Master Builders Australia has published the Second Edition of its Modern Award Manual. The publication provides employers with guidance on the primary modern award for the building and construction industry – the Building and Construction General On-Site Award 2010.
Mr Wilhelm Harnisch, CEO of Master Builders Australia said: “This is a ‘must have’ publication for all employers trying to navigate one of the industry’s most complex modern awards. With over 60 separate allowances and a cut-and-paste collection of antique provisions, the Building and Construction General On-Site Award 2010 can be a real headache for employers. The Second Edition of the Modern Award Manual their workplace relations aspirin.
“The Modern Award Manual has been substantially expanded since its first edition. The Modern Award Manual analyses the Building and Construction General On-Site Award 2010 on a clause-by-clause basis. Updated annually from 1 July for Fair Work Australia’s minimum wage decisions, it also provides links to key interpretations by Fair Work Australia, practical examples and essential historical and industrial relations perspectives.”
“The important matter for employers to understand is that the Building and Construction General On-Site Award 2010, together with the National Employment Standards, set the minimum standards for all employees in the building and construction industry. Even those employees on enterprise agreements must be on terms which are ‘better-off overall’ when compared to the Building and Construction General On-Site Award 2010. For this reason, all employers in the building and construction industry need to have a solid understanding of the Building and Construction General On-Site Award 2010. The Modern Award Manual provides that understanding.”
The Modern Award Manual may be purchased here
The national Construction Apprenticeship Mentoring Scheme (CAMS) is calling for volunteers to help build a support network for young building trade apprentices.
Volunteers in the scheme will support Australia’s construction trade apprentices to complete their trade training by providing a helping hand with practical and pastoral support.
CEO of Master Builders Australia, Wilhelm Harnisch said the recruitment and training of volunteers represents the critical next step in the rollout of CAMS.
“Mentoring is a valuable service not widely available to Australia’s young building apprentices. The building and construction industry takes on more apprentices than any other sector, but the industry’s retention rate of apprentices is 58 per cent. Close to 16,000 apprentices drop out each year. This is a major loss to the industry.
“Importantly, the scheme will offer specific mentoring support for out of work apprentices, Indigenous Australians and female apprentices, as well as supporting employers,” Mr Harnisch said.
Volunteer mentors in each state will work with apprentices and help them overcome challenges they have during training.
“The program is looking for volunteer mentors to share their knowledge and experiences to support apprentices and motivate them to complete their training. Mentors will include active or retired tradespeople, or others in the building industry with a strong commitment to help nurture tomorrow’s ‘tradies’,” Mr Harnisch said.
CAMS is being implemented by Master Builders around Australia, with funding assistance from the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education under the Apprenticeship Mentoring Program.
Mr Harnisch welcomed the Government’s commitment to training young Australians.
“Investment in training young apprentices is an investment in the future. Today’s apprentices will go on to build family homes, schools, hospitals, roads and other vital pieces economic and social infrastructure that will deliver benefits to the community,” he concluded.
Research published in the British Medical Journal shows that shift workers have a 23% increased risk of heart attack and a 5% increased risk of stroke.
The study, conducted by researchers in Canada and Norway, analysed 34 studies previously published in the BMJ, involving more than two million people. It concluded that shift work is associated with vascular events, which may have implications for public policy and occupational medicine.
The research paper is available here.
Two of New South Wales’ 13 regional Catchment Action Plans have been now been upgraded and approved.
Central West and Namoi Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs) were the first to upgrade and refine their Catchment Action Plans to take account of environmental, economic and social changes since they were introduced five years ago.
The other CMAs will now follow suit and their reviews are expected to be completed early next year.
The updated plans will include:
- more focus on areas that need to become more resilient;
- mapping priorities for investment and action to maintain and improve this resilience; and
- stronger collaboration with communities and relevant government agencies.
The Australian Government will not proceed with funding the Dual Gas Project in Victoria after operator HRL did not meet the required conditions set out in the funding deed.
In 2007, the former Howard Government announced a $100 million grant to support the construction of the 400 MW Dual Gas Project plant to demonstrate brown coal integrated drying and gasification combined cycle technology. A funding agreement was signed between the Commonwealth and HRL in 2008. Four extensions were subsequently granted to HRL.
No funds have been paid to HRL by the Australian Government for the Dual Gas Project under the LETDF funding deed.
Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, said that payment of the proposed grant, under the Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund (LETDF), was subject to a funding agreement requiring a number of conditions.
“The Government made it clear in February this year that it would grant one final extension until 30 June 2012 for HRL to meet the conditions,” Minister Ferguson said.
"It has not done so and, accordingly, the funding agreement between HRL and the Australian Government will be terminated.
"I emphasise that the Australian Government has treated all projects under the Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund equitably by granting projects extensions as required and administering the grants in a consistent manner that gives projects every opportunity to succeed.
“Grants from the Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund will demonstrate the commercial potential of new energy technologies that deliver reductions in carbon emissions.
“It is supporting initiatives like the Silex-Solar Systems project and carbon capture and storage at Chevron’s Gorgon liquefied natural gas plant.”
Of the projects selected by the Howard Government under the LETDF, the Chevron Gorgon project and the Callide oxyfuel project are underway. The Silex-Solar Systems project continues to be administered by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
A report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that men continue to fare worse than women in education.
The report - Gender Indicators, Australia (cat. no. 4125.0) - analyses ABS and non-ABS data to look at the differences between men and women in a range of areas, and how the differences are changing over time.
The figures show that in 2011, 75% of boys entering high school were likely to be studying until Year 12, compared to 84% for girls.
The report also showed that this gap continues into adult life with only 30% of men aged 25-29 years having completed a bachelor degree or higher compared to 41% of women of the same age. For those that completed a Certificate III or above, the gap was smaller - 60% of men and 67% of women. Men are more likely than women to complete a Certificate III and IV as their pathway into employment.
To see the full range of indicators, and changes over time, see the full online product, Gender Indicators, Australia (cat. no. 4125.0).
The Queensland Government is planning to freeze all Queensland Rail bonuses.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the bonus structure of Queensland Rail was not meeting community expectations.
“I have spoken to the chair of Queensland Rail and made it clear bonuses are only to apply where they are required under contracts set up by Labor,” Mr Emerson said.
“I think most people would take a dim view of bonuses at a time when we are making hard decisions to get Queensland back on track.”
In 2010/11 under Labor there were 1,337 bonuses costing $4.8 million despite claiming to link executive pay to performance.
“Labor announced in 2010 that executive pay would be linked to service delivery, the current leader of the Opposition didn’t follow through and let bonus payment get out of control,” he said.
“I accept that there are some circumstances where bonuses are required as part of an employment package, but $4.8 million is not an acceptable level, particularly when there is declining patronage and reliability reached a three-year low.”
Last month the LNP ordered Queensland Rail to refocus its business on the delivery of frontline services after significant increases in corporate numbers over the past two years.
This included staffing increases of 68 per cent in the communication, stakeholder and marketing area, 122 per cent increase in finance area, and 66 per cent in strategy and corporate services area.
The committee that will guide the preparation of the Central Queensland Regional Plan has met for the first time to begin development of the region’s Statutory Regional Plan to help resolve land use conflicts.
The committee includes the mayors of five councils, six Members of State Parliament and 11 members representing business, industry and community groups.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said the Central Queensland Regional Planning Committee would be a forum to address community issues and interests.
“This committee will oversee the regional planning process and increase understanding within the community of the Central Queensland Regional Plan,” Mr Seeney said.
“Communities will be represented by their mayors who will put forward the views of their local regions during the process. Industry representatives will also have a voice at the table.
“The committee will make sure the views of both local and wider groups are considered in its work.”
There will be widespread community consultation throughout the development of the regional plan and a number of opportunities for community members to have input.
Mr Seeney said including land use mapping in the statutory regional plan would help resolve conflict between landholders and the agricultural and resources sectors.
“Central Queensland has diverse agricultural assets and an abundance of resource deposits,” he said.
“This plan will ensure the region grows in a managed and sustainable way and will let us deal with urban expansion, the timing and sequencing of infrastructure and enhancing agricultural, resource and tourism opportunities while ensuring management of environmental impacts.”
Mr Seeney said the committee would increase transparency of the regional plan development process, following an expression-of-interest process for community and industry representatives.
He said the committee would represent a range of regional viewpoints and interests during the preparation of the Central Queensland Statutory Regional Plan which is expected to be finalised in August 2013.
There will be opportunities for community input during the drafting of the plans over the next six months and a formal consultation period for submissions on draft plans early next year.
Members of the Central Queensland Regional Planning Committee are:
Councillor Ron Carige – Mayor of Banana Shire Council
Councillor Peter Maguire – Mayor of Central Highlands Regional Council
Councillor Terry Munns – Mayor of Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council
Councillor Gail Sellers – Mayor of Gladstone Regional Council
Councillor Margaret Strelow – Mayor of Rockhampton Regional Council
Mr Stephen Bennett MP – Member for Burnett
Mr Bill Byrne MP – Member for Rockhampton
Mrs Liz Cunningham MP – Member for Gladstone
Mr Vaughan Johnson MP – Member for Gregory
Mr Ted Malone MP – Member for Mirani
Mr Bruce Young MP – Member for Keppel
Ms Mary Carroll – Chief Executive Officer, Capricorn Enterprise, Rockhampton
Ms Elyse Riethmuller – Senior Executive, Fitzroy Basin Association Inc. Rockhampton
Ms Sandra Hobbs – General Manager, Central Highlands Development Corporation, Emerald
Ms Diane Morris – Treasurer, Enterprise Biloela Association Inc
Mr Andrew Barger – Director, Resource and Environment Policy, Queensland Resources Council, Brisbane
Mr Paul Bell – Acting Chair, Regional Development Australia - Fitzroy and Central West, Parkhurst
Ms Mabel Quakawoot – Director, Port Curtis-Coral Coast Aboriginal Corporation, Erakala
Mr Ian Burnett – Vice President, AgForce Queensland, Emerald
Mr Sam Bradford – Member, Golden Triangle Community, Springsure
Ms Saleena Ham – Project Officer, Moura Chamber of Commerce
Ms Elizabeth Alexander – Dawson Valley Cotton Growers Assn. & Central Highlands Cotton Growers & Irrigators Assn.
WorkCover NSW has developed a Bullying Prevention Kit to help employers identify bullying and know what to do about it.
In the last three financial years in NSW there have been 4,746 workers compensation claims for bullying and harassment at a cost of almost $100 million.
The kit, developed in response to increasing requests for information and assistance about workplace bullying, uses a green, amber, and red traffic light concept to help business develop bullying prevention systems.
Under NSW work health and safety law, businesses are required to have appropriate bullying prevention strategies in place.
Bullying is repeated unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.
The Bullying Prevention Kit can be downloaded here.
The Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) has warned the Australian Government against adopting American ideas which resulted in poor lending decisions which triggered the global financial crisis (GFC).
The ABA was responding to a report in The Daily Telegraph in which Financial Services Minister, Bill Shorten, spoke positively of the US Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) which compels US banks to provide loans to communities, including low-income earners who live in that community.
While Mr Shorten said he did not see the need for the US-style laws, the media report stated that he wanted banks to provide information on how much they lend to people in different areas of capital cities, the interest rates they charge and other information.
Steven Münchenberg, Chief Executive of the ABA, said: “We need to be very careful adopting ideas from the US where lenders made bad loans, where the sub-prime crisis resulted and where the economy is still reeling from the effects of the GFC.”
“We need to be very cautious about any measures from the Australian Government which puts pressure on banks to lend where they would not otherwise do so.”
“Banks do not discriminate against lending to any suburb – banks make loans to those customers who can afford to repay.”
“If a consumer fails a bank’s credit assessment when applying for a loan, then he or she will not be supplied a loan. This is sound risk management by banks and ensures the consumer is not supplied a loan that they will have difficulty in repaying, causing the consumer financial stress.”
“Futhermore, there are Australian laws which require responsible lending which were put in place by this Government. Also, there are other laws being put in place which will require banks to hold more capital. You can’t have it both ways – trying to limit lending with one hand and trying to increase it with the other.”
“It is also my understanding that at no time has Minister Shorten discussed with the banking industry these American ideas or what he describes as a lack of credit being supplied to the Australian community.”
“The facts are that the demand for credit, including mortgages is down at the moment. Banks are competing fiercely for fewer customers and there are excellent deals available. Banks have an obligation to lend responsibly and should not be pressured by the Government to do otherwise.”
Three external reports on potential savings and efficiencies in Health have been released for public consultation by the South Australian Government.
The reports propose savings including a reduction in health staff and hospital beds through natural attrition and by reducing unnecessarily long stays for patients, rather than reducing health services.
Minister for Health and Ageing John Hill said that while health funding would continue to increase in overall terms, savings were needed in the areas where performance was below national benchmarks.
“Health makes up the largest component of government spending, and we’re proud to have increased spending on public health services by $2.8 billion, or 129 percent, since Labor came to government.
“This investment has led directly to better outcomes for patients, as shown by our ED and elective surgery times which have improved dramatically and are now among the best in Australia.
“However, in the light of a tough global and national economic environment, the State Government has had to make tough savings decisions in all areas and this includes Health.
“In 2011-12 SA Health achieved savings of $64.5m and reduced central administration staff numbers by over 74 full-time equivalent positions plus seven executives.
“Measures currently underway include: reforms and efficiencies in imaging, pathology, pharmacy, mental health, outpatients, departmental staff reductions (through the use of TVSPs and non renewal of executive contracts), and reforms in finance, ICT and workforce management.
“SA Health expects to save a total of $120m a year by 2014-15 from these exisiting measures.
“In addition to this work, SA Health engaged Deloitte and KPMG to review the efficiency of the three metropolitan Local Health Networks – Northern, Central and Southern.
“If all of the efficiency measures in the three reports were adopted, the total additional saving to Health would be $83.1 million a year by 2014-15, bringing the total savings to $203.1 million a year.
“We are now releasing these reports for six weeks of consultation with interest groups, staff and the wider community.
“The reports’ options for savings include reducing the number of hospital beds by up to 114 beds that would usually be flexed up in busy times and by reducing staff numbers by around 300 full-time equivalents.
“There will be no forced redundancies; I anticipate that the reductions can be met through natural attrition – not replacing some positions as people leave or retire – and by using fewer agency and temporary staff.
“Since 2002, we have employed 4569 (42 percent) more nurses, 1217 (56 percent) more doctors and 1146 (60 percent) more allied health workers.
“Beds will not be closed through a reduction in services as in some other States, but rather through reduced lengths of stay in hospital for patients where appropriate.
“Advances in modern medicine and technology mean that patients need to stay in hospital for much shorter periods of time, which in turn means those beds can be used more efficiently.
“If we were to reduce bed numbers by the recommended 114 by 2014-15, SA’s rate of hospital beds per 1000 population would still be 2.6, which is above the national average of 2.3 beds.
“While I want to consult with staff and the wider community on all of the recommendations in these reports, I can say that the proposal to make Noarlunga Hospital a day-only service has been ruled out as it would be a cut in services and go against South Australia’s Health Care Plan 2007-2016.
“I have also asked SA Health to look at alternatives to the proposed reduction in funding to the McLaren Vale Hospital to achieve better value from the funding that is provided to that hospital.
“Other options for savings include: reviewing the relatively high cost of food services at the Repat and Noarlunga Hospitals, ensuring prosthetics and medications are clinically and cost effective, increasing the cost of admission to the FMC hydrotherapy pool and outsourcing café services at FMC and Noarlunga Hospitals.
“I appreciate that these reports present a challenge, but in the current global financial climate we must all spend within our means and operate as efficiently as possible.
“Over the next six weeks we will consult widely on these reports, listening to the views of staff, patients and the wider community.
“I plan to return to cabinet at the end of this period with a plan of action that will allow us to reduce spending while maintaining standards.”
The Hospital Budget Performance and Remediation reports and information on consultation are available from www.sahealth.sa.gov.au .
The South Australian Government has announced the seven-member board of the Urban Renewal Authority which will be charged with delivering and increasing the supply and diversity of affordable housing and accelerating the renewal of social housing stock.
Minister for Housing and Urban Development Patrick Conlon said the newly appointed Board had considerable experience and skills in development, business, planning, government, health, environmental issues and social housing.
“The Board has a specific mandate to work on three key strategic priorities for the State Government - creating a vibrant city; renewing our neighbourhoods to make them safe and healthy; and having an affordable place to live for everyone,” he said.
“Through the URA, the State Government has a commitment to work with local communities, councils, industry and not-for-profit organisations to ensure our urban developments create wellplanned and better connected neighbourhoods close to transport, employment and services.
“We also want to deliver State Government priorities across portfolios to deliver all the outcomes that we strive to achieve and our Chief Executive Fred Hansen will work together with the Board towards these goals.”
The URA was established on 1 March, 2012, bringing together a significant portfolio of the State’s assets, valued at more than $10 billion, from the former Land Management Corporation, Defence SA and the South Australian Housing Trust.
Members of the URA Board appointed to a three year term (from 1 August 2012) are:
Ms Bronwyn Pike (Chair) is a former Victorian Government Minister with portfolio responsibilities and experience across health, housing, education and community services.
Mr Michael Terlet AO (Vice Chair) has private sector experience in international trading, investment and corporate governance and was made an Officer of the General Order of Australia for contributions to industry and export.
Ms Jennifer Westacott (Member) has a background at senior levels in public and private sector administration and is currently the Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia.
Mr Theo Maras AM (Member) is the founder and Chairman of the Maras Group and has property investment and development experience.
Ms Helen Fulcher (Member) is the former Chief Executive of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and has experience in the development and delivery of social housing in South Australia, New Zealand and Western Australia.
Dr Amanda Rischbieth (Member) is the Chief Executive of the Heart Foundation (SA) and has over 30 years’ experience in health, clinical, education, research, executive management and corporate governance roles.
Mr Craig Holden (Member) is Director of Forme Projex and currently a board member of Common Ground Ltd.
The Victorian Government’s State Services Authority is seeking a new CEO.
The State Services Authority manages executive remuneration and employment policy for the Victorian Public Service and the wider public sector; is responsible for promoting high standards of governance, accountability and performance for Victorian public entities; assists the public sector in workforce planning and the creation of sleadership and management capacity; and assists departments and agencies to improve the way quality candidates for jobs are sourced and recruited.
Pam Whiting is currently Acting CEO of the Authority.
Redland City Council is recruiting a new CEO, following its decision in June not to renew the contract with Gary Stevenson when it expires at the end of the year.
Announcing the Council’s decision, mayor Karen Williams said she believed a fresh approach was needed to a new era which would focus on “efficient, streamlined operations, a culture of innovation and new approaches, and a customer focus mindset”.
Mr Stevenson was formerly CEO of Rockhampton City Council.
Universities need to be more aggressive in fighting red tape, funding shortages and incoherent policy, UNSW
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of New South Wales, Professor Fred Hilmer, has warned that Australian universities face decline under current conditions and urges them to be more aggressive in fighting red tape, funding shortages and incoherent policy.
In a wide ranging speech to the National Press Club, Let’s Stop Pretending— A Realistic Vision for Australian Universities, Professor Hilmer, the Chair of the Group of Eight (Go8), said universities were treated like “fly-by-nighters” under a “dysfunctional and smothering array” of regulation. He cited an example where UNSW had to prove it had a library and teaching spaces before it could get approval for a new diploma.
Professor Hilmer said without urgent and significant policy change, universities were heading for decline. He said if he was Education Minister he would cut red tape and regulation including restructuring the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency; adopt a long-term national research strategy; and deregulate undergraduate course fees for domestic students.
“It’s time to take the next step — fee deregulation ... the government should allow universities to charge increased fees from students in degrees with high private benefit, such as business, law, engineering and medicine. The impact on these students is significantly ameliorated by the HECS system which requires repayment of fees only when and if certain income thresholds are reached and could be further ameliorated by scholarships.”
Flagging a more robust lobbying effort, Professor Hilmer said universities needed to step up and “play in the public policy field a lot more aggressively than we have been”.
“We’re getting close to a time when we’ve got to do pretty much what the mining industry did. Just say no, take out ads, and be absolutely vocal.”
He said this was vital if universities were to have any chance against oppressive government regulation and fee structures.
The Queensland Education, Training and Employment Minister John-Paul Langbroek has announced a series of measures to reduce expenditure in his portfolio.
They include savings of $22.8 million by cuts to Parent Awareness Strategies, advertising and research and policy programs; axing of the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program to save $19 million, with the loss of 144 full-time-equivalent jobs; and the phasing out of Queensland Comparable Assessment Tasks, performance-based assessments aligned to the Australian Curriculum, to save $3 million this financial year.
Departmental staff have been advised that there will be no new appointments, essential-only travel and accommodation, no spending on furniture or office equipment, and the removal of plants. 384 temporary contracts were finalised by June 30, including departmental IT workers.
The new Director of Perth's Telethon Institute for Child Health Research says his focus will be to ensure that high quality research is effectively translated to health practice and policy so that it makes a real difference to the lives of children and families.
The University of Western Australia's Winthrop Professor Jonathan Carapetis started in the role last week after heading the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin.
Professor Carapetis was appointed to replace Founding Director Professor Fiona Stanley, who retired at the end of last year.
Professor Carapetis said he was very keen to forge strong links with the people delivering health services at hospitals and the Health Department.
"As a paediatrician I know how important it is to have that strong connection between practice and research. It not only means that we're working on the basis of the latest evidence but that what we see in clinics can also be fed back to shape and inform the type of research that's undertaken," Professor Carapetis said.
"The Telethon Institute has an outstanding record of advocacy and influence and I'll be very keen to see that continue and grow.
"In particular, Aboriginal child health research will continue to be a priority area and I am committed to pursuing that agenda at both the Institute level and through my own research interest in rheumatic heart disease."
Professor Carapetis said he was also excited by the Telethon Institute's strong focus on scientific discovery.
It's very important that we better understand the biological basis underpinning the disease process at the cellular and molecular levels as well as the influence of genetic and environmental factors.
"I think the mix of translational and discovery science is very powerful and gives the Institute a breadth and depth that sees it very well positioned for the future."
With the Institute's geographical position on Australia's west coast, Professor Carapetis said he was keen to increase its activity in international health issues.
"Our proximity to Asia and Africa and our expertise in child development and Indigenous child health research presents some excellent opportunities within the broader region," he said.
The Telethon Institute for Child Health Research was founded in 1990 and has more than 500 staff and postgraduate students investigating major diseases, disabilities and disorders affecting children and families.
Acting NSW Minister for Health, Kevin Humphries, has announced that more than 4000 positions for Junior Medical Officers (JMOs) in NSW are to be advertised.
Junior Medical Officer positions are open for doctors who have at least one year of post graduate work experience and are looking for a vocational or prevocational training position.
The JMO positions offer the opportunity to train in a range of specialties in public hospitals across the State including psychiatry, pathology, intensive care medicine, emergency medicine and rural generalist training, expanding the skills and capacity of the NSW medical workforce.
“The annual JMO recruitment campaign is the largest in the country and offers exciting opportunities to pursue specialist training across the State,” Mr Humphries said.
“These positions offer a variety of training opportunities and include rotations through different specialty teams and clinical environments at one or more hospitals while undertaking specialist training.
“This is the first year that the Rural Generalist Training Program - a State-wide program which focuses on training doctors as general practitioners with advanced skills to deliver services to NSW rural communities - will be offered as part of JMO recruitment in NSW.”
For 2013 advanced skills training will concentrate on anaesthetics and obstetrics skills. In this area, 15 training positions across NSW rural and regional Local Health Districts are being advertised and applicants can apply to these positions through the JMO recruitment campaign.
“The NSW Government is committed to supporting postgraduate education and training for the State’s doctors to ensure the changing needs of our growing population can be met,” Mr Humphries said.
“NSW Health is making a significant investment in postgraduate medical education to enhance the level of support for training and education of junior doctors and to improve the distribution of doctors particularly in outer metropolitan, regional and rural NSW.
Applications for JMO positions will close on 15 August 2012. Further information is at
The Royal Women’s Hospital and La Trobe University have conducted the world’s largest clinical trial of one-to-one (caseload) midwifery care.
The COSMOS trial (COmparing Standard Maternity care with One-to-One Midwifery Support) found women who receive this type of care were more likely to have a normal birth without medical intervention. These women were also less likely to need epidural pain relief during labour when compared with standard maternity care.
More importantly, their babies were less likely to be admitted to special care or neonatal intensive care.
The study, published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, also found women were more satisfied with the caseload care they received during pregnancy, birth, and after birth in hospital and at home.
The caseload model involved women being looked after by a primary midwife throughout pregnancy, birth and in the early postnatal period. Some 2,300 women at low risk of medical complications during pregnancy took part in the trial at the Women's.
Lead author of the study, Associate Professor Helen McLachlan from Mother and Child Health Research at La Trobe University, said midwives and women had the opportunity to establish a relationship during pregnancy with the caseload model of care.
“This relationship appears to build a woman’s trust and confidence before, during and after the birth, helping women have a more positive birth experience,” Associate Professor McLachlan said.
According to Professor Della Forster, a co-author and Professor of Midwifery at the Women’s, a reduction of caesarean rates in low-risk pregnancies was a welcome outcome of the trial.
“We want to avoid caesarean births wherever possible because of the risk of complications for both mothers and babies,” Professor Forster said.
The study is the first trial of caseload midwifery in Australia and only the third internationally. The results will assist policy makers and maternity services in planning for future models of maternity care in Australia and internationally.
The study was funded by a $600,000 National Health and Medical Research Council grant.
Three regional universities will receive $19.6 million in federal government funding to improve their research capacity and drive stronger performance outcomes.
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research Senator Chris Evans announced the funding as part of the Collaborative Research Networks (CRN) program, which fosters partnerships between regional universities and larger organisations with more established research capacity.
The Australian Catholic University will receive total funding of $7.9 million to partner with the University of Melbourne, St Vincent's Hospital (Melbourne) and the O'Brien Institute to develop and implement a suite of cardiovascular research projects.
Bond University will receive total funding of $5.75 million to partner with the University of Queensland, the University of Sydney and the Australian Institute of Sport to develop its expertise in research disciplines such as sports science, human genetics, and the treatment of bone, joint and other diseases.
The University of Notre Dame Australia will receive total funding of $5.96 million to partner with the Australian National University, the University of Western Australia, Curtin University, the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the Kimberly Institute, to enhance its research strength in the areas of Indigenous health and wellbeing, healthy ageing, and chronic disease management.
This funding is in addition to the $61.5 million for 12 projects which were announced under the CRN program in May 2011, bringing the Australian Government's total funding to date to $81.1 million.
From 1 January 2013, certain fathers and partners will be entitled to Dad and Partner Pay when they have or adopt a child.
Under this new scheme, eligible working fathers and partners can get up to two weeks of Dad and Partner Pay to take time off work to care for a newborn or newly adopted child. This is part of recent changes to the Australian Government Paid Parental Leave scheme.
The scheme is a government-funded payment. Under the scheme, eligible parents who are the main carer of a newborn or newly adopted child get up to 18 weeks pay at the National Minimum Wage.
For a child born or adopted on or after 1 January 2013, eligible supporting partners (including adopting parents and same-sex couples) will also be entitled to 2 weeks’ pay (also at the National Minimum Wage).
Applications for Dad and Partner Pay can be made from 1 October this year through Centrelink.
Employees can be entitled to payments under both the Paid Parental Leave scheme and an employer funded scheme.
There have also been some changes to the Fair Work Act 2009, about unpaid parental leave under the National Employment Standards. These include changes to clarify:
- when pregnant employees can start their unpaid leave
- keeping in touch days during unpaid parental leave
- rules about providing pay slips
- entitlements where there is a stillbirth or infant death.
Under the changes, employers will also need to tell the employee who will be doing the job of the person that’s on unpaid parental leave (called ‘replacement employee’) that their position is temporary.
See Paid Parental Leave for more information.