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Farm deposits good news for farmers3670Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml9/02/2016 7:58:51 AM2016-02-09T07:40:00Z​Farmers can bank up to $800,000 for times of hardshipChanges to Farm Management Deposits scheme welcomed The Australian Government's decision to help farm operators better manage their finances during periods of uncertainty has been welcomed. Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston said the Australian Government would tomorrow introduce legislation delivering on a key Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper initiative to strengthen the Farm Management Deposits scheme. "This will help farmers use income generated in good years to prepare for the inevitable bad ones," Mr Baston said. "These farm managed deposits are the greatest thing since sliced bread to help with drought management and bushfire, so I welcome any reforms that make them more attractive for saving." The Minister said he had been lobbying the Australian Government for many years for such help. "This is a positive move. It's important for farm operators because it allows them to put away money pre-tax in good seasons and fall back on it during periods of hardship. It makes good sense and I fully support these reforms for the business structure of agriculture in Australia," he said. From July 1 this year, farm operators will be able to double the deposit limit for farm management deposits from $400,000 to $800,000. The changes allow financial institutions to offer the schemes as farm business loan offset accounts and re-establish early access provisions in times of drought. Fact FileAustralian farmers had deposited $3.96 billion in farm managed deposits by December 31, 2015For more information, visit http//www.agriculture.gov.au/fmds Minister's office - 6552 5400
More specialist doctors choosing Albany3668Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml9/02/2016 6:11:07 AM2016-02-09T06:00:00ZState-of-the-art health campus attracts specialistsExpanded range of specialties offered locally The Great Southern region now has more than 24 medical specialists living in the region with the appointment of the first resident geriatrician who will be based at Albany Health Campus at the end of this month. Health Minister Kim Hames said the facilities at the recently constructed Albany Health Campus provided an excellent opportunity for doctors wanting to work in a state-of-the-art facility in a regional location. "The increasing number of highly regarded specialists choosing to live and work in Albany has resulted in improved medical services, increased capacity to treat more patients locally and has provided a more sustainable workforce in the region over the past three years," Dr Hames said. "The resident specialists include an oncologist and general physician who together have been providing a highly valued service to the Great Southern community for 30 years. "That's in addition to a well-known and respected Western Australian respiratory physician who moved to Albany in 2015 and an orthopaedic surgeon who has performed almost 1,000 elective and emergency procedures in the past two years." The Minister said the health campus now had three resident general surgeons who, with their visiting colleagues, performed the second highest number of elective surgery cases each year in the WA Country Health Service. Other specialists work across areas such as general medicine, critical care, mental health, medical imaging, public health, palliative care and obstetrics. The increase in local specialists and regular visiting specialists has been credited with a reduction in the number of patients accessing Patient Assisted Travel payments to travel to Perth to attend specialist appointments. There had also been an increase in the number of junior doctors at Albany Health Campus with eight resident medical officers, six interns and nine registrars, and the facility is expanding its telehealth service to reduce the number of patients needing to travel out of the region. Dr Hames said Albany Health Campus had earned a reputation for its high-tech education and simulation training facilities, plus its adoption of cutting edge technology such as electronic discharge summaries to improve communication between hospitals, specialists and GPs. Fact File$170.4 million Albany Health Campus opened in May 2013, including $60.9 million Royalties for Regions fundingA geriatrician is a specialist who focuses on health care of elderly peopleFor more information visit http//getthebiggerpicture.health.wa.gov.au Minister's office - 6552 5300
Lead adviser appointed to work with Keystart3666Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml9/02/2016 5:30:06 AM2016-02-09T05:30:00ZGresham Advisory Partners appointed as lead adviser for the partial sale of Keystart's loan bookAnother milestone in the State Government's asset sales program The State Government today announced that Gresham Advisory Partners had been appointed as the lead financial adviser for the partial sale of Keystart's loan book. Treasurer Mike Nahan said Gresham was appointed following a competitive process with a deep field of responses from financial advisory firms. Gresham will lead a competitive process to select a private financing partner to acquire part of Keystart's loan book. "Gresham's level of recent experience in conducting similar transactions was a major factor in their selection," Dr Nahan said. "This is an important milestone in the Government's asset sales program and the partial sale of Keystart's loan book will reduce gross debt. This initiative will not change the service levels or terms and conditions for existing Keystart customers and will not impact upon Keystart's existing interest rate setting policy, lending eligibility criteria or rigorous loan assessment process." Housing Minister Colin Holt said Keystart's lending had reached record levels under the Liberal National Government, allowing it to help thousands of West Australians on low to medium incomes. "We want more people to have this same opportunity by ensuring Keystart's ability to approve new loans is not hampered," Mr Holt said. "Keystart has helped Western Australian home owners for more than 25 years and is a great success story envied by other States. Keystart will continue to play an important part in the Government's Affordable Housing Strategy 2010-2020 Opening Doors to Affordable Housing, a strategy that has already delivered more than 20,000 affordable housing opportunities with an aim to deliver 30,000 by 2020." Fact FileKeystart provides low deposit and shared equity residential home loans to eligible West Australians on low-to-medium incomes who are unable to obtain finance from private lendersFor more information, visit http//www.keystart.com.au Treasurer's office - 6552 5700 Housing Minister's office - 6552 6100
Kimberley family violence model gets national tick3664Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml9/02/2016 3:00:07 AM2016-02-09T03:00:00ZResearch confirms community-led responses the best approach to indigenous family violenceNational body confirms State Government's Safer Families, Safer Communities Kimberley Family Violence Regional Plan 2015-2020 is on the right track A national research paper has shown the State Government is on the right track in its response to family violence in Aboriginal communities. Child Protection Minister Helen Morton launched the paper Innovative models in addressing violence against Indigenous women, commissioned by Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety (ANROWS), in Fitzroy Crossing today. In an event at the Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women's Resource and Legal Centre, Mrs Morton said the centre was a leading example of a community-led approach to family violence. "This centre is singled out because it recognises that violence against women is a whole-of-community problem which needs a whole-of-community response," she said. "For a service to be successful it needs a community-led response involving elders, community leaders and representatives and input from local government and community sector organisations. "Women need to be central to the design of programs to address violence, and services that provide access to justice and safety need to include a healing centre." The Minister said these concepts were all central to the State Government's Safer Families, Safer Communities Kimberley Family Violence Regional Plan 2015-2020. "Like Marninwarntikura, our Kimberley plan focuses on strong partnerships between government agencies, community sector services, Aboriginal community-controlled organisations and community members," she said. ANROWS chief executive officer Heather Nancarrow travelled from Sydney to attend the co-convened event. Fact FileANROWS was established under the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022ANROWS is funded by the Australian and State and Territory governmentsLiberal National Government contributes $150,600 per year to ANROWS Minister's office - 6552 6900
Edible wall garden wins invention award for students3654Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml9/02/2016 1:03:26 AM2016-02-09T01:00:00ZCarey Baptist College wins Young Re-inventor of the Year AwardVertical garden from re-used plastic containers provides food to school and keeps waste out of landfill A school in Perth's south-eastern suburbs has won the Young Re-inventor of the Year Award by re-using waste materials to build a vertical herb garden for food technology classes. Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the entry from the 2015 Year 11 students at Carey Baptist College in Harrisdale was the outstanding project among the 111 other contenders. The students built the garden with plastic milk containers from the school cafe and wooden pallets collected from nearby street verges. Mr Jacob today presented the students with a $1,500 prize pack, including composting bins, worm farms, re-useable sandwich wraps. The students will also be able to attend workshops on composting and worm farming. "I am encouraged that these students were able to realise their vision for this clever garden," he said. "Through this project they have looked after the environment and delivered so many benefits to their school. "By participating in this project, young people were able to learn how to create a more sustainable environment and reduce landfill." One of the judging criteria was the entries used items that were routinely thrown away. Judges were impressed that the students' vertical garden invention was made from milk cartons from the school and the food from the garden was used in food technology classes. The finalists for the Young Re-inventor of the Year Award includedPrimary school finalist Coco Hasler from St Denis School in JoondannaHigh school finalist Darcie Watts from Exmouth District High School Community and individual finalists Ben Salter from South Yunderup and William Catchpole from High WycombeSwitch your thinking finalist Jillian Kien from Rossmoyne Senior High School. The award is co-ordinated by the South East Regional Energy Group, with support from the State Government through the Western Australian landfill levy. Fact FileMore than 700 people from schools and community groups submitted 112 entries For more information, visit http//www.switchyourthinking.com/our-projects/young-reinventor-of-the-year Minister's office - 6552 5800
Trial of autonomous vehicle3648Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml9/02/2016 12:46:23 AM2016-02-09T00:30:00ZAutonomous vehicle trial the first of its kind AustraliaWill allow RAC, with support from the State Government, to understand and learn about autonomous vehicle technology Western Australia is leading the way in automated vehicle technology with the staged trial of a driverless and fully electric shuttle bus to take place this year. Transport Minister Dean Nalder said the Department of Transport was working closely with the RAC to ensure compliance with road and vehicle safety standards while they trialled an autonomous shuttle bus. "It is not a matter of if this technology will come to WA, but when it will, and that time is fast approaching. Initially, the trials will be conducted at RAC's driving centre, but eventually the shuttle will take to Perth roads," Mr Nalder said. The Minister said the Department of Transport was working with the RAC to identify the routes on Perth roads where the trials would take place. "It is important West Australians are aware this technology is not confined to Hollywood blockbusters, but is actually coming to Perth. "To ensure we are working towards providing the best integrated and intelligent transport services and solutions for the State, it is important to trial new innovative modes of transport, and this is one of those modes," Mr Nalder said. These types of vehicles are being tested and trialled in other countries and have autonomous features such as radar cruise control and lane detection warning systems. "Another of the safety features of the shuttle bus is its multi-sensor technology, providing 3D perception that allows it to map the environment, detect obstacles on the road and interpret traffic signs," the Minister said. Mr Nalder said the State Government would benefit from the partnering between RAC and the Department of Transport, as experts from both worked together on this innovative and important transport project. Fact FileThe shuttle bus has been developed by NAVYA SAS, a French company specialising in intelligent transport systems The shuttle bus can transport up to 15 passengers and has a maximum speed of 45kmh with an average speed of 25kmh Minister's office - 6552 6400
Resource approvals record saves time, money3647Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml9/02/2016 12:40:27 AM2016-02-09T00:00:00ZFaster turnarounds for mines and petroleum applicationsContinuous red tape reduction benefits business Thousands of Western Australian resources companies, explorers and prospectors have benefited from record-breaking approval processing times by the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP). Announcing WA's best-ever quarter for mineral title approvals speeds, Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion said it highlighted the success of the Liberal National Government's continuous red tape reduction campaign. "This is about backing the resources industry, and I congratulate DMP for its commitment to cutting red tape and encouraging exploration," Mr Marmion said. "Despite variations in the number of applications, there has been a steady increase in processing speeds since 2010, when changes were implemented." The Minister said the red tape reforms saved operators time and money and sped up job creation, while maintaining responsible regulation of the industry. "The 2015 Eastern Goldfields Gas Pipeline project is a great example of the department's pro-active approach," he said. "Efficient processing allowed construction to get under way, employ up to 300 workers and reach its destination more than a month ahead of schedule." During the December quarter of 2015, the department approved91 per cent of Mining Lease applications within 65 business days92 per cent of Mining Proposal applications within 30 business days100 per cent of Petroleum Environment Plans within 30 calendar days. "The department has surpassed its target of finalising more than 80 per cent of applications within those timelines," Mr Marmion said. "The department is on track to cut time-consuming paperwork to nil by performing all of its operations online this year." Fact FileDMP received 5,629 mineral title, exploration and mining activity applications during 2015, with 97% of these were finalised within the 65-day target DMP finalised 2,459 Programme of Work and Mining Proposals during 2015, with 95% finalised within the 30-day target All Petroleum Exploration Permit applications were finalised within the 120-day target 374 petroleum environment and oil spill contingency plans submitted, with 97% finalised within the 30-day target All resource safety Project Management Plans and 85% of Radiation Management Plans were finalised within the 30-day target Minister's office - 6552 6800 DMP APPROVALS PERFORMANCE DEC QUARTER 2009 - 2015
More than $1 million helps get under the skin3645Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml9/02/2016 12:25:01 AM2016-02-08T23:00:00ZProject to tackle high rate of skin infections in remote Kimberley communitiesResearch funded by State Government through FutureHealth WA program More than $1 million in State Government funding will help research ways to treat skin conditions and improve the health of children in Western Australia's Kimberley region. Health Minister Kim Hames said the project, a partnership between the Kimberley Aboriginal Health Planning Forum and researchers from the Telethon Kids Institute, was funded for three years with $1.05 million provided through the FutureHealth WA program. "This project will combine the research expertise of the Telethon Kids Institute with on-the-ground know-how of local Aboriginal services to reduce skin infections in this region," Dr Hames said. "Tackling skin conditions among children in remote communities is a major focus for regional health and one I've been involved in for a long time. "Skin infections such as impetigo, or 'school sores', scabies and crusted scabies are major problems in remote Aboriginal communities but they are preventable. "Without prompt and effective treatment, these common conditions can lead to serious health complications such as chronic kidney disease and possibly rheumatic heart disease." This study will look into the effective treatment and prevention of the spread of these infections, including mapping of available resources, strengths and gaps in the delivery of skin disease controlcomprehensive training for health workers to better recognise and treat skin infectionsinvestigation into oral treatments versus topical medication used to treat scabies. "In the hot and dusty environment of the Kimberley, an oral tablet may be a preferable alternative to the thick cream currently prescribed to patients and those they are likely to be in contact with," the Minister said. "If we can improve medication compliance among patients and their contacts, we may find ourselves a step closer to controlling the spread of these highly contagious infections." Fact FileFutureHealth WA is a State Government initiative providing $30 million over four years for health and medical research in WAStudy is part of a broader skin health program already under way in the KimberleyState-wide data suggest skin infections account for a big proportion of clinic attendances in regional areas, particularly in children under five Minister's office - 6552 5300
Indigenous crime prevention initiative expanded3644Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml9/02/2016 12:17:52 AM2016-02-08T22:05:00ZSuccessful regional open days program to extend to Perth Armadale, Swan, Rockingham and Stirling the first locations chosen A landmark regional program delivering services to Aboriginal people across the State to help them keep out of the criminal justice system is now being expanded into the metropolitan area. Attorney General Michael Mischin said 194 open days had been held in mainly regional areas since August 2011, providing 'one stop shops' where Government agencies came together in a central location to deliver services, free wherever possible, to the local Aboriginal community. "Last year, open days were held in regional areas such as Broome, Wyndham, Roebourne and Morawa, helping more than 2,000 people," Mr Mischin said. "Attendees can obtain identity documents like birth certificates from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages; arrange to pay off their outstanding fines with the Fines Enforcement Registry; sit theory and practical driving tests through the Department of Transport; access community support services; and explore employment opportunities "Facilitating access to these services helps in diverting Aboriginal people, particularly youth, from becoming involved in the justice system." Positive outcomes from the Open Days held in 2015 included$1 million in outstanding fines converted to time-to-pay arrangements65 people regaining a driver's licence through having their fine suspension lifted332 births being registered797 people lodging applications for a birth certificate146 people gained a driver's licence learner's permit151 people passed their practical driving assessment. The Attorney General said the open days had already allowed the State Government to deliver services to some of the most remote communities in Western Australia. "Many of the challenges facing Aboriginal people in the regions are common to Aboriginal people living in Perth," he said. "Therefore we will expand the program this year into the metropolitan areas of Armadale, Swan, Rockingham and Stirling, as well as maintain a regional presence." The next series of open days planned up to the end of June 2016 include Carnarvon on today and February 10; Roebourne on February 22-23; Warakurna on March 14; Warburton on March 18; Armadale on March 18 and May 20; Nullagine on April 4; Newman on April 5; Rockingham on April 29 and June 17; Beagle Bay on May 2; Balga on May 6 and July 1; Midland on June 3; and Port Hedland on June 13-14. Fact FileA trial of open days in Armadale late last year resulted in $173,494 in outstanding fines converted to time-to-pay arrangements, 39 birth certificate applications, 17 births registered, 24 birth letters issued and 10 theoretical driving tests passedFor more information, contact Bob Taddeo, Director, Policy and Aboriginal Services on 9264 1908 Attorney General's office - 6552 5600
Preferred Perth Stadium operator named3631Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements0html8/02/2016 5:15:09 AM2016-02-08T05:15:00ZStadium Australia Operations is preferred respondent The State Government will enter into exclusive negotiations with Stadium Australia Operations to become operator of the Perth Stadium, following a three-month evaluation period and subsequent approval by State Cabinet. Premier Colin Barnett said Stadium Australia Operations' proposal offered the best value for money and an operating approach which put fans first. "The 60,000 seat Perth Stadium will be a world-class venue and it is fitting that a world-class operator is appointed," Mr Barnett said. The Premier thanked all four short-listed respondents for their detailed submissions. "Stadium Australia Operations currently operates Stadium Australia (ANZ Stadium) in Sydney, which was built for the 2000 Olympic Games. The 83,500 seat venue has already attracted more than 23.5 million fans to a variety of events, including AFL, rugby union and English Premier League games, plus acts such as AC/DC, the Foo Fighters and Taylor Swift," he said. "The State looks forward to working with Stadium Australia Operations in the coming weeks to finalise matters ahead of signing the contract." The operator will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the stadium and sports precinct, including catering, securing event content, event management and ticketing. Mr Barnett said the Government would ensure that the West Australian Football Commission (WAFC) would have a stream of revenue to continue to manage, support and grow local football at the West Australian Football League and community level. Sport and Recreation Minister Mia Davies said AEG Ogden was also approved as reserve respondent, in the event the State Government could not conclude negotiations with Stadium Australia Operations. "This decision is the result of 12 months of work since the Government first called for Expressions of Interest," Ms Davies said. "A detailed brief was prepared which was responded to by the shortlisted applicants over almost three months, culminating in a three-month review and evaluation by a panel of senior Government officials - supported by a range of independent technical advisors. "Ultimately the team determined that Stadium Australia Operations' bid represented the best value for money. A key feature of the bid was the depth and breadth of proposed events to be held at Perth Stadium and the strategies to secure them." Fact FileShortlisted respondents (in alphabetical order) AEG Ogden, Nationwide Venue Management, Perth Stadium Management and Stadium Australia OperationsCriteria for assessment of proposals included the respondents' delivery approach, operational performance, communication with users and financial benefit to WAFor more information, visit http//www.perthstadium.com.au Premier's office - 6552 5000 Sport and Recreation Minister's office - 6552 5500
Yellow box junctions to keep our traffic flowing3630Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements0html8/02/2016 2:00:26 AM2016-02-08T02:00:00ZYellow box junctions trialled at four busy Perth intersectionsTrial aims to remind motorists to avoid stopping within intersections The State Government has revealed a concept new to Perth to deter motorists from stopping within intersections and blocking other vehicle movements. Transport Minister Dean Nalder said yellow box junctions were used successfully around the world to show the extent of an intersection and indicate the area where drivers should not stop. "Quite simply, a yellow box is painted on the road and motorists should not enter the marked area unless their exit from the intersection is clear," Mr Nalder said. The yellow box junction trials are one of the many new initiatives of the Main Roads' Traffic Congestion Management Program, which looks at getting the most out of our current infrastructure to keep traffic moving. "We will be trialling two types of yellow box junctions to determine which line markings are most effective in reminding drivers of the road rules," the Minister said. "I get feedback from motorists about them being frustrated when they are at a green light, but cannot move because a motorist has entered an intersection, without being able to exit, and is blocking their progress. "This trial will be important to reinforce the message not to enter an intersection unless they can exit it." Fact FileThe following four locations have been installed with yellow box junctionsCanning Highway and Kintail Road, ApplecrossQueen Victoria Street and Tydeman Road, North FremantleJon Sanders Drive and Herdsman Parade, GlendaloughMitchell Freeway southbound off-ramp/Vincent Street/Leederville Parade, LeedervilleFor more information, visit https//project.mainroads.wa.gov.au/tcmp Diagrams underneath Minister's office - 6552 6400
Funding on offer for waste reduction projects610777Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements0html8/02/2016 12:30:02 AM2016-02-08T00:30:00ZCommunity groups encouraged to apply for fundingUp to $20,000 available for eligible individual projects Applications are now open for community groups to seek State Government funding for innovative waste management, and recycling projects and practices. Community groups that work to protect the environment through innovative waste management practices can apply for State Government funding through a new round of the Waste Authority's Community Grants Scheme. Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the Community Grants Scheme supported community projects aimed at reducing waste generation, recovering resources and minimising environmental impacts. Mr Jacob said supporting community-focused projects was important in helping achieve the State Government's Waste Strategy target of diverting 65 per cent of metropolitan waste from landfill by 2020. "Effective waste management is everyone's responsibility and I encourage all community groups looking to implement projects in this area to submit an application," he said. "Since 2008, the Community Grants Scheme has provided more than $1.1 million to more than 100 community groups. "This funding has helped many projects with worthy environmental and social objectives to get off the ground." Previous projects funded by the scheme include community-managed gardens for recycling organic waste, waste education workshops for non-English speaking migrants, and new collection points for aluminium cans and other materials. The Community Grants Scheme is funded by the State Government through the Western Australian landfill levy. Applications for the latest round close on Friday, March 11, 2016. Fact File In the last round of funding for the Community Grants Scheme, $76,000 was awarded to six WA community groupsFor more information, visit http//www.wasteauthority.wa.gov.au Minister's office - 6552 5800
New view of Perth Children’s Hospital610700Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements2110html7/02/2016 3:46:43 AM2016-02-07T01:00:00ZFly-through footage offers detailed view inside the new children's hospitalThe advanced 3D model is being used to design patient services and to prepare for the transition to the new building later this year West Australians have been given a sneak peek inside the $1.2 billion Perth Children's Hospital (PCH) through new 3D vision released today by Health Minister Kim Hames. The animated fly-through footage of the hospital, currently under construction at the QEII medical site in Nedlands, will be used to familiarise staff with the inside of the hospital before it opens its doors to the public later this year. The realistic computer-generated footage was developed using a building information modelling system used to manage the high volume of complex information during the design, construction and commissioning of PCH. Dr Hames said that use of the modelling system, in the construction of the PCH building and the training of staff, was a leading-edge approach and highlighted the hospital's design features. "We are leading the country with the use of this model, which not only guides construction but also allows for the mapping of patient and staff flows through the hospital," he said. The Minister said the use of the system was one of a number of programs under way to prepare for the move to the new hospital. "The staff and high quality of care we all know from Princess Margaret Hospital will continue to be the backbone of the patient care provided at PCH," he said. "This model is helping them prepare for their new work environment and gives us the opportunity to visually share with the public the building, which is the result of years of extensive consultation with patients, families and staff. The fly-throughs showcase many areas of the hospital, including the emergency department, patient ward areas, the operating theatres and clinical rooms. "Commissioning a specialist paediatric facility is an incredibly complex task. A lot of preparation has to go in to installing ICT systems and bringing new technology, communications equipment, patient flows and staff interaction to life. PCH has been designed with plenty of light, colour, form and interactive spaces to help therapy and recovery. If you feel better, you heal better," Dr Hames said. Fact File$1.2 billion Perth Children's Hospital is one of the largest and most complex infrastructure projects ever undertaken by the State GovernmentWhen it opens later this year, Perth Children's Hospital will be one of six offering dedicated paediatric services Fiona Stanley Hospital, St John of God Midland Public Hospital, Joondalup Health Campus, Armadale Kelmscott Memorial Hospital and Rockingham General Hospital Minister's office - 6552 5300
Immunisation rates for WA children on the rise608803Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements1190html6/02/2016 3:48:55 AM2016-02-05T23:00:00ZWA's immunisation rate for five-year-old children reaches 92.1%Aboriginal immunisation rates exceed those of non-Aboriginal children The latest snapshot of Australia's immunisation rates is good news for Western Australia, with the proportion of fully vaccinated five-year-old children reaching a record high. Health Minister Kim Hames said the fully vaccinated rate had risen in the December 2015 quarter to 92.1 per cent for all Western Australian children, compared with 90.6 per cent for the quarter ending September 30, 2015. The figure was even higher at 94.3 per cent for Aboriginal children compared with 91.3 per cent the previous quarter. "These trends are extremely promising and reflect the enormous amount of work the Department of Health and its immunisation partners have done to boost immunisation rates across the State," Dr Hames said. "In particular, the rise of immunisation coverage for Aboriginal five-year-old children is a significant achievement, with current rates now exceeding those for non-Aboriginal children." The Minister said since 2013, the Department of Health had introduced several initiatives to help improve vaccine coverage in Aboriginal children. These included training and empowering Aboriginal health workers to vaccinate through expansion of the current Aboriginal Health Workers Immunisation Competency Training Programworking with Aboriginal community-controlled health services to develop culturally appropriate, community-based programs monitoring vaccination rates and targeting communities and sub-groups with a lower uptake. Increasing immunisation rates in Aboriginal children was a key focus in the State Government's Western Australian Immunisation Strategy 2013-2015. The strategy identified the need for health care providers to continue to work together to promote immunisation as the best way to protect the health of West Australians. "There is no question that immunisation is the best form of defence to protect children from up to 16 vaccine-preventable illnesses, including viral hepatitis, diphtheria, tetanus, measles, rubella, mumps, whooping cough and bacterial meningitis," Dr Hames said. "While these figures show we are moving in the right direction, there is still more work to be done to ensure all Western Australian children are protected and to ensure WA's immunisation rates continue to climb." Fact FileAn immunisation rate of about 95% is necessary to effectively prevent outbreaks of highly infectious diseases like measlesChildhood vaccinations are provided free through the National Immunisation Program For more information, visit http//healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/About-immunisation Minister's office - 6552 5300
Millions to help improve regional pools608806Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements6150html5/02/2016 4:16:40 AM2016-02-05T04:00:00Z​About $3 million to revitalise regional poolsFunding for 94 aquatic facilities in Western Australia Municipal pools across regional Western Australia will be sparkling over the summer, thanks to funding from the Community Pool Revitalisation Program. Sport and Recreation and Acting Regional Development Minister Mia Davies said the program gave funding to eligible regional local government authorities to help with the maintenance and upgrade of their aquatic centre facilities. The program is funded through the State Government's Royalties for Regions program, with $13.2 million provided over four years. Annual funding is available for up to $32,000 per aquatic centre, and $10,000 per water playground when it is at a primary aquatic facility. "As well as being a recreation hub, pools are often the social and community centre of many regional centres," Ms Davies said. In this round, $2,938,667 was granted to 94 aquatic facilities across regional WA comprising of 92 aquatic centres with swimming pools and two water playgrounds. "Aquatic centres are important facilities, particularly in regional and remote communities. There is evidence that when they are well patronised, they help reduce chronic disease and improve educational and social outcomes," the Minister said. "We also know that active children learn better; aside from the mental and physical benefits, there are also great community and social outcomes for kids who are active. "This Royalties for Regions investment increases the vibrancy and liveability of regional WA communities." Fact FileA list of recipients is available at http//www.dsr.wa.gov.au/cprp-successfulFor more information, visit http//www.dsr.wa.gov.au/funding/regional/community-pools-revitalisation-programA recent change to the program means eligible regional local governments can apply for funding as part of a Future Capital ProjectThe grant must be placed in a specified reserve account to be budgeted towards a capital project in 2016-17 or 2017-18For more information on Royalties for Regions projects, visit Bigger Picture - Regions Sport and Recreation Minister's office - 6552 5500
New chairwoman appointed to Heritage Council608808Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements6920html5/02/2016 3:01:17 AM2016-02-05T03:00:00Z​Anne Arnold is the new Heritage Council of WA chairwoman Anne Arnold has been appointed as the new chairwoman of the Heritage Council of Western Australia. Heritage Minister Albert Jacob said Mrs Arnold had been a highly valued member of the Heritage Council for more than eight years and had extensive experience in property, planning, real estate and housing. Mrs Arnold was deputy chairwoman of the Heritage Council and has been acting in the role since former chairwoman Marion Fulker stepped down in December 2015. Mrs Arnold is the former chief executive of the Real Estate Institute of WA, former executive director of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (WA Division), and served on boards including the WA Planning Commission. She is currently a member of the Landgate board. Mr Jacob said Mrs Arnold has played an instrumental role in the development of new heritage legislation to replace the out-of-date Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990, which the Government intends to introduce to State Parliament this year. "Mrs Arnold's dedication to heritage and significant experience in planning and urban development make her an ideal choice for the chairwoman's role, to take the Heritage Council into the future," he said. "Increasingly, WA is capitalising on its heritage assets as the heart of major development projects, for example, the recently opened State Buildings and the soon-to-start redevelopment of the former Sunset and Shenton Park hospital sites. "In this environment, Mrs Arnold is well placed to lead the Heritage Council which advises the State Government on heritage matters." The Heritage Council will shortly advertise for applicants for a position on the nine-member board. Fact FileThe Heritage Council is the State Government's statutory advisory board on heritage mattersFor more information, visit http//stateheritage.wa.gov.au Minister's office - 6552 5800
Reaching the summit: multicultural meeting of minds608814Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements5010html5/02/2016 2:41:04 AM2016-02-05T02:30:00Z​Young multicultural leaders meet to discuss issues in Perth Issues affecting Western Australia's multicultural young people are top of the agenda at a meeting of young leaders and decision makers in Perth today. About 50 West Australians aged 18-25 years from multicultural backgrounds joined members of WA's Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council at Edith Cowan University in Joondalup, for the Catalyst Youth Summit. Opening the State Government-supported event, Youth Minister Tony Simpson said it was an opportunity for delegates to talk about possible solutions to some of the issues affecting multicultural young people. "The Catalyst Youth Summit is an important initiative, enabling a diverse group of future leaders to have a direct influence on some of WA's current politicians," Mr Simpson said. "It is a fantastic example of the State Government working with community groups to give young West Australians the chance to contribute and engage positively with the community." Acting Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister John Day said the State Government would continue to support culturally and linguistically diverse youth to have their say. "Young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds face unique issues and these can only be addressed by engaging directly with them," Mr Day said. "It is important that the opinions expressed by the enthusiastic participants at today's summit result in a positive change for young people of all backgrounds." Taking place over three days, the Catalyst Youth Summit was organised by young volunteers as part of the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network of Western Australia. Delegates included 12 young people from regional WA. Fact FileThe Catalyst Youth Summit received $22,500 in State Government funding through the Office of Multicultural Interests' Community Grants Program and Department of Local Government and Communities' Youth Activities GrantsThe Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network of WA is auspiced through the Youth Affairs Council of WAFor more information, visit http//www.dlgc.wa.gov.au Youth Minister's office - 6552 6600 Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister's office - 6552 5700
ActiveSmart gets the Wheatbelt moving608796Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements2870html5/02/2016 2:25:43 AM2016-02-05T02:10:00Z​$900,000 ActiveSmart program announced More than half the Wheatbelt are not doing enough physical activity The State Government today launched a $900,000 project to encourage people in the Wheatbelt to be more active. In Northam today, Sport and Recreation Minister Mia Davies announced the ActiveSmart program would be rolled out across 12 local government areas of Beverley, Dowerin, Goomalling, Koorda, Merredin, Moora, Narrogin (town and shire), Northam, Toodyay, Wyalkatchem and York. The 12-month program, which includes personalised phone coaching, will be offered to about 13,200 households in the Wheatbelt and will work intensely with up to 5,000 participants. "Statistics tell us this region now has the highest rate of overweight and obese people in the State, and is ranked 16th out of 92 regions in Australia for obesity and physical inactivity," the Minister said. "ActiveSmart provides a toolkit for participants, including information on how to increase their physical activity levels and ongoing support and motivation to encourage people to join local sporting groups. "Part of our goal is to help people increase their daily physical activity by at least 15 minutes a day." The Department of Health's Health and Wellbeing Surveillance System (2013) indicates the Wheatbelt region has the highest rates of overweight and obese adults at 75 per cent compared with a combined State average of 66 per cent. ActiveSmart focuses on achieving long term, sustainable changes in physical activity behaviours and because the program connects participants to existing opportunities this means physical activity levels can be maintained once the service delivery concludes. "Sports clubs and recreation centres are the heart of so many regional towns and we want ActiveSmart to help even more people connect with them and reap the many benefits of being more active," Ms Davies said. The Minister said previous versions of ActiveSmart have proven cost efficient and effective in addressing inactivity levels in other communities, with every $1 invested in the program saving $25 in health, transport and environmental costs over 10 years. Fact FileActiveSmart started in Rockingham in 2009 and Geraldton in 2011Your Move, a program which combined ActiveSmart with active transport, was a partnership with the Department of Transport and was staged in Cockburn in 2014 and Wanneroo in 2015 Minister's office - 6552 5500
New school honours Ellenbrook's farming past608811Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements2670html5/02/2016 2:17:36 AM2016-02-05T02:05:00Z​New $15.8 million primary school opened in EllenbrookNamed in honour of WA pioneer Anne Hamersley More than 100 students in one of Ellenbrook's newest communities have started the school year in a brand new primary school which has its roots in Western Australian history. Education Minister Peter Collier today officially opened Anne Hamersley Primary School in Dunnett Drive, Ellenbrook. The school was named in honour of Anne Hamersley, the wife of pastoralist and stockbreeder William Locke Brockman. The couple emigrated from the United Kingdom to the Swan River settlement in 1830, and settled in the area now known as Ellenbrook. Mr Collier said the school's logo reflected the endeavours of the Brockman family which included horse breeding and development of the Cheriton orange variety, named after Mr Brockman's birthplace in the UK. "While acknowledging the past, Anne Hamersley Primary School features the latest in education facilities, with specialist classrooms for art; science; music; and for children with special needs, and modern information communication technology," he said. "Its grounds feature nature play spaces which are helpful for children's development as they learn to assess risk as they play, and boost their motor skills." The Minister said that from the outset, parents and the community had helped define the directions the school should take. "There has already been a high level of parent and community input into Anne Hamersley Primary School which opens as an Independent Public School," Mr Collier said. Fact FileIn 2016, 445 schools are operating as Independent Public SchoolsThe State Government has invested a total of $63.8 million in four new primary schools which opened this week - Alkimos Primary School, Anne Hamersley Primary School (Ellenbrook), Rivergums Primary School (Baldivis) and Harrisdale Primary School Minister's office - 6552 6300
More public schools to gain independent status608807Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements6820html5/02/2016 2:06:38 AM2016-02-05T02:00:00Z​Up to 50 more public schools to become independentNew data confirms WA still has the highest per-student funding of any StateA teacher in front of every classroom Record graduate recruitment The Western Australian school year has begun with four new primary schools opened, a record 1,812 teaching graduates employed, and news that up to another 50 public schools will gain independent status. Education Minister Peter Collier said WA had led the nation in reforming the way public schools were run, with power shifting from a central bureaucracy to individual schools and their boards. "So far, 445 schools have shown their willingness to test the status quo, take innovative approaches and harness their communities," Mr Collier said. The Minister made the comments as he opened Anne Hamersley Primary School in Ellenbrook. "Once again, the Productivity Commission's Report on Government Services has found WA funds schools at the highest per-student rate of any State," he said. "Compare that to 2005-08 when there were significant teacher shortages and our teachers were the lowest paid in the nation." Across the board, WA teachers are now the highest paid of any State. A $52.7 million computing and technology upgrade is also under way in public schools to improve wireless access and provide up-to-date devices for students. Fact File70% of public students and teachers are in 445 Independent Public Schools across WASchool internet downloads have more than tripled in the past two yearsThe latest Report on Government Services data was released yesterdayFor more information, visit http//www.education.wa.edu.auNew primary schools opened this year at Ellenbrook, Baldivis, Alkimos and HarrisdaleGraduates are defined as teachers who have been in the job for less than two years Minister's office - 6552 6300