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Prepaid funeral protections to safeguard seniors75668Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements9480html25/05/2018 8:06:26 AM2018-05-25T07:45:00Z McGowan Government to introduce mandatory code of practice for prepaid funerals Code to require clearer contracts, more secure fund management and 30-day cooling-off period Industry and members of the public asked to provide feedback on draft code of conduct The McGowan Government is set to tighten regulations in the multimillion dollar prepaid funeral industry to safeguard seniors and their families from fund mismanagement. The proposed mandatory code of practice would require more clarity in prepaid funeral contracts, introduce a 30-day cooling-off period, and require funeral providers to quarantine clients' funds in accounts separate from their own. The proposed regulation will strengthen an existing voluntary code for the management of prepaid funeral funds - a standard already met by members of the Australian Funeral Directors' Association. The tightened requirements will reach funeral directors who are not members of the Association, as well as 'funeral brokers', who provide prepaid funeral funds but are not certified funeral directors. The proposed mandatory code of practice under the Fair Trading Act will cover all sellers of prepaid funeral packages. Requirements in the proposed code include Information that must be included in a prepaid funeral contract, including what happens in the event of late or missed payments or the death of the consumer before final payment is made if they are paying by instalments; Funds to be held by the WA Public Trustee or an investment manager regulated by the Commonwealth Government; Consumers to be given information in writing as to how the money will be invested; A 30-day cooling-off period; Circumstances under which money paid under a prepaid funeral contract should be refunded; and Funeral directors to keep a register of contracts. The State Government is urging the public and industry to provide feedback on the draft code of practice by visiting http// Comments attributed to Seniors and Ageing Minister Mick Murray "Unfortunately there is the potential in the prepaid funeral industry for unprincipled behaviour when dealing with vulnerable people, especially seniors. "Seniors around the State have millions invested in prepaid funeral funds, and we want to make sure each and every fund is managed correctly. "Companies selling prepaid funeral funds must be held to the highest standard and the proposed mandatory code of practice will ensure the community's expectations are clear." Comments attributed to Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston "The number of prepaid funeral contracts being entered into each year is rising as the population ages, and it's estimated consumer funds are worth $140 million. "This proposed mandatory code of practice should provide a regulatory framework that will protect this major investment by seniors and keep the financial risk low. "It's important we get the regulations right, so we urge the public and funeral directors to review the draft code of practice and let us know what you think prior to making it law." Seniors and Ageing Minister's office - 6552 6400 Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister's office - 6552 6700
WA pivotal in putting nation on front foot for newborn screening75646Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements5280html25/05/2018 4:26:57 AM2018-05-25T04:25:00Z WA commended for key role in landmark initiative on Newborn Bloodspot Screening New national framework set to standardise the approach to newborn screening Health Minister Roger Cook has welcomed the decision of Newborn Bloodspot Screening (NBS) programs across Australia to unite in their approach to what is included in this important newborn test. Commonly known as the 'Guthrie' or 'heel prick test', NBS has been a routine part of newborn care in Australia for half a century. It involves drawing a few drops of blood from the heel of an infant in their first days of life, and screening it for a range of medical disorders. NBS checks for about 25 conditions and is estimated to save the lives of 35 babies in Western Australia every year. It allows for disorders to be detected early and treated effectively. The Minister praised Western Australia's Department of Health for its pivotal role in the development of a National NBS policy framework, which has now been endorsed by the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council. In Australia, NBS is provided by programs that are run and funded by State and Territory governments and therefore operate independently of one another. The framework unites these programs for the first time since their inception 50 years ago, setting out a nationally agreed vision and way of working. It also details what will be needed to ensure the ongoing success of the NBS in Australia. The policy framework is available online at http// Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook "The creation of this framework will ensure Newborn Bloodspot Screening programs continue to be regarded as one of the most successful population health initiatives of our time. "The framework provides clear, national approaches that will support programs into the future by ensuring they are well placed to respond to advances in science and technology while remaining safe and effective. "Endorsement of this initiative is a tribute to the fantastic work of our own Department of Health which provided leadership through key staff in the Office of Population Health Genomics, as well as funding and secretariat support to the working group responsible for developing the framework. "The new framework will also improve consistency, cost effectiveness, transparency and accountability of the individual programs, and enhance healthcare equity across the nation." Minister's office - 6552 6500
Free park entry during Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival75645Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements2930html25/05/2018 4:13:01 AM2018-05-25T04:10:00Z The festival is held annually during the last weekend of May Whale sharks are one of the State's most significant attractions drawing visitors to the region, creating tourism jobs and stimulating the economy The Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival will celebrate the annual whale shark migration with a family festival day, gala cocktail evening, movies under the stars and live music this weekend. As part of the three-day festival, which starts today and is held in Exmouth, there will be free entry for visitors into Cape Range National Park on Sunday, May 27. The festival is a celebration of the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef and the iconic whale sharks that aggregate at Ningaloo Marine Park, between March and August each year, to feed on plankton and krill. The marine park's tropical waters are considered one of the best places to swim with whale sharks due to reliability of numbers and accessibility. Whale shark swim tours operating from Coral Bay and Exmouth will continue through to August, enabling visitors to have a face-to-fin encounter with the friendly giants. The Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival is sponsored by the State Government through Tourism Western Australia's Regional Events Scheme, which is supported by Royalties for Regions. For more information on the festival, visit http// Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson "Western Australia is the only place in Australia, and one of a few places in the world, where you can swim with whale sharks. "More than 29,000 people visited the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef in 2017 to swim with whale sharks. "Facilitating whale shark tourism experiences in a sustainable way is not only ensuring this magnificent species is protected, it is also ensuring a prosperous future for the Exmouth community. "The McGowan Labor Government is committed to promoting conservation and tourism opportunities that showcase WA's magnificent natural environment." Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Paul Papalia "Swimming with these gentle giants at Ningaloo is a massive drawcard for visitors from around the country and the world, creating tourism jobs and boosting the local economy. "It truly is an extraordinary experience that is one of the State's most significant attractions. "The State Government is pleased to support the festival, which not only highlights this fantastic experience and the region to visitors, but also helps to raise awareness of whale shark conservation." Environment Minister's office - 6552 5800 Tourism Minister's office - 6552 5600
Green Paper first step to a modern planning system75644Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements12660html25/05/2018 4:06:09 AM2018-05-25T04:05:00Z Independent review of the planning system proposes five key reform areas Review focused on making the system more efficient, open and understandable Public comment invited on the Green Paper until Friday July 20, 2018 The State Government has today released the Green Paper into the independent review of Western Australia's planning system for public comment. Commissioned by Planning Minister Rita Saffioti and led by Evan Jones, the paper outlines the challenges for the planning system and proposes five key reform areas to help make the system more efficient, open and understandable to everyone. The five proposed reform areas centre on a system that is strategically led, legible, transparent, efficient and delivers smart growth. The review process to date has involved consultation with a broad range of stakeholders, and also considered the merits and challenges of planning systems in other jurisdictions. Comment is invited on the Green Paper, with the feedback received used to inform a White Paper which will be provided to Government for consideration. Submissions close on Friday July 20, 2018. For more information and to provide feedback, visit http// Comments attributed to Planning Minister Rita Saffioti "I initiated this review into the planning system in Western Australia, as I believed there were some changes that could be made to ensure the system met the needs of our rapidly changing State. "This paper acknowledges that whilst the planning system has supported the growth of the State, it has become complex and difficult to understand. "The State needs a contemporary planning system that attracts investment in the smart growth of our towns and cities, and facilitates the delivery of projects such as METRONET, delivers housing choice and enhances our built and natural environments. "The Government will now consider the recommendations made in the Green Paper. We want to hear your views and encourage you to provide your feedback on the ideas and proposals." Minister's office - 6552 5500
Highlighting WA produce on a plate75643Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements5160html25/05/2018 4:00:20 AM2018-05-25T04:00:00Z 'Plating Up WA' campaign encourages diners to eat out and try the best of our homegrown produce Campaign to support WA growers and producers and drive job growth Western Australians are being encouraged to dine out and enjoy the finest WA produce across the State, as part of a month-long 'Plating Up WA' campaign. The campaign, supported by the State Government's Buy West Eat Best initiative, aims to increase patronage to WA restaurants, dining and food service venues during June, which can be a quieter period for the hospitality industry. There are 19 food venues taking part, from fine dining restaurants, pubs and cafes to wineries, burger bars and fish and chip outlets across Western Australia, including in Denmark, Manjimup, Carnarvon and the South-West, as well as Perth and the Swan Valley. Buy West Eat Best is building its network of chefs and hospitality operators to promote the 'buy local' message and showcase WA's fresh local produce. Each venue will have a feature dish that highlights regional and in-season ingredients, including a ploughman's platter sourced from the Swan Valley, Sunsets Café in Carnarvon using local smoked goat with seasonal fruits and herbs, and Denmark's Pepper & Salt restaurant featuring local marron. The Buy West Eat Best restaurant program was launched in May 2016 with 13 venues on board. 'Plating Up WA' is bringing new venues online to focus on WA produce. A full list of participating venues is available at http// Comments attributed to Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan "Here in Western Australia we have some of the freshest, high-quality produce on our doorstep. "We want diners to not hibernate, but embrace winter - it's time to put a coat on, get out and about in June and support local food venues. "By buying fresh and locally grown food and dining out, we are not only supporting our producers, but helping support jobs in our food and beverage industries and in our regions." Minister's office - 6552 6200
WA Police welcomes first Aboriginal Cadet Program graduates75638Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements3930html25/05/2018 2:00:09 AM2018-05-25T02:00:00Z First four Aboriginal cadets graduate as fully sworn police officers Expansion of the Aboriginal Cadet Program underway to increase Aboriginal representation in the WA Police Force Four recruits from the Aboriginal Cadet Program's inaugural intake begin their police careers from today, after successfully graduating from the Western Australia Police Force Academy. The two men and two women were among 41 graduating officers cheered on by family and friends during a ceremonial march-past parade at the Western Australia Police Force Academy in Joondalup. The Aboriginal Cadet Program is a partnership between the WA Police Force and North Metropolitan TAFE, and is open to applicants from 17-25 years of age. The cadetship has been designed to create a more accessible pathway for young Aboriginal people who wish to become police officers, and to increase Aboriginal representation in the Force. Cadets receive on-the-job training within police stations, while attending formal class-based training with North Metropolitan TAFE to achieve a Certificate II in General Adult Education. They then go on to complete the 28-week intensive training course to become fully sworn officers. There are currently 12 participants in the Aboriginal Cadet Program, with a recruitment process underway to identify further potential applicants. Comments attributed to Police Minister Michelle Roberts "Today marks the beginning of a new and exciting career for all our new officers, and I am particularly delighted to welcome the first of our recruits who've been part of the Aboriginal Cadet Program. "Increased representation of Aboriginal people in the WA Police Force is something I know Commissioner Dawson is committed to, and something we as a Government whole-heartedly support. "It is important WA Police continually strive to have a diverse and culturally rich workforce, to ensure it reflects the community it serves. "All of our new recruits have shown enormous determination and professionalism, and the Government thanks you for the positive difference you will be making to communities throughout Western Australia." Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery "This program is the first WA TAFE and WA Police initiative of its kind, and today's graduation is proof of its success. "The cadets have also been supported by North Metropolitan TAFE's Koolark Centre for Aboriginal Students which has provided advice, and academic and cultural mentors throughout their study. "Graduates will now be deployed to regional and metropolitan police stations to start their police career. "The cadets graduating today should be really proud of their achievements and excited for the careers they have ahead of them - no doubt they will inspire others to pursue a great career in the Police Force." Police Minister's office - 6552 6900 Education and Training Minister's office - 6552 5700
New weapon against feral cats in detector dog trial75590Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements5880html25/05/2018 12:00:13 AM2018-05-25T00:00:00Z Trained dogs to detect feral cats in Western Australian bushland Detector dogs could add to existing feral cat control to protect threatened species An innovative trial using expertly trained dogs to detect feral cats in a Wheatbelt reserve could help protect threatened species, such as numbats and woylies. In stage one of the trial this month, three dogs - a Malinois, a Terrier cross and a Labrador cross - and their handlers are working in Tutanning Nature Reserve, near Pingelly, to detect the presence of feral cats. Stage two, scheduled for 2019, will determine their effectiveness, in comparison with other control techniques and test combining techniques, to win the fight against feral cats. The dogs are trained to not attack the cats or native animals. Tutanning Nature Reserve is home to several threatened species that are vulnerable to feral cat predation, including numbats, woylies, chuditch and red-tailed phascogales. The trial is funded by a $165,000 grant from the Australian Government, which has been matched by the Foundation for Australia's Most Endangered Species (FAME), and is being carried out by the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson "Introduced predators such as foxes and feral cats have been the key factor in the decline of small mammal species in WA, and the McGowan Labor Government is committed to finding new, innovative ways to complement existing cat control methods. "Under our leading wildlife conservation program, Western Shield, we are aiming to recover native animal populations in the wild through broadscale fox and feral cat baiting, however, we are always looking at new ways to protect our native animals. "If we can use dogs to identify areas of the highest cat activity, we can make more informed decisions about how, when and where to target feral cats with the aim of reducing the threat of predation on species like numbats and woylies. "I am pleased to see the support of FAME and the Federal Government, including the Threatened Species Commissioner, in recognising the threat of feral cats in Western Australia and I thank them for their contribution to this important research." Minister's office - 6552 5800
Hot off the shelves - new surfer specific personal shark deterrent subsidy now available75588Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements6400html24/05/2018 10:09:53 PM2018-05-24T22:00:00Z Subsidy on Ocean Guardian Surf+ personal shark deterrent now available in stores University research shows the device, even in extreme circumstances, significantly reduces the risk of shark interactions An additional $200,000 added to subsidy program for a further 1,000 devices Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly has urged surfers to consider buying the new surfer specific device, which from today (May 25) can be purchased through the McGowan Government's world-first personal shark deterrent subsidy. The Ocean Guardian's Surf+ device was tested and proven by Flinders University in extreme circumstances - chummed and baited waters in a known shark aggregation area - to reduce the risk of a shark interaction with a great white shark by at least 60 per cent. In more normal surfing conditions, the device is likely to produce an even higher level of deterrence. Western Australians can now access a $200 rebate through retailers who sell the newly approved shark deterrent device and are registered with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. The release of the surf device today, follows on from last year's successful launch of a subsidy for another device - the Ocean Guardian FREEDOM7 - primarily used by divers. More than 1,700 Western Australians have purchased this device. The rebate forms just one facet of the McGowan Government's comprehensive shark mitigation strategy. Other measures include more than $7 million in funding for Surf Life Saving WA beach, helicopter and drone patrols; expanding the Shark Monitoring Network to Esperance; tagging programs; funding for Beach Emergency Number signs; and funding for a swimming enclosure at Falcon. For more information, visit http// Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly "Surfers can now purchase this scientifically proven, subsidised device and be out catching waves this weekend with the confidence they have significantly reduced their chance of a shark interaction. "Research by Flinders University shows that even in extreme conditions - chummed and baited waters - the device reduced the risk of an interaction by at least 60 per cent. "This device will allow surfers to take protection with them, even to the most remote surf locations in WA. "The State Government has a comprehensive shark mitigation strategy to help protect all water users. This strategy includes personal shark deterrents, beach enclosures, tagging programs, new beach signage, an extended Shark Monitoring Network and beach, helicopter and drone patrols. "Western Australians can be assured the McGowan Government is committed to helping keep people safer at our beaches and will continue to look at any new measures backed by science." Minister's office - 6552 6100
New strategy to capitalise on once-in-a-lifetime lithium opportunity75495Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements15390html24/05/2018 6:00:28 AM2018-05-24T06:00:00Z Taskforce established to oversee new Lithium and Energy Materials Strategy Strategy to create a world-leading lithium and energy material industry in WA and long-term jobs State Government is committed to facilitating the processing of lithium and other energy materials in WA Capitalising on the global demand for lithium batteries and WA's large deposits of lithium and energy materials The McGowan Labor Government will establish a taskforce to capitalise on WA's huge potential to produce and process lithium and other energy materials, and create jobs for Western Australians. Western Australia is the world's leading producer of lithium and is uniquely placed to capitalise on the rising growth of battery use and technologies. There is enormous potential to increase downstream processing of lithium and other energy materials in WA, creating long-term job opportunities for Western Australians. The taskforce will oversee development of a Lithium and Energy Materials Strategy to build on WA's competitive advantages, and to develop a world-leading energy materials industry that maximises benefits to Western Australia and creates jobs. It will be chaired by the Minister for Mines and Petroleum and will consist of senior government representatives. The taskforce will engage with key companies and will be informed by an industry stakeholder reference group. It is expected the taskforce will present recommendations to the State Government within six months. As part of the State Budget, the McGowan Labor Government announced $5.5 million in provisional funding to the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA), to support development and manufacturing of technology metals and renewable energy sources. MRIWA will invest the funds, if successful, in its bid to establish a New Energy Industry Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) in WA. The New Energy Industry CRC's objective will be to create value, through industry-led research, and drive global demand for local products, services and solutions. Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan "The availability of lithium and other energy materials in Western Australia creates a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our State. "My Government is committed to the development of this industry to boost our economy and create long-term jobs for Western Australians. "The taskforce will do the work, in consultation with industry, to ensure our State is front and centre in production of battery technologies, and will also work to make sure these materials can be processed here in WA to maximise local jobs." Comments attributed to Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston "Lithium-ion batteries are among the most popular batteries in use today. "Western Australia possesses all the elements required to produce these batteries such as lithium, nickel, graphite and cobalt, meaning we are in the box seat to capitalise on the growth of this industry. "This isn't just about extracting resources from the ground. It's also about processing them here in WA to create jobs for Western Australians. "We are determined to make the most of the opportunity, and the taskforce will set out a clear plan to establish Western Australia as a world leader in this industry." Premier's office - 6552 5000 Mines and Petroleum Minister's office - 6552 6700
Three-day event celebrates African cultures in WA75493Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Media Statements4750html24/05/2018 4:00:47 AM2018-05-24T04:00:00Z Africa Day events bring Western Australia's diverse African communities together The McGowan Government supports Africa Day with $5,000 through the Office of Multicultural Interests A series of events celebrating African cultures will take place across the State this week, as part of Africa Day 2018. The annual commemoration marks the founding of the African Union in 1963, and brings together Western Australia's diverse African communities to celebrate African unity. Africa Day has developed into a platform for creating awareness about all things Africa, all around the world. Apart from the political and economic challenges facing the continent, Africa Day celebrates the African way of life, culture, art, music and love for bright colours. Co-ordinated by the Organisation of African Community of WA and local African community groups, the celebrations are expected to attract hundreds of people. Africa Day 2018 is supported by the McGowan Government with sponsorship of $5,000 through the Office of Multicultural Interests. The program of events includes A free public panel discussion on the topic of 'African Sustainable Development Agendas' at The University of Western Australia on Friday, May 25, 2018; An African-style gala dinner at Gloucester Park on Saturday, May 26, 2018; and A free sporting festival at Herb Graham Recreation Centre on Sunday, May 27, 2018. Africa Day celebrations take place between tomorrow (May 25) and Sunday (May 27), and details of events can be found at http// Comments attributed to Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Minister Paul Papalia "Africa Day takes its place alongside Perth's growing list of colourful community events bringing new cultural experiences to the whole community. "Events like this offer everyone the chance to learn more about WA's African communities while experiencing and enjoying African cultures. "Many Australians of African backgrounds have made Western Australia their home, and have enriched many aspects of our society." Minister's office - 6552 5600