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McGowan Government launches energy roadmap4068Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml4/04/2020 12:13:40 AM2020-04-03T22:00:00Z McGowan Government releases Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Roadmap Australian-first Roadmap includes a five-year plan to better integrate DEREnergy Minister Bill Johnston today released the Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap, produced by the McGowan Government's Energy Transformation Taskforce. Rooftop solar panels, batteries, electric vehicles and microgrids are transforming Western Australia's electricity system. These small-scale devices, known as Distributed Energy Resources (DER), present challenges and opportunities for the way we produce, manage and consume electricity in our State. Almost one in three households in the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) have rooftop solar, and this is expected to reach one in two over the next decade. The Roadmap outlines the actions we must take over the next five years in order to meet these challenges and harness the potential for cleaner, more affordable energy. Its work is essential to ensure Western Australians can continue to install and enjoy the benefits of rooftop solar and new energy technologies. Actions will include pilots to determine the best ways to overcome technical, regulatory and market barriers to integrate DER into our grid, including additional community batteries. Energy Policy WA, Western Power, Horizon Power, Synergy and the Australian Energy Market Operator are working together to implement this Roadmap. Alongside the delivery of the Roadmap, the State Government is working with the energy sector to carefully monitor any impacts COVID-19 is having on the power system. For more information, visit http//brighterenergyfuture.wa.gov.au Comments attributed to Energy Minister Bill Johnston "The McGowan Government is on the front foot, looking at how we can improve our power system and continue to make the most of solar energy. "The actions in the Roadmap will allow us to keep feeding more renewable energy into the grid for the benefit of all Western Australians. It is a robust plan for a brighter energy future. "Building a responsive and resilient power system will allow us to successfully manage risks over time - COVID-19 is a timely reminder of the importance of this." Comments attributed to Energy Transformation Taskforce chairperson Stephen Edwell "A major transformation of Western Australia's electricity sector is underway. "Rooftop solar is a great source of power, but changes are needed to ensure that it helps, rather than hinders the operation of our energy supply system. "Households and businesses can help make the most of our abundant solar generation by moving some of their electricity use from the evening to the middle of the day." Minister's office - 6552 6700
Planning changes support COVID-19 response and recovery4067Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements19630html3/04/2020 6:45:38 AM2020-04-03T06:45:00Z New regulations for local planning scheme provisions in State of Emergency State and local government collaborate to support essential community need State Government provides flexibility in public sector to support COVID-19 response and recovery Changes to planning and development regulations came into effect today, which provide for the continuation of essential public services in a State of Emergency. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the McGowan Government has been working to identify legislative and regulatory measures that would better support urgent decision making and ensure the Government has the flexibility to best serve the Western Australian community. Amendments to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 provide the Minister for Planning with authority to temporarily override requirements and conditions set out in a local planning scheme, and existing conditions in planning approvals. This could include exemptions relating to noise or amenity restrictions that guide supermarket deliveries, waste and recycling services and construction activities, and take-away and retail delivery services among other locally driven compliance requirements. Under the amendments, the Minister for Planning can issue a notice to suppress local scheme provisions for a single council, across a specific region or across the State. The regulations also provide for streamlined advertising and decision-making processes. In this COVID-19 crisis, where strict social distancing protocols are enforced, this provides for digital access to plans and safer means of public inspection rather than inviting community members to venture away from home and visit physical buildings. A State of Emergency must be declared for these new regulatory provisions to have effect. The Minister thanked the Western Australian Local Government Association and all local councils for their collaboration and responsiveness to bring these regulatory changes into reality and across all COVID-19 response matters in recent weeks. Comments attributed to Planning Minister Rita Saffioti "These are unprecedented times and the McGowan Government has been working to identify extraordinary measures that can support urgent decision making, and ensure we can appropriately provide and care for the Western Australian community. "In a State of Emergency, these regulatory changes will provide the Government with an important mechanism to safeguard the supply of essential goods and services, help maintain civil order and lessen the administrative requirement for local councils in favour of direct frontline support in their communities. "We have seen in recent weeks the community response to this health crisis and its impact on our key services - and we have mobilised quickly to accommodate the increase in demand. "We need to keep the trucks rolling and the shutters open, and while there might be some short-term inconvenience, we need greater flexibility, speed and a higher degree of co-ordination around our planning regulations to prioritise these services, at this time. "These powers would provide for a higher order of community service in the face of an emergency and are not about circumventing public input in our planning processes. "All Western Australians benefit from strong collaboration between State and local government, and this is a good example of introducing greater flexibility in our planning system when and where it is warranted. "I am pleased to have the support of the WA Local Government Association and all local councils in bringing these regulatory changes to fruition." Minister's office - 6552 5500
Indigenous entrepreneur wins 2020 WA Rural Women’s Award4066Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements8750html3/04/2020 4:15:51 AM2020-04-03T04:15:00Z Broome-based innovator Cara Peek wins 2020 WA Rural Women's Award Awards acknowledge and support the vital contribution women make to rural industries, businesses and communities Broome-based lawyer, entrepreneur and social innovator, Cara Peek has won the 2020 AgriFutures Rural Women's Award. The McGowan Government supports the awards which acknowledge and support the vital contributions of women to rural industries, businesses and communities around the State. Ms Peek is a Yawuru/Bunubu woman driving opportunities for rural and remote people to empower the Aboriginal community. She will invest her $10,000 business development award in progressing the Saltwater Academy, which celebrates the heritage of the Kimberley Aboriginal pastoral industry and provides related emotional, economic and cultural initiatives, including training and employment opportunities. Ms Peek won from a strong field of five finalists also including Albany farmer and agricultural economist Lucy Anderton who designed the FARMSMART® farm business analysis tool; Kalannie Community Resource Centre co-manager Jo Ashworth whose Growing Kalannie Project provides community members access to traineeships and apprenticeships; Broome's Lauren Bell who founded an insect farming start-up for the sustainable management of organic waste; and Mukinbudin-raised Kendall Whyte whose Blue Tree Project sparks important conversations around mental health. While an awards ceremony could not go ahead this year due to social distancing requirements, this year's Rural Women's Award was announced in a special broadcast on ABC's Country Hour. Ms Peek follows in the footsteps of 2019 award winner Belinda Lay, an Esperance sheep and grain farmer who demonstrated an innovative use of specially designed collars for monitoring sheep health. She will now represent Western Australia at the national AgriFutures Rural Women's Award. The 2020 WA AgriFutures Rural Women's Award is supported by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Westpac, CBH Group and the Rural, Regional and Remote Women's Network of Western Australia. Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan "We could not be more pleased that Cara has won the Rural Women's Award in recognition of her creative work to celebrate and enhance the rich Aboriginal heritage of the Kimberley pastoral industry. "Cara is an extraordinary character who brings a fresh approach to creating change and opportunity for the Kimberley Aboriginal community. "All of the 2020 finalists have made and continue to make important contributions to the economic and social development of WA's rural and regional communities. "The recognition and professional opportunities the awards provide these women will empower them to continue to lead and inspire future generations of Western Australian rural women." Minister's office - 6552 6200 ​
New COVID-19 support team to help WA tourism industry4065Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements15500html3/04/2020 2:00:17 AM2020-04-03T02:00:00Z New Industry Support Team to offer support and information for WA tourism operators during COVID-19 pandemic State Government initiative through Tourism WA in collaboration with industry partners New team will call thousands of WA tourism operators to check how they are faring A special team has been established at Tourism Western Australia to offer support to members of the tourism industry during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Industry Support Team was developed with key industry partners and will offer support and information to WA tourism industry operators from people who understand the tourism industry. The new team includes members of Tourism WA's stakeholder relations, public relations, markets, and destination development groups. From next Monday, the support team will begin calling thousands of Western Australian tourism operators to check how they are coping, help them navigate the various State and Federal assistance packages, and offer a friendly voice to talk through recovery ideas for when the time is right. These conversations will allow the State Government, through Tourism WA, to be informed of existing or emerging issues that may help guide possible future support or recovery initiatives. Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Paul Papalia "We know tourism operators are doing it tough at the moment, so we want them to know we're here for them. "The aim of this tourism Industry Support Team is to provide a friendly point of contact to industry from people who understand tourism. "The team members will be there to listen as well as help where they can with the challenges that our tourism operators are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. "The new team will also provide an opportunity for industry to provide feedback on how they are dealing with this pandemic. "Our aim is to work closely together with tourism industry operators through this challenging time to try to ensure the recovery phase goes as well as possible." Minister's office - 6552 5600
Attorney General pays tribute to former Chief Judge of Family Court4064Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements8950html3/04/2020 1:25:18 AM2020-04-03T01:25:00Z Former Chief Judge of the Family Court of Western Australia, Stephen Thackray has passed away Mr Thackray served the WA community as a judicial officer for 22 years Attorney General John Quigley has paid tribute to the former Chief Judge of the Family Court of Western Australia, Stephen Thackray who passed away unexpectedly this week aged 65. Mr Thackray was highly regarded by the judiciary and the legal professions for his vast experience in the area of family law. He graduated from The University of Western Australia with an honours degree in Law in 1977. After completing articles he joined Paterson and Dowding where he became a partner in 1981, practicing principally in family law. In 1992 Mr Thackray became one of the first accredited Family Law specialists in WA, achieving the highest marks in that intake. He was president of the Family Law Practitioners Association from 1994 to 1995. In 1997 he was appointed as Principal Registrar of the Family Court of WA and served as an acting judge with the court in 1999 and in 2003 before accepting a permanent appointment to the court in 2004. Mr Thackray took up his position as Chief Judge of the Family Court of Western Australia in 2007 before retiring in January 2019. Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley "I am saddened to hear of the death of Stephen Thackray. "He made an outstanding contribution to the Western Australian community in his 22 years of service as a judicial officer, for which we owe him a debt of gratitude. "Stephen Thackray led the development of family law jurisprudence throughout Australia to an extent matched by very few in the history of the Family Court. "He took on some of the most difficult cases ever to come before the court, and was universally respected for his open-mindedness, empathy and wisdom. "I offer my condolences and those of the WA Government to his wife Janet and children." Attorney General's office - 6552 6800
Charity begins at home with much needed support going to worthwhile causes4063Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements8420html3/04/2020 1:00:50 AM2020-04-03T01:00:00Z ​Optus Stadium donates more than $70,000 in food and beverages The State Government is committed to supporting local charities RAC Arena continues to support Salvation Army by donating supplies The State Government has announced Optus Stadium will donate more than $70,000 worth of food and beverages to OzHarvest to help those most in need during the COVID-19 crisis. OzHarvest is Australia's leading food rescue organisation, delivering more than 100 tonnes of quality excess food each month to more than 90 charitable agencies across Western Australia. Today, Optus Stadium has donated items such as orange juice, coffee, tea, water, soft drink, chips, nuts and condiments that would have otherwise gone unused due to the suspension of the AFL season. OzHarvest estimates food donated by Optus Stadium last year equated to 128,000 meals. RAC Arena has also recently donated 750 sandwiches, wraps and sushi packs, 40 kilograms of fruit, 100 kilograms of vegetables and 30 litres of milk to their community partner the Salvation Army after the Perth Wildcats NBL grand final series was cut short. Optus Stadium and RAC Arena on behalf of the State Government will continue to support these charity groups at a time when many Western Australians are in vulnerable situations. If you are a commercial business with a surplus of food please consider donating to such charities as OzHarvest and The Salvation Army Comments attributed to Minister for Sport and Recreation Mick Murray "It is so important for the State Government to continue its commitment to helping the most vulnerable in the community. I'm proud to see Optus Stadium working directly with such charities to provide healthy food for many West Australians who are struggling. "The impact of community partnerships such as this have many benefits. They provide essential food items for people for those in need and also excellent exposure for vital charitable organisations such as OzHarvest." Minister's office - 6552 6400
Temporary border closure to better protect Western Australians3933Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements38180html3/04/2020 12:06:08 AM2020-04-02T10:05:00Z McGowan Government closes WA from the rest of the country to safeguard Western Australians from COVID-19 Unprecedented measures to further restrict imported cases of COVID-19 Temporary border closure to commence at midnight or 11.59pm, on Sunday nightThe McGowan Government has taken the extraordinary, but necessary step to place a hard border closure on the State of Western Australia, to further protect the community from the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the best medical advice, effective from midnight, or 11.59pm, on Sunday, April 5, people will no longer be able to enter Western Australia without an exemption. Unprecedented regional boundaries and tough measures have already been introduced to restrict movement and social interaction in Western Australia, but this closure will help WA further combat the COVID-19 crisis. Exemptions are currently being finalised, and will include people who perform work functions, like health services; emergency service workers; transport, freight and logistics; specialist skills, not available in WA; national or State security and governance; and courts and judicial services. There will also be exemptions for FIFO workers and their families, however strict 14-day self-isolation measures will need to be followed when they first enter the State. Further exemptions will also be permitted based on specific compassionate grounds. Additional information will be released soon. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "We are living in extraordinary times, it's something we have all never experienced before. "These new harder border closures essentially mean we will be turning Western Australia into its own island, within an island - our own country. "These are drastic steps, but also sensible and workable. "A number of specific exemptions will be implemented to ensure our State can continue to operate and function. We need to keep our State working. "I want the message to be absolutely clear to any Western Australian over east who is thinking of coming to WA. If you need to get home to WA - come home now. "If you are an eastern-stater, and thinking about visiting WA - forget about it. "While we are this State of Emergency, we need you to stay where you are. "The quicker we can get through this, the sooner we can get back to normal. "If we follow the advice, abide by the new rules and practice good social distancing, we can take a different direction to the rest of the country and the rest of the world for that matter. "Western Australia is in a unique position. Our isolation is now our best defence. We need to use it to the best of our advantage." Premier's office - 6552 5000
New laws to protect family violence victims during COVID-19 pandemic3932Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements17570html3/04/2020 12:00:51 AM2020-04-02T09:35:00Z Current crisis creates heightened risk for victims of family and domestic violence Perpetrators of family violence are using the virus as a method to control and coerce victims New laws will bolster justice system preparedness and response to the spread of COVID-19 These laws will help victims across Western AustraliaThe McGowan Government has moved swiftly to bring into force important laws to protect victims of family and domestic violence, who are at an increased risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. Urgent amendments to the Sentencing Act 1995, the Sentence Administration Act 2003, the Bail Act 1982 and the Restraining Orders Act 1997 passed through both Houses of State Parliament today. The changes include allowing the court to impose a requirement that an offender be subject to electronic monitoring under Conditional Suspended Imprisonment Orders and Intensive Supervision Orders; permitting a judicial officer to include, as a home detention bail condition, a direction that an accused be subject to electronic monitoring; improving access to restraining orders, including enabling restraining order applications to be lodged online; creating a separate offence for breach of a family violence restraining order, increasing the penalty to $10,000 from $6,000 and extending the limitation period for prosecuting breach of restraining order offences to two years; and allowing the Family Court and Children's Court to issue interim restraining orders on an ex-parte basis, in the same way the Magistrates Court is permitted to do so.These important reforms will enable the justice system to better respond to the challenges facing victims of family violence during the COVID-19 crisis. Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley "The State Government recognises that the current crisis creates a situation of heightened risk for victims of family and domestic violence, and that's why we've moved swiftly to pass urgent legislative reforms to respond to the situation. "The pandemic is likely to have implications on the capacity of our justice system, for example, employing its normal in-person and manual methods of operation such as lodging of restraining order applications. "These important reforms will enable us to better respond to the challenges faced by the justice system and the risk to victims of family violence in the context of this pandemic." Comments attributed to Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk "We know that people experiencing family and domestic violence are at increased risk when they are isolated from family and the community, and are unable to leave or put other protective measures in place. "Regrettably, we have seen reports from overseas and other States that warn not only are victims at increased risk of family violence during this pandemic, but perpetrators are using the virus as a method to control and coerce victims. "In difficult times, stress can in some cases result in people behaving in unacceptable ways. However, no matter what is going on in the world, violence is never acceptable. "I want to thank all sides of politics for coming together to pass these urgent reforms and show victims of family and domestic violence that they are not alone - particularly during these exceptionally challenging times." Attorney General's office - 6552 6800Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister's office - 6552 6600
Stronger restrictions in place to protect Kimberley residents from COVID-193747Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements29480html2/04/2020 8:31:24 AM2020-04-02T08:30:00Z New Kimberley travel restrictions from midnight tonight (11.59pm Thursday) New boundaries in place, in line with the four local government boundaries Kimberley residents urged to stay within their boundary, and all non-essential travel should be avoided Nursing team sent to Broome Hospital to assist with COVID-19 response The McGowan Government has announced new measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 to the Kimberley region. The new measures follow confirmation of a number of positive COVID-19 cases in the region this week. All confirmed cases are currently self-isolating with contact tracing underway to determine the source of the infection, and to identify and isolate close contacts, as per the national guidelines. Travel restrictions are already in place in the Kimberley region but due to the seriousness of the situation, additional stronger measures are needed to stop the movement of people between towns or local government areas. From midnight tonight (or 11.59pm Thursday), new boundaries, in line with the four local government areas (shires of Broome, Derby West Kimberley, Wyndham East Kimberley, Halls Creek) within the Kimberley region will be in place. People must stay in their local government area. The existing exemptions apply, such as provision of essential services or supplies, freight, medical reasons or compassionate grounds. Currently, residents returning to their home in the Kimberley must self-isolate for 14 days. The State Government has sent a nursing team to Broome Hospital to assist staff on the ground with the response. Additional support will be sent to Broome soon. All healthcare services operated by the WA Country Health Service in the Kimberley are still operational and serving local communities. Kimberley residents are urged to stay home and cease all non-essential travel and activity. Indoor or outdoor activities of more than two people should be avoided, unless exempted. Anyone displaying symptoms should contact their local health facility immediately. For more information on social distancing measures, visit http//www.wa.gov.au Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "The situation unfolding in the Kimberley is extremely serious, and we need to implement drastic measures to protect the community. "We cannot take any chances here. Kimberley residents living in remote Aboriginal communities are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, and they need to be protected. "It is vital that all Kimberley residents heed this advice and stay in their home, and within their regional boundary, unless there is a genuine reason to leave. "We are following the best medical advice and the State Government is working around the clock to protect the community. "I want to thank the local Aboriginal organisations, health care workers and local service providers for the work they are doing throughout the region. "We will get through this, but it's vital that all members of the community do the right thing." Premier's office - 6552 5000
Pilbara electricity reforms pass State Parliament3596Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements11650html2/04/2020 6:52:18 AM2020-04-02T06:45:00Z Electricity Industry Amendment Bill 2019 passes State Parliament today Reforms expected to benefit large consumers and boost regional development and jobs in the Pilbara The McGowan Government has delivered on its commitment to design a fit-for-purpose regulatory framework and system operator for the Pilbara region with the passing of the Electricity Industry Amendment Bill 2019. The Pilbara is critical to Western Australia's economy, yet it labours under an electricity system that is fragmented, high-cost and uncompetitive. These reforms will improve the efficiency of electricity services in the region and support economic growth and development through enabling a competitive market that will lower the cost of electricity for large consumers; more efficient use of existing infrastructure, and improved investor confidence and opportunities for new mining and renewable projects; and enhancing the security and reliability of electricity services in the region. The reforms have been designed in close consultation with industry and this will continue through the development of the subsidiary legislation. The Bill includes provisions to support Western Power's use of stand-alone power systems and storage devices in the Great Southern, Goldfields, Wheatbelt, Mid-West and Geraldton. Stand-alone power systems have proven to be more cost-effective, safer and reliable than traditional poles and wires in some areas - while storage devices such as batteries will assist in managing some of the challenges related to the high uptake of rooftop solar panels. Comments attributed to Energy Minister Bill Johnston "The Pilbara energy reforms have been talked about for 30 years - passing the Bill marks a key milestone in the McGowan Government's energy reform agenda. "The reforms will reduce the regulatory burden placed on Pilbara electricity owners and provide greater certainty to access seekers wishing to invest. "Greater competition for industrial users will reduce the cost of electricity, and encourage investment and create jobs in the region. "The reforms will assist in Western Australia's economic recovery post the COVID-19 crisis." Minister's office - 6552 6700
New emergency management powers to combat COVID-193594Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements56710html2/04/2020 5:46:37 AM2020-04-02T05:40:00Z Emergency Management Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 passes through both houses of State Parliament New laws significantly strengthen WA's response to the COVID-19 crisis Tougher penalties including $1,000 on-the-spot fines and tougher penalties will soon become lawNew laws to help enforce self-isolation and increase penalties for COVID-19 related incidents have passed through both houses of State Parliament today. The McGowan Government drafted and expedited these amendments to better protect Western Australians during this COVID-19 pandemic. Authorised officers will be able to issue directions necessary to impose self-isolation and social distancing requirements. The new law will enable authorities to issue $1,000 on-the-spot fines for individuals and $5,000 fines for businesses to act as a further deterrent against those in the community who simply do not follow new directions. The new laws will allow for a person to be subject to electronic monitoring while they are in self-isolation. Appropriate electronic monitoring devices will be determined for each situation. Enforcement has been further strengthened with the introduction of a penalty of 12 months' imprisonment or a fine of $12,000 for people who do not comply with electronic monitoring requirements. Additional general changes include powers to compel people to provide information about any recent travel undertaken by them and information about people they have been in close contact with in light of COVID-19. Amendments to the law also enable for emergency management authorities to direct that any road, access route or areas of water in or leading to an emergency area be closed. These powers under the current State of Emergency will cease 12 months after their commencement. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "Make no mistake these are extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances. "Breaches of social distancing can put the whole community at risk so we have had expedite changes to the law to provide our authorised officers with the powers to better manage these situations. "Anyone who is directed to self-isolate, and fails to comply, will face severe penalties under these new laws. "Bolstering these laws are integral to ensuring the health and safety of our community and will allow our emergency management authorities to help us through this COVID-19 crisis. "I'm pleased these amendments have progressed swiftly through State Parliament and will soon become law." Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan "It is essential that we strengthen our State's ability to respond to this current emergency and these measures have not been introduced lightly. "We carefully considered these new laws and we have struck the right balance of ensuring fairness but also given our emergency services and law enforcement officers the powers they need to keep us all safe during these unprecedented times. "I hope that we will not have to use them and that people will do the right thing, but if not, please be warned that these powers now exist." Comments attributed to Police Minister Michelle Roberts "Social distancing and self-isolation is our community's best weapon against this virus. "We are giving our police these powers because we want to make it absolutely clear that our community cannot afford to tolerate breaches of measures put in place to protect us. "If you are tempted to get together with your pals, I want you to spare a thought for those who you may unwittingly convey this virus to. "Elderly family members, children, people battling other illnesses with a reduced immune system. "It's about the health of all of us, so please do the right thing." Premier's office - 6552 5000Emergency Services Minister's office - 6552 6300Police Minister's office - 6552 6900
New subbies protection laws now in place3746Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements2670html2/04/2020 7:07:41 AM2020-04-02T05:15:00Z Small Business Commissioner can now compel companies to provide documentation relating to investigations Commissioner can also protect identities of small businesses who lodge complaints New laws to strengthen protections for Western Australian small businesses and subcontractors amid COVID-19 crisis Western Australian subbies and small businesses will have greater protection against mistreatment with the passing of new laws in State Parliament today. Under the new laws, the Small Business Commissioner has greater powers to investigate improper behaviour such as price gouging and late or non-payments of insurance claims or denial of claims. The new laws have been put in place to respond to the growing number of insolvencies and payment disputes in the construction industry. They will also provide an extra layer of protection for small businesses as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the SBDC's current dispute resolution service, the Commissioner will now have the authority to compel government entities, companies and businesses to provide documents during the course of investigations. The Commissioner will also be able to shield complainants who lodge complaints from retribution by protecting their identity. The reforms come into place immediately. Comments attributed to Small Business Minister Paul Papalia "At a time when small businesses confront incredible challenges, the likes of which have never been seen in modern times, it's more important than ever that we provide greater powers for an authority that supports the little guy. "These reforms demonstrate the McGowan Government's continued commitment to supporting subbies and other small businesses. "In the past, there were many highly publicised cases of insolvencies and disputes over payments owed to small businesses especially in relation to government projects. "Behind those headlines were the stories of real people with cautionary tales of mismanagement, deceit, intimidation and grief. "Now the COVID-19 pandemic has made small businesses even more vulnerable. "The Small Business Commissioner can now conduct inquiries based on industry and inter-agency intelligence and complaints from small businesses. "A specialised investigations and inquiry unit within the Small Business Development Corporation is now up and running and is aimed at improving corporate and government processes and identifying unfair practices. "These new powers come after years of advocacy by both myself and the Small Business Commissioner and strengthen the role of the SBDC in maintaining good business relationships throughout WA." Comments attributed to Small Business Commissioner David Eaton "These reforms support the existing role of the SBDC, which has been offering information and support services to small business owners and operators throughout Western Australia for more than 35 years. "The SBDC is independent and impartial, so the legislative changes will not alter its service culture nor will it compromise the voluntary nature of its highly successful dispute resolution service that has the support of large and small businesses. "In the current environment, businesses large and small need to work together to secure cash flow and employment. "However if that does not occur, then these new tools allow my team to investigate poor behaviour and bring it to the attention of the most appropriate body. "Once a complaint is lodged, we will seek to validate it through robust investigations before pursuing or rejecting a claim. "My objective is to establish facts and not target any particular company or industry. "Ultimately my goal is a fair operating environment for all businesses across Western Australia." Minister's office - 6552 5600
Applications now open for defence research grants3593Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements6090html2/04/2020 1:03:26 AM2020-04-02T01:00:00Z Collaborative Research Grants of $50,000 to $150,000 available for research bodies Grants aim to help improve Western Australia's defence industry and create jobs Funding support key component of Defence and Defence Industries Strategic PlanApplications are now open for State Government grants to support collaborative research that will help strengthen the State's defence industry as our economy grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Defence Science Centre grants range from $50,000 to $150,000 and are a key component of the State Government's Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan to grow the local defence industry and create jobs. The funding is available for collaborations with universities, industry and government to undertake research on technologies and innovations that are relevant to the defence industry. Projects must be linked to the Department of Defence's technology-themed Next Gen Tech Fund priorities, maritime maintenance or - for the first time this year - to reduce the cost of on-the-job training. More information about the Collaborative Research Grants is available here. Comments attributed to Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia "The Collaborative Research Grants are a central pillar of the McGowan Government's strategy to grow the State's defence industry and create jobs. "I am pleased to be able to launch the second round of the grants at this time to support the defence, university and innovation sectors. "As well as boosting innovation and helping bring emerging technologies to market the grants cultivate a long-term focus on innovation and foster ongoing collaboration between universities and industry. "These grants are one of the ways the Defence Science Centre is delivering on its mission to connect universities and researchers with industry and Defence to build a stronger Western Australian economy." Minister's office - 6552 5600
Tough penalties to protect essential frontline workers during pandemic3588Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements10170html2/04/2020 5:06:50 AM2020-04-01T12:00:00Z Criminal Code Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 passes Upper House Higher maximum penalties for serious assaults and threats made against essential frontline workersTough new penalties to protect frontline workers from COVID-19 related assaults or threats have passed both Houses of Parliament. The Criminal Code Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 provides higher penalties for assaulting and threatening public officers and certain other officers delivering frontline services - including police officers, doctors and nurses, paramedics, bus drivers, and prison officers - in circumstances of actual or threatened exposure to COVID-19. Someone convicted of assaulting a frontline worker where they know they have COVID-19 or create a belief, suspicion or fear that they have COVID-19 will now face up to 10 years in jail. Threats to injure, endanger or harm a frontline worker by exposing them to COVID-19 now carries a higher maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment. As these amendments are COVID-19 specific, the Bill includes sunset provisions which provide that the amendments will cease to have effect 12 months after commencement, a point in time we all hope COVID-19 is well behind us. Comments attributed to Police Minister Michelle Roberts "Our frontline officers and staff have without hesitation stepped forward, to look after us during these extraordinary times. "We've moved quickly to increase the penalties and send a very strong message to those in the community who would engage in this vile behaviour. "I'm pleased all sides of politics have come together at this critical time to pass these urgent amendments and show those on the frontline fighting this pandemic, that we will not tolerate harm coming to them." Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley "These tough new measures are necessary to provide protection for police officers and other frontline service providers in the face of potential threats or assaults involving COVID-19. "This kind of disgraceful behaviour is unacceptable, presents a serious risk to health and safety, and will not be tolerated." Police Minister's office - 6552 6900Attorney General's office - 6552 6800
WorldSkills Australia National Championships postponed to 20213589Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements5990html1/04/2020 7:00:05 AM2020-04-01T07:00:00Z ​WorldSkills Australia National Championships and Skills Show postponed due to COVID-19 Competition will now be held from April 29 to May 1, 2021 Vocational education and training to play a vital role in rebuilding the State's workforceEducation and Training Minister Sue Ellery today announced the Worldskills Australia National Championships will be postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally scheduled for August 2020, the Championships are Australia's largest vocational education and training competition, attracting more than 500 competitors and 20,000 visitors. Competitors currently preparing for the 2020 championships, will be able to compete in 2021. The 2021 Worldskills National Championships will be held from April 29 to May 1, 2021 at the Perth Exhibition and Convention Centre. This is the third time Western Australia has hosted the event with the last National Championships being held in Perth in 2014. For further information about WorldSkills Australia visit https//www.worldskills.org.au/ or for information on WorldSkills Western Australia visit http//www.dtwd.wa.gov.au/worldskills-wa Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery "This is understandably disappointing news for the many competitors and volunteers who have been preparing for this year's WorldSkills National Championships. "As we navigate our way together through these unprecedented times, vocational education and training will be more important than ever in helping us rebuild the State's economy. "I want to thank the WorldSkills Australia community for their support and am looking forward to putting our most talented apprentices and trainees back in the national spotlight in 2021." Minister's office - 6552 5700
$9 million relief package for On-demand Transport industry passes Parliament’s Lower House3540Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements50550html1/04/2020 4:55:23 AM2020-04-01T04:50:00Z $4.7 million regional taxi industry assistance package included Funds raised by on-demand transport levy to be used to provide industry support in response to COVID-19 pandemic $2,500 cash payments to more than 600 on-demand booking services Booking service and passenger transport vehicle authorisation fees waived for a year Deadline for taxis to install camera surveillance units pushed back a yearThe McGowan Labor Government will be delivering a $9 million relief package to support the taxi and On-Demand Transport industry through the COVID-19 pandemic. The series of measures - which includes a $4.7 million boost to regional taxis - will provide immediate financial relief to the on-demand transport industry and ease disruption. It will largely be funded from money generated by the on-demand passenger transport levy over the past year, ensuring the industry is given the best chance of retaining jobs and minimising impacts. The COVID On-demand Transport industry relief package includes $4.7 million in Regional Taxi Assistance Payments available to around 200 former country taxi licensees who paid a sum to a third party to acquire a taxi-car business and were operating against that licence on July 1, 2019; $1.5 million to provide a cash payment of $2,500 to around 600 authorised On-demand Booking Services that also hold an active Passenger Transport Vehicle (PTV) authorisation. These are largely sole traders or small and medium businesses providing taxi, tour and charter, luxury and special event services across Western Australia; $1.95 million to waive PTV authorisation renewal fees of $113 per vehicle for the next 12 months. Applies to approximately 17,500 vehicles used for on-demand taxi and charter, tourism and regular passenger transport services; $1 million to waive On-demand Booking Service authorisation renewal fees for the next 12 months. Fee costs depend on the number of vehicles the booking service uses. One vehicle costs $250 per annum, while large companies with 500 or more vehicles on their books pay $65,000; and The requirement for all metropolitan and regional taxis to have a new or upgraded cameras has been delayed from 2 July 2020 to at least 1 July 2021, which will relieve stress for approximately 300 regional taxis and 1,000 metropolitan taxis.Final details of the new regional assistance package are being worked through and will be released within the next month. The payments are expected to be made this July. The new $4.7 million regional assistance package is being delivered on top of the $3.7 million of State Government assistance already provided to regional taxis during reforms. Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti "The COVID-19 pandemic has been a very difficult time for all sectors of the passenger transport industry - from charter and taxi service providers through to tourism operators across WA. "This is part of the McGowan Government's wider economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. "The On-Demand Transport industry relief package aims to provide immediate assistance so drivers and businesses can continue to provide their vital services to the community. "The assistance package for taxi operators in our regional areas being offered is fair and reasonable and should alleviate some of the hardship that is being experienced right now, in particular as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. "In these extremely challenging times, I would like to personally thank all of the on-demand transport workers who have quickly and safely transported impacted community members to isolation and medical services - they are a prime example of the community working together to overcome these unprecedented challenges." Minister's office - 6552 5500
COVID-19 testing criteria to be expanded in WA3549Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements67780html1/04/2020 3:39:09 AM2020-04-01T03:30:00Z Testing now available to anyone showing signs of a fever and acute respiratory infection Expansion of criteria to assist in tracking individual cases and community transmission Emphasis remains protecting vulnerable populations such as aged care and remote communitiesAs of Thursday 2nd April, the testing criteria for COVID-19 will be expanded significantly at all COVID-19 clinics. General Public Testing Any person presenting with BOTH a fever (≥38°C) AND an acute respiratory infection (e.g. shortness of breath, cough, sore throat) will be tested. High-Risk Settings Anyone working within a high-risk setting that presents with EITHER a fever (≥38°C) OR an acute respiratory infection will be tested. This includes healthcare workers (including aged care and disability workers) and Western Australian Police Officers. Testing will also be arranged for anyone from the following high-risk settings where two or more people are experiencing EITHER a fever (≥38°C) OR an acute respiratory infection aged and residential care; rural and remote Aboriginal communities; detention centres; correctional facilities; boarding schools; military barracks or equivalent; geographically localised areas with increased risk of community transmission; and cruise ship passengers or returned travellers (international and domestic).These changes follow the advice given by the WA Chief Health Officer will help find new individual cases and if there is community transmission of COVID-19. There are now seven COVID clinics open across the metropolitan area and one regional clinic operating at Bunbury Health Campus. People seeking testing in regional areas should go to a public hospital, health service or remote health clinic. Western Australia has now had 392 cases of COVID-19. In addition to these cases, 15,130 people have tested negative to the virus. The community is reminded that the clinics are not intended to replace the medical care available through their GP or at hospital emergency departments. Members of the public can telephone the COVID-19 Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for advice and find more information by visiting http//www.healthywa.wa.gov.au Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "The expanded testing regime in Western Australia will really help us to find new cases, protect our vulnerable populations and ensure we are tracking the movement of this virus as it develops." "We are doing everything we can to ensure that testing is available to those who are symptomatic and preparing our health system to care for those who need it. "We also want to ensure that our frontline healthcare staff are being looked after, which is why we have put processes in place across the laboratories to ensure that their tests are streamlined. "It is critically important that Western Australians continue to adhere to the rules surrounding social distancing and the nation-wide shutdown of non-essential services." Minister's office - 6552 6500
State’s longest-serving female superintendent retires after 32 years3537Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements11270html31/03/2020 8:18:38 AM2020-03-31T08:15:00Z Acting Deputy Commissioner Jan Allen ACM was the first superintendent of Boronia Pre-Release Centre for Women Ms Allen was internationally recognised for her rehabilitative efforts One of two Western Australians to receive inaugural Australian Corrections MedalWestern Australia's longest-serving female superintendent Jan Allen ACM has officially retired today leaving behind an internationally recognised reputation in female offender management. Ms Allen, who retires as an Acting Deputy Commissioner, was the first superintendent of the Boronia Pre-Release Centre for Women from 2004 to 2019. The centre was considered controversial by some at the time with its different approach to community living and rehabilitation, but it is now held up internationally as one of the best female offender management facilities in the world. Ms Allen was recognised with a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow, with sapphire pin, for her work with communities in helping to rehabilitate female offenders. In 2018, Ms Allen was one of the first two Western Australians to receive the inaugural Australian Corrections Medal. Ms Allen joined Corrective Services in 1988 and worked in maximum security male prisons until 2003 when she became the Assistant Superintendent of the former Nyandi Women's Prison in Bentley. Her move to Boronia next door sparked what would be a life-long passion for working with female offenders and for ensuring their smooth reintegration into the community. Ms Allen affected intergenerational change within families and she worked tirelessly with community organisations to help facilitate programs to enable effective rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-offenders. As a parting project for Corrective Services, Ms Allen wrote an e-learning training package for staff to better understand the unique requirements of managing female offenders. The package, which is expected to come online later this year, will also enable regional staff to undertake it remotely. Comments attributed to Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan "Jan Allen was an integral part of Western Australia's corrective services for decades and helped pioneer what was then considered an out-of-the-box approach to female offender management at Boronia. "Now that approach is so well regarded that Boronia Pre-Release Centre for Women regularly attracts international members of corrective services as well as academics who visit the centre to learn how they manage female offenders. "I have spent a great deal of time with Ms Allen and was honoured to join her when she was one of the first two Western Australians to receive the inaugural Australian Corrections Medal in 2018. "Ms Allen would often receive thank you letters from ex-offenders who had set up new lives in the community thanks to Jan's and her team's work. "I would like to thank Ms Allen for her tireless work in seeking to provide intergenerational change for female offenders by trying to help break the cycle of offending. "Her legacy will be the delivery of a better understanding throughout the system of the differences that define the management of female offenders who often have backgrounds of domestic abuse, homelessness and debt. "I would like to wish Ms Allen all the best for a very happy and well-deserved retirement." Minister's office - 6552 6300
Start of Containers for Change deferred due to COVID-193535Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements37560html31/03/2020 7:40:16 AM2020-03-31T07:40:00Z The launch date for Containers for Change has been deferred Originally scheduled to start on June 2, the decision to defer is in response to the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 The McGowan Government has deferred the launch of Western Australia's container deposit scheme Containers for Change. Originally planned for launch on June 2, 2020, the decision to delay the scheme is due to the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 and its expected disruption to refund points. The scheme's postponement is in accordance with advice from the scheme co-ordinator, WA Return Recycle Renew Ltd (WARRRL). The State Government has also responded to calls from community, local government and businesses for the scheme launch to be postponed. The McGowan Government will review the situation in August 2020 to determine whether the scheme's new start date will be November 2020 or June 2021. Delaying the scheme until after the major impacts of COVID-19 are felt will eliminate the public health concerns such as potential risk of infection from handling containers, as well as over-the-counter refund points contravening social distancing. A delayed launch would also avoid starting the scheme during a period which may be the potential peak of the pandemic. The scheme focuses on employing people with disability, older people and Aboriginal people. These community groups are generally more vulnerable and their involvement in the scheme may place them at greater risk of infection. Closures of pubs, clubs and many other venues, as well as schools, would have also impacted on the volume of containers. WA Return Recycle Renew Limited, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) and the State Government will continue to work closely on developing a revised timeline for the launch of the scheme. Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson "COVID-19 has resulted in significant global, national and State impacts and there has been disruption across the board for Government initiatives and services. "The McGowan Government, in close consultation with WARRRL and DWER, determined that under the COVID-19 environment we are all faced with, there are too many potential health risks and logistical difficulties to start the scheme on June 2, 2020. "The Government has also responded to calls from community, local government and businesses for the scheme launch to be postponed. "Starting the scheme on June 2 would put the scheme's success at risk and place refund point operators under significant pressure. "While it is disappointing to be deferring the scheme, we remain committed to delivering the most diverse and accessible scheme in Australia. "We will continue to work together and update the community, operators and suppliers throughout this period of uncertainty." Minister's office - 6552 5800
Intrastate travel ban comes into effect from 11.59pm tonight3536Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements102200html31/03/2020 7:41:52 AM2020-03-31T07:30:00Z Intrastate travel restrictions come into effect from 11.59pm tonight (Tuesday) From this time, all intrastate travel must cease and Western Australians must stay within their regional boundaries Exemptions apply for reasons including travel for work, delivery of freight, and to attend medical appointments WA freight and construction industries to continue to provide services in metropolitan and regional areasWestern Australians are being urged to familiarise themselves with new intrastate travel restrictions that come into effect from 11.59pm tonight (Tuesday). From 11.59pm tonight, Western Australians will not be permitted to travel outside of their regional boundary. This is an important measure that will help stop the spread of COVID-19. Western Australians that are currently outside of their region and are able to return, should do so immediately. Some exemptions apply, including travel for work purposes; to attend medical appointments; to transport freight; those who do not have access to groceries or supplies within their region; returning to a place of residence; where necessary to attend school or an educational institution; caring for family members; and approved compassionate grounds. For clarity, the construction and freight industries, in particular, will continue to operate despite these new measures. Check points and mobile police patrols will be in place to monitor travel across boundaries and ensure people are doing the right thing. People are encouraged, where possible, to assist police by preparing documentation, such as a letter/email/SMS from an employer, to support their legitimate travel. The State Government urges all Western Australians to remain calm, and take the time to ensure they understand the new restrictions, and the exemptions. Additional information will be posted to www.wa.gov.au soon. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "The message to Western Australians is clear - do not travel within WA. From 11.59pm, all non-essential intrastate travel must cease. "Anyone planning to travel outside of their region for non-essential purposes must stay home, and we urge anyone that is currently outside of their region to return home immediately. "We understand these measures may be inconvenient, but they are vital to ensure we continue to protect their fellow Western Australians and stop the spread of COVID-19. "There are exemptions that will allow people to continue to travel for work, to deliver freight, attend medical appointments and compassionate grounds. "Whilst tradesmen and workers within industry, in particular the construction industry, are exempt from the new intrastate travel restrictions, they must remain vigilant with social distancing practices and hygiene on site. "I thank all Western Australians for their co-operation on this important matter." Premier's office - 6552 5000