PS News Archives September 10

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Resources boosted for

The Department of Water and the Water Corporation are to double their policing resources and the Government is to consider tougher penalties for breaching water restrictions for the rest of spring.

Minister for Water, Graham Jacobs has announced that a one-day-a-week water sprinkler roster for Perth, the South West and the Lower Great Southern region would apply for the remainder of the season.

Dr Jacobs said the roster would only apply to users on the Integrated Water Supply Scheme.

He said hand watering of gardens would be allowed and bore owners would be able to use their bores three days a week.

The Minister said the Government was forced to adopt the tougher restrictions by the second driest winter on record and run-off into dams the lowest since 1913.

“The situation right now is quite extraordinary,” Dr Jacobs said, “and required a strong decision.

“The community showed fantastic support for the winter sprinkler ban and I would think West Australians will show the same enthusiasm for this new water saving measure.”

He said after lifting the ban in August he emphasised the roster would be tightened if the State did not get rain in September.

He said the Department of Water had also designed a new online-tool kit to provide information on the use of non-drinking water.

He said the tool-kit and other initiatives would result in short term water savings.

“We need to increase water-use efficiency and make the most of opportunities to use alternative water sources,” he said

“This includes the efficient use of all water sources; minimal use of scheme water for non-drinking purposes and the consideration of non-drinking water schemes where feasible.”

The Minister said non-drinking water schemes were a good option for uses such as toilet flushing and garden watering.

28 September, 2010

Sound’s management

soundly lacking

An audit report into the management of Cockburn Sound has found shortcomings that could threaten its environmental health.

Auditor General Colin Murphy said there were weaknesses in the current monitoring and management practices.

Mr Murphy found that the diversity of activity in the Sound kept it under constant environmental pressure from increasing industrial, urban and recreational use.

“Government has recognised that the environmental management of this area is a complex and challenging task and has put in place a strong management framework to address the unique challenges of the Sound,” Mr Murphy said.

“However, there are a number of gaps in policy implementation and management oversight which need to be addressed to ensure the marine ecosystem of Cockburn Sound is protected.”

The Auditor General’s performance audit found that errors and inconsistencies in reporting on ecosystem health had meant that evidence of decline in seagrass health and water quality in some areas of Cockburn Sound had not been highlighted through reporting.

It also found that monitoring of the marine environment did not provide a current measure of the total area of vital seagrass in the Sound and it did not monitor the total contaminant discharges.

Mr Murphy said Cockburn Sound had a strong environmental management framework in place, which included the State Environmental Policy and the Environmental Management Plan for Cockburn Sound and its catchment.

The independent Cockburn Sound Management Council, the Department of Environment and Conservation and the Environmental Protection Authority all had varying levels of management responsibility for the policy framework.

“For the most part the environmental management framework for Cockburn Sound is working well,” Mr Murphy said.

“However, a review of the State Environmental Policy, currently scheduled for 2012, should be brought forward to ensure the gaps in policy implementation and management oversight are addressed sooner rather than later.”

28 September, 2010

Animal helpline

is pet project

A volunteer-operated wildlife helpline has reported new heights of interest, taking almost 10,000 calls in the 12 months to July.

The 24-hour, seven-day-a-week Wildcare Helpline provides advice for people who find sick, injured or orphaned native animals, and arranges wildlife rehabilitators to assist with the recovery of the animals and release them back into their natural habitat.

The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), which coordinates the service, also received up to 20 calls daily to its Nature Protection Branch, resulting in a total of almost 18,000 calls on wildlife issues in 2009-10.

Community Involvement Coordinator at DEC, Hugh Maclean said the most common reasons for calls to the helpline were related to distressed, injured, or aggressive birds, followed by animals hit by cars, affected by disease, trapped, orphaned or abandoned at a young age, or those that posed a threat to humans and pets.

“Of the 9,914 calls received by the Wildcare Helpline, 5,441 were for birds, 1,941 for mammals, 1,418 for snakes, 521 for other reptiles, 35 for amphibians, and more than 500 were for other enquiries,” Mr Maclean said.

“Calls to the helpline have grown from fewer than 3,000 a year in 2002-03 to around 10,000 last year, which demonstrates that people are more conscious about wildlife in their area and are more willing to help if they see a native animal in distress.”

Mr Maclean said 28 volunteers manned the helpline around the clock, and they referred calls to professional staff and other dedicated volunteers, including DEC-registered wildlife rehabilitators, reptile removers, animal control agents, veterinary centre staff, or DEC wildlife officers.

“Volunteers take calls in DEC’s Community Involvement Unit office in Kensington, doing 9am to 1pm and 1pm to 5pm shifts, while operators also take calls from their home at night and on weekends,” he said.

28 September, 2010

Inspection probe

finds corruption

An investigation into vehicle inspections by the Corruption and Crime Commission has led to one examiner being jailed, two dismissed, one demoted and another resigning.

According to the Commission, an examiner from Kelmscott Vehicle Examination Centre was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to 30 bribery charges.

The CCC report said the examiner accepted bribes from a motor dealer to pass a number of vehicles without an inspection.

The CCC said the motor dealer also pleaded guilty but was believed to be overseas after absconding before sentencing.

The report estimated the bribes to total $5,900 for the 30 charges.

The Commission said disciplinary action had been taken by the Department for Transport against four other motor vehicle examiners.

It said three of the examiners passed vehicles without inspection for business proprietors who benefited from charging customers several hundred dollars to have their vehicles passed.

It recommended that the Director of Public Prosecutions consider prosecuting one of the business owners for counselling or procuring public officers to falsify official records.

The Commission said that as part of its corruption prevention function it inspected 13 licensing centres and found the Department’s misconduct risks in the area to be significant.

It said another review had found the Department did not have the capacity to identify, prevent or manage misconduct risks across the organisation.

The full CCC report could be accessed at www.ccc.wa.gov.au

28 September, 2010

Regional projects

head for the bush

A program of biodiversity and infrastructure conservation projects in the remote regions of the State has been announced by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) at a cost of $400,000.

Under the Remote Regions Nature Conservation Program, this year’s funding is supporting projects in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Midwest and Wheatbelt.

Manager of the program, Rowan Dawson said the initiative demonstrated DEC’s commitment to a strong presence in isolated areas.

“The focus of this program is to maintain and build on infrastructure works critical to DEC’s management of remote areas, rehabilitate degraded land and undertake high priority nature conservation work,” Mr Dawson said.

He said DEC conservation employees based in the south-west would be deployed to the Department’s remote regions during the winter months to help implement on-ground parks and visitor services, nature conservation and infrastructure initiatives.

“DEC manages extensive areas of land in WA, and this project builds on that work by extending DEC’s conservation activities beyond the more accessible regions,” Mr Dawson said.

He said included in this year’s program was $74,000 towards fire management and research in national parks and other conservation lands in the Pilbara, as well as $29,000 to determine the impacts of fire and grazing on vegetation in Cape Range National Park.

He said projects in the Midwest included building works at the former Cobra pastoral lease in the Gascoyne and the upgrading facilities at the former Karara pastoral lease near Morawa, while in the Great Southern, $20,000 was being invested in seedling planting to rehabilitate degraded land.

A $21,500 project in the West Kimberley involves the continuation of weed control along the Fitzroy River.

28 September, 2010

New drink drive laws

are sobering news

Tough new drink driving laws that would see a driver’s licence cancelled immediately for motorists recording a blood alcohol reading above 0.08 have been introduced into State Parliament.

Minister for Police, Rob Johnson, said The Road Traffic Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 would also enable police to issue an immediate notice preventing a person from holding or obtaining a licence for two months and also disqualify anyone who refused a breath or blood test.

“This measure is intended to act as a further, strong deterrent to drink drivers,” Mr Johnson said.

“Under current laws, motorists who are caught driving over 0.08 can simply get behind the wheel the following day”.

He said the new legislation would also stop motorists caught above the limit from driving until they appeared in court.

He said the current laws allowed a driver to nominate a medical practitioner or registered nurse to take a blood sample but the new rules would require them to undergo a breath test.

The Bill would require police to charge a driver within 10 days of the offence or the disqualification notice would become void.

The Minister said the legislation would also make it harder for people to obtain extraordinary licences and still drive under certain conditions.

Minister for Transport, Simon O’Brien, said the Government was responding to community concerns regarding the distribution of extraordinary licences.

“The new legislation will tighten the standards and leave minimal room for interpretation by the courts ensuring that extraordinary licences can only be issued where specified circumstances of extreme hardship can be demonstrated,” Mr O’Brien said.

28 September, 2010

Business Centre

does the business

Great Southern’s Small Business Centre has been recognised as the best Regional Business Enterprise Centre in Australia during a conference in Cairns

Minister for Commerce, Bill Marmion said the award was well deserved recognition for the Small Business Centre and a great achievement for the Great Southern.

“Vicki Brown and her team in Albany work extremely hard bringing business advice and guidance to the Great Southern region,” Mr Marmion said.

“It’s a very impressive win, given the standards of Small Business Centres and Business Enterprise Centres nationwide.”

He said the Great Southern region was one of the fastest growing in Western Australia with the number of businesses rapidly increasing.

“With the business population steadily growing in this region it is great to know they have the support of such an effective Small Business Centre team,” the Minister said.

He said Ms Brown was no stranger to awards.

In February this year, she was named Business person of the Year for 2010 at the Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry Business Awards.

Mr Marmion said Business Enterprise Centres and Small Business Centres were good first points of contact for small business operators seeking quality business information, advice and guidance.

The annual Small Business Development Conference was held in Cairns and hosted more than 250 guests from around Australia.

28 September, 2010

Sentence force is

with the police

Statistics released by WA Police show that assaults against officers have fallen 28 per cent since the introduction of mandatory sentencing in September last year.

Attorney General, Christian Porter and Minister for Police, Rob Johnson, said the figures showed there were 377 fewer assaults against police than for the same period last year.

“What we have seen is a rapid and remarkable reduction in the number of assaults against police and other officers that coincided with the introduction of mandatory sentencing last year,” Mr Porter said.

“The very point of this legislation was to send a message to the community that violent attacks against our police and other public officers would no longer be tolerated in Western Australia. “

He said media coverage of the laws may have caused people to stop and think before assaulting an officer.

Mr Johnson said there had been a decrease of 32.7 per cent in assaults against police this year and 7.5 per cent fewer assaults on public officers.

“Importantly, the statistics have shown that since the legislation came into effect, reported assaults against police officers are now lower than at any point in the past five years.”

He said since September last year there had been 14 charges under the new laws, of which five offenders had been found guilty.

He said in the past year, 37 cases had been considered for charging under the legislation, but only 12 met the criteria.

“This is further indication that this legislation is being applied soberly, carefully and in accordance with the State Government’s expectations,” Mr Johnson said.

28 September, 2010

DAFWA staff swoop

on bird brochures

The production of three national Pest Alert brochures has been coordinated by the Department of Agriculture and Food in Western Australia.

The brochures cover three non-indigenous birds – the Canada goose, red-whiskered bulbul and Barbary dove.

Coordinator of the Alert, DAFWA’s Win Kirkpatrick said the brochures focus attention on potential risks to agriculture, the environment and society, and encourage reporting of sightings by the public.

They were produced with support from the Australian Government’s Australian Pest Animal Management Program administered by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics Bureau of Rural Sciences.

“The alerts are endorsed nationally by the Vertebrate Pests Committee and were developed with Government and non-government groups,” Ms Kirkpatrick said.

She said the red-whiskered bulbul and Canada goose were both on the Global Invasive Species Database, alongside the red fox and cane toad, and were prohibited in WA.

The goose damages a variety of agricultural crops including cereals and vegetables and poses a bird-strike risk for aircraft, she said.

In Australia the bulbul is reported to damage figs, pears, strawberries and flowers. It could displace and compete with honeyeaters and assist in the spread of weeds.

Ms Kirkpatrick said the Barbary dove was considered a pest by agriculture as it could damage newly sown grain crops and could complete with other dove species in Australia.

She said it could only be kept in WA in a double-doored aviary under permit.

28 September, 2010

Attempts to sell

retail register

A position paper proposing a register of retail shop leases has been released by the Minister for Commerce for public comment.

A flow-on from the retail trading hours’ debate, the option of including a lease register under the Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Act 1985 has been identified as a way to protect shopping centre tenants better – many of whom are small businesses.

Minister for Commerce, Bill Marmion said recent reviews of retail tenancy legislation in WA and nationally had raised concerns about the lack of access to meaningful information about leases.

“Some landlords, agents and tenants are reluctant to provide information on the terms of their leases making it difficult for other tenants to make comparisons about what is on offer in the marketplace,” Mr Marmion said.

He said the Government had taken account the benefits and disadvantages of establishing a shopping centre lease register with limited access to tenants and prospective tenants as opposed to a public lease register.

“The costs associated with establishing and maintaining a public lease register and issues around public access to commercially sensitive confidential information were paramount in the Government’s thinking,” the Minister said.

“The shopping centre register option would be more cost-effective, as centre management is already likely to retain such information, as part of their records.”

He said that depending on responses to the proposal, it could also form part of a range of amendments the Government is developing to retail shop tenancy laws aimed at promoting a more efficient and better informed retail tenancy market.

28 September, 2010

Baby alcohol warning

is motherhood stuff

Western Australia’s first-ever blueprint to address the issue of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) has been developed by the Department of Health.

FASD occurs when a child is affected by his or her mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

Chief Medical Officer at WA Health, Dr Simon Towler, said that although FASD could be severe, it could also be prevented.

“For women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy, the best way to avoid FASD in your child is to not drink alcohol,” Dr Towler said.

“Because the amount of alcohol that affects fetal development is unclear and is likely to vary between mothers and babies, no amount of alcohol can be considered to be safe during pregnancy.”

Dr Towler said that providing information and raising community awareness were important means of preventing the condition.

“While it is difficult to accurately determine the prevalence of the condition, the fact is this disorder is not confined to any one group it affects people right across the social spectrum,” he said.

The blueprint, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Model of Care . was developed by a team convened by the Department of Health’s Child and Youth Health Network, including Government Agencies, health services and research organisations and uses information from a range of stakeholders.

It contains a series of recommendations to guide Agencies across Government and the non-government sectors to prevent, diagnose and treat FASD.

28 September, 2010

College law is

lesson learned

A review of the law setting up the WA College of Teaching (WACOT) has found it to be in need of revision.

Education Minister Liz Constable said the review found three quarters of teachers believed the College did not deliver value for money and did not meet the teachers’ expectations.

“The review has found that there is a pronounced mismatch between what teachers had expected of the College and what the College has delivered,” Dr Constable said.

“It is clear from the report that the WACOT Act, which commenced in 2004, has been a cumbersome and expensive one to administer.”

She said teachers expected the College to promote the profession, deliver personal development and stand fast on controversial issues but most believed it had failed to deliver.

“WACOT’s legislation does not concentrate attention on the prime reason for its existence, which is the protection of the public interest, especially the interests of children,” Dr Constable said.

“This is an important review of matters of considerable professional and public interest.”

She said according to the report, if teachers’ expectations were to be met, annual membership fees would have to rise.

The report found the College required 90 per cent of its annual revenue to carry out its basic regular functions and it would be in deficit by 2011.

The report says most teachers accepted that compulsory registration was important but would not welcome the rise.

The report also found some functions of the WACOT Act should be cut back, leaving the College’s role as a simple scheme of registration.

28 September, 2010

Power pole upgrade

takes pole position

Replacing power poles and reducing bushfire risks from them in the southern half of Western Australia have received a boost from the State Government with the approval of $85 million in extra funding over the next two years.

Minister for Energy, Peter Collier said the Government approved the expenditure last week for Western Power’s wood pole management and bushfire mitigation programs, with a total of almost $200 million to be invested over two years.

An extra $73.6 million would be spent on replacing 13,431 poles, while a further $5.91 million would be spent on reinforcing 4,575 poles in the South West Interconnected System (SWIS).

Mr Collier said for the Mid-West, an additional $15.2 million would be spent to replace 2,950 poles and $2.1 million would be spent to reinforce 1,750 poles.

Extensive silicone spraying of insulators on poles would also continue throughout the SWIS at a cost of $5.5 million, he said.

This would reduce the risk of pole top fires, primarily caused by the build-up of salt and dust on pole top equipment, together with the installation of surge arresters to mitigate the impact of lightning strikes.

“Western Power has a vast wood pole population that has suffered from years of under-investment,” Mr Collier said.

“However, the Corporation has prioritised its funding in recent years to address the highest priority programs in public safety and regulatory compliance.”

He said Western Power had made significant improvements to its wood pole management, particularly since EnergySafety’s audit of the wood pole population was completed in 2008.

“Almost 360,000 wood poles have been inspected in the past two years, and at the end of this financial year, every pole in the network would have been inspected over a four-year cycle,” Mr Collier said.

28 September, 2010

Surgery cuts out

a new record

The Department of Health has reported a record number of elective surgery procedures carried out in August.

Almost 7,400 people underwent operations at WA’s metropolitan and country public hospitals during the month.

Minister for Health, Kim Hames said almost 90 per cent of the patients had their surgery within the clinically desirable time.

“What the August results show is that we are meeting growing elective surgery demand by doing more operations than ever before and making sure our patients get their treatment in a timely fashion, Dr Hames said.

“We are ensuring we improve the proportion of patients who get their operation within the clinically recommended time, and these results show great progress on that front.”

The Minister was commenting following the release of the Western Australian Elective Surgery Wait List Report August 2010.

The report showed that metropolitan hospitals did more surgery than ever before in August – treating more than 5,900 patients and achieving their highest recorded proportion of patients seen within the clinically desirable time – almost 89 per cent.

It also showed that more than 95 per cent of patients on wait lists for country hospitals had not waited longer than clinically desirable either.

28 September, 2010

Housing projects nail

Indigenous training

A Department of Housing policy of encouraging the employment of Indigenous people on urban renewal projects is leading to educational opportunities for those hoping to gain trade qualifications.

Minister for Housing, Bill Marmion said a number of Indigenous people had been employed to work on the Phoenix Rise Hamilton Hill Project.

“The Department strives to generate and integrate Indigenous employment and training initiatives as part of its business operations and we have made this conditional in a number of new projects,” Mr Marmion said.

Some of the Indigenous group had been pursuing a painting and decorating apprenticeship at the project, with Dean Wynne becoming the first person to gain his trade certificate as a qualified painter.

The Minister said Mr Wynne had been undertaking his apprenticeship for the past three years, but had worked on the Phoenix Rise Project since it started in 2004, before deciding to become a mature-age apprentice.

His brother, Marcel, is also doing his painting apprenticeship at the Phoenix Rise Project.

The apprenticeship has been facilitated and funded by the Department, with support from the Satterley Property Group; Department of Treasury and Finance; and Skill Hire.

The Phoenix Rise Urban Renewal Project started in 2004 and is focused on developing a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable lifestyle for the community.

Mr Marmion said it was part of the Government’s continuing commitment to urban renewal across the State.

28 September, 2010

Apartments plan ties

off woolstore project

The transformation of an historic wool store in Fremantle into 241 apartments is to be developed as a ‘Public Private Partnership’.

More than $22 million in Government funds will be invested to create 58 new affordable housing apartments as part of the redevelopment of the Dalgety Wool Store.

Minister for Housing, Bill Marmion said the development would revitalise Fremantle’s city centre.

“This project will breathe new life into an old building, long regarded as a Fremantle eyesore, while creating more homes for people in need,” Mr Marmion said.

“It’s a prime example of the Government working closely with the private sector to fund affordable housing.”

The affordable housing component will be funded under Stage 2 of the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Package.

The Department of Housing’s 58 apartments will be built on 1,846 square metres of cleared land adjoining the main wool store building, located behind a heritage facade on Beach Street.

The apartments will be spread over two buildings, each comprised of five storeys, with communal space separating the two. The first stage of the development will be built by Match Construction.

Mr Marmion said the remaining 183 apartments would be developed by The Match Group and be a mix of one and two-bedroom warehouse apartments contained within the wool store building and made available for sale to the public in 2011.

The first stage of construction is expected to be completed by December 2011.

28 September, 2010

Health warns on mosquitoes

People living and holidaying in the north of Western Australia are being urged by the Department of Health to take extra care against mosquito bites.

The mosquito-borne Kunjin and Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) viruses have been detected in the Gascoyne, Pilbara and Kimberley regions.

Despite recent low rainfall and relatively low numbers of mosquitoes in most areas of the Gascoyne, Pilbara and Kimberley, surveillance results show that mosquitoes are still carrying mosquito-borne diseases.

New services for Rockingham

New maternity and chemotherapy units have been opened at Rockingham General Hospital.

The maternity unit is part of a $115 million redevelopment, while for the first time the hospital will also offer chemotherapy services.

The hospital will also be opening a Level 1 Intensive Care Unit on 1 November.

Muresk to be training hub

A report on post-secondary agricultural education in Western Australia has been released.

The report proposes that Muresk become a multi-use facility offering agricultural higher education qualifications, TAFE qualifications, short-term industry training and farm-based research.

Curtin University of Technology will continue to use the Muresk campus in 2011 for current students but there will be no new intakes in that year.

Fence for woylies

A new predator-proof fence surrounding woylie habitat in the State’s South-West is almost complete.

The fence is designed to ensure the survival of the critically-endangered species.

The enclosure, in the Perup Nature Reserve, near Manjimup, will support a population of about 400 woylies.

Late trade for retailers

A new law passed by State Parliament would allow major retail stores to trade until 9pm on weeknights.

Until now, retailers had to close at 6pm on weeknights except Thursday.

Parliament has also given the go-ahead for Midland and Armadale to become ‘special trading precincts’.

This means the central shopping areas of Midland and Armadale will have extended trading, including Sundays.

21 September, 2010

Move for more reform

to Local Government

A Parliamentary Committee has called for major reforms to the State’s local Government sector.

Minister for Local Government, John Castrilli said the Local Government Reform Steering Committee report followed 12 months of research and analysis, including feedback from Local Governments and the findings of the Committee’s four working groups.

“The report articulates the gaps and opportunities for the high-growth areas of the State through increased economies of scale and removal of duplication, inconsistencies and fragmented decision making,” Mr Castrilli said.

“But change is not only needed in high-growth areas.

“As a blueprint for fewer, stronger Local Governments in WA, the report provides an objective assessment of the status of the State’s local government bodies.”

He said a key recommendation was to consider options for targetted Government intervention, including proposals to the Local Government Advisory Board for major boundary adjustments, and/or legislation to trigger reform activity in critical areas for reform.

Mr Castrilli said other recommendations included ensuring ongoing reform of the Local Government sector; initiating legislation for the appointment of an independent panel to review Local Government boundaries every eight years; and initiating amendments to legislation to change the prescribed number of elected members to between six and nine.

He said Local Government in Western Australia was a $2 billion industry employing more than 13,600 people with a critical role supporting the social and economic development of communities.

The Minister said even though the State Government’s reform program had led to some positive outcomes with 67Local Governments responding to the reform process, further changes were required to achieve meaningful improvement.

“The report said that 61 of the State’s 139 Local Governments are unsustainable and that many of these have been unwilling to participate in the reform program,” Mr Castrilli said.

“Without change, major capacity issues remain, resulting in lost opportunity for the State and communities.”

He said the Steering Committee’s report was available at www.dlg.wa.gov.au or by phoning (08) 9217 1500.

21 September, 2010

House design codes

to be reviewed

A two-year review of residential housing design codes has been announced by the Minister for Planning, John Day.

Mr Day said the review would assess the current effectiveness of the codes (known as R-Codes) to ensure the policy remained relevant and effective for all residential development in Western Australia.

“R-Codes are a source of concern for many people,” Mr Day said, “and I hope the outcome of this review will be simpler, more straightforward content and more efficient application.”

He said the review would investigate a wide range of issues, including consideration of the local planning policies being prepared by Local Government; consistency in the development of those policies; and new and emerging residential design trends not currently catered for in the R-Codes.

Mr Day said it would also look into sustainable development issues related to the design and energy efficiency of buildings; the role of detailed area plans and their relationship with the R-Codes; and design for climate variations to encompass regional design requirements.

He said the review would involve a public consultation phase scheduled for the first half of 2011.

“As the R-Codes set out the standards and control for residential development throughout WA and are incorporated by reference into most Local Government planning schemes, the review of the R-Codes will involve a wide range of stakeholders and interested parties,” Mr Day said.

“This review follows on from the current proposed amendment of the R-Codes to incorporate additional provisions for multiple dwelling developments.

He said the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) had recently endorsed the provisions and he was currently considering the amendment.

Mr Day said consultants would be engaged to conduct the review.

21 September, 2010

Premier seeks talks

on asylum seekers

The Premier, Colin Barnett has called on the Commonwealth to engage with the State Government on the housing of current and expected asylum seekers.

Mr Barnett said more than 4,700 asylum seekers were currently being housed on Christmas Island and on the Australian mainland and of those on the mainland, almost half were detained in Western Australian facilities.

“Housing asylum seekers has become a major issue in Australia,” Mr Barnett said.

“Western Australia is willing to share the burden created by these failed policies, however, it’s clear we are being used as the Commonwealth’s main asylum seeker prison.”

He said figures obtained by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet showed that of the mainland States, New South Wales housed less than 9 per cent of Irregular Maritime Arrivals (IMAs), Victoria, Queensland and South Australia all housed below 3 per cent, leaving WA with a “massive” 47 per cent.

Mr Barnett said WA was also housing about 95 per cent of people charged with people smuggling.

“Western Australia is at the frontline for IMAs, but this should not automatically make it appropriate to detain a disproportionate majority of them in this State,” he said.

“Detaining more and more people in these isolated and remote areas puts extreme pressure on our ability as a State to provide adequate health, education and law and order measures.”

Mr Barnett said he was also concerned about speculation there would be a substantial increase at Curtin Immigration Detention Centre.

He called on the new Minister for Immigration, Chris Bowen, to show the courtesy of openly and honestly engaging with the WA Government on where future asylum seekers would be housed and how many more WA was expected to receive.

21 September, 2010

Education learns

from Court fine

WorkSafe has successfully taken the Department of Education and Training to Court over injuries received by a female agriculture student learning to attach a hoe to a faulty tractor.

The Department was fined $50,000 over the incident which left the student with serious lifelong injuries.

WorkSafe Commissioner Nina Lyhne said the Department pleaded guilty to two charges under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 . following an incident at Morawa Agricultural College in May 2007.

She said the teacher was slightly injured in the incident while the student, who was aged 17 at the time, was still being treated for the injuries which included four severed toes, severe leg wounds and abdominal lacerations.

Ms Lyhne said the Court was told the tractor was faulty when the teacher joined the College in 1985 and that he had mentioned this to the College’s then farm supervisor but was told there were insufficient funds to repair it.

She said the student was hurt helping attach the hoe when her foot was pulled into it, dragging her up to her waist into the machine.

Ms Lyhne said in June the teacher was fined for charges relating to the incident.

She said charges against the Education Department were that as an employer, it had not as far as practicable provided and maintained a working environment in which its employees were not exposed to hazards and had not ensured that the safety or health of a person, who was not one of its employees (in this case a student) was not adversely affected as a result of a hazard that arose from or was increased by its system of work.

Ms Lyhne said the Department was also ordered to pay WorkSafe’s costs of $6,702.

21 September, 2010

DEC officers survive

bushfire investigation

A disciplinary investigation into the actions of two officers of the Department of Environment and Conservation involved in a 2007 bushfire tragedy has led to one being exonerated and the other found guilty of a minor breach.

The Director General of DEC, Keiran McNamara, has accepted the investigation’s findings and neither officer has been penalised.

Mr McNamara said on 20 November last year, the State Coroner handed down his Record of Investigation into Death arising from the bushfire, in which three truck drivers died and adverse findings were made against some members of the DEC incident management team.

He said an independent consulting firm was appointed by DEC to investigate the matter in accordance with the disciplinary provisions of the Public Sector Management Act.

He said the final, critical decision to reopen the Great Eastern Highway to traffic on 30 December 2007 was taken by the incident controller without consultation with either of the DEC staff members.

Mr McNamara said he asked both members to respond to the alleged breach of discipline under the PSM Act as a result of their performance during DEC’s management of the bushfire.

He said the investigator found that one of the officers was not careless in carrying out duties in the logistics officer role.

The investigator also found that the incident management team’s planning section was understaffed and systemic issues beyond the control of the other officer resulted in him being placed in the planning officer role despite not being accredited to deal with the scale of the bushfire.

He found that a minor breach of discipline should be recorded.

Mr McNamara said both members voluntarily stood down from frontline fire duty after the Coronial Inquest and would resume full roles within DEC’s fire management structure.

21 September, 2010

Lotterywest pays out

on community grants

Lotterywest’s contribution to the community of $113 million in the past year has been welcomed by the Premier, Colin Barnett.

Mr Barnett said Lotterywest’s 2009-10 Annual Report highlighted 1,148 different community and charitable organisations across the State that benefitted from direct grants.

He said Lotterywest raised a total of $234.8 million in the 2009-10 financial year, which went to support hospitals, sports, the arts, as well as community and charitable organisations.

“Lotterywest is the envy of many lotteries around the world for its direct relationship with thousands of not-for-profit organisations throughout the State,” Mr Barnett said.

“Grants made by Lotterywest make a profound difference to the lives of all West Australians.”

Mr Barnett said Lotterywest supported a wide range of organisations.

“From the St John’s Ambulance Service to the surf lifesavers; from providing funds for medical research to supporting organisations such as St Bartholomew’s to assist homeless people rebuild their lives, Lotterywest grants make the Western Australian community the ultimate winner from our State lottery,” he said.

Mr Barnett said Lotterywest was the only lottery in Australia with a direct grants program.

He said from every dollar West Australians spent on Lotterywest games each week, 33 cents is returned to benefit the community.

Mr Barnett said many local players also had the thrill of winning the big prize, with 69 State players winning Division One prizes last financial year totalling $102.5million.

“I am grateful for the work of the Lotterywest board and staff in this past year”, the Premier said.

“I particularly express my appreciation to the more than 500 small businesses around Western Australia whose operators provide the friendly public face of Lotterywest, providing excellent service to customers purchasing their favourite Lotterywest games.”

He said more information about Lotterywest grants was on www.lotterywest.wa.gov.au

21 September, 2010

Planners float new

sea level estimate

The extent of sea level rises to be used in planning coastal developments has been significantly increased by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC).

The new values bring Western Australia into line with estimates used in other States.

Minister for Planning, John Day said the WAPC had adopted a Policy Position Statement which reflected a more up-to-date figure, resulting in a revision from an 0.38m increase to 0.9m by 2110.

“A key objective of the policy is to create a coastal foreshore reserve that can accommodate coastal processes – such as sea level change, erosion, accretion and severe storms across a 100-year planning time frame,” Mr Day said.

“The practice of requiring development setbacks and foreshore reserves has been in place in WA since the 1930s, which means WA is somewhat better placed than other States to deal with the impacts of rising sea level and storm events.”

However, he said, as the sea level rise value in the State’s Coastal Planning Policy was based on estimates made in 2001, the WAPC considered it necessary to amend the value in recognition of nationally accepted and adopted increases in sea level rise projections.

Mr Day said for new development on a sandy coast the impact of an increase in vertical sea level rise value from 0.38m to 0.9m would result in an increase to the horizontal setback of 52m, increasing the total setback for the general guide from 100m to 150m.

He said the new setback provisions would be applied to new development.

“The decision has followed careful consideration and reflects the latest information from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2007) and the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) (2008), and is consistent with other State jurisdictions’ policy positions,” Mr Day said.

He said the Position Statement could be viewed under the ‘Plans and Policies’ section at www.planning.wa.gov.au

21 September, 2010

Safety inspectors

sample showbags

Product safety Inspectors from Consumer Protection have rejected four toys and novelty items contained in showbags for this year’s Perth Royal Show. The products were voluntarily withdrawn.

Minister for Commerce, Bill Marmion said the items withdrawn showed high levels of lead and included a suction ball, a cat plush toy, and a softball which showed up on metal detectors as containing high levels of lead; and a disguise set which was found to contain high levels of chromium.

Mr Marmion said the items were found following an intensive inspection of 243 showbags and their contents.

“For the first time, Consumer Protection has used special metal detection scanning technology to analyse about 500 toys and novelties,” Mr Marmion said.

“This technology detects lead and other dangerous elements, including chromium, arsenic, cadmium and mercury.”

He said inspectors from Consumer Protection would conduct follow-up inspections during the show to ensure continued compliance.

He said the showbags were also screened for items which had sharp edges; points; or items which could be inhalation hazards.

“Showbags are one of the great drawcards of the Perth Royal Show – a definite highlight for children and I dare say, more than a few grown-ups,” Mr Marmion said.

“This work done by Consumer Protection and the Royal Agricultural Society means families attending the Perth Royal Show will have peace of mind that all of the goods in the showbags are safe to be enjoyed.”

He said the Perth Royal Show would be on from 25 September to 2 October.

The Royal Agricultural Society welcomed the results of the product safety inspections which ensure the Perth Royal Show is safe for all showgoers.

21 September, 2010

Students pass

NAPLAN test

Western Australian students have continued to improve in comparison with the rest of Australia according to this year’s National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) results.

Minister for Education, Liz Constable said principals, teachers and support staff across WA ought to be congratulated for their efforts and encouraged all schools to review their own NAPLAN data and use it to plan for more improvement.

“WA’s unique context and diverse student populations need to be taken into account when comparing our results with those from the other States and Territories,” Dr Constable said.

“The results show that, between 2008 and 2010, the results for eight of the 20 assessments have improved significantly and none have declined to any great extent.”

She said there was still more work to be done however if WA was to continue to improve across all years and assessments.

She said a number of key initiatives were already in place or planned to help encourage further improvements for WA students.

“Initiatives such as the Smarter Schools National Partnerships; changes to the provision of kindergarten programs; and a focus on empowering school communities in our public school system all contribute to the improvement of literacy and numeracy for WA students,” Dr Constable said.

“The results for Year 7 students have continued to improve in terms of means and percentages of students at or above the national minimum standards.”

She said the State achieved some excellent gains from 2008 to 2010, including improvement in Year 3 reading, grammar and punctuation; Year 5 numeracy; Year 7 reading, writing, spelling and numeracy; and Year 9 grammar and punctuation.

Dr Constable said the NAPLAN data was useful for assessing success in improving the levels of literacy and numeracy among WA school students, but was best used in conjunction with a range of

21 September, 2010

3D television under

the microscope

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has released a discussion paper on issues associated with the introduction of 3D television in Australia.

Announcing that it would issue licenses to the Seven and Nine networks to conduct 3D TV trials covering the AFL and NRL grand finals, ACMA said it would suspend any further trials while the review of certain spectrum, licensing and consumer policy issues associated with 3D TV was conducted.

Chairman of ACMA, Chris Chapman said the discussion paper, titled Temporary trials of 3D TV and other emerging technologies . would allow people in the community to have their say on the new technology.

“The world-first, free-to-air trials conducted by the Nine Network and SBS demonstrated some of the challenges of 3D TV technology,” Mr Chapman said.

“There is still much for the industry in Australia and internationally to learn about 3D TV production, transmission and reception.”

Mr Chapman said ACMA was pleased to facilitate the additional trials, to be held in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Newcastle, Adelaide and Perth in late September and early October.

The first round of trials were conducted by the Nine Network and SBS earlier this year, covering the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the State of Origin rugby league series.

Mr Chapman said ACMA had now received reports from the networks on their first trials of 3D TV, covering consumer, reception, interference and technical issues.

He reminded consumers that not everyone would be able to receive the upcoming trial broadcasts even if they owned a 3D television set – because the trials used lower power transmitters than those used for regular free-to-air services.

ACMA is responsible for the planning of spectrum required by free-to-air broadcasters.

“ACMA moved quickly to facilitate and then approve the first round of applications for 3D TV trials,” Mr Chapman said, “and considers it appropriate to facilitate these further trials of this evolving technology in September and October.

“However, the ACMA is suspending authorisation of any additional trials beyond that, until these policy issues have been considered.”

He said unused spectrum for the trials was only available on a temporary basis and technical standards were still evolving.

Mr Chapman said the discussion paper focused on 3D TV for free-to-air television, however he noted that it was a subscription channel that provided the first 3D TV broadcast in Australia and that the technology was potentially suited to other platforms.

He encouraged responses on 3D TV developments from stakeholders, including those with interests in the subscription television, motion picture, DVD and computer game sectors.

The discussion paper is available at www.acma.gov.au and submissions close 15 October.

21 September, 2010

Chopper sinks teeth

into 2000th mission

The emergency helicopter rescue service RAC Rescue has completed its 2,000th mission.

Minister for Emergency Services, Rob Johnson said the helicopter attended the scene of a car accident in Wickepin last week, reaching the mission milestone.

Mr Johnson said local emergency service crews worked to free a man from the car and he was then taken by the rescue helicopter to Royal Perth Hospital where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

The Minister said it was a significant achievement for the service, which began operating in 2003 and played a crucial role in saving countless lives in WA every year.

“RAC Rescue can access many remote areas in the State that would take ambulances longer to reach, resulting in response times being halved,” Mr Johnson said.

“For people in a critical condition, every second counts, and the helicopter’s fast response time often leads to lives being saved.”

He said crews were quickly despatched to incidents, provided emergency first aid and treatment at the scene and quickly transported patients to hospital so they could receive the best possible care.

“In recent years, the helicopter has attended close to 400 incidents a year, mainly road accidents including car, motorbike and quad bike crashes,” Mr Johnson said.

“It is reassuring for the community to be able to rely on such a service 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, to provide critical care, emergency transportation for patients as well as assist in searches for missing people, aircraft and vessels.”

He said RAC Rescue provided support to approximately 90 per cent of the State’s population and operated within a range of 200km from Perth.

Mr Johnson said the crew of RAC Rescue were based at Jandakot and included a pilot, air crew officer and St John Ambulance critical care paramedic.

21 September, 2010

Car crushed under

weight of offences

Police have crushed their first confiscated car after the owner was caught for unlicensed driving offences on three occasions in under a year.

Minister for Police and Road Safety, Rob Johnson said WA Police had successfully applied to the courts to have the vehicle, a 1989 Mitsubishi Galant hatchback, permanently confiscated.

He said he hoped that by crushing the vehicle under legislation introduced on 1 July 2009, a clear message would be sent to anyone driving without a licence.

“The message to unlicensed drivers is simple – if you get behind the wheel, you will be caught and you will lose your vehicle,” Mr Johnson said.

“While most drivers do the right thing and use our roads responsibly, there are some who continue to snub their nose at the law and at the safety of others.”

He said about 20 per cent of unlicensed drivers were involved in serious crashes in WA, posing a serious threat to themselves and other road users.

Mr Johnson said the confiscated vehicle was crushed due to its low-value.

He said the community had benefited from the confiscation as the vehicle’s engine and gearbox had been donated for students to use in their mechanical studies at the Swan TAFE Carlisle Campus.

Mr Johnson said in November 2009, the vehicle of a repeat reckless driver was the first car to be crushed under the State’s hoon laws.

He said under the unlicensed driver laws if a person was detected driving without a valid licence, WA Police would impound the vehicle on-the-spot for 28 days.

The Minister said if a person was caught for a third offence, the Police Commissioner could apply to a Court to have the offender’s vehicle permanently confiscated. It was then to be crushed or sold, with proceeds from the sale going to road safety projects.

21 September, 2010

Students dive in for

river program

A new program encouraging primary school students across the Swan Canning Catchment to become guardians of the Swan Canning Riverpark has been launched by the Minister for the Environment, Donna Faragher.

Ms Faragher said the program would give primary schools a chance to be involved in fun activities that reinforced the importance of protecting the Swan Canning Riverpark.

“River Rangers is modelled on the existing Bush Rangers program and is a great way for students in the Swan Canning Catchment to learn about our complex river system and how they can help protect it,” Mrs Faragher said.

She said the Government would be providing funding of $300,000 across two years for the River Rangers program in May this year.

Mrs Faragher said the River Rangers pilot would run through the existing Cadets WA program co-ordinated by the Department for Communities Office of Youth, with the Swan River Trust as host agency.

“River Rangers will increase primary school students’ understanding of river science,” Mrs Faragher said.

“This is a pilot program and, if successful, may be rolled out to more schools in the future.”

She said five schools were confirmed to deliver River Rangers for the two-year pilot program starting in February 2011, including Mundaring Christian College, Ellenbrook Christian College, Dale Christian School, John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School and Ardross Primary School.

Mrs Faragher said as well as protection of the rivers, the program would establish students’ recognition of the riverpark and increase knowledge of the importance of conserving European and Noongar cultural history.

21 September, 2010

WorkSafe digs in for

injury campaign

A new campaign to prevent workplace injuries resulting from manual work has been launched by WorkSafe.

WorkSafe’s Acting Director of Health Hazards and Plant Safety, Sally North said the campaign was looking at the risk factors associated with manual work injuries and how effectively workplaces investigated them.

She said the aim of the campaign would be to prevent musculoskeletal disorders, such as sprains and strains, by raising awareness of the risk factors and improving methods of assessing and minimising the risks.

Ms North said manual tasks were tasks that required a person to use their body to perform work and included a range of activities, such as working at a computer and lifting a heavy load.

She said the intervention campaign would run until the end of November with inspectors from WorkSafe making contact with worksites throughout metropolitan and regional WA.

Ms North said industries covered would include manufacturing, construction, transport, service industries, and health and community services.

She said injuries resulting from manual tasks were costly and accounted for more than a third of all lost-time injuries in the workplace.

“WorkCover WA figures from the 2008/2009 financial year show that more than 37 per cent of all lost-time claims in WA are caused by ‘body stressing’ in workplaces,” Ms North said.

“They also show that, on average, each of these injuries results in more than 90 days of lost work time.”

She said the safety campaign coincided with the release of the revised Manual Tasks Code of Practice (2010).

Ms North said WorkSafe would be running six free, two-hour workshops (generic and industry-specific) to outline the new code and bookings for these could be made through the WorkSafe website.

She said further information on manual tasks was available by phoning WorkSafe on 1300 307 877 or by visiting its website at www.worksafe.wa.gov.au

21 September, 2010

Online workers

peg award

An online systems working group at the Department of Mines and Petroleum has been recognised for excellence by the Minister, Norman Moore.

Mr Moore said as part of the Government’s commitment to streamlining the approvals process, an Environmental Assessment Regulatory Systems (EARS) Working Group was established to implement a system that provided industry with the ability to lodge Programme of Works (PoW) and Mining Proposals (MP) online.

He said the Environment Division and Information Services Branch worked together for several months prior to the official launch of the system in August 2010.

Mr Moore said since implementation, the number of POW’s online made up 10 per cent of all POW’s lodged with the department.

He said the implementation of this system had reduced application times for industry, processing time for DMP and allowed proponents to monitor applications.

Mr Moore said this had earned DMP high praise from peak industry bodies and interest from the Federal Government.

“DMP is leading the state and the nation in the development of approvals tracking capabilities,” Mr Moore said.

I’m confident that with the sort dedication shown by staff members such as the Online Systems Working Group, this performance will continue long into the future.”

He said the goal was that by June

21 September, 2010

Landholder Service

lands popular vote

Western Australia’s successful Indigenous Landholder Service has attracted interest in other States and territories as well internationally.

Minister for Agriculture and Food, Terry Redman said a group of interstate indigenous pastoralists would tour the Kimberley this week.

He said the group from South Australia’s Flinders Ranges was keen to learn more about the State Government’s successful Indigenous Landholder Service and draw on the Western Australian experience to set up a new landholder service model.

“The Indigenous Landholder Service is the only indigenous land support service of its type in Australia,” Mr Redman said.

“The service began in the Kimberley five years ago with seven properties.

“It now has operations that span the State, impacting on more than 3,000 Aboriginal people from 70 properties across five million hectares.”

He said the focus of the service was to rebuild indigenous properties through a strict corporate governance process, training and support.

“As a result, enterprises are more productive, natural resource management has improved and stronger relationships have been built with the broader community,” Mr Redman said.

“The initiative has also given participants improved skills and a sense of pride.”

He said the success of the Indigenous Landholder Service had also sparked interest from the Northern Territory.

Mr Redman said the visiting pastoralists would tour properties and businesses in the Kimberley region.

He said the group would visit once unviable pastoral stations – now in profit – and properties with diversified businesses such as tourism, art, roadhouses, training and steel manufacturing.

21 September, 2010

Endangered frogs

saved from croaking

The Department of Environment and Conservation has released 60 critically-endangered white-bellied frogs in a creek near Witchcliffe in the hope they will form a community and become re-established.

Minister for Environment, Donna Faragher said the translocation was part of an ongoing Threatened Fauna ARK project to aid the recovery of the white-bellied and orange-bellied frogs.

“The frogs, which are at various life stages from metamorphs to adults, have been reared by Perth Zoo,” Mrs Faragher said.

She said it was important that Government agencies and the community worked together to protect Western Australia’s precious native plants and animals.

“That is why I have established a Threatened Species Council which brings together the chief executives of Perth Zoo, Kings Park Botanical Gardens, DEC, the WA Museum and WA’s Chief Scientist,” Mrs Faragher said.

Leader of regional nature conservation at DEC, Kim Williams said the aim of the translocation program was to establish more populations and increase numbers of white-bellied frogs.

“This species of frog is confined to a limited and isolated ecological niche and is very susceptible to changes in its environment,” Mr Williams said.

“When its habitat is lost or disturbed, the white-bellied frog can become locally extinct – the species tends to move only about 5m during a breeding season and less than 20m between years, making it vulnerable to even very small-scale disturbances.”

Perth Zoo’s director of Animal Health and Research, Dr Helen Robertson, said one of the greatest challenges for the white-bellied frog rear-for-release program was working with such a tiny species.

“The newly-emerged froglets are the size of the tip of a pencil and weigh just 0.03 grams,” Dr Robertson said.

This is the first white-bellied frog translocation and the first time frogs rather than eggs have been translocated.

The translocation was funded from State Natural Resource Management (NRM) funds through DEC’s Nature Conservation Division and grants from Perth Zoo Wildlife Conservation Action and ARAZPA.

21 September, 2010

PS Bill returns

The Public Sector Reform Bill has passed through the Legislative Council on 14 September 2010 confirming the deletion of Section 99 of the Public Sector Management Act.

The Bill means limitations on public sector workers to access the West Australian Industrial Commission will be removed from the Act.

The Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association of WA said the change in the Act would benefit all public sector workers.

Bravery award

Albany prison officer Michael Chapman-Hall has been rewarded with a medal for risking his life to save a woman and her daughter caught in a beach rip.

Mr Chapman-Hill noticed the woman and her three-year-old child being swept into a channel at Emu Point and pulled them to safety.

Mr Chapman-Hill later discovered the woman’s husband was also a prison at Albany Regional Prison.

Corrective Services Commissioner Ian Johnson congratulated Mr Chapman-Hill on his award.

Summer heat warning

Industry in WA is being urged to prepare for a summer of new construction projects and scorching temperatures.

WorkSafe Commissioner Nina Lyhne said it was important to think about ways of minimising the risk of overheating or heat stress, which could lead to a range of medical conditions, the most severe of which heat stroke can be fatal if not treated immediately.

Ms Lyhne said that over the past five years 90 people had been compensated in WA for heat stress-related injuries.

More information about managing work in hot conditions can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe on 9327 8777 or visiting www.worksafe.wa.gov.au

Causeway completed

The construction of a new $1.6 million causeway crossing and associated work at Bandy Creek in Esperance has been completed.

The new structure, which replaced a weir ruined in the major flood in 2007, has been specially designed to prevent damage to the nearby boat harbour and surrounding landscape during future flood events.

The new low profile concrete causeway, incorporates 45 pipes positioned at the base of the structure to ensure tidal flushing and fish movement between the creek and the harbour and will have no adverse effect on the water level or quality of the Ramsar protected wetlands upstream.

Fashion scholarship open

A new scholarship program will provide six fashion and design students from Western Australia to travel to Japan in 2011 to work with Banshu textile manufacturers.

The WA – Hyogo Banshu Textile program was developed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Sister State relationship between WA and Hyogo Prefecture in 2011.

Scholarship submissions close on 15 October and the winners will be announced later this year.

Link road links up

Stage 2 of the Lancelin-Cervantes project . the final section of Indian Ocean Drive, was officially opened on 19 September, coming in under budget and nine months ahead of schedule.

The new road link between Lancelin and Cervantes will provide an uninterrupted sealed coastal route exists from Perth to Dongara.

The whole project included the construction of 56km of new sealed road between Lancelin and Cervantes; 20km of side; six stopping places at prominent tourist locations; and a viewing platform in the Nilgen Nature Reserve.

This is the first major project to be built under Main Roads direct management in the last 10 years.

Ombudsman happy

Ninety-five per cent of Kimberley and Pilbara businesses randomly audited by the Fair Work Ombudsman are complying with record-keeping laws.

Inspectors visited 66 businesses in Broome, Port Hedland and Karratha earlier this year to check time-and-wage records and only three businesses at Karratha were found to have contravened.

Executive-Director of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Office, Michael Campbell said it was pleasing that so many employers were doing the right thing.

Parks open free

Western Australians celebrated World Parks Day on the weekend with free entry to the State’s national parks.

World Parks Day focused on the theme of ‘Parks for Life’ to highlight the role of parks in people’s lives and encourage them to enjoy and appreciate their local green spaces.

Saturday was the third annual World Parks Day, an initiative of the Parks for Life: International Urban Parks and Green Space Alliance, and was supported by various national park agencies across Australia, including DEC in Western Australia.

For more information on WA’s parks and reserves, visit www.dec.wa.gov.au

Water review

All groundwater licences in the Carnarvon horticultural precinct’s Basin A would be reviewed before they expire on 31 December.

The reviews to be done by the Department of Water are an important step in realising the outcomes of the Gascoyne Foodbowl Initiative which is aimed at reducing the potential for over abstraction to occur and to ensure the reliability of the water supply.

The entitlement review will be focused on matching water entitlements to water quality and quantity as well as land and will be done using the methodology outlined in the 2004 Lower Gascoyne Groundwater Management Strategy.

14 September, 2010

Education overhaul

moves power to people

A reorganisation of the State education system from 14 Districts into eight regions has been announced by the Minister for Education, Liz Constable.

Dr Constable said the move would deliver greater local control to the schools and their communities.

She said the changes would improve the essential support services for students and schools, and help ensure conditions improved outcomes for students.

“The majority of support services that are currently placed in district offices will move directly to where they are needed in schools and any savings will be reinvested back into supporting schools,” Dr Constable said.

“Professionals – such as school psychologists and specialist teachers working with students with disability – will be placed directly in schools, rather than in district offices, to work with students and their families on a daily basis.”

She said that while the district structure had served schools well, the time had come to further empower school communities and give them more control in meeting their own needs.

“These changes will be better for students as they provide better, more targeted support to them and their schools which represents a more effective use and better value for the existing funding,” she said.

The education benefits included greater curriculum choice, increased access to specialist teachers, a smoother transition between primary and secondary school and a more consistent approach to behaviour management and discipline across schools.

Dr Constable said each region – Kimberley, Pilbara, Goldfields, Mid-West, Wheatbelt, South-West, Metropolitan North and Metropolitan South – would be led by a Regional Executive Director, who would become a member of the Department of Education’s Corporate Executive.

She said this would strengthen representation of country areas at the most senior decision-making level of the Department.

“There will be regional education offices in each region and smaller, local education offices will continue where district offices currently operate,” the Minister said.

14 September, 2010

Funding reshuffle

to help kids at risk

Funding allocations within the Department of Corrective Services have been revised to improve outcomes for young people at risk.

Minister for Corrective Services, Christian Porter said from next year $2.2 million would be redirected from the Family Intensive Team project to a range of other projects that had shown proven results in assisting at-risk youth.

He said the Family Intensive Team, announced in 2004, had the aim of working with the most serious young offenders through a 24-hours-a-day intensive supervision program.

“The program was voluntary and required the participation of high-end offenders and their families to work closely with the Department,” Mr Porter said.

“A 2009 independent review of the program has shown it has not been able to successfully engage with the families of these young people and ultimately has not achieved the results I would expect from such a resource-intensive program.”

The Minister said between November 2004 and March 2009 only 357 referrals were received by the Family Intensive Team and only 65 per cent of those referrals progressed to treatment.

Data compiled in 2007-08 showed 29 juveniles had completed the program at a cost of $3,237,402. That worked out at an average $111,634 per juvenile offender.

During the same 2007-08 period it cost a maximum of $28,660 to manage a juvenile through community supervision.

“After considering this review, I decided the $2.2 million would be better directed at programs and services that have actually been successful at diverting young people away from the custodial system, such as the youth bail service and strengthening regional youth justice services,” Mr Porter said.

14 September, 2010

Processing matches

applications surge

The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) has maintained its processing times for mining exploration approvals over the past 12 months despite the number of applications doubling during the period.

According to DMP’s latest data, 70 per cent of applications were assessed in less than 30 days.

In the first quarter of 2009 the Department received less than 300 applications, while figures for the latest quarter show that almost 600 were received.

DMP says this effort demonstrates its commitment to streamlining and improving the approvals process.

In an effort to provide more relevant information to industry on the length of time it takes to obtain particular approvals, the Department has begun reporting on ‘whole of process’ timelines.

This incorporates not only the time taken for those parts of the process within DMP’s direct control, but the time taken for input from other Government Agencies or where additional information is required from applicants to complete the approvals process.

According to the Department, changes within DMP and the adoption of the Government’s Lead Agency Framework are key contributors to its performance at a time of very high levels of activity in the minerals exploration sector.

It said the Lead Agency Framework had led to an increased level of interagency co-operation, which flowed through positively to approvals performance.

The introduction of online applications across a growing number of areas related to mining project approvals was another important factor in the Department’s improved performance.

The Department said the online approvals process was being used by more and more companies and the technology had streamlined the application process to free up staff who were previously tied up with the paperwork inherent in a manual process.

14 September, 2010

Dry season newsletter

goes with the flow

An e-newsletter published by the Department of Agriculture and Food during the dry season between April and July is to be continued this year until November.

The AgTactics e-news is normally produced for the times when farmers are making critical decisions about their crops and livestock.

However, Dry Season Incident Coordinator for the Agricultural Region at the Department, Alison Lacey said with the continuing dry conditions AgTactics would continue, to address key seasonal issues as they arose until at least the end of the growing season in October.

Ms Lacey said AgTactics was emailed directly to farmers in the northern and central agricultural regions.

“Department staff work closely with agronomists, agricultural consultants, livestock agents and vets to compile timely, topical and tactical information,” Ms Lacey said.

“Topics covered include rainfall, nitrogen and fertiliser applications, livestock feeding options and seasonal prospects.”

Ms Lacey said AgTactics was first introduced in 2008 and had proved to be a useful tool in communicating with approximately 2,000 farmers, agribusiness and grower group representatives.

“It is important that farmers are provided with good information in a timely manner to assist them to make decisions about managing their farm business through this dry season but also to assist them in future planning,” she said.

AgTactics and other dry season information for farmers are available on the Department’s dry season website www.agric.wa.gov.au

14 September, 2010

Smoking campaign

has no drawbacks

The Health Department has launched a new campaign to prepare the State’s smokers for looming changes to tobacco laws.

Director General of the Department, Kim Snowball said the three-week campaign would highlight changes to tobacco legislation which were passed by State Parliament in September 2009 and were due to come into effect on 22 September.

He said it was important all Western Australians and affected business sectors were aware of the changes and prepared for their introduction.

“The Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act 2009 will tighten restrictions on where people can smoke and on the promotion of tobacco in Western Australia,” Mr Snowball said.

“The laws will affect many in the community, such as tobacco retailers, hotel owners, café and food outlet proprietors, industry groups, and the general public.”

He said the Department had continued to work with key groups to make them aware of the changes to the legislation and it was important that people prepare for the new laws now so they were aware of their obligations once they take effect.

Under the legislation smoking will be banned in outdoor eating areas, in vehicles with children under 17 years of age, within 10 metres of children’s playground equipment in a public place and between the flags at patrolled swimming areas on beaches.

Liquor licensed premises that are not subject to a restaurant liquor licence may set aside up to 50 per cent of outdoor dining areas as smoking zones.

The display of tobacco products, packages and smoking implements at point of sale will also be banned.

Mr Snowball said the campaign would feature a range of media including radio and press advertisements.

14 September, 2010

Car inspections

step up a gear

Temporary arrangements that allow hail-damaged motor vehicles to be inspected by members of the Motor Trade Association and in RAC Auto Service Centres have been announced by the Minister for Transport, Simon O’Brien.

Mr O’Brien said his Department would continue to provide an inspection service to the thousands of vehicle owners affected, but the new arrangement would offer them the option of choice.

Vehicle owners whose vehicles were deemed economic write-offs due to superficial hail damage, but who opted to retain them, and owners who bought superficial hail-damaged vehicles at auctions, were required to have their vehicles formally inspected.

Mr O’Brien said while the Department of Transport inspection stations would continue to diligently examine as many hail-damaged vehicles as possible – 13,000 to date – the Department had advised that the total number of hail-damaged vehicles requiring inspection could be as high as 26,000.

This is on top of the 120,000 regular inspections carried out each year.

“This initiative is about ensuring motorists can move on from this storm event and maintain the use of their vehicles,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Anything the Government can do to make that easier is of benefit.

“Customers will be able to choose to have their hail-damaged vehicle examined either by Transport, at one of the MTA’s participating members’ workshops or at selected RAC Auto Service Centres.”

Chief Executive of the Motor Traders Association, Stephen Moir said private industry stood ready to help.

“Our participating members are happy to step up and share the load with the Department of Transport at a time when the public needs our assistance the most,” Mr Moir said.

14 September, 2010

Police spot on for

on spot fines

New powers for police to issue on-the-spot fines for minor criminal offences have been proposed in laws introduced into State Parliament.

Minister for Police, Rob Johnson said the Criminal Code Amendment (Infringement Notices) Bill 2010 proposed a new scheme where police could issue Criminal Penalty Infringement Notices (CPINs) for offences such as stealing (only in cases where the value of goods is less than $500) and disorderly behaviour in public, which includes using offensive, insulting or threatening language or urinating.

“These CPINs will allow police to remain on front-line duties rather than having to go through a lengthy administrative process to bring an offender before the courts for relatively minor offences,” Mr Johnson said.

“It also saves the court system the cost of having to deal with relatively low-level crime, allowing the courts to reduce trial backlogs and focus on more serious criminal matters.”

He said this was about smarter and more effective law enforcement, ensuring that police officers were on the beat fighting crime and the court system was working more efficiently.

Police would exercise their discretion to caution, summons, arrest or issue a CPIN on a case-by-case basis.

Mr Johnson said to be able to receive a CPIN, a person must be at least 17 years of age and have their identity confirmed.

He said people issued with CPINs would have the option of paying the fine or having the matter heard in court.

If the police issued an infringement notice but subsequently found that, in the light of further information, the matter should be heard in court, the notice could be withdrawn and the matter proceeded by charge and summons.

14 September, 2010

Wild dogs campaign

unleashed by DEC

The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) has extended its campaign against wild dogs in Central WA by introducing training programs on the use of poison baits to the local Aboriginal communities.

The Martu People of the Birrilliburu Native Title Claim travelled to Kalgoorlie to receive training from DEC’s Invasive Species staff, with five people undertaking the training over two days.

Regional Nature Conservation Manager at DEC, Neville Hague said the training covered the safe handling and use, regulation and the most effective distribution of 1080 poison baits.

“This type of bait is the most appropriate control measure, as native species have a high tolerance to it due to its natural occurrence in the environment, but it is highly effective on introduced animals,” Mr Hague said.

“DEC is working with landowners, including pastoralists, the Department of Agriculture and Food, local Shires, and Indigenous communities on Native Title Lands, to control wild dogs in areas where they pose the biggest threat to livestock and biodiversity.”

DEC’s Goldfields Region distributed almost 80,000 baits last financial year, including 23,000 by contract doggers and 39,000 by aircraft, while the Department’s Midwest Region distributed about 25,000 baits in the Gascoyne and Murchison.

More than 30,000 kilometres of transects were baited and more than 40 hours were flown delivering the aerial baits over DEC-managed areas, Mr Hague said.

More than 20,000 baits were provided to the Region’s Zone Control Authorities.

“Our program has a primary focus on wild dog control adjacent to properties carrying stock and actively controlling dogs against these boundaries,” Mr Hague said.

14 September, 2010

Communications boost

gets message across

A new plan to improve mobile telephone coverage and police and emergency communications in the regions has been unveiled by the Premier, Colin Barnett.

To cost $120 million, the two separate projects are to be funded under the Royalties for Regions program.

Mr Barnett said building of communication towers and upgrading of services in strategic areas of the State would dramatically improve mobile phone coverage as well as emergency services for WA Police and the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA).

Minister for Regional Development, Brendon Grylls said the project was announced in the 2010-11 State Budget and tenders would now be sought for both projects so they could start as soon as possible.

“Priority areas under consideration include the Pilbara, Mid-West, Gascoyne, Kimberley and Wheatbelt regions and benefits will also extend to the Goldfields-Esperance, Great Southern, Peel and South-West regions,” Mr Grylls said.

He said $40 million would go towards eliminating phone black spots, while the remaining $80 million would be spent on improving communications for police and emergency services.

Minister for Emergency Services, Rob Johnson said the $80 million Community Safety Network Project would replace the current police regional radio network with a purpose-built, secure and reliable radio communications system that would allow police and other emergency services to better serve regional WA.

“The present regional radio network is obsolete and does not meet the needs of our police and emergency service officers in dealing with calls for assistance from the public,” Mr Johnson said.

“The new network will ensure that WA Police and FESA have access to a secure and reliable network, significantly improving the ability of police and fire officers to communicate during an emergency or incident.”

14 September, 2010

Approval reforms

win approval

Reforms to the approvals process in the mining and petroleum sectors are showing substantial progress, according to a report by a specially-appointed Industry Working Group (IWG).

The group was established by the Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Norman Moore in November 2008 to advise on how to best improve the credibility and efficiency of exploration and development approvals processes in Western Australia.

The IWG initially identified 15 priorities to improve approvals processes in a phased approach to reform.

Director General of the Department of Mines and Petroleum, Richard Sellers said the report helped draw attention to the need for a significant re-assessment of existing approvals processes in order to improve Western Australia’s attractiveness to investors.

“The majority of the recommendations have been given full or partial support by Government and implementation is well advanced,” Mr Sellers said.

“Given the complexity of some of the issues this is a significant achievement within one year.”

The recommendations either partially or fully implemented by the Government included the creation of a stand-alone role for the Environmental Protection Authority and reform of Aboriginal heritage and environmental approval processes.

The Approval and Related Reforms (No 1) (Environment) Bill 2009 . which streamlines some appeal and assessment processes, is under consideration by Parliament and a whole-of-Government environmental offsets policy is being considered.

“A number of initiatives are underway on native title matters and there have been reviews of internal approvals processes and timelines within key decision-making Agencies, and reductions in the objections backlog at the Mining Warden’s Court, as recommended,” Mr Sellers said.

14 September, 2010

State to apologise

for past practices

An Australian-first apology to the mothers of children adopted out by State institutions is to be given by the Premier, Colin Barnett, in October.

Minister for Health, Kim Hames said the apology would be moved as a motion in State Parliament on 19 October by the Premier to acknowledge the trauma and suffering of mothers whose children were adopted out under past Governments’ adoption practices.

“I have spoken to mothers who were affected by these practices and have heard first-hand the impact that has had on their lives,” Dr Hames said.

“They have told me an apology will go some way to assisting to overcome what has, for some, been lifelong trauma.

“This apology will be made on behalf of the State Government institutions which engaged in these practices, prior to a child being placed for adoption into families.”

He said it would recognise that from the 1940s to the 1980s, the legal, health and welfare systems of the day were unsupportive of pregnant, unmarried women and that for many, this experience had a profound, lasting effect.

“This apology is specifically to the mothers whose children who were adopted under past practices,” he said.

“At the time they were perhaps not given the opportunity to make an informed decision at a time of their life when they were particularly vulnerable.

The Minister said plans for a simple, sincere memorial were also progressing, and consultation would be undertaken with representatives of women affected.

14 September, 2010

Pregnant mums get

abstinence warning

A new information poster urging pregnant women to avoid using alcohol has been launched by the Minister for Women’s Interests, Robyn McSweeney.

The poster’s message: Don’t drink alcohol during pregnancy. To give your baby the best start in life, not drinking is the safest option . was aimed at encouraging women to think about their child’s health and wellbeing before birth, Mrs McSweeney said.

“Medical research has shown us that consuming alcohol during pregnancy can be detrimental to the health and development of your unborn baby, and may also present a health risk to the mother,” Mrs McSweeney said.

The poster was launched a day after International Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness Day.

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome is the term used to describe a range of birth defects and adverse outcomes which can be caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol.

“The syndrome varies in severity and not all instances of alcohol consumption result in the syndrome occurring,” the Minister said.

“It is a fitting occasion to raise awareness of this issue with a targeted poster and a clear message for pregnant women and those planning a pregnancy.”

Mrs McSweeney said the poster would be distributed to locations such as medical centres, children’s health centres and playgroups.

“The Department for Communities is also working with the hotel and hospitality industry with a view to placing the poster in venues where alcohol is sold or consumed, and I hope the message will also be embraced by men, particularly partners and future dads,” she said.

14 September, 2010

Survey opens gates

to off-farm work

A series of interviews with farmers conducted by the Department of Agriculture and Food has found that taking on jobs off the farm during down times required flexibility and careful thought.

The recent survey, part of the Department’s North Eastern Agricultural Region (NEAR) strategy, aimed to assess the value of off-farm employment in improving dry season resilience.

Development Officer with DAFWA, Wayne Parker said during the droughts of 2006 and 2007 in the northern wheatbelt, farmers worked off-farm in greater numbers than seen before.

“This survey examined what it was that allowed these farmers to return to a viable farm after time away,” Mr Parker said.

“It is part of a project looking at the business and family structures which enable off-farm employment to occur successfully.”

Farmers from Ajana in the north, to Perenjori in the south, were interviewed in a one-on-one setting.

“Flexibility with work and the farm business is critical for successful off-farm employment,” Mr Parker said.

“The growers interviewed worked for engineering firms, drove trucks, developed contracting businesses, worked in the building industry and operated equipment for mining companies.”

He said the overwhelming majority preferred work away on a short-term, casual basis. This strategy enabled them to be on-farm during critical periods and then prepare the business for when they were to be away.

Mr Parker said the money earned was used to help pay day-to-day household expenses, not to pay farm debts.

“The survey also revealed that during dry seasons, off-farm work provided some respite from the poor seasonal conditions on the farm,” he said.

“The majority of farmers found their mental health improved with the change of task.

“Removing the focus of the farm, using and learning different skills and meeting a different group of people all helped improve their outlook on life.”

14 September, 2010

Navigation aids

showing the way

The Department of Transport (DoT) has upgraded navigation aids on the Peel Inlet and Harvey Estuary to improve safety on the water and assist skippers in the area at night.

Manager of Navigational Safety and Compliance at the Department, Ray Buchholz said improvements to existing navigation markers and the installation of new ones in some areas had significantly increased safety.

“A total of 87 markers have been either fitted with synchronised lighting, upgraded or newly installed at a cost of $215,000 providing a much safer boating environment for the increasing number of vessels transiting the area at night,” Mr Buchholz said.

“The work focused on the Yunderup Channel, Murray River, Serpentine River, Cox Bay, Harvey Bay and from the navigation marker Big Red to Windmill Point in the Peel Inlet.”

The completion of the upgrade in these areas marked the end of the first stage of a three- year program to improve navigation aids in the Peel region at a cost of $830,000.

Mr Buchholz said boating traffic in the area had increased in recent times and various stakeholder and user groups, including the Mandurah Boating Communities Group, Boating WA, the Department of Fisheries and the Water Police, had expressed support for the improvements.

“The LED synchronised rhythmic lighting that has been installed is solar powered and has enhanced visibility, even in areas where there is background lighting,” Mr Buchholz said.

DoT is responsible for developing and maintaining an extensive network of navigation aids within WA waters to provide safe passage for recreational and commercial vessels.

14 September, 2010

Pilbara houses

driven home

The first 16 homes being built by the Government for private workers in the Pilbara have left Perth by road for Karratha.

The $30 million project is funded by Royalties for Regions through the Pilbara Cities Program with the homes to be placed on the Warambie Estate to house up to 250 workers.

Minister for Regional Development and Lands, Brendon Grylls said providing suitable and affordable accommodation for Karratha’s retail, tourism and general service sectors had been a high priority and a considerable challenge.

“Small businesses, and the people who work in them, make up the fabric of regional communities and this is an important initiative to support them,” Mr Grylls said.

“As part of the State Government’s Pilbara Cities vision, we want to make Karratha an attractive place where people want to live permanently, and we also want to diversify the economy.”

The Minister said with rents for the homes expected to range from $300 to $500 a week, the project was designed to ease accommodation pressures and help local businesses retain staff in service jobs outside the mining and Government sectors.

The first 16 units will be ready for occupancy by Christmas. The others will be delivered throughout next year.

Mr Grylls said businesses, along with their employees, could apply for two-year tenancies for the one, two and three bedroom dwellings.

14 September, 2010

Doctors injected

into hospitals

The Minister for Health has announced that a record number of new doctors are due to start work in the State’s hospitals next January.

Minister for Health, Kim Hames said the record figure of 265 represented a 30 per cent increase in internships since 2008. The Government offered internships to all Australian permanent residents graduating from WA medical schools.

“Every new doctor is a valuable asset to the State’s health system and it is great to see so many young professionals committed to providing quality health care,” Dr Hames said.

The Minister said 75 interns would be based at Fremantle Hospital. Both Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Royal Perth Hospital would have 95 interns each. The new doctors would start work in the second week of January next year.

The bulk of interns would also undertake rotations at outer-metropolitan general hospitals and at country hospitals in Geraldton, Port Hedland, Broome, Albany, Bunbury and Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

“Next year’s internship program will feature more rotations in outer-metropolitan and rural areas to encourage interns to consider practicing in hospitals outside of the city,” he said.

“It is encouraging to see that half the interns have already expressed an interest in spending time working in rural areas.”

Having skilled doctors working in a range of locations was crucial to providing health care to people in regional and remote areas.

14 September, 2010

Concert initiative is

music to the bush

A live telecast of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s Perth Concert into eight regional centres via the Westlink network has been announced jointly by the Ministers for Regional Development, Brendon Grylls and Culture and the Arts, John Day.

The orchestra’s performance at 8pm on Sunday, 14 November will be broadcast simultaneously into the regions using high-quality video and audio technology.

Minister for Regional Development, Brendon Grylls said regional communities would be able to enjoy this world-class concert, free-of-charge, at one of eight venues across WA.

Royalties for Regions funding was supporting the simulcast to the following venues: Albany Entertainment Centre, Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre, Goldfields Arts Centre, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Esperance Civic Centre, Cummins Theatre, Merredin, Queens Park Theatre, Geraldton, Walkington Theatre, Karratha and Broome Movie Theatre.

“The broadcast will be run in real time allowing patrons viewing the performance in the regions to enjoy the full concert experience, including the arrival of the orchestra on stage and the ability to purchase programs, food and beverages at their venue,” Mr Grylls said.

“Westlink subscribers with access to satellite de-coding equipment will be able to enjoy the concert from the privacy of their own homes.”

Minister for Culture and the Arts, John Day said the Government was in partnership with the Perth Theatre Trust and Perth Concert Hall to support the orchestra’s first Australian visit.

The regional simulcast is a free event. However, people wishing to attend will need to book tickets from the relevant venue’s ticketing agency before the performance date. Tickets will be available from Monday, 4 October.

14 September, 2010

More sharing at DTF

Two more Agencies have joined the Department of Treasury and Finance’s Shared Services this month with the Western Australian Electoral Commission and Department of Indigenous Affairs (including the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority) coming on board.

The teams from the WA Electoral Commission, Department of Indigenous Affairs, DTF Shared Services Centre and the DTF Shared Services Program worked to ensure a successful transition for both Agencies into the Shared Services Centre.

The Wheatbelt Development Commission is to join on 4 October.

Water craft warning

The Department of Transport has warned that personal water craft (PWC) are not allowed to operate within the boating prohibited zone at Ocean Beach.

Canoes and wave skis are also banned but surfboards are permitted.

PWC operators can launch and retrieve their craft in the designated area within the adjacent eight- knot zone.

Mandurah paramedics up

An increase from 11 to 22 in the number of career paramedics for Mandurah has been announced.

The boost in numbers is expected to cut ambulance response times in the region.

The new paramedics will be based at the current Mandurah depot in Coodanup and respond to Mandurah and surrounding suburbs, as well as Perth’s south-west corridor.

Courthouse designs out

Detailed designs of the new $43 million Kalgoorlie Courthouse, including virtual images, have been unveiled by Attorney General, Christian Porter.

The state-of-the-art complex will have four courtrooms, with provision to expand to five courts when required. It will be located at the Government Office Building on Hannan Street.

The designs can be viewed at the William Grundt Memorial Library until November 30.

Project office opens

The official opening of the Rockingham Kwinana Development Office has taken place.

The office will work closely with the Rockingham and Kwinana authorities on a number of infrastructure projects including the revitalisation of the Kwinana and Rockingham Activity Centres and the new Mundijong Road connection between the Kwinana Freeway and Mandurah Road.

The Rockingham Kwinana Development Office is a State Government initiative involving representatives from LandCorp, Department of Planning, City of Rockingham and Town of Kwinana.

Shortlist for Link

Two proponents have been short-listed for the next assessment phase of the $600 million Perth City Link Project.

City Rail Joint Venture (Brookfield Multiplex and Laing O’Rourke) and Perth City Link (John Holland and GHD) are bidding for the rail works component.

The contract will be awarded in March 2011 with completion in 2014.

7 September, 2010

Procurement officers

buy into profession

New professional qualifications for Public Service Procurement Officers have been developed to bridge the gap between vocational and university educations.

The peak industry body Government Skills Australia commissioned the qualification to create a career structure for PS staff with procurement experience and expertise.

The move follows a recent GSA review into procurement qualifications and other competencies, undertaken by training organisation Bayley and Associates.

Ruth Bayley of Bayley and Associates said the changes would encourage more people to pursue a career in procurement.

“Before this you became a procurement officer if you didn’t run fast enough nobody joined the APS to become one,” Ms Bayley said.

“Little to no training was provided and it was a hard, un-exciting, under-valued and under-respected function.

“This review changes all that and now a person can actively choose to become a procurement officer and plan education and a career around it.”

Ms Bayley said procurement was a sensitive area for Government and it was important to ensure that those in charge of evaluating and making purchasing decisions were trained and diligent.

She said as a result of the changes, there was now a range of relevant and contemporary qualifications covering all levels of a career in procurement from entry positions to senior strategic procurement management.

The vocational qualifications include a Certificate IV, a Vocational Graduate Certificate, and university degrees at both Bachelors and Masters levels.

Ms Bayley said the new Vocational Graduate Certificate would create a new breed of procurement professional who wasn’t yet university qualified, but who would eventually complete Bachelor and Masters degrees specialising in procurement.

She said while the changes had been long awaited by public sector procurement officers, it would still be some time until a significant number of high school graduates chose to study procurement at university.

“The problem is that procurement as a profession still has a very low profile,” Ms Bayley said.

She said those already in the workforce were more likely to attain vocational qualifications.

She predicted that the “first generation” of procurement professionals who had gone straight from school into a university procurement program would not arrive until about 2020.

“The Government is very positive about fostering better ties between the vocational sector and universities,” Ms Bayley said.

“The bottom line is that there is now a range of options open that just weren’t previously available.”

7 September, 2010

City sees way clear

for bright future

A new vision for Perth and Peel has been released to guide planning decisions to the year 2031 and beyond.

Minister for Planning, John Day launched the spatial planning framework, Directions 2031 and Beyond . at a Planning Institute Australia (PIA) forum, saying it presented a significant evolution in metropolitan strategic planning.

“ Directions 2031 sets a clear vision for the Perth of the future,” Mr Day said, “a city with a vibrant mix of activity areas that bring amenities, employment and education to people’s doorsteps and is well serviced by public transport.

“According to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, the Perth and Peel regions are projected to grow from 1.65 million people to more than 2.2 million by 2031, requiring 328,000 new dwellings to accommodate this growth.”

He said the Directions 2031 framework would assist the State Government in the sustainable management of that growth, while allowing it to maintain the features which contribute to the quality of life enjoyed in Perth and Peel.

The framework includes housing and employment projections and a new hierarchy of activity centres connected by new and proposed movement and public transport networks.

Mr Day said Directions 2031 sought a 50 per cent improvement on current infill residential trends and also on average residential density in new development areas.

“To ensure growth of the city can be sustained beyond 2031, Directions 2031 sets a target of 47 per cent, or 154,000 of the required 328,000 dwellings, as infill development,” he said.

“For new areas of development, it sets a target of 15 dwellings per gross urban zoned hectare of land.”

Mr Day said the release of Directions 2031 was in line with the Council of Australian Governments’ national criteria for capital city strategic planning systems, which ensure Australian cities are globally competitive, sustainable, liveable, socially inclusive and well-placed to meet future challenges and growth.

7 September, 2010

Sprinkler ban

is hosed down

The three-month total sprinkler ban for Perth, Mandurah and parts of the South-West has been lifted.

Minister for Water, Graham Jacobs applauded the community for saving more than two billion litres of water during the three-month total ban however, he urged everyone to resist turning on their sprinklers.

“I thank West Australians in the South-West corner of the State for sticking with the ban during these dry months, but ask them to carefully consider the need to start re-using their sprinklers just yet,” Dr Jacobs said.

He said while rainfall had not been good so far this year, the State was not going to run out of water.

“I will be monitoring rainfall and runoff data during September with a view to changing the summer, spring and autumn roster,” he said.

The sprinkler ban applies each winter to garden bore and scheme water users in Perth, Mandurah and parts of the South-West.

Dr Jacobs said it was disappointing the Water Corporation had been required to issue 3,232 scheme warnings and 22 infringements during winter. On top of that there were 1,490 bore warnings and two infringement notices.

He said last winter’s successful two-month trial was supported by more than 90 per cent of the community and overall saved the equivalent of 5.5 million buckets of water every day, enough to supply Manjimup or Collie with water for a year.

Final data on the 2010 winter sprinkler ban will be released shortly.

7 September, 2010

Road safety campaign

tackles issues head on

The second phase of the serious injury road safety campaign has been launched by the Minister for Road Safety, Rob Johnson.

The campaign, titled the Tree of Life . will use television, radio and print advertising to highlight the emotional, financial and physical costs of serious injuries.

“Road trauma places a huge burden on our community, not to mention the ongoing emotional costs for those injured and their loved ones,” Mr Johnson said.

“Most road users underestimate the number of people seriously injured on our roads and do not have an understanding of the implications of serious injuries, which can leave people with permanent disabilities or brain damage, changing their lives forever.”

He said of the 2,548 people injured last year as a result of vehicle crashes in WA, 1,730 were hospitalised in the metropolitan area; 489 in regional areas and 329 from remote areas of the State. Each serious injury is estimated to cost $425,000.

The Minister said WA road users had their part to play in ensuring the State’s entire road system was as safe as possible by being “safe drivers in safe vehicles, travelling on safe roads at safe speeds”.

“The dangerous or careless actions of motorists can lead to devastating physical, financial and emotional outcomes for road users, their families and the whole community,” Mr Johnson said.

“All road users need to think twice before getting behind the wheel and I urge them to slow down, don’t drink and drive, avoid driver distractions, buy the safest vehicle possible, ensure all occupants are wearing seatbelts, don’t drive tired and be cautious and courteous when driving.

“Road safety is a shared responsibility and we need to work together to reduce the number of those seriously injured and killed on our roads.”

The Tree of Life campaign will run until the end of October.

7 September, 2010

Shopping centre

plans add value

A new planning policy encouraging shopping centres to become community-focused town centres has been released by the Minister for Planning, John Day.

Mr Day said the Activity Centres Policy would play an integral role in the implementation of the objectives outlined in Directions 2031 and Beyond . the recently-release spatial planning framework.

“The Activity Centres Policy enables the creation of diverse centres of mixed land use, with a broader range of services and employment opportunities,” Mr Day said.

“Activity centres will evolve into more accessible and vibrant nodes of economic and social activity, and will enable the community to go to work, enjoy leisure activities and shopping without having to travel far.”

He said the policy encouraged strategic retail and commercial centres to grow and incorporate a better mix of shopping, office space, residential, recreational, and community amenities.

It represented a more flexible regulatory approach to encourage more investment in the commercial, higher-density housing and retail sectors.

“There is a clear need to encourage renewal and expansion opportunities by allowing developments to be considered on a wider range of planning merits,” he said.

“Previously, the development of retail centres was based on a hierarchy of shopping centres with associated floor space guidelines known as caps, and the rigid application of these caps has restricted development and growth of our centres.”

Mr Day said under the new policy, floor space cap guidelines would no longer apply, instead the policy encouraged the development of activity centres with greater diversity so shopping did not dominate other commercial and community uses, or result in a predominantly single-purpose centre.

7 September, 2010

Mums’ the word on

parenting program

The Department for Child Protection has expanded its Responsible Parenting Services into the Murchison and Great Southern regions.

The Royalties for Regions program would provide $2.8 million in funding for 2010-11 with a further $24.9 million over the next three years to establish and expand the Department’s Responsible Parenting Services in regional areas.

Minister for Child Protection, Robyn McSweeney joined the Minister for Regional Development, Brendon Grylls to detail the expansion of the parenting services – currently provided in the metropolitan area – to the Murchison and Great Southern regions.

Mrs McSweeney said expansion of the program meant more accessible support for parents of children exhibiting, or at risk of developing, anti-social or truanting behaviours.

“Responsible Parenting comprises home visiting services to at-risk families and can help reduce the likelihood and ultimately prevent children from entering the Department’s care,” Mrs McSweeney said.

“In 2011-12, the $2.8 million service will be expanded with an additional $3.7 million for the Pilbara and Goldfields regions, taking the annual allocation of funds to $6.5 million.”

She said the scheme would be further expanded to the Wheatbelt and South-West with $2.9 million funding in 2012-13 and it was planned to continue funding the following financial year, taking the total of new and recurrent funding to almost $28 million across four years.”

Mr Grylls said the expansion would see two key programs, the Parent Support Service and Best Beginnings, established in 17 areas State-wide, including nine regional locations.

Mrs McSweeney said the expansion represented 15 new full-time employees in the Murchison region alone in 2010-11 and access to a specialist service where methods used to work with families were culturally appropriate to the area.

7 September, 2010

Land survey lands

more for agriculture

A survey of soils in the East Kimberley, commissioned by the Department of Agriculture and Food, has found more than 50,000 hectares of additional land that could be suitable for agriculture.

The survey identified tracts of red sandy soils, locally known as Cockatoo sands, which offer potential for horticulture development in the Ord area.

Minister for Agriculture and Food, Terry Redman said the soils were characteristically deep red, sandy earths and loamy earths that were well drained and capable of cultivation early in the dry season.

“The chemical and physical characteristics of these soils are comparable to, or better than, existing horticultural soils under development in the Pilbara and South-West of Western Australia,” Mr Redman said.

The field survey identified approximately 8,000ha of Cockatoo sands close to the existing Ord River Irrigation Area (ORIA) and a uniform area of more than 37,000ha of Cockatoo sands about 50 kilometres north of the Ord River.

It also identified deep brown sands, known as Pago sands, that could also be developed for agriculture.

The survey findings coincide with the release of a report investigating water availability for agriculture in the Ord region that concluded that water allocation or reliability would not limit further expansion of the ORIA in the short to medium term.

“There will be a need to assess the water availability in some of the areas outside the ORIA, as well as further work on the soils in the high priority selections,” Mr Redman said.

“Other issues to be examined include native title and costs of development.

“However, these two reports do provide an exciting insight into the massive potential for the East Kimberley to become one of the great food growing areas of the nation.”

He said the Department would set up trials on Cockatoo sands next year to further test potential crops and irrigation techniques.

7 September, 2010

Grain researcher to

go with the grain

An entomologist with the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA), Rob Emery, is to become a Visiting Professor at the biggest stored grain research organisation in the world.

Mr Emery’s appointment with China’s Chengdu Grain Storage Research Institute (CGSRI), will strengthen research and development ties targeting stored grain.

The CGSRI is a grain storage research, development and quality inspection facility, administered by the People’s Republic of China’s State Administration of Grain.

DAFWA’s Executive Director of Irrigated Agriculture and Diversification, Terry Hill said the appointment would assist grains research collaboration between Western Australia and China.

“Rob has worked with Chinese colleagues during two previous visits to China and is looking forward to further collaborative work on grain hygiene and storage,” Mr Hill said.

“He is believed to be one of just three scientists granted the Visiting Professor title with the CGSRI.”

Mr Emery said he would return to China later this year to view the institute’s facilities.

“There is great potential for more collaboration between our organisation and the institute, particularly on areas such as phosphine resistance management,” Mr Emery said

China was a significant importer of Australian grain.

“The country moves vast amounts of grain, with about 200 million tonnes in long-term storage and a similar amount handled from year to year,” Mr Emery said.

7 September, 2010

Innovation workshop

takes fresh approach

The first Public Sector Innovation Workshop held in Perth focused on the critical role of innovation in the public sector and attracted 130 participants from 60 Agencies.

Director General of the Department of Agriculture and Food, Rob Delane said greater innovation within the State’s public sector Agencies would be a crucial tool in enhancing both economic development and the future delivery of the diverse range of outcomes for which the public sector was responsible.

Director General of the Department of Commerce, Brian Bradley said it was already well recognised that the public sector had an active and important role to play in innovation.

“There are a number of WA public sector Agencies that have developed and are implementing innovation strategies and initiatives with great success and we need to build on this,” Mr Bradley said.

The workshop brought together managers and officers directly involved in fostering, supporting and managing innovation strategies within State and Commonwealth public sector Agencies, plus some locally-based private sector organisations with well-developed innovation models.

It focused on sharing ways in which innovation was being, and could be better, fostered across the sector.

Speakers included the Minister for Science and Innovation, Bill Marmion and the Chair of the Federal Government’s Gov 2.0 initiative, Nicholas Gruen.

Other presentations included one from the Department of Premier and Cabinet regarding the implementation of recommendations of the Economic Audit Report and from the Commonwealth Department of Innovation, Industry Science and Research relating to innovation in the Commonwealth Public Sector.

Case studies from Landgate and the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry were also presented.

A report from the workshop will be considered by an SES-level Public Sector Innovation Forum, which is to be organised and held at a later date.

7 September, 2010

Land acquisition

is landmark deal

Up to 2,500 hectares of Crown land north of Broome is to be compulsorily acquired to permit development of an LNG plant in the Kimberley region.

Premier Colin Bartlett announced the acquisition saying it was necessary because the Kimberley Land Council (KLC) and native title claimants had been unable to finalise an agreement on the precinct despite three extended deadlines.

“The deadline .would not be extended for a fourth time,” Mr Bartlett said.

He said the land involved was unallocated Crown land, over which no Native Title had currently been determined.

“Compulsory acquisition is a clearly defined process which involves negotiating in good faith with registered Native Title claimants over a six-month period,” Mr Bartlett said.

“If an agreement cannot be reached, the State will refer the matter to the National Native Title Tribunal for arbitration, which takes another six months.

“The State Government and Woodside remain committed to delivering about $1.5 billion of social and economic benefits to local Aboriginal communities, as part of the LNG precinct project.”

Mr Bartlett said the Government would be aiming to achieve a negotiated outcome consistent with the heads of agreement signed by the KLC on behalf of the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr claimants in April, 2009.

That agreement included recognition of the claimants as traditional owners of the affected land; the provision of an area of land, equivalent to that required for the precinct, to the Traditional Owners under freehold title and the creation of new economic opportunities, including business development and trade training.

Mr Bartlett said the Environmental Protection Authority had published a report stating that the environmental impacts and risks of locating a precinct in the James Price Point area were likely to be manageable.

The Government announced in December 2008 that the land, on the Dampier Peninsula, 60 kilometres north of Broome, was the preferred location for the development of an LNG precinct.

A master plan showing how the proposed precinct could be established was now available to the public.

In addition the document, prepared by WorleyParsons, includes details of the initial consideration of four short-listed sites, from which the James Price Point site was selected.

7 September, 2010

Bugs ironed out for

beetle warning

A public warning that the European House Borer (EHB) flight season was approaching has been issued by the Department of Agriculture and Food.

Response Director for EHB with the Department, John van Schagen said the warmer September-April period was the time when adult EHB beetles emerged to mate and lay eggs.

“EHB is a serious pest of untreated pinewood that can cause significant structural damage, particularly if it finds its way into untreated roof structures,” Mr van Schagen said.

“During the warmer months, beetles are more visible while flying and laying eggs on untreated pinewood. This provides a good opportunity to remind people to help prevent the spread of the pest.”

EHB has been found mainly in the dead parts of live pine trees and other untreated pinewood material, although there has been one case of infestation in the structural timbers of a Perth home.

Mr van Schagen said the response had achieved significant progress in the past three years in reducing EHB populations, however, strategies were still needed to contain them to already affected areas, and reduce further spread.

Protection against EHB in homes can be achieved through the use of non-susceptible materials in all building construction and renovations, particularly in areas affected by EHB. This requirement was mandated last year by the Building Commission.

Mr van Schagen said spread and infestation could also be reduced through the disposal of untreated pinewood waste materials in Local Government waste bins, or at approved refuse facilities.

Additionally, there should be no collection of waste timber from verge side collections and plantations.

He said waste timber included untreated pinewood firewood, off-cuts, disused furniture, and dead trunks and branches.

7 September, 2010

Training facility

to take wing

A new aviation training facility has been opened by Polytechnic West at Jandakot Airport.

Minister for Training and Workforce Development, Peter Collier launched the AeroSpace Training Centre at Jandakot Airport, which will provide students with hands-on learning in the aviation industry.

The centre is housed in a refurbished hangar, with the capacity to train more than 300 students annually.

“The Government’s investment of $2 million in this centre, along with a direct contribution from Polytechnic West, has helped provide contemporary training facilities that will enable the aviation industry to develop a capable and skilled workforce,” Mr Collier said.

“By locating the centre at Jandakot, students are able to learn at an operational airfield, ensuring they are better prepared for a career in aviation.”

Training is provided in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, Aviation Management and Pilot Studies, with additional courses being developed to cover cabin crew and airline operations.

Replacing facilities at Polytechnic West’s Midland campus, which has offered aviation instruction for more than five decades, the new centre will deliver training that better meets industry needs.

Among the centre’s new state-of-the-art equipment is an aircraft fleet comprising a Boeing 737 twin-jet, a Cessna 340, a Beech Baron and a Robinson R22 helicopter.

The Minister said the learning environment created at Jandakot was testament to the importance of relevance in training and the contribution of the aviation industry to WA’s strong economy.

7 September, 2010

Airport fire station

cleared to take off

Airservices Australia has opened a new state-of-the-art fire station at Perth Airport.

Chief Executive of Airservices, Greg Russell said the station was part of a $124 million investment by the Agency in the modernisation of fire and rescue services at the nation’s busiest airports.

“We are investing heavily in upgrading and replacing fire stations, equipment and vehicles to ensure we can provide a safe, efficient and effective fire and rescue service to the public,” Mr Russell said.

“This new station replaces a building in front of the main domestic terminal which has been in continuous use since about 1962 and could no longer cope with the expansion required to meet those needs.

The old station was also restricting aviation development and causing congestion on taxiways as the airport dealt with unprecedented air traffic growth related to the mining boom.

Manager of the fire station, Steve Davies said it was equipped with the latest fire fighting equipment, including four high-tech Rosenbauer Mk 8s ultra-large fire vehicles and a domestic response vehicle for attendance at first aid and other non-fire emergencies.

It also incorporated five vehicle bays, training areas, a mechanical workshop bay and an elevated fire control centre to observe all aircraft movements.

“From our new location at the end of the main northern runway we can respond quickly to any emergency,” Mr Davies said.

He said Airservices employed 68 fire fighters in Perth with three officers and 10 fire fighters on duty at any one time, 24 hours a day.

In the past 12 months they responded to more than 1,000 calls at Perth Airport, including motor vehicle accidents, fire alarms, first aid calls and aircraft incidents.

7 September, 2010

Fishing industry nets

man overboard aid

Western Australia’s first code of practice for dealing with “man overboard” in the commercial fishing industry has been issued by the Commission for Occupational Safety and Health.

The code outlines ways to address the risks associated with accidental falls from commercial fishing vessels, and covers both the prevention of falls and the emergency responses if a man overboard incident occurs.

Acting Executive Director for WorkSafe, Ian Munns said there had been 44 deaths from a range of causes in the WA fishing industry since 1988.

“This code has been developed in response to the deaths arising from man overboard incidents,” Mr Munns said, “along with recommendations made by the State Coroner in his report on a death in 2006.

“Man overboard deaths in WA fall into two categories ­ those that no-one sees, such as when a person is alone on deck; and falls that happen when a person is in the course of their work.”

He said just as it was at any area of workplace safety and health, it was always better to have preventative measures in place.

He said these required an assessment of the risks and implementation of measures to prevent falls as far as is practicable.

“But if an incident does take place, it is critical that safety measures are in place so an immediate alert is raised and there is a quick and effective system in place to rescue the person who has fallen overboard,” Mr Munns said.

“This includes having effective emergency equipment at hand and ensuring that everyone on board is adequately trained and knows what to do if an emergency does arise.”

The Code of Practice on Man Overboard was developed by the tripartite Commission for Occupational Safety and Health, which includes representatives of Government, employers and unions.

7 September, 2010

Green light for

park plan

A new management plan has been released for the Cape Range National Park.

Cape Range National Park, located 39 kilometres from Exmouth on the Cape Range peninsula, covers 50,581 hectares of coastal plain and majestic karst ranges that overlook the Ningaloo Coast, an area nominated for World Heritage listing.

Minister for Environment, Donna Faragher said visitors to the region had more than doubled in the past two decades with 244,000 visits recorded in 2008-09.

“Research conducted in 2008 indicates that visitor expenditure in the Ningaloo Coast region was $141 million annually, a significant contribution to the local tourism economy,” Mrs Faragher said.

“As more people visit the region, the management plan will help protect the national park’s natural values and ensure that a range of high-quality, ecologically-sustainable recreation and tourism opportunities are provided, including improved day-use facilities to complement existing facilities such as the Yardie Creek boat tour and Milyering Visitor Centre.”

The management plan was prepared by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) in consultation with the community, and on behalf of the Conservation Commission of WA.

Chair of the Commission, Pat Barblett said the management plan recognised the need for Aboriginal people to practice their culture and to be involved in caring for the park and its Aboriginal heritage sites.

7 September, 2010

Departments dig in

on mining rules

New nature conservation and mining arrangements have been announced for the Mt Manning area, north of Southern Cross.

Minister for the Environment, Donna Faragher and for Mines and Petroleum, Norman Moore said the new arrangements followed extensive work by the Departments of Environment and Conservation (DEC) and Mines and Petroleum to identify a balanced way forward to address conservation and mining values in the area.

The Ministers said the arrangements would ensure proper management of significant nature conservation values in the region and certainty for industry regarding investment.

The reserves to be managed by DEC include a Class A nature reserve over the Die Hardy Range; conservation parks (not Class A) and reserves for conservation and mining over the former Mt Elvire and Jaurdi pastoral leases; a reserve for conservation and mining over part of the Diemals pastoral lease and a reserve for conservation and mining over an area that was formerly part of the Mt Jackson pastoral lease.

“Any development proposals in the area will continue to be subject to the requirements of the Environmental Protection Act 1986andMining Act 1978which includes assessment and advice from the Environmental Protection Authority,” Mrs Faragher said.

She said DEC would remain the land managers of the reserves and continue to work with landholders, industry and other stakeholders to ensure positive regional outcomes for nature conservation.

Mr Moore said reserving the identified areas for conservation and mining would enable appropriate recognition and management of significant conservation values and resources of strategic value.

“We are confident that this co-operative, strategic approach will enable the region to meet its economic potential, while ensuring that significant conservation values are properly managed,” he said.

The new tenure arrangements extend across 862,000 hectares.

7 September, 2010

Nothing wild about

DAFWA oats guide

The Department of Agriculture and Food has launched a new practical management guide to help farmers market oats better.

Minister for Agriculture and Food, Terry Redman said oats had made a resurgence in Western Australia in recent years, with the industry worth $230 million per annum to the State’s economy.

“WA production of milling and feed oats grew from 440,000 tonnes in 2006-07 to 570,000 tonnes in 2009, making WA the country’s major oats producer, comprising more than 50 per cent the national oat pool,” Mr Redman said.

“This has been a result of a combination of factors. New markets have emerged in Asia, particularly in Japan, and several new high-yielding oat varieties, backed by robust agronomic guidelines, have increased gross margin profits by $30-$40 per hectare.”

He said the new guide, Growing Oats in Western Australia for Hay and Grain would help farmers continue to produce high-quality and profitable oats or for new growers to evaluate the crop’s viability.

It was produced by the Department of Agriculture and Food and harnesses the latest in research and trial outcomes.

The Minister said the document covered everything from paddock selection to soil characteristics, rotation and frost risk management.

He said oats had a gained popularity in recent years as a strategic crop.

“Research by the Department has demonstrated its agronomic potential as a break crop, reducing the risk of crop disease and Annual Ryegrass Toxicity, as well as its versatility as a feed crop,” Mr Redman said.

7 September, 2010

PS trainees to graduate

The Public Sector Commission is to hold a Graduation Ceremony for members of the School-Based Traineeship Program on 13 October.

Thirty-one trainees will be recognised for completing their traineeship and will receive their qualification a Certificate II in either Business or Information Technology.

About 180 guests are expected to attend the ceremony including Directors General from represented public sector Agencies, education and training coordinators from represented schools and the graduates’ families and friends.

Local Governments combine

Kimberley’s four Local Governments have agreed to form a Regional Collaborative Group and engage in the reform program for the sector.

They are Broome, Derby-West Kimberley, Halls Creek and Wyndham-East Kimberley.

Regional Collaborative Group reform options are available to 28 Local Governments in remote regional areas where amalgamation is not a priority.

Broome enhanced

Broome’s boating infrastructure is to be enhanced by a $35 million development.

The new boating infrastructure project is aimed at meeting the needs of the small craft fleet in Broome and will include a major boat-launching ramp, an offshore sheltering breakwater, dredged basin and a floating jetty.

Arts festival launch

Tourism WA has established a partnership with the Perth International Arts Festival (PIAF) to secure an exclusive production to launch the 2011 festival.

Pan.Optikum, a free, family-friendly event featuring a mix of acrobatics, pyrotechnics, large-scale video effects and live music, will open the Festival.

The production has already featured across Europe, Mexico, Singapore and at the Glastonbury Festival in England.

Legionnaires’ warning

A warning on a possible outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease has been issued by the Department of Health.

It concerns travellers who have recently returned from Bali after two Western Australians and a Victorian were diagnosed with severe pneumonia due to infection caused by Legionella pneumophilia.

Director of Communicable Disease Control, Paul Armstrong said all three people were most likely infected in the central Kuta area of Bali.

Eating program opens

An eating disorders program for children and adolescents has been officially opened at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children.

The opening follows an 18-month design and construction process, and the facility will provide a comprehensive eating disorders program in one place.

The 600 square metre building houses 12 therapy rooms and a large facility room for the unit’s day treatment program for outpatients.

New station for Ellenbrook

A new $3.2 million fire station has been opened to serve the Ellenbrook region.

The facility will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by one station officer and three fire fighters.

The rapid growth of Ellenbrook and surrounding suburbs had created the need for a dedicated fire station in the area.

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