he McGowan Government will increase penalties for workplace safety offences to bring Western Australia into line with other States and ensure penalties better reflect the importance of a safe workplace.
The amendments will increase penalties for businesses which commit safety offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1984 (OSH Act) for the first time since 2004.
The new penalties will be consistent with the national model Work Health and Safety Act (Model Act), with a further increase for inflation (1.14 per cent) from 2010.
Harsher penalties for offenders include increasing the maximum term of imprisonment from two to five years.
First offence fines for body corporate offenders will also drastically increase, Level 4 first time offences will increase from $500,000 to more than $2.7 million.
Level 1 penalties will increase from $50,000 to $456,000.
With the exception of WA and Victoria, other Australian jurisdictions have adopted the Model Act and, as a result, penalty levels in WA's OSH Act are significantly less than those applying in many other jurisdictions.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"Penalties for workplace safety offences haven't changed for 13 years. The substantial increases reflect the seriousness of ensuring the safety of Western Australian workers.
"The McGowan Government is committed to improving workplace health and safety laws to ensure all workers return home safely from work."
Comments attributed to Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston:
"The changes to penalty levels will take place ahead of the introduction of the Government's Work Health and Safety Bill, expected to be introduced into State Parliament by mid-2019.
"The new penalties will provide an incentive to comply with workplace safety laws and ensure penalties meet community expectations."
Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly today announced Western Australians can go freshwater fishing in the State's South-West, licence-free next weekend (September 2-3, 2017).
The special weekend will celebrate the opening of the freshwater fishing season on September 1 and give people the chance to try their hand at freshwater angling for free.
Outside this special weekend, licences are required, except for those aged under 16. About 10,000 freshwater fishing licences were issued in 2016-17.
Normal bag and size limits will still apply.
On Saturday, September 2, Recfishwest will hold a community stocking day at Drakesbrook Weir in Waroona to celebrate the work done by Fisheries to grow and supply rainbow trout and brown trout for South-West waterways. For more information, visit http://www.recfishwest.org.au
Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly:
"Fishing for trout or redfin perch on a karri-lined river near Pemberton, or at one of the stocked irrigation dams in the Waroona-Harvey area, provides a great opportunity for families to spend quality time together outdoors.
"That is why the State Government is giving Western Australians the chance to go fishing in the South-West on September 2 and 3 without the need for a licence.
"There is also an opportunity on September 2 for kids to take part in free fishing clinics or the release of thousands of trout into the Drakesbrook Weir, as part of Recfishwest's community stocking day festivities.
"The release of the trout is part of Fisheries' plan to distribute more than 637,000 trout this year, including fry, yearlings and ex-broodstock, to support and enhance the recreational freshwater fishing experience in WA's South-West.
"The State Government is committed to supporting the recreational fishing industry which is an important economic driver for WA."
Construction of the new Warren Health Service in Manjimup is over half-way with rammed-earth walls and roof now completed.
South West Regional Director Kerry Winsor said construction started in September last year and despite inclement weather through winter, the project was still running to plan.
“The community will be pleased to see the new health service taking shape and to know that the new build is on track to be completed and operational by the middle of 2018,” Ms Winsor said.
“Demolition of the existing hospital, site clean-up and landscaping is planned to be completed towards the end of 2018.”
Work has now started in earnest on the inside of the building with the focus being on preparing the walls and installing ceilings and windows. Some cabinetry has started in the outpatient building and airconditioning and a generator has been installed. Work has begun on the carpark and surrounding road works.
“Thanks to the Southern Inland Health Initiative’s $300 million capital works project, both Warren and Collie Health Service have received upgrades.
“Redevelopments such as these mean that patients have access to contemporary fit-for-purpose health facilities close to home.”
Once completed, the Warren Health Service in Manjimup will include a state-of-the-art emergency department, ambulance facilities, an inpatient ward, surgical services, operating theatre, birthing suite, medical imaging, pathology department, primary health care and other support services.
To view a time-lapse video of the Warren Health Service being constructed visit http://www.wacountry.health.wa.gov.au/index.php?id=947
The redevelopment is part of the Southern Inland Health Initiative’s $300 million capital works program to improve capital infrastructure in 37 towns across the Wheatbelt, Great Southern, Midwest and South West regions.
Hundreds of children all over Western Australia are set to benefit from better ear health, with the Western Australian Child Ear Health Strategy launched in Karratha today.
The strategy provides a road map for better care through multi-agency service planning, strengthened community focused partnerships, alignment of funding, and better co-ordination.
Children living in remote communities have some of the highest rates of chronic ear disease in the world and while this strategy does not exclude other children, it recognises the importance of a primary focus on Aboriginal children up to 10 years of age.
The strategy lays the foundation for achieving greater consistency and co-ordination across a range of service providers in WA, and will ensure that outcomes are improved for all children vulnerable to chronic infection.
Telethon Kids Institute, Rural Health West, WA Country Health Service, Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia, WA Primary Health Alliance, Child and Adolescent Community Health and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs collaborated to develop the strategy and are now working on the seven key priorities.
The key priorities are enhanced prevention, standardised surveillance, consistent treatment, workforce development, program evaluation, co-ordination and partnerships, and comprehensive evidence.
The WA Child Ear Health Strategy features artwork by a young Whadjuk Noongar woman, Biara Martin who has used imagery to represent how sound waves travel through the ear.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"While many WA children are vulnerable to chronic ear disease, Aboriginal people experience some of the highest levels of ear disease and hearing loss in the world, with rates up to 10 times more than those of non-Aboriginal people.
"Ear health is one of the most pressing issues impacting Aboriginal communities and can impact literacy, education, and employment.
"The lifelong impact of childhood deafness can be devastating and this strategy ensures resources are directed to enhancing prevention, early diagnosis management, and surveillance to ensure all children across WA have healthy ears and can listen, learn, and reach their full potential."
A new anti-litter campaign has been developed in Western Australia to discourage the dumping of items such as food and beverage containers and cigarette butts.
The campaign, developed by Keep Australia Beautiful WA and launched today during Keep Australia Beautiful Week, sends the message that littering not only has environmental, economic and social impacts, but is also illegal.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson announced the campaign aims to change people's behaviour and targets those who discard some of the most regularly littered items including flavoured milk cartons, beer bottles, plastic bottles, fast food containers and cigarette butts.
The campaign is part of the McGowan Labor Government's commitment to waste and litter reduction across the State.
While many Western Australians do the right thing with their rubbish, there is still a section of the community who are carelessly littering.
Litter statistics, measured by the National Litter Index, show WA has high levels of litter. The 2015–16 index shows that takeaway food and beverage containers and cigarette butts make up 61 per cent of the littered items found across 151 sites audited throughout the State.
Such litter can result in significant clean-up costs, negative environmental impacts, fires from discarded cigarette butts, toxic materials getting into waterways and plastics being ingested by wildlife.
Throughout the past 12 months, more than 2,500 litterers were fined between $200 and $500 each for not putting their litter in the bin.
Keep Australia Beautiful Week runs until August 28. To participate, visit the Keep Australia Beautiful website
Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
"The fact that some Western Australians are still littering in 2017 is shameful.
"The scourge of litter is a serious issue for everyone in our community - and one the McGowan Government takes very seriously.
"Each year, State and local governments, businesses and the community spend millions of dollars cleaning up litter. We also lose the opportunity to recycle when waste ends up as litter.
"This campaign reminds us all to do the right thing with rubbish."
The McGowan Government has asked Tourism Western Australia to immediately reprioritise $2 million of its current budget to help fill empty hotel rooms in Perth.
A downturn in business travel, coupled with more hotels coming into the market, saw hotel occupancy rates in June 2017 hit 75.6 per cent - one of the lowest levels seen in seven years.
Tourism WA will work with its co-operative marketing partners - including airlines, travel agents and travel websites - to offer incentives for people to travel now and take advantage of the great choice of hotels at very reasonable rates.
These partners will add to Tourism WA's financial commitment, bringing the total campaign value well above $2 million.
Since 2012, an extra 1,611 hotel rooms have been added to the Perth CBD hotel stock including Crown Towers, Peppers Kings Square, Tribe Hotel, Fraser Suites, and Quest Adelaide Terrace. Another 1,851 rooms are scheduled to open by 2020.
Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Paul Papalia:
"The hotel sector is hurting and we need to focus on direct campaigns that drive visitation to fill planes, get visitors to Perth and fill our hotel rooms.
"Tourism WA has been working hard to get the message out there that Perth is no longer expensive and there are plenty of quality accommodation options to choose from.
"This campaign will target markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, China, Sydney and Melbourne where we know people are open to making the decision to travel at short notice.
"Visitor attraction remains the State Government's number one tourism priority - everything we are doing is about growing visitor numbers to create jobs, develop business opportunities and diversify the economy.
"The $2 million campaign, coupled with the introduction of a Tourism WA East Coast advocate, will lead to a direct increase in visitors."
21 July 2017 – TERM 3
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A Lotterywest grant of $250,000 will help Scitech engage and educate Western Australia's youngest budding scientists.
Science Minister Dave Kelly visited Scitech today to announce the grant, which will contribute to the refurbishment of the early childhood zone.
Discoverland is designed and built exclusively for infants to five year olds, and is a key strategy to help parents and children develop positive attitudes towards science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects from an early age.
Scitech plans to upgrade and modernise the area, as well as building a new 'iconic' early childhood exhibit.
The grant will also go towards creating a new catalogue of take-home and support material for parents and carers to support their child's ongoing learning.
Lotterywest's contribution makes up more than half the budget of the $402,000 refurbishment, which is part of the broader 'Revitalising Scitech' project.
Comments attributed to Science Minister Dave Kelly:
"The State Government is proud to support Scitech and its work in educating the next generation of Western Australian researchers and innovators.
"Today's children are the STEM professionals of tomorrow, and Scitech plays a central role in connecting children and families to science from a young age
"This grant will assist Scitech in its work to inspire the very youngest of visitors, introducing them to vital STEM building blocks such as counting and scale through play and fun.
"In Australia, 75 per cent of the fastest growing occupations require STEM skills. Engaging young people in science is a key priority of the McGowan Government as we look towards creating future job opportunities and diversifying our economy through the science industry."