Wednesday, 28 June 2017
In a rare moment of fiscal responsibility as part of its 2016-17 Budget process, the then Liberal National Government made a decision to discontinue the motor vehicle licensing concessions granted to local government authorities and the WA Local Government Association, effective from July 1, 2017.
As part of this decision, local governments would also no longer be exempt from stamp duty for motor vehicle purchases. These combined measures were expected to deliver savings of almost $10 million per year, as well as additional savings in ongoing administration.
However, in a staggering move by the Liberal and National parties, Opposition members voted to support a Disallowance Motion moved by Agricultural Region MLC Rick Mazza, to reverse these measures and reinstate these concessions for local governments.
The reversal of this decision would cost the State:
"Mike Nahan is clearly not content with his vandalism of the State's finances while Treasurer and has directed his party to continue their attack on WA taxpayers from Opposition.
"To defy their own savings measures, destroys any remaining credibility of fiscal responsibility that the Liberal and National parties may have had.
"It is hard to fathom that the Opposition will no doubt celebrate blowing another $10 million black hole in the budget. I can assure you that the budget will not wear this act of fiscal irresponsibility.
"The McGowan Government is determined to fix the budget disaster left to us by the previous government."
28/06/2017 6:30 AM
It follows the appointment of Amanda Forrester SC to the role of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), WA's first female DPP, in April this year.
Ms Barbagallo was admitted into practice in 1991 after completion of articles of clerkship at MacDonnells, Barristers and Solicitors in Queensland.
Ms Barbagallo worked as a solicitor in general practice until 1995 when she commenced at the DPP in Queensland in the criminal prosecutions area.
From May 1996 to December 2000 she was a Crown Prosecutor at the DPP in Queensland and then a State Prosecutor at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions Western Australia (ODPP WA) from 2001 to 2005.
While at ODPP WA, Ms Barbagallo was Senior State Prosecutor from October 2005 until January 2008 and Crown Prosecutor from January 2008 to October 2010.
She has been Consultant State Prosecutor at ODPP WA since November 2010.
Ms Barbagallo's appointment is for a term of five years.
Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley:
"Ms Barbagallo has more than two decades of experience in a variety of criminal prosecutions in the Supreme and District Courts both in Western Australia and interstate.
"Through the course of her legal career, she has case managed a variety of criminal prosecutions from the least serious to the most serious.
"Ms Barbagallo was appointed Senior Counsel in December 2016.
"Ms Barbagallo is a voluntary mentor in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions' mentoring program and has compiled and presented training packages to WA Police to assist its officer training.
"In her current role as Consultant State Prosecutor at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms Barbagallo is responsible for the case management and prosecution of the most complex criminal prosecutions in Western Australia.
"She is leading the prosecution team in the criminal trial of the alleged Claremont serial killer.
"Ms Barbagallo has been the Chair of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions WA's Training and Professional and Development Committee since 2015, and she is a member of the Professional Development Committee of the Legal Practice Board of WA."
Tuesday, 27 June 2017
Plastic Free July was developed by the Western Metropolitan Regional Council in 2011, commencing with 40 participants.
The campaign has since been adopted globally with more than a million participants in more than 130 countries.
Participants can choose to refuse single-use plastics for 31 days in July or accept the challenge for a week or a day.
For more information or to register, visit http://www.plasticfreejuly.org
Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
"There are a number of ways we can all help reduce waste every day including bringing your own reusable shopping bags, remembering reusable coffee cups and water bottles, and avoiding pre-packaged fruit and vegetables.
"Plastic Free July is a fantastic homegrown challenge and is a great way to avoid landfill, reduce our eco-footprint and protect the ocean from plastic pollution."
Comments attributed to Plastic Free July co-founder Rebecca Prince-Ruiz:
"A staggering 100 kilograms of plastic packaging - including plastic containers, water bottles, plastic bags or disposable coffee cups - are used by householders every year.
"Those plastics break up not break down, are mostly down-cycled and end up in landfill or worse 'escape', with scientists predicting there will be more plastic than fish in the world's oceans by 2050.
"Plastic Free July is creating conversations and education around the issues of plastic pollution and more importantly has resulted in a wave of community action."
Tuesday, 27 June 2017
The State Government-funded free event will create vibrancy and increase economic activity in the precinct, boosting employment opportunities for locals.
Centred on the theme of resilience, the festival will explore dialogue and debate around migration, human rights, climate change, language preservation and issues facing the millennial generation.
The concepts of survival and endurance will be examined throughout a complete program of thought provoking presentations, question and answer sessions, discussion panels, conversations and immersive experiences.
All events will also be streamed State-wide, ensuring access for all Western Australians.
Comments attributed to Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman:
"The State Library will be buzzing on the last weekend of July 2017, when there will be keynote speakers, panel discussions, workshops, a youth-led radio station and interactive pop-up installations taking place all over the library.
"I'm sure that the weekend of events will once again bring forth new ideas, as well as stimulate debate and create controversy. While the events are all free, places for some sessions are limited so I encourage people to book."
27/06/2017 6:00 AM
The machines are also being decorated with creative designs recently submitted by local schoolchildren.
More than 100 students entered a competition for the chance to be a part of the $1.86 billion project, jointly funded by the State and Federal governments, which will link the central business district to Perth Airport and the eastern foothills.
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti today congratulated the five winners - who provided names and artwork - at the site of the future Forrestfield Station where the first machine will soon break ground.
The first TBM has been named Grace, in honour of pre-primary student Grace McPhee who was nominated by her classmates at Edney Primary School in High Wycombe. The students said Grace, who is undergoing treatment for leukaemia, was the toughest person they knew - a toughness the TBM would need to bore through the earth.
This TBM is decorated with artwork by Year 6 Walliston Primary School student Georgia Fields.
The second TBM, which will begin work in September, will be named Sandy - suggested by High Wycombe Primary School Year 4 student Sarah Spratt. Sarah was inspired after finding a sandgroper in her backyard, as the local insect (which is also a colloquial name for Western Australians) is 'excellent at tunnelling, just like the TBM'.
This TBM will be decorated with artwork by Rossmoyne Primary School Year 5 students Faith Brand and Jood Al Jashammi.
The TBMs will each dig eight kilometres of seven-metre diameter tunnels - including under Perth Airport and the Swan River.
The machines will take two years to make the journey underground to Bayswater, where the rail link will spur off the Midland Line. First trains are due on the line in late 2020.
Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
"I am thrilled to announce the winners of the competition to name and decorate the $20 million tunnel boring machines.
"I'm particularly delighted that the winners are all young students from the region who will undoubtedly grow up using the rail link once it is completed."
Bunbury-based meat processor V&V Walsh will launch its Amelia Park chilled lamb range in China today, becoming the only international supplier approved to supply chilled sheep and goat meat to the country.
Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan welcomed the achievement, which was supported by the State Government's WA Open for Business program, the Department of Agriculture and Food and Meat and Livestock Australia.
V&V Walsh will launch its product range in Shanghai today (June 20) and in Beijing on Friday (June 23). Its chilled lamb will be available through high-end retail stores and served in leading restaurants and hotels.
The company is also approved to supply chilled beef as well as frozen beef, sheep and goat meat, providing WA with a significant first mover advantage into premium segments of the enormous and growing red meat market in China.
The opening up of new high-value premium lamb markets should provide further confidence to the WA sheep industry and to investors about the future of the industry, as it looks for growth.
Comments attributed to Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"Congratulations to Peter and Greg Walsh on this significant achievement. Chinese consumers can now enjoy the first ever imported chilled lamb from Australia; Western Australian lamb at its very best.
"While China is WA's largest market for sheep meat, our exports largely comprise lower value frozen cuts. Now Chinese consumers can access a range of branded, premium-grade value-added lamb products.
"Exporting this value-added Western Australian product means more jobs in regional WA and more benefits for our economy.
"V&V Walsh have led the way for WA industry and the WA Government is proud to have been involved."
In an Australian-first, the Water Corporation has this week conducted a trial using two specially trained sniffer dogs to detect hidden leaks in below ground water mains.
The two dogs are being trained as part of a Water Corporation research and development program to smell water, when there is a potential break along underground mains.
The utility is investigating whether the dogs can better detect hidden leaks in areas where other detection methods are deemed unsuitable or where human access is difficult.
The dogs, a springer spaniel called Tommy and a cocker spaniel called Emma, are being trained by leading Australian dog trainer Steve Austin. Steve has worked with a number of agencies in Australia to train dogs to detect different smells for situations, including feral animal control and narcotics detection.
Comments attributed to Water Minister Dave Kelly:
"With nearly 34,000 kilometres of water mains across our vast State, it is important we continue to explore new and innovative methods of detecting hidden leaks.
"When pipes are buried underground it is much more challenging to detect a leak. Leaks in water mains can waste precious water and have the potential to interrupt supplies to homes and businesses.
"These field trials will not only test the dogs' ability to sniff out hidden leaks, but they will see how close they need to be to the leak for it to be detected and how many kilometres a day they can travel."
The Turnbull Government has again ignored the needs of Western Australia, with Federal Social Services Minister Christian Porter today confirming that the Federal Government has refused to contribute to the cost of the new Perth Stadium.
Premier Mark McGowan wrote to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull asking for a contribution towards the $1.2 billion Perth Stadium which was in line with previous contributions to stadia around Australia.
Mr Porter stated today that the 'Commonwealth generally doesn't fund stadiums - this is a very rare event'. So rare in fact that there have six recent examples: $100 million towards Townsville Stadium; $55 million - Adelaide Oval; $24 million - Skilled Stadium Geelong; $15 million - Bellerive Oval in Tasmania; $75 million - the SCG; and $90 million - the MCG.
each of these six cases, Federal Government funds were contributed from either consolidated revenue or Infrastructure Australia grants.
Comments attributed to Treasurer Ben Wyatt:
"The Federal Government has been more than happy to make significant contributions for other stadium developments around the country. We are once again being treated poorly compared with other States, it's very disappointing but not surprising.
"The Western Australians sitting around the Federal Government Cabinet table have once again sold this State short and have accepted a poor result for WA.
"Christian Porter has failed Western Australians twice. As a State treasurer, he failed to get funding from the then Federal Government, and he has failed to get funding from the government in which he is a Cabinet Minister.
"The previous Liberal National Government left this project in a mess, it beggars belief that they did not secure Federal funding or the major tenants for the stadium."
The Local Government Amendment (Auditing) Bill 2017 will raise the standard of accountability for local governments to a level more consistent with public sector departments and agencies and other jurisdictions.
The legislation follows recent Corruption and Crime Commission investigations into a number of local governments for allegations of serious misconduct and corruption. It also responds to recommendations made by the Legislative Assembly Public Accounts Committee.
Ratepayers will have improved access to an independent assessment of their council's financial position as local governments will be required to publish their annual reports including audit report on their website.
The legislation also introduces a new category of audits known as performance audits that will examine the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of programs and organisations, including compliance with legislative provisions and internal policies.
Comments attributed to Local Government Minister David Templeman:
"This legislation is long overdue and will address issues concerning the lack of accountability and transparency in some local governments.
"There is absolutely no reason why local governments should not have the same accountability standards as State Government departments and agencies. This legislation brings them in line with the rest of the public service and other jurisdictions.
"It will enable ratepayers to hold their councils to greater account and better protect community interests and funds.
"This Bill is an example of the McGowan Government leading the way and taking action to restore public confidence in the local government sector and ensuring the Western Australian community benefits from local governments which are accountable, transparent and responsible."
Lawyer Sam Vandongen and legal firm HHG Legal Group have been named this year's individual and organisational winners respectively.
Mr Vandongen's work included acting entirely pro bono as lead counsel for Pintupi man Gene Gibson, wrongly convicted of the manslaughter of Josh Warneke in 2010.
In the organisational category, the winning company, HHG Legal Group, has a long history of involvement in the local community, dating back to the early years of last century.
Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley:
"The pro bono contributions made by each winner are impressive and represent a significant amount of time and effort in helping the less fortunate in our community.
"Mr Vandongen willingly donated countless hours of his time to assist Mr Gibson, demonstrating his commitment to using his substantial legal skills to benefit our most vulnerable.
"Mr Gibson was subsequently released from prison, which was due in no small part to Mr Vandongen's efforts.
"HHG Legal Group's strong commitment to pro bono work includes providing free legal advice to hundreds of people living with cancer through the Cancer Council of WA.
"The company also offers free community legal clinics in three locations, open to any member of the community on a limited basis.
"I congratulate both winners on their profound contribution and unwavering commitment to the WA community."
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