A recent survey has revealed that almost one in three young people have been bullied or have witnessed bullying at work.
SA Unions State Secretary, Janet Giles says the Australia-wide survey by Essential Research, has found some deeply concerning statistics about the rate of workplace bullying.
"Thirteen per cent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 said they had been bullied at work, with another 19% having witnessed it.”
"We know from our other work with young people that they are less familiar with their rights at work, and are more often in part-time or casual work where they worry that if they speak out they will lose their jobs."
"What's most concerning about the survey is that 65% of the bullying is reported to have come from employers or managers."
"This figure rises to 74% for those in part-time work."
"These are the people with the power to hire and fire, increasing the likelihood that young people will feel intimidated into remaining silent."
"We clearly need stronger national laws against bullying to stop it happening in the first place, rather than dealing with it when it has already occurred."
Coordinator of the Young Workers Legal Service, Anne Purdy says the Service took 450 calls last financial year, and a huge number of them related to workplace bullying.
"We see this as a major occupational health and safety issue for young people."
"It is a dreadful thing to happen to them in what is often their first job, and the cases we have seen reveal young people suffer depression, anxiety and are unable to work as a result."
"We have seen some cases where this behaviour is excused as some kind of work 'initiation'.
"But it is wrong, and it leaves young people feeling that all work involves bullying, and they become afraid to try again in another job."
The University of Wollongong’s Graduate School of Medicine has won a Federal Government grant to develop a program to train doctors to carry out video medical consultations with patients (known as Telehealth) using the National Broadband Network (NBN).
UOW won the $50,000 grant under the NBN-Enabled Education and Skills Services Program to develop the program, with a view to a trial over the next two years.
Telehealth consulting is a key feature of the NBN roll-out across Australia, as it will enable people living in regional, rural and remote locations to access specialist medical advice from their general practices with the assistance of their own trusted health professionals.
The NBN rollout overcomes a number of the technical constraints to Telehealth by improving the accessibility, connectivity and speed facilitating richer and immersive video consultation experiences across Australia.
The UOW trial program will aim to develop Telehealth consulting skills among current GPs, specialists doctors and the next generation of medical professionals.
Professor Andrew Bonney, who is the Roberta Williams Chair of General Practice at the Graduate School of Medicine, will lead the project to develop the Telehealth training program and potential trial with GSM medical students, General Practice preceptors (GPs who closely supervise medical student training in general practice) and consultant specialists.
Murdoch University researchers have developed a new battery to store power from renewable sources for use in non-generation times.
According to project leaders Drs Manickam Minakshi and Danielle Meyrick of Murdoch’s School of Chemical and Mathematical Sciences, while the efficiency of wind and solar technologies has improved rapidly, the problem of continuous supply has remained unsolved.
“The central obstacle facing sustainable energy is unreliability. Wind turbines don’t turn on a still day. Solar doesn’t work at night and can be hampered in the day by cloud, dust or snow coverage,” Dr Minakshi said.
“To provide power at non-generation times, excess energy needs to be stored in batteries, but storage technologies now being considered, such as molten salt or molten sulfur, work at high temperatures, making them expensive and impractical.”
“Our water-based sodium-ion battery has shown excellent potential for affordable, low-temperature storage.”
Dr Minakshi said he was drawn to sodium because its chemical properties were similar to lithium, the element that powers most portable electronic devices.
His challenge was to find material for cathodes and anodes capable of accommodating sodium’s ionic size – which is 2.5 times larger than that of lithium.
“Ions travel out of the cathode and into the anode to form a current. As an imperfect analogy, you can think of them as mesh filters that ions pass through. We had to find materials with larger gaps in their mesh,” Dr Minakshi said.
Dr Minakshi tested various metals and phosphates, eventually finding success with manganese dioxide as the cathode and a novel olivine sodium phosphate as the anode. The result is a safe, cost-effective battery with high energy density.
“While the technology is too bulky for portable devices, it has excellent potential for large-scale use, including storing energy from wind turbines and solar farms for later feeding into local electricity grids, as well as use in industry,” Dr Minakshi said.
The battery has the added advantage of being based on globally abundant and affordable sodium, iron and manganese – putting green energy potential in the hands of the developing world.
“Our research has reached the stage where we’re ready to move beyond our lab towards larger-scale commercialisation,” Dr Minakshi said.
Temporary migrant workers play an essential role in Australia’s resource industry by filling highly-skilled positions that cannot be met by local supply, the preliminarily findings of a pilot study by Edith Cowan University (ECU) have shown.
A team of researchers from ECU’s School of Management, led by Dr Susanne Bahn, together with the Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) found that contrary to public perception, 457 visa recipients were not preventing skilled Australians from gaining employment within the resources sector.
The 457 visa is the most commonly used program for employers to sponsor specialised skilled overseas workers to work in Australia temporarily.
Dr Bahn is presenting the findings at the AMMA Migration and Labour Sourcing Conference in Perth on Thursday, 9 August 2012.
“This is the first study of its kind in Australia and shows that although the resources industry often seeks to employ Australian workers, some of the skills required are so specialised and only taught in one or two institutions globally, that the skill set required is simply not available,” Dr Bahn said.
She gave the example of helicopter engineers needed to maintain the equipment for oil and gas projects, who require up to six specialised licences that are only taught in the United Kingdom and France.
“Due to the lack of specialised skilled workers in Australia these companies are using their global workforce and employing them where and when they are needed.”
The study also found that some skilled Australian workers based in the eastern states are reluctant to relocate to WA.
“We identified cases where recently retrenched workers declined to relocate to WA and this was due to a range of reasons from social and family commitments to the high cost of living and a lack of infrastructure in some areas,” Dr Bahn said.
Improving social services and infrastructure is one way of attracting Australian workers to WA, according to AMMA Executive Director, Industry Ms Minna Knight.
“These preliminary findings highlight the need for industry and government to have a genuine discussion about worker mobility,” Ms Knight said.
“With more than $500 billion worth of projects in various approval and pre-approval stages in Australia, this research highlights the important role that temporary overseas labour plays in assisting major resource projects get off the ground and deliver future employment and economic benefits to Australians.”
The ECU team, in partnership with AMMA, will release a final report of the study 457 Visa Workers in the WA Resource Industry: The benefits and costs for business, migrant families, and the community by the end of 2012.
The National Broadband Network Co (NBN Co) has released its Corporate Plan for 2012-15, outlining an expected $1.4 billion increase to its capital expenditure over that period. The plan also outlines a $3.2 billion overall increase over the life of the rollout of the network.
Despite the announcement drawing criticism from the Federal Opposition, NBN Co's Chief Financial Officer, Robin Payne, said that any increases in costs are more than offset by projected revenue growth beyond the fibre construction period.
"We continue to build the NBN as cost effectively as possible,” Mr Payne said.
"Where prudent, we have built in additional costs to the plan but these are largely offset by savings we have made elsewhere. In areas where we are spending more it is generally because there are long-term benefits to NBN Co."
Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull wasted little time in savaging the business plan, accusing the Federal Government of continued waste, questioning the value of the entire scheme to the country.
"And the Productivity Commission should be asked to conduct a thorough cost benefit analysis to assess the most efficient means of upgrading Australians’ broadband as quickly as possible," Mr Turnbull said in a statement.
The Corporate Plan can be found here
The Federal Government has awarded $27 million to 12 projects under the new NBN-Enabled Education and Skills Services Program, which aims to integrate the use of the National Broadband Network into schools to enhance education and training outcomes for students.
Minister for School Education Peter Garrett announced the successful pilot programs during an interactive online drama workshop with the Bell Shakespeare Company at the Sydney Opera House and students at Willunga High School in South Australia.
More than 150 applications were received from registered training organisations, TAFEs, schools, universities and not-for-profit organisations for the program.
“Nine of the 12 projects that have been successful in receiving funding involve schools, which will greatly increase the learning potential of students and broaden the skill-set of teachers using the new technologies,” Mr Garrett said
“The Australian Youth Orchestra’s $1.5 million Digital Connection Trial also received funding and demonstrates how the world-leading performance of the NBN can support video communications between city, regional and remote areas for interviews, live auditions and master classes for students – right from their own homes, classrooms, rehearsal spaces and concert halls.”
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy, said the 12 projects will deliver high quality, accessible and sustainable online services to Australian schools, TAFEs, universities, workplaces and homes via the NBN.
"The chosen projects take advantage of the NBN’s fast and reliable broadband to deliver education opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to most students in regional and remote Australia,” Senator Conroy said.
For a full list of the 12 successful grants, and for more information, visit: www.deewr.gov.au
Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek has joined her Western Australian counterpart to turn the first sod of the construction of the $360 million Midland Health Campus in Perth.
Due for completion in 2015, the new hospital will provide 307 new public beds, with St John of God Health Care establishing a 60 bed private hospital within the Midland complex.
“For the first time, people from Midland and the surrounding area will have access to chemotherapy, high dependency care and coronary care and children will be able to be treated in a dedicated paediatric ward," Ms Plibersek.
“The design of the facility is patient centred and inpatient wards will have 80 per cent single rooms. The campus will have about 1,000 staff and for the first time deliver cancer services, intensive care and high dependency care to the eastern suburbs," Mr Hames said.
The hospital’s design allows for expansion to 464 beds when required.
The Federal Government has outlined $42.5 million in funding to deliver nine innovative stormwater harvesting and re-use projects in a bid to secure water supplies in urban areas around the country.
Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Water, Senator Don Farrell, announced the successful applicants for the third round of funding under the Stormwater Harvesting and Reuse Projects.
"These projects will provide more than 5.5 billion litres of treated stormwater a year and improve water security by diversifying water supplies available in urban areas," Senator Farrell said.
"Several of the projects announced today will provide treated stormwater for irrigation of community sportsgrounds, parks, gardens and golf courses, and some will use treated stormwater for industrial purposes.
South Australian Minister for Water and the River Murray Paul Caica said he was pleased the projects would contribute to the statewide target of harvesting up to 75 gigalitres of stormwater a year by 2050.
"South Australia received around $67.5m in Federal funding under the first two rounds, supported by approximately $53 million from the State Government. I look forward to seeing these three new projects develop," Mr Caica said.
The third round of funding for stormwater harvesting and reuse projects forms part of the Australian Government's National Urban Water and Desalination Plan, which is a key component of the Australian Government's Water for the Future initiative and supports urban areas to secure water supplies and reduce reliance on traditional water sources.
The Australian Social Inclusion Board has published the second edition of its How Australia is faring report, finding that the country is making solid progress in a number of key social inclusion indices.
The report tracks Australia's progress against a range of social inclusion indicators, such as school participation rates, qualification and unemployment rates.
The report found that overall Australia is performing solidly in a number of key indicators, with more Australians completing school qualification, a comparatively low long-term unemployment rate and housing availability for low-income groups showing positive growth.
Australia's employment rate has continued to trend upwards, remaining well ahead of the OECD average. Long term unemployment has remained at 1.0 per cent, well under the that of the US (2.8 per cent) and the UK (2.5 per cent).
Minister for Social Inclusion, Mark Butler, welcomed the results of the report, saying that it told a 'compelling story' about our progress as a nation.
“Our economy continues to defy international trends and outperform other advanced economies with solid growth and low unemployment, yet 640,000 Australians still face complex and multiple levels of disadvantage each year," Mr Butler said.
However, despite the overall good news, the report identified some areas of concern. For example, the report found that 5 per cent of working age Australians, or around 640,000, continue to experience entrenched disadvantage. Australia continues to have the 4th highest rate of children living in jobless families in the OECD, finding that 14 per cent of children under 15, or 590,000, lived in jobless families. Additionally, and income inequality has increased steadily since the mid-1990s.
“For the approximately 5% of Australians, some 640,000 people, facing severe levels of disadvantage, we need to do more,” Mr Butler said.
The full report can be found here
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has published its June figures of housing finance, finding an overall 2.4 per cent upswing over the May to June period.
The Housing Industry Association (HIA) welcomed the results, saying that the convincing increase is sorely needed positive news for the construction sector.
“Looking over the three months to June 2012, a modest lift is evident for new home lending and reflects increases in all states and territories. The outcome is encouraging, but the reality is that new home loans have been grinding higher over the past six months rather than mounting a sustained and significant recovery,” HIA Senior Economist Andrew Harvey said.
However, Mr Harvey warned against premature optimism, saying that the sector is still struggling at GFC-equivalent levels.
“Unfortunately we needed to see a much stronger recovery in new home lending coming through in the first half of 2012 to signal a significant turnaround in residential construction,” Mr Harvey said.
The ABS data can be found here
The Commonwealth Bank has found that the average taxpayer is losing as much as $1,000 dollars because of lost receipts, equating to a total of $7.3 billion nationwide.
The bank found that 51 per cent of taxpayers misplace vital receipts required to support their tax return.
The study of more than 1,000 Australians reveals it’s largely receipts for everyday expenses we’re most prone to misplacing. Topping the list of Australian taxpayer’s most lost receipts are:
- stationary and office equipment (25 per cent);
- closely followed by fuel (24 per cent) and parking (24 per cent); and
- other receipts Australians are most likely to lose include tolls (15 per cent), travel (14 per cent) and internet usage (11 per cent).
Interestingly, the study shows big differences in the value Australian taxpayers think they are missing – between genders, age groups and locations2:
- men may be out of pocket by three times as much as women ($5.5 billion Vs. $1.8 billion);
- 18-35 year olds may miss out on $2.5 billion more than 36-50+ year olds ($4.9 billion Vs. $2.4 billion); and
- those living in capital cities could be losing on almost four times as much as those living in regional areas ($5.8 billion Vs. $1.5 billion).
According to the bank’s research, Australians spend on average 2.2 hours search for lost receipts, which means as a nation we spend over 1,800 years searching for lost receipts each year.
The Commonwealth Bank has announced the appointment of Matt Cornyn as the company’s new Group Executive, Retail Banking Services.
CEO Ian Narev welcomed Mr Cornyn’s appointment, having taken the role after an internal search after the departure of Ross McEwan.
“We were fortunate to be able to consider a group of high calibre internal and external candidates,” Mr Narev said.
Mr Cornyn has been with the bank since 1999, having served in a variety of rolls including Managing Director of Commsec.
“Through his various roles in the Group, Matt has demonstrated high integrity, a strong focus on our people and customers, a deep understanding of the application of technology to financial services, and broad strategic vision,” Mr Narev said.
“This combination of skills makes him ideally suited to lead a very talented team within Retail Banking Services to continue the strong momentum of the business, while positioning it well in a rapidly changing operating environment,” he added.
Mr Cornyn will commence his role on Friday August 10.
AMP Capital has announced the appointment of Kerry Ching as the company’s new Managing Director Asia.
Based out of Hong Kong, Ms Ching will be responsible for building the company’s Asian presence, through managing key client relationships and institutional sales and business development.
Ms Ching brings 20 years of experience to the roll, joining AMP Capital from Fidelity Investment Management where she was Country Head, Hong Kong.
Previously she has held roles at UBS Global Asset Management as Managing Director covering Asia ex Japan, as well as at INVESCO as Chief Executive Officer in Hong Kong and Head of Institutional Business Asia.
AMP Capital Director International Business Anthony Fasso said: “Appointing Kerry as Managing Director Asia reflects our commitment to deliver on our strategy of continuing to grow AMP Capital's presence in Asia.”
“This builds on our recent establishment of a new Asian equities team based in Hong Kong and complements the global listed real estate portfolio management team already located in Hong Kong.
“Kerry has extensive investment management expertise and strategic leadership capabilities and I look forward to working with her,” Mr Fasso said.
Ms Ching’s appointment is immediate.
The Federal Government has launched its new MoneySmart Teaching Primary Package, aimed at helping young Australian students become more confident, informed and responsible financial consumers.
The package was developed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) through extensive consultation with teachers.
Both the primary and secondary packages will be trialled in over 90 schools nationally with an aim to embed consumer and financial literacy in the new Australian Curriculum for students from Foundation through to Year 10.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Bernie Ripoll, said the packages were vital to ensure the long-term wellbeing of students and the future success of the country’s economy.
"Young people are growing up in a fast-paced consumer society where money is becoming increasingly 'invisible' and where there's a growing range of choice and complexity in consumer and financial products,” Mr Ripoll said.
"The MoneySmart Teaching packages provide effective consumer and financial education, empowering young people to face these challenges. It's never too early to be MoneySmart”
Professional learning will be provided to at least 6,000 primary and secondary teachers.
Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, the Hon Peter Garrett MP, said the MoneySmart teaching package supports the work done by the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) on a new national economics and business curriculum.
"The draft paper, Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Economics and Business, is currently open for public consultation and ACARA will use feedback on the paper to guide the writing of the draft Australian Business and Economics Curriculum later this year," Mr Garrett said.
MoneySmart Teaching resources for secondary schools are expected to be launched around December 2012.
An Australian first building and construction simulation facility has opened in South Melbourne, which is expected to be able to train up to 7,000 building and construction industry professionals and students a year.
The Building Leadership Simulation Centre was completed by the Master Builders Association, and was launched by Federal Minister for Skills Senator Chris Evans with the assistance of a $1.9 million investment from the Government.
Senator Evans said the centre offered building and construction training to new and experienced workers in a safe and controlled environment.
"As part of its drive for higher workforce skills in the building and construction industry, MBA is leading the way with new technology that revolutionises skills training," Senator Evans said.
"The centre will help MBA to offer interactive training to thousands of building professionals a year, from apprentices all the way through to project managers.
"It creates a virtual workplace where workers can confront many of the challenges faced in construction projects in a risk-free environment and develop the experience they need to deal with those challenges when they face them in the real world.
"This is only the third facility in the world to use state-of-the-art, virtual reality simulation technology to provide this kind of training.
The Federal Government has welcomed the move by New South Wales to decommission its independent organ donation register and sign up to the national Australian Organ Donor Register.
Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Health and ageing Catherine King welcomed the decision by the State Government to decommission the NSW Roads and Maritime Services Organ Donor Register, saying it removed a significant barrier to organ donation.
“This move by NSW Government towards a single national register for organ and tissue donation will help increase organ donation in NSW, and could ultimately save lives,” Ms King said.
“It aligns with the Australian Government’s National Reform Agenda to increase organ and tissue donation for transplantation.”
Federal Human Services Minister Kim Carr said a fully centralised system will allow for easier administration and will ensure a nationally consistent approach.
“The Australian Organ Donor Register – administered by the Department of Human Services – gives people access to the information they need to make a decision about donation,” Senator Kim Carr said.
Ms King said people who register their donation decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register have access to extensive information about organ and tissue donation, whereas ‘ticking a box’ on a driver’s licence is a barrier to making a truly informed decision.
To register on the Australian Organ Donor Register go to www.donatelife.gov.au/decide or call 1800 777 203
Online job postings of oil and gas positions have recorded an unprecedented 11.98 per cent booming in the last year and a half according to an index published by recruitment specialist Hays.
Established in 2010, the Hays Oil and Gas Global Job Index tracks global trends of oil and gas employment and labour demand around the globe.
The index tracked a 56 per cent increase in job postings since the index was first conducted, with figures showing a continual increase in job postings.
“The average number of jobs posted was higher than at any time since we first started measuring this data,” said Matthew Underhill, Managing Director of Hays Oil & Gas.
At 1.56 the Hays Oil & Gas Global Job Index is slightly down from its peak of 1.63, recorded in May 2012.
“Since then the markets have been more tentative with some unease surrounding the debt issues in Europe and the consequential easing of the oil price,” Mr Underhill said.
As well as a global perspective, the Hays Oil & Gas Global Job Index also provides a measure of month-to-month jobs posted by region. The figures from January to June 2012 reveal:
Russia and CIS
With a dramatic jump of 58.87 per cent, Russia and the CIS saw the strongest growth in the Index since January 2012. This was reflected in three consecutive records with job numbers peaking at 1.61 in June possibly due to plans announced to build a gas pipeline from Moscow to southern Europe and hiring needs in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.
Despite the global nature of oil and gas markets, it was difficult for employers to ignore the European gloom so close to home. This put a stop to the strong increases seen in the European data the previous quarter. However, it remains the region with the largest increase since the Index was first recorded in October 2010, currently at 1.94.
Africa peaked in April at 1.92. However, it slowly started to ease in May. This was followed by a considerable drop in June to finish on 1.48. It remains to be seen whether the decline will continue or make a rebound. Elections in North Africa are causing a lag in activity, as are localisation drives in many of Africa’s western countries.
The Index showed high levels of job postings in the Middle East. It posted its second highest level for the region, of 1.44 in May - since Hays Oil & Gas started recording data. This level eased to 1.32 in June.
Asia shot ahead in May and June and delivered on a long-promised boom in oil and gas activity in the region. The Index hit an all-time high in June at 1.86 and is second only to Europe in terms of its increase in activity since the Index was started in October 2010.
Another all-time high was reached this quarter with Australia hitting 1.70 in May in response to busy markets in Queensland and Western Australia. However, the Index fell sharply in June and it remains to be seen whether this is a short-term lull or a trend. The market is still busily recruiting, so a strong bounce back next quarter is expected.
The Index maintained its highs gained at the start of the year and although there was some easing in the level, it was not particularly material. Activity is being driven on numerous fronts throughout the region, not least of which is the oil sands in Canada.
There was a relatively mixed set of numbers coming from the South American region, with Brazil still powering on, and Colombia adding to the upward trend. However, the oil and gas environment in Argentina and Venezuela is countering this growth and preventing further
To view further detail on the index and the regional results please go to the Hays Oil & Gas website on www.hays-oilgas.com
The President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Steve Hambleton, has warned that proposed aged care reforms will not deliver their desired outcomes because the Government and key stakeholders are not placing a high enough priority on the medical care needs of older Australians.
Dr Hambleton said that the aged care debate today was too much about bricks and mortar and not enough about flesh and blood.
“The health needs of older Australians are not being given top priority,” Dr Hambleton said. “The human dimension of aged care is an afterthought for policymakers.”
Dr Hambleton said that the 2012 National Aged Care Conference being held in Adelaide today and tomorrow is being promoted as a forum to share ideas around the Government’s Living Longer Living Better aged care reform package.
“But there is one big idea that is missing from the Conference agenda,” Dr Hambleton said.
“There will be no discussion about securing medical and nursing services for older Australians who are living independently or in residential aged care facilities.
“The Living Longer Living Better package gives medical care little attention. The package has funding for medical practitioners to make a more timely diagnosis of dementia, and for palliative care, but the amount of funding for these services is yet to be specified.
“The Minister for Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, declined a recent AMA invitation to convene a group of medical and nursing experts to provide him with specific advice on how to direct this funding to ensure medical and nursing care for older Australians who can't make the trip to the surgeries and clinics where these services are provided.
“The Minister must recognise that older people are at risk of adverse outcomes if they become housebound and socially isolated and their access to medical and nursing services is inadequate.
“It is critical that aged care policy covers access to medical and nursing support services, and there must be appropriate Medicare rebates that recognise the additional work and complexity in providing high quality medical care outside the doctor's surgery.
“People should not have lesser access to quality health care just because they are getting old.”
City doctors would need a salary increase of up to $200,000 to entice them work in some country areas, a University of Melbourne study has determined.
The research, Getting Doctors into the Bush: GP’s Preferences for Rural Location, investigated what incentives and compensation was needed to entice GPs to shift to rural locations.
Nearly 4,000 GPs were asked to choose between their current employment and two hypothetical job offers. The fictitious jobs included various working hours, town size and locations, overtime responsibilities, general staffing levels and levels of likely social interaction.
Sixty five per cent of respondents said they wouldn’t quit their current position for any of the country jobs.
The research found incentives equivalent to 130% of annual earnings — or about $237,000 — would be required for GP’s to accept a job in a remote, inland town with poor social interaction and a big workload.
An increase of about 64% of a doctor’s current average annual salary — or roughly $116,000 — would be required to encourage them to a basic job in an inland town with less than 5,000 people.
Moving to an inland town with between 5,000 and 20,000 people would require incentives of at least 37% of current earnings, or roughly $68,000.
Lead researcher Professor Tony Scott, from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, said the desired compensation varied according to the practice location and workplace conditions.
“If on-call is low and hours worked do not change, the job becomes more attractive and the compensation required is less,” he said.
A Senate inquiry is currently investigating how existing incentive programs affect the recruitment and retention of country doctors.
Professor Scott said governments should tailor incentive programs to specific regional areas.
“Designing schemes to encourage doctors to locate and remain in remote and rural areas requires an understanding of the various factors that motivate doctors’ decisions.”
“Incentive programs are currently based on the ‘average GP’ and the ‘average rural area’, but there is scope to make them more dependent on the type of area and population size,” he said.
The research used data from the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life longitudinal survey of doctors.
Australian doctors sometimes fail to warn patients of risks that could affect the patient’s quality of life before providing treatment or surgery, a new study led by University of Melbourne researchers has shown.
Published in PLoS Medicine, the study showed that some doctors, particularly surgeons, are not explaining the risk of specific outcomes that matter most to patients.
Overlooked risks that led to a legal claim or complaint included chronic pain, sexual dysfunction, visual or hearing loss, and the need for re-operation.
Lead author Dr Marie Bismark from the University of Melbourne School of Population Health said the study revealed that doctors may routinely underestimate the importance patients place on understanding certain risks in advance of treatment.
“Increasingly, doctors are expected to advise and empower patients to make rational choices by sharing information that may affect treatment decisions, including risks of adverse outcomes,” she said.
“However, doctors, especially surgeons, are often unsure which clinical risks they should disclose and discuss with patients before treatment and this is reflected in this study.”
The authors found that the most common justifications doctors gave for not telling patients about particular risks before treatment were that they considered such risks too rare to warrant discussion, or that the specific risk was covered by a more general risk that was discussed.
“It is not necessary, or helpful, for doctors to provide a laundry list of all possible risks. Instead, doctors should focus on discussing those risks which are likely to matter most to the patient before them,” she said.
From a sample of nearly 10,000 patient complaints and malpractice claims from Australia between 2001 and 2008, researchers identified 481 disputes involving alleged deficiencies in obtaining informed consent.
The authors found that 45 (9%) of the cases studied were disputed duty cases—that is, they involved head-to-head disagreements over whether a particular risk ought to have been disclosed before treatment.
Two-thirds of these cases involved surgical procedures, and the majority of them related to five specific outcomes that had quality of life implications for patients, including chronic pain and the need for re-operation.
Most of the other 436 claims and complaints studied involved factual disagreements between doctors and patients—arguments over who said what, and when.
“The best way to avoid this type of ‘he said/she said’ dispute is by keeping a clear record of the consent discussion that takes place before any surgical procedure, “ Dr Bismark said.
The study was conducted in collaboration with the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the National Trauma Research Institute and the Alfred, Melbourne, Harvard Law School of Public Health, Boston, USA, Avant Mutual Group Ltd and the Office of the Health Services Commissioner of Victoria
There are barriers to recruitment and retention of women at a professional and trade level in the Tasmanian building and construction industry, a recent study commissioned by the Tasmanian Building and Construction Industry Training Board (TBCITB) has found.
Conducted by Dr Megan Alessandrini and Dr Romy Winter from the University of Tasmania’s School of Government, the research project explored the contributions made by women employed in Tasmania’s building and construction industry.
Dr Alessandrini said there were enormous opportunities for the industry to build on its skills base by reviewing how it recruits young women.
“The research showed professional and qualified female tradespeople were ‘able to hold their own in the workplace despite an underlying presence of gender stereotyping,” she said.
“The main finding was there is significant gender stereotyping in the industry which has an impact on recruitment, training and retention of female employees, particularly in the professional and trades area.”
The research on women in the Tasmanian building and construction industry had two threads - women in management and executive roles and the profile of women in trade and technical/professional occupations who work on site.
“We found women in the executive, administrative and management roles make an enormous contribution to the industry, and this is recognised in some quarters,” she said.
“But stereotyping was evident from the schools level, where girls were largely steered towards the female dominated occupations. Girls who had good family support and a strong interest in building and construction occupations were able to get a foothold into training.”
Dr Alessandrini said many assumptions were made about what women prefer, what was important to them, what occupational areas were most suitable to them and the resources they had to cope in the workplace.
Director of Ronald Young & Co Builders Lisa Burnell said women were “highly valuable” in the construction industry.
“Women work well in the industry because they are able to multi-skill, have high organisation and time management skills and good attention to detail,” she said.
“More recognition should be given to the work undertaken by women in building and trade vocations.
“The skills and qualifications I have gained through a diploma of business, project management and marketing, combined with postgraduate nursing degrees, are directly transferable to the building industry.”
TBCITB chief executive officer Simon Cocker said commissioning the research was the first step to encouraging women to consider a career in the building and construction industry.
“These days there is no reason why women should not see building and construction as a promising career,” Mr Cocker said.
“Focusing on the messages about the industry given in schools is an important priority, as well as furthering research on the gap between females enrolled in VET education and application for apprenticeships,” he said.
“Through building networks of successful women in the industry and promoting mentoring and training programs, we can foster long-term change across all organisational levels.
“I believe we need to see a cultural shift in the industry as there will come a time when it will need to actively recruit women. We need to get to a position where recruiting a woman to work in the sector is regarded as the norm.”