights/get_involved/index.html
Weather Bureau Researchers Launch Ecological Database
It’s official! Australia’s climate is changing!
That’s the word from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology whose research centre has been looking at the habits of animals and has found some startling results.
According to Dr Lynda Chambers from the bureau’s research centre, plants and animals take their cues for flowering, mating and migration from the world around them and while meteorologists have been recording increases in temperatures across Australia, nature was already busy adapting.
"Change to plant and animal behaviour is nature's own yardstick," Dr Chambers said. "When we see and record ecological changes, it's an indicator of how the climate is changing.”
She said one study by the Australian National University showed that flying fox populations in Queensland had shifted south from Cape Upstart (north of Mackay) to Maryborough (between Rockhampton and Brisbane), a shift of more than five degrees latitude.
"The Sleepy Lizard is now mating earlier due to the warmer and drier winters and the Purple-crowned Lorikeet is one of more than 20 bird species whose migration patterns have changed, now arriving on the semi-arid coastline of Western Australia more than a month earlier than they did in the 1980s."
Dr Chambers said that while we now know climate is changing, we didn’t know how it was affecting Australia's natural systems.
"Many countries in the northern hemisphere with a long history of monitoring species and ecosystems have been able to observe changes related to a changing climate.
“In Australia, we have unique ecosystems and species and can't rely on northern hemisphere studies.”
She said however Indigenous Australians had noticed climate cues in nature. “What we're looking for is how these cues are changing over time.”
Dr Chambers was compiling an ecological database to help in this process.
The database is a joint project between the Bureau of Meteorology, Macquarie University and the University of Melbourne, with funding from the Australian Greenhouse Office. The database will be set up at the bureau's head office in Melbourne.
Details of the database will be presented at an international conference on greenhouse and climate change being held in Melbourne this week..
18 November , 2005
Health Workers Encouraged to Develop Skills in Breast Cancer Care
Country nurses and community health workers are being encouraged to apply for a Polo Ralph Lauren National Breast Cancer Centre training scholarship to develop their skills in caring for local women with breast cancer.
The coveted scholarships are being offered to rural and regional nurses, community health workers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers.
More than 30 per cent of women with breast cancer live in rural and remote areas with nurses and community health workers playing a major role in maintaining links between the woman’s surgeon, oncologist and GP.
Deputy director of the National Breast Cancer Centre Dr Karen Luxford said nurses and community health workers in country areas often found it difficult to access further education and training programs.
“The scholarships provide the funds to enable nurses and community health workers to attend conferences and participate in continuing education programs to improve their capacity to provide support and care for women with breast cancer in their communities,” Dr Luxford said.
Expenses covered by the scholarships include course or conference registration fees, textbooks, travel and accommodation.
All nurses and community health workers based in Tasmania, Northern Territory and the ACT were eligible for the scholarships. In other states, only nurses and community health workers employed in areas other than capital cities or major metropolitan centres were eligible to apply, Dr Luxford said.
Those interested in applying for a scholarship should visit www.breasthealth.com.au/pinkpony or contact the National Breast Cancer Centre on (02) 9036 3030.
Meanwhile, the National Breast Cancer Centre recently launched its new public information ‘Changes’ campaign on television, radio and in print media.
The campaign highlight is a new television commercial which takes the viewer back to her early teenage years when she checked her breasts for any sign of change and development, however small. It aims to remind the viewer that now they are older, finding a change should be just as important, in fact more important, because now it could save their lives.
A series of free breast health forums for well women across Australia will also be conducted as part of the campaign.
18 November , 2005
Union updates records. The Community and Public Sector Union has advised members in the Department of Family and Community Services it will be updating its membership records over the coming weeks.
The union is in the process of re-coding and checking records to give faster and more accurate information on members' locations and other details.
Union members with enquiries about their CPSU membership should ring 0500 828 838 or 02 9211 9292. This number will connect them directly with someone who can answer membership enquiries.
Plans have also been announced to establish a single 1300 telephone connection number for all industrial service needs.
Payments and new member applications should still be lodged with the local branch office and delegates and organisers will continue to be available on their current numbers.
18 November , 2005
$9 million for Quantum Computer
The Australian Research Council has been granted $9 million to join the race to build a quantum computer.
Minister for Information Technology, Senator Richard Alston, announced the grant recently and said Australia was at the leading edge of the groundbreaking technology.
"Today's technologies are likely to be obsolete in a few years and it is critical the Commonwealth Government supports research into next generation technology-setting the template for the communications of the future,' Senator Alston said.
He said e ARC's Centre for Quantum Computer Technology was up with the leaders in an international race to build the quantum computer, which would mark Australia as a leader in R&D in the "new economy".
He said the grant added to funding already provided by the ARC allowing the Centre to build on a recent major breakthrough.
Quantum computing is a major research focus for leading centres around the world. If successful, it will lead to a massive increase in computer power, and radically alter the next generation of computer technology that underpins every sector of our modern day economy. Quantum computing will tackle the difficult problems associated with massive amounts of data which need to be surveyed for a quick outcome, such as in database or Internet searching.
"Economic benefits to Australia will flow from manufacture of sub-components, flows of royalties, dividends and licence fees, and potentially new R&D and software development associated with the Centre's work."
The Centre comprises teams from University of NSW and the Universities of Melbourne and Queensland, with formal links to Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States.