The Federal Government has released legislation for public consultation that will see superannuation funds be obliged to disclose executive remuneration information.

 

The draft legislation requires superannuation funds to publish on their websites:

  • details of director and executive pay;
  • details of what assets the fund has invested in; and
  • an up-to-date 'product dashboard', setting out information on target investment returns, past performance against targets, investment risk, liquidity and fees, in relation to each product offered by the fund.

“In the wake of collapses such as TRIO, it is important for Australians to know where their super savings are being invested. I also think it's valuable to understand how we can extend these standards outside super,” Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation Bill Shorten said.

 

“I will be holding more discussions with key stakeholders on how to further improve transparency and governance in the superannuation industry. Better representation of women on super boards and requiring more regular board renewal are amongst these issues.”

 

The legislation also provides for the APRA to undertake enhanced data collection and publish a wider range of superannuation information, including quarterly data on MySuper products. Further, more detailed transparency requirements will be able to be specified in regulations.

 

The exposure draft can be found here

Published on: ExecutiveCareer

A group of leading Australian scientists have come together to further the development of lower-cost, flexible optoelectronic  devices that promises to transform the country’s consumer electronics industry.

 

The Transparent Electrodes for Plastic Electronics Research Cluster brings together leading scientists from the University of Queensland, the University of Technology Sydney and Flinders University.

 

With over $3 million in funding contributed to the research cluster by CSIRO Flagship Collaboration Fund and a further $3 million from the partnering Universities, the project will run until June 2014.

 

One of the cluster’s key goals is to produce cheap, flexible optoelectronic devices such as displays and lighting based on organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), solar cells, plastic electronics and sensors – technologies for use in products ranging from plastic solar cells to flexible televisions.

 

Dr Calum Drummond, Group Executive of CSIRO Manufacturing, Materials and Minerals, said the research cluster provided a new and very unique combination of skills and technical capability in Australia.

 

 “The cluster consists of leading Australian scientists with individual specialist skills in areas such as nanoscience, thin film deposition and characterisation, chemical physics and electrical engineering,” he said.

 

“This is a novel partnership and one which is essential to the development of new commercial products such as plastic solar cells, solid-state lighting, flexible TV screens, computer displays and beyond,” said Dr Drummond.

 

Published on: ResearchCareer

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) is urging the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to cut the official cash rate by 50 basis points to support the construction sector after a lower than expected inflation rate was posted.

 

“The housing industry and wider Australian economy needs a further 75bps of interest rate cuts and there is nothing standing in the way of a 50bp move to get the ball rolling next Tuesday," said HIA Chief Economist, Dr Harley Dale.

 

“That would, admittedly, be a bold move for the RBA, but it would be entirely appropriate given the pulse of the Australian economy is not beating as fast as the Bank earlier expected,"  noted Dr Dale.

 

“The banks need to follow suit and pass any rate cuts on in full rather than hide behind the fallicious argument that higher funding costs somehow justify them holding some interest rate relief back.”

 

Published on: TradesCareer

Locating and colonising new habitable worlds is a crucial next step for the continued existence of humankind according to research currently being undertaken by scientists from the Australian National University (ANU).

 

Research indicates that such planets are more abundant than stars, meaning that the number of habitable planets should be higher than previously estimated.

 

“Determining whether these planets are habitable has become the new holy grail of astronomy,” said planetary scientist Dr Charley Lineweaver, lead author of the study.

 

“The new-found abundance of planets, combined with the much larger range of inhabited terrestrial environments suggests that habitable planets are common. This increases the probability of finding some kind of extraterrestrial life,” he said.

 

Dr Lineweaver added: “Habitability is not just a question of abiotic environmental conditions – the presence of life may be required to maintain the habitability of a planet over billions of years. The study of the habitability of other Earths is the major focus of astrobiology – and increasingly planetary science and astronomy.

 

“Planetary habitability is a complex and confusing concept that we are only beginning to get our heads around, but as a species that wants to survive, it is in our interest to get our heads around it soon.”

 

The research has been published in the paper, The Habitability of Our Earth and Other Earths: Astrophysical, Geochemical, Geophysical, and Biological Limits on Planet Habitability, online in the Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Sciences:

 

http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-earth-042711-105531

 

Published on: ResearchCareer

Work on Perth’s $440 million redevelopment has commenced after Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett attended a groundbreaking ceremony.

 

The Premier said the works will see 10ha of prime riverfront land into a vibrant, contemporary development, set around a 2.7ha inlet and connected by promenades and boardwalks.

 

“This is a very exciting time for Western Australia - a period of significant transformation, renewal and development that will change the face of Perth and ensure our city can accommodate a rapidly growing population,” Mr Barnett said.

 

“Perth Waterfront will deliver a new destination that continues the public’s use and enjoyment of this area of the city and address the critical need for more residential, commercial and hotel accommodation in the CBD.”

 

Planning Minister John Day said the State Government had awarded a $50million forward works contract to Georgiou Group - one of two major construction packages for Perth Waterfront.

 

“Over the next 12-18 months the removal and relocation of trees, demolition and deconstruction of existing structures, road works and service infrastructure upgrades will be completed to prepare the site for construction of the inlet,” he said.

 

Mr Day said the forward works program for Perth Waterfront also included: 

  • construction of a new two-way road from under the Narrows Bridge to William Street providing direct access into the CBD from Mounts Bay Road
  • demolition of the existing buildings and structures on the Esplanade Reserve
  • deconstruction and storage of the Florence Hummerston Kiosk, ready to be rebuilt at a suitable new location
  • archaeological investigations
  • jetty reconstruction works at Barrack Square
  • full reconstruction of William Street (south of The Esplanade) as a two-way street.

 

 

 

Published on: TradesCareer

The proportion of employees who were trade union members in their main job remained steady at 18% in August 2011, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 


This represents 1.8 million persons who were trade union members in their main job, which is an increase of 46,900 persons from the previous year.

The proportion of public sector employees who were trade union members in their main job was 41% in August 2010 and 43% in August 2011. The proportion of private sector employees who were trade union members in their main job was 13%. 

Two thirds of trade union members (66%) had been a trade union member for 5 years or more, compared with 11% who had been a trade union member for less than 1 year. 

There were 1.5 million employees who were not currently members of a trade union, although they had been previously. Of these, 77% hadn't been a trade union member for 5 years or more, while 4% had been members of a trade union less than 1 year ago. A further 6.6 million (66%) employees had never been a trade union member.

Other findings on trade union membership include:

  • The industry with the highest proportion of male employees who were trade union members was Public Administration and Safety (38%), while for female employees it was Education and Training (40%), and
  • The occupation with the highest proportion of male employees who were trade union members was Machinery Operators and Drivers (29%), while for female employees it was Professionals (33%).

 

 

Published on: TradesCareer

The Western Australian Government has announced it has awarded the $22 million contract for road and infrastructure works at Perth’s Riverside project to Broad Construction.

 

Planning Minister John Day said the next stage of works would stabilise ground conditions and ensure the site was ready for future public spaces and development.

 

“The Riverside project will create new connections and cater for the growing number of people who will live, work and socialise in the area,” Mr Day said.

 

“When complete, Riverside will deliver more than 4,000 new dwellings for 7,000 new residents, and 90,000sqm of retail and commercial space for 6,000 new workers in the area. 

 

Works include site stabilisation and road works that will realign the existing slip lane from Hay Street to the Causeway; the construction of a new two-way road between Trinity College and the WACA; and re-opening Hale Street to private vehicles and two-way traffic.

 

 

Published on: EngineeringCareer

The Federal Government has announced the country is drought free for the first time in over a decade after the two final Exceptional Circumstances (EC) declarations expire.

 

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Joe Ludwig said the expiry of EC declarations in Bundarra and Eurobodalla marks a major milestone for agriculture in Australia.

 

“Now is the time to progress drought reform. We need to take this opportunity to transition from reacting to crises, to a pro-active policy approach that prepares our farmers for the future,” Senator Ludwig said.

 

The Federal Government is working with State and Territory Governments to progress new drought policy, with reform a key topic for discussion at the first Standing Council on Primary Industries meeting held in Adelaide.

 

“As previously agreed with State and Territory Ministers, and recommended by the review of pilot drought reform measures in Western Australia, our reform will see a national framework introduced which focuses on risk management and preparedness, rather than on crisis management,” Senator Ludwig said.

 

“A major step toward that framework will be phasing out the EC interest rate subsidy, which given the end of the final two EC declarations, will conclude on 30 June this year.”

 

 

Published on: GreenCareer

The development of South Australia’s next major uranium mining development has inched closer after the signing of a 10-year least for the Four Mile site.

 

State Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy Tom Koutsantonis said the lease has been accepted by proponents of the project near the Beverley uranium mine in the state’s far north.

 

“PACE funding played a crucial role in discovering the resource at Four Mile, one of the most significant uranium deposits anywhere in the world in the past 25 years,” Mr Koutsantonis says.

 

“The lease accepted by Quasar, an affiliate of Heathgate Resources, the owner and operator of the Beverley Mine, and ASX-listed Alliance Resources allows these joint venturers to develop a mining and rehabilitation program for the Four Mile project.”

 

The minister said he expects the mine to cater heavily for demand from both China and India.

 

“China’s domestic production of uranium can only meet a small part of the demand created by its 13 operating nuclear reactors and the 27 more under construction,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

 

“India on the other hand is expected to increase its use of nuclear power from its current three percent of electricity generation to 40 percent by 2050."

Published on: ResourcesCareer

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has published a report which details the increase in hospital admissions in Australia, finding that rates of admissions in public hospitals are particularly high.

 

The Australian hospital statics 2010-11 report shows that hospital admissions have increased from 8.5 million to 8.9 million between 2009-10 and 2010-11.

 

The report found that the increase in admissions was higher in public hospitals (4.1 per cent) than in private hospitals (3.9 per cent).

 

“This contrasts with the trend over 5 years which showed larger increases for private hospitals than for public hospitals,” said AIHW spokesperson Jenny Hargreaves.

 

Of the 8.9 million hospital admissions, 5.3 million were in public hospitals and 3.6 million were in private hospitals.

 

The increased admissions in public hospitals were accompanied by increased spending. Expenditure on public hospitals was $37 billion in 2010–11. This spending has been increasing faster than inflation, rising by an average of 5.9% each year between 2006-07 and 2010-11 and by 8.2% between 2009–10 and 2010–11.   

 

“People aged over 65 make up a large proportion of all hospital admissions—accounting for 38% of hospital admissions in 2010–11 and 48% of patient days,” Ms Hargreaves said.


“Admissions for people aged 85 and over increased significantly in the 5 years to 2010–11—rising by 41% compared with an increase of about 15% for all other age groups.”

 

Most of these admissions were for acute care (87%) or rehabilitation care (8%).

 

There were 2.2 million admissions that involved a surgical procedure in 2010-11. Of these, about 280,000 were emergency admissions and the remainder were elective

 

About two-thirds of elective admissions involving surgery were in private hospitals.

 

In contrast, about 87% of emergency admissions involving surgery were in public hospitals.

 

“Indigenous Australians had about twice the rate of emergency admissions involving surgery compared with other Australians,” Ms Hargreaves said.

 

The report can be found here

 

 

Published on: HealthCareer

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare  (AIHW) has published a report of the findings of a program aimed at reducing the number of younger people with a disability in residential aged care.

 

The Younger People with disability in aged care: 2010-11 report found that an estimated 1,432 people had been assisted by the program.

 

The report shows the number of service users increased steadily over the five years of the Younger People with Disability in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC) program.

 

“Of these, an estimated 250 achieved the first YPIRAC objective—to move out of residential aged care and into more appropriate accommodation,” said AIHW spokesperson Nigel Harding.

 

A further 244 people achieved the second objective, and were diverted away from residential aged care, while another 456 people achieved the third YPIRAC objective—receiving enhanced services within residential aged care, when this was an available, suitable accommodation option.

 

The remaining program participants received YPIRAC assessment and/or monitoring.

 

Over the life of the YPIRAC program, the total number of permanent residents of residential aged care aged under 65 fell.

 

“In particular, there has been a 35% drop in the number of people under 50 living in permanent aged care since 2005–06,” Mr Harding said.

 

More information can be found here

 

 

 

 

Published on: HealthCareer

The third annual Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) meeting has convened in London, bringing together energy ministers and business leaders from around the world with an aim of driving greater corporation between governments and the private sector on clean energy development.

 

The meeting saw Ministers from 23 countries to review the progress being made in 11 separate initiatives, covering renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy performance and carbon capture and storage.

 

The meeting also covered ways to improve collaboration between governments, strategy development and drive community and business support for clean energy development.

 

"The Clean Energy Ministerial has underscored the challenges and opportunities we face in increasing the development and uptake of renewable energy," Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson said.

 

"I had the opportunity to participate in two wide ranging roundtable discussions on financing renewable energy and on accelerating the development of carbon capture use and storage technology.

 

"Both of these sessions highlighted how the challenges confronting finance of renewables and CCS are long-term problems requiring governments to invest in projects that drive down costs whilst improving their utility.

 

“This emphasised the necessity and importance of Australia’s price on carbon and the $17 billion of clean energy funding contained in the Government’s Clean Energy Future package.

 

Participating CEM governments account for 80 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 90 per cent of global clean energy investment. They also fund the vast majority of public research and development in clean energy technologies.

 

For more information on the CEM see http://www.cleanenergyministerial.org/events/cem3/

 

 

Published on: GreenCareer

Telstra and Optus have both announced plans to expand 4G services in the Newcastle and Hunter regions, with both telcos promising ‘ultra-fast’ mobile coverage.

 

While Optus’ 4G network has been activated in areas across Greater Newcastle as well as the Hunter Valley, Telstra has concentrated its efforts on Newcastle and the immediate area.

 

“Since launching 4G in Newcastle last September, Telstra has quickly expanded its 4G product range to include advanced smartphones, a 4G tablet and three mobile broadband devices including a 4G Mobile Wi-Fi which allows customers to share a 4G network connection with up to five devices simultaneously,” Telstra Area General Manager Chris Cusack said.

 

The announcement by Optus comes ahead of their planned 4G capital city network rollout, which will see the company deliver 4G services to Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane from mid-2012.

 

 

Published on: ICTCareer

Optus has released the results of a communication survey, with findings showing users place more importance on the quantity rather than quality of communication.

 

According to the research, 85 per cent of Australians feel they are not communicating with friends and family as much as they would like, while almost half (43 per cent) admit they spend more time communicating with people outside of their friends and family.

 

Optus found the average Australian has 165 Facebook friends, while only 33 of those are considered close.

 

“Rather than feeling closer to their network, 45 per cent of people actually feel that social networking makes them feel less close to friends and family, with more than half (54 per cent) admitting they find it difficult to say the words they need to loved ones, in particular to our parents,” the research report found.

 

"In an age where we can communicate with more people than ever before, the research suggests we find it hard to stay as close to the people who matter most. Social media is a fantastic way of staying in touch. We just need to use it more to stay in touch with the people we care about the most - that is our close friends and family,” Gavin Williams, Head of Segment Marketing at Optus said.

 

 

“Rather than feeling closer to their network, 45 per cent of people actually feel that social networking makes them feel less close to friends and family, with more than half (54 per cent) admitting they find it difficult to say the words they need to loved ones, in particular to our parents,” the research report found.

 

"In an age where we can communicate with more people than ever before, the research suggests we find it hard to stay as close to the people who matter most. Social media is a fantastic way of staying in touch. We just need to use it more to stay in touch with the people we care about the most - that is our close friends and family,” Gavin Williams, Head of Segment Marketing at Optus said.

 

 

Published on: ICTCareer

Executives at Huawei Australia could be shortlisted as the company’s possible new global CEO, according to a report conducted by the Australian Financial Review (AFR).

 

Current CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei announced plans to rotate the position once every six months among a selected group of senior executives.

 

Although the pool of candidates is currently limited to the group’s senior directors, Australian executives are considered a black horse for the role, according to insiders contacted by the AFR.

 

The full AFR story can be found here

Published on: ExecutiveCareer

Federal Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations has announced the Government has intervened in Federal Court proceedings with the Health Services Union (HSU) by applying for the application for the appointment of an Administrator for the HSU East Branch.

 

The Government has taken this decision to provide for the HSU to function into the future:

  • meeting the expectations and in the interests of HSU members;
  • sustainably and in a proper and democratic way; and
  • in accordance with its statutory obligations, including those set out in the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act.

“Australians have long supported a free and independent union movement which is representative of and accountable to its members,” Mr Shorten said. 


“I am particularly concerned that the interests of HSU members across Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT are not being properly served by the current dysfunction within the HSU East Branch.”

 

“My intervention is to ensure the broader public interest in working Australians having effective and accountable union representation is not undermined.”

 

 

Published on: HealthCareer

The Federal Government has announced it will provide the NSW Government with $57.6 million over five years for three new projects to improve the care and support provided to those living with severe mental illnesses.

 

Under the new National Partnership Agreement (NP), NSW will receive the largest funding boost of all states and territories.

 

Outlined in the funding package, the spending will support the following:

 

  • $35.2 million for the expansion of the existing NSW Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative (HASI) to enable more people to live in the community in stable and secure accommodation, with links to clinical mental health and rehabilitation services for people who require 16 or 24 hour support.
  • $12.3 million for the provision of intensive, family focussed support to mothers with mental illness and their children to keep them together, through the provision of high, medium and low packages of care and short term housing.
  • $10.2 million for in-reach support services to boarding house residents who have been assessed as having mental health issues, through the provision of 200 continuous and ongoing new low support packages.

 

Requests for tenders for the initiatives for will be advertised on the NSW Government e-tendering website https://tenders.nsw.gov.au/health/ in May 2012. Interested parties may register on the site to receive e-mail notifications when new tenders are published.

 

Published on: HealthCareer

The new Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer has opened, incorporating the LIVESTRONG Cancer Research Centre and the ACRF Cancer Prevention Unit.

 

“The work in the LIVESTRONG research wing of this integrated centre will focus on innovation in the early diagnosis, prevention and treatment of cancer,” South Australian Minister for Health and Ageing John Hill said.

 

The South Australian Government has committed $7.5 million to a project, with a further $5 million in recurrent funding to support research and other work.

 

The Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer is a joint venture between the Flinders Medical Centre Foundation, the Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University.

 

“The Centre’s work ties in with South Australia’s strategic commitment to high-level research and the translation of advances in knowledge and technology into better prevention and treatment,” Minister Hill said.

Published on: EducationCareer

The Federal Government has convened the first meeting of a new working group tasked with considering the findings and recommendations of the Gonski Review in relation to capital funding for the country’s schools.

 

Parliamentary Secretary for School Education, Senator Jacinta Collins, said state and territory government and non-government school representatives  had begun conversations on how capital funding requirements can be better met.

 

“It is clear our collective efforts should be directed at improving the educational outcomes of all students,” Ms Collins said.

 

“It is important we understand and address capital funding issues and the impact these have on the ability of all Australian school students to maximise their educational attainment.”

The working group will be looking at how best to:

  • include ongoing maintenance and minor capital works in a schooling resource standard
  • ensure infrastructure spending is more transparent; and
  • match infrastructure spending with the needs of schools through planning.

 

The Capital Working Group, made up of both government and non-government school representatives, will report to the Council of Australian Governments through the Standing Council on School Education and Early Childhood.

 

Published on: EducationCareer

The Federal Government has announced the first phase of the Empowering Local Schools initiative that will allow public schools to join together to form ‘confederations’ to allow greater integrated decision-making and community engagement.

 

The Federal Government will provide over $480 million over the next seven years to roll out the intiative, including $69 million in funding to roll the scheme out to 1000 schools in the next two years.

 

Under the program:

 

  • Schools will be able to form confederations to work together to achieve greater flexibility and make collective decisions. This could include shared staffing arrangements.
  • Regional and rural schools can join with schools in metropolitan areas to increase the curriculum options available to their students.
  • Small regional schools can join with other schools to form ‘centres of excellence’ in areas such as joint financial management.
  • Schools will be provided funding to change or improve their operations or service delivery in areas such as governance, school operations, maintenance and infrastructure, and workforce issues such as staff recruitment and performance. Schools taking part will consult with their local community, including parents, business and local government, about the changes they wish to make.
  • Schools will receive a grant of $40-50,000 to help implement changes.

 

More information on the initiative can be found here

 

 

Published on: EducationCareer

A team of research scientists has announced a major breakthrough in slowing or even halting the development of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

 

In research published in the medical science journal Brain, scinetists from the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboraties, the University of Toronto, Yale and the University of Western Australia have demonstrated research that blocks the development of a protein that contributes to nerve damage, the key symptom of MS.

 

The research team found that a modified version of CRMP-2 is present in active MS lesions, which indicate damage to the nervous system, in a laboratory model of MS.

 

The modified CRMP-2 interacts with another protein to cause nerve fibre damage that can result in numbness, blindness, difficulties with speech and motor skills, and cognitive impairments in sufferers.

 

Director of MISCL, Professor Richard Boyd said the discovery could lead to new treatments for MS.

 

“Blocking the same protein in people with MS could provide a ‘handbrake’ to the progression of the disease,” Professor Boyd said.  

 

MS Australia estimates the disease currently affects over 20,000 people in Australia, and up to 2.5 million worldwide. 

Published on: HealthCareer

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