Australians are increasingly happier with their jobs, with job satisfaction increasing across the board according to CareerOne.com.au’s Hidden Hunters Report.  

 

The report found that job satisfaction has increased across every aspect measured, returning to 2010 levels, with 310,000 people happier with their job than 12 months ago.

 

“Job satisfaction has returned to 2010 levels with increasing levels of satisfaction across every aspect measured. Workers are most satisfied with the team, the work itself, hours worked and flexibility with all experiencing significant increases over the past 12 months,” CareerOne.com.au Chief Executive Michael Harvey said.

 

However, the buoyant employment report was offset by increasing pessimism about the country’s economy with 20 percent of people responding they felt ‘very concerned’ about the economy, up from 11 percent last year. 

 

“The report shows a significant jump in concern held about the economy. Interestingly, this is not driven by their personal financial circumstances with no change in those finding it ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’ from 2011 to 2012. Clearly, more macro concerns about the Australian economy and international events are worrying many job seekers this year,” Mr Harvey said.

 

 

 

 

 

Published on: HRCareer

The Acting Commonwealth Ombudsman Alison Larkins has confirmed her office is satisfied that the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) has confirmed with recommendations relating to the school chaplaincy program.

 

“DEEWR has made a significant effort to reform its administration of the newly-named National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program,” Ms Larkins said.

 

“The program has been expanded to allow schools to engage welfare workers, as well as chaplains, all of whom must now hold or be working towards a minimum qualification in youth work, pastoral care or an equivalent discipline.

 

“And new internal guidelines have been developed that require more rigorous assessment of applicants and provide greater clarity in relation to child protection issues and police checks.”

 

Some of the problems highlighted by the Ombudsman’s investigation involved processes for gaining parental consent for children to participate in the program, funding agreements and complaint handling.

 

Since then, DEEWR has responded by:

  • agreeing to develop and provide to parents relevant information about the program
  • clarifying its expectations about what constitutes adequate consultation with the school community and consent processes
  • creating a service agreement between funding recipients and schools to ensure that: all key participants in the program are accountable; protection of children and parental rights is central to the administration of the program; schools manage the program in accordance with the guidelines; and consistent national monitoring of the program can be undertaken by schools and DEEWR officials
  • amending and expanding the program’s code of conduct
  • reviewing complaint-handling procedures and auditing the operation of new procedures.

 

 

Ms Larkins said that an outstanding issue was the lack of a direct definition of the term ‘pastoral care’ in the guidelines. In response, DEEWR agreed to address this issue in the near future to alleviate confusion regarding what is meant by the term.

 

 

Published on: EducationCareer

The Federal Government has announced the full list of appointments to the Regional Development Australia Western Australia branch.

 

Minister for Regional Australia Simon Crean described the RDA committes as being ‘more than the eyes and ears for Canberra,’.

 

“Their input is central to our place-based approach because it will help us better respond to the challenges and opportunities different regions face and enable us to embed regionalism into the way we govern in a way that can't be unpicked,” Mr Crean said.

 

RDA consists of a national network of 55 committees which are made up of leaders who work with all levels of government, business and community groups to support the development of their regions.

 

The full list of appointments are as follows:

 

Great Southern WA

 

  • Milton Evans – Chair
  • Des Wolf
  • Ian Alexander
  • Sally Malone
  • Liz Guidera
  • Anne Sparrow
  • Cassandra Stipanice

 

Wheatbelt

  • Gary Tuffin
  • Tony Nottle
  • Anna-Lisa Newman
  • Glenice Batchelor

 

 

South West

 

  • Alison Comparti
  • Christine Kershaw
  • Fiona Skilbeck
  • Ray Philp
  • Robert Irvin
  • Ian Stubbs
  • Matt Grange

 

West Gascoyne

  • Vicki Peterson – Chair
  • Leonie Noble – Deputy Chair
  • Amanda Silvester
  • Bevan Gray
  • Christine Douglas
  • Dean Carslake
  • Gavin Treasure
  • Jamie Strickland
  • Kirra Warr
  • Peter Clark

 

Perth

  • Peter Schneider – Chair
  • John Garland
  • Elizabeth Taylor
  • Marilynn Horgan
  • Marion Fulker
  • Richard Kilbane
  • Mick McCarthy
  • Sheryl Froes

 

Pilbara

 

  • Collene Longmore – Chair
  • Kelly Howlett – Deputy Chair
  • David (Harry) Hipworth
  • Fiona White-Hartig
  • Gloria Jacob
  • Annette Eyre
  • Veronica Rodenburg

 

Kimberley

  • Michele Pucci – Chair
  • Glen Chidlow – Deputy Chair
  • Susan Bradley
  • Katya Tripp
  • Elsia Archer

  

Goldfields Esperance

  • Mal Osborne – Chair
  • Robert Hicks – Deputy Chair
  • Dale Piercey
  • Jeffery Carter
  • Patrick Hill
  • Julia Shadlow-Bath

 

Peel

  • Coral Richards – Chair
  • Rhys Williams – Deputy Chair
  • Geoff Samuels
  • Ian Hill
  • Jan Star
  • Leonie Hanse
  • Geoff Samuels
  • Ian Hill
  • Jan Star
  • Leonie Hanse

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

The New South Wales Government has announced it will seek to introduce legislation that will ensure that a person can only serve in one elected position in either State Parliament or a council.

 

State Minister for Local Government Don Page said the proposed legislation would bring NSW more into line with other states including Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

 

“This proposed legislation would ensure that one person would serve in one elected position in State or local government, dedicating their time and effort to one clear role in the NSW political system,” Mr Page said.

 

“The Bill brings NSW into line with other Australian States which have previously decided that it is appropriate that an elected person only serves in one tier of government.

 

“This proposed legislation is not about any particular MP or councillor. This issue was raised after the last State election when it became known that there were 29 MPs in the new State Parliament, from all Parties and including independents, who were serving concurrently as councillors or mayors – a large number, considering the practice is prohibited in other States.

 

“The Bill ensures that State MPs are full-time Members of Parliament and representatives of the constituents in their electorates. Being in State Parliament while council is meeting at the same time clearly means that ratepayers are not getting full value from their councillor and, similarly, if a councillor is absent from State Parliament because of council business, then that is not fair on the MP’s constituents. The NSW Government believes it is appropriate that State MPs should be devoting themselves entirely to being MPs.”

 

Mr Page said the Bill seeks to amend the Local Government Act 1993, to allow a councillor who has been elected to State Parliament to serve out the current term on their local council before vacating it at the next general local government election, which are held 18 months after State elections.

 

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Bill 2012 was passed by the House of Representatives on 20 March 2012.

 

The Bill will receive the Governor General's assent in coming weeks and will have an immediate impact on exemptions for research and regulatory approvals. Other provisions within the Bill come into effect 12 months from assent.

 

Raising the Bar addresses six key areas:

  • raising the quality of granted patents
  • free access to patented inventions for regulatory approvals and research
  • reducing delays in resolution of patent and trade mark applications
  • assisting the operations of the IP profession
  • improving mechanisms for trade mark and copyright enforcement
  • simplifying the IP system.

 

More information about the Bill is here

http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/about-us/what-we-do/ip-reforms/

Published on: ICTCareer

Health and medical research organization, Research Australia, has launched a new blog facility, ‘Transmission’ that focus principally on the policy and advocacy area.

 

Postings will centre around current activity in the health and medical research world and users will be able to comment and respond to the ideas presented.

 

Research Australia’s new Head of Policy, Greg Mullins is coordinating Research Australia’s submissions to the key reviews at the Federal level concerning the future of the health and medical research and the not-for-profit sectors.

 

These reviews will encapsulate the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) review and the Commonwealth Review of Health

and Medical Research, headed by Simon McKeon.

 

In addition to member consultation, Greg will be sharing his findings in the Transmission blog facility.

 

Research Australia’s CEO Elizabeth Foley said the move into a digital environment will complement the organisation’s considerable public and wider research sector engagement. She said the dialogue arising from Transmission will help inform positions and assist Research Australia to gain a greater understanding of public and sector perceptions on the issues.

 

The transmission blog facility will be available on the Research Australia website from mid March and will be updated regularly.

 

Published on: HealthCareer

Professor Glyn Davis, Chair of Universities Australia and Vice-Chancellor, University of Melbourne, has announced that Universities Australia will develop a comprehensive statement for Australian higher education policy.

 

Delivering an address to the National Press Club, Professor Davis said the statement would involve three steps:

 

  • detailed national polling work on Australian attitudes to higher education has been commissioned;
  • From the middle of 2012 Universities Australia will run public meetings across the country to engage communities about their aspirations for higher education; and
  • Universities Australia will complete and publish a detailed policy position for release well before the 2013 federal election. This will be a comprehensive statement from the sector about what it seeks from the next government.

 

Community meetings on the role of higher education in Australia's future will be sponsored by four universities - ANU, Deakin, Curtin and Central Queensland.

 

Professor Davis outline a series of ‘tough questions’ that will be posed in the policy development process. These included:

 

  • How do we fund important disciplines that fail to attract students?
  • Do we really want to face the future with few skills in maths and science, with only a handful of citizens able to converse in the languages of our region?
  • How should policy respond where there are sharp shifts in market share, or even failure in some institutions?
  • Will universities be allowed to form alliances, to amalgamate with TAFEs and private providers?
  • How will public institutions respond rapidly when they are defined by state and territory legislation?
  • What should be the role of private providers, of TAFE? Will Australia end up replicating the school system, with governments funding both public and private institutions?
  • As international players arrive on our shores, do they too claim a share of taxpayer support?
  • What happens when the quality agency deems an institution no longer meets the definition of a university?
  • How can we achieve per student funding that enables us to deliver world class education? What should be the mix of contribution between government and students?
  • In a world of constrained resources, when nearly 80 per cent of grant applications cannot secure funding, how do we ensure research has the support it needs in every university?

The text of Professor Davis’s address is here.

Published on: EducationCareer

Local Government Minister Don Page has announced the establishment of an independent expert panel to investigate structural arrangements affecting the financial sustainability of councils across NSW.

 

The review was initiated in response to a request from the Local Government Association of NSW and the Shires Association of NSW.

 

Mr Page said the Local Government Review Panel is the first initiative to be announced out of the Destination 2036 Action Plan, which is nearing completion. The expert panel will investigate ways to create stronger and better councils in the future.

 

“The Local Government Review Panel will investigate and identify options for governance models, structural arrangements and voluntary boundary changes for local government in NSW,” Mr Page said.

 

“The Review Panel will take into consideration councils’ ability to support the needs of their communities, ability to deliver services and infrastructure efficiently, ability to provide local representation and decision making, the financial sustainability of each council area, and any barriers that inhibit, or incentives that could encourage, voluntary boundary changes.

 

“As Minister, I appreciate the good working relationship I have with the Local Government Association of NSW and the Shires Association of NSW, and their presidents Keith Rhoades and Ray Donald. I thank them for their positive approach to reforming local government and their request for this independent expert panel.”

 

The three-member Review Panel will be chaired by Professor Graham Sansom, who currently heads up the Australian Centre for Excellence in Local Government. Two other panel members will be selected in due course.

 

“The independent Review Panel will seek to make councils stronger, more sustainable, and better able to meet the needs of their communities moving forward,” Mr Page said.

 

Mr Page said the Review Panel is the first stage in the rollout of the Destination 2036 Action Plan. The NSW Government’s Destination 2036 conference in Dubbo last August was the first time that representatives of all NSW councils and key local government stakeholders were invited by a NSW Local Government Minister to meet and develop ways to make local government in NSW more sustainable.

 

The Destination 2036 Action Plan supports the broader objectives of the State, as outlined in the 2021 State Plan.

 

Mr Page said that he heard at Destination 2036 the three greatest challenges for councils were infrastructure and asset management, financial sustainability, and coping with the changing nature of their populations and demographics.

 

“Those are significant challenges for local governments, which will require significant reform, and the Review Panel will investigate options to achieve that.”

 

The Review Panel will be expected to report to the Minister with its findings within 12 to 14 months from its commencement.

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

A study by the Colorado School of public health has shown that pollution caused by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, may contribute to acute and chronic health problems for those living near natural gas drilling sites.

 

“Our data show that it is important to include air pollution in the national dialogue on natural gas development that has focused largely on water exposures to hydraulic fracturing,” said Lisa McKenzie, Ph.D., MPH, lead author of the study and research associate at the Colorado School of Public Health.

 

The report, which is based on three years of monitoring, found a number of potentially toxic petroleum hydrocarbons in the air near fracking wells, including the well known carcinogen benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene.

 

“Our results show that the non-cancer health impacts from air emissions due to natural gas development is greater for residents living closer to wells,” the report said. “The greatest health impact corresponds to the relatively short-term, but high emission, well completion period.”

 

According to the study, prolonged exposure to trimethylbenzenes, aliaphatic hydrocarbons, and xylenes can cause serious neurological and respiratory conditions.

 

“We also calculated higher cancer risks for residents living nearer to the wells as compared to those residing further [away],” the report said. “Benzene is the major contributor to lifetime excess cancer risk from both scenarios.” The report, which looked at those living about a half-mile from the wells, comes in response to the rapid expansion of natural gas development in rural Garfield County, in western Colorado.

 

The study will be published in the upcoming edition of Science of the Total Environment

Published on: GreenCareer

The Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith has invited industry, communities and local governments to join consultation sessions on the Government's review of how the state's waste is managed.

 

"The Coalition recently announced $9 million to support a range of waste management related programs based on outcomes from the Sustainability Victoria Review, because resource efficiency and job creation is firmly on our agenda," Mr Smith said.

 

Recent announcements include:

  • $3.5m for transition support to improve regional landfill infrastructure to meet tougher environmental standards
  • a $3m regional support package to fund a range of initiatives targeting resource recovery; and
  • a $2.5m regional organics strategy for state of the art facilities, improved infrastructure and market development.

 

"While some things are working well, it is time to take stock and maximise unrealised opportunities to recover more of our resources," Mr Smith said.

 

"The carbon price will also have an impact on the waste and resource recovery markets in Victoria, so we need to understand these impacts so Victorian operators are not left behind.

 

To register interest in attending one of the sessions, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information including a copy of the Waste Policy Review discussion paper, visit www.dse.vic.gov.au/waste 

 

Published on: GreenCareer

The Victorian Water Minister Peter Walsh has announced a temporary suspension of some of Victoria's allocation trade to protect next season's allocations to Victorian water entitlement holders.

 

The temporary suspension until 30 June begins immediately for trade of water allocation:

  • from New South Wales to Victoria, and
  • from the Goulburn, Campaspe and Loddon systems to the Victorian River Murray system, or to interstate.

 

Mr Walsh said high storage levels, large volumes of unused irrigation water, Victoria's progressive carryover rules and recent floods in the southern Murray-Darling Basin had again converged to create challenges in managing allocation trade.

 

"The current circumstances are very similar to those of last year when an identical suspension was put in place," Mr Walsh said.

 

Mr Walsh said allocation trades into the Victorian Murray increased the obligation to deliver water to users, but Victorian storages did not receive a matching secure volume of water.

 

"Victoria and NSW have agreed to amend accounting rules so that when there is a chance of spill from Hume Dam, water is transferred in Dartmouth," Mr Walsh said.

 

"But when there is also a chance of spill from Dartmouth, Victoria cannot securely accept any more water from NSW. If allocation trade from NSW continues in this situation, the water available to Victorian irrigators in the next irrigation season may be reduced.

 

"Trade from the Goulburn, Campaspe and Loddon systems will also impact on future allocations in the Victorian Murray system if trade is not temporarily suspended.

 

"If there is a spill from Lake Eildon in the new season, it will wipe out some or all of the water to be supplied to the Murray or interstate from the inter-valley account, which poses an unacceptable risk to Victorian Murray allocations next season.

 

"With Eildon at 94 per cent, it's likely there will be one or more spill events from Lake Eildon."

Mr Walsh said Victoria supported trade but the suspensions were necessary as it was unfair to allow trade if it was done at the expense of Victorian Murray entitlement holders.

 

Mr Walsh said the suspensions would apply to applications for trade allocation that were received after close of business yesterday, when the temporary suspension rules were published in the Government Gazette.

 

Mr Walsh said a review of carryover was currently underway, with the Carryover Review Committee reviewing various aspects of the carryover provisions and in particular the spill rule that applies on the Murray system.

 

"It is very important that we review these rules to ensure they provide the best policy framework for the future," Mr Walsh said.

 

Published on: WaterCareer

The NSW Government has announced that contracts have been awarded to landholders in the Central West of NSW for a major Soil Carbon Sequestration Scheme pilot.

 

The pilot will be run in the region north of Cowra and includes the centres of Manildra, Canowindra and Cudal.

 

The aim of the pilot is to develop and test a Market Based Instrument (MBI) to sequester soil carbon in the Lachlan Catchment. The soil carbon MBI has been developed by NSW Department of Primary Industries and Office of Environment and Heritage, and was funded by Catchment Action NSW.

 

In a competitive tender process announced in June last year, farmers could choose to participate in the pilot through three different types of contracts, including:

• ‘actions-based’ contracts - which involve paying farmers to adopt specific practices to increase soil carbon stores;

• ‘outcome-based’ contracts - which involve paying farmers on the basis of the amount of carbon they actually store in their soil; or

• ‘hybrid’ contracts - which involve a combination of two previous options.

 

A total of 26 bids, to the sum of 11,455 tonnes of CO2-e, were submitted and 11 of these have been successful in gaining funding.  These 11 bids account for 7,819 tonnes of CO2-e, or 66 per cent of the total amount of carbon sequestration offered by farmers.

 

The farmers involved will be paid to store carbon in their soil by changing their land management practices across cropping and pasture systems.

 

A legal contract for the five-year project is in place between each of the landholders and the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority.

 

All farmers involved in the project are required to participate in annual reporting and monitoring and provide updates throughout the year.

Published on: GreenCareer

Legislation has been passed through Parliament to increase the Superannuation Guarantee Levy from 9% to 12%.

 

The increase was supported by the Financial Services Council, which argued it was necessary to reduce the estimated Retirement Savings Gap from $836 billion to $768 billion. A research report by Rice Warner Actuaries, released by the FSC, showed that without the increase in the Superannuation Guarantee contribution rate to 12% the estimated RSG would be $184 billion higher at $1,020 billion.

 

However, the Australian Industry Group has called for the Government to immediately introduce amendments to the Fair Work Act requiring Fair Work Australia to take the increased levy into account when determining minimum wage increases.

 

Ai Group Chief Executive Heather Ridout said it was also “vital that Minister Shorten urge employers and unions to take the increased levy into account when negotiating enterprise agreement wage increases.”

 

“This is important. Unless the Government expresses its support for this, unions are likely to oppose any absorption of the increases into the wage increases which would have otherwise been paid.

 

"Such fair and sensible measures would reduce the negative impacts of the cost increases on businesses and the economy.

 

"Throughout the period when the Superannuation Guarantee Levy was originally phased in from 3% in 1992 to 9% in 2002, the federal workplace relations legislation included a section (90A) which required the Tribunal to have regard to the Superannuation Guarantee Levy when making national wage case decisions. A similar provision should be included in the Fair Work Act," Mrs Ridout said.

 

The increased SGR will be phased in over the next seven years, beginning with a rise to 9.25% from 1 July 2013.

 

The increase schedule is as follows:

Year 1 starting 1 July 2013: 9.25%

Year 2 starting 1 July 2014: 9.5%

Year 3 starting 1 July 2015: 10%

Year 4 starting 1 July 2016: 10.5%

Year 5 starting 1 July 2017: 11%

Year 6 starting 1 July 2018: 11.5%

Year 7 starting 1 July 2019: 12%

Published on: FinanceCareer

A new Aviation Simulation Laboratory has been opened at Swinburne University of Technology's Hawthorn Campus.

 

The new laboratory is the only research facility in Australia to be equipped with simulators capable of replicating flight in both aeroplanes and helicopters.

 

Researchers will use a variety of methods to monitor both experienced and trainee pilots using the facility in a range of projects which will examine the impact of issues such as fatigue, poor visibility and pilot inexperience on flight safety, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Matthew Bailes said.

 

"Australians rely on aeroplanes and helicopters to connect us to each other and the world. Their navigation, operation and simulation are complex ICT/engineering problems, so it is appropriate that a University of Technology like Swinburne should establish itself as a regional leader in aviation research," Professor Bailes said.

 

The FlyIt Professional Helicopter Simulator is the only one of its kind in Australasia and is capable of simulating six types of helicopter, including the Bell 206 Jet Ranger light turbine helicopter.

 

"Helicopters are used extensively in civil aviation, from fighting fires to shuttling workers to oil rigs; but research into key factors to improve the performance and safety of helicopter pilots is quite minimal," Professor Bailes said.

 

The laboratory is also equipped with Victoria's only Redbird flight simulator, capable of simulating flight in a single-engine Cessna 172 and a twin-engine Beechcraft Baron. A full-sized Cessna is also housed at the Hawthorn laboratory, providing hands-on opportunities for maintenance training.

 

"This facility will enable researchers to study some of the key stressors and challenges faced by pilots - ensuring this Laboratory will make a valuable contribution to improving safety, with an impact both in Australia and beyond," said Stephen Fankhauser, Swinburne's Aviation Discipline Leader.

 

"In the future, Swinburne hopes to further expand the scope and scale of aviation research, working closely with our industry partners," added Mr Fankhauser.

Published on: EngineeringCareer

A promising alternative to traditional silicon-based solar cells has been developed by Dr Mark Bissett  from the Flinders University School of Chemical and Physical Sciences using carbon nanotubes.

 

Carbon nanotubes are cheaper to make and more efficient to use than their silicon counterparts.

 

“Solar power is actually the most expensive type of renewable energy – in fact the silicon solar cells we see on peoples’ roofs are very expensive to produce and they also use a lot of electricity to purify,” Dr Bissett said.

 

“The overall efficiency of silicon solar cells are about 10 per cent and even when they’re operating at optimal efficiency it could take eight to 15 years to make back the energy that it took to produce them in the first place because they’re produced using fossil fuels,” he said.

 

Dr Bissett said the new, low-cost carbon nanotubes are transparent, meaning they can be “sprayed” onto windows without blocking light, and they are also flexible so they can be weaved into a range of materials including fabric – a concept that is already being explored by advertising companies.

 

While the amount of power generated by solar windows would not be enough to completely offset the energy consumption of a standard office building, Dr Bissett said they still had many financial and environmental advantages.

 

“In a new building, or one where the windows are being replaced anyway, adding transparent solar cells to the glass would be a relatively small cost since the cost of the glass, frames and installation would be the same with or without the solar component,” Dr Bissett said.

 

“It’s basically like tinting the windows except they’re able to produce electricity, and considering office buildings don’t have a lot of roof space for solar panels it makes sense to utilise the many windows they do have instead.”

 

Dr Bissett said the technology mimics photosynthesis, the process whereby plants obtain energy from the sun.

 

“A solar cell is created by taking two sheets of electrically conductive glass and sandwiching a layer of functionalised single-walled carbon nanotubes between the glass sheets,” he said.

 

“When light shines on the cell, electrons are generated within the carbon nanotubes and these can be used to power electrical devices.”

 

Although small prototypes have been developed in the lab, he said the next step would be to test the carbon cells on an “industrial stage”.

 

If all goes to plan, the material could be on the market within 10 years.

 

“When we first started the research we had no idea if it would work because we were the first in the world to try it so it’s pretty exciting that we’ve proved the concept, and hopefully it will be commercially available in a few year’s time,” Dr Bissett said.

 

Dr Bissett is a winner of Flinders inaugural Best Student Paper Award, a now annual program which aims to recognise excellence in student research across the University.

Published on: EnergyCareer

More than 210,000 workers and job seekers will be assisted by the Federal Government's foundation skills programs over the next four years.

 

Releasing the revised Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF), Parliamentary Secretary for Skills, Sharon Bird MP, said that improving literacy and numeracy skills from the lowest to middle level, as identified by the ABS Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey scale, can increase a person's chance of getting a job by five to 15 percentage points, and increase their hourly wage rate by about 25 to 30 per cent.

 

"The Australian Government is committed to building the foundation skills of the workforce to give every Australian the chance to share in the benefits of Australia's strong national economy," Ms Bird said.

 

"In our last two budgets we have invested an additional $297.8 million over four years in programs to improve the foundation skills of the Australian workforce.

 

"The $115 million 2010 Foundation Skills Package and the $182.8 million 2011 Building Australia's Future Workforce package will expand program delivery to assist more than 72,000 workers and 140,000 job-seekers over the next four years.

 

"Giving more Australians the skills they need to join the workforce will help drive productivity.

"Improved literacy and numeracy skills will not only benefit the individual, but also the economy, as more people get the opportunity to share the benefits of our strong economy."

 

The ACSF is a tool to support and improve Australian adults' language, literacy and numeracy skills. It is part of the Government's $784 million investment to give employees the foundation skills required to meet the challenges facing a 21st century workforce.

 

Further information can be found at: www.deewr.gov.au/acsfLi

Published on: HRCareer

Curtin Business School (CBS) has appointed leading human resources specialist Chris Ryan as an Adjunct Professor.

 

Mr Ryan, an independent director and corporate advisor, has more than 25 years’ experience in the human resource sector, including leading the HR team during Wesfarmers’ takeover of the Coles group in 2007.

 

CBS Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Tony Travaglione, said Mr Ryan’s appointment would build on a relationship that was started three years ago.

 

“Since joining the CBS School of Management Advisory Board in 2009, Chris has provided valuable guidance in the area of human resources,” Professor Travaglione said.

 

“We will continue to work closely with Chris to receive advice on strategic issues and to foster closer links with key industry players.”

 

Mr Ryan said his appointment was an opportunity to increase his contribution to the growth of CBS.

 

“Through my association with the Advisory Board I have come to appreciate the professional and pragmatic approach taken in both the management of CBS and the delivery of its education programs,” Mr Ryan said.

 

“This approach is very much aligned with my own business ethos,” he said.

 

Mr Ryan said he was looking forward to working with CBS students through student engagement programs.

 

“Throughout my career I have worked with some outstanding leaders,” he said. “I hope to be able to share some of the knowledge gained through those experiences in areas such as organisational strategy and the development of leaders.”

 

Mr Ryan’s advisory practice, CRHR, works with Boards and CEOs on HR strategies, senior talent management, remuneration strategies and acquisition and restructuring projects.

Published on: HRCareer

The Northern Territory has announced it has recorded over $200 million in minerals exploring investment, a record for the territory.

 

Resources Minister Kon Vatskalis welcomed the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures which also show that in the December quarter expenditure was $67.1 million, up from $49.8M in the December 2010 quarter.

 

“For the 2011 calendar year, mineral exploration expenditure is now $228.4 million, the first time the NT has exceeded $200 million in annual expenditure,” Mr Vatskalis said.

 

The statistics represent a 37% increase on the total of $166.7 million in 2010.

 

“What a brilliant result for the Northern Territory, showing that the mining industry has confidence to invest and proving the NT Government’s Bringing Forward Discovery initiative to attract exploration and investment to the Territory is delivering very real results,’ Mr Vatskalis said.

 

Mining now contributes around 25 per cent to the territory economy, over four times the national average.

 

 

 

 

Published on: ResourcesCareer

The Federal Government has announced that impacts on the Great Barrier Reef will be considered in the assessment of whether or not Rio Tinto Weipa proposed South of Embley Bauxite Mine and Port Development can progress under national environment law.

 

Environment Minister Tony Burke said considerations were being made in the light of new information and that any Environmental Impact Study must investigate the impacts on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

 

In September 2010, Rio Tinto Weipa Pty Ltd submitted a proposal for federal assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to extend its existing bauxite mining operations south of the Embley River near Weipa on western Cape York.

 

The proposal for bauxite mining includes construction and operation of two new bauxite processing plants and infrastructure associated with the mining operations.

 

In October 2010, it was determined the proposal had the potential to trigger the EPBC Act and would need full federal environmental assessment.

 

“Following a request to reconsider the decision on the basis of new information about proposed shipping activities in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, I have revoked the original referral decision and substituted it with one that takes the reef into account,” Mr Burke said.

 

“The Great Barrier Reef is one of our most significant environmental assets and has been recognised as among the world’s healthiest coral reef ecosystems and best managed marine areas.

 

“These new provisions will ensure we continue our commitment to sustainable development that ensures the outstanding universal value of the Great Barrier Reef is protected.”

 

The decision is based on significant new information in Rio Tinto Weipa Pty Ltd’s draft environmental impact statement, which was provided by the company during the assessment process.  

 

The draft environmental impact statement included information on shipping in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park not provided with the initial referral.

 

The EPBC Act allows for new information to be adopted during a federal assessment process and in this instance provides an opportunity for new shipping information to be taken into account.

 

“I have made clear that I want potential shipping movements in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area to be taken into account for all relevant decisions,” Mr Burke said.  

 

“The reconsideration decision means the significant new information provided about shipping can be fully taken into account to ensure the protection of the Great Barrier Reef before the proposal is assessed.”

 

 

 

Published on: GreenCareer

The Federal Government has approved an extension at the existing Springvale Mine north of Lithgow in New South Wales, with Environment Minister Tony Burke announcing over 30 conditions to ensure environmental protection.

 

Operating since 1993, the Springvale Mine has operated under a number of NSW based regulatory approvals and environmental impact assessments.

 

Operator Springvale Coal submitted a proposal to undertake longwall coal mining for federal assessment under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 because of the potential impact on the temperate highland peat swamps and sandstone ecological community.

 

"My decision is based on a thorough and rigorous assessment of the proposal taking into account the advice of my department and independent scientific advice," Mr Burke said.

 

"While I have considered the social and economic implications of this project, my focus has been on protecting environmental matters of national significance through strict conditions to manage any potential environmental impacts.

 

"In making this decision I took into consideration advice on monitoring and management arrangements from the new Interim Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Coal Mining.

 

"The Committee supported the condition for no mining under high quality swamps, or within buffer zones, unless the proponent can demonstrate that there is a way of conducting the longwall mining with no adverse impact to the swamps."

 

The stringent conditions also include comprehensive monitoring to:

  • Detect potential geological and hydrological impacts upstream of temperate highland peat swamps on sandstone;
  • Focus on surface and groundwater hydrology surface and groundwater quality, vegetation community structure and diversity, and biological indicator species; and
  • Detect any potential impacts for a period of at least 10 years post-mining.

 

Published on: GreenCareer

Federal, state and territory members of Safe Work Australia met in Sydney last week to discuss progress on implementation of the Model Work Health and Safety laws.

 

The WHS laws commenced in the Commonwealth, ACT, NSW, NT and QLD on 1 January 2012. The WHS laws have passed in Tasmania with a commencement date of 1 January 2013. Other jurisdictions provided status reports. 

 

The meeting noted progress towards finalisation of the draft WHS Regulations on Mines.

 

Six futher Codes of Practice were endorsed by majority as part of the harmonised WHS laws, subject to minor technical and editorial changes:

• Safe design of structures

• Excavation work

• Demolition work

• Spray painting and powder coating

• Abrasive blasting, and

• Welding processes.

 

After technical and editorial changes are finalised these codes together with the six codes previously agreed by Members will be sent to the Ministerial Council:

• First aid in the workplace

• Managing risks in construction work

• Preventing falls in housing construction

• Managing electrical risks at the workplace

• Managing risks of hazardous chemicals, and

• Managing risks of plant in the workplace.

 

If approved these 12 codes will become model Codes of Practice.

The meeting agreed by majority to release five further Codes of Practice for a 12 week public comment period commencing early April 2012:

• Safe design, manufacture, import and supply of plant

• Working in the vicinity of overhead and underground electrical services

• Traffic management in workplaces

• Scaffolding work, and

• Formwork and falsework.

 

The meeting agreed that a package seeking public comment on proposed changes to the Workplace Exposure Standard for Airborne Contaminants for Synthetic Mineral Fibre will be released for an eight week period commencing 16 April 2012.

 

The draft strategy, titled Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022: Healthy, Safe and Productive Working Lives, will be released for public comment for an eight week period commencing 26 March 2012.

 

More information is at http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au

Published on: OHSCareer

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