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Call for nominations to showcase irrigation innovations28945Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements0html27/09/2016 3:03:28 AM2016-09-27T02:55:00Za Nominations open for 2016 Irrigation Australia (WA) Awards of Excellence Irrigation innovation a key part of Liberal National Government's investment in water development Water Minister Mia Davies urged Western Australian businesses, local governments and community groups to nominate for the 2016 Irrigation Australia (WA) Awards of Excellence. "From recycling wastewater to keep our public spaces green, to industrial-scale irrigation innovations that are diversifying and growing our food production sector - WA is a world leader in efficient and sustainable water use," Ms Davies said. The Minister said innovations in irrigation formed a key part of the Liberal National Government's unprecedented investment in water projects to enhance the liveability of communities and boost agricultural productivity. "We are seeing innovations are enhancing our traditional irrigation precincts and supporting new irrigated agricultural projects to unlock our horticultural and pastoral potential," she said. "Regional communities are also harvesting stormwater and recycled water for innovative irrigation and community use - such as the 11 golf courses and nine tree farms across the State which are irrigated by recycled water. "Initiatives such as these are helping WA grow in a sustainable way - using the large volumes of water available in the north to reshaping the way we use water in the south of the State as the climate dries." The awards comprise seven categories Waterwise Garden Irrigator Domestic Installation/Retro Fit; Commercial Installation under 2000m2; Commercial Installation over 2000m2; Retail Store of the Year; Suppliers Innovative Product Award; Young Achiever Award; and Local Government Improvement & Efficiency Award. Nominations close on September 30, 2016. Fact File The 2016 Irrigation Australia (WA) Awards of Excellence will be announced November 5, 2016 at a gala dinner in Como The State Government is a supporting partner of Irrigation Australia Ltd (WA) For more information, visit http//irrigation.org.au Minister's office - 6552 5500
Training for frontline workers facing meth users47518Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements2010html25/09/2016 2:00:26 AM2016-09-25T02:00:00Za ​Training and support for 450 frontline workers to improve fight against meth The Liberal National Government has expanded training and support for frontline workers who deal with methamphetamine-affected people as part of their day-to-day duties. Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell today announced new frontline worker training and resources to better equip drug and alcohol workers as part of the State Government's $14.9 million Western Australian Meth Strategy. "This is vital training that will boost the capacity of the workforce to reduce the harm created by meth," Ms Mitchell said. "The Mental Health Commission will train 450 frontline workers in Perth and regional areas in how to recognise and respond appropriately to meth-affected people, including how to de-escalate a crisis, keeping the user, the public and themselves safe." The training is free, delivered by people with specialist knowledge of meth and available to individuals and organisations. "The commission has received increased requests for such training from volunteer organisations, council rangers, security guards and paramedics," the Minister said. "Also, at this time of year, leading into the music festival season and school leavers celebrations, the commission expects to see an increase in festival and event organisers seeking training. "The training and support resources are relevant for people working in drug and alcohol and mental health services, police, corrections, hospital emergency departments, primary health care, child protection and social services." Training will be delivered in Perth and regional centres across the State. The Liberal National Government's $14.9 million Meth Strategy includes a Meth Helpline, 60 dedicated withdrawal and rehabilitation beds, specialist meth clinic, expanded school drug education and frontline nurses in emergency departments. Fact File The package includes an audio-visual resource and trainer's guide, tip sheets for workers and wallet cards for users To access training, contact 08 6553 0600 or email DAO.Education@mhc.wa.gov.au For information, counselling and support, phone the Meth Helpline on 1800 874 878 Minister's office - 6552 5400
Blackwood River in focus on World Rivers Day47516Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements1360html25/09/2016 1:31:14 AM2016-09-25T01:30:00Za ​Department of Water scientists' discovery in spotlight on World Rivers Day Study boosts world-class research to manage groundwater in a drying climate Made possible by Liberal National Government's Royalties for Regions program World-class science that reveals how underground water keeps the South-West's only year-round river flowing is in focus for World Rivers Day. The relationship between annual rainfall, groundwater sources and how they impact Blackwood River flows has been revealed in a specialist study of the South West groundwater assessment as part of the Liberal National Government's $12.82 million Royalties for Regions 'Regional water availability planning and investigation' project. Water Minister Mia Davies said communities, businesses, tourists and aquatic species relied on the Blackwood, making this sort of research an invaluable tool for managing the resource. "We always suspected groundwater flowed into the Blackwood in summer, causing its normally dark brown waters to flow clear but we did not have solid science to confirm this," Ms Davies said. "Department of Water scientists have, for the first time, been able to trace the full journey of raindrops through the landscape to confirm a direct link between annual rainfall and the aquifer-charged summer flows that keep the Blackwood and parts of the Donnelly, Warren and Capel rivers flowing year-round and Margaret River pools full. "We now know the Blackwood is unique because it is fresher in summer due to groundwater discharge. The reduced salinity allows fish such as Balston's pygmy perch - listed as vulnerable - to return to the main river from freshwater tributaries where they take refuge in winter." Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the health of the Blackwood was vital to the communities and businesses that it serviced. "Regional waterways are assets that promote recreational activities and encourage tourism," Mr Redman said. "It is significant that Royalties for Regions invests in initiatives that help optimise our groundwater resources to support social and economic growth - with strong collaboration by project partners and the community - to build sustainability and liveability in our regions." Fact File New study shows Blackwood River has the South-West's longest section of permanent groundwater-fed flows and is more saline during winter than in summer This research continues hydrogeological work by the Department of Water to help optimise water sources being impacted by a drying climate in the South-West Water Minister's office - 6552 5500 Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700
Meth Helpline supports users and their families47514Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements1130html24/09/2016 11:59:18 PM2016-09-24T22:00:00Za ​160 calls in response to first week of Meth Helpline campaign Meth users and their families linked to treatment and support Meth Helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 874 878 The Liberal National Government's new Methamphetamine Helpline and public campaign helped 160 callers to find support and treatment in its first week of operation. Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell said the positive response to the service showed the Western Australian Meth Strategy was hitting the mark with its range of initiatives to address meth-related harm in the community. "This confidential, free service is meeting a vital need for counselling, support and referral to treatment for meth users and their families," Ms Mitchell said. "The counsellors are specialists at understanding the impact meth can have and they provide a sympathetic ear and expert advice for those wanting help. "We have received positive feedback from callers that they feel supported by someone who knows what they are going through and what they can do next. "Callers feel they are not alone and that help is available." The Minister said many people had also sought information from the Drug Aware website, with the 'Help' pages being the most visited section of the site. The State Government's $14.9 million multi-pronged Meth Strategy includes funding for 60 dedicated withdrawal and residential rehabilitation beds, a specialist meth clinic and expanded school drug education, including resources for parents and pastoral care staff. Fact File Helpline counsellors provide information, referral to local services, discuss treatment options, provide a free call-back service, support health professionals and people waiting for treatment Calls to the Meth Helpline are free from a landline and most mobile phones, depending on the service provider Minister's office - 6552 5400
Edith Cowan's West Perth home heritage listed47500Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements1950html23/09/2016 11:58:41 PM2016-09-23T23:00:00Za ​The Skinner Gallery also heritage listed for its cultural significance A West Perth property at 31 Malcolm Street that was home to Edith Cowan, the first woman member of an Australian parliament, has been listed on the State Heritage Register. Heritage Minister Albert Jacob said Edith Cowan was intrinsically linked to the history of Western Australia and the nation. "This is an important listing because the house provided Edith Cowan with a central base during the most important period of her work in welfare, education and social justice from 1911 to 1919," Mr Jacob said. Edith and James Cowan lived at 31 Malcolm Street intermittently between 1893 and 1919. Built in 1893 for the Cowans, Edith Cowan House is a two-storey brick, stone and iron roof Victorian Rustic Gothic style house, and is a remnant of a former streetscape. In 1958, the then owners Josiah and Rose Skinner, built three storeys at the rear of the house for an art gallery with exhibition spaces, studios for art classes, rooms for cultural activities and a meeting centre for artists and musical societies. The Skinner Gallery was reputed to be the first commercial gallery in Australia and was a major leader in promoting modern Australian art in the late 1950s and 1960s. "Edith Cowan House and Skinner Gallery is more than the modest buildings we see," the Minister said. "These places offer glimpses into the stories of prominent West Australians and the social, political and artistic development they led in our State's development. "Appropriately, Edith Cowan, who was a staunch supporter of State education, is honoured through the naming of Edith Cowan University after her, when it was established in 1991." Fact File Edith Cowan was elected to the WA Legislative Assembly in 1921 for the seat of West Perth, following legislation passed in 1920 to allow women to enter parliament For more information on Edith Cowan House and the Skinner Gallery, visit http//www.stateheritage.wa.gov.au Minister's office - 6552 5800
Greenbushes is WA Tidy Towns winner for 201647485Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements2120html23/09/2016 7:07:16 AM2016-09-23T07:00:00Za Recognition for minimising use of plastic bottles and creating a wetland The small town of Greenbushes, in the State's South-West, has been chosen as the 2016 Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities award winner for its efforts in environmental education and recognising its mining and timber milling heritage. Environment Minister Albert Jacob said Greenbushes' achievements reflected the town's community spirit and commitment to environment conservation, education programs and sustainable living. "Out of a population of about 600 people, more than 400 volunteered their time to contribute to some outstanding sustainability initiatives - that's a remarkable effort," Mr Jacob said. The judges remarked on the success of Greenbushes' Water Without Waste project, which deters people from buying bottled water by providing filtered tap water in a portable tank at community events. "The mobile water station has been a great success and has helped spread the message about the importance of reducing plastic use," the Minister said. Tidy Towns judges also highlighted Greenbushes' biodiversity project, which has seen seven hectares of wetland created on a former mining site. More than 1,000 volunteer hours went in to revegetating the area and creating habitat for native species. "Birds and a variety of mammal species have thrived at the wetland so it is a powerful example of what a community can achieve with a united vision," Mr Jacob said. The judges were also impressed by the installation of two striking sculptures made out of recycled materials that were installed on the South Western Highway approaches to the town. The categories winners were Young Legends - Paraburdoo Environmental Sustainability - Port and South Hedland Litter Prevention and Waste Management - Meekatharra Environmental Education - Albany Heritage and Culture - Toodyay Community Action and Wellbeing - Wongan Hills. Fact File Greenbushes will represent WA at the national Tidy Towns awards in Triabunna, Tasmania in March 2017 For more information, visit http//www.kabc.wa.gov.au/get-involved/tidy-towns-sustainable-communities Minister's office - 6552 5800
WA's development contribution policy updated47477Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements6330html23/09/2016 6:21:43 AM2016-09-23T05:00:00Za Public consultation open on the updated development contribution policy Updated policy guides the delivery of community infrastructure by developers Draft guidelines have also been prepared to help local governments The policy guiding the contribution developers make to community infrastructure when undertaking developments in the State has been updated and is available for public comment. Speaking at the Urban Development Institute of Australia's 'Delivering a liveable city for all' event, Planning Minister Donna Faragher said the updated State Planning Policy 3.6 Development Contributions for Infrastructure would create a more clear and consistent process across Western Australia. "The planning and co-ordination of infrastructure is fundamental to the economic and social wellbeing of all communities," Mrs Faragher said. "Land developers are responsible for contributing towards the cost of this infrastructure. "This updated policy and associated guidelines will simplify and standardise the approach to how development contributions for infrastructure, such as sporting grounds and pavilions and parks and playground equipment, are calculated and implemented. "No matter what suburb a development is in, local governments will have a clear understating about what can be funded, and developers will know what their responsibilities are. "This infrastructure is vital to the creation of sustainable and liveable communities. I encourage everyone to have their say on the updated policy." Draft Scheme Text Provisions have also been prepared to ensure the system for charging development contributions is applied through local government planning schemes. The Minister said the draft provisions would create a better system for planning and charging development contributions, providing certainty to developers, infrastructure providers, local government and the community. Public comments close on Friday, November 25, 2016. Fact File Local governments will be provided with clear and comprehensive guidelines that ensure consistency of interpretation and application The State Planning Policy 3.6 Development Contributions for Infrastructure was last updated in 2009 For more information, visit http//www.planning.wa.gov.au/public-comment.asp Minister's office - 6552 5300
Top honours ahead for WA’s finest businesses47475Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements7560html23/09/2016 4:06:06 AM2016-09-23T04:00:00Za Finalists announced for WA Industry and Export Awards 2016 17 categories recognise business excellence in WA High number of entries for 28th annual awards Some of the State's most innovative and proactive companies have been announced as finalists in the Western Australian Industry and Export Awards 2016 which are set to showcase the best of WA's businesses. Commerce Minister Michael Mischin commended the finalists' ingenuity and initiative across a broad range of categories recognising excellence in the international market and industry. Mr Mischin said the awards showcased the outstanding success of Western Australian businesses in areas including digital technologies, environmental solutions, agribusiness and manufacturing. "Large and small companies from various business pursuits are among the finalists of the prestigious WA Industry and Export Awards 2016," he said. "Through their innovation and hard work, these companies are creating local jobs and growing the Western Australian economy. "It's important to encourage businesses to excel in their relevant industries and recognise their high calibre to participate on the world stage." The Minister said the awards program received a high number of entries from Western Australian businesses this year. "Being named a finalist offers companies vital recognition and exposure, and it also provides valuable business and networking opportunities," he said. "I applaud the finalists for their local and international business contributions and wish them all the best for the awards next month." Winners of the Western Australian export categories will become automatic finalists for the 2016 Australian Export Awards to be announced in November. WA Industry and Export Award sponsors are Rio Tinto; ANZ; Chevron; Efic; Department of Immigration and Border Protection; Austrade; Deloitte; Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (WA Office); City of Perth; Curtin University; Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia; Export Solutions; and Fremantle Ports. Fact File For more information, visit https//www.exportaward.com.au Winners in all categories will be announced on October 28, 2016 at Crown Perth The WA Exporter of the Year Award will also be announced for overall excellence Minister's office - 6552 5600 2016 Western Australian Industry and Export Awards finalists Industry award categories WA Women in International Business Churchview Estate (Metricup); Verve Cycling (West Perth); Waru Projects Pty Ltd [Kirrikin] (South Perth) C.Y. O'Connor Award for Excellence in Engineering and Technology acQuire Technology Solutions Pty Ltd (Applecross); Blank-it (West Perth); Funky Monkey Bars (Yangebup); Wesfarmers Kleenheat Gas Pty Ltd (Murdoch) Marketing and Design Excellence Award Austal (Henderson); Austral Fisheries (West Leederville); Pardoo Beef (Port Hedland) Innovation Excellence Award Austal (Henderson); Orthocell (Murdoch); Proteomics International Pty Ltd (Nedlands) Export award categories Agribusiness Austral Fisheries (West Leederville); Churchview Estate (Metricup); Fremantle Octopus (Hamilton Hill); Western Australian Honey Pty Ltd [Fewsters Farm] (Muchea) Business Services Kooljaman (Broome); Linear Clinical Research (Nedlands); Linkar Wine (Perth); Trade Vine Pty Ltd (Mount Lawley) Creative Industries Blank-it (West Perth); Scitech Discovery Centre (Perth); Waru Projects Pty Ltd [Kirrikin] (South Perth) Digital Technologies acQuire Technology Solutions Pty Ltd (Applecross); Blank-it (West Perth); DTI Group (Perth Airport); Norwood Systems (Nedlands) E-commerce Kooljaman (Broome); Trade Vine Pty Ltd (Mount Lawley); Waru Projects Pty Ltd [Kirrikin] (South Perth) Education and Training ETAS Group (Osborne Park); Stanley College (Perth) Environmental Solutions Austral Fisheries (West Leederville); Churchview Estate (Metricup); In-Balance (Malaga) Health and Biotechnology Linear Clinical Research (Nedlands); Proteomics International Pty Ltd (Nedlands) Manufacturing Austal (Henderson); Inflatable Packers International (Osborne Park); PC Locs (Malaga) Minerals, Energy and Related Services Blue Ocean Monitoring (Subiaco); Fortescue Metals Group (East Perth); Hoseco (WA) Pty Ltd (Welshpool); Inflatable Packers International (Osborne Park) Regional Exporter Churchview Estate (Metricup); Kooljaman (Broome); Western Australian Honey Pty Ltd [Fewsters Farm] (Muchea) Small Business Fremantle Octopus (Hamilton Hill); Norwood Systems (Nedlands); Proteomics International Pty Ltd (Nedlands) WA Emerging Exporter Blue Ocean Monitoring (Subiaco); Hoseco (WA) Pty Ltd (Welshpool); Trade Vine Pty Ltd (Mount Lawley).
New irrigated agriculture project for Fitzroy Crossing47472Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements4260html23/09/2016 2:00:47 AM2016-09-23T02:00:00Za Gogo Station given approval to apply for freehold tenure for nearly 9,000ha First approval of its kind given by the Liberal National Government A Fitzroy Crossing pastoral company's plan to significantly expand its irrigation footprint has received the go-ahead from the Liberal National Government. Gogo Station has been given approval to apply for freehold tenure for its cropping project proposal under the State Government's Land Tenure Pathway for Irrigated Agriculture (LTPIA) project, as part of the $40 million Water for Food program, supported by Royalties for Regions. Regional Development and Lands Minister Terry Redman said Gogo Station's proposal to excise nearly 9,000 hectares from its existing pastoral lease could now move forward. "The enterprise area includes 5,000ha of irrigated crop production with the remainder of the land being used for supporting infrastructure, buffer zones, access arrangements and the deviation of a portion of the Mount Krauss to Fitzroy Crossing stock route," Mr Redman said. "Gogo Station has been offered an option agreement, including a further offer of a four-year development lease and freehold tenure, subject to pre-agreed conditions having been met. This project has the potential to create jobs and economic opportunities across the region." Through a dedicated training program, the project aims to develop skilled farmers and technicians with future direct job opportunities including farm operations and product handling, while indirect business opportunities for the greater Kimberley region would include service and support industries. Water Minister Mia Davies said the approval reflected the importance of irrigated agriculture in creating education, training and employment for regional economic development. "Initiatives such as Mowanjum and Gogo stations demonstrate the many benefits and sustainable growth achievable through partnerships between the State Government, private developers and Aboriginal communities," Ms Davies said. "Gogo had been successfully growing up 2,000ha of fodder crops for its cattle operation for several years under pastoral diversification permits and the now approved option to develop on a lease and convert to freehold title provides the basis for significant capital investment." Gogo Station consulted extensively with stakeholders and partnered with traditional owners, the Gooniyandi people, by signing a Memorandum of Understanding and a subsequent in-principle agreement in 2015. Fact File The option agreement enables Gogo Station to finalise and obtain all necessary clearances and approvals to proceed with the project to development phase For more information, visit http//www.waterforfood.wa.gov.au Regional Development and Lands Minister's office - 6552 6700 Water Minister's office - 6552 5500
Public housing ‘P plates’ could go State-wide47457Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements3300html22/09/2016 11:36:50 PM2016-09-22T22:05:00Za Encouraging results from ongoing trial in Perth's southern suburbs 124 of 179 participating tenancies successfully progressed A small number of problem tenancies did not have their fixed term renewed The Liberal National Government is considering a State-wide rollout of its probationary tenancies initiative. Housing Minister Brendon Grylls said results from the ongoing 'P plates' trial, announced in June 2015, for new tenants in the Housing Authority's south metropolitan zone had been encouraging. During the trial, potentially troublesome tenants were offered six month tenancies, on the basis that disruptive behaviour or non-payment of rent during that period would see the tenancy not renewed and the tenant required to vacate. A trouble-free first six months would see the tenancy moved to an ongoing periodic tenancy. Mr Grylls said the P plates initiative further reinforced the 'three strikes' policy which was introduced by the Liberal National Government in 2009 and strengthened in 2011. "Tenants are expected to follow three simple, basic rules pay the rent, look after the property and respect the neighbours," he said. "This trial is building a greater understanding among new tenants that housing assistance is conditional on them meeting those obligations." The trial has been run from the Housing Authority's Fremantle office for all new tenants, with the exception of people 55 years and older who have been proven good tenants. The trial saw 179 tenancies participate, with 124 (69 per cent) of those tenancies successfully progressing from a fixed term tenancy to a periodic tenancy. A small number of tenancies in the trial - less than 13 per cent - did not have their fixed term tenancy renewed for breaches of their tenancy agreement including accrued debt, disruptive behaviour and poor property standards. "Lessons learned through the trial have informed the need to consider further conditions on tenancies that are having difficulty maintaining their tenancies, rather than face eviction," the Minister said. A small number of tenants (three per cent) were referred to the Support and Tenant Education Program (STEP), a voluntary early intervention program for tenants to provide support to those who are having difficulties sustaining their tenancy and who may otherwise face eviction. A final decision on how the Housing Authority can use tools such as probationary tenancies to help build tenant capacity is expected to be made in the next three months. Fact File The Housing Authority is the State's biggest landlord, managing more than 36,000 properties for more than 69,000 tenants in need of subsidised housing STEP assists tenants with issues such as property standards, rent payments or behaviour. Housing does this to offer its tenants some practical assistance to help them and their neighbours enjoy a peaceful and happy tenancy Minister's office - 6552 6100
Gourmet Escape Australia’s best tourism event47456Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements4980html22/09/2016 11:27:21 PM2016-09-22T22:00:00Za Margaret River Gourmet Escape wins big at Australian Event Awards Prestigious festival boosts State's economy through visitation and international exposure Proudly supported by the Liberal National Government through Tourism WA and Royalties for Regions Margaret River Gourmet Escape has taken out one of Australia's top event accolades, Best Tourism Event, at the Australian Event Awards ceremony on the Gold Coast this week. The popular culinary festival is supported by the Liberal National Government through Tourism Western Australia's Regional Events Program, made possible by Royalties for Regions. Festival operator IMG Culinary accepted the tourism prize, seeing off competition from finalists Byron Bay Bluesfest, the Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival and Santos Tour Down Under. Now in its fifth year, Margaret River Gourmet Escape continues to grow as a premier global culinary event, attracting international chefs and personalities such as Heston Blumenthal, Rene Redzepi, Marco Pierre White, Massimo Bottura, Antonio Carluccio, David Chang and Rick Stein. Premier and Tourism Minister Colin Barnett said the festival was a major success story for the State's economy. The 2015 event resulted in 23,000 room nights booked in the South-West, more than $7.8 million in expenditure in the region and more than $6.5 million worth of global brand awareness for WA. "With the UK's Nigella Lawson confirmed for this year's Margaret River Gourmet Escape, this popularity is set not only to continue, but to grow," Mr Barnett said. "In just a few short years, Margaret River Gourmet Escape has become a powerful brand in the culinary world, lifting Margaret River and WA's profile as a premium food and wine destination. "This is really powerful when marketing the State to potential visitors to increase on the 400,000 food and wine enthusiasts who travel to WA each year. Margaret River Gourmet Escape is a key component of the State Government's Taste 2020 strategy to boost food and wine tourism. "Tourism is a vital industry for our State. In 2015-16, visitors spent $9.6 billion in WA, including $4.5 billion in regional areas." Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the Royalties for Regions investment in the Margaret River Gourmet Escape was also reaping rewards for the South-West region. "Events of this calibre provide trade potential and broad exposure for local producers, as well as local jobs and training opportunities," Mr Redman said. Fact File Another WA event, The Gibb Challenge mountain bike relay, was a finalist in the people's choice prize, Australia's Favourite Event A full list of winners is available at http//eventawards.com.au/2016-winners-and-finalists Margaret River Gourmet Escape, presented by Audi, is on November 18-20, 2016 For more information, visit http//www.gourmetescape.com.au Premier and Tourism Minister's office - 6552 5000 Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700
Forestry strategy supports green, clean industry32171Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements3020html22/09/2016 7:45:10 AM2016-09-22T07:45:00Za Liberal National Government investing $21 million to expand softwood plantations in the South-West Softwood Industry Strategy focused on supporting regional communities Forestry Minister Mia Davies has launched a Softwood Industry Strategy for Western Australia, which will provide ongoing job security, supply continuity for the building and construction sectors and sustainability of the State's forest estate. Ms Davies said the strategy was underpinned by a $21 million investment in expanding the softwood estate and the establishment of manufacturing and processing hubs in the South-West. "The strategy will double the annual investment in planting on State Government and private land around manufacturing and processing hubs in regional WA, which will strengthen industry development and improve productivity," she said. "Up to 10,000 hectares of softwood will be planted by the Forest Products Commission to expand our softwood estate over the next five years, the equivalent of two trees for every one harvested, or 2.7 million pine seedlings annually." The strategy is focused on six key areas, with actions including a renewed focus on attaining higher levels of certification, development of new training and employment pathways, improving community engagement and increasing efforts to protect plantations from fire. The Minister said sufficient scale in forest estate was essential to safeguard jobs, avoid a dependency on imported timber and contribute to a domestic industry with significant economic and environmental value to regional WA. "As well as building the estate, the strategy will establish a $100,000 innovation fund to stimulate market opportunities and appoint a forestry adviser to support and work with farmers looking to develop forestry enterprises," she said. Fact File The forestry industry in WA is worth more than $1 billion annually WA's softwood industry supplies up to 70% of the State's construction roofing timber For more information on the Softwood Industry Strategy for Western Australia, visit http//www.fpc.wa.gov.au/softwoodstrategy Minister's office - 6552 5500
Water investigations kick off in the Midlands32170Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements3740html22/09/2016 7:32:56 AM2016-09-22T07:30:00Za Investigating sustainable water supply options in the Midlands region Increasing regional food production and boosting local economies and jobs Made possible by the Liberal National Government's Royalties for Regions program An exploratory drilling program is now underway in the Irwin area, near Dongara, as part of the Liberal National Government's $40 million Water for Food program. Water Minister Mia Davies said the $4.7 million Midlands groundwater and land assessment project was investigating groundwater availability, land capability and crop suitability in the Midlands area between Gingin and Dongara, one of the most economically promising irrigation zones in Western Australia. "The exploratory drilling program is the next stage of water investigations in the Irwin area near Dongara after being identified as a potential irrigated agriculture focus area," Ms Davies said. "The aim of the drilling program is to identify new, sustainable groundwater resources to meet the needs for irrigated agriculture and to develop better scientific knowledge for government, industry and individuals to make more informed decisions in the future." Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the $40 million Water for Food program was made possible by the State Government's Royalties for Regions program and was a key component of the $350 million Seizing the Opportunity Agriculture initiative. "Extensive groundwater investigations to support increased irrigated agriculture are continuing in other areas of the State, with the commencement in May 2016 of exploratory drilling in the Kimberley region and another in the Myalup-Wellington area before the end of the year," Mr Redman said. "The Government will continue to support Water for Food projects aimed at increasing investment in, and expansion of, irrigated agriculture projects that facilitate regional development and employment opportunities." Agricultural Region MLC and chairman of the Midlands Community Reference Group, Martin Aldridge said the results from the drilling program would provide information to redefine the sustainable yields of the aquifers in the area. "Matching the water information with soil quality, infrastructure and crop studies will provide confidence to private investors looking to develop and expand horticulture in the region," Mr Aldridge said. Fact File 11 Water for Food projects across the State Midlands project is in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Food WA For more information on the projects, visit http//www.waterforfood.wa.gov.au Water Minister's office - 6552 5500 Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700
Construction Contracts Act amendments introduced32169Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements7920html22/09/2016 6:07:33 AM2016-09-22T06:00:00Za Legislation to protect payments to subcontractors in the construction industry The Liberal National Government today introduced legislation into State Parliament to protect payments to subcontractors in the construction industry. The Construction Contracts Act 2004 provides a useful mechanism for resolving contractual payment disputes and provides building contractors, subcontractors and suppliers with a right to be paid within a reasonable period of time, and a low cost method of enforcing that right. Introducing the Construction Contracts Amendment Bill 2016, Small Business Minister Sean L'Estrange said the legislation was the first part of a 'whole of Government' approach to improving payment protection for subcontractors. It will enhance the operation of the scheme and make it easier for subcontractors to access the rapid adjudication process for resolving construction payment disputes. "The non-payment and late payment of subcontractors, many of which are small businesses, is being addressed by the State Government," Mr L'Estrange said. "This legislation will also be complemented by a Code of Conduct for contractors and the establishment of a compliance unit within the Department of Commerce to monitor compliance with the code. Other measures include the Small Business Commissioner having expanded power to review and mediate disputes between contractors and subcontractors. "Plus, from September 30, 2016, the Government is rolling out Project Bank Accounts across Building Management and Works construction projects valued at more than $1.5 million to speed up the payment process for businesses working on these projects and enable subcontractors to better protect themselves in the event that a head contractor experiences financial difficulty." Key aspects of the Bill include reducing the maximum time in which head contractors can pay subcontractor payment claims to 30 calendar days increasing the time in which an application for rapid adjudication of a payment dispute can be lodged by a subcontractor to 90 business days creating greater flexibility in the scheme by allowing adjudication of previously rejected or disputed claims providing a faster and more efficient means for a party to enforce an adjudication determination through the courts. "Having listened to the concerns of subcontractors and other stakeholders, the Liberal National Government is taking effective action to encourage better behaviour in the building and construction industry, as well as improve the operation of the Act in keeping the money flowing in the contracting chain," Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said. Fact File The building and construction industry in WA generates 12.5% of Gross State Product The sector accounts for 10% of the total workforce, including more than 40,000 small businesses Small Business Minister's office - 6552 6900 Commerce Minister's office - 6552 5600
Miles and Lewis promoted to State Cabinet32166Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements36420html22/09/2016 5:41:05 AM2016-09-22T05:30:00Za Dedicated Agriculture and Food Minister Bill Marmion to take on the Transport portfolio Wanneroo MLA Paul Miles has been promoted to Minister for Local Government, Community Services, Seniors and Volunteering and Youth. "Paul has been a strong and committed local member who also understands the importance of how people can contribute and strengthen a community," Premier Colin Barnett said. Mr Miles, who has been Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney General and Minister for Commerce since March 2013, said he was looking forward to elevating the important role of seniors and the invaluable work of volunteers in the community. "As a Lions Club member for 30 years, communities are close to my heart," Mr Miles said. Agricultural scientist and Mining and Pastoral Region MLC Mark Lewis has been appointed Agriculture and Food Minister, Mr Barnett announced today. "Before entering State Parliament in 2013, Mark was involved in developing irrigated agricultural opportunities and also held management positions within the Department of Agriculture and Food in a region which covered the extent of his current electorate," he said. "Mark was raised on farming, cattle and sheep properties in Queensland and will bring to the portfolio a vast knowledge about the agricultural sector and the challenges it faces." The Premier said the sector was among a number of industries critical to the broadening of the Western Australian economy. Appointing a dedicated Minister to the portfolio would ensure the sector was given Mr Lewis' full attention in progressing key policies, including upgrading the Doppler tower network and launching the WA Biosecurity Strategy. Senior Minister Bill Marmion will take on the Transport portfolio. "Bill was a civil engineer for Main Roads before entering State Parliament. He has been a Minister since 2010 and I have every confidence he is the right person to continue to move forward major public infrastructure projects such as the Forrestfield-Airport Link, NorthLink WA and Roe 8," Mr Barnett said. The Premier said Mr Marmion would divest his Finance portfolio to Sean L'Estrange, who would add the responsibility to his Mines and Petroleum and Small Business roles. Mr Marmion would retain State Development and Innovation. "The opportunity for new people, with new ideas, to sit at the State Cabinet table will re-energise the Cabinet and the Liberal National Government as we move toward the March 2017 election," he said Mr Barnett said two new Parliamentary Secretaries had also been appointed. South Metropolitan Region MLC Nick Goiran will become the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Mental Health and Child Protection. Carine MLA Tony Krsticevic will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney General and Minister for Commerce. State Cabinet HON C J BARNETT MLA Premier; Minister for Tourism; Science HON L M HARVEY MLA Deputy Premier; Minister for Police; Road Safety; Training and Workforce Development; Women's Interests HON B J GRYLLS MLA Minister for Housing; Racing and Gaming HON P C COLLIER MLC Minister for Education; Aboriginal Affairs; Electoral Affairs HON J H D DAY MLA Minister for Health; Culture and the Arts HON Dr M D NAHAN MLA Treasurer; Minister for Energy; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests HON W R MARMION MLA Minister for State Development; Transport; Innovation HON M MISCHIN MLC Attorney General; Minister for Commerce HON A P JACOB MLA Minister for Environment; Heritage HON J M FRANCIS MLA Minister for Emergency Services; Fisheries; Corrective Services; Veterans HON M J DAVIES MLA Minister for Water; Sport and Recreation; Forestry HON D T REDMAN MLA Minister for Regional Development; Lands; Minister Assisting the Minister for State Development HON D FARAGHER MLC Minister for Planning; Disability Services HON A MITCHELL MLA Minister for Mental Health; Child Protection HON S L'ESTRANGE MLA Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Finance; Small Business HON P T MILES MLA Minister for Local Government; Community Services; Seniors and Volunteering; Youth HON M W LEWIS MLC Minister for Agriculture and Food Parliamentary Secretaries Mr John McGrath MLA Paliamentary Secretary to the Premier Hon Alyssa Hayden MLC Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Tourism Hon Jim Chown MLC Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport Hon Colin Holt MLC Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Housing, Racing and Gaming; and; Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Water; Sport and Recreation; Forestry Mr Shane Love MLA Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Regional Development; Lands; Minister Assisting the Minister for State Development Mr Matt Taylor MLA Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Innovation Mr Jan Norberger MLA Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Planning Mr Nick Goiran MLC Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Mental Health; Child Protection Mr Tony Krsticevic MLA Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney General; Minister for Commerce Note Ms Libby Mettam MLA Government Whip Premier's office - 6552 5000
Seatbelts targeted in WA Police holiday campaign32164Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements2570html22/09/2016 3:30:41 AM2016-09-22T03:30:00Za Concern over number of unrestrained children in cars Police targeting road safety as we head into long weekend and school holidays Double demerits apply from midnight tonight Western Australian motorists have been put on notice after the Liberal National Government released statistics showing 1,902 people fined in one year for having children in their cars without a seatbelt on. On the eve of the long weekend and school holiday period, Deputy Premier and Road Safety Minister Liza Harvey said there was no excuse for not wearing a seatbelt or ensuring children were correctly restrained. "The heartache of road trauma is nearly always avoidable and the simple act of putting on your seatbelt every time you get in your car is a habit that could save your life," Ms Harvey said. The Deputy Premier said that last year 31 of the 119 motor vehicle occupants killed on Western Australian roads were not wearing a seatbelt. Ms Harvey said the driver of a vehicle was responsible for ensuring their passengers were properly restrained in their vehicles and there were significant fines if they were not. The statistics showed that in 2015 1,902 people were fined for an unrestrained child in their vehicle 2,008 people were fined for having an incorrectly restrained child in their vehicle 31 of the 119 motor vehicle occupants killed on Western Australian roads were not wearing a seatbelt. "You are 10 times more likely to be killed in a road crash if you're not wearing a seatbelt in a car and that should be motivation enough to put your seatbelt on," the Deputy Premier said. "If you are hitting the road these school holidays with the family, I urge all parents to ensure everyone has properly secured their seatbelt before you even start the engine." Fact File To date in 2016, statistics show 948 fines have been issued for having an unrestrained child in the vehicle To date in 2016, statistics show 990 fines have been issued for having an incorrectly restrained child in the vehicle For the purpose of the statistics in this statement a 'child' is anyone aged 15 years or younger The State Government has allocated a record $148.5 million in 2016-17 from the Road Trauma Trust Account for proven road safety initiatives Deputy Premier and Road Safety Minister's office - 6552 5900
Green shoots from the ashes at Yarloop Primary32159Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements2430html22/09/2016 2:32:19 AM2016-09-22T02:30:00Za Forest Products Commission nursery to propagate up to 20,000 native seedlings for the Shire of Harvey to revegetate Yarloop town site and primary school Minister visits Yarloop Primary School students for seed sowing activity to produce about 200 seedlings for planting next winter Forestry Minister Mia Davies has commended the Forest Products Commission (FPC) for donating 20,000 native seedlings towards revegetating Yarloop town site and Yarloop Primary School following devastating fires earlier this year. Ms Davies joined students of Yarloop Primary School in Harvey today where they took part in sowing 200 seeds that will be nurtured for planting next year. "The FPC has offered the Shire of Harvey native seedlings from its nursery in Manjimup to help revegetate Yarloop," she said. "More than 20 native species of shrubs and trees propagated by the commission will be available for greening the scarred Yarloop town site including eucalyptus, corymbia, bottlebrush, melaleuca and hakea." The FPC's Manjimup nursery produces superior seedlings for the commission's regeneration of native forest and establishment of plantations. Parliamentary Secretary and South West Region MLC Colin Holt said the Yarloop community had shown amazing resilience during times of recent hardship. "Their spirit and determination to return to the place they call home is extremely uplifting and I am glad FPC can support this important journey," Mr Holt said. "As they mature, these seedlings will bring colour and birdlife back to Yarloop as the town and community continue the rebuilding process." Fact File The FPC is growing millions of seedlings to replant the fire-ravaged McLarty and Myalup plantations near Waroona The commission is responsible for the sustainable management and development of WA's forest and timber industry using native forest, plantation and sandalwood products on land owned or leased by the State For more information, visit http//www.fpc.wa.gov.au Minister's office - 6552 5500
Go fishing, licence-free, on October 16, 201632158Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements10320html22/09/2016 2:00:18 AM2016-09-22T02:00:00Za West Australians urged to hook into the first-ever national Gone Fishing Day Enjoy licence-free fishing in some of the world's best-managed fisheries Fisheries Minister Joe Francis today encouraged West Australians to join in and celebrate the inaugural national Gone Fishing Day on October 16, 2016. Mr Francis said that, as an added incentive, recreational fishers in WA would not require a licence on the day, allowing people to try their hand at something they might not have tried before. "More than 750,000 West Australians enjoy recreational fishing each year and Gone Fishing Day is designed to encourage as many people as possible to participate," he said. "With the State's huge expanse of coastline and numerous seaside communities, recreational fishing has long been part of WA's social fabric, with proven health and wellbeing benefits. "Whether it is wetting a line in a South-West stream or trying to boat a 'barra' in the Kimberley, there is a diverse range of fishing experiences on offer across the State. "While October 16 will be licence-free, the normal fishing rules will still apply and fisheries and marine officers will be out and about to ensure compliance." As a concession to the first-ever national Gone Fishing Day, the annual West Coast Bioregion demersal finfish closure, due to start on Saturday October 15, will be delayed for 48 hours. All other applicable closures will remain in force, including the existing closure on fishing for pink snapper in Cockburn and Warnbro sounds. "Annual or seasonal closures are used in combination with other measures to ensure the long-term sustainability of fish stocks," the Minister said. "With the recovery of key demersal species being on track, starting the closure two days later this year, on October 17, will allow fishers to enjoy a day out on the water in the West Coast Bioregion." Mr Francis said Gone Fishing Day was another example of the Liberal National Government's commitment to providing quality recreational fishing experiences to West Australians through initiatives including artificial reefs and fish stocking projects. "Every dollar of recreational fishing licence revenue is invested in recreational fishing management, research and compliance, with more than $6 million put towards a range of projects benefiting fishers across the State," he said. Fact File See plans for Gone Fishing Day WA at http//recfishwest.org.au/gonefishing Check http//www.fish.wa.gov.au and the Recreational fishing guide 2016 for fishing rules Minister's office - 6552 6500
Record low spending for two years in a row32157Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements8650html22/09/2016 1:30:17 AM2016-09-22T01:30:00Za Expense growth of 2.4% in 2015-16 - the second lowest in 21 years Growth in general government sector salaries expenditure was just 2.6% in 2015-16 - the lowest since 1998-99 Total public sector net debt at June 30, 2016 was $27.3 billion, $513 million lower than estimated in the 2016-17 Budget The Liberal National Government has brought spending growth down to 2.4 per cent in 2015-16, its second lowest level in more than two decades, according to the Annual Report on State Finances released by Treasurer Mike Nahan today. The report also found salaries across the general government sector grew by just 2.6 per cent in 2015-16 - the lowest increase in 17 years. It also highlighted that total public sector net debt came in $513 million lower than the 2016-17 Budget estimate, and a substantial $3.6 billion lower than the original 2015-16 Budget forecast, at $27.3 billion for 2015-16. Dr Nahan said the results were achieved in the face of unprecedented revenue downturns over the past two financial years. In 2015-16, these included a substantial decline in royalty income (down $477 million or 10.4 per cent on 2014-15), primarily due to a 28 per cent fall in the iron ore price a $377 million (or 16.7 per cent) reduction in the State's GST grant relative to 2014-15, bringing the total reduction since 2013-14 to $626 million or 25 per cent a $249 million (or 28.7 per cent) decline in the State's North West Shelf grants, reflecting a significant weakening in the oil price very modest growth in taxation revenue (up $187 million or 2.1 per cent), largely reflecting increased land tax collections and landholder duty, partially offset by lower transfer duty receipts and the first decline in payroll tax collections in more than two decades. "As we said at the time of the 2016-17 Budget, an operating deficit in 2015-16 was unavoidable in the face of the State's declining revenue base," the Treasurer said. The general government sector recorded an operating deficit of $2 billion in 2015-16, $688 million lower than the original 2015-16 Budget deficit projection and in line with the 2016-17 Budget estimate. "General government spending grew by a low 2.4 per cent in 2015-16 - the second lowest rate of expenses growth in 21 years following the result of just 2.2 per cent in 2014-15," Dr Nahan said. "Those outcomes required substantial restraint and commitment, particularly when compared with the average annual expense growth over the preceding decade of 7.7 per cent. "These results show the impact of successive measures implemented to improve the efficiency of the public sector workforce, including the temporary recruitment freeze announced in the 2015-16 Mid-year Review, voluntary separation programs, the Workforce Renewal Policy, leave liability management and the Government's Public Sector Wages Policy. "The State Government has worked hard to keep this collapse in revenue away from households and businesses, while continuing to provide the high quality services expected by West Australians. "The increase in borrowings is required to fund essential infrastructure through the Asset Investment Program and was pushed higher in 2015-16 by the revenue downturn. This highlights the importance of keeping a tight rein on spending and pushing ahead with the Government's asset sales program." Fact File GST grant declined by $377 million in 2015-16 (State's GST relativity fell from 37.6% of WA's population share in 2014-15 to just 30% in 2015-16) Payroll tax collections decreased by $100 million or 2.8% relative to 2014-15 (the first decline in payroll tax in more than two decades) Commodity prices were significantly lower than in the previous year (the iron price continued to weaken in 2015-16, falling from an average of $US71.1 per tonne in 2014-15 to $US50.9 per tonne in 2015-16, while the oil price declined from $US73.5 per barrel to $US43.4 per barrel) To read the Annual Report on State Finances, visit http//www.treasury.wa.gov.au Treasurer's office - 6552 5700
Mid-West spring baiting targets feral cats32147Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements2490html22/09/2016 12:00:11 AM2016-09-22T00:00:00Za Eradicat baiting helping to protect wildlife in two national parks Kalbarri and Nambung national parks, in Western Australia's Mid-West, have been baited with the feral cat bait Eradicat to help protect important populations of native animals. Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the spring baiting, under the Liberal National Government's Western Shield wildlife recovery program, covered an area of more than 1,700 square kilometres. "At Kalbarri National Park, this baiting directly assists the repopulation of black-flanked rock wallabies, which were rediscovered in the park last year after being considered locally extinct for 20 years," Mr Jacob said. "With numbers boosted by the arrival of 23 Wheatbelt black-flanked rock wallabies in May, it is important to support this work by using the specially developed Eradicat bait to reduce predation risk. It will also help to safeguard populations of chuditch and malleefowl in the park." The baiting in Kalbarri National Park is part of $1.7 million in Australian Government National Landcare Programme funding to integrate Eradicat into Western Shield baiting programs. The Minister said the State Government's overhaul of WA's environmental laws, including the new Biodiversity Conservation Act, would further protect threatened species. "The new critical habitat provisions of the new Act will allow the Minister for Environment to specially protect areas of threatened species habitat that are critical for their survival," he said. Eradicat is also protecting vulnerable malleefowl and fairy tern populations in Nambung National Park, about 200 kilometres north of Perth. Funding from Western Shield sponsor Tronox helps in controlling foxes and feral cats and monitoring native wildlife in the park. "Nambung National Park and surrounding nature reserves also support a number of priority species including quenda, tammar wallaby and western brush wallaby, so this wildlife recovery work is particularly important," Mr Jacob said. The baiting is conducted by the Department of Parks and Wildlife, which developed the Eradicat bait after more than 10 years of testing in regions across WA. Fact File At least 53 threatened mammal and bird species remain in existence in areas that have been baited under Western Shield More than three million hectares of Parks and Wildlife-managed conservation lands are baited for foxes and feral cats annually under Western Shield Minister's office - 6552 5800