The South Australian Government has launched an independent analysis of industry and community views on infrastructure required to support the growing mining and energy sector in the state.
State Minister Tom Koutsantonis says the report, prepared by Rural Solutions SA, provides a detailed analysis of response to the recommendations to government arising from the 2011 Infrastructure Demand Study.
“The State Government is now considering the findings of this report in tandem with the recommendations from the Resources & Energy Sector Infrastructure Council,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“Taking this feedback into account will help the Government make the most appropriate decisions for the long-term benefit of South Australia.”
Key feedback arising from the community consultation on those recommendations included:
- suggestions to maximise the use of existing infrastructure and support for a long term planning approach which considers both industry and community needs
- the need for a thorough planning process to develop road and rail links and deepwater ports
- recognition of the need for port developments and views on their location
- the critical importance of power-related infrastructure to meet current and future needs in regional areas
- the need for infrastructure to secure water supplies and water sustainability in regional areas and views on the site for proposed desalination plants, and
- support for government taking the lead role in investment attraction and the importance of productive public/private sector partnerships in harnessing private capital.
About 140 community and industry leaders attended public meetings during the consultation period and a further 35 written submissions were received online. Copies of the report and discussion paper are now available online at: www.dmitre.sa.gov.au/resicconsultation
Adelaide has been named the successful bidder of the 2013 Health Informatics Society annual conference in July next year.
The conference will bring an estimated 900 delegates to the state over the four-day conference that will cover e-health and health information systems conference and is expected to deliver an economic impact to the State of more than $2 million.
“This conference has a strong relevance to our work preparing South Australia to enter a new digital era of health care,” Mr Hill said.
“This conference will allow us to showcase our work in e-health to Australia, and the world. SA Health looks forward to working with the Society to make this event a success.”
Adelaide last hosted the Health Informatics Conference in 2000. It has been held in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Canberra since then. The 2013 conference will be held from 15-18 July
Scientists have taken a quantum leap forward towards future computing after discovering that ‘background interference’ in quantum-level measurements, may be the very thing they need to unlock the potential of quantum computing.
In a paper published in Nature Physics, researchers from The Australian National University, The National University of Singapore (NUS) and The University of Queensland, suggest that this interference – quantum discord – may be what will make a future quantum computer tick.
“Up until a few years ago, researchers thought that realising quantum technologies would mean harnessing the most difficult-to-tame properties of the quantum world – the phenomenon known as ‘entanglement’.
“But in the past few years, scientists have discovered examples of technologies that seem to work without entanglement, which has left us with the puzzle of where the quantum power comes from,” said Professor Ping Koy Lam of the ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences.
“Our research has identified that quantum discord, a more robust and easy-to-access phenomenon than entanglement, can also deliver quantum advantage,” said Mile Gu, a Research Fellow at the Centre for Quantum Technologies at NUS.
The team in Singapore discovered a direct link between quantum power and quantum discord.
“We’ve shown that quantum discord is a resource that we can tap with the right quantum tools,” said Dr Gu.
The ANU team encoded information onto laser light to demonstrate the unlocking of this quantum resource.
Quantum discord has previously been shown to be present in many systems, and might previously have been characterised as unwanted noise.
“This has made some scientists sceptical that it could be useful, but these results show that discord has potential that can be unlocked for quantum technologies,” said Professor Lam.
The research team are now looking for other tasks that may be enhanced by the inclusion of some quantum discord, and hope that discord could prove an easier path to future quantum technologies than entanglement.
The Queensland Government has announced sweeping changes to the way in which ambulances and hospitals treat emergency patients.
State Health Minister Lawrence Springborg released the Metropolitan Emergency Department Access Initiative report, confirming that the Government would adopt all 15 recommendations to improve the flow of patients through the Emergency Departments of the state’s hospitals.
The report’s recommendations will be implemented by Queensland Health, and Minister Springborg indicated he had written to the Chair of each Hospital and Health Board to confirm the Government’s commitment to addressing the issues raised by the report.
The report was commissioned by Queensland Health and prepared by Dr David Rosengren, the Director of Emergency Medicine at Greenslopes Private Hospital and a Senior Staff Specialist Emergency Physician at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.
The Queensland Ambulance Service, numerous other clinicians with emergency medicine expertise, paramedics, unions and agency representatives – at both senior executive and operational levels – also had input into the report.
The report’s major recommendations are:
- RECOMMENDATION 1 - Each Hospital and Health Service provide a 24-hour single point of non-ED Executive Director level (or higher) contact for the QAS on ED access issues.
- RECOMMENDATION 2 - Queensland Health includes a key performance indicator relating to Patient off-Stretcher Time (POST) in future Service Level Agreements for Hospital and Health Services.
- RECOMMENDATION 3 - Queensland Health reviews the current hospital capacity escalation framework and mandate implementation by 1 January 2013.
- RECOMMENDATION 4 - Queensland Health review the role of the Emergency Capacity Hospital Overview (ECHO) and internal ED capacity (SAPhTE) scores.
- RECOMMENDATION 5 - Patient flow and bed management strategies are implemented into all Queensland public hospitals and each Hospital and Health Service must demonstrate active use of same.
- RECOMMENDATION 6 – As at 1 January 2012 no hospital will have the authority to divert ambulances (activate ambulance bypass) to another hospital.
- RECOMMENDATION 7 - QAS is responsible for ambulance load share into emergency departments.
- RECOMMENDATION 8 - Triage must occur on arrival.
- RECOMMENDATION 9 – The introduction of senior level Clinical Initiative Nurses to the waiting room of all major EDs.
- RECOMMENDATION 10 – Patients are not to return to the back of an ambulance post triage.
- RECOMMENDATION 11 - Queensland Health and QAS introduce formal education modules into respective mandatory training ensure QAS paramedics and Queensland Health triage staff have a clear understanding of each other’s role and scope of practice.
- RECOMMENDATION 12 - That a Patient off Stretcher Time (POST) Policy directed at ensuring the time from arrival to clinical handover from QAS to the hospital is less than 30 minutes, be reviewed and implemented as a mandatory directive from Queensland Health by 1 January 2013.
- RECOMMENDATION 13 - QAS review the role of the QAS Hospital Liaison Officer (HLO), to optimise its contribution in the environment created by implementation of these recommendations.
- RECOMMENDATION 14 – Development of an Inter-hospital transfer Directive whereby patients not requiring specialist emergency medical care do not transit through the ED.
- RECOMMENDATION 15 - Establishment of a high-level Emergency Services Management Committee (ESMC) to provide policy advice to the Minister on issues affecting consumer access to (and delivery of) public hospital emergency and monitor implementation of the MEDAI recommendations.
The full report can be found here (.pdf)
The Queensland Government has introduced legislation before State Parliament that will aim to significantly cut red tape and streamline regulatory approval in the resources sector.
State Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, introduced the Mines Legislation (Streamlining) Amendment Bill 2012 with an aim to achieve a ‘less cumbersome and more efficient regulatory framework.’
“Industry leaders have said the Queensland resources sector is currently 'plagued by process' and our international investment reputation is suffering as a result,” Mr Cripps said.
“That's why reducing red tape is an essential element of the government's commitment to reform mining and resource tenure management and approvals.”
Mr Cripps said the bill is a significant first step to modernising and streamlining the state’s regulatory framework.
The bill proposes to:
- modernise the tenure administration system and reduce the time taken for each tenure decision under the Streamlining Approvals Project;
- clarify legislation so that resource activities (such as exploration) and development activities (such as transport and infrastructure development) can coexist;
- clarify an application of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to hazardous chemicals and major hazard facilities; and
- support the delivery of coal seam gas to liquefied natural gas, or CSG-to-LNG, projects in Queensland.
The Queensland Government has proposed new rules to govern the management of water and brine produced by the coal seam gas industry.
State Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, said the proposed changes will deliver improved environmental outcomes and economic benefits for the industry and landholders.
Mr Cripps introduced proposed amendments to the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 in State Parliament today relating to CSG water and brine, registration of pipeline easements, and incidental activities across tenure associated with CSG-LNG projects.
“The safe storage and treatment of water and brine produced by CSG activities is a priority issue for landholders and industry,” he said.
“Currently, CSG companies store untreated water and brine in containment ponds on each petroleum lease and treat it through infrastructure built on site. It is inefficient and costly.
“If the water and brine could be transported off-site to a central location for treatment and salt recovery, the environmental and economic benefits could be significant.
“These amendments provide much-needed flexibility that will help reduce the CSG industry’s environmental footprint through centralising water treatment facilities and limiting the need for holding ponds on each petroleum lease.
The Queensland Government has announced the appointment of a new Chair and senior members of the Advisory Council to the state’s Energy and Water Ombudsman.
State Minister for Energy and Water Supply Mark McArdle appointed Julie-Anne Schafer as the new Chair of the Advisory Council.
Mr McArdle said several current members, Ian Jarratt (Queensland Consumers’ Association), Michael Swanston (Energex) and Kate Farrar (QEnergy) had been reappointed to the Advisory Council.
“The Government welcomes the continued contribution of Mr Jarratt, Mr Swanston and Ms Farrar to the work of the Energy and Water Ombudsman Queensland,” he said.
Mr McArdle announced the following appointments:
- Michael Gordon, Family Business Australia (Qld)
- Ian Jarratt, Queensland Consumers’ Association
- Linda Parmenter, Queensland Council of Social Service
- Roz Burtenshaw, Queensland Country Women’s Association
- Mark Tucker-Evans, COTA (Council on the Aging) Queensland
- Tanya Acheson, Ergon Energy
- Mike Swanston, ENERGEX
- Kate Farrar, QEnergy
- David Mathers, Unitywater
- Josephine Monger, AGL Energy Limited
The Federal Government has outlined a $5 million package to help 14 local government bodies take advantage of the National Broadband Network to provide better services to their communities.
"The fast, affordable, and reliable broadband delivered by the NBN allows local councils to put residents and ratepayers at the heart of local government service delivery – where they should be. Ultimately, this means better, more accessible and more convenient services, delivered more efficiently and with less hassle,” Minister for Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy said.
The Digital Local Government program will provide funding of up to $375,000 to each local government.
The funding will be used to deliver a range of NBN-enabled services, including high-definition videoconferencing to enable greater access to council staff and improved efficiencies in council operations.
"High-definition videoconferencing over the NBN is a great way to bolster important frontline support delivered by councils, as well as other services that require significant consultation, like building and development applications," Senator Conroy said.
"The NBN will also mean residents can participate more easily in town hall meetings and council workshops, without needing to travel long distances to be there in person. This is particularly relevant for Australians living in regional areas where the travel required can prohibit such engagement."
A further funding round for the Digital Local Government Program will be announced later this year. For more details on the Digital Local Government program visitwww.dbcde.gov.au/digitallocalgov
The University of Wollongong (UOW) will partner with leading Chinese high tech pharmaceutical corporation Di’ao Group to research the effectiveness of natural Chinese medicines for treating a range of medical conditions including Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, schizophrenia and obesity.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed at Di’ao’s offices in Chengdu between UOW’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Health) Professor Don Iverson and Di’ao Group Vice-President Mr Xiao Shengmao.
Under the MOU, researchers from the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI) will collaborate with their counterparts at Di’ao on research into Chinese medicines and the development of new nano-drug delivery technologies. The MOU includes a commitment to developing an academic exchange program involving research staff from both organisations, as well as the possible funding of scholarships and internships involving Australian and Chinese postgraduate students.
A second phase of the partnership will see UOW’s Faculty of Engineering mining engineering researchers working with Di’ao mining industry division to develop automated underground coal extraction technologies.
A third phase involves plans for Di’ao to establish a research and development centre at UOW’s Innovation Campus in Wollongong to strengthen collaborations between it and UOW’s advanced health and medical and mining engineering researchers.
Professor Iverson said the medical research had exciting implications for western and Chinese medicine because it would look at traditional medicines, some dating back 5000 years, with a view to increasing their effectiveness to meet 21st century health challenges in areas like diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, schizophrenia and obesity.
“We will be investigating natural Chinese medicines and remedies that have been developed over thousands of years,” Professor Iverson said. “We will be seeking to identify what makes them effective, with a view to modifying those compounds to hopefully increase their effectiveness.”
Professor Iverson said the Di’ao Group was a highly innovative Chinese corporation with a strong reputation in fields including pharmaceuticals (natural and synthetic medicines), cosmetics, mining technology and real estate. It has earned the National Innovative Enterprise award, the Excellent Enterprise of National Traditional Chinese Medicine Industry award, and been named one of the 100 Strongest Hi-Tech Enterprises in the People’s Republic of China.
“Di’ao is a dynamic organisation and we are delighted to be collaborating on such important research,” Professor Iverson said.
He said NSW Trade & Investment’s Shanghai office had been instrumental in connecting UOW with the Di’ao Group.
Under the agreement, both organisations are looking at possible academic exchanges and student scholarships, which will help to strengthen the relationship between NSW and China.
Scientists have discovered a new avenue for the treatment of vision loss, one of the complications of Parkinson's disease.
Gentle, non-invasive treatment with a soft infra-red light can potentially protect and heal the damage that occurs to the human retina in Parkinson's disease, says Professor Jonathan Stone from The Vision Centre and the University of Sydney.
"Near infra-red light treatment has long been known to promote the healing of wounds in soft tissues such as skin. Our recent studies are showing that it can also protect the retina of the eye from toxins which attack its nerve cells," Professor Stone said.
"We have been studying a mouse 'model' of Parkinson's disease, in which such a toxin is used to create a Parkinson-like condition. The toxin targets brain cells which use a particular signalling molecule called dopamine, and the infrared light - in the right dose and with the right timing - blocks the toxic effect."
The toxin also kills certain key retinal cells which are important in giving sharpness to the retina's coding of visual images. Infrared light also protects these retinal cells and reduces the damage.
The new results suggest that infra-red radiation will be effective in Parkinson's disease, Professor Stone said. Because the radiation is effective at low intensities, with no known toxicity, there are few barriers if any to trials in humans.
"As shown in these studies on mice, protection or rescue of neurons in the brain - and as we know now, in the retina - is better than the best established treatments for Parkinson's disease," Professor Stone said. "The challenge now is to translate these findings, made in mouse models, to human patients suffering from Parkinson's disease.
"Diseases such as Parkinson's are seriously debilitating; for the individual the need is immediate. There is every reason for clinical trials to be carried out as soon as possible."
As to the potential benefits for Parkinson's patients, he says: "Principally, we anticipate there would be a preservation of acuity, the clarity with which we can see detail and contours in the visual world. The same treatment should be protective for the brain as well, preventing or slowing the otherwise relentless progress of the disease. As always, we will need rigorous trials, to know what can be achieved."
It is no surprise, Professor Stone observed, that the same treatment works for both the brain and the retina. "The retina of the eye is really part of the brain - the only part outside the skull. It has to be outside the skull, so it can function as an eye. In many ways the retina is the most accessible part of the brain, and many discoveries about the brain have begun in the retina.
"Parkinson's is a double-whammy disease," says Professor Stone. "Our dream is turn back both the damage to the brain, and the damage to the retina. Increasingly, this seems possible."
The study 'Survival of Dopaminergic Amacrine Cells after Near-Infrared Light Treatment in MPTP-Treated Mice' by Cassandra Peoples, Victoria E Shaw, Jonathan Stone, Glen Jeffery, Gary E Baker and John Mitrofanis was published in ISRN Neurology in May.
The Vision Centre is funded by the Australian Research Council as the ARC Centre of Excellence in Vision Science.
A low-cost laser sensor that can quickly and accurately measure the velocity of commercial passenger aircrafts could complement existing sensors and help prevent fatal aeroplane crashes, according to engineers at the University of New South Wales.
Using facilities provided by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation in Melbourne, researchers from UNSW Canberra have developed and successfully tested a proof-of-concept laser-based sensor in a high-speed wind tunnel.
“One of the problems with current velocity sensors is that they are susceptible to icing in bad weather,” says Dr Sean O’Byrne from the School of Engineering and Information Technology. “Our technology is based on laser light, meaning there are no physical components in the airflow. Instead they are located inside the aircraft where the temperature can be controlled.”
Currently used airspeed sensors – known as Pitot tubes – have been considered possible failure points for several fatal aircraft accidents, most recently, Air France flight 447, which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in June 2009.
Accident investigators suspect that a severe storm caused the forward facing pressure holes on the Pitot tube on flight 447 to fill with ice, which prevented the pilots from receiving accurate measurements.
“Pitot tubes are simple and reliable instruments, but when they get obstructed, either by ice, dirt build-up, or by birds or insects flying into them, they don’t tell you your correct speed,” says O’Byrne. “Then you need to rely on backup plans, like GPS, which in storm conditions may not do the job.”
“The technology we have developed measures airspeed like a Pitot tube, but doesn’t have something poking out into the air. It has a window, which can be built into a recess in the body of the plane, and which can be heated. This also means, in sudden icing situations, it can be kept out of the wind.”
And while it’s not designed to replace the Pitot tubes entirely, the researchers say it can be used as a low-cost measure to augment the tubes, which will give flight staff more confidence in their readings and help guard against fatal crashes.
O’Byrne says the sensor employs the same technology used in laser computer mice, and measures velocity by using the Doppler shift of the light absorbed by oxygen molecules.
PhD student Sven Wittig from UNSW Canberra conducted the experiments and was involved in the design of the sensor, the idea for which was born out of the group’s work on the SCRAMSPACE project.
The next step is to scale down the proof-of-concept into an aircraft-ready design and conduct flight tests.
A major international study led by University of Adelaide researchers aims to prevent death and serious illness caused by one of the most common infections contracted by patients in hospitals.
The study is investigating standard practices for the insertion and management of urinary catheters in patients, and spans more than 2000 acute care beds at 43 hospitals and clinics in the United States, Spain, Finland, Singapore and Australia.
Led by the University of Adelaide's Joanna Briggs Institute, the project is aimed at developing best practice guidelines for the use of catheters in hospitals.
"Poor catheter management is the single biggest cause of hospital-acquired infection in the world, with more than half a million infections every year," says study leader Dr Craig Lockwood, Director of Translation Science at the Joanna Briggs Institute.
"These infections can have a devastating impact on patients. Even if they survive the infection, the result for patients can be drawn out and painful, with recurring infections that affect their overall recovery, and an enormous cost to the healthcare system because of extended hospital stays.
"The human cost is even greater: tens of thousands of patients die from these infections every year, with numbers in the United States alone at around 13,000 deaths per annum. Most of these deaths are preventable," Dr Lockwood says.
The study is comparing current catheter management with best practice based on high-quality research at the 43 participating hospitals and clinics.
"The main problem arises because the urinary system is a sterile environment. Once you introduce a catheter into that system, it becomes a portal of entry for bacteria - either during the insertion process or in the day-to-day care of the patient," Dr Lockwood says.
"However, there is often no standard procedure for catheter management within the same hospital, let alone between hospitals, and that's what we hope to achieve. Health professionals' behaviour makes all the difference - we can improve health outcomes just by changing behaviour.
"Something extremely simple, such as doctors and nurses making sure they've washed their hands properly, can be the difference between a quality recovery for the patient or serious illness and death."
The University of Adelaide's Joanna Briggs Institute has an international reputation for excellence in research that translates to real-world health practice. This study into catheter management is the first translational science research project of its kind in the world.
The Federal Government’s positive response to Victoria’s proposal to establish a National Disability Insurance Scheme trial in the state’s Barwon Region looks likely to result in the establishment of the trial.
Victoria offered an additional $42 million over the period of the trial, which Premier Ted Baillieu said would result in a substantially improved trial for the region.
Victoria's trial for the Barwon Region would:
- secure a trial for 5,000 Victorian's with a disability in the Barwon Region;
- provide an additional $17 million over the period of the trial for existing clients, matching the benchmark funding required by the Commonwealth;
- bring forward the start of the trial to 1 July 2013, a year earlier than the Commonwealth's proposal for 1 July 2014 commencement in Barwon;
- provide a one-off payment of $25 million to secure the establishment of the National Disability Transition Agency in Geelong, the home of Victoria's Transport Accident Commission, an acknowledged leader in social insurance schemes;
- allow the Commonwealth to direct further funding to new clients in the Barwon Region; and
- provide NDIS expansion funding arrangements that are consistent with the Productivity Commission's recommendations and the previous understanding of the States.The Victorian Coalition Government has been a leader and a champion of the NDIS.
The Victorian Government has officially opened the state’s new $150 million data centre in Derrimut, with State Technology Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips saying it will stimulate widespread economic activity throughout the state.
The M2 site, designed, constructed and operated by Metronode, covers an area over 25,000 square metres.
"Metronode's investment strengthens Melbourne's reputation as a leader in information and communication technology (ICT) and cloud computing, and will allow tenants to provide quality secure solutions for Victorian customers,”
Mr Rich-Phillips said the construction of the facility would generate hundreds of direct and in-direct ICT jobs throughout the state.
The site is the first of Metronode's next-generation facilities in Australia, which is accredited as a Tier III facility and utilises ground-breaking free cooling technology.
The Federal Government has welcomed the appointment of Brad Orgill as a new director on the board of the National Broadband Network Co (NBN Co) as well as the reappointments of Diane Smith-Gander and Siobhan McKenna.
"Mr Orgill has valuable financial experience and a background in advising government as a member of the Queensland Reconstruction Authority Board and the former Chair of the Building the Education Revolution Taskforce," Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy said.
Mr Orgill has extensive experience in the global financial market, having spent 22 years at the UBS Group before retiring as Chairman of UBS Australia in 2008. He previously served as CEO of BUS Investment Bank Australia and Head of Asia and Asia-Pacific Equities.
Following his retirement from UBS, Mr Orgill chaired the Australian Government's Building the Education Revolution Taskforce. He represents the Commonwealth on the Queensland Reconstruction Authority Board, and is a member of the Regional Development Australia Fund Advisory Panel.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a consultation paper son the draft section of 151DB points of interconnection (POI) to the National Broadband Network (NBN).
"The points of interconnection are important for ensuring that retail service providers can connect to the National Broadband Network to provide services to their customers," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.
"This is the first time the section 151DB list of points of interconnection has been made, so the ACCC considers that it is appropriate to seek stakeholder comments on the list," Mr Sims said.
In the consultation paper, the ACCC proposes to set out the general locations of each point of interconnection, while outing minor changes made to the list since the last consultation in May 2011.
Interested parties are invited to make written submissions on the form of the list by 5pm on 31 August 2012. Subject to stakeholder submissions, the ACCC intends to publish the final list of points of interconnection in September 2012.
The consultation paper can be found here
Telstra has announced it will seek to significantly bolster its mobile and broadband telecommunications coverage with the construction of new network mobile base stations across the state’s North-West region.
Telstra Country Wide Area General Manager for WA North Tony Carmichael said the construction of the 20 new base stations throughout the state will give users significantly increased access to voice and data services.
“The previously unserviced area between Port Hedland and Fitzroy Crossing now has mobile coverage for the first time, following the commissioning of these base stations. This means customers will now be able to use mobile phones, tablets and other wireless devices between towns and enjoy a fast mobile broadband service,” Mr Carmichael said.
“These towers are also an important addition for emergency services in the Pilbara. Functioning mobile coverage can assist in emergencies, particularly in getting messages out to remote parts of the state prone to bushfires and other disasters. Nonetheless, mobile phone networks should not be relied upon as the sole means of emergency communications.
The towers form part of Telstra’s ongoing Regional Mobile Communication Project (RMCP), aimed at delivering increased mobile and telecommunications coverage throughout regional and remote Western Australia.
In partnership with Telstra, the Project will deliver $106 million in value to the state and is expected to take three years to complete. Over this period, Telstra will increase its geographic coverage by about 22 per cent in Western Australia - from 430,000 km2 to more than 525,000 km2.
“Projects like this are helping those in rural towns to experience Telstra’s Next G® network. With computers, laptops, tablets and mobiles, customers can connect to Australia’s largest and fastest national mobile network,” Mr Carmichael said.
A new $4 million terascale research supercomputer, funded under the Australian Government's Super Science Initiative, has been launched at The University of Western Australia.
Named Fornax, Latin for 'furnace', after a southern hemisphere constellation known as a birthplace for stars, the computer is the second of three supercomputers commissioned as part of the $80 million Pawsey Centre project, which is a participant in Australia and New Zealand's successful bid to co-host the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope.
The two new supercomputers are forerunners to the more powerful petascale Pawsey Centre supercomputer system being installed in 2013. Fornax and its partner 'Epic' are helping researchers to develop the expertise needed to get the best out of the Pawsey supercomputer when it comes online.
Fornax is operated by iVEC, a collaboration between CSIRO and University of Western Australia (UWA), Murdoch University, Curtin University and Edith Cowan University.
The system contains 6.9 terabytes of RAM, 672 terabytes of storage and 1152 CPUs, operating across 96 nodes. At peak performance, the system is capable of performing 62 teraflops, or 62 trillion operations per second.
The Federal Government has released a public consultation paper to enable small and medium sized companies and other stakeholders to contribute to the design of the R&D Tax Incentive quarterly credits initiative.
The new R&D quarterly credits initiative will provide more timely access to tax incentives for small and medium sized businesses undertaking eligible research and development.
R&D quarterly credits will be an opt-in element of the Government's R&D Tax Incentive, which will further improve company cash flow and enhance incentives to invest in R&D activities.
Quarterly credits will be available to small and medium sized companies eligible for the R&D refundable tax offset.
Rather than waiting until an income tax return is assessed by the ATO, companies can choose to obtain the benefit of the offset on a quarterly basis during an income year.
Providing benefits to smaller companies sooner will be a better way to help them invest in their own future success, and in doing so, the Government is also investing in Australia's long-term economic future.
The R&D Tax Incentive is part of the Government's ambitious innovation agenda to create more business opportunities, growth and jobs for the future. It will help make our businesses more innovative and, across the nation, will assist to increase Australia's productivity and competitiveness.
Quarterly credits will be accessible for each quarter commencing on or after 1 January 2014.
The Government encourages comment and feedback on the paper as part of the consultation process to help ensure that the design of quarterly credits works for business.
The consultation paper can be found at www.treasury.gov.au. Consultation on the paper will close on 31 August 2012.
The Federal Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek, has announced new appointments to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) including the new chair Justice Annabelle Bennett AO.
“Justice Bennett has a PhD in biochemistry and an outstanding record of service to the Australian community, through the Federal Court, the Adminstrative Appeals Tribunal, as an arbitrator and as a leader in universities and non-government organisations,” Ms Plibersek said.
Justice Bennett is joined by 13 new members of the Council, who will join the Chief Medical Officers of the Commonwealth, States and Territories to lead the NHMRC through the 2012 2015 triennium.
Five Principal Committees, comprising over forty wide ranging experts from consumers, ethicists, researchers and health practitioners, have also been appointed to support Council and the CEO of NHMRC.
The NHMRC Council Appointments for 2012-15 are:
The Hon Justice Annabelle Bennett AO, Federal Court of Australia, NSW
Professor Chris Baggoley, Chief Medical Officer for the Commonwealth, ACT
Ms Carol Bennett, Executive Director, Consumer Health Forum, ACT
Dr Rosemary Bryant, Commonwealth Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer, ACT
Dr Paul Kelly, Chief Health Officer and Executive Director of Population Health, ACT Government Health Directorate, ACT
Mr John Brown, Director, Sydney Water, NSW
Dr Kerry Chant, Chief Health Officer, NSW Ministry of Health, NSW
Professor Greg Dore, Head of the Viral Hepatitis Clinical Research Program, University of NSW and Infectious Disease Physician, St Vincent’s Hospital, NSW
The Hon Michael Egan, Chair, Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology and Chancellor, Macquarie University, NSW
Professor Kathryn North, Douglas Burrows Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health, and Associate Dean, University of Sydney; and Head, Institute for Neuroscience and Muscle Research, Children’s Hospital at Westmead, NSW
Clinical Professor Ian Olver AM, Chief Executive Officer of Cancer Council Australia and Clinical Professor, University of Sydney, NSW
Associate Professor Anthony Shakeshaft, Assistant Director, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of NSW, NSW
Professor Robyn Ward, Clinical Associate Dean and Professor of Medicine, University of New South Wales, NSW
Dr Barbara Paterson, Chief Health Officer and Executive Director, Health Protection Division, Northern Territory Dept of Health and Families, NT
Associate Professor Noel Hayman, University of QLD and Clinical Director, Inala Indigenous Health Services, QLD Health, QLD
Professor Claire Wainwright, QHealth Research Fellow, Royal Children’s Hospital, QLD
Dr Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer, QLD Health, QLD
Professor Paddy Phillips PSM, Chief Medical Officer, SA Health, SA
Professor David Roder AM, Professor of Cancer Epidemiology, University of South Australia, SA
Professor Anne Kelso AO, Director, WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, VIC
Dr Rosemary Lester, Chief Health Officer, Dept of Health, VIC
Dr Craig White, Chief Health Officer, Dept of Health and Human Services, TAS
Funding totalling $42.3 million has been allocated to 17 research centres in the latest round of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centres of Research Excellence program. The program provides up to $2.5 million over five years to support teams of researchers to pursue collaborative research and develop capacity in clinical, population health and health services.
The funded projects are as follows:
CRE Clinical Research
Research Institution: Queensland Institute of Medical Research
Title: PROBE-NET: The Progression of Barrett's Esophagus to Cancer Network
Researcher: Professor David Whiteman
Funding amount: $2,465,841
This application brings together the seven major research teams in Australia with expertise in oesophageal cancer to form a multi-state, multi-disciplinary Centre of Research Excellence. All of the nodes have worked together collaboratively for the past 4 years, pooling their expertise in surgery, gastroenterology, endoscopy, epidemiology, biostatistics, basic science, health policy and translational research. The vision is to develop evidence-based strategies for reducing the burden of oesophageal neoplasia.
Research Institution: Menzies School of Health Research
Title: Centre of Research Excellence in Lung Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children
Researcher: Professor Anne Chang
Funding amount: $2,498,845
Respiratory illness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is very common with long term consequences in Indigenous Australians. Thus prevention and / or early treatment potentially change the child’s life trajectory for lung health. Partnering key researchers in Brisbane, Sydney, New Zealand and USA, the research team will undertake appropriate clinical studies (treatment and preventative) that are most likely to improve lung health outcomes in young Indigenous children. The team will focus on increasing participation of Indigenous people and end-users.
Research Institution: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Title: The Australian Centre for Translational Breast Cancer Research: From Discovery to Better Health Outcomes
Researcher: Professor Geoffrey Lindeman
Funding amount: $2,500,000
This CRE will implement a collaborative multidisciplinary research program to help fast track the clinical translation of promising laboratory discoveries in breast cancer. To overcome existing roadblocks, the research team will carry out early phase clinical trials of novel anti-breast cancer drugs linked to suitable diagnostic tests that help select the right therapy for individual cancer patients. The team’s goal is to help inform the swift delivery of cost-effective personalised medicine in breast cancer.
Research Institution: University of Adelaide
Title: Centre of Research Excellence in Translating Nutritional Science to Good Health
Researcher: Professor Michael Horowitz
Funding amount: $2,499,990
At current rates, over two thirds of Australians will be overweight by 2025, and a third will develop type 2 diabetes during their lifetime. Meanwhile, elderly Australians and those requiring intensive care admissions are at risk of debility from under-nutrition. This CRE will link scientists in the laboratory with clinical researchers to develop nutritional solutions to a number of major diseases, and has the expertise to apply these in the community.
Research Institution: University of Melbourne
Title: Centre of Research Excellence for reducing the burden of colorectal cancer by optimising screening: evidence to clinical practice
Researcher: Associate Professor Mark Jenkins
Funding amount: $2,483,765
Bowel cancer, the second most diagnosed cause of cancer death is preventable. This CRE brings together scientists, epidemiologists and clinicians to develop a personalised risk tool and methods to implement the tool to increase appropriate screening.
Research Institution: Monash University
Title: Centre of Research Excellence for Patient Blood Management in Critical Illness and Trauma
Researcher: Professor David Cooper
Funding amount: $2,498,407
Blood transfusion is an area of major public interest. In critically ill or major trauma patients it can both be life-saving and dangerous. There is continuing uncertainty about how best to use blood and blood products in such patients. The research team will undertake vital research to improve our understanding of the effects of transfusion on patient outcomes and how to best manage this vital community resource.
Research Institution: University of New South Wales
Title: Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use: Translating innovative prevention and treatment
Researcher: Professor Maree Teesson
Funding amount: $2,499,020
The top ten causes of burden of disease in young Australians are dominated by mental and substance abuse disorders. These disorders often occur together yet people with mental and substance use disorders rarely have both effectively treated. This CRE will tackle prevention and treatment for people with both mental and substance use disorders.
Research Institution: University of Wollongong
Title: Australian Centre of Research Excellence for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research
Researcher: Professor Rodney Croft
Funding amount: $2,498,842
With over 5 billion mobile phone subscriptions world-wide, the electromagnetic energy (EME) that powers this technology is now ubiquitous, as is community concern about the possibility of associated health effects. Responding to this concern, this CRE will embark on a 5-year research program to promote Australia’s EME health both in the immediate future, and through the development of human research capacity in this field, into the future.
CRE Population Health
Research Institution: University of New South Wales
Title: Centre of Research Excellence for improving suicide prevention in Australia through better implementation of effective interventions, improved risk identification and evidence informed policy
Researcher: Professor Helen Christensen
Funding amount: $2,490,060
Suicide is the most common cause of death in Australians aged 15-44. This CRE aims to bring together leading experts in Australia and New Zealand to undertake the research work needed to determine the best way to deliver interventions to those at risk, to develop better understanding of the complex pathways that lead to suicide, to encourage help seeking and to prioritise which programs and services should be financially supported by government.
Research Institution: University of Sydney
Title: Centre of Research Excellence on tuberculosis control: from discovery to public health practice and policy
Researcher: Professor Warwick Britton
Funding amount: $2,492,535
Tuberculosis (TB) is a global public health problem, responsible for the deaths of 2 million children and young adults annually. Drug resistant strains of TB are emerging and pose a threat even in countries where TB is well controlled, such as Australia. Research undertaken in this CRE will translate into improved treatments, diagnostics and strategies to prevent transmission.
Research Institution: Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Title: Centre of Research Excellence in Paediatric Food Allergy and Food-Related Immune Disorders
Researcher: Associate Professor Katrina Allen
Funding amount: $2,493,292
The prevalence of food allergy (FA) has risen dramatically in the last 20 years. Strong evidence suggests that undetermined lifestyle factors are central to this modern phenomenon. This CRE will provide international leadership in public health initiatives to stem the tide of FA and related disorders. The CRE will provide evidence based guidelines that will inform public health policy and the clinical care of patients.
Research Institution: Deakin University
Title: Centre of Research Excellence on Policy Research on Obesity and Food Systems
Researcher: Professor Robert Carter
Funding amount: $2,498,110
This CRE aims to build a world-leading, multi-disciplinary research team that aims to have a real impact on finding and implementing policy solutions to the global obesity epidemic. It will support policy makers and public health advocates by evaluating potential policy options and their impacts on environments and systems, enhancing policy development and implementation processes, and monitoring the actions of the public and private sectors.
Research Institution: University of South Australia
Title: Centre of Research Excellence in post-market surveillance of medicines and medical devices
Researcher: Associate Professor Elizabeth Roughead
Funding amount: $2,500,000
Medicines and medical devices constitute a significant cost to Australia’s health care system. Adverse events resulting from their use are similarly a significant expense that could be reduced by the development of Australia's capacity to use linked health data-sets to detect and monitor adverse events. This CRE aims to develop capacity, methods, knowledge and tools to enhance post-marketing surveillance systems to improve information on medicine and device safety, effectiveness and utilisation.
CRE Health Services
Research Institution: University of Queensland
Title: Evidence-based Mental Health Planning: Translating Evidence into Policy and Services
Researcher: Professor Harvey Whiteford
Funding amount: $2,442,370
This CRE will research the design of a better mental health system for Australia. This service system will include the full range of prevention and treatment interventions using the best available scientific evidence. The work will be carried out across five of the best research centres in Australia with expertise in clinical medicine, epidemiology, service planning and implementation science.
Research Institution: Bond University
Title: The Centre of Research Excellence in Minimising Antibiotic Resistance for Acute Respiratory Infections [CREMARA]
Researcher: Professor Christopher Del Mar
Funding amount: $2,454,998
Antibiotic resistance is a threat to international health. Most antibiotics are prescribed for acute respiratory infections. This CRE will focus on the major contributors to resistance: antibiotic overuse and person-to-person transfer of antibiotic resistance genes. Research will inform the design, evaluation and translation of urgently needed interventions aimed at clinicians, patients and policy-makers.
Research Institution: Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute
Title: Centre of Research Excellence to Reduce Inequality in Heart Disease
Researcher: Professor Simon Stewart
Funding amount: $2,493,649
There is increasing recognition of a societal responsibility to provide effective and sustainable health care to the entire population and not just too selected parts. Indigenous and regional Australians are most affected by Australia's biggest killer - heart disease. In response, this CRE is a national collaboration of researchers from a range of health disciplines who will work on developing sustainable and cost-effective health care services.
Research Institution: Menzies School of Health Research
Title: Centre of Research Excellence in Discovering Indigenous Strategies to improve Cancer Outcomes via Engagement, Research Translation and Training (DISCOVER-TT)
Researcher: Associate Professor Gail Garvey
Funding amount: $2,499,998
This CRE aims to reduce the marked disparities in diagnosis, treatment and survival for Indigenous Australians with cancer. DISCOVER-TT’s co-ordinated, collaborative, Indigenous-led research program will feature extensive stakeholder engagement to ensure its work is relevant and applicable, and will enhance research capacity by developing early-career researchers.