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Training for elected members builds country local government capacity131181Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml23/02/2018 4:11:27 AM2018-02-23T04:10:00Z McGowan Government supports training for elected members in country local governments WALGA to deliver training program to each of the 12 country local government zones Funding has been provided as part of the Country Local Government Capacity Building Program Continuing the successful training delivered last year by the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), a further program of training will be offered to country-based elected members in Western Australia to build their skills and improve governance and decision-making. Local Government Minister David Templeman and Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan today announced the $420,000 program, which is being rolled out this month. The program will enhance the unique strategic position that elected members in country local governments have in the State's diverse regions and demonstrates the McGowan Government's commitment to country local governments and regional communities. Training will be delivered by WALGA to all 12 country zones ensuring that all country local government elected members will be able to attend training within their own region. The units being offered are 'building blocks' towards a Diploma in Local Government and will give country local government elected members a good foundation to pursue further training and professional development in any aspect of their role as an elected member. Comments attributed to Local Government Minister David Templeman "This training will ensure that elected members are equipped with a sound working knowledge of their roles and responsibilities, including financial and governance processes informing the major decisions councils make. "As a former councillor for Mandurah, I understand how important it is that we build the capacity of local governments to deliver the best possible services for our regional communities."   Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan "Providing access to training for country local government elected members is essential in ensuring that regional councils have strong and effective governance. "Local government has a key role to play in creating and supporting sustainable regional communities, and this investment will build their capacity to better serve their constituents." Local Government Minister's office - 6552 5400 Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6200
Festival showcases multicultural South-West131180Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml23/02/2018 4:01:23 AM2018-02-23T04:00:00Z South West Multicultural Festival one of the State's largest Festival supported by the McGowan Labor Government More than 5,000 people will flock to Bunbury this weekend to celebrate the cultural diversity of the South-West at the annual Live Lighter South West Multicultural Festival. The festival has evolved into one of the most popular festivals in the region and one of the biggest multicultural festivals in the State. The McGowan Labor Government has supported the event with grants totalling $42,000. The event includes cultural demonstrations, arts and crafts, interactive workshops and food. It culminates in the popular Multicultural Night Under the Stars concert, featuring dance and music from around the world. This year will also see the introduction of the 'Experience Hub', offering more intimate, experiential workshops and hands-on activities such as Aboriginal craft, henna tattoos, turban wrapping, drumming workshops, gyoza-making and more. The festival promotes the celebration of cultural diversity as well as actively developing networks between existing, new and emerging culturally diverse groups in the community. For more information, visit the Office of Multicultural Interests' events calendar at http// Comments attributed to Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister Paul Papalia "People from all corners of the world have made their home in the South-West of WA, and have had a significant impact - economically, socially and culturally - on the area's development. "Their hard work, dedication and commitment has helped build the South-West -and Western Australia - into what it is today a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family." Minister's office - 6552 5600
New agtech age on the horizon131176Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml23/02/2018 2:21:51 AM2018-02-23T02:20:00Z Nine WA agtech companies selected for innovation accelerator program 21st century agricultural opportunities to create more regional jobs Nine Western Australian agtech companies have been given the opportunity to take their technology development to the next level by participating in the State's first agtech-focused accelerator program. The HARVEST Agtech Accelerator program will support companies developing new and innovative technologies with the potential to help WA's agriculture and food industries, providing solutions to support increased production, drive efficiencies and support food security and traceability. A new precision farming approach, wind power as an alternative energy source for irrigation, using food technology to turn insects into food for human consumption and the use of drones are among the technologies chosen to be part of the program. The program will be delivered by Agristart, with local and international experts to mentor and provide advice and valuable networks to participating companies. The nine-week program will focus on accelerating the development of the business to prepare for commercialisation and investment, culminating with a pitch event where each company will pitch their concept to a panel of experts. The program is supported by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. Comments attributed to Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan "We want to create an environment to support businesses to develop their ideas, technologies, business models and commercialise their products in global markets. "Advancing technology and innovation is essential to support the State's food producers, processors and distributors to increase the value of our food production. "Our local agtech companies have the opportunity to come up with innovative technology-based solutions to make our agriculture and food industry more efficient, and capitalise on opportunities in growing export markets." Minister's office - 6552 6200 Companies participating in the HARVEST Agtech Accelerator program Convergio Convergio are applying the latest technologies in computer vision, machine learning and data analytics to develop next generation solutions for virtual simulation and economic modelling to enable farmers to improve yields, extend capacity, diversify products, enter new markets and create employment in regional areas. GeoMoby GeoMoby technology provides cost effective solutions to several problems in agriculture by coupling of real-time data with accurate position information, leading to efficient analysis of large amounts of geospatial data to enable several applications including livestock tracking, fencing automation, lone worker tracking and farm mapping. Grubs Up Grubs Up is WA's first edible insect farm, providing an alternative to beef and lamb as a protein source for human food and animal feed. Grubs Up aims to scale up insect farming that is sustainable with a zero waste system, with minimal environmental impact. MALDIID Identification of rhizobia, the critical soil bacteria needed for legumes to provide nitrogen to the soil, can be expensive and time-consuming. The MALDIID technology provides rapid and efficient rhizobia identification without the need to culture the bacteria, allowing farmers to manage their legume crops and pastures more effectively. Mapizy Mapizy's machine learning platform can rapidly process satellite, drone and terrestrial imagery data and create accurate inventory of crops, trees, weeds, pests and diseases. Equipped with this new type of information, agriculture businesses can make better decisions and improve performance. P&A Pan P&A Pan are a second generation, family run business that has traditionally grown fruit and vegetables. Their new venture involves soilless micro herbs grown in a sea container within a controlled environment, with the goal to be chemical free and use less water. Precision Agronomics Australia Precision Agronomics is focused on improving agricultural practises by developing customised soil mapping, data processing and machinery control solutions that help solve the practical problems for the world's farmers, such as reducing input and labour costs, optimising crop yield and quality, while minimising adverse environmental effects. Scientific Aerospace Scientific Aerospace is focused on designing and producing world-leading high precision aerial surveying solutions. Aerial surveying of soil and crop health will support farmers to identify plant vigour, pests, diseases and soil water content. Windturbine Windturbine is looking to solve issues with remote water pumping requirements for agriculture using renewable energy sources. The Windturbine solution combines wind and solar along with battery storage to provide a 24-hour pump on demand solution to remote irrigation.
Health researcher in bid to break sound barrier131175Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml23/02/2018 2:15:05 AM2018-02-23T02:15:00Z Trial to tackle high rates of hearing loss in urban Aboriginal population Local researcher awarded National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) fellowship to undertake project A Telethon Kids Institute researcher and Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) audiologist is hoping to discover whether telehealth technology and community-based Aboriginal health workers might be keys to reducing high rates of hearing loss in urban Aboriginal children. Dr Chris Brennan-Jones is embarking on a study that should streamline the provision of routine audiology and ear, nose and throat (ENT) services for these children. The goal of the project is to hasten the detection and treatment of children with Otitis Media (OM) - a group of middle-ear infections and the leading cause of childhood hearing loss. OM affects more than half of Aboriginal children, leaving many with life-long hearing impairment and leading to delayed development and an increased risk of poor educational and mental health outcomes. Despite the potential consequences of untreated OM, wait times for routine audiology and ENT assessments for children in Western Australia's public health system can be up to two and a half years. As about half of Aboriginal children aged six to 24 months are already affected by OM and hearing loss, finding new ways of identifying and treating these children earlier is vital. As part of this project, selected children from two south metropolitan areas of Perth will be screened in their communities by Aboriginal ear health 'champions' who have been trained to conduct routine audiology and ENT tests. The results of these tests will be sent to a team of PMH ear health specialists who will review the results and, where necessary, develop treatment plans. Families of children requiring treatment will be given the option of getting the plan from their local ear-health champion or via a live telehealth consult with the PMH team. Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "If successful in fast-tracking screening and treatment, this pilot project could become a model arrangement for other urban areas both here and around the country. "It has the potential not just to slash wait times but also to provide families with ear health care that is close to home and involves members of their own community. "This project has been made possible because Dr Brennan-Jones has been awarded a highly competitive National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Research Fellowship as well as some additional NHMRC funds. "He was also one of 16 local researchers awarded a WA Fellowship Merit Award last year in the State Government's Future Health WA program - an initiative designed to boost our health and medical research sector and lift WA's share of NHMRC funding. "We are delighted that Dr Brennan-Jones' Merit Award will have contributed to such an important project - one that has the potential to change the lives of so many young Western Australians. "Since coming into government, we have been working closely with a range of innovative health research projects to deliver the best possible health outcomes to the people of Western Australia. "Preventative health is a crucial aspect of the McGowan Government's health policy which is why we are hosting the State's inaugural Preventative Health Summit in Perth next week, an event that has the potential to improve the lives of so many Western Australians." Minister's office - 6552 6500
Busselton to welcome top sailors for SuperFoiler Grand Prix131174Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml23/02/2018 2:00:41 AM2018-02-23T02:00:00Z State Government to fund WA leg of the new SuperFoiler Grand Prix Race set to attract some of the world's best sailors to our South-West The State Government has signed a deal to fund the SuperFoiler Grand Prix, a world-class sailing event which is expected to attract some of the world's best sailors to Busselton and Western Australia's South-West. Sailors include former world champions, America's Cup winners and Olympic medallists. SuperFoilers feature 'foils', or wing-shaped pieces of carbon fibre, under the hull, enabling the boats to lift out of the water, and travel at speeds of more than 80 kilometres per hour. The SuperFoiler Grand Prix is an inaugural national race series that will involve six teams, comprising international and Australian crew, racing in five regattas staged in Western Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria. The WA event will take place alongside the world famous Busselton Jetty on March 2-4, 2018. The SuperFoiler Grand Prix is funded by the State Government through Tourism Western Australia's Regional Events Program. For more information on the event, visit http// Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Paul Papalia "The State Government is excited to support the SuperFoiler Grand Prix and we look forward to welcoming all the competitors, and their support crews, to our State. "The event will provide a fantastic opportunity to promote Busselton and its iconic jetty - which is the longest timber piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere - to some of the world's best sailors, as well as national and international audiences. "Tourism contributed $10.1 billion to WA's economy in 2016-17, and is a key pillar of the State Government's plan to diversify the economy, create jobs and develop business opportunities." Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan "The SuperFoiler Grand Prix will help cement Busselton's reputation as an events destination and showcase the South-West to the world. "The event will help to drive social and economic development, bringing a real buzz to the town, combined with a boost in visitor numbers and local spending." Tourism Minister's office - 6552 5600 Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6200
McGowan Government opens Round 17 of EIS131172Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml23/02/2018 1:04:11 AM2018-02-23T01:00:00Z Round 17 of popular Co-funded Exploration Drilling program opens Scheme offers capped refunds up to 50% of direct drilling costs for resources projects Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston today officially opened Round 17 of the Co-funded Exploration Drilling program at the Geological Survey of Western Australia Open Day. Supported by the Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS), the co-funded drilling program focuses on innovative exploration in greenfield regions and aims to unearth Western Australia's next wave of resources projects. The McGowan Government will refund successful applicants up to 50 per cent of direct drilling costs - with caps of $150,000 for a multi-hole project, $200,000 for a single deep hole and $30,000 for prospectors. Recent EIS success stories include copper-dominated discoveries in the Pilbara by Perth-based companies Antipa Minerals, Sipa Resources, Encounter Resources and Great Boulder Resources. For more information, visit http// Comments attributed to Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston "The EIS greatly assists mining and resources exploration in Western Australia, and supports a range of employment opportunities. "It also adds to our geological knowledge of this State, helps reduce risks for explorers and improves exploration efficiency. "The McGowan Government encourages investment in resources exploration as it creates jobs for Western Australians, which is our number one priority." Minister's office - 6552 6700
Improving security of payment for subcontractors gets approval131170Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statementshtml22/02/2018 11:30:45 PM2018-02-22T22:30:00Z McGowan Government to review security of payments to subcontractors Experienced barrister John Fiocco will chair Industry Advisory Group The McGowan Government today announced a review to improve security of payments for subcontractors in Western Australia's building and construction industry, and the establishment of an Industry Advisory Group (IAG). Key industry representations and public works agencies will be able to provide input to the IAG, which will facilitate the consultative process to implement industry wide laws. Once established, the IAG will complete a full and careful inquiry based on the Terms of Reference. It will also consider amendments to the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011 and the need for new or amending legislation to provide fairer contracting practices. Other reforms for consideration include introducing trust arrangements to protect funds owed down the contracting chain, in case a head contractor experiences financial difficulty. The IAG will be chaired by John Fiocco and East Metropolitan Region MLC Matthew Swinbourn will assist him. Mr Fiocco is highly regarded among the legal fraternity in Western Australia and widely experienced in commercial and contract law. The first IAG meeting with industry stakeholders will be held on March 26, 2018. Comments attributed to Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston "The McGowan Government is delivering on its election commitment to improve payments to subbies and we are getting on with the job. "We're committed to ensuring a regulatory framework for the building industry that provides fairer contracting practices. "This is a complex industry problem and we are getting key industry players together to deliver practical solutions." Minister's office - 6552 6700 Terms of Reference 1. Whether amendments should be made to the Building Services (Registration) Act 2011 to a. introduce a demerit point system (or other appropriate power) to sanction registered builders that do not pay debts owed to subcontractors and suppliers in a timely manner, or engage in behaviour designed to dissuade a subcontractor or supplier from enforcing their rights under security of payment legislation; b. require applicants for registration as a builder to demonstrate sufficient managerial and business acumen qualifications; and c. place greater limits on the ability of directors of failed building companies to obtain a new building contractor registration. 2. Consider the need for new or amended legislation to provide fairer contracting practices in the industry by a. regulating dealings with retention amounts withheld under construction contracts, including mandating maximum amounts and time periods for release; b. introducing defined processes for calculating deductions from payment claims made under construction contracts; c. introducing defined procedures relating to variations and appropriate sanctions where variation costs have not been approved prior to work commencing; d. simplifying and standardising construction contracts by mandating minimum documentation requirements; e. prohibiting unfair terms and implying certain reasonable terms into construction contracts; and f. mandating the use of standard form construction contracts. 3. Whether improvements can be made to the rapid adjudication process under the Construction Contracts Act 2004 to a. assist subcontractors and suppliers with small value disputes use the adjudication process; and b. improve the compliance framework and standards for registered adjudicators. 4. Whether statutory trust arrangements should be introduced to protect monies owed to subcontractors in the event a head contractor on the project experiences financial difficulty, and, if so, a preferred model for such trust arrangements. 5. Consider any alternative and/or complementary reforms or measures which will improve fairness and security of payment for subcontractors and suppliers in the building and construction industry. In addition, there may be further issues that warrant consideration which the IAG is at liberty to identify and consider. This may include findings made by recent reviews into payment issues in the building and construction industry completed by the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments. The IAG should, as far as practicable, identify any negative impacts or additional regulatory burden that may arise in connection with any recommended reform, which may be the subject to a Regulatory Impact Assessment at a later date.
Top Aboriginal public school students awarded131144Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements0html22/02/2018 7:51:24 AM2018-02-22T07:45:00Z Winners of the Rob Riley Memorial Prize announced Ashley Maroney and Kienan Davis to receive $5,000 each for further training Two of Western Australia's top performing Aboriginal students have been named the winners of the 2017 Rob Riley Memorial Prize. Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery today announced John Curtin College of the Arts graduate Ashley Maroney as the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) prize winner, and Belmont City College graduate Kienan Davis as the Vocational Education and Training (VET) prize winner. The Rob Riley Memorial Prize is named in honour of the late Aboriginal human rights advocate and is awarded to the top performing Aboriginal students in public schools. Ashley will study a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Political Science and International Relations, at The University of Western Australia before going on to study law. She is a role-model for other young people as an AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience) ambassador and wants to become a politician. Kienan achieved a number of qualifications in tourism, business and sport and recreation while at Belmont City College and is now studying a Diploma of Nursing to fulfil his dream of becoming a paramedic. Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery "I congratulate both students on their outstanding achievements. "Ashley has had a remarkable year with her dedication and commitment resulting in an exceptional Australian Tertiary Admission Rank of 97.4. "Kienan has excelled in all areas of tourism and I look forward to following his journey as he switches into nursing on his path to become a paramedic." Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt "Rob Riley was a prominent and passionate Aboriginal activist and leader who left a lasting legacy, and receiving the Rob Riley Memorial Prize is a great honour. "Both Ashley and Kienan have very bright futures ahead of them and should be proud of their achievements so far." Education and Training Minister's office - 6552 5700 Aboriginal Affairs Minister's office - 6552 5900
Final independent Ross Inquiry report complete131143Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements0html22/02/2018 7:44:15 AM2018-02-22T07:40:00Z Supplementary report finds North Metropolitan Health Service 'both thorough and appropriate' in investigating erroneous DNA matching at PathWest in 2004 Two out of the 10 recommendations from the Ross Inquiry into PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA completed, others are underway A supplementary report, the final report of the Ross Inquiry into PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA, has found that the North Metropolitan Health Service was 'both thorough and appropriate' in its review of erroneous DNA matching in 2004, and that there was no evidence of erroneous DNA matching in any other case. The Ross Inquiry was conducted to determine whether the Forensic Biology Department of PathWest issued incorrect evidence, results or reports to the WA Police or WA Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Of the five matters covered by the Inquiry, four were addressed in the Ross Inquiry Report tabled in State Parliament on October 19, 2017. The final matter - a review of an internal audit conducted by the North Metropolitan Health Service (NMHS) into erroneous DNA matching in 2004 - is subject to the supplementary report tabled today. The supplementary report confirmed the NMHS's audit was 'thorough and appropriate' and endorsed the 10 recommendations for improvements at PathWest put forward in the original Ross Inquiry Report, which related to areas including peer review, governance, IT systems, and labelling of items. Two of the 10 recommendations have already been completed, including A State Government commitment of $4 million to relocate the PathWest Forensic Biology Department to new premises; and Proposing a national methodology for peer review. The remaining eight recommendations are being progressed by the North Metropolitan Health Service. Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "The State Government welcomes the findings of this report and the culmination of the Ross Inquiry into PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA. "PathWest's Forensic Biology Department has made significant enhancements to the processes used for the issue of intelligence reports to the WA Police. "As a result, many of the manual processes that were in place in 2004 - the time which this erroneous DNA matching occurred - have already been replaced with automated solutions. "PathWest continues to enhance its procedures by developing and implementing further automated IT systems in order to eliminate or at least minimise manual processes, and refine existing peer review processes to minimise error. "This final report closes an important chapter for PathWest, which continues to deliver high-quality forensic services for the State." Minister's office - 6552 6500 Note The Ross Inquiry was conducted by Alastair Ross AM, a former founding Director of the National Institute of Forensic Science, former Director of the Victoria Police Forensic Group and former Chair of the National Association of Testing Authorities.
Perth to host national polocrosse championships131139Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements0html22/02/2018 5:00:24 AM2018-02-22T05:00:00Z State Government to sponsor 2018 Swan Valley National Polocrosse Championships Expected to attract more than 1,500 visitors Last held in Perth in 2008 The State Government, through Tourism Western Australia, will sponsor the 2018 Swan Valley National Polocrosse Championships, which are expected to attract more than 1,500 visitors to Perth. A combination of polo and lacrosse, polocrosse was developed in Australia in 1938. It now features more than 4,000 players nationally and has extended to countries such as New Zealand, the United States of America, Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Ireland. The national championships are held every two years on a rotational basis around seven Australian States and Territories. The 2018 event, celebrating its 50th golden jubilee, will mark the fourth time Western Australia has hosted the championships since 1980. More than 570 players and strappers will participate in the championships across seven days, in categories ranging from under 12 juniors to masters. The 2018 Swan Valley National Polocrosse Championships will be held from October 1-7 at the Perth polocrosse grounds within the State Equestrian Centre at Brigadoon in the Swan Valley. Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Paul Papalia "We look forward to hosting visitors from across the country, in Perth for the championships, to showcase the significant changes that have happened since the event was last held here in 2008. "Mass participation events such as this attract visitors to the State, which helps to fill hotel rooms, creates jobs and makes a contribution to the $10.1 billion tourism industry through visitor spend. "I would like to wish all players the best of luck when they compete in the championships this year, and encourage everyone to explore our extraordinary city and State." Minister's office - 6552 5600
Car park compensation cost the State more than $20 million131133Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements0html22/02/2018 2:15:17 AM2018-02-22T02:15:00Z Car park deal drawn up by the Liberal National Government continues to hurt taxpayers The Special Inquiry into Government Projects and Programs found the QEIIMC car park project, commissioned by the previous government, may never deliver value for money McGowan Government will undertake a review of the private car park contract The QEII Medical Centre (QEIIMC) private car park deal, built alongside the Perth Children's Hospital development, has been slammed in the Special Inquiry into Government Projects and Programs, which found there was no robust risk assessment. The 300-bay car park at the new Perth Children's Hospital continues to sit empty and has already cost the State $20.5 million. The car park was not supposed to create an ongoing liability to the State. As a result of the appalling contract undertaken, the State Government has been forced to pay millions of dollars in compensation to the private operator, Capella Parking. The flawed contract means the private operator must be compensated whether car bays are being used or not. Another red flag raised in the Inquiry found the agreement provided limited flexibility to adjust parking rates without having to fork out thousands of dollars in taxpayers' money to Capella. The Special Inquiry into Government Projects and Programs looked into major projects undertaken between 2008 and 2017. The contract for the QEIIMC hospital car park, which is managed by Wilson and operated by Capella Parking, failed to meet its key objective and has become an ongoing liability to the State, already costing $20.5 million. The McGowan Government has committed to undertake a value for money review to take into account the compensation already paid and assess the ongoing value for money of the current arrangement. A review of the contractual framework of the current agreement with Capella will also be conducted as recommended in the Special Inquiry. Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "This Inquiry reinforces the mismanagement of the previous government. Its lack of fiscal responsibility is continuing to hurt taxpayers' hip pockets to the tune of millions of dollars. "The shabby car park deal leaves us between a rock and a hard place with no consideration when it came to limiting parking increases. The state of our finances means we will need to borrow money to compensate Capella for any price changes. "The McGowan Government has taken charge; it is fixing the mess inherited by the previous government so the Perth Children's Hospital can open in May." Minister's office - 6552 6500
Southern Ports post-amalgamation review complete131132Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements0html22/02/2018 2:06:21 AM2018-02-22T02:00:00Z Report finds amalgamation benefits are partially achieved Further work to be done to ensure amalgamation benefits fully realised A report into the amalgamation of Southern Ports Authority has found the intended benefits of the merger have been partly achieved, but further refining is still required. The former Albany, Bunbury and Esperance port authorities were merged to form the Southern Ports Authority in October 2014, as part of the first tranche of port governance reforms. In August 2017, three years on from the merger, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti announced a post-implementation review to assess whether the intended outcomes were achieved. The review panel was chaired by Agricultural Region MLC Laurie Graham and included representatives from the Department of Transport and the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation. The report concludes that the expected benefits of amalgamation have been partially realised, and there is not a case to de-amalgamate Southern Ports, either in whole or in part. It found evidence of improved availability and use of port infrastructure, better decision-making, higher governance standards and efficiency gains through economies of scale. However, the report also found some minor problems experienced have been the result of deficiencies in implementation, rather than amalgamation itself. For example, the review panel found There was a deficiency in change management processes, both pre and post-amalgamation; That issues exist in the organisational culture of Southern Ports, but that they are isolated rather than systemic, and that the Authority should continue to implement its cultural change action plan; and There is a strong perception in Albany and Esperance that the amalgamation has weakened links with the local community. A full copy of the report can be found at http// Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti "I will be working through the Board to ensure that the necessary work to continually improve is undertaken. "I also acknowledge that Southern Ports Authority will be facing major challenges, particularly in Esperance port, responding to trade changes over the coming year that are outside its control. "I look forward to the Port moving forward in close consultation with its employees, port users and the local community to meet those challenges." Minister's office - 6552 5500
Wheatbelt patients benefit from infrastructure investment131123Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements0html22/02/2018 1:00:10 AM2018-02-22T01:00:00Z Kellerberrin, Kununoppin and Southern Cross health service refurbishments complete Part of the biggest capital works program ever completed by the WA Country Health Service Completed refurbishments of health services in Kellerberrin, Kununoppin and Southern Cross will be celebrated this week. The redevelopments are part of a $300 million capital works program that is improving capital infrastructure in 37 towns across the Wheatbelt, Great Southern, Mid-West and South-West regions. In the Wheatbelt, Narrogin, Northam and Merredin hospitals are being redeveloped as well as upgrades to 23 small hospitals and health centres across the region. The Kellerberrin Memorial Health Service now has a triage assessment room, a telehealth-enabled multipurpose consultation room, an upgraded kitchen, an upgraded reception and waiting area, a new clean utility room in the emergency department and a new accessible toilet. The Kununoppin Health Service has an upgraded emergency department and pathology area, a new triage room, an improved GP consultation area including sound proofing and medication room, upgraded full assisted bathrooms and ensuites for inpatients, a new patient laundry and refurbished kitchen. The Southern Cross Health Service has a redeveloped emergency department with a resuscitation room and acute treatment room, an upgraded x-ray room and medical records area, a realigned ambulance entry for improved patient flow, a multipurpose consultation room, new clean and dirty utility rooms and a new disabled toilet. Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "Investing in regional health care is another way in which we are putting patients first. "We are ensuring that regional patients have access to high-quality healthcare in their communities through these redevelopments." Comments attributed to Agricultural Region MLC Laurie Graham "The $3.8 million Kellerberrin Memorial Health Service, $3.4 million Kununoppin Health Service and $4.9 million Southern Cross Health Service redevelopments are part of the State Government's investment in regional healthcare across the State. "In particular, the telehealth-enabled consultation room at Kellerberrin means more local patients will be able to access medical specialists closer to home." Minister's office - 6552 6500
Government backs growing hemp industry131118Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements0html22/02/2018 12:50:02 AM2018-02-21T23:30:00Z Maximum permitted THC content in industrial hemp to be increased Move to help drive growth in the hemp industry and regional jobs in WA State Government convenes hemp industry roundtable The McGowan Government is set to boost Western Australia's fledgling hemp industry, loosening a legislative barrier that was limiting hemp production in the State. The State Government will amend the Industrial Hemp Act 2004 to allow hemp to be grown with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of up to one per cent. Currently, the Industrial Hemp Act only permits hemp with a THC content below 0.35 per cent. Changes to the Food Standards and Australia and New Zealand Code in November 2017 permit the sale of food products derived from hemp seed with a THC content of up to one per cent. Amending legislation on maximum THC concentration in line with national standards is expected to increase the number of varieties available for industrial hemp production in WA, particularly in food production through hemp seeds. Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan will today host a roundtable of WA hemp growers, processors and researchers to identify key opportunities for the industry. There is estimated to be between 25,000 and 50,000 end uses of industrial hemp under the broad categories of paper, textiles, food, building materials, cosmetics, plastics and biofuel. While there are currently 42 commercial hemp licensees in WA, largely focused on small-scale production, it is expected that increasing the maximum THC concentration could help to drive new growth and job opportunities in the fledgling industry. Comments attributed to Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan "Interest in WA's hemp industry has never been higher; the first WA hemp food and drink products are appearing in the market, and we want to support development of this job-creating industry. "This amendment will bring WA into line with national standards, and allow our producers to grow a far greater variety of hemp products in WA. "We see real potential for a scale-up of hemp production in WA to commercial levels, helping to create jobs in agriculture and processing right across the regions." Minister's office - 6552 6200
Queen’s Baton touches down in Western Australia131117Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements0html22/02/2018 12:38:42 AM2018-02-21T23:05:00Z Queen's Baton Relay arrives in Albany More than 310 community heroes will carry the Queen's Baton through WA The Queen's Baton Relay starts its Western Australian leg in Albany this morning and begins its six-day journey through the State to officially herald April's Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018). Local community legends will carry the Queen's Baton from Albany, north through Manjimup, Bridgetown and Bunbury. The relay will also pass through Rockingham, Rottnest Island, Fremantle, South Perth, Burswood Park, Perth, Kings Park, City Beach, Scarborough, Hillarys, Quinns Rocks, Wanneroo, Guildford and Karratha, where it leaves on Tuesday, February 27. More than 310 Western Australians will carry the Queen's Baton over the six days and local communities have celebrations planned along the way. Everyone is encouraged to get out, line the relay route and cheer batonbearers in their local area. Check out routes and who will carry the Queen's Baton at https// The Queen's message is held in the baton and will be read aloud at the GC2018 Opening Ceremony on April 4, 2018 to officially open the Games on the Gold Coast. The Queen's Baton has been on the road in Australia since December 24, 2017. About 3,800 Australian batonbearers will have been involved over a 100-day journey to every State and Territory. Comments attributed to Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray "The Queen's Baton Relay and the Commonwealth Games don't just celebrate sport, they celebrate community and are a bridge of friendship across the 70 nations and territories involved. "This relay is a wonderful chance to celebrate local community spirit and honour people from all walks of life, such as sport, arts, education and charities, who will carry the Queen's Baton. "The Queen's Baton Relay started at Buckingham Palace on March 13 last year and has been through the Commonwealth to Cameroon, Nigeria, Barbados, Canada, the Falkland Islands, Malta, Malaysia, Singapore, Fiji, Samoa and is now currently in Australia before finishing on the Gold Coast." Minister's office - 6552 6400
Members of Parliament’s pay frozen until 2021131116Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements0html22/02/2018 12:34:13 AM2018-02-21T23:00:00Z Laws to freeze the pay of Members of Parliament pass through Legislative Assembly New laws to freeze pay of MPs and senior public servants until July 2021 Key public sector reform to assist with repairing the State's finances delivered Legislation to freeze the pay of Members of Parliament and Western Australia's most senior public servants has successfully passed through the Legislative Assembly. The pay freeze until 2021 will be applied to the government's most senior positions including the Governor; all Members of Parliament including the Premier and Ministers; clerks and deputy clerks of the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly; judicial office holders, including masters of the Supreme Court and magistrates; the Parliamentary Inspector of the Corruption and Crime Commission; government CEOs and statutory office holders. A key measure to assist with budget repair, the pay freeze is expected to save taxpayers $16 million. Premier Mark McGowan announced the freeze last May, as part of the McGowan Labor Government's wages policy for the public sector. The wages policy provides an increase of $1,000 per year for all public servants including teachers, nurses and police officers. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "I am pleased the laws freezing Members of Parliament and senior bureaucrats' pay has been successfully passed through Parliament. "This was a key part of our public sector wages policy to help fix the budget black hole left behind by the previous Liberal National Government. "We have made it clear that fixing the budget mess left by the previous government is a job that needs to be shared across the whole WA community. "At a time when we are asking nurses, doctors, teachers, police officers and other public sector workers to help with budget repair, it is only fair Members of Parliament and other senior executives of government do their bit as well." Premier's office - 6552 5000
Premier sets off on visit to Washington DC131115Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements0html22/02/2018 12:31:20 AM2018-02-21T22:00:00Z Premier travels to Washington DC with Prime Minister and other State and Territory leaders Visit to strengthen ties with the USA and promote Western Australia Premier to raise Western Australia's capacity to host U.S. Navy ship visits Premier Mark McGowan left for the United States of America and Dubai overnight, joining Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and other leaders on a visit to strengthen strategic ties and promote Western Australia's capabilities to the US government. During the visit, the Premier will address all 55 US Governors at the National Governors Association winter meeting in Washington DC, while taking part in a national delegation led by the Prime Minister and hosted by the Australian Embassy. Mr McGowan will use the visit as an opportunity to highlight Western Australia's capacity as a supplier, manufacturer and repairer for the defence sector. A meeting has been scheduled with Richard V. Spencer, US Secretary of the Navy, to discuss Western Australia as a suitable location for additional future ship visits by the U.S. Navy, providing a boost to the State's economy. The Premier will then travel to Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to spend two days meeting major resource, education and tourism providers. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "I'm looking forward to joining the Prime Minister and other State and Territory leaders in Washington, and I will be working hard to promote Western Australia. "The visit provides a big opportunity to strengthen ties with the USA and identify opportunities to further grow our economy and create jobs. "Our relationship with the USA is strong and I plan to draw on that relationship to highlight our capacity to host U.S. Navy ship visits in the future. "Additional U.S. Navy ship visits will inject millions of dollars into the local economy and will create jobs for Western Australians." Premier's office - 6552 5000
Creative thinkers consider communities of the future23374Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements2730html21/02/2018 9:05:15 AM2018-02-21T09:00:00Z Some of Perth's most creative minds were at Parliament House today to present their winning ideas on creating vibrant, sustainable and inclusive communities in Western Australia. The presentation was the outcome of an IDEAHack Challenge hosted by the Department of Communities late last year, at which a network of thinkers collaborated to address a range of challenges. Concepts debated included activation of high-density urban infill, repurposing of vacant and under-utilised public space and improving the sense of connectedness, community, and adaptability in planning and development to meet sustainability and social outcomes. A total of 12 teams developed their solutions. The winning and runner-up teams presented their concepts to Housing Minister Peter Tinley and other Ministers with portfolios within the Department of Communities at State Parliament. The winning team focused on development of an app that encourages people to get out of their homes and into the community, while the runners-up envisioned a 'UniCity' concept that connects suburbs and improves and supports Perth's ambitious future transport and planning priorities. Mr Tinley said the IDEAHack participants represented academia, government, industry, advocacy groups and the community. About 90 people attended the event, forming 12 teams that addressed six different challenge questions. The IDEAHack judges were Perth MLA John Carey, Creating Communities CEO Allan Tranter, Committee of Perth CEO Marion Fulker, UWA Professor of Architecture Geoffrey London and LWP Property Group Managing Director Danny Murphy. Comments attributed to Housing Minister Peter Tinley "The IDEAHack Challenge was an exciting and unique opportunity for cross-collaboration in government through the Department of Communities' portfolio and other agencies. "Participants developed innovative ways to create vibrant and sustainable communities that provide diverse and affordable housing options, and improved social and wellbeing outcomes for residents. Comment attributed to Perth MLA John Carey "Government ministers and others heard some excellent ideas today about the potential to develop age-friendly communities where residents can stay engaged, socially connected, healthy and safe." Minister's office - 6552 5300
Volunteering reference group ready to take sector forward23372Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements3550html21/02/2018 7:55:35 AM2018-02-21T07:50:00Z McGowan Government fulfils another election commitment, setting up a dedicated community reference group to take the volunteering sector forward Volunteering industry experts to advise on issues and ways to advance volunteering The McGowan Government has fulfilled its election commitment to establish a Volunteering Community Reference Group, which will advise Volunteering Minister Mick Murray on issues in the sector. All positions on the reference group have now been finalised and the group is getting to work on improving the sector for volunteers, and community members and organisations that rely on their contributions. The State Government, the corporate sector, research institutions, community services and volunteering, and individual volunteers all hold positions in the reference group. The Volunteering Community Reference Group members are Hon Mick Murray MLA, Minister for Volunteering Craig Spencer, Chairperson of Volunteering WA Board Tina Williams, CEO, Volunteering WA Scott Hollingworth, Department of Communities Dr Patrick Dunlop, Psychology Senior Lecturer at The University of WA David Hansell, Consulting Director, Deloitte Dr Megan Paull, Director, Researcher and Senior Lecturer at Murdoch University Esme Bowen, volunteer for road safety, disability and sporting sectors Mohammad (Rambo) Ramidianee, volunteer with Make-a-Wish Dan Minchin, Chief Executive Officer, Chorus Maija Ala-Kauhaluoma, Australian Red Cross Humanitarian Settlement Program - Volunteer Engagement Lead Don Bartlem, Clubs WA Metropolitan Committee Member More information about the group is available at http// Comments attributed to Volunteering Minister Mick Murray "The Volunteering Community Reference Group is set to make a great contribution to WA's volunteering sector. "The McGowan Government made this election commitment in response to our volunteering stakeholders calling for it. This is such an important step to move the sector in the right direction. "Nobody knows volunteering better than the people on the ground and those who have been involved closely in the industry over the years. "Members bring together a diverse range of skills and experience, from people working directly as volunteers to organisational leaders and university researchers in the field. "I'm very much looking forward to learning what the group see as the issues and how they believe the State Government can support the volunteering sector to thrive in Western Australia." Minister's office - 6552 6400
Students encouraged to take up careers in cookery23364Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements5150html21/02/2018 5:22:36 AM2018-02-21T05:20:00Z State Government supporting Hospitality Ambassador Program Aims to encourage more students to choose careers in cookery and hospitality, and improve retention rates in the industry Hospitality sector important in boosting tourism A program to encourage high school students to choose commercial cookery and hospitality as a career has launched at Mount Lawley Senior High School. Developed by Hospitality Group Training and FutureNow, with State Government funding through Tourism Western Australia, the program gives school students realistic information about careers in commercial cookery and hospitality, using chef ambassadors as advocates. It will also deliver a pilot mentoring program for a select group of apprentice chefs in the first six months of their career, to assist in improving retention rates. Stage one of the program includes 52 visits to metropolitan schools and four visits to South-West schools with chef ambassadors, as well as three master classes with 'celebrity' chefs. Stage two involves the delivery of a mentoring program aimed at reducing the high drop-out rate among apprentice chefs, which is currently sitting at 50 per cent in the first six months. This will include establishing a telephone hotline, mentoring for 50 apprentices, collecting information from participants, and a proposal to develop an ongoing mentoring program for hospitality apprentices. Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Paul Papalia "There is great value in WA having a thriving hospitality sector. "Quality hospitality offerings complement the State's growing tourism industry, and food and wine tourism is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the tourism industry worldwide. "WA's high-quality food and beverages attract around 400,000 dedicated gourmet travellers each year, who are travelling to the State to not only enjoy what is produced here but also how it is cooked. "Without talented chefs and other hospitality staff, this sector won't continue to flourish." Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery "The hospitality sector is one of the biggest employing industries in the State, employing some 97,000 Western Australians and continuing to grow. "Chefs trained in WA go on to do amazing things, earning themselves positions at some of the world's most famous restaurants. "Bringing the kitchen to the classroom will give WA students an inside look at the industry while encouraging them to consider an apprenticeship or career, and supporting them through that decision process." Tourism Minister's office - 6552 5600 Education and Training Minister's office - 6552 5700