SearchArchives for November 2007
27 November, 2007
Seats Change Hands For New Government
The Australian Public Service is to report to a new Government following the Federal election of 24 November 2007.
The Australian Labor Party was elected with a majority in the House of Representatives and will be naming its new Ministers, Assistants and Parliamentary Secretaries in the coming days.
The Party’s strong result which turned a deficit of 15 seats into a majority of similar size has given it a clear authority to introduce the policies it took to the election, including planned cuts to APS staff and activities.
Incoming Finance Minister, Lindsay Tanner identified savings of up to $10 billion in the lead-up to the election and was expected to introduce cost-cutting measures as a priority for the new Government.
High on the list of initiatives to affect the PS will be a one-off increase of two per cent in the annual efficiency dividend to be returned in the Budget process, taking the dividend to 3.25 per cent. Mr Tanner said this measure would save $1.5 billion but would exclude the operational areas of Defence and Agencies such as the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission which were already the subject of policy cutbacks.
He said it would also provide the taxpayer with better value for money.
He said Departments and Agencies would also be targeted to save $860 million by cutbacks and careful management of advertising expenditure, engagement of consultancies, non-Defence recruitment, the costs of opinion polls and market research; as well as expenditure on media monitoring.
He said common purchasing arrangements would be introduced to save $150 million a year and dismantling the former Government’s WorkChoices program would save $258 million in staffing costs.
The threat of the cuts prompted the Community and Public Sector Union to call for the changes to be made without job losses.
CPSU National Secretary Stephen Jones said that while most Public Servants would welcome reductions on advertising and consultancies, they wanted assurances there would be no redundancies as a result.
He said the incoming Government was going to need qualified and experienced staff to implement their policies at a time of skills shortages.
“There is a tight labour market and the Commonwealth is not immune from that,” Mr Jones said. “One of the biggest challenges of a Labor government would be finding staff, not getting rid of them.”
He said discussions about the shape and direction of the Public Service should begin with the question: “What needs to be done?” not “What size should it be?” “Arbitrary jobs cuts don't work and ignore the complexities of service delivery and good governance in a dynamic economy,” he said.
“A more sophisticated approach is needed."
Mr Tanner assured displaced staff that redundancies would not be needed to achieve the cuts as current vacancy rates, turnover, and natural attrition would combine to deliver the savings without resorting to job losses.
He said a crackdown on tax avoidance would also deliver an extra $740 million a year.
27 November, 2007
ARIA Out of Tune On Super Statements
The Australian Reward Investment Alliance has apologised to Public Sector superannuation members for continuing delays in distributing Member Statements for 2006-07.
ARIA said the delay could be put down to unforeseen delays in implementing systems upgrades for the Government’s Better Super reforms and the new way of allocating Fund earnings. It said it would update members when a firm date for the finalisation and distribution of statements was clearer.
The Alliance said, once available, the majority of statements would be available online, through Member Services Online, even before they were mailed out.
It advised that an Access Number would be needed to use the service and that could be obtained by phoning 1300 000 377.
Member Services Online gives access to a range of convenient services to help manage superannuation. Members could
* Use the i-Estimator to project their potential final benefits
* update their address
* choose how they want to receive news about their Super
* view and print their member statement
* pay surcharge and Leave Without Pay contributions via BPAY
* change their Access Number
ARIA said members who required a manually calculated statement would only be able to view statements once they had received their printed copy in the mail.
It said members who would like a benefit estimate would need to complete an Estimate Request Form.
A written estimate could usually be provided within 10 working days.
27 November, 2007
Pressure Turns Up
In PM&C Report
The Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Peter Shergold, has admitted that working for the nation’s premiere Government Department may be satisfying but it does have a downside.
Writing in his 2006-07 Annual Report, Dr Shergold said that in comparison to the wider APS, last year’s State of the Service report revealed PM&C employees were particularly satisfied with their jobs, their work groups and senior management.
“Relative to others, our staff had a good understanding of their roles, felt valued and perceived that the Department operated with a high level of integrity and respect,” Dr Shergold said.
“Not unexpectedly, PM&C employees were less satisfied than their colleagues elsewhere in the APS that they had an opportunity to achieve a work-life balance.”
But he was unapologetic.
“Workplace pressure is an inherent part of working in PM&C,” he said. “That has not stopped nine out of 10 of our staff saying they enjoy their job and are proud to work in the Department.
“We offer public service with a purpose.”
Dr Shergold said the Department had achieved good results in sustaining its capabilities with many staff attracted to PM&C for the training and experience it provided. He said however hat many left for other jobs after having gained valuable experience there.
“Our turnover rate is too high,” he said.
Despite this, the Department would increase from 14 to 20 the number of young graduates it would take on next year, including a couple who would be Indigenous.
Dr Shergold reported that the Department had successfully moved into new headquarters at One National Circuit, Canberra, a building designed specifically for the Department’s needs.
“It has more conference rooms, a variety of break-out areas, facilities for nursing mothers, and an in-house cafeteria open to the public from early morning,” he said.
“The new building was also designed with sufficient space to accommodate a number of temporary task forces.”
He said it had 326 car parking spaces and eligibility for access had been determined by length of service with the Department.
“After 5pm, any staff member can move their car into an empty space. This makes leaving work later much safer.”
Dr Shergold said increased use of IT across the Department had reduced even further the use of paper and the home PM&C website recorded almost 400,000 hits in 2006-07.
27 November, 2007
ABC at Home in New Brisbane Offices
The Australia Broadcasting Corporation has announced it has found new office and studio accommodation for its Brisbane staff.
Managing Director, Mark Scott said an exhaustive search had identified a site in the Brisbane suburb of Newstead as the best option to house the ABC’s Brisbane operations.
The ABC’s former premises in Toowong were evacuated in January when an unexplained cluster of breast cancer cases was discovered among female staff.
“From the moment the decision was taken to relocate staff from Toowong, we began the extensive search to find the best long-term accommodation solution that would ensure all ABC Brisbane staff were located in the one place, working as a team again,” Mr Scott said.
“The ABC had considerable demands for a collocated site which included accommodation size; power needs, transmission and IT capacity; transport; visibility and close access to the city. The Newstead site meets all of these requirements for ABC Brisbane in the long term, and importantly provides us with the opportunity to create purpose-built accommodation in what will be a vibrant and rapidly developing neighbourhood.”
Mr Scott said the ABC’s aim was to design an environmentally responsible and sustainable building, guided by the ABC Green Futures policy. He said staff would have the opportunity to make suggestions and recommendations on the new site.
“A Brisbane Accommodation Project team, coordinated by Mike McGowan, will work with the Project Reference Group that will comprise of representatives from ABC News, ABC Radio, ABC Television, Innovation and the other ABC divisions,” Mr Scott said.
“This group will take responsibility for implementing an effective staff consultation process throughout the construction of the new facility.”
He said the next step would be appointing design consultants to develop a schematic design for the new facility.
“If the current project program is maintained, we can expect to see the accommodation project completed in June 2010.”
He thanked all ABC staff for their hard work since the relocation from Toowong almost 12 months ago.
“Working in these challenging circumstances has not been easy and I acknowledge their professionalism and commitment to the ABC. We can now move forward with a sense of optimism for the creation of the ABC’s new home in Brisbane.”
He acknowledged the Parliamentary Public Works Committee and the Federal Parliament for its support of the ABC in what he called unusual and challenging circumstances.
Mr Scott said the new offices were at the corner of Breakfast Creek Road and Durong Street.
27 November, 2007
ANAO Goes For Broke
With Glossy Leaflet
The Australian National Audit Office has published a glossy information leaflet outlining its services, role, duties and philosophy.
Entitled Australian National Audit Office: It Stands for More Than You Think, the leaflet describes the ANAO’s financial and performance audit functions and the unique place it holds in the governance of the nation.
“The ANAO has a dual role in reporting on the financial management and overall performance of the Public Sector,” Auditor-General, Ian McPhee, says in the leaflet.
“Our first aim is to provide independent assurance audits in or more traditional role as ‘watchdog.’
“Our second is to identify improvements to public administration through performance audits.”
He says the second area of activity was growing in impact as the public sector was challenged by increasingly complex and diverse issues.
“We are integral to the changing governance environment,” he says.
Mr McPhee says the ANAO’s independent position gave it particular responsibilities and obligations and its work was based on four principles: transparency, integrity, accountability and stewardship.
“We follow these principles strictly.”
The leaflet explains how the ANAO worked with its clients, the importance of its staff, the reason it was an interesting place to work and why stakeholders could have confidence in its work.
“This brochure outlines how we support Federal Parliament and Public Sector administration, the impact of our work and the skills and expertise of our people who carry this work out.”
The ANAO provides an audit service for almost 250 Government Agencies and publishes better practice guides to assist those agencies improve their efficiency and performance.
“As well as benchmarking and analysing public sector performance, we also compare our own performance to that of our peers in Australia and internationally,” the leaflet says.
27 November, 2007
Women Go Further
With Motor Man
The head of a company manufacturing diesel engines in Melbourne has been named as the leading CEO for the Advancement for Women in Australia.
Gino Butera, of Cummins South Pacific, received the honour at a business awards event hosted by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, EOWA.
The EOWA Business Achievement Awards highlight Australia’s business leaders and organisations at the forefront of driving change for a more equitable workplace.
“Smart business leaders, like those acknowledged today, are realising that it takes more than offering part-time work to attract and retain women,” said EOWA Director, Anna McPhee at the ceremony.
“By consulting their female staff about what is important to them, these businesses have found innovative and simple ways to make it easier for all women to participate effectively in the workplace – regardless of their life situation.
“Whether a woman is a truck driver, CEO, teacher or engineer she needs to be working in an environment of equity and flexibility.”
Mr Butera was recognised for his company’s proactive approach to achieving greater female representation in both traditional and non-traditional roles at all levels of the organisation. As a result of a comprehensive strategy, female representation had increased to 17 per cent and high potential women to 31 per cent.
More than 64 per cent of leadership positions had females identified as part of succession plans.
The Cancer Council New South Wales won the Leading Organisation for the Advancement of Women (under 500 employees) because it provided up to eight weeks paid leave per annum for employees with cancer or who were primary caregivers of someone with cancer including up to five days paid leave per annum for casual staff. A gradual return to work approach was available, together with an employer-funded cancer specific counselling program for staff.
Other awards went to legal firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques as Leading Organisation for the Advancement of Women (more than 500 employees); Rio Tinto’s Hail Creek Mine, for Outstanding EEO Practice for the Advancement of Women in a Non-Traditional Area or Role; and Busways, for Outstanding EEO Practice for the Advancement of Women.
The winner of the Minister’s Award for Outstanding Workplace Flexibility achieved through Job Redesign was Campbell Arnott’s, which put in place a number of successful flexible working arrangements to assist women at all levels of the organisation.
The Outstanding Initiative/Result for the Advancement of Women Award was won by UBS AG’s Australian Branch. UBS designed and hosted the “UBS Young Women’s Leadership Academy”, a four-day residential course run in conjunction with Women’s College, Sydney University and the NSW Secondary Schools Association, to give 40 female students from public high schools in ACT, NSW and Victoria the chance to explore the possibilities of further education and a career in business.
27 November, 2007
Health Workers Spear
The Department of Health and Ageing has announced the inaugural winners of its National Excellence Awards in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.
The Department’s Deputy Secretary, Philip Davies said the awards highlighted excellence, innovation and leadership in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector and were designed to showcase the achievements of individuals and organisations in bridging the gulf between the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians.
“The number and quality of nominations are a clear indication of the growing strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health services across Australia, and augur well for the future,” Mr Davies said.
“The awards also present a rare opportunity to bring together many of the people responsible for the wonderful work being done in Indigenous health so that they may share experiences, information, aspirations and outcomes. I congratulate all the finalists.”
Mr Davies announced the winners in the six award categories as:
*Mary Martin, Lifetime Achievement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health;
* Matthew Cooke, Young Leader in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health;
* Bernadette Shields, Individual Contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health;
* WA’s Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service (Kimberley Satellite Dialysis Service), Excellence and Innovation in Service Delivery;
* The ACT’s Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service (Youth Diversion Program), Excellence and Innovation in Community Health Outcomes; and
* Maari Ma (Lower Western Sector Agreement), Working Together – Partnering for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.
A total of 77 individuals and organisations submitted nominations for the awards. An eight member expert panel judged the nominations.
27 November, 2007
Picks Up Medal
A team of CSIRO scientists who developed the world’s fastest wireless link has been awarded the highest honour the Organisation can bestow on its own.
The 2007 CSIRO Chairman’s Medal has been awarded to CSIRO’s ICT Centre Gigabit Wireless Team for its work in producing the world’s first six gigabit per second (Gbps) wireless communications link at millimetre-wave frequencies.
The process employs innovative system architecture, high performance monolithic millimetre-wave integrated circuits (MMIC) and novel signal processing techniques.
Operating at 80GHz, the communications link can transfer data much faster than other wireless technologies, operate in cloudy, foggy or smoky conditions and was much easier and cheaper to deploy than fibre optics in many circumstances.
CSIRO Chairman, Dr John Stocker, said the team’s success was another example of CSIRO’s ability to lead the world in the development of cutting-edge technology.
“Under the leadership of Val Dyadyuk, the team showed that with dedication and support CSIRO’s scientists can compete successfully against the world’s leading public and private research institutions,” Dr Stocker said.
“The development of this ‘next-generation’, super-fast, super-efficient communications link technology is an exciting development with considerable commercial potential.”
The presentation ceremony also honoured one of Australia’s leading astronomers, Dr Richard Manchester, with a CSIRO’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Presenting the award, CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Geoff Garrett said Dr Manchester had spent the past 40 years contributing to the discovery and study of pulsars in the Galaxy.
“One of the highlights of Dr Manchester’s distinguished career was playing a major role in the 2003 world-first discovery of a double-pulsar system – a discovery which provides unprecedented insights into fundamental physics. His dedication not just to leading groundbreaking research in this fascinating area of science but also to mentoring and inspiring his colleagues, makes Dr Manchester a worthy winner of this prestigious award,’’ Dr Garrett said.
Other CSIRO Medal winners were:
* The John Philip Award for the Promotion of Excellence in Young Scientists: was awarded to Dr David Newth for significant advances in massive agent-based modelling and its application to Australia’s response to infectious disease outbreaks, bio-terrorism, climate change and national security issues.
* The CSIRO Medal for Business Excellence went to CSIRO’s T-Mag Technology Commercialisation Team for establishing a joint venture (T-Mag Pty Ltd) with an SME consortium which plans to use the T-Mag technology to develop and commercialise a new magnesium alloy casting machine designed to produce strong, lightweight, cost-competitive automotive components that will reduce overall vehicle weight.
* CSIRO Medals for Research Achievement to the Water for a Healthy Country Flagship Irrigation Team for research that had significantly advanced the sustainable management of Australia’s irrigative water resources; CSIRO’s Bee Team for raising awareness of biosecurity threats to Australia’s pollination services and the viability of key agricultural industries; and the LANDTEM Team for developing a new system of minerals exploration (LANDTEM) based on high-temperature superconducting devices.
27 November, 2007
Second is First in
The Chief Executive of Reconciliation Australia, Barbara Livesey has been honoured as runner up in the 2007 Equity Trustees’ Not for Profit CEO Awards.Named in the Significant Innovation category of the awards, Ms Livesey was recognised for her work throughout the year.
Now in their sixth year, the awards reward outstanding achievements of Chief Executives working in the not-for-profit and charitable sector.
Ms Livesey was recognised for two significant innovations during the year, both of them associated with the 40th anniversary of the 1967 referendum.
* The Reconciliation Action Plan program, a nation building program which is signing up organisations in all sectors to specific, measurable, action-oriented plans towards closing the 17-year life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children.
* Reconcile.org.au - the new online community conversation campaign featuring high profile and everyday Australians talking frankly about reconciliation.
Both activities were devised as forward-looking aspects of the anniversary to stimulate engagement in reconciliation across the community.
“It’s a real honour for Reconciliation Australia to be recognised alongside high profile not-for-profits like the Starlight Foundation [this year’s overall winner],” said Ms Livesey.
“I lead a highly professional, highly motivated team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who work side by side to achieve our shared goal of reconciliation. We innovate every day in a complex environment.”
She said that for next year’s Equity Trustees’ Not for Profit CEO Awards, Reconciliation Australia would be encouraging CEOs from a growing range of high-achieving Indigenous organisations to nominate.
27 November, 2007
Reverse Mortgages The Way Forward
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has issued a report into the growing trend towards reverse mortgages, revealing a number of factors that inhibited good consumer decision-making.
The report, entitled All We Have Is The House, shows several factors had the potential to hinder informed decisions and increase the risk of future problems.
It said these problems included:
* a lack of familiarity with reverse mortgages;
* the complex nature of these financial products and their dissimilarity to other credit products,
* difficulties budgeting for the long-term with access to a large amount of credit, and estimating how much equity might be available at any time in the future;
* a reluctance to consider the risk of declining health in the future and the impact of this on their financial needs; and
* children encouraging their older parents to take out a reverse mortgage or use the funds for the benefit of these children, in inappropriate circumstances.
ASIC’s Executive Director of Consumer Protection, Greg Tanzer said very few of the borrowers interviewed were aware of all the conditions of their loan and the serious consequences of not meeting these obligations.
“Many of those ASIC spoke to did not know how much the loan was likely to cost them over time, and more than half did not know what would happen if they breached a loan condition,” Mr Tanzer said.
“Most people did not have tailored projections about the likely long-term cost of a reverse mortgage.”
He said very few borrowers appeared to have considered how their financial needs might change over the next 10 or 15 years.
“When borrowers looked forward, they usually only looked two to three years ahead,” he said.
“The average life expectancy for a 65 year old is about 20 years. Therefore, planning needs to cover a much longer time period than most borrowers had considered.”
The report noted that several borrowers commented about how difficult it had been to resist the constant availability of credit.
“A small number were already expressing regrets about how they had used their reverse mortgage and how quickly they had exhausted the funds they had borrowed.”
Mr Tanzer said the report included recommendations encouraging industry to tailor their practices to the consumer issues around these new and developing products, improve information for consumers, and improve consumer access to advice.
“While reverse mortgages can be a useful way for older people to access the equity in their homes, the products have significant risks,” Mr Tanzer said.
“In the right circumstances, a reverse mortgage might assist an older person. However, these products have unusual features. People should think carefully about their situation before using an equity release product. They need to select a suitable product and use it in the way that suits their overall needs.”
ASIC undertook the research to more clearly understand the factors that can influence consumer decision making.
Specifically, the work sought to identify where these products had worked well, how borrowers might be vulnerable or easily misled and what changes could help consumers make better, more informed decisions.
27 November, 2007
Forecasters Fine With Cancer Plan
The Bureau of Meteorology has joined the fight against skin cancer by entering a partnership with the Cancer Council of South Australia.
The Bureau is encouraging South Australians to check the SunSmart UV Alert daily before planning their outdoor activities to ensure they are protecting their skin.
The Bureau’s SunSmart UV Alert is published daily on the Bureau website and in The Advertiser newspaper. UV alerts are also included in the daily Adelaide and Major Centres forecast.
Regional Director of the Bureau in South Australia, Andrew Watson said the Bureau had made information on the UV index available as part of its forecast for a number of years.
“By combining traditional forecasts with the SunSmart message we can remind people they need to check the UV Alert as well as the temperature forecast before they head outdoors over the summer break,” Mr Watson said.
He said, to be SunSmart, a combination of sun protection measures was recommended, including:
* Seek shade,
* Wear protective clothing that covers the arms and legs as well as the body, * Wear a hat that shades the face and neck,
* Wear wrap-around sunglasses,
* Use SPF30+ broad spectrum sunscreen and re-apply every two hours. Never use sunscreen to extend the time you spend in the sun.
Chief Executive of the Cancer Council SA, Associate Professor Brenda Wilson, said about 25,000 South Australians were diagnosed with skin cancer each year.
“The fact that so many South Australians are still getting skin cancer shows that despite the SunSmart messages, people are continuing to take risks with their health,” Associate Professor Wilson said.
“UV levels tend to be higher between 10am and 3pm, but UV radiation is often at alert levels outside of those times, doing damage to people’s skin in as little as 10 minutes.”
She said when UV radiation reached an index of 3 it was strong enough to cause skin damage.
Associate Professor Wilson said many people relied on the Bureau of Meteorology for their weather information and using the SunSmart UV Alert to plan outdoor activities and skin protection would potentially save lives.
27 November, 2007
Super Survey Shows Satisfying Results
Satisfaction levels among members of APS superannuation funds have remained high with ComSuper announcing the latest client satisfaction survey returned a ‘Quality Service Index’ of 83.6.
ComSuper said this QSI was “high in historical terms” and “consistent with the positive trend in satisfaction observed since the start of the survey process in 1997.
The latest survey was conducted between December 2006 and May 2007
“The period also saw modest improvements to client satisfaction levels with PSS/CSS and military benefit payment services, although there were some declines in satisfaction with the email enquiry service for PSS/CSS members, CSS member servicesonline and military seminars.
“Overall satisfaction results among ComSuper’s client groups (PSS/CSS, PSSap, military and superannuant members) were strong.
ComSuper said the QSI for PSSap members exceeded 85 for the first time in the latest survey with satisfaction among military members and superannuants increasing to over 85 and 90 respectively.
“PSS/CSS members’ satisfaction remained high with a QSI of 80,” ComSuper said, “although their satisfaction level since the last period decreased.”
It said the long-term trends in overall satisfaction for the client groups were positive, as the trend for PSS/CSS members since the start of the survey in 1997- 98 has been positive; satisfaction for military members had strengthened in recent years, and superannuants’ overall satisfaction had remained high since 2000-01.
27 November, 2007
Workshops that brought together museums in Australia and the Pacific Islands were leading to new understandings and new partnerships in this part of the world, according to the Director of the National Museum of Australia, Craddock Morton.
R Morton said the Australian and Pacific Museums Workshops provided an opportunity for engagement with representatives of the major cultural institutions of the nations in Australia’s immediate neighbourhood – Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia, as well as New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.
He said the workshops covered two complementary topics, “Pacific Partnerships” and “Pacific Cultural Heritage in Australian Museums and Galleries: A Regional Dialogue”.
Mr Morton said the program launched an initiative for Australian museums to move forward with a greater commitment to raising the profile of the Pacific collections and to review their role as custodians of such collections.
Delegates representing national museums and cultural centres of New Zealand, eight Pacific Islands nations and Timor Leste joined high-level professionals from Australian museums, art galleries and archives, scholars and community representatives for the two-day event.
The workshops were convened by Dr Susan Cochrane, Research Fellow at the National Museum’s Centre for Historical Research.
Mr Morton said the National Museum of Australia established the Centre for Historical Research in 2006 to foster new thinking about Australian history and the Australian historical experience.
He said the Centre helped the Museum in the development of substantive national research and academic interpretation of the subject areas represented by the Museums collections.
More information about the Australian and Pacific Museums Workshops was available from www.nma.gov.au
27 November, 2007
Police Credited With College Knowledge
Officers of the Australian Federal Police are to receive credits for their AFP College studies against courses at NSW’s Charles Sturt University AFP Learning and Development Manager, Will Jamieson said a Memorandum of Agreement between CSU and the AFP would create a qualifications pathway for AFP members.
“Members at various stages of their AFP career will have access to more learning opportunities at institutes of higher learning such as CSU,” Commander Jamieson said.
“This agreement will enhance the existing partnership between the AFP College and CSU, and build on the options available through the college. The framework will also support the AFP’s commitment to developing future leaders.”
CSU Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Professor Tracey Green said the agreement would provide attractive credit packages for courses undertaken at the Police College.
Senior officers with five years or more policing service in the AFP would also be granted credit towards undergraduate programs, such as CSU’s Bachelor of Policing (Investigations) Degree.
“Courses such as this are designed to enhance investigation capabilities by building on existing skills and knowledge through university studies,” Professor Green said.
Members would also have access to postgraduate study at CSU in investigations, intelligence, terrorism, leadership and other areas. “This represents a great opportunity for AFP members looking to further their education as well as enhancing the capabilities of the organisation,” Commander Jamieson said.
27 November, 2007
Forces Join Forces For Road Raid
The Police Forces of NSW, South Australia, Victoria and the ACT have teamed up to launch the nation’s largest multi-jurisdictional Police traffic campaign: Operation RAID (Remove All Impaired Drivers).
Operation RAID is aimed at detecting and/or removing all alcohol and/or drug-impaired drivers from the roads of the four police jurisdictions in the crucial period leading up to the busy Christmas-New Year holiday driving season.
At specific times during the three-week Operation RAID program, Police are planning to combine their efforts for border “lockdowns”, in which all drivers and motorcycle riders travelling across State and Territory borders will be subject to random breath tests.
Police see Operation RAID as a valuable tool for focusing the motoring public on safer driving practices and specifically to curb dangerous drink-driving in the lead-up to the festive season.
A 30-second television commercial has been produced featuring Police from all four jurisdictions and will be aired on networks across all the States and Territories involved over the next four weeks.
Superintendent Michael Chew, in charge of ACT Policing’s Traffic Operations team, said that the slogan for this year’s Operation RAID is “Nowhere to Hide”.
“That slogan sums up the focussed approach by Police in detecting those people who are impaired by alcohol or drugs and yet flaunt the law and endanger other road users by driving a car or riding a motorcycle,” Superintendent Chew said.
“This operation combines the efforts of hundreds of traffic police across four States and Territories.
“We are putting the motoring public on notice that if they choose to break the law, they will be caught.
“We won’t say when and where, but we will be there, on those lonely country roads, at the borders, and in the cities and towns, to detect and apprehend those offenders,” Superintendent Chew said.
27 November, 2007
Training Ship Sails Into Practice Award
The youth training ship Young Endeavour has won an international award for best practice in training.
A partnership between the Royal Australian Navy and the Young Endeavour Youth Scheme (YEYS), the training program received the award from Sail Training International.
Running since 1988, YEYS is a unique development program, which conducts more than 20 voyages a year for youths aged 16 to 23 onboard the tall ship Young Endeavour. Participants learn all aspects of sailing a 44 metre square rigged tall ship, developing leadership and teamwork skills at the same time.
RAN Rear Admiral Nigel Coates welcomed the award saying it was testament to the hard work and dedication of those involved in making YEYS a world-class training scheme.
“I congratulate the highly skilled personnel for providing quality training, from which young Australians continue to benefit. The challenges and experiences offered by YEYS are life changing,” Rear Admiral Coates said.
“Young Endeavour is manned entirely by Royal Australian Navy personnel. The Commanding Officer and his crew exemplify the finest traditions of the RAN.”
Rear Admiral Coates said since its inception, YEYS has embarked more than 8500 young people and all applicants were selected by ballot.
Applications for a youth crew berth could be entered online at www.youngendeavour.gov.au or by phoning 1800 020 444.
27 November, 2007
Interest in finance training
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has released an updated version of Regulatory Guide 146 which sets out the minimum training standards for financial product advisers.
The main issues raised following a review noted that training standards were sometimes not appropriate for services provided and that previously RG 146 may not have adequately recognised prior study and training.
Cash trackers tighten grip
Businesses which deliver services outlined under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 have been reminded they will need to have in place an anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing program by 12 December.
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre AUSTRAC, is working collaboratively with industry to help businesses meet their compliance obligations but would also use its enforcement powers, particularly in circumstances where businesses are recalcitrant or dishonest regarding their legal requirements.
OzCo to survey clients
The Australia Council for the Arts has invited tenders to undertake a user satisfaction survey.
The survey will be of applicants for Australia Council funding to determine how satisfied they were with the current funding process and how the Australia Council might improve it in the future. Tenders close on 21 December and the project is to be completed by April 2008.
CASA down at Christmas
All offices of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority will be closed from Christmas Day to 2 January 2008.
To ensure the aviation industry continues to receive the services provided by CASA, the Authority’s Licensing and Registration Centre would provide “holiday level” service during the shutdown period for flight crew and maintenance licences, aviation medicals and aircraft registrations.
CASA staff will be available to help only with urgent aviation safety matters.
Governor General, Michael Jeffery has congratulated Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh on their 60th wedding anniversary.
Speaking on behalf of the Australian people, Major General Jeffery said it was only fitting to look back over their remarkable journey together and wished them continuing good health and happiness.
20 November, 2007
Auditor Goes to Town On Rural Program
The Auditor General has made 19 recommendations following an audit of the controversial Regional Partnerships Program.
The Program was established in 2003 to stimulate growth in rural areas, improve access to services, support planning and help regional communities adjust to structural change.
The $400 million program had been criticised for its potential for misuse for political purposes.
In his audit of the first three years of the program, the Auditor-General found that the processes it adopted for approving grants “created challenges” in ensuring a transparent, accountable and cost-effective administration and that the manner in which the program was administered by the Department of Transport and Regional Services, fell short of accepted standards.
The Auditor reported however that during the course of his audit, the Department introduced a number of changes to both the approval process and the administration of the program
“Nevertheless, challenges remain in respect to key aspects of the Program,” he said.
He said that during his audit he uncovered examples of grants being approved without the benefit of a grant application; Ministerial approvals that were inconsistent with the published guidelines and criteria; Departmental assessments of grants being “fast-tracked’ and consequently inadequate; and projects being approved when important criteria were not met.
“Perceptions that funding decisions were not merit-based arise in such circumstances,” The Auditor- General said.
“Departures from the documented program assessment criteria and procedures in the period examined by the Australian National Audit Office resulted in funding being approved for projects that have either not proceeded as planned or which did not result in the anticipated community benefits.”
He said during the first three years of the program, three out of four applications (73%) were from rural communities which were predominantly represented by Coalition Government MPs.
“Consistent with this pattern of applications, rural electorates received 77 per cent of the funding approved to 30 June 2007.”
Among the Auditor- General’s recommendations were proposals that DOTARS strengthen its administration of the grants program; that the Department of Finance and Administration issue an FMA Regulations requiring approvals of grants to be supported with reasons; that DOTARS advise approving Ministers if an assessment has been fast-tracked and that the published guidelines for the Program set out the circumstances under which the eligibility and assessment requirements may be waived.
Both DOTARS and DoFA agreed with the Auditor’s recommendations.
November 20, 2007
Shortlist Long On
A shortlist for business awards being run by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency has revealed the best places for women to work in Australia.
According to the Agency, the shortlist shows that many organisations are
responding to the skills shortage by offering increasingly attractive incentives to lure and keep workers.
“The EOWA Business Achievement Awards program highlights Australia’s business leaders and organisations at the forefront of driving change for a more equitable workplace,” the Agency said in a statement.
It said some of the most outstanding practices included recognising that there was an untapped market of mature aged women with skills and life credentials, and a company called the Busways Group had set out to attract staff from that group, appointing 10 new female staff over 45 in the past 12 months.
The shortlist also shows that both Rio Tinto Coal’s Hail Creek Mine and Veolia Transport Perth made special efforts to recruit women to their male dominated industries and that Deutsche Bank’s introduction of a $10,000 per annum return to work payment for women taking time off to have a baby produced a 100 per cent parental retention rate.
Other finalists to make the shortlist include Accenture, the BT Financial Group, the Cancer Council of NSW, Cummins South Pacific, Uniting Care Ageing (South Eastern Region), Loreto College Marryatville (SA), GM Holden and Heidelberg Graphic Equipment.
“The winners of the eight award categories, including Leading CEO for the Advancement of Women and Leading Organisation (above and below 500 employees) for the Advancement of Women will be announced this week.
The EOWA statement said finalists were selected by an independent judging panel which included Australian Industry Group’s Mark Goodsell, Macquarie University’s Professor Ed Davis, Sydney University’s Dr Marion Baird as well as South Australian Equal Opportunity Commissioner, Linda Matthews.
November 20, 2007
AEC Election Guide Wins Disabled Vote
The Australian Electoral Commissioner has unveiled a range of information and services to support electors with a disability to vote in the 2007 Federal election.
Electoral Commissioner, Ian Campbell, said that the publication Your Official Guide to the 2007 Federal Election provided essential and practical information about the election and could be accessed in a number of formats.
He said the Guide included information on when and where to vote, how to vote if you can’t get to a polling place on election day and how to complete the ballot papers correctly.
It was available as a free audio CD and cassette, large print or Braille copy, or a CD which contained e-text, large print PDF, audio MP3 and Word versions.
He said any of the versions were available by phoning the AEC on 13 23 26 or an audio MP3, e-text or large print PDF version could be downloaded from the AEC website at www.aec.gov.au
Electors who were unable to enter a polling place because of a physical disability or other condition, or who needed help to vote, were reminded that polling officials were trained to help or they could bring a friend or family member to assist them.
“Make sure your vote counts by asking for help if you need it,” Mr Campbell said.
He said electronically assisted voting was now available in 29 locations across Australia, allowing people who were blind or had low vision to cast a secret and independent vote.
He said to find out which early voting centres and polling places had full or assisted disabled access, electronic voting locations and other election information, voters could call the AEC on 13 23 26 or visit the AEC website and go to “Information for Electors with a Disability.”
Callers who were deaf or had a hearing or speech impairments could call through the National Relay Service: TTY users phone 13 36 77 and ask for 13 23 26; Speak and Listen (speech-to-speech relay) voice only users can phone 1300 555 727 and ask for 13 23 26.
November 20, 2007
ADF Goes For Doctor
To Store DNA
The Department of Defence is to collect DNA from members of the Defence Forces to be used for identification purposes after death.
Participation in the scheme is to be voluntary.
According to reports in Defence media, the collected samples would be stored for reference purposes only and would not be tested until needed.
Director-General of Strategic Health Policy and Plans, Commodore Robyn Walker said the samples would also be destroyed at the donor’s request.
“Providing this service will enable the ADF to offer expedient, cost-effective, minimally intrusive and extremely accurate identification for all personnel who make the ultimate sacrifice in defence of their nation,” Commodore Walker said.
She said having the DNA samples available meant forensic investigators would not need to intrude on grieving families to obtain samples to complete the identification process.
“State Coroners must satisfy themselves that human remains have been accurately identified before they may declare an individual deceased.
“In the absence of Coronial certification of death, grieving families cannot bury their loved ones, wills cannot be executed and insurance policies cannot be paid out.”
She said any avoidable delay or error in identification of deceased ADF personnel should be avoided.
Commodore Walker said the concept of storing DNA was not new to the ADF, as the Royal Australian Air Force already operated a similar voluntary scheme.
She said the RAAF program would be included in the new ADF-wide scheme.
“Defence personnel will have the option to provide an ante-mortem sample at any time and to opt out or withdraw their sample at any time.
“Though a mandatory repository is Defence’s preferred long-term model, legislative change will be required beforehand.”
Commodore Walker said DNA had become accepted globally as the “gold standard” in identifying human remains.
November 20, 2007
Ex-DFAT Secretary Calvert Dies
Former Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Dr Ashton Calvert AC, has died. He was 62.
Secretary of DFAT for more than six years Dr Calvert was described by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer as one of Australia’s finest and most dedicated diplomats and public servants.
“We worked closely together for many years on issues of the utmost importance to Australia’s security, prosperity and international standing,” Mr Downer said.
“During this time I never failed to be impressed by Ashton’s abilities. He had a remarkable sense of Australia’s interests and an extraordinary energy in pursuing them for the benefit of all Australians.”
Mr Downer said Dr Calvert was frank and fearless and the “quintessential” public servant.
“While immensely proud of DFAT, he worked with dedication in other areas of Government, including the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Office of National Assessments and the then Department of Employment and Industrial Relations,” Mr Downer said.
“Ashton Calvert’s leadership of DFAT at a time of immense change and challenge in the international environment was his crowning achievement.”
He said through his personal example and the standards he set, Dr Calvert upheld a clarity of focus and the highest standards of governance in the work of the Department, at the same time delivering strong policy outcomes across a broad range of foreign policy and trade issues.
Current Secretary of DFAT, Michael L’Estrange said Dr Calvert’s career in the Department was one of extraordinary commitment and high achievement.
“Australia’s international interests benefited greatly from his insight, his wisdom and his commitment,” Mr L’Estrange said.
“He also encouraged and motivated others in the pursuit of the highest standards of public service.”
Dr Calvert was a Rhodes Scholar who joined the Department of External Affairs in 1970 after graduating from Oxford University with a doctorate in mathematics.
His first posting was to Japan in 1971, where he developed skills as a Japanese linguist and was posted there three more times, finally as Ambassador from 13 until 18.
Dr Calvert also served in Washington from 1979 to 1983. He retired from the Department in January 2005
Mr Downer said Dr Calvert was a man of impeccable judgment, precision and vision.
“The Australian public have been fortunate to have had a man of such skill and integrity play such an influential role in advancing their interests internationally,” he said.
November 20, 2007
Defence Counts On Computer Upgrade
The Department of Defence has upgraded its SAP financial management system, with the
Resource and Output Management and Accounting Network application going ‘live’ on 14 November 2007 as planned.
Acting Chief Information Officer at Defence, Peter Lambert said the upgrade from the
original 19 system to SAP’s latest release, known as SAP ECC6, reflected the completion of the first stage in the Department’s ROMAN upgrade project.
“This marks an important milestone in improving Defence’s information management
Systems,” Mr Lambert said.
“The upgrade project’s first-stage focus was on a software and infrastructure upgrade
that has modernised the ROMAN application, which SAP will support until at least 2014.
“It also provides the foundation for further system improvements.”
Mr Lambert said the upgrade implementation was undertaken by a combined team from Defence and CSC Australia.
He expressed his appreciation for the team’s efforts in getting the upgrade completed on time.
“As part of the implementation, system security has been improved and reporting for
the Department of Finance and Administration’s new AusTender 2 arrangements was introduced,” Mr Lambert said.
“Over 20,000 training courses for ROMAN users were completed through a combination of e-learning and instructor-led training.”
He said work on the second stage of the upgrade had started with new general ledger
functions and improved budget controls to be delivered from 1 July 2008.
November 20, 2007
New AIRC Website is
The Australian Industrial Relations Commission has launched its revised website with a new look and greater usability.
A major redesign of the site has seen the design overhauled with a concentration on improved navigation and the reorganisation of information based on users’ needs.
President of the Commission, Justice Geoffrey Giudice, said the AIRC was constantly reviewing its website to ensure it was at the forefront of available technology and meeting the needs of users.
“When we first established the AIRC website almost 10 years ago we could not have imagined how important the site would become in our general communications with AIRC users and the public,” Jiustice Giudice said.
“It is now the main information gateway to both those who use AIRC services and those who want to learn more about the tribunal and its work.”
He said just as technology was constantly evolving, so too must this site.
Justice Guidice said the redesign involved a thorough review of the existing site and consultation with both regular and infrequent users.
He said among the new features were:
* an improved navigation system with information accessible through a single, left-hand menu;
* the reorganisation of information into subject areas, with greater prominence given to key facts and tasks; and
* dedicated pages dealing with the areas of unfair and unlawful dismissal, and dispute resolution and industrial action.
He said the website address remained unchanged at www.airc.gov.au but advised users to update their ‘bookmarks’ and ‘favorites’ to particular pages such as the daily hearings list.
“Feedback on the new site is welcome,” Justice Guidice said.
He said comments and suggestions could be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 20, 2007
Leading MBA School
Graduates to Sydney
A leading on-line Graduate School, U21 Global has set up an office in Sydney.
The Singapore-based organisation plans to expand the availability of its post graduate products, responding to the fact that already many Australians were among the 4000 students enrolled in its MBA programs.
The Australian arm of U21 Global will be operated by a company associated with travel industry leader John Verhelst.
Mr Verhelst has 30 years experience travel, airline and hospitality groups in Australia, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Asia.
He has most recently been working out of Singapore.
U21Global was established in 2001 and has grown to become the world's premier online Graduate School and is backed by an international network of 20 Universities in 12 countries. The school combines the quality of its network partners with innovative delivery modes on the Internet, allowing students to take prestigious courses while balancing work, travel and family life.
U21Global has already enrolled students from over 60 countries in Asia, Australasia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. Its graduate programs draw upon the best practices in online learning and are independently approved for quality assurance. The school’s curriculum is required to meet the academic standards of all 20 affiliated universities. It is accredited with the European Foundation for Management Development.
Among the Universities that have affiliated with U21Global are McGill University, Tecnológico de Monterrey, University of British Columbia and the University of Virginia in North America, Lund University ; University College Dublin, University of Birmingham, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow and the University of Nottingham in Europe; Fudan University, Korea University, National University of Singapore, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, University of Hong Kong and Waseda University in East Asia and in Australasia the Universities of Auckland, Melbourne, New South Wales and Queensland.
More information about U21Global is available from www.u21global.edu.sg or its new Australian office on 0437 212121
November 20, 2007
Cricket Comp Puts
Runs on the Board
The inaugural International Defence Cricket Challenge is being played this week in Canberra.
An eight-team competition between the Australian Army, Navy and Air Force; the Australian Services Cricket Association President's XI; the New Zealand Army and Air Force; and the United Kingdom Adjunct General’s Corps and Royal Engineers, the tournament would provide an opportunity for the Defence Forces of Australia, New Zealand and the UK to enhance their partnerships through cricket.
According to the president of the Australian Services Cricket Association, Brigadier Stephen Dunn, it would also provide an opportunity for members of visiting teams to experience some Australian culture and gain an understanding of the Australian Defence Force.
Brigadier Dunn said the Challenge was being played on a number of grounds around the national capital until Friday when a grand final would be played at Manuka Oval in the presence of a number of dignitaries including the Governor-General, Major General Michael Jeffery and Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston.
Brigadier Dunn said there would also be a reunion of past and present Australian Services cricketers and officials on the day, including the Commanding Officer of the 1945 Australian Services side.
Tournament Director, Lieutenant Colonel James Brownlie said cricket was a game of
fair play, teamwork, social interaction and fierce rivalry between nations – especially
Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.
“This tournament will be no exception,” Lieutenant Colonel James Brownlie said.
For more information on the Challenge visit www.ascacricket.net.au/IDCC.htm
A gold coin entry fee for the grand final will be donated to Legacy.
November 20, 2007
She’ll Be Rights At
The nominations for the 2007 Human Rights Awards have been released by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.
To be presented on Human Rights Day, 10 December, the Awards honour those women, men and organisations in Australian society who have shown an extraordinary commitment to human rights, social justice and equality over the past year.
The 2007 ceremony will be the 20th anniversary of the Awards which are conducted by HREOC every year.
The nominations have been made across seven categories, including Law, Arts, Print Media, Radio and Television, and Community Awards for an individual and an organisation.
HREOC President, John von Doussa said the people on the shortlists identified those who worked tirelessly and without fanfare to protect and promote human rights every day.
“The Human Rights Medal and Awards are an extremely important and prestigious forum through which we can acknowledge these people and organisations for their contribution and commitment to the betterment of our society,” Mr von Doussa said.
He said the Awards would be presented at a gala lunch in Sydney on Human Rights Day which would be compered by radio and television personality Julie McCrossin.
The winner of the Human Rights Medal would also be announced at the ceremony and Mr von Doussa would deliver the annual Human Rights Day oration..
Radio and television personality Julie McCrossin will MC the awards, and HREOC President,
Human Rights Day has been celebrated around the world on 10 December since 1950 and marks the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which took place on 10 December 1948.
A list of nominations for the awards are on the HREOC website at www.humanrights.gov.au
November 20, 2007
Christmas Advice is
Gift From Customs
The Australian Customs Service has reminded all Australians to be aware of the types of goods that could not be brought or mailed into Australia this Christmas.
National Director of Cargo, Jaclyne Fisher, said strict rules applied at all times but at this time of year, Customs seized a greater number of restricted and prohibited goods being mailed as gifts.
"People, and their overseas friends or relatives, are often unaware of the type of goods that are not permitted into Australia,” Ms Fisher said.
“Customs urges people to check if they are unsure about an item they know is being mailed to them as a gift."
She advised anyone thinking of buying goods from overseas to recognise that websites and mail-order brochures were not reliable sources of information on whether an item would be permitted into the country.
"Many products that are legal in other countries, or legally available for sale overseas, are in fact prohibited or restricted in Australia.”
She said the penalties for bringing prohibited items into Australia were not only the loss of the item, but fines and in some cases imprisonment.
She said such items as electric fly-swatters and BB guns could not be imported and others
such as firearms, knives and some martial arts gear required import permits.
She said Customs screened every piece of international mail entering the country and used a variety of technology and other resources to identify prohibited goods.
“Gifts imported through the international mail system may also be subject to import duties and GST,” Ms Fisher said.
She said more information on what goods could and could not be brought into Australia was available on the Customs website at www.customs.gov.au or by phone to the Customs Information and Support Centre on 1300 363 263.
November 20, 2007
Kids’ TV Station
Easy as ABC
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has announced plans to launch a dedicated free-to-air children’s TV channel by April 2008.
The channel will provide commercial-free children’s programming and be funded with $82 million over four years, following a proposal put to Government by both the ABC and the Australian Children's Television Foundation.
Director of Television at the ABC, Kim Dalton said the new channel would be known as ABC3 and represented a “tremendous addition” to the entertainment choices for Australian families.
“Australian parents know and trust the ABC brand because of the quality and educational value of ABC Children's TV,” Mr Dalton said.
“We will build on that reputation in providing this dedicated commercial-free children's channel. It will be available to Australian children of all ages across the country.”
He said the new channel would offer potential for the education sector in Australia and allow the ABC to rebuild its schools and educational services.
“Without a dedicated free-to-air children's channel, with a high level of Australian content, Australian children will continue to drift to the commercial and overseas content provided on subscription children's channels,” Mr Dalton said.
“We believe a balance is needed, and we need to ensure that future generations of Australian children can still see and hear Australian stories, and Australian voices, on children's television.”
He said ABC3 would be a digital channel, available free to viewers with a digital television or set-top box.
Mr Dalton said he hoped the funds would be approved by Government soon after the election.
November 20, 2007
The accomplishments and bravery of 92 Australian Federal Police have been acknowledged at an investiture ceremony at Parliament House, Canberra.
AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty said the investiture was one of the largest held by the AFP this year, a reflection of the excellent work being carried out by the AFP in its role of policing the Australian Capital Territory and its work interstate and overseas.
Among the award recipients from the ACT were two constables who disarmed and arrested a tomahawk-wielding offender in May 2005.
“Other officers showed exceptional bravery while serving at overseas missions in the Solomon Islands, East Timor and the Middle East, performed outstandingly on major national investigations or have reached important milestones in their career,” Commissioner Keelty said.
He said more than 65 officers, including recently appointed Deputy Commissioner Tony Negus, received the AFP Service Medal and clasp for 20 and 25 years service.
“The value of these experienced officers to the AFP is immeasurable,” Commissioner Keelty said.
He also awarded bronze Royal Humane Society awards to NSW Rural Fire Service Officer Roy Ferguson and volunteers Geoff Crumblin and Robert Pinter for helping save the victims of a head-on car collision on the Monaro Highway in July 2005.
Commissioner Keelty said the Australian Federal Police Honours and Awards Program was established in 2004 to formally recognise employees who made outstanding contributions to the organisation, the Government and the community.
November 20, 2007
Puts Irons in Fire
Australia has been ranked the top country “brand” for the third year in a row.
Conducted by a London-based marketing firm Future Brand, the annual Country Brand Index places Australia ahead the United States, United Kingdom, France and Italy who came second to fifth respectively.
Chief Economist at Austrade, Tim Harcourt said the Index result was great news for Australian exporters.
“Australia’s ranking means our country is on ‘top of mind’ with consumers around the world,” Mr Harcourt said. “Now is the time for Australian businesses to consider exporting – or if already exporting, to think about market expansion.”
He said Australia was considered the easiest country to do business with across the Asia Pacific.
“Our sound economy is widely admired globally and Australia’s regarded as a place that ‘works’– a good place to travel and do business in.”
He said Australia’s friendliness, work ethic and service culture were also highly regarded but its business strengths and export successes were relatively unknown.
“We need to leverage ‘Brand Australia’ to boost trade and investment,” Mr Harcourt said.
The CBI study was made up of quantitative research and expert opinions and accessed statistics that linked brand equity to assets, growth and expansion.
More than 2,600 respondents from seven countries participated in the survey and of the 23 CBI categories covered, Australia ranked in the top 10 in 14 of them.
It was judged the best country brand for outdoor activities/sports and the best country brand for friendly local people.
Managing Director of Future Brand in Australia, Tim Riches said Australia was clearly recognised as a travel destination of choice.
“There is real brand strength here that is underleveraged, in the main, in terms of Australia’s economic benefit,” Mr Riches said.
November 20, 2007
Millar to local radio
Jeremy Millar has been appointed the new Local Radio and Online Manager for ABC Local Radio NSW.
Mr Miller comes from the Australian Radio Network.
Farr in at Defence
Greg Farr has been appointed Chief Information Officer at the Department of Defence.
Mr Farr joins Defence from the Australian Taxation Office where he led reform of the ATO's information and communications technology operations.
He will take up is position in November.
Joint Operations Chief
Lieutenant-General David Hurley has been appointed the first Chief of Joint Operations at Joint Operations Command near Bungendore NSW.
Lt-Gen Hurley will take up the three-star position after his role at the Chief Capability Development Group.
New Head at ABC
Amanda Duthie has been appointed Head of Arts, Entertainment and Comedy at ABC TV.
She has been a Commissioning Editor and an Executive Producer for Arts, Entertainment and Comedy for the past four years and will report to Courtney Gibson, the Executive Head of Content Creation.
Pair to Arts Board
Patrick Corrigan and Annette Larkin have been appointed to the Committee on Taxation Incentives for the Arts.
Mr Corrigan is a businessman and art collector and Ms Larkin is the founder of Annette Larkin Fine Art.
The Committee on Taxation Incentives for the Arts oversees the administration of the Cultural Gifts program
Both Mr Corrigan and Ms Larkin have been appointed for three years.
Appointments have been announced to a number of boards of the Australia Council.
Kim Mooney has been appointed to the Music Board, Stephen Peoples to the Dance Board, and Steven Alderton and Michael Zavros to the Visual Arts Board.
Mr Mooney is a former musical director at the Australian Opera Studio; Mr Peoples is a policy maker at the Tourism and Transport Forum; Mr Alderton is a regional art gallery director and Mr Zavros is a visual artist who has reached the finals of the Archibald Prize in each of the past three years.
All have been appointed for three years.
Negus to Deputy Commissioner
Assistant Commissioner Tony Negus has been appointed as the second Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police.
Deputy Commissioner Negus will assume responsibility for the AFP’s National Operations, which includes the organisation’s border, economic and special investigative activities.
A career police officer of 25 years, Deputy Commissioner Negus has worked in numerous disciplines within the AFP, including community policing, major fraud and drug operations, protection activities and human resources.
Murray Proctor has been named as Australia’s new Ambassador for HIV/AIDS.
Mr Proctor will take up his role as Ambassador on World Aids Day, 1 December 2007 following the departure of inaugural Ambassador, Annmaree O’Keeffe, to work on global indigenous issues.
As Ambassador for HIV/AIDS, Mr Proctor will coordinate efforts in combating HIV, as well as promoting collaboration and innovation.
He is concurrently Deputy Director General, Asia Division at AusAID.
Callinan to Council
Former High Court Judge, Ian Callinan QC has been appointed to the National Gallery of Australia Council for three years.
Mr Callinan has been Honorary Chairman and Trustee of the Brisbane Community Arts Centre and Chairman of the Trustees of the Queensland Art Gallery and is a published novelist. He has had several plays produced in Brisbane.
Griggs to DG
The Royal Australian Navy’s Commodore Ray Griggs has been appointed Director General of Navy Strategic Policy and Futures.
He will now be responsible to the Deputy Chief of Navy for the development of policy, planning and guidance on military strategies and assessments.
His role as Deputy Fleet Commander has been assumed by Commodore Simon Cullen.
November 20, 2007
The National Museum of Australia, National Capital Exhibition and Questacon have won recognition in the Canberra and Capital Region's Tourism Awards.
The Museum was judged the best Major Tourist Attraction for the fifth year running, the National Capital Exhibition won the Heritage and Cultural Award and the National Science and Technology Centre – Questacon, received the Tourist Attraction Award.
The institutions now represent the Canberra and Capital Region at the Australian Tourism Awards in February 2008.
Safety in auditing
The Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner is calling for OHS auditors to join a panel under the Australian Government Building and Construction OHS Accreditation Scheme.
Companies and individuals are encouraged to apply and OHS auditors would be engaged as consultants to the Federal Safety Commissioner and appointed as Federal Safety Officers until 19 December 2009.
More information is available from www.fsc.gov.au
PS News for Queensland
PS News has extended its coverage of Australia’s Public Services by launching a new edition for Queensland.
The new edition takes to four the number of Public Services served by PS News and is expected to follow the same pattern of growth and acceptance its sister-sites have achieved all levels of the Public Service.
PS News now has more than 27,500 weekly subscribers across the nation who recorded 700,000 hits last month alone.
The new Queensland Public Service site can be accessed by the navigation button on the main index of PS news or direct at
The Chief Executive of Airservices Australia, Greg Russell has assured the aviation industry that the Flightwatch service was not closing but simply shifting to new radio frequencies.
Mr Russell said the procedures for accessing Flightwatch, which provided an on-request weather and other service to pilots, would remain unchanged.
He said the transfer of frequencies would not affect safety.
Coo-ee for Indigenous artists
The Australia Council for the Arts is looking for Indigenous dancers, musicians, actors, writers and visual artists to take part in the 2008 Festival of Pacific Arts.
The tenth annual festival, in American Samoa from 20 July 2008, will showcase the diversity and strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, joining participants from 27 Pacific Island nations in a 10-day program of events.
Applications to join close on 19 December 2007 and more information is at www.ozco.gov.au/fopa or phone (02) 9215 9065.
Darwin history Award
The National Archives’s 2007 Frederick Watson Fellowship has been won by Dr Mickey Dewar for her history of Darwin in the post-war period through a detailed study of the Commonwealth public housing policy of the 1950s.
The $15,000 award will help Dr Dewar investigate the active integration of ethnic groups within the mainstream and determine how the policy contributed to a multi-racial social environment that was unique in Australia at the time.
The Frederick Watson Fellowship was established to encourage and facilitate the use of the Archives’ collection of files, photos, films and other records dating from Federation.
November 6, 2007
Reversal Policy for
ComSuper has announced that the widows and widowers of Australian Public Service staff who lost their pension when they remarried will be able to have it restored after 1 January 2008.
According to ComSuper, the law changes on that date, clearing the way for remarried widows and widowers to receive the reversionary pension from the date on or after 1 January when their application is received.
The Superannuation Act 1922, the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act 1948 and the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Act 1973 have all been amnded to allow the changes to proceed.
The new arrangement will affect widows and widowers whose spouses died before 1976 (1977 in the Defence schemes) and whose pensions were cancelled when they remarried.
ComSuper encouraged applicants to come forward and claim their pension.
“If you, or someone you know, lost their pension as a result of remarrying, we encourage you to find out more about applying to restore that pension by calling ComSuper on 1300 001 877 as soon as possible.”
“People who have previously had their pension partially restored should also contact ComSuper so that their benefit can be fully restored.
It said the amount of pension would be calculated with regard to adjustments in the consumer price index that have occurred since cancellation.
In view of the length of time since the pensions were cancelled ComSuper expects that the approval process for some applications may take some time but it has designed an application form which will assist it in determining the eligibility of claimants.
“It is important that all details and documents requested be provided where held or available.”
A number of facts sheets have been prepared relating to the reversal of the policy and these – and the application forms - can be accessed on the ComSuper website at www.comsuper.gov.au
November 6, 2007
Leave Decision Not
Fine for DEWR
The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations has been fined $30,000 by the Federal Court for denying employees the right to use their annual leave to attend an industrial relations rally.
Justice Catherine Branson ordered the Department to pay the fine to the Community and Public Sector Union.
In November 2005 the Department had advised other Commonwealth Agencies not to grant leave to staff to attend an anti-Workchoices rally, which the Judge found to be a “serious contravention” of the Workplace Relations Act which the Department had a duty to uphold.
National Secretary of the CPSU, Stephen Jones said the union was delighted with the decision which followed a two-year legal battle.
“It confirms that public sector employees are entitled to freedom of political expression, in their own time,” Mr Jones said.
“It also confirms employers have no right to tell their employees what they can or can’t do on their day off.”
The CPSU had argued that the Commonwealth had breached the freedom of association provisions under the Workplace Relations Act by refusing employees leave on the basis of their union membership.
“Basically, the Court has found that senior people in DEWR instructed Public Service line managers to put the Government’s political interests ahead of their legal obligations under the Workplace Relations Act,” he said.
Mr Jones said the union would use some of the penalty to pay its legal costs and some for would be contributed to the ACTU’s Your Rights at Work advertising campaign.
A spokesman for the Department was quoted in the media as saying the Department was disappointed with the decision but had regrets about its conduct.
“The advice was issued to the Australian Public Service at large” the spokesman was reported as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald.
“It dealt with rights and obligations in granting leave under the Workplace Relations Act.
“We submitted to the Court that, in hindsight, it would have been better if the advice was misconstrued, it was clarified.”
Mr Jones thanked the CPSU members who took part in this case.
November 6, 2007
Safety Awards Are
Secure at Defence
The Australian Defence Force has won two categories in the 2007 Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission Safety Awards.
A ccording to the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, the
SRCC Safety Awards recognised A gencies and individuals who had achieved excellence in occupational health, safety, rehabilitation, and return-to-work practices.
The awards this year attracted 43 entries across five categories with four Defence entries making the final s and two selected as winners.
+ Best Solution to an Identified Workplace Health and Safety Issue
Winner - Marine Boarding Party Ladder, Royal Australian Navy
+ Best Individual Contribution to Health and Safety
Winner - Inorganic Lead Awareness Package, Captain Sharryn Batt, Army
Air Chief Marshal Houston said the RAN's Boarding Party Ladder was a proactive response to an identified hazard and reflected a sound safety management system.
"The broad application of this ladder has already been demonstrated, with a number of agencies including the NSW Water Police and Australian Customs adopting its use for boarding operations, " Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
He said Captain Batt's Inorganic Lead Awareness package "combines all lead risk-controls into an integrated package.
"The efforts of all Defence entrants in this year's SRCC Safety Awards and their contribution to health and safety are highly valued.
"The dedication of these individuals and groups demonstrate the growing commitment to improving OHS performance within Defence."
November 6, 2007
The Departments of the Treasury and Finance are charged with costing the election promises of the Government and Opposition in the lead-up to the current Federal election and have issued a joint statement of promises referred for consideration so far.
The Departments will issue further statements when the promises have been costed.
According to the Departments, the following election promises have been referred to them to date:
* Emerging Renewable Energy: Part of our Clean Energy Plan for Australia
* Better Cancer Care for Teenagers and Young Adults
* Australian National Council on Mental Health.
* Tackling the Feral Pest Menace
* Better Cancer Care and Support for Women
* Stronger Dental Workforce for Northern Australia
* Safety in our Waters
* Labor's Tax Plan for Australia's Future.
* Labor's Education Revolution
* Savings for Labor's Better Priorities
* Securing the Future of Tasmania's Forestry Industry
November 6, 2007
Is Grave Awareness
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is hosting Remembered, a photographic exhibition that commemorates the 90th anniversary of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
The 52 photographs depict sites of significance for Australia in the First and Second World Wars.
Taken by British photographer Brian Harris, the pictures "capture the poignancy and timelessness of the war graves maintained by the Commission", a statement from DFAT said.
They included images from CWGC sites in Turkey (1915), France and Belgium (1916-1918), Greece (1941), Egypt (1942), Singapore (1942-45) and Thailand (1942-45).
Founded as the Imperial War Graves Commission in 1917, the CWGC honoured 1, 700, 000 men and women of the Commonwealth F orces who died in the First and Second World Wars.
The Commission maintained their graves and memorials at 23,000 military and civil sites in 150 countries.
"The total number of Australian war dead commemorated by name and in the care of the CWGC was approximately 12,460," the DFAT statement said.
Vice Chairman of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (London), Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Squire, opened the exhibition in the atrium of the R G Casey Building in Canberra.
The pictures would be on display until 23 November.
November 6, 2007
Defence Closes in
On Financial Target
The Auditor-General has signed off on almost all the 2006-07 financial statements of the Department of Defence as being ‘true and fair’ records, a move welcomed by the Department in it annual report, tabled in the Senate recently.
The Auditor did not approve the Department’s general stores inventory.
Departmental Secretary, Nick Warner said improvements in the Department’s financial results were a “significant achievement” and proof that reforms being made were working.
"The Chief Finance Officer has done an outstanding job in getting the statements to this position,” Mr Warner said, “particularly in eliminating uncertainty around $2.2 billion worth of repairable items."
He said the Annual Report also highlighted the success of the Australian Defence Force's recruitment initiative, showing that 8,924 Australians had joined the ADF as either full-time or reserve members over 2006-07, an improvement of 1,125 over the figures from the previous year.
The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston joined Mr Warner in
Commenting on the turnaround.
The pair said that while Defence has made significant improvements in financial management and recruitment, the reform program had only just begun.
"The improvements over 2006-07 mark the beginning of a much broader process of change that we will implement over the coming years,” Mr Warner and Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
“This will include, but not be limited to, the Defence Management Review, which provides an opportunity for reform, not a blueprint.
"We are strongly committed to improving our business systems, governance and accountability, people management and our support to the Minister and the ADF and its operations, and that will be the focus of our change agenda over 2007-08 and into the future."
The Defence Materiel Organisation also tabled its Annual Report for 2006-07, the financial statements of which were also endorsed by the Auditor-General without qualification.
November 6, 2007
Pruning on Cards
At Botanic Gardens
The Australian National Botanic Gardens is undertaking an organisational review.
Climate change, rising costs of water and electricity, and dwindling water supplies had led to the review.,
The ANBG said in a statement that the urgent challenge was to develop strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation and to assist with the conservation of Australia's plants under threat.
It said the price of water had doubled in the past three years, with the bill for 07-08 expected to be over $600,000.
It said e lectricity use had remained the same, but charges had risen 140 per cent in five years, increasing the annual electricity bill by $90,000 in the last financial year.
"The Gardens philosophy took shape in the 1930s, long before global warming and climate change threatened Australia's plant biodiversity," the statement said.
"Where once the ANBG was the only major botanic gardens focused on living collections of Australian native plants, several other major botanic gardens and numerous regional botanic gardens now have large living collections of Australian plants."
The ANBG would maintain its general commitment to grow and exhibit Australian native plants and would continue to generate high quality botanical information.
However, it was now time to "reflect these new pressures in the ANBG's national role and priorities.
"As native habitats vanish, Australia's botanic gardens can offer bio-insurance for the future survival of Australian plants," the ANBG said.
"ANBG is working with all Australia's major botanic gardens to develop a national approach to species conservation in the face of climate change."
The statement said that the high quality botanical research being conducted in its Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research would not change.
"This is a high priority.”
"The Gardens will not 'reduce plant propagation to a minimum'.
"On the contrary, we will be building our horticultural expertise, focusing on propagating and growing native plants threatened by climate change, to support the conservation of Australian species in the wild."
The free summer concert series would be reduced to two weekends as part of addressing costs but there had been no Budget cuts.
"Like all organisations, farmers and householders in the Murray-Darling Basin and around the country, we must address dwindling water supplies."
"The Gardens will continue to hold an extensive living collection, but where the climate and soils of other botanic gardens are more suitable for the national conservation effort, we may no longer focus on preserving certain plants," the ANBG said.
November 6, 2007
Library Pulls Out
The National Library of Australia had "reached a significant milestone" with the digitisation of its 100, 000th picture, according to the Library.
The picture was a "delightful” black and white photograph of a kangaroo’s joey, snugly wrapped in an overcoat improvised from the sleeve of an old jumper.
The photograph was taken in 1968 by Australian photojournalist Jeff Carter.
The Library had received the picture as part of an ongoing program of acquisitions from Carter, whose work had been published in National Geographic, Paris Match, Life and in all Australian national magazines.
The Library had begun digitising its collection in 2001to improve access.
Assistant Director-General, Collections Management at the Library, Pam Gatenby said the aim was to digitise all new picture acquisitions, as well as materials already in the collection, on the basis of their historical and cultural significance and likely demand.
Ms Gatenby said o ther digitised items included rare maps, sheet music, manuscripts, printed works and audio recordings.
"This is an important milestone marking the Library's efforts to make its collection accessible to the widest possible number of people, both in Australia and around the world," Ms Gatenby said.
"The digitisation program has transformed the way the Library works."
She said p reviously, researchers and others who had wanted to see material were required to come to Canberra.
"Now they can go online and access important parts of the collection.
"In addition, the digitisation program enhances the conservation of the collection by reducing handling of old or fragile materials, while also increasing access to them."
November 6, 2007
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has launched a new quarterly publication, ACCCount, which will detail its activities.
According to ACCC Chairman, Graham Samuel, ACCCount would report on the Commission’s activities in
the enforcement of the Trade Practices Act, merger reviews, compliance initiatives, adjudication issues, economic regulation, international cooperation and interaction with other Australian competition, consumer protection and regulatory agencies "The ACCC promotes competition and informed markets, encouraging fair trading; and protecting consumers," Mr Samuel said .
“ Its actions affect almost every aspect of Australian life.
"It is appropriate that reports of its activities are readily accessible to the Australian public on a regular basis."
He said the new publication would build on the ACCC's commitment to an open and transparent agency and increased the Commission's accountability to the Australian community.
"It will provide a regular briefing on whole-of-Commission work for any given quarter,” Mr Samuel said.
"ACCCount will be widely distributed and available online on the ACCC website.
He said anyone wishing to subscribe to the new publication t could do so on the ACCC website www.accc.gov.au.
November 6, 2007
Holt Family Flicks
Films to Archives
Former Prime Minister, Harold Holt's family has donated a selection of his films to the National Archives of Australia for safekeeping.
Mr Holt’s son, Sam Holt, presented several canisters of film to the Archives Director-General, Ross Gibbs recently.
"We are delighted that the Holt family has decided to ensure the preservation of these films for future generations of Australians by depositing them with the National Archives," Mr Gibbs said.
The canisters contained eight films, including a fishing trip to the Great Barrier Reef on the Mr Holt's birthday in 1967, with television’s Pick-a-Box hosts Bob and Dolly Dyer and other friends.
A handwritten note on the canister read: Hope you enjoy it, Harold, Regards Bob Dyer.
According to Mr Gibbs, t he film included footage of Mr Holt collecting shells with Dolly Dyer, enjoying a picnic, collecting plants for his wife Zara, spearfishing, being smothered in suntan oil and risking his life to save a speargun given to him as a gift by American President Lyndon B Johnson.
Other films included underwater skin diving sequences, a Cabinet meeting during the 1960s, various aspects of a visit by the Prime Minister to South East Asia, and a copy of the television film The Seekers Downunder which featured Mr Holt escorting the singing group around Canberra.
"The National Archives is fortunate to have in its collection a wide range of personal items which belonged to Harold Holt, including his briefcase and its contents which are on display in our Memory of a Nation exhibition," Mr Gibbs said.
"We are very pleased to have these extra films which were in his personal collection.
"They will be a welcome addition to the films we already hold that feature Mr Holt and the other items that portray his life, both as a P rime M inister and an Australian, " He said.
November 6, 2007
Arm of AFP Law
Reaches to China
The Australian Federal Police have further strengthened ties with their counterparts in China, with an official delegation launching the first Management of Serious Crime program in the country and opening the AFP's third post.
The AFP said in a statement that during a four-day visit, Commissioner Mick Keelty had joined members of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security "to enhance the joint strategy to combat transnational crime, particularly in the area of drug trafficking with these two key initiatives.
"The MOSC program – the first of its kind to be delivered in China - is the AFP's highest level training course for the sharing of skills, information and strategies needed to deal with serious crime," the statement said.
It said it focused on creating collaborative national and international networks between law enforcement agencies in South East Asia.
AFP officers at the Hangzhou Training College in Zhejiang Province would train 18 Chinese police officers over a three-week period.
"The AFP believes that the MOSC program, along with the opening of the AFP's third China post in Guangzhou, will be integral for future cooperation between Australia and China in the area of law enforcement," the statement said.
"The Guangzhou office is strategically placed to enhance the ability of officers to target transnational crime syndicates and limit the illegal importation of illicit drugs into Australia."
The office had begun operations earlier this year. An AFP officer was working with Chinese officials on projects, including proposed training programs for police on identifying and dismantling clandestine laboratories.
November 6, 2007
Customs Fishing Trip
Australian Customs and Indonesian Fisheries vessels have completed a coordinated fisheries patrol in the Arafura Sea in a cooperative effort to combat illegal fishing.
The Australian Customs Service said in a statement that its vessel Arnhem Bay and Indonesian Fisheries department vessels Hiu Macan 003 and Hiu Macan 004 had jointly patrolled their respective sides of the Australia-Indonesia maritime border and a Customs Coastwatch aircraft provided daily aerial surveillance of the region.
Commander of Border Protection Command, Rear Admiral James Goldrick welcomed the cooperative approach to combat illegal fishing.
"This patrol signifies greater cooperation between Australia and Indonesia for a more coordinated approach to reducing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the region," Rear Admiral Goldrick said.
He said t he operational patrol followed an exercise earlier this year conducted to "fine tune communication protocols.”
"This is the first time that the two nations have rendezvoused at sea to undertake civil cooperative patrol activity," he said.
"The patrol is part of a range of measures to enable Australian Customs vessels to work more closely with Indonesian fisheries patrol vessels and increase our ability to apprehend illegal foreign fishing vessels in Australian waters. "
Rear Admiral Goldrick said Australia and Indonesia had agreed to conduct coordinated patrols at the Australia-Indonesia Fisheries Surveillance Forum held earlier this year.
The forum had established measures for cooperation on fisheries surveillance and response activities, information sharing, coordinated activity, information networks, technical assistance as well as options for funding of these activities.
He said that between July 2006 and June 2007 there had been a 58 per cent reduction in sightings of illegal foreign fishing vessels "in the high risk areas" of Australia's northern waters compared with the previous year.
At the same time, surveillance had increased by around eight per cent, and the rate of apprehension of foreign fishing vessels to those sighted was up by more than 40 per cent.
"Foreign fishing vessels continue to operate just beyond the boundaries of the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone and a reduction in our border protection efforts could result in a resurgence of foreign fishing vessel activity in our waters," Rear Admiral Goldrick said.
"Therefore border protection operations are continuing in order to provide ongoing strong deterrence to these potential illegal foreign fishing threats, " He said.
November 6, 2007
Crime Study Reveals
Crook Jury Outcome
Studies by the Australian Institute of Criminology have revealed that jurors in rape trials have generally made up their minds before hearing the evidence.
Two recent studies conducted by the Institute found that jurors were influenced more by their attitudes, beliefs and biases than by the objective facts presented.
"Stereotypical beliefs about rape and victims of it still exist within the community," the Institute said in releasing the findings of two recent studies.
Institute Director, Dr Toni Makkai said increasing conviction rates for sexual assault was a key issue for the criminal justice system.
More than 70 percent of sexual assault incidents were not reported to police and only about one in 10 reported incidents results in a guilty finding.
"Sexual assault is one of the hardest offences to prosecute," Dr Makkai said.
"Primarily this is because these offences are often committed in private, where there is little or no corroborating evidence and it is usually one person's word against another."
Whether a juror perceived a complainant as credible "is not simply related to the consistency of her story or the manner in which the testimony is presented", he said.
The studies had found jurors had different opinions about the complainant's credibility and the plausibility of her story.
Other findings included that lower income and politically conservative males had less favourable attitudes towards rape victims and believed the defendant was probably not guilty and that higher levels of education, personal knowledge of sexual assault victims, and positive attitudes toward rape victims in general were associated with higher perceptions of claimant credibility, and low empathy with the defendant.
Dr Makkai said that the second study of a random sample of the Victorian population found that one in 10 respondents believed that women were more likely to be raped by strangers; about a quarter disagreed that false claims of rape were rare; 15 per cent agreed that women often said 'no' when they meant 'yes' and seven per cent of males and four per cent of females agreed that women who were raped often ask for it.
The study also found that 44 per cent of males and 32 per cent of females believed that rape resulted from men not being able to control their need for sex and therefore they were not responsible.
“As jurors are members of the community and are randomly drawn in order to be representative of it, the two studies together indicate that successful prosecution of sexual assault will remain low until we acknowledge that jurors interpret what they see in light of their own beliefs, experience and expectations”, Dr Makkai said.
November 6, 2007
Framework is Hit
The Australian Federal Police have launched a new national support framework and training package for professionals working with families of missing persons.
AFP Assistant Commissioner, Peter Drennan said police officers would now be better able to respond to missing person reports.
The national missing persons support framework – Supporting those who are left behind – provided counsellors with new skills in understanding the trauma and impact experienced by the families of missing persons.
Assistant Commissioner Drennan said the framework "provides counsellors and health professionals with tools they need to better support the needs of families.”
"The framework was established in response to an overwhelming need for this kind of support and training," he said.
Each year, 30,000 people were reported missing to police - one every 18 minutes.
"For every missing person reported to police, at least 12 other people are affected emotionally, financially, physically or psychologically," Assistant Commissioner Drennan said.
"That's a significant number of people who experience the trauma of unresolved loss."
Coordinator of the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre , Leonie Jacques said that previously there had been no model of counselling that addressed the specific needs of people left behind when a loved one went missing.
"As well as providing an understanding of the trauma experienced by families who are left behind, providing such a framework to counsellors will allow law enforcement agencies to focus on and better respond to their main objective of locating missing persons," Ms Jacques said.
November 6, 2007
Get Able Assistance
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced initiatives to assist consumers with disabilities access its services.
According to ACCC Chairman, Graham Samuel, the initiative would help ensure people with print disabilities were able to protect themselves in the marketplace.
Mr Samuel said m ore than 3.5 million adult Australians experienced a print disability and had difficulty accessing standard print-based information.
He said t he ACCC's consumer guide, Know H ow T o C omplain: Stand up for your consumer rights, was now available in large print, audio and Braille versions.
The guide sets out rights and protections consumers had under the Trade Practices Act 1974 and the steps they could take to enforce their rights.
Mr Samuel said it explained what the ACCC could and could not do for consumers.
"The ACCC will also provide access to people with hearing or speech impairments by using the National Relay Service," he said.
"This will allow people with hearing and speech impairments to contact the ACCC."
He said t he ACCC would provide three main access points for users through the NRS which included d etails of services in all published material, including online content.
a phone number for people who were deaf or hearing/speech impaired (and use text-based communication);
a second phone number for those who had a speech impairment (but could still use their own voice and could hear); and
an internet relay service.
"These initiatives will ensure that people with disabilities have equitable and effective access to ACCC services," Mr Samuel said.
Large print and audio versions of the Know how to C omplain guide could be downloaded free of charge from the ACCC website at www.accc.gov.au or by calling the ACCC Infocentre on 1300 302 502 where a
free copy of the Braille version of the guide was also available.
Mr Samuel said users who were deaf or had a hearing or speech impairment could phone the ACCC through the National Relay Service, www.relayservice.com.au, and asking for 1300 302 502.
November 6, 2007
Floated at Museum
The drama and tragedy of Australia's most devastating shipwrecks is the focus of a new exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney.
Wrecked! Tragedy and the Southern Seas features more than 100 artefacts, some never before seen, salvaged from 19th and early 20th century wrecks around the Australian coast.
According to the Museum, they show the devastating impacts had at a time when shipping was central to daily life.
The Museum said the exhibition offered "a rare insight into why fear of shipwreck loomed so large and the devastation these wrecks caused".
Objects from Dutch shipwrecks on the west coast showed a different, much older and mysterious side to European beginnings in Australia. These included an elephant tusk from Vergulde Draeck, wrecked in 1656, and bottles, a buckle and key belonging to passengers on the Zeewijk wreck of 1727.
“Wrecked! examines how shipwrecks could lose an entire community's supplies or destroy valuable export goods," the Museum said.
"Interestingly, the exhibition also notes that 19th century migrants to Australia had a less than 0.5 per cent chance of being killed in a shipwreck."
The exhibition also features reminders of the death toll from some of Australia’s worst shipwreck disasters such as Dunbar which sank off Sydney Heads in 1857 with the loss of 120 lives and the Admella catastrophe in 1859, when 89 of 113 onboard died after the steamship struck a reef on its way from Adelaide to Melbourne.
Personal items, such as a tureen and carved stones thought to be destined to a Freemason's Hall from the wreck of the Nashwauk (1855), will give visitors a glimpse into life in the early colonies and the kind of treasured objects migrants would bring with them.
The exhibition was curated by Bill Seager of the South Australian Maritime Museum.
"We felt it was important to present the drama, tragedy, people and extraordinary events surrounding some of these shipwrecks and at the same time illustrate their impact on the colonies and the country itself," Mr Seagar said.
Wrecked! Tragedy and the Southern Seas will remain on view until 28 January. Entry to the Museum is free.
November 1, 2007
To PS Challenges
Australian Public Service Commissioner, Lynelle Briggs has launched four publications in a new series called Contemporary Government Challenges.
The publications discussed and offered solutions to challenges facing Australian Public Service Agencies, Commissioner Briggs said.
"We are recognised as having one of the best public services in the world, but we can only keep this reputation if we are constantly striving to improve," she said.
“To stay in front, we need to be working together on reform directions and challenging each other to do better. I expect this series to stimulate considerable debate and discussion."
Commissioner Briggs said the four publications launched in the series were:
* Building Better Governance: case studies showing what APS agencies had done to improve their governance arrangements.
* Tackling Wicked Problems: A public policy perspective: ideas to stimulate debate around tackling 'wicked', or seemingly intractable, problems.
* Changing behaviour: A public policy perspective: how democratic governments could most effectively influence their citizens' behaviour.
* Agency Health: Monitoring agency health and improving performance: ways to assist agencies to monitor their corporate health.
Commissioner Briggs said the four publications were available on the Commission's website www.apsc.gov.au.
She said the next publications in the series would tackle devolved Government arrangements - the benefits and risks of APS agencies contracting out the delivery of services to non-government organisations.
November 1, 2007
Study Blows Whistle
On PS Whistleblowers
A study by Griffith University has found that the about 380 public servants ‘blow the whistle’ every day on matters of potential public interest.
Part of the largest multi-jurisdictional study on public integrity issues undertaken in Australia, the study found that up to 460,000 public servants may have formally reported wrongdoing within or by their organisation over the past two years.
The Whistling While They Work project, which was funded by the Australian Research Council, surveyed 23,000 public servants in 2006-2007 across 118 Agencies of the Commonwealth, NSW, Queensland and Western Australian Governments.
Senior Research Fellow at Griffith Law School and leader of the survey project, Dr AJ Brown released the findings at the Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference in Sydney.
Dr Brown said that of the 460,000 who had reported wrongdoing, around 197,000 could be regarded as public interest whistleblowers.
“Assuming each of these officials only reported on one type of relevant wrongdoing once in the two year period, these percentages suggest that each weekday in Australia, possibly about 380 public servants might blow the whistle on a matter of potential public interest,” Dr Brown said.
He said that up to now, the best Australian studies had indicated that only five to six per cent of public officials reported serious misconduct internally.
Dr Brown said the study also disproved the age-old belief that PS peers shunned and tormented most public sector whistleblowers by reporting that only 22 per cent of the whistleblowers surveyed said they were treated badly by management or co-workers, with 78 per cent saying they were treated either well or the same.
"The figure is still too high, but fortunately is much lower than expected," Dr Brown said.
"Those that reported bad treatment felt most of it came from management, rather than colleagues or co-workers,” he said.
Dr Brown said the research showed that whistleblowers could “blow the whistle on serious wrongdoing without necessarily suffering, but only if they do it internally and carefully, have realistic expectations, and organise their own support".
He said the fact that whistleblowing was not confined to rare acts of ‘troublemaking’ created an obligation on Agencies and Governments to ensure that effective systems for managing and protecting whistleblowers were adopted.
“Far from showing that wrongdoing is necessarily rife in the public sector, the results suggest that whistleblowing should be accepted as a healthy and positive element of organisational life, helping ensure that government operates with integrity.”
Other key results include that:
* 71 per cent of respondents had observed at least one instance of wrongdoing in their organisation in the previous two years;
* 61 per cent regarded the wrongdoing they observed as serious; and
* 28 per cent formally reported the most serious wrongdoing they observed.
The report is the first from the Whistling While They Work project.
The survey had attracted 7,663 responses, the largest on public integrity issues ever undertaken in Australia
November 1, 2007
Leading Edge Guide
For Fringe Benefits
The Australian Taxation Office has issued an advisory on fringe benefits tax for Public Sector staff.
Designed to assist them understand how Fringe Benefits Tax and entertainment works, and to decide whether or not they have to pay FBT, the advisory refers staff to the Guide on the ATO website.
It says that the tables and examples it includes would also provide assistance to Government sector staff who provided employees with food and drink, or leisure activities.
”They will need to know if these activities may be classified as entertainment and possibly incur an FBT liability,” the ATO said.
The Guide helps staff identify when an event is likely to be classified as entertainment; decide whether their organisation has an FBT liability; calculate the taxable value of entertainment benefits using the actual method; and keep records needed to calculate FBT payable.
“We also explain how you can reduce your organisation’s FBT liability, possibly to nil, and provide examples of common situations in which entertainment is provided by Government Departments.”
According to the ATO, the FBT treatment of entertainment provided by Government entities depends on their income tax status.
“Your organisation will be either income tax-exempt, income tax-exempt but paying income tax equivalents, or income tax paying in accordance with the taxation laws.
As most Government organisations are income tax-exempt, the Guide has been written with them in mind as well as for those paying income tax equivalents.
Organisations paying income tax are referred to the ATO’s web guide Fringe Benefits Tax and Entertainment for Small Business.
The Guide can be accessed by visiting the ATO website at www.ato.gov.au
November 1, 2007
Super Returns On
The Australian Reward Investment Alliance (ARIA) has reported a net return of 16.7% for the CSS Superannuation Fund in 2006/07 and 17.7% for the PSS Fund.
The schemes finished the year with over $18 billion in funds under management in the CSS, PSS and PSSap and more than 325,500 members.
Chief Executive of ARIA, Steve Gibbs said it was the fourth consecutive year of double digit returns.
In line with changes to the Earning Rate Policy, ARIA also reported a move to monthly allocation of earnings, beginning this financial year, to distribute returns more equitably among members who left the schemes and those who stayed during periods of negative earnings.
Mr Gibbs said the scheme also expected further significant change arising from the 2007/08 Federal Budget.
According to its annual report, ARIA was working together with ComSuper to member
Services and conducted regular reviews of all aspects of its scheme administration.
It said that during 2006/07 the focus had been on improving customer service for both
members and employers, enhancing systems as a result of the ‘Better Super’ changes and
implementing ARIA’s Fund allocation project and related changes.
“In the 2007/08 Budget, the Minister for Finance and Administration announced additional funding for ComSuper, over a number of years, to allow it to modernize IT systems and meet ongoing regulatory requirements,” the Report said.
The Report said the returns on the CSS and PSS funds were well in excess of long term targets of 7% per annum with CSS achieving an average of 14.5% over the past three years and PSS 14.9%.
The PSSap also performed well, with the Trustee Choice default fund achieving 16.7%.
November 1, 2007
No Complaints In
Complaints to the Commonwealth Ombudsman rose by nearly 6,000 to 33,322 during 2006 - 07, the Ombudsman's annual report has revealed.
More than 100 Australian Government Departments and Agencies had complaints lodged against them.
“Around three quarters of those complaints focused on five agencies with high volume public contact - Australia Post, the Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink, the Child Support Agency, and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship," the Report said.
The Ombudsman said highlights for 2006/07 included handling the 18 per cent increase in workload and finalising the 17,934 approaches and complaints that fell within his jurisdiction as well as the 5,319 approaches that related to out-of-jurisdiction matters and requests for information.
In addition, he finalised 247 immigration detention cases, completed 13 own motion and major investigations, consolidated the Immigration Ombudsman function, implemented the Law Enforcement and Postal Industry Ombudsman functions, conducted 116 outreach activities and inspected the records of the Australian Federal Police, Australian Crime Commission and other agencies who used phone taps, surveillance devices and other controlled operations.
The Ombudsman, Professor John McMillan said that in its 30-year history his office had dealt with over 600,000 complaints and had stimulated many improvements in Government administration.
"The office has dealt with nearly every kind of complaint made against Government," Professor McMillan said.
"We continue to work with agencies to address and prevent systemic problems and to improve public administration."
He said few public institutions survived three decades with their core functions virtually unchanged.
“As an important independent arbiter in a system of government undergoing constant change, the responsibilities of the Commonwealth Ombudsman have expanded over 30 years to cover areas of specific expertise such as Defence, Immigration, law enforcement, taxation and the postal industry," Professor McMillan said.
He said it was a privilege being the Ombudsman during the 30th Anniversary of the office.
"Much has been achieved over the past 30 years, but a lot still needs to be done to ensure the fundamental right of all Australians to good public administration.
November 1, 2007
Audit Delivers on
An audit of the way four major Departments deliver services to Indigenous Australians has found areas that could be improved.
In a report entitled Whole of Government Indigenous Service Delivery Arrangements, the Auditor-General, Ian McPhee has found that after three years of a Whole of Government program to provide services to Indigenous Australians, opportunities existed for streamlining administrative functions and reporting on performance.
His audit examined a series of policy priorities known as Indigenous Affairs Arrangements (IAAs) adopted in 2004 to address long term, entrenched Indigenous disadvantage and set in train major changes to service delivery.
The audit assessed how the the key Departments of of Education, Science and Training; Employment and Workplace Relations; Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs; and Health and Ageing were implementing the IAAs.
“Because the IAAs involve participation of multiple Ministers and portfolios and may involve other jurisdictions, the governance arrangements are necessarily complex,” Mr McPhee said. “But it is apparent that there are opportunities to streamline the administrative arrangements.”
He said areas identified for improvement included the role of the lead agency, Whole of Government governance and accountability arrangements; collaborative efforts to support service delivery which included joint funding agreements and ‘programs responding flexibly to Indigenous need.’
He said there was little in the way of overall performance information to assess progress and a stronger collective focus was needed to compare results with the priorities set out by the Government at the time the IAAs were introduced.
“Under current reporting arrangements it is not possible to obtain a clear picture of Whole of Government Indigenous expenditure, and performance information relating to Whole of Government initiatives is either absent or poorly developed,” The Auditor said. “Insufficient attention has been given to policy implementation to reflect the original intention of the Government that service delivery to Indigenous people involves the flexible use of funds.”
He said there was also a need for FaCSIA as the lead agency, to have clearer authority to escalate issues for resolution.
Mr McPhee made two recommendations in his report which were accepted by all the Departments as well as Prime Minister and Cabinet.
November 1, 2007
DVA Makes Big Bang
At ATOM Awards
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has received two awards at the annual Enhance TV Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM) Awards for an interactive education resource for Australian secondary students.
The Department won Best Educational Multi-Modal production and Best Secondary Education Resource for their multimedia production Australia and the Vietnam War.
Secretary of DVA, Mark Sullivan said the Department produced a range of resource materials for schools and established links with curriculum authorities and teacher associations around the country.
“The initiatives recognised in these awards highlight DVA’s work in helping to educate
younger generations about our wartime heritage and honouring those who serve or
have served in defence of our nation,” Mr Sullivan said.
“Each year we produce an education resource that is distributed to all schools, which
aims to tell the story of Australia’s wartime history.
“Australia and the Vietnam War is a dynamic and informative interactive education resource and I’m pleased that it has been recognised as part of the ATOM awards.”
He said it was important to continue educating younger generations so that the legacy of Australian soldiers would not be forgotten.
The Awards, which were established in 1982, recognise excellence in more than 30 categories of film, television, animation and multimedia and are open to students, production companies, independent filmmakers, educational bodies and educational producers.
The education resource Australia and the Vietnam War is available from the DVA website at www.dva.gov.au
November 1, 2007
The national libraries of Australia, Britain, the United States and Canada have united to implement a new bibliographic standard for a digital environment.
Assistant Director-General, Collections Management at the National Library of Australia, Pam Gatenby, said the standard would cover the description and access to library resources.
The four libraries - the NLA, the US Library of Congress, the British Library and Library and Archives Canada - have agreed on the coordinated implementation of RDA - Resource Description and Access - which would succeeded the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules.
Ms Gatenby said the national libraries, together with the professional library associations in Canada, Britain and the United States, were represented on the Committee of Principals which oversaw the work of the Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA, which was responsible for developing the guidelines.
"We welcome the move to RDA," Ms Gatenby said.
"The guidelines will be easy to use and the functionality that the RDA web product will provide will make the cataloguing process more efficient."
She said RDA addressed the needs of the future by providing a flexible framework for describing all types of resources of interest to libraries.
"The guidelines will be compatible with internationally established principles, models and standards," Ms Gatenby said.
“In addition, RDA will maintain continuity with the past, as data created using RDA will be compatible with existing records in online library catalogues."
The libraries planned to implement RDA by the end of 2009.
To ensure a smooth transition, Ms Gatenby said the four libraries would work together on training, documentation and national application decisions.
They would issue regular updates to keep library communities informed on progress and policy decisions.
November 1, 2007
Award Doors Open For
Centrelink's Eddie Mitchell has received a Special Commendation Award in recognition of his contribution to the Canberra community.
Minister for Human Services, Senator Chris Ellison congratulated Mr Mitchell at a special ceremony in Canberra as part of Centrelink's 10th birthday celebrations.
As the project director for Centrelink's new national support office building in Tuggeranong, ACT, Mr Mitchell was recognised for playing a major role in ensuring the highest standards were met in design and operations.
The building had already been singled out for recognition at the 2007 ACT Master Builders' Association awards, taking honours for environmental design, technical innovation, and occupational health and safety.
Senator Ellison, said Mr Mitchell had been with Centrelink for more than 11 years and had extensive experience with both private and public sector projects.
Another member of Centrelink’s Canberra team, Andrew McGee, won Centrelink's national award for Environmental Management.
Mr McGee, 41, led major workplace initiatives to encourage environmental sustainability and reduction in waste to landfill.
"Whether it be through recycling or replacing office fittings with energy efficient lighting, it all adds up to make a huge difference," Mr McGee said.
"Our efforts from more than 280 sites have saved about eight million kilowatt hours of electricity.”
“That was equivalent energy to power the whole of Tuggeranong Office Park for eight months."
Senator Ellison said other award winners were recognised for their contributions on a wide range of projects, including involvement with the Australian Government's Drought Buses and emergency responsiveness during the North-East Victorian bushfires.
November 1, 2007
DIAC Reaches Out
For Outreach Visit
Officers from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship will be in Newcastle in November for a regional outreach visit.
The Department said the outreach trips were "a great way for people in regional areas to sit down and talk about immigration-related issues face-to-face with DIAC officers".
It said appointments attracted a range of people, from small business owners to farmers, community groups to individuals, who might want information or just someone to talk them through a complex matter.
"While the Department has a great deal of information available over the phone or on the Internet, some people prefer to speak to officers face-to-face, and these visits are about meeting that need."
In the past, the most popular topics related to citizenship, work visas, visas for family members and how to propose and sponsor refugees.
The DIAC team would be at the Northern Settlement Services Office, 8 Chaucer Street, Hamilton on 14 November.
November 1, 2007
Australia Listed On
Australia has been successful in winning a seat on the 21-member United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation World Heritage Committee.
The four-year term would enhance the nation’s ability to be a leading manager of world heritage property, the Department of Environment and Water Resources said in a statement.
It was one of nine successful candidates announced at an assembly in Paris.
"As the Asia-Pacific focal point for world heritage matters, Australia continues to provide technical support and practical advice to more than 20 countries," the Department said.
It had 17 world heritage-listed sites, including Kakadu National Park and the Sydney Opera House.
The Department said that during its four-year term, Australia would work to advance the principles and integrity of the World Heritage Convention.
"Under the Convention, nations have a duty to protect places with outstanding universal value to all mankind because once lost, they are lost forever."
"With a strong track record and a keen interest in building a sustainable future for all sites, this broader role in world heritage matters will enhance Australia's ability to be a leading world heritage property manager and an active partner in the Asia-Pacific region."
Australia's Committee team would be lead by Dr Greg Terrill, Department of the Environment and Water Resources, with Dr Anita Smith, Heritage Victoria and Deakin University, and Jon Day of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
November 1, 2007
Aboard Marine Body
The Australian Institute of Marine Science has appointed one of the world’s leading microbiologists to lead and develop its Marine Microbiology Research effort.
Professor Linda Blackall is to join the Institute in February 2008.
Chief Executive of AIMS, Dr Ian Poiner welcomed Professor Blackall’s appointment saying she would provide visionary leadership for the Institute in the field of microbial sciences.
“She will build on our existing international profile and reputation as her experience brings substantial strategic leadership in research with a record of innovation and excellence,” Dr Poiner said.
Profesor Blackall is to join AIMS from the Advanced Water Management Centre at the University of Queensland.
She is listed in the top one per cent of researchers in microbiology, is a member of the
Australian Biotechnology Advisory Council, Chair of the Antarctic Science Advisory Committee and a Boardmember of the International Society for Microbial Ecology.
She was a recipient of the Smart Women-Smart State award for Excellence in Science and has also received a Women in Technology Research Science Award.
Professor Blackall said she looked forward to the challenges of the position.
“The vast unseen microbiota of the oceans comprise a major player in global climate control and the practical applications of knowledge from this immense field will ensure that our globe has a sustainable future,” Professor Blackall said.
She said marine science could not continue to overlook the unseen world of microbes and Australia must build capacity in the area.
November 1, 2007
Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty has acknowledge the commitment and dedication of 61 members of the AFP in a ceremony at Brisbane's Customs House.
Commissioner Keelty presented medals to members for their outstanding achievements with 26 also recognised for 20 and 25 years of service to the AFP.
Federal Agent Larissa Morley was presented with the Commissioner's Group Citation for Conspicuous Conduct "in recognition of her exceptional commitment, dedication and professionalism displayed in 2006".
Mr Keelty said that working as part of a team, Federal Agent Morley had assisted in the apprehension and prosecution of an organised crime group which had attempted to import 342 kgs of methamphetamine into Australia from Hong Kong.
Four protective service officers and a federal agent were awarded the Commissioner's Group Citation and Conspicuous Conduct medal for their actions during the 2006 Honiara riots in the Solomon Islands.
"The recipients operated in a dangerous environment and their selfless actions, dedication and discipline aided in the protection of people and property, and helped to quickly restore order to Honiara, Commissioner Keelty said.
He also presented:
* 29 Commissioner's Group Citations for Conspicuous Conduct
* 26 AFP Service Medals with 20 and 25-year clasps to members
* 18 National Medals and 1st clasps, and
* Individual medals for community policing, hazardous overseas service, bravery and operational excellence.
Commissioner Keelty said the ceremony was important for staff morale as it symbolised the great efforts members make to ensure the protection of others before their own safety.
"These awards are a reflection not only of outstanding professional behaviour, but of individual acts of bravery by our officers," Commissioner Keelty said.
He said the Australian Federal Police’s honours and awards program was established in 2004 to formally recognise employees who make outstanding contributions to the organisation, Government and community.
November 1, 2007
Radio Australia Makes
Waves at Awards
Radio Australia programs have been shortlisted in three categories for this year's Association for International Broadcasting Media Excellence Awards.
The station’s Breakfast Club was nominated in two categories following a live to air road trip taking in China, Singapore and Malaysia.
Host, Phil Kafcaloudes received a nomination as "International Radio Personality of the Year" and its current affairs program, "Pacific Beat" was nominated for "Best Program dealing with a topical issue".
A statement from Radio Australia said that in China, the Breakfast Club conducted the first-ever ABC broadcast from Guangzhou.
It said the Breakfast Club was fast becoming a regional benchmark in interacting with wide audiences ranging across physical borders and cultural boundaries.
The Pacific Beat program was shortlisted for "best program dealing with a topical issue, radio" for its segment titled, 'Blogs Challenge', a look at bloggers in the Pacific.
The awards would be announced in London on 20 November.
November 1, 2007
ACCC Sees Red Over
Enquiries and complaints about 'green' marketing were growing according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
ACCC Commissioner John Martin said the trend was consistent with the growing interest in business to ‘green market’ their goods and services.
Speaking to consumer and specialty products representatives attending the ACCORD National Conference on the Gold Coast, Mr Martin said that whether a business was promoting their 'green' motor vehicles, 'green' flights, or 'green' toilet paper the Trade Practices Act 1974 consumer protection provisions still applied.
"In light of the growing number of complaints, the ACCC is taking a closer look at a number of the green claims that are being made at the moment, and all businesses need to ensure they are not misleading their customers with such claims,” Mr Martin said.
"Many incorrectly believe green marketing refers solely to the promotion or advertising of products with environmental characteristics."
He said terms like phosphate free, recyclable, eco-friendly, ozone friendly and environmentally friendly were associated by consumers with green marketing and were now being applied to consumer goods, industrial goods, services, corporate activities, Government activities, and so on," Mr Martin said.
"If there is a green-edge to be found, it will be exploited.”
He said consumers were becoming more concerned and aware about the natural environment and businesses marketing goods with environmental characteristics would have a competitive advantage over businesses that did not.
He said businesses had long recognised the competitive advantage of appealing to the new green awareness of customers.
He said the ACCC intended ramping up its green compliance activities with a combination of business and consumer educative initiatives and targeted enforcement action.
November 1, 2007
Postal Dress Design
Is Package Deal
Australia Post has launched new uniforms for its retail staff designed by fashion designer Carla Zampatti.
Managing Director, Graeme John said 8,000 retail staff working in over 4,000 Australia Post outlets nationally would wear the new wardrobe.
Mr John said he had invited Ms Zampatti to design the new collection because "her signature style had the look and feel Australia Post needed".
Over the past 12 months, Australia Post had launched initiatives aimed at bringing people up to date "with the modern, progressive business it is today", Mr John said.
"These have included the launch of a new brand advertising campaign 'Part of everyday', and investment in a more contemporary look and feel in its retail outlets.
He said the new clothing collection reflected the changing focus of Australia Post's retail offering
"We needed to ensure that our retail collection reflected our staff's professionalism in dealing with an ever increasing number of high end business transactions," he said.
Australia Post's new wardrobe was designed in a colour palette of navy, red and white and the collection included tailored suits in classic navy or pinstripes. Shirts feature bold red striping or navy spots on white and bold accents were created with spotted or striped ties for men and neck scarves for women.
Mr John said there was also a range of knitwear combining sophisticated navy and sand tones.
He said the final collection of 80 pieces was developed in close consultation with staff.