Friday, 23 September 2016
Housing Minister Brendon Grylls said results from the ongoing 'P plates' trial, announced in June 2015, for new tenants in the Housing Authority's south metropolitan zone had been encouraging.
During the trial, potentially troublesome tenants were offered six month tenancies, on the basis that disruptive behaviour or non-payment of rent during that period would see the tenancy not renewed and the tenant required to vacate. A trouble-free first six months would see the tenancy moved to an ongoing periodic tenancy.
Mr Grylls said the P plates initiative further reinforced the 'three strikes' policy which was introduced by the Liberal National Government in 2009 and strengthened in 2011.
"Tenants are expected to follow three simple, basic rules: pay the rent, look after the property and respect the neighbours," he said.
"This trial is building a greater understanding among new tenants that housing assistance is conditional on them meeting those obligations."
The trial has been run from the Housing Authority's Fremantle office for all new tenants, with the exception of people 55 years and older who have been proven good tenants. The trial saw 179 tenancies participate, with 124 (69 per cent) of those tenancies successfully progressing from a fixed term tenancy to a periodic tenancy.
A small number of tenancies in the trial - less than 13 per cent - did not have their fixed term tenancy renewed for breaches of their tenancy agreement including accrued debt, disruptive behaviour and poor property standards.
"Lessons learned through the trial have informed the need to consider further conditions on tenancies that are having difficulty maintaining their tenancies, rather than face eviction," the Minister said.
A small number of tenants (three per cent) were referred to the Support and Tenant Education Program (STEP), a voluntary early intervention program for tenants to provide support to those who are having difficulties sustaining their tenancy and who may otherwise face eviction.
A final decision on how the Housing Authority can use tools such as probationary tenancies to help build tenant capacity is expected to be made in the next three months.
Friday, 23 September 2016
The popular culinary festival is supported by the Liberal National Government through Tourism Western Australia's Regional Events Program, made possible by Royalties for Regions.
Festival operator IMG Culinary accepted the tourism prize, seeing off competition from finalists Byron Bay Bluesfest, the Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival and Santos Tour Down Under.
Now in its fifth year, Margaret River Gourmet Escape continues to grow as a premier global culinary event, attracting international chefs and personalities such as Heston Blumenthal, Rene Redzepi, Marco Pierre White, Massimo Bottura, Antonio Carluccio, David Chang and Rick Stein.
Premier and Tourism Minister Colin Barnett said the festival was a major success story for the State's economy.
The 2015 event resulted in 23,000 room nights booked in the South-West, more than $7.8 million in expenditure in the region and more than $6.5 million worth of global brand awareness for WA.
"With the UK's Nigella Lawson confirmed for this year's Margaret River Gourmet Escape, this popularity is set not only to continue, but to grow," Mr Barnett said.
"In just a few short years, Margaret River Gourmet Escape has become a powerful brand in the culinary world, lifting Margaret River and WA's profile as a premium food and wine destination.
"This is really powerful when marketing the State to potential visitors to increase on the 400,000 food and wine enthusiasts who travel to WA each year. Margaret River Gourmet Escape is a key component of the State Government's Taste 2020 strategy to boost food and wine tourism.
"Tourism is a vital industry for our State. In 2015-16, visitors spent $9.6 billion in WA, including $4.5 billion in regional areas."
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the Royalties for Regions investment in the Margaret River Gourmet Escape was also reaping rewards for the South-West region.
"Events of this calibre provide trade potential and broad exposure for local producers, as well as local jobs and training opportunities," Mr Redman said.
Thursday, 22 September 2016
Ms Davies said the strategy was underpinned by a $21 million investment in expanding the softwood estate and the establishment of manufacturing and processing hubs in the South-West.
"The strategy will double the annual investment in planting on State Government and private land around manufacturing and processing hubs in regional WA, which will strengthen industry development and improve productivity," she said.
"Up to 10,000 hectares of softwood will be planted by the Forest Products Commission to expand our softwood estate over the next five years, the equivalent of two trees for every one harvested, or 2.7 million pine seedlings annually."
The strategy is focused on six key areas, with actions including a renewed focus on attaining higher levels of certification, development of new training and employment pathways, improving community engagement and increasing efforts to protect plantations from fire.
The Minister said sufficient scale in forest estate was essential to safeguard jobs, avoid a dependency on imported timber and contribute to a domestic industry with significant economic and environmental value to regional WA.
"As well as building the estate, the strategy will establish a $100,000 innovation fund to stimulate market opportunities and appoint a forestry adviser to support and work with farmers looking to develop forestry enterprises," she said.
Thursday, 22 September 2016
Water Minister Mia Davies said the $4.7 million Midlands groundwater and land assessment project was investigating groundwater availability, land capability and crop suitability in the Midlands area between Gingin and Dongara, one of the most economically promising irrigation zones in Western Australia.
"The exploratory drilling program is the next stage of water investigations in the Irwin area near Dongara after being identified as a potential irrigated agriculture focus area," Ms Davies said.
"The aim of the drilling program is to identify new, sustainable groundwater resources to meet the needs for irrigated agriculture and to develop better scientific knowledge for government, industry and individuals to make more informed decisions in the future."
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the $40 million Water for Food program was made possible by the State Government's Royalties for Regions program and was a key component of the $350 million Seizing the Opportunity Agriculture initiative.
"Extensive groundwater investigations to support increased irrigated agriculture are continuing in other areas of the State, with the commencement in May 2016 of exploratory drilling in the Kimberley region and another in the Myalup-Wellington area before the end of the year," Mr Redman said.
"The Government will continue to support Water for Food projects aimed at increasing investment in, and expansion of, irrigated agriculture projects that facilitate regional development and employment opportunities."
Agricultural Region MLC and chairman of the Midlands Community Reference Group, Martin Aldridge said the results from the drilling program would provide information to redefine the sustainable yields of the aquifers in the area.
"Matching the water information with soil quality, infrastructure and crop studies will provide confidence to private investors looking to develop and expand horticulture in the region," Mr Aldridge said.
Thursday, 22 September 2016
The Construction Contracts Act 2004 provides a useful mechanism for resolving contractual payment disputes and provides building contractors, subcontractors and suppliers with a right to be paid within a reasonable period of time, and a low cost method of enforcing that right.
Introducing the Construction Contracts Amendment Bill 2016, Small Business Minister Sean L'Estrange said the legislation was the first part of a 'whole of Government' approach to improving payment protection for subcontractors.
It will enhance the operation of the scheme and make it easier for subcontractors to access the rapid adjudication process for resolving construction payment disputes.
"The non-payment and late payment of subcontractors, many of which are small businesses, is being addressed by the State Government," Mr L'Estrange said.
"This legislation will also be complemented by a Code of Conduct for contractors and the establishment of a compliance unit within the Department of Commerce to monitor compliance with the code. Other measures include the Small Business Commissioner having expanded power to review and mediate disputes between contractors and subcontractors.
"Plus, from September 30, 2016, the Government is rolling out Project Bank Accounts across Building Management and Works construction projects valued at more than $1.5 million to speed up the payment process for businesses working on these projects and enable subcontractors to better protect themselves in the event that a head contractor experiences financial difficulty."
Key aspects of the Bill include:
"Paul has been a strong and committed local member who also understands the importance of how people can contribute and strengthen a community," Premier Colin Barnett said.
Mr Miles, who has been Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney General and Minister for Commerce since March 2013, said he was looking forward to elevating the important role of seniors and the invaluable work of volunteers in the community.
"As a Lions Club member for 30 years, communities are close to my heart," Mr Miles said.
Agricultural scientist and Mining and Pastoral Region MLC Mark Lewis has been appointed Agriculture and Food Minister, Mr Barnett announced today.
"Before entering State Parliament in 2013, Mark was involved in developing irrigated agricultural opportunities and also held management positions within the Department of Agriculture and Food in a region which covered the extent of his current electorate," he said.
"Mark was raised on farming, cattle and sheep properties in Queensland and will bring to the portfolio a vast knowledge about the agricultural sector and the challenges it faces."
The Premier said the sector was among a number of industries critical to the broadening of the Western Australian economy. Appointing a dedicated Minister to the portfolio would ensure the sector was given Mr Lewis' full attention in progressing key policies, including upgrading the Doppler tower network and launching the WA Biosecurity Strategy.
Senior Minister Bill Marmion will take on the Transport portfolio.
"Bill was a civil engineer for Main Roads before entering State Parliament. He has been a Minister since 2010 and I have every confidence he is the right person to continue to move forward major public infrastructure projects such as the Forrestfield-Airport Link, NorthLink WA and Roe 8," Mr Barnett said.
The Premier said Mr Marmion would divest his Finance portfolio to Sean L'Estrange, who would add the responsibility to his Mines and Petroleum and Small Business roles. Mr Marmion would retain State Development and Innovation.
"The opportunity for new people, with new ideas, to sit at the State Cabinet table will re-energise the Cabinet and the Liberal National Government as we move toward the March 2017 election," he said
Mr Barnett said two new Parliamentary Secretaries had also been appointed.
South Metropolitan Region MLC Nick Goiran will become the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Mental Health and Child Protection.
Carine MLA Tony Krsticevic will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney General and Minister for Commerce.
HON C J BARNETT MLA
Premier; Minister for Tourism; Science
HON L M HARVEY MLA
Deputy Premier; Minister for Police; Road Safety; Training and Workforce Development; Women's Interests
HON B J GRYLLS MLA
Minister for Housing; Racing and Gaming
HON P C COLLIER MLC
Minister for Education; Aboriginal Affairs; Electoral Affairs
HON J H D DAY MLA
Minister for Health; Culture and the Arts
HON Dr M D NAHAN MLA
Treasurer; Minister for Energy; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests
HON W R MARMION MLA
Minister for State Development; Transport; Innovation
HON M MISCHIN MLC
Attorney General; Minister for Commerce
HON A P JACOB MLA
Minister for Environment; Heritage
HON J M FRANCIS MLA
Minister for Emergency Services; Fisheries; Corrective Services; Veterans
HON M J DAVIES MLA
Minister for Water; Sport and Recreation; Forestry
HON D T REDMAN MLA
Minister for Regional Development; Lands; Minister Assisting the Minister for State Development
HON D FARAGHER MLC
Minister for Planning; Disability Services
HON A MITCHELL MLA
Minister for Mental Health; Child Protection
HON S L'ESTRANGE MLA
Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Finance; Small Business
HON P T MILES MLA
Minister for Local Government; Community Services; Seniors and Volunteering; Youth
HON M W LEWIS MLC
Minister for Agriculture and Food
Mr John McGrath MLA
Paliamentary Secretary to the Premier
Hon Alyssa Hayden MLC
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Tourism
Hon Jim Chown MLC
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport
Hon Colin Holt MLC
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Housing, Racing and Gaming; and; Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Water; Sport and Recreation; Forestry
Mr Shane Love MLA
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Regional Development; Lands; Minister Assisting the Minister for State Development
Mr Matt Taylor MLA
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Innovation
Mr Jan Norberger MLA
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Planning
Mr Nick Goiran MLA
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Mental Health; Child Protection
Mr Tony Krsticevic MLA
Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney General; Minister for Commerce
Ms Libby Mettam MLA
Thursday, 22 September 2016
On the eve of the long weekend and school holiday period, Deputy Premier and Road Safety Minister Liza Harvey said there was no excuse for not wearing a seatbelt or ensuring children were correctly restrained.
"The heartache of road trauma is nearly always avoidable and the simple act of putting on your seatbelt every time you get in your car is a habit that could save your life," Ms Harvey said.
The Deputy Premier said that last year 31 of the 119 motor vehicle occupants killed on Western Australian roads were not wearing a seatbelt.
Ms Harvey said the driver of a vehicle was responsible for ensuring their passengers were properly restrained in their vehicles and there were significant fines if they were not.
The statistics showed that in 2015:
"If you are hitting the road these school holidays with the family, I urge all parents to ensure everyone has properly secured their seatbelt before you even start the engine."
Thursday, 22 September 2016
Ms Davies joined students of Yarloop Primary School in Harvey today where they took part in sowing 200 seeds that will be nurtured for planting next year.
"The FPC has offered the Shire of Harvey native seedlings from its nursery in Manjimup to help revegetate Yarloop," she said.
"More than 20 native species of shrubs and trees propagated by the commission will be available for greening the scarred Yarloop town site including eucalyptus, corymbia, bottlebrush, melaleuca and hakea."
The FPC's Manjimup nursery produces superior seedlings for the commission's regeneration of native forest and establishment of plantations.
Parliamentary Secretary and South West Region MLC Colin Holt said the Yarloop community had shown amazing resilience during times of recent hardship.
"Their spirit and determination to return to the place they call home is extremely uplifting and I am glad FPC can support this important journey," Mr Holt said.
"As they mature, these seedlings will bring colour and birdlife back to Yarloop as the town and community continue the rebuilding process."
Thursday, 22 September 2016
Mr Francis said that, as an added incentive, recreational fishers in WA would not require a licence on the day, allowing people to try their hand at something they might not have tried before.
"More than 750,000 West Australians enjoy recreational fishing each year and Gone Fishing Day is designed to encourage as many people as possible to participate," he said.
"With the State's huge expanse of coastline and numerous seaside communities, recreational fishing has long been part of WA's social fabric, with proven health and wellbeing benefits.
"Whether it is wetting a line in a South-West stream or trying to boat a 'barra' in the Kimberley, there is a diverse range of fishing experiences on offer across the State.
"While October 16 will be licence-free, the normal fishing rules will still apply and fisheries and marine officers will be out and about to ensure compliance."
As a concession to the first-ever national Gone Fishing Day, the annual West Coast Bioregion demersal finfish closure, due to start on Saturday October 15, will be delayed for 48 hours. All other applicable closures will remain in force, including the existing closure on fishing for pink snapper in Cockburn and Warnbro sounds.
"Annual or seasonal closures are used in combination with other measures to ensure the long-term sustainability of fish stocks," the Minister said.
"With the recovery of key demersal species being on track, starting the closure two days later this year, on October 17, will allow fishers to enjoy a day out on the water in the West Coast Bioregion."
Mr Francis said Gone Fishing Day was another example of the Liberal National Government's commitment to providing quality recreational fishing experiences to West Australians through initiatives including artificial reefs and fish stocking projects.
"Every dollar of recreational fishing licence revenue is invested in recreational fishing management, research and compliance, with more than $6 million put towards a range of projects benefiting fishers across the State," he said.
Thursday, 22 September 2016
The report also found salaries across the general government sector grew by just 2.6 per cent in 2015-16 - the lowest increase in 17 years. It also highlighted that total public sector net debt came in $513 million lower than the 2016-17 Budget estimate, and a substantial $3.6 billion lower than the original 2015-16 Budget forecast, at $27.3 billion for 2015-16.
Dr Nahan said the results were achieved in the face of unprecedented revenue downturns over the past two financial years. In 2015-16, these included:
The general government sector recorded an operating deficit of $2 billion in 2015-16, $688 million lower than the original 2015-16 Budget deficit projection and in line with the 2016-17 Budget estimate.
"General government spending grew by a low 2.4 per cent in 2015-16 - the second lowest rate of expenses growth in 21 years following the result of just 2.2 per cent in 2014-15," Dr Nahan said.
"Those outcomes required substantial restraint and commitment, particularly when compared with the average annual expense growth over the preceding decade of 7.7 per cent.
"These results show the impact of successive measures implemented to improve the efficiency of the public sector workforce, including the temporary recruitment freeze announced in the 2015-16 Mid-year Review, voluntary separation programs, the Workforce Renewal Policy, leave liability management and the Government's Public Sector Wages Policy.
"The State Government has worked hard to keep this collapse in revenue away from households and businesses, while continuing to provide the high quality services expected by West Australians.
"The increase in borrowings is required to fund essential infrastructure through the Asset Investment Program and was pushed higher in 2015-16 by the revenue downturn. This highlights the importance of keeping a tight rein on spending and pushing ahead with the Government's asset sales program."