LETTER FROM MELBOURNE

LETTER FROM MELBOURNE
Saving you time. 18 years on. A monthly newsletter distilling public policy and government decisions which affect business opportunities
in Victoria and beyond. 1,555,000 words over 18 years.
EDITORIAL Clever and hard working Victorians
The Budget of
one state, Victoria,
is
certainly
easy
to
see
and
understand
than the recent
federal
budget.
However, this year
it was similar to the
federal budget in that it, with much hard
work with cost-cutting, also came in with
a surplus, of $155 million.
important and less practical courses.
Perhaps the most interesting (political)
feature of the Budget was the very public
exclamation by the Higher Education and
Skills minister that he was disappointed
in the funding cuts for training within his
portfolio. For all of us, it has provided
an opportunity to reflect on vocational
training and its vital role in this state. One
of the main points is that the government
focused available money on traditional/
practical courses such as bricklaying and
carpentry, some special art courses and
certain serious outdoor education. The
cuts focused on (some) hospitality and
other training which was considered to
have benefited with budgetary increases
in this sector in recent years for less
On our cover, we have photos of
the Lord Mayor of Melbourne The
Hon Robert Doyle presenting City of
Melbourne Business Commendations
to local business owners. Clockwise
from top right, Noel Waite from Waite
Consulting Management Group, bottom
right Dominic and Joe Marino from
Marino Bothers, bottem left Gregory and
Suzanne Smith from Meka Products,
and top left Ottorino Pace from Casa del
Gelato.
The funding cuts came as a big surprise
for most TAFE colleges, which will be
reworking their own programmes and
courses on offer.
Elsewhere through the pages, we have
noted reports that seem to pour out of
the Victorian Auditor General’s Office.
And as we know, they are not necessarily
boring!
Alistair Urquhart
Cover photographs courtesy of van der Toorren
Photography, Block Arcade Studios
Post-Budget Edition, Issue 174
16 April to 22 May 2012
INSIDE
Moody’s gives Victorian Budget
tick
Fines up with Budget
State revenues down
TAFE
Budget
funding
features
in
Rural councils with thin finance
Former minister Bronwyn Pike
resigns
HealthSMART out
CenITex down but not out
16 APRIL to 22 MAY 2012
AFFAIRS OF STATE
14 Collins Street
Melbourne, 3000
Victoria, Australia
P 03 9654 1300
F 03 9654 1165
[email protected]
www.letterfrommelbourne.com.au
Editor
Sub Editor
Copy Editor
Design
Subscriptions
Alistair Urquhart
Morgan Squires
RJ Stove
Camilla Orr-Thomson
Gabriel Phipps
Letter From Melbourne is a monthly public affairs
bulletin, a simple précis, distilling and interpreting public
policy and government decisions, which affect business
opportunities in Victoria and Australia.
Written for the regular traveller, or people with meetingfilled days, you only have to miss reading The Age or The
Herald Sun twice a week to need Letter from Melbourne.
It’s more about business opportunities (or lack of them)
than politics. It’s not Crikey.com. We keep words to a
minimum.
Letter from Melbourne is independent. It’s not party
political or any other political. It does not have the
imprimatur of government at any level.
For context. It includes events and people and society,
and even the weather if that is important.
Letter from Melbourne developed a federal and national
coverage. This spawned Letter from Canberra (www.
letterfromcanberra.com.au)four years ago.
The only communication tool of its type, Letter from
Melbourne keeps subscribers abreast of recent
developments in the policy arena on a local, state and
federal level.
Edited words in this edition: 12,000
ADVERTISE WITH US
The perfect platform to attract the
attention of the who’s who of
Melbourne’s public and private sector.
for a copy of our media kit or information regarding
advertising with LETTER FROM MELBOURNE
please contact Alistair Urquhart
[email protected] + 61 3 9654 1300
The Advisory Group come together each year to make recommendations for the Lord Mayor’s
Business Commendations. Photograph: van der Toorren Photography, Block Arcade Studios
ABOUT THE EDITOR
Alistair
Urquhart
graduated
from
the Australian National University in
Canberra, in Law, History and Politics.
He was admitted as a barrister and
solicitor to the the Supreme Court of
Victoria, and remains a (non-practicing)
member of the Law Institute of Victoria.
Previously, he graduated from high
school in Bethesda, Maryland, and had
many opportunities to become aware of
the workings of Washington D.C.
For 30 years, he listened every Sunday
evening to the late Alistair Cooke and his
Letter from America. Alistair Urquhart’s
early career was mostly in the coal
industry, where he became involved with
energy, environmental and water issues,
and later in the SME finance sector.
His public affairs firm works with many
engineering and information technology
firms and other professional association
and industry groups on a wide range
of issues in Victoria, Canberra and
overseas. He visits Canberra regularly.
He may even hold the record for miles
rowed on Lake Burley Griffin.
Above: Damien Shiel from Kelly & Shiel
Estate Agents won an award in the Generational category of the Lord Mayor’s
Commendations. Photograph courtesy
of van der Toorren Photography, Block
Arcade Studios
INDEX
STATE GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
EVENTS
FEDERAL
BUSINESS. INNOVATION
Published by A.B Urquhart & Company Pty Ltd trading as Affairs of
AGRICULTURE
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
and not intended as advice on any particular matter. Professional
ARTS
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
EDUCATION
MELBOURNE
releases, government publications, Hansard, trade journals, etc. ©
HEALTH
MULTIMEDIA & I.T.
or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or
HOUSING
PLANNING
by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or
JUSTICE
SPORT
Affairs of State respects your privacy. While we do believe that
GAMING
TRANSPORT
to you, please advise us if you do not wish to receive any further
ENERGY
SOCIETY
State. Disclaimer: Material in this publication is general comment
advice should to be sought before action is taken. Material is
complied from various sources including newspaper articles, press
This newsletter is copyright. No part may be reproduced, stored in
otherwise), without the prior written permission from the publisher.
the informastion contained in Letter from Melbourne will be useful
communications from us.
ENVIRONMENT. CONSERVATION
WATER
2
LETTER FROM MELBOURNE
STATE GOVERNMENT &
POLITICS
Pay changes
The Victorian Government has introduced
legislation into Parliament to limit pay rises for all State MPs to 2.5 per cent for
2012-13. Premier Ted Baillieu said it was
important during challenging economic
times for elected representatives’ remuneration to be consistent with community
expectations. The Victorian government
will also end the historical link between
state and federal Parliamentarians’ pay.
Legal factors have historically linked
salaries of Victorian MPs linked to the
salaries of federal Members of the House
of Representatives. The federal Government has decided that a significant pay
rise will be awarded to Federal MPs. Allowances paid to the Premier, Ministers
and Parliamentarians will be fixed at their
current rates for the next 12 months.
Pay rises for senior public servants
Justice Department secretary Penny
Armytage was one of 650 senior public
servants who collectively won a pay
hike, while a high-level Parliamentary
committee has urged the Victorian
government to investigate executive
salaries, according to the Herald Sun.
The paper noted that critics say public
service executive salaries are out of
control, with department head salaries in
excess of $400,000. Parliamentary Public
Accounts and Estimates Committee
chairman Philip Davis said the rises
occurred before the current government
came to power.
Gay divide
A report in the Herald Sun has highlighted
the divide between Cabinet ministers
over same-sex marriages. Mental Health
Minister Mary Wooldridge called for
an explanation of the deputy chief
psychiatrist’s
submission
opposing
same-sex marriage to a federal (Senate)
inquiry, while Attorney-General Robert
Clark said he supported Prof Kuruvilla
George’s right to free speech. Mr George
was a board member of the Victorian
Equal Opportunity and Human Rights
Commission.
Later Mr George offered to quit the board
because of the furore caused by his public
position opposing same-sex marriage,
The Age reported. His resignation was
accepted.
Premier Ted Baillieu is facing internal
dissent over plans to create the
government’s first gay and lesbian
ministerial advisory committee, according
to The Age. Senior ministers David
Davis and Mary Wooldridge will appoint
representatives from the gay community
to advise them on relevant issues to the
community. While the committee has
been broadly welcomed, some MPs
claim that they weren’t consulted, while
others have questioned what the point is.
Building industry versus unions
According to The Australian, the Victorian
government has released new guidelines
that will force companies to take a
tougher line on union agreements and
unlawful industrial action or face being
blacklisted from government tenders.
The aim, it seems, is to prevent generous
wages and conditions on big projects
being used by unions as a benchmark for
future negotiations. It also follows a string
of cost blowouts on recent infrastructure
works.
Industry views on infrastructure etc
In the Financial Review, the Australian
Industry Group Victorian branch director
Tim Piper said that fulfilling all the
promises the government made before
the election would be difficult because
it had encountered a different economic
environment from the one it expected. He
said that given the budgetary constraints,
priority needed to be given to what the
government could deliver and which
expensive policies it would implement.
The Chief Executive of the Victorian
Employers Chamber of Commerce and
Industry, Mark Stone, noted that trade
was being restricted because there was
a road bottleneck through the eastwest corridor. Government pledges
ranged from establishing a VicMade
and VicGrown marketing campaign
to implementing integrated transport
solutions plan to remove road, rail and
port bottlenecks to cut distribution and
transport costs.
Church inquiry
The Age reported on its front page that
the decision by the Victorian government
to investigate the handling by churches
of sex abuse allegations was undermined
when a key member of the parliamentary
committee appointed to run the enquiry
noted it was the wrong body for the
task. Labor MP Frank McGuire, deputy
chairman of parliament’s family and
community development committee,
believes the obvious choice would have
been former Supreme Court Judge Philip
Cummins, who headed the government’s
recent enquiry into child welfare.
The newspaper notes that the committee
is inexperienced, as four of its six
members have only been in Parliament
for less than 18 months, and the
committee is already handling two other
enquiries. The paper also suggests that
revelations of five Melburnians who killed
themselves after being allegedly sexually
abused between 1960 and 1980 have
forced Premier Ted Baillieu to speed up
plans to respond to the growing church
abuse scandal.
3
Professor Graham Currie, and dr Simon
Smith, a historian, author and lawyer, both want
Melbourne to begin a quiet carriage trial.
16 APRIL to 22 MAY 2012
John brumby flagged the possibility of tolls on
the Western Freeway – a $5b, six-lane road to go
under Footscray and through Sunshine West, The
Age reported. Nearby, residents of Melbourne’s
inner west say they are having to cope with
to return to Sydney amid reports of smoke in the
cockpit.
Flying kangaroos go with Virgin
The AFL has ended a nine-year partnership
with Qantas as its official carrier, a move the
Auditor-General
airline
claims is because unhappy
it would not agree to
Theexclusive
Age is reporting
thatthe
Auditor–General
an
contract with
league. The deal
warned
that Blue,
Victoria
isDes
nowPearson
worth $6mhas
annually
for Virgin
The
is
now
‘one
of
the
least
progressive
Age reported.
jurisdictions in Australia’ with regards to
Freedom of Information requests. In the
Herald Sun, it was noted that the average
time to respond to FOI requests was
longer
the statutory time-+frames at
the
Portthan
of Portland
eightHigh
of the
twelve
agencies.
The
Court
has government
found that the
Port of
ports
‘Charles Kovess is Australia's Passion Provocateur.’
Two Melbourne city councillors will
compete in the by-election in the state
seat of Melbourne sparked by the
resignation of Bronwyn Pike. The Age
reported that Jennifer Kanis and Cathy
Oke have been selected as candidates
for Labor and the Greens respectively,
with the Liberals probably not running a
candidate.
Portland is entitled to a substantial tax rebate,
No ties
saying the Government was obliged to stick to
An unusual form of industrial action
tax concessions granted when the port was
over a pay dispute with the Victorian
privatised. The High Court ruled that when the
government recently saw Parliamentary
assets and business of the Port of Portland
staff refusing to wear jackets and ties,
authority was sold in 1996 by the Kennett
The Age reported. A Community and
government, there was a clause on the liability of
Public Sector Union list of work bans
the buyers to pay land tax on the site.
show staff will refuse to open doors for
able-bodied members of Parliament,
and refused to clean offices. There will
also be bans on photocopying for MPs,
refreshments provided at committee
meetings, helping with ministerial
question time briefings, checking e-mails
after midday and also preparing rooms
for official meetings. The government is
refusing to agree to increases of more
than 2.5 per cent unless they are offset
by productivity gains.
How fine
Letter from Melbourne noticed ties as
normal during this period.
www.kovess.com
p 03 9562 2248
m 0412 317 404
He has helped many large corporations and many
Government Departments to
PO Box 1412
Central Park
East Malvern, Vic 3145
improve leadership behaviours build better teams
unleash passion and build world-class performance.
Mention this ad when you contact us and we'll send you a FREE one-hour audio CD valued at $25.00"
Readers should appreciate that this
above article should be read in the
context
of the importance and relevance
22
and history of parliamentary committees.
We will feature this in next month’s edition.
Premier Ted Baillieu recently featured
in the Law Institute of Victoria’s
Law Institute Journal April 2012 issue.
The article discussed the inquiry and
subsequent report into the state’s
child protection system, headed by the
previously mentioned retired Supreme
Court judge Philip Cummins.
Corruption commission to operate in private
According to The Age, the Victorian
government wants its anti–corruption
commission to conduct most of its
business in private. The commission’s
‘examinations’ will be generally held in
private, while public hearings will occur
only in exceptional circumstances. The
government’s Independent Broad–based
Anti–corruption Commission will cover
250,000 public sector employees, MPs,
judges, police, local government and
contractors.
Inquiry awaits
The Victorian Coroner, as reported
in The Australian, is investigating the
disappearance of the former general
manager of Victoria’s Barwon Prison,
David Prideaux. A coronial enquiry into a
long-term disappearance and suspected
death can only begin once the coroner
has been satisfied that police have made
all attempts to locate the missing person.
Pike to resign
Long serving Labor frontbencher and
former health and education minister
Bronwyn Pike is set to resign. The
Financial Review reported that this will
spark a by-election in the marginal seat
of Melbourne. See next item.
4
Battle for Melbourne
The Herald Sun is reporting that 190,000
fines were overturned or downgraded last
financial year. The Victorian government
is to investigate whether fines have been
handed out unnecessarily, as more than
120 Victorian agencies can hand out
fines, with most of them done by Victoria
Police and councils. The paper has also
noted that Victorians pay almost a third
more in parking and tolls than NSW and
Queensland drivers, and that the average
cost of keeping a car on the road in
Victoria is almost $5,300 a year.
Fees queried
Liberal delegates at the recent, May,
state council, passed a motion calling
for a ‘judicial enquiry into possible
corruption in the Victorian Building
Commission, include looking into all
matters pertaining to gifts and donations
already received.’ The Age reported that
State Ombudsman George Brouwer
is already investigating the conduct of
past and present commission staff and
consultants.
Cameras on Chapel St
The Herald Sun has reported that the
Victorian government has set aside
$330,000 to install ten new security
cameras along Chapel Street, from South
Yarra to Windsor.
House repairs
Premier Ted Baillieu has been urged by
members of the government to hand over
$62 million to save Parliament House,
amid claims of waterlogged, rat-infested
offices, according to the Herald Sun. The
funding over the next five years would
continue restoration to the building,
particularly the crumbling stone walls
and leaking front steps.
Poll blow
In The Australian in early May, a Newspoll
has shown that Premier Baillieu’s
satisfaction rating has fallen, and that
the government would struggle to win an
election as the primary vote dropped 5
points.
Plea to ex
Frankston MP Geoff Shaw has admitted
he was wrong to put up a sign on a busy
road pleading with his ex-wife to forgive
him amid claims of harassment, the
Herald Sun reported.
Unfortunate
The Herald Sun has reported that Karen
Cleave, CEO of the State Services
Authority, has been stood down as
police investigate a crash involving her
government car.
LETTER FROM MELBOURNE
Inquiry
The Law Reform Committee of the
Parliament of Victoria is conducting an
inquiry into sexting (the creating, sharing,
sending or posting of sexually explicit
messages or images via the internet,
mobile phones or other electronic
devices). Written submissions and
comments should be sent by Friday
15 June to the Executive Officer of the
Law Reform Committee or via [email protected]
parliament.vic.gov.au. Details about how
to make a submission can be found at
www.parliament.vic.gov.au/lawreform.
Again
The Victorian Auditor-General recently
published his 31 page Access to Public
Housing report in March of this year,
as well as the 57 page Government
Advertising and Communications report
in February. Copies of are available from
the Victorian Government Bookshop on
1 300 366 356, or on Level 10, 80 Collins
St. A much, much smaller bookshop than
several years ago.
THE STATE BUDGET
Budget talk
In its coverage of the state budget, The
Age ran with the headline ‘Public sector
jobs to go in biggest cuts since Kennett.’
The paper reported that the government
was preparing to unleash the biggest
programme of public sector job cuts since
the Kennett era, in an attempt to keep
the state budget in surplus. According
to the paper, the drastic measures were
required in a bid to offset plunging GST
revenue, stamp duty and payroll tax due
to the slowing economy. As a result the
counts the government will predict a
slim surplus of $155 million for 2012–13,
rising to $861 million the following year.
The Victorian Automobile Chamber
of Commerce said that the Victorian
Treasurer Kim Wells, delivered a
responsible and restrained state budget
but asked ‘will it give most small
businesses
confidence?’
Executive
Director David Purchase said that the
Treasurer had provided a balanced budget,
given the economic circumstances.
Victoria’s debt position will go perilously
close to the level that would trigger
a review of the state’s AAA rating,
according to the Financial Review.
The Age’s Tim Colebatch wrote: ‘This
is a low-key budget from a low-key
government. It is not really leading Victoria
anywhere. It is just good housekeeping:
coping with hard times by a nip here, a
tuck there.’ He also noted that ratings
agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s
gave it a tick of approval.
In the Herald Sun, Terry McCrann wrote
that: ‘Kim Wells has produced a pretty
well-balanced – even creative – budget
in very tough circumstances. Brutally,
it would not win him any popularity
contests… But it had to be done. The
reason it had to be done was that Victoria
was on a totally unsustainable spending
and debt path’.
In the Financial Review, economics editor
Alan Mitchell wrote that ‘Ted Baillieu
might not be very popular, but has taken
on a very difficult task’.
Stamp duty drop
In the Financial Review, it was reported
that Melbourne’s sluggish property
market has carved a $1.1 billion hole in
expected stamp duty revenue. Kim Wells
said ‘the state has experienced a huge
loss in stamp duty, primarily as a result
of the material slowdown in the property
market since October 2011’.
The Age also reported that the axing of
the popular first home-owner bonus is
expected to impact on growth corridors
almost immediately.
director Tim Piper, sufficient time has
now passed since the last election that
the government will be judged on what it
delivers in the budget.
Afterwards, Mr Piper said in the Financial
Review that the $145 million a year in
funding for manufacturing would ‘not
go far. However, industry is much more
concerned that government procure
products and services from locally based
businesses and provide opportunity
to build business based on long-term
opportunities.’
No budget magic
According to The Age, the state
government’s tax revenue predictions
have been slashed by more than $2
billion a year compared with when it
was elected in 2010. Treasury’s revenue
predictions have been downgraded for
GST collection by a total of $6.1 billion
over the next four years. Also, predictions
for payroll tax collections over the next
four years have been downgraded by
$762 million, because of the sluggish
jobs market. In addition, stamp duty
predictions have been downgraded by
$1.5 billion.
As a result, Victorian government
departments will be asked to find another
$1 billion worth of savings in expenditure
over the next 4 years to balance the
state’s budget, according to the Financial
Review. The process will guided by
the Better Services Implementation
Fines to increase
The Herald Sun reported that speeding
fines and many other penalties will soar
as the Victorian government battles to
balance the budget. The paper reported
that traffic fines, public transport
offences and even penalties for failing to
register pets will go up. The Age revealed
that the government plans to collect an
extra $296 million in fines, with a oneoff 12.5 per cent jump in penalties for
misdemeanours such as travelling on
public transport without a ticket.
Pressure on delivery
In a special double-page spread in The
Age, state political editor Josh Gordon
and state political reporter Reid Sexton
noted the pressure the state government
was under to deliver the budget this
year. They note how the Premier and
Treasurer have ‘sailed into a perfect
storm’ due to the slump in the property
market and Commonwealth funding
drying up as well as the effects of the
high dollar on the manufacturing sector.
According to Australian Industry Group
Editor of Letter from Melbourne Alistair
Urquhart has been reading through the
recently released Victorian Government Budget papers.
5
16 APRIL to 22 MAY 2012
helping young people reach their true potential
Taskforce and If each department has
been given a slightly different savings task,
not necessarily related to the size of its
budget. For example, the Department of
Justice will have to find the same amount
of annual savings (about $30 million a
year) as the much larger Department of
Health.
Landlords irked
A new land-holder model, similar to that
adopted in other states, would remove
complicated calculations required of
taxpayers and will affect investments in
property made via shares and trusts, the
Financial Review has reported. Under
the new model, the tax would apply to
transactions involving land worth $1
million or more.
Quit hit
Quit Victoria’s executive director Fiona
Sharkie said her organisation had been
notified that it would get $1.1 million a
year to air anti-smoking advertisements,
down from an average of $3.5 million a
year since 2006, The Age reported.
Housing funds cut too
The Age reported that the Department
of Justice will scale back the Victorian
Property Fund Grants program, which
provides money for property related
purposes. This includes community
education in information services, training
estate agents, helping vulnerable tenants
and also helping to resolve disputes.
Some budget details:
-
-
6
An additional $610 million for
health, including $44 million
to maintain elective surgery
capacity, $60 million for cancer
research, including world-first
trials of new treatments, and
$21 million for more organ
transplants.
$179.3 million in funding for
sustainable water management
and urban water reform, and
$13.7 for upgrades at Zoos
Founded in 1984, the Outdoor Education
Group (OEG) is an independent not for
profit organisation which focuses on
Outdoor Experiental Learning. We work
with young people in order to instill the
key values of Respect and Responsibility
and to help prepare them for the
personal, social and environmental
challenges they will face in their lives.
Victoria sites.
$35 million more to run Metcard
alongside Myki, no Myki on
trains to Geelong, Bendigo,
Ballarat, Traralgon and Seymour
until mid-2013.
-
$49 million to house 1700 new
police and protective services
officers the government has
pledged to hire, $670 million
on a new prison in Melbourne’s
west, and extra beds in other
prisons.
-
The arts gets a modest $4
million rise, most of which
goes to building and asset
maintenance.
-
An additional $38 million in
funding to deliver up to 400
new individual disability support
packages.
-
$58 million aimed at lifting
productivity and investing in
technology.
$42 million over 4 years for a
Western Highway duplication between Beaufort and Buangor.
-
AGRICULTURE
Livestock theft
According to the head of Australian
Livestock
and
Property
Agents
Association Andy Madigan, Victoria
needs a full-time squad to combat farm
theft, The Weekly Times reported.
Outgoing President’s view
According
to
outgoing
Victorian
Farmers Federation president Andrew
Broad, Victorian famers ‘faced a harder
road under a coalition government to
achieve outcomes’. However, he also
acknowledged that there were tough
budget conditions and that Agriculture
and Water Minister Peter Walsh was
doing an ‘excellent job on water’.
Mr Broad said he was particularly
disappointed at the non-delivery of four
coalition pre–election promises: stamp
duty exemptions on the first $300,000 of
farmland bought by young farmers, a first
farm grant, a rural youth movement and
an agriculture exchange program.
Call on foreign ownership
The Age is reporting that all proposed
purchases by foreign buyers of farms
valued at $5 million and above would be
scrutinised by the Foreign Investment
Review Board. At the annual conference
of the Victorian Farmers Federation
in early May, the plan was debated
along with a call for a register to list all
Australian farmland and water assets
owned by foreign people and enterprises.
Victoria after more water
According to The Age, Victoria has
amended a big increase to the amount
of water farmers can take from the
Murray–Darling then currently proposed
under new plans to save the river. The
government believes and that 2,100
billion litres needs to be returned to river,
the compared with to 2,750 billion litres
the Murray-Darling Basin Authority
proposed.
More fibre
The Victorian Government will aim to
double the state’s food and fibre production by 2030, Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh announced in
a landmark address to the Rural Press
Club, wonderful regular breakfasts (usually) for the farmers and their friends. Victoria is perfectly positioned to help meet
the growing global demand for food and
fibre. ‘Our latest figures show Victoria’s
agricultural exports increased by 17 per
cent in the 2011 calendar year to a record $8.7 billion, compared to $7.4 billion
worth in 2010.
Dairy scrapping jobs
According to The Age, Australia’s largest
dairy processor and marketer, MurrayGoulburn Co-operative is shedding
301 jobs, mainly in processing and
distribution by the end of June.
Savings at agriculture offices
A report in The Age has shown that thirteen
offices of the Victorian Department of
Primary Industries will be closed in the
search for savings of $26.5 million over
four years. Seven of the offices are in the
country, and while staff will be able to
keep their jobs, some will have to travel
much greater distances for work.
The Victorian Auditor-General published
his 31 page Agricultural Food Safety
report in March. Copies of this report are
available from the Victorian Government
LETTER FROM MELBOURNE
Bookshop on 1 300 366 356.
ART
Back soon
The Age was given a tour of the
redeveloped Hamer Hall, which is due
to reopen in July after two years of
renovations. The paper reports that most
of the structural changes have taken
place and what remains to be done is
largely cosmetic.
Broadway to Melbourne
The West End and Broadway hit War
Horse is to open at Melbourne’s Arts
Centre on December 23, until February
10.
Grace Kelly exhibition
The Bendigo Art Gallery is holding an
exhibition titled ‘Grace Kelly - style icon’
from 11 March until 17 June.
Award for Melbourne filmmaker
Andrew Kavanagh, 28, was named
winner of the 2012 Spirit of Youth Award
in filmmaking. The award, run by Qantas,
has been rewarding creative 18 to 30
year olds for the past 7 years. Kavanagh
last year graduated from the Victorian
of the Melbourne Symphony
Orchestra, according to The Age.
College of the Arts.
Writers festival
Stephen Grimwade will step down as
director of the Melbourne Writers Festival
after this year’s edition.
NGV comments
In The Age, Gerard Vaughan, Director of
the National Gallery of Victoria wrote
that the NGV must ‘reform its opening
hours’ because when the surrounding
performing arts venues are buzzing, the
gallery is shut. He wrote that the ‘current
opening hours were set in the 19th century
– 10am to 5pm.’
Indian Film Festival
Premier Baillieu joined Festival Ambassador and Indian film star Vidya Balan
and Festival Director Mitu Bhowmick
Lange to announce the programme, for
the 2012 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, which will feature 40 films and
activities from India and the sub-continent. ‘The government is committed to
strengthening ties between Victoria and
India as well as developing a greater
mutual understanding of our respective
screen industries.’,
New chief conductor
The British born conductor Sir Andrew
Davis will take over as chief conductor
Need some advice to
achieve a successful
government outcome?
Astor to remain
The head of St Michael’s Grammar
School has denied that the school
has plans to close the Astor Theatre.
According to The Age, the school
bought the building with the intention of
developing it as a hub for the performing
arts, but the plans were put on the shelf
following the financial crisis.
Award for Funder
Anna Funder’s bestselling first novel
about anti-Nazi activists, All That I Am,
was named book of the year at the
Australian Book Industry Awards.
EDUCATION
Minister’ reflection
On the front page of The Age, Higher
Education and Skills Minister Peter Hall
has said he shared ‘motions of shock,
incredulity, disbelief and anger’ of TAFE
leaders when they were briefed on budget
cuts. In a letter obtained by the paper, Mr
Hall admitted to ‘thinking of throwing in
the towel’ the paper also reported that
AFFAIRS OF STATE
Strategic Advice. Successful Outcomes.
Established in 1993, Affairs of State has
built a strong matrix of client services
including government relations, mentoring, facilitation and research. Our wideranging network can connect you to the
decision-makers.
If you have an issue, want to make new
connections, or have a specific matter
resolved - we can help.
We know the players.
We know the pitfalls.
We know how to plan.
We know how to succeed.
AFFAIRS OF STATE
14 Collins Street, Melbourne, Vic 3000 | P: (03) 9654 1300
7
F: (03) 9654 1165 | E: [email protected] | W: www.affairs.com.au
16 APRIL to 22 MAY 2012
there was anger within the government
over the letter as Mr Hall was criticised
for sympathising with TAFEs rather than
defending the government’s decisions.
Later, The Age reported that despite
calls for him to quit, he said that he
was ‘absolutely committed’ to the policy
outlined in the budget.
Industrial action looms
A state wide closure of schools came a
step closer after senior unionists endorsed
an industrial campaign, according to
The Age. The Victorian state council of
the Australian Education Union voted
in favour of protected industrial action,
signalling school closures for 24 hours on
7 June.
Sharing facilities?
A proposal by the state government could
see students from private and public
schools routinely sharing classrooms,
teachers and gyms, according to The
Age. Education Minister Martin Dixon
has canvassed the concept at an official
level, with the plan hoping to increase
subject availability options for students
and address the state’s teacher shortage.
Crime in schools
According to a report in The Age,
thousands of burglaries, assaults, bomb
threats and other crimes are taking place
in Victorian schools every year. According
to the paper, more than 10,000 alleged
crimes took place between 2008 and
2011, and about 900 alleged assaults
involving teachers and students took
place, along with 4,922 burglaries,
2,479 acts of vandalism and 379 graffiti
incidents.
Cuts to training
According to the Herald Sun, up to 100
Victorian high schools could be forced
to cancel certain VCE subjects next year
because of budget cuts to vocational
training. Subjects under threat include
languages, music, commerce and the
8
arts. In addition, the paper reports that
the federal government announced plans
to link bonus payments with teacher’s
ability to produce “evidence” they are
doing their jobs well.
Teachers pay scheme musing
The Victorian government is threatening
to pull out of the federal scheme to reward
top teachers, according to The Age. The
paper reports that this is occurring after
it was revealed that less than 2 per cent
of the state’s teachers would receive
bonuses in its first year. The Victorian
government branded the scheme as
elitist and ‘a shameful waste of money’.
Federal Schools Education Minister Peter
Garrett warned Victorian teachers would
miss out on one-off bonuses of up to
$10,000 if Victoria did not take part.
Later, The Age reported that the issue
of bonuses to high performing teachers
took some heat when the Productivity
Commission recommended that the
federal government shelved its bonus
scheme which is due to begin in 2013.
TAFE Courses under threat
According to The Age, some of Victorian
TAFEs’ could shutdown or amalgamate
after spending was cut to 80 per cent
of vocational courses. Fee subsidies
for courses including hospitality, fitness,
business, events and retail were cut. The
paper reported that this will lead to sharp
fee increases for students and could
also result and courses being abolished
as well as job losses. Victorian TAFE
Association executive David Williams
said that the budget cuts were the
biggest funding cuts to TAFE in history.
While 80 per cent of courses will have
their subsidies cut, the government will
increase funding rates for courses in
areas of skills shortage or critical trades,
such as carpentry, engineering, aged
care, disability and children’s services. In
addition, all apprenticeship courses will
see increase in funding.
More on TAFEs
The Age reported that William Angliss
TAFE and Victoria University’s TAFE
division are considered the two most
vulnerable to the cuts that have slashed
$100 million in funding from courses,
mainly in business, hospitality, fitness,
events management and retail. More
traditional courses, such as bricklaying
and carpentry have not been so affected.
Rally against the cuts
More than a thousand TAFE students
and teachers rallied at Treasury Gardens
against the budget cuts, The Age reported.
Bendigo TAFE estimated it could cut 120
jobs this year alone as a result of losing
$8 million to $9 million in subsidies.
Federal funding the solution?
Australia’s 61 TAFE directors have
expressed their joint alarm at the ‘savage’
cuts to the Victorian sector, reportedly
saying that the cuts highlight flaws
in national agreements designed to
boost enrolments. In The Age, it was
reported that TAFE Directors Australia
annual meeting will now bring the fight to
protect the sector’s funding to the federal
government. The paper also revealed that
federal Tertiary Education Minister Chris
Evans wrote to his Victorian counterpart,
Peter Hall, asking him to explain urgently
how those cuts would not threaten
national reforms agreed to at the Council
of Australian Governments meeting in
April.
More on TAFEs
One of Victoria’s largest TAFE colleges
said that ‘unprecedented’ cuts to the
sector will strip $25.5 million from its
bottom line and threaten its survival. In
The Age, Holmsglen TAFE (which offers
more than 600 courses to nearly 50,000
students) has warned it may have to
double some fees for some courses as
well as offer redundancies in order to
avoid closure.
LETTER FROM MELBOURNE
Kangan Institute chief executive
Ray Griffiths said that a combination
of student fee increases and other
improvements would allow marginally
viable courses to get new however the
organisation would lose $3 million this
year and $25 million next year. This was
equivalent to 205 staff positions.
Clowning around
Coal exports to increase from
Victoria
Resources and Energy Minister Martin
Ferguson recently said that Victoria could
soon deliver its first export shipments
of modified brown coal, according to
The Age. Because the state possesses
about 9 per cent of the world’s brown
coal reserves, Mr Ferguson said it could
become a mining powerhouse akin to the
Pilbara, the North–West Shelf, the Hunter
Valley and central Queensland. The paper
reports that the development of brown
coal industries by transforming it into dry
briquettes, gas and urea wood diesel is
backed by business lobbies such as the
Australian Industry Group, but criticised
by environmentalists.
the carbon tax… The future of Victoria’s
only brown coal briquettes manufacturer
is expected to be unsustainable under a
business-as-usual scenario.’
Power company focus
The Victorian government is suing SPI
Electricity (which trades as SP Ausnet)
for more than $22 million over a bushfire
that incinerated 125,000 hectares of land
and killed hundred and twenty people in
2009, according to the Financial Review.
According to the writ, the government
claimed SPI Electricity breached its duty
of care for failing to have or implement
adequate systems for determining risk
factors affecting the likelihood of failures.
These legal proceedings are different from
legal proceedings by some 1,500 people
who are also suing SPI and others for
consequences of the same fires.
According to the Herald Sun, TAFE
courses in circus arts are getting a bigger
subsidy than business and hospitality.
Education Department deputy secretary
Kym Peake said circus arts courses
attracted only a small number of students
and were therefore expensive to run.
Apparently only ten students were
receiving a circus arts training subsidy.
In The Australian, John Ross wrote that Six-star energy rating to stay
the TAFE issue, which became front- Premier Ted Baillieu has abandoned
page politics after Minister Peter Hall’s a proposal to scrap mandatory energy
apologetic letter fell into media hands, ratings for new homes in Victoria. Despite Wind farmer operator search
has highlighted how taxpayers received reports to the contrary, Premier Baillieu According to a report in The Australian,
any increase in suspect subjects from has decided to retain the existing system. Origin Energy has put what would
private colleges for the $500 million. He The Age reports that it is unclear why be Australia’s biggest wind farm back
wrote that the government needed to train the Premier so quickly changed from on the agenda. The $1 billion project
$100 million from a training budget that the move, however the Association at Stockyard Hill in Ballarat is in need
had ballooned by a massive $500 million of Building Sustainable Assessors of parties to build and own it. Chief
in just 3 years, but TAFEs estimated that described the move away from the six- executive Grant King said Stockyard
the cuts would cost them close to $300 star system as ridiculous. ‘Six-star is not Hill could provide between 300MW and
green tape but a consumer protection 500MW of electricity, and the company
million.
measure which stops people from being needs to secure renewable power under
locked into the pain and cost of having to government targets designed to make 20
Safety lapse
An investigation by The Age has found heat and cool an inefficient home,’ said per cent of national power renewable by
2020. Stockyard Hill was approved by the
that many contractors who work at Acting Chief Executive Roger Hills.
Brumby government and has escaped a
schools are not asked to take the
2km exclusion zone that has since been
Working with Children Check. This On hold
includes waste removalists, maintenance The Victorian Civil and Administrative put in place in Victoria.
workers, gardeners and technicians. Tribunal has put on hold plans for a new
Under Victorian law, people who have coal and gas-fired power station in the Less power
‘regular, direct, unsupervised’ contact Latrobe Valley until a deal is struck to The Australian Energy Regulator has
with children are required to have criminal shut an existing coal plant. A report in The found that the total time over which
Age noted that VCAT found that energy Victorian customers were without power
background checks.
technology company HRL could build a declined in the last reporting period, 2010,
new $1.2 billion coal gasification plant compared with 2009. However, according
Good job
The Geelong College is seeking a new at Morwell, but said that work could not to The Age, when the extreme heatwave
Principal, contact Kathy McLean of Fish start until the federal government signed events of 2009 were excluded, there was
a deal to buy out and shut an old station an indication of a continuing deteriorating
and Nankivell on 0414 376 698.
using carbon tax revenue.
trend in the overall level of supply reliability
over the 2005-2010 period.
Federal Resources and Energy Minister
ENERGY
Martin Ferguson earlier this year gave Solar panels
the company until June 30 to meet the The Age reported that Victorian incentives
conditions of $100 million grant, yet this for households to install rooftop solar
latest ruling now places in doubt the panels are to be slashed if a proposal
project’s government funding, according by the Victorian Competition and
Coal still No. 1
The Victorian government is looking closer to the paper the only known remaining Efficiency Commission is accepted.
VCEC
recommended
that
energy
at the exporting of coal, the Herald Sun financial backing for the plant.
companies be free to set the price paid
is reporting. This examination has been
to households for solar power they
highlighted by study of the worldwide Still with HRL
demand, along with a conference Meanwhile, HRL subsidiary Industrial feed back into the grid. The proposals
attended by delegates from 23 countries Energy recently announced it was were attacked by clean energy and
about brown coal’s sustainability held reviewing its brown coal briquette environmental groups, but supported by
manufacturing business, which directly or energy intensive industry.
recently in Melbourne.
indirectly employs 200 people. According
to The Age, general manager Tony
Ferguson said: ‘with the introduction of
9
16 APRIL to 22 MAY 2012
ENVIRONMENT &
CONSERVATION
Black Saturday class action
The victims of a Black Saturday bushfire
in Victoria’s north-east have won a $32
million compensation settlement. The
Age reported that the class action group
of about 80 people included all those
who suffered property damage in the fire.
They sued SPI Electricity, Eagle Treble
Tower Services, the Department of
Sustainability and Environment and
Parks Victoria.
Recycling focus
Who’s water
The Murray Darling Basin Authority and
the South Australia government are in a
dispute over the amount of water to be
used for environmental flows, according
to The Australian. Despite appeals by
federal Water Minister Tony Burke, the
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill
attended the authority’s final community
consultation on the draft basin plan where
he warned outside the meeting that he
was ‘sick and tired of compromises’.
On the final day of public input for Murray–
Darling Basin Authority’s draft plan more
than 500 submissions were received.
More than 8,000 (!!) submissions have
been lodged for the plan, according to the
Financial Review.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Ryan Smith has launched a new
campaign in a bid to divert the equiva- Flood and fires
lent of more than 300,000 wheelie bins The Tallygaroopna Hotel, a 120-year old
of recyclable material that still ends up in historic building, went up in flames after
landfill every week. ‘Up to 20 per cent of recently being flooded. The Age reports
the waste in an average household gar- the small hotel in the town about 16
bage bin is still incorrectly thrown away, kilometres north of Shepparton had only
instead of being recycled.’ Mr Smith said re-opened for business about a month
Melbourne residents would be provided ago.
with practical information to improve the
amount of household waste recycled on The Country Fire Authority spent more
bin night.
time fighting floods then major fires during
the summer, according to figures released
Wild dogs out of control
to The Weekly Times.
According to a report in The Weekly Times,
the number of wild dogs in Victoria has Goulburn-Murray
Water
recently
hit plague proportions. There are reports published its 60-page Upper Ovens River
of wild dogs killing young cattle, alpacas, Water Supply Protection Area: Water
and working in packs of up to twelve. Management Plan 2012 report. Copies
Accordingly, farmers have expressed of this report are available from the
anger at the Victorian government for Goulburn-Murray Water on 1800 013
failing to deliver on an election promise 357.
to aerial-bait the breeding areas
because of a stoush with the federal The Office of the Environmental Monitor
government. National Wild Dogs recently published a 52-page report
Management Advisory Group chairman detailing the reporting period of 1 January
Michael McCormack said the Victorian to 31 December 2011. Copies of this
government ‘made an election promise report are available from the Office of the
which should be kept’. Victorian Farmers Environmental Monitor at www.oem.vic.
Federation President Andrew Broad gov.au.
said it was ‘nonsense (that) aerial baiting
was bogged down in … bureaucracy.’
10
EVENTS
Live. Here.
Sir David Attenborough will be live on
stage at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre
on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 August.
Tickets from www.events.com.au.
Napoleon on display
The exhibit ‘Napoleon: Revolution to
Empire’ opens at the National Gallery of
Victoria on 2 June. Tickets at Ticketmaster.
Catfight
A fight has erupted because the organisers
of Australian Fashion Week have
decided to move next year’s event to the
last week in March – the same time as the
Melbourne Fashion Festival, according
to The Age. MFF chief executive Graeme
Lewsey said that the schedule change
was a desperate bid by the American
owned IMG Fashion – which runs Fashion
Week Australia – to remain profitable
at the expense of the entire Australian
fashion industry.
GEELONG
Changes at the Fort
According to The Echo, 152 years of
continuous occupation by the Australian
Defence Force will end in December
when eighty human resources staff and
sixty other public servants move to
Canberra. With $8.5 million to be spent
on preparing the fort for its new function,
ninety public servants from the Defence
Archive Centre will replace those 140
workers.
LETTER FROM MELBOURNE
A bygone era
As The Age so wonderfully put it, in the
late 1880s, Queenscliff was a tourism
mecca for Melbourne folk. Arriving via
the paddle steamer, visitors would flock
to stay at the glamorous Vue Grand,
Royal or Baillieu hotels. However two
of these grand colonial era buildings are
presently up for sale - heritage listed Vue
Grand is for sale with a price tag of about
$4 million, and the Royal has been taken
off the market, although the owner is
evidently still open to offers.
GAMING
$500,000 an hour
In a report in The Age, Victorians are
losing almost half a million dollars an hour
on poker machines during busy periods.
Figures provided by the Victorian
Commission for Gambling and Liquor
Regulation show on at least 10 days last
year, more than $11 million was lost on
pokies in Victoria.
Licenses claim
The Victorian government is facing a $1.2
billion budget black hole as gambling
giants Tatts and Tabcorp are soon to
begin legal action to recoup hundreds
of millions of dollars in poker machine
license compensation which they believe
they are owed, according to The Age.
Each company argues that the Victorian
government owes them about $600
million each after they were overlooked
for new poker machine licenses.
Club donations a disguise?
A report in The Age has noted a Monash
University study that found that charitable
donations are a ‘smokescreen’ to disguise
profit from problem gambling. The study
found charitable notions are ‘minuscule’
compared prepared to club profits and
are ‘an extremely inefficient and high cost
method’ of funding community sporting
activities.
Calls for comments
The Minister for Gaming, Michael
O’Brien, is seeking views on a proposal
to allow the sale of certain lottery
products in hotels and clubs with a
liquor license. Details at www.justice.
vic.gov.au/home/gambling+and+racing/
gaming/community+consultation , and
submissions will be accepted until COB
on 28 May 2012.
New Chief Health Officer
HEALTH
IT system no more
The state hospitals IT system which
was launched nine years ago is being
scrapped. According to the Herald
Sun, the cost of establishing a working
alternative to HealthSMART could
cost $300 million. Launched to replace
outdated technology and revolutionise
the health system, establishing patient
records, prescribing, test ordering and
appointment management, it has been
plagued by poor planning, cost blowouts
and operating issues.
Premiers back disability reforms
The Australian reported that a provisional
deal between the federal government and
the state premiers for an $8 billion on the
National Disability Insurance Scheme
was not yet agreed upon. The notion
of the deal was the biggest outcome
from a meeting amid fights on business
regulation and the GST at a recent
Council of Australian Governments,
COAG, meeting.
Waiting lists getting longer
In the last quarter of 2011 there were
1,732 patients, including 32 at the Royal
Children’s Hospital, who waited more
than 24 hours in public emergency
departments for a hospital bed. Health
Minister David Davis said that 29 urgent
and 520 semi-urgent elective surgeries
had to be cancelled because of nurses’
industrial action. The Herald Sun also
reported that there were 2,320 more
people awaiting elective surgery on 31
December, compared with 31 September.
Advisory committee
The Minister for Health David Davis
and Minister for Mental Health Mary
Wooldridge have recently called for
applications for membership to the
Ministerial Advisory Committee on
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender
and Intersex Health and Wellbeing,
the website at www.health.vic.gov.au/
diversity/glbtimac.htm.
According to Health Victoria, the monthly
publication from the Victorian Department
of Health, Dr Rosemary Lester has been
appointed as the new Chief Health Officer.
Dr Lester is a graduate of the University
of Melbourne and has the Medical Officer
of Health for the City of Melbourne, and
joined the Victorian Health Department in
1989.
Volunteer week
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional
and Rural Development Peter Ryan officially launched Volunteer Week celebrations during a visit to the Royal Children’s
Hospital and the Red Cross Australia
headquarters. Mr Ryan said volunteers
came from all walks of life and were often the lifeblood of Victorian communities.
‘More than 1.5 million Victorians make a
huge contribution to our local communities as volunteers, doing important work
across a range of sectors such as emergency services, in health and ageing, education, social justice, heritage and culture, and sport and recreation’.
Time for reflection
The search for stand-out senior Victorians who are an inspiration to their local
community has begun with nominations
now open for the 2012 Victorian Senior
of the Year Awards. Minister for Ageing
David Davis has invited people to nominate seniors who make a real difference
to their local communities. Established
more than 20 years ago, the Senior of the
Year Awards promote the achievements
of senior Victorians and demonstrate the
benefits of positive ageing.
Good job (2)
The Victorian Council of Social Service
is looking for a new Chief Executive Officer.
Apply in confidence to [email protected]
ozemail.com.au.
The busy ‘General
The
Victorian
Auditor-General
published his 25-page State Trustees
Ltd: Management of represented persons
report in February. Copies are available
from the Victorian Government Bookshop
on 1 300 366 356.
11
16 APRIL to 22 MAY 2012
& #&$# %% $,
!$#!) -00/%*#!#+&% # # (#!) %$ ( !(# (%"#'$##&&!! * #+#! &$ # ##!(# #!$ $%# -­‐.#! BUSINESS & INDUSTRY
Synchrotron cuts
Despite recently been given $100
million four-year rescue package from
the Commonwealth and Victorian
governments, the synchrotron will still
need to cut spending by at least 10 per
cent to keep operating, according to The
Australian. Director Keith Nugent said
‘they will have to be some belt-tightening’.
He did however note that nobody wanted
savings to reduce the level of scientific
activity.
Metcash to cut jobs
According to The Age, Metcash is going
to slash jobs at headquarters as well as
at Campbells Cash and Carry stores. At
least 478 positions will be cut as the
supermarket supply company deals with
the retail downturn. CEO Andrew Reitzer
said the company had been forced to
close the Campbells stores because
its regional customers were unable to
compete with the price war between
Coles and Woolworths. According to the
Financial Review, the company is facing a
45 per cent slump in bottom line profit this
year, and has warned that the days of the
traditional corner store are numbered as
customers flock to major chains in search
of $1 a litre milk and discounted groceries.
Rock on
Premier Ted Baillieu and Minister for
Manufacturing Richard Dalla-Riva recently joined CSR Managing Director
Rob Sindel and company employees at
the official opening of CSR’s new $160
million Gyprock plant at Yarraville.
12
Mr Baillieu said the new facility would secure 160 manufacturing jobs on site, increase production capacity and strengthen the competitiveness of the facility to
supply the construction and building industry in Victoria and nationwide.
Chief signals expansion
According to the Financial Review,
the incoming Transurban CEO Scott
Charlton will consider expanding the
group’s existing toll road network when
he takes over in July. Mr Charlton is
a former engineer who was CFO at
Leighton Holdings and also oversaw
transport and infrastructure for Deutsche
Bank’s Asia Pacific operations.
Toyota cuts
Toyota hired extra security to help with
the process of cutting 350 jobs at its
Altona plant, according to the Herald
Sun. The Financial Review reported that
the company faces mass legal action
in the face of these cuts, as the 350
workers were selected for redundancy
using individual ratings on a scale of five,
including how often they turn up to work
and how well they did their job.
Ford too?
According to The Age, in early May a
crucial component supplier to Ford,
CMI Industrial was likely to go into
administration. The company makes
suspension components. Later, the
paper reported that Ford Australia was
forced to stand down its entire Victorian
workforce for almost a week.
QF
Qantas is winding down its Laverton
maintenance work force.
JUSTICE
War on gangs
According to the Herald Sun, police are
preparing to combat the gangs of youth
responsible for a wave of violence in
the heart of Melbourne. Gang members
as young as 14 have been involved in
dozens of late-night attacks on people
alone in the city, and senior police report
that they have never seen such a level of
brutality. As a result, they have assigned
a team of detectives to stop the violence.
Single office stations struggling
Nine of Victoria’s 99 single-officer
stations are empty, The Age reported.
Police Minister Peter Ryan was reported
as noting his concern that the impact
that removing officers from a town has
on a community. He said that he was
committed to maintaining one-member
stations, especially where there were no
alternative sources of policing nearby.
Spy planes..
Victoria Police is considering introducing
unmanned aircraft to assist in operations,
The Age has reported. The move has
alarmed civil liberties advocates, who say
the technology could be used to spy on
individuals. Liberty Victoria President
Spencer Zifcak called for public debate
on the use of drones, warning that strict
controls must be in place before any
decision was made.
LETTER FROM MELBOURNE
Brawl affected safety
Chief police Commissioner Ken Lay
announced that the power struggle
between former Commissioner Simon
Overland and his deputy made it ‘almost
impossible’ to focus on keeping the public
safe, according to a report in The Age. Mr
Lay also noted that he preferred to view
his appointment as a renewed emphasis
on ‘frontline’ policing.
Extra
According to the Herald Sun, new penalties
to be introduced by the state government
will ensure that anyone found guilty of
seriously injuring an emergency service
worker – including police, doctors, nurses,
paramedics, SES officers, firefighters and
lifesavers – will get an extra year on top of
their normal sentence. In The Age, Law
Institute President Michael Holcroft
cast doubts on whether the laws would
have a deterrent factor at all.
Fire killer sentenced
A former firefighter who deliberately lit
a Black Saturday blaze that killed ten
people has been jailed for 17 years and
9 months, The Age reported. Brendan
James Sokaluk was sentence after being
found guilty of 10 counts of arson causing
death in the Latrobe Valley three years
ago.
Death in jail
According to The Age, catastrophic
failures within Corrections Victoria led to
the murder of notorious underworld figure
Carl Williams, the Victorian Ombudsman
has found. However, the paper also
reported that it was unlikely anyone would
ever be punished over the administrative
bungles.
The Herald Sun reported that the family of
Carl Williams plans to sue the Victorian
prison system for more than $1 million for
pain and suffering caused by his death.
According to the paper, a writ is expected
to include a claim for benefits negotiated
by the slain criminal in return for cooperation with police. Later, Corrections
Commissioner Bob Hastings resigned
following the Ombudsman’s report,
according to The Age.
New jail
According to The Age, a new medium
security prison will be built in Melbourne’s
outer west to cope with the growing
numbers of Victorians in jail. The 500-bed
men’s facility is set to be privately run
and operating by 2017. The construction
of the jail will be at Ravenhall near Deer
Park, and Corrections Minister Andrew
McIntosh said that the prison was vital
despite the state’s faltering economy.
Another jail in trouble
A report in The Age revealed that the
358-bed prison complex being built at
Ararat in western Victoria is in financial
trouble, with its builders unable to pay
contractors. The $400 million project (a
public-private partnership) may be more
than $100 million short of capital and
without government intervention, is in
danger of collapse. It is scheduled for
completion in the second half of 2012.
Later, the paper reported that the failure
of St Hilliers Construction meant that 16
other projects the company was working
on, including some under contract to the
Victorian and federal governments, may
be sold off or shut down.
A disgrace
Assistant
Commissioner
Stephen
Fontana has labelled the social
acceptance of illicit drugs as ‘a national
disgrace’, according to The Age. He also
noted that users ‘are just not taking it
seriously; we have a real problem in this
country.’
Secret payouts
Victoria Police has reportedly made
secret payouts in the vicinity of tens of
thousands of dollars to immigrant youths
in Melbourne who have accused police
officers of physical brutality and racism,
according to The Age.
On the attack
Victoria’s most senior judge, Chief Justice
of the Supreme Court Marilyn Warren,
has lashed out at the Justice Department,
saying that its relentless focus on financial
targets and inappropriate productivity
goals has relegated the courts to little
more than ‘a car factory’. According
to The Age, Warren also criticised the
department for undermining the courts’
administration of justice.
Judges vs government
A confidential 29-page report containing
the final recommendations of a high-level
steering committee asked to devise a new
administration system for managing and
funding the state’s six courts has revealed
the split which has emerged between the
judges and the government, over how
budget allocations might be made to the
courts under the proposed new Courts
Executive Service. According to The
Age, the judges laid down for conditions
that they said had to be met if the courts
were going to take part in the new CES.
All the heads of jurisdiction want a new
funding and administration arrangement,
which they argue is essential to preserve
the independence of the courts and
ensure the government does not interfere
with the justice system.
Blowout in PSO pledge
According to The Age, the government’s
plan to have protective service officers
guard stations is facing a multi-million
dollar blowout to fund changerooms and
gun and clothes lockers at police stations.
Later, The Age reported that protective
service officers will be diverted from
the courts, Parliament House and the
Shrine of Remembrance, in a bid by the
government to fulfil its election promise.
The paper reported that doubts exist
whether the government will be able to
attract 940 new officers by 2014, with
only 90 expected to be operational by
June 30.
Debt collectors
Several groups, including Victoria’s
Consumer Action Law Centre, the
Australian Institute of Credit Management
and the Collection House group, have
written to the government recommending
debt collectors be licensed, again.
According to the Herald Sun, Victoria is
the only state where debt collectors can
work without a license.
Jail for tampering with fines
An information technology expert was
jailed after he tampered with nearly
70,000 infringement notices, the Herald
Sun
reported.
Ranil
Seneviratne
changed the details of thousands of
violations, falsifying alleged speeds and
even turning speeding tickets into red
light fines. A court heard that the case had
the potential to threaten the credibility of
Victoria’s traffic fine system.
Anti-corruption commission
criticisms
In The Age, Eric Dyrenfurth wrote that
Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anticorruption Commission ‘is destined to be
an impotence onlooker.’ He also said ‘;as
a vehicle for investigating public official
corruption, IBAC is puny, damaged and
confused, and a betrayal of the people’s
trust.’ Mr Dyrenfurth is an administrative
and constitutional lawyer and a former
principal solicitor with the State Revenue
Office.
13
16 APRIL to 22 MAY 2012
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Still under administration
The government will introduce legislation
to maintain administrators at Brimbank
Council until March 2015. The Age
reported that Local Government Minister
Jeannette Powell said the decision to
retain administrators at the Council ‘has
considerable community support and will
help ensure a return to stable effective
representative government at Brimbank
City Council.’
Councils need cash boost
According to The Weekly Times, twenty of
Victoria’s thirty eight rural councils are in
financial trouble. Rural Councils Victoria
chairman Ken Gale has noted that about
half of the struggling councils are facing
declining populations. Mr Gale also said
that councils had little ability to raise
rates as residents could not afford to
pay more to maintain basic infrastructure,
on top of the spate of recent natural
disasters. Victorian Local Government
Minister Jeanette Powell said that the
government was responding to the
financial challenges through the $1 billion
Regional Growth Fund.
Councils banding together
The Herald Sun reported that Melbourne
City Council and councils covering
transport hubs such as Box Hill,
Dandenong and Frankston are joining
forces to promote high-rise living in train
and tram corridors. Lord Mayor Robert
Doyle said it was a vital alternative to the
outer suburban sprawl, while Planning
Minister Matthew Guy said: ‘it shouldn’t
be open slather along those corridors.
Opening up our city as a construction
site will cost us our liveability. We need
to manage population growth and also
manage our liveability.’
Doubts on new parking technology
According to The Age, Melbourne City
Council has confirmed that more than
600 parking fines issued using the now
suspended licence plate recognition
technology have been paid and that the
council isn’t offering refunds. Lord Mayor
Robert Doyle said that the technology
‘wasn’t right.
Cashed up
According to The Age, the City of
Melbourne’s coffers are swelling, thanks
mainly to the continuing influx of new
residents of the CBD, adding millions
of dollars to the council rates base.
14
Fast food fat tax
a scene where it is hard to see where the
grass ends and the lake begins. Senior
horticultural curator Peter Symes said
that in his 20 years at the Royal Botanic
Gardens he has never seen anything like
it.
Extra councillors
The Salvation Army has warned that the
city is at risk of ‘losing its way’ because of
the many serious and sickening attacks on
vulnerable people, according to a report
in the Herald Sun. Major Brendan Nottle
gave examples, including a case where a
group of six young men simulated lewd
sex acts on an unconscious teenager.
Additionally, parking fines and fee
revenue make up almost a quarter of the
council’s total income, with $49.9 million
in expected parking fines.
Darebin Council will consider a 400 per
cent increase on the rates of fast food
giants in a move backed by dieticians and
health groups. According to the Herald
Sun, Darebin councillor Gaetano Greco
said that the council was investigating a
rates hike, to discourage and penalise
major food outlets.
The City of Melbourne will get an extra
two councillors making eleven in total,
including the Lord Mayor and the Deputy
Lord Mayor.
Seachange?
The Surf Coast Shire is looking for a new
Chief Executive Officer, contact Nicola
Sportelli at McArthur Executive on 03
9828 6565.
MELBOURNE
Accusations flying
According to a report in The Age,
accusations of bullying have surfaced at
Melbourne City Council in a series of fiery
letters between Lord Mayor Robert Doyle
and councillor Jackie Watts. Cr Watts
has accused Cr Doyle of ‘harassment
and bullying’ against her and accuses
him of failing to understand the ‘basic
principles of natural justice.’
Docklands development
The waterfront at Docklands could be the
site of a new swimming pool, with a skate
park and rock-climbing wall also on the
wish list of facilities released in a 10-year
plan by Melbourne City Council, The Age
reported.
Top ten landmarks
According to an independent survey,
the MCG is Melbourne’s best landmark,
followed by Flinders Street Station,
Federation Square, Eureka Tower, Arts
Centre, the Yarra, Botanic Gardens,
Crown casino, Melbourne Zoo and the
Shrine of Remembrance.
Floating fern
A green carpet made of azolla (a native
floating fern) has spawned, settled
and spread on the water of the Royal
Botanic Gardens’ Ornamental Lake,
according to The Age. This has created
Salvos warning
Raise the Cerberus
According to The Age, hopes of raising
the wreck of the HMVS Cerberus off
Black Rock have been scuttled, with the
government deciding that its plan to build
a stabilising platform was too dangerous.
The ship was sunk as a breakwater at Half
Moon Bay in 1926.
100 years and going strong
The Chitty family have marked 100 years
of retailing at Queen Victoria Market, The
Age reported. Roy Chitty began selling
rabbits hung on sticks at the market in
1912, and his grandson Wayne reinvented
himself as a fishmonger, starting Happy
Tuna Seafoods. He and his son Brett will
receive a Lord Mayor’s Commendation
recognising the contribution of small
businesses to the city.
The City of Melbourne is running a survey
to find out how Melburnians feel about the
events run by the city. ‘We’d like to hear
from City of Melbourne residents and
businesses and will use the information
for future event programming’. The
survey takes about 10-15 minutes and all
respondents can go into the draw to win
an iPad2.
Climb the dome once more
A $20 million funding boost means that
visitors will again be able to stand on the
rooftop of the Royal Exhibition Building.
According to The Age, Museum Victoria
wants to use the money from the federal
budget to maintain the building and
reopen the rooftop viewing area, as well
as to extend the tunnel from the Museum
underneath the Exhibition Building.
LETTER FROM MELBOURNE
Affairs of State 2012/13 Budget Briefing
Impact of the budget and the reorganisation of CenITex on the
local ICT Industry
On Wednesday May 17, over 70 professionals from the ICT industry joined Alistair Urquhart and Tom
Tomlin for a breakfast in the Grand Ballroom at the Hotel Windsor. After Alistair government relations
firm Affairs of State, Tom provided the audience with a comprehensive interpretation of the opportunities
available for ICT spending in the 2012-13 Victorian State Budget.
As predicted by most observers, the budget presented by treasurer Kim Wells during May contained
very little in the way of new ICT based projects for providers of ICT infrastructure, software, consulting
or services. While there might be little reason for optimism in the local ICT vendor community, the
reorganisation of CenITex as the governments internal shared services provider is set to dramatically
change the local ICT landscape.
What has come to light as a consequence of the decision to dramatically wind back the scope of services
and staff across the organisation, is in effect a re-opening of the market for provision of both products and
services to Government by the vendor community. As CenITex’s Efficient Technology Services (ETS) is
wound down and closed by June 30, the list of projects they were due to execute remains as a crucial part
of their customer bases business requirements.
For more information about the opportunities available for government ICT, please contact Affairs
of State on (03) 9654 1300 or via [email protected]
To make sure you don’t miss out on our special offer, fill out the coupon today!
For over 18 years, Letter from Melbourne has kept subscribers informed and increased
their awareness of the policy development and government decisions that affect their
businesses.
Yes, please begin my 1 year subscription to Letter from Melbourne and send me the two
government charts absolutely free for $275.00.* *Includes 10% GST for Australian subscribers
Name Mr/Mrs/Ms_____________________________
PAYMENT DETAILS
Position ____________________________________
Cheque for $ ______ payable to Affairs of State
Company ___________________________________
Please charge my credit card:
Type of Business _____________________________
VISA - Mastercard - Amex
Address ____________________________________
Card Number ______________________________
Country __________________ Postcode __________
Signature ________________ Expiry Date_______
Phone _______________ Fax __________________
Card holder’s name _________________________
Email __________________ Web ________________
SEND TO Affairs of State 14 Collins Street Melbourne Victoria 3000 or fax to 03 9654 1165
For further information: Email: [email protected]
Subscribe and SAVE
With Victoria’s leading business
and government digest
Subscribe to Letter from Melbourne now, and you will receive our Victorian and Federal Government Charts absolutely FREE.
Web: www.letterfrommelbourne.com.au
15
16 APRIL to 22 MAY 2012
ICT & MULTIMEDIA
CenITex
In a report in The Age in early May, the
board of the Victorian government’s
troubled information technology agency
CenITex might be removed, after a
review by the State Services Authority
found that it suffered from poor
governance. The paper reports that
CenITex (which services the needs of
36,800 public servants) had an objective
to amalgamate the government network
systems, Internet providers, data centres
and help desk services for the public
service. The government had hoped that
this would save the government’s huge
IT bill, which has been running at $1.65
billion a year. Sources told The Age that
the savings may take years to materialise.
Chairman Warren Hodgson, a former
secretary of the Department of Innovation,
Industry and Regional Development,
heads CenITex’s board, but he resigned
following the review. The recent Victorian
budget will seemingly allow or provide
for much of CenITex’s work to go back to
its customers, the Victorian government
departments and agencies. Watch this
space.
Later, The Age reported that CenITex will
lose about one-third (about 300 jobs) of
its workforce in a bid to cut costs. Chief
executive Michael Vanderheide said that
the restructure meant an entire division
would be wound down by next year.
PLANNING & PROPERTY
Stamp duty strong
Inspiration from the past
According to the Herald Sun, Planning
Minister Matthew Guy has urged
architects and builders to draw inspiration
from Melbourne’s oldest buildings such
as the Shrine of Remembrance and
Eureka Tower. Mr Guy named that Shrine
of Remembrance as our best building for
its ‘emotion charged design’.
Up and up
According to a report in The Age, dozens
of apartments are about to be built on
the roof of a commercial building as
developments take advantage of ‘air
rights’ to build upwards in Melbourne’s
city centre. The Elenberg Fraser
designed five story $45 million project
is unusual, because it will rise from the
airspace above an existing building that
is already occupied by multiple owners
and tenants.
Meanwhile, also in The Age, there was a
full-page spread reporting on how more
of Melbourne’s residents are losing their
view and even their access to light and
fresh air as the city grows increasingly
taller and denser.
Reducing building appeal
rights
The Age has reported that Planning
Minister Matthew Guy will introduce
legislation that could mean up to 11,000
building permits being assessed annually
will be assessed without the current
notification to neighbours or appeal
rights. The government said the changes
would apply to ‘small-scale, low impact
applications such as home extensions
and small works such as fences.’
However the paper reported that the new
system would also be used to affect new
buildings and subdivisions.
Brick by brick
A developer who knocked down a 90-yearold factory in Newry Street Richmond, in
contravention to a planning permit has
been ordered to rebuild the original walls
brick by brick, The Age reported.
A new stamp duty on property investors
in Victoria (which would tax those
buying into a landholding business at
up to 5.5 per cent on both the land and
anything physically sitting on it) will push
businesses away according to KPMG The ‘General
head of indirect tax Matthew Stutsel. In The Victorian Auditor-General published
a report in the Financial Review, he said his
53-page
Melbourne
Markets
that the changes risked driving investment Redevelopment report in March of this
away from Victoria, ‘by far and away the year. Copies of this report are available
most complicated state’, to New South from the Victorian Government Bookshop
Wales. Statutory revenue dropped 15 per on 1 300 366 356. There seems to have
cent to $1.7 billion in the second half of been some troubles with this project.
2011, the Victorian government’s midyear budget revealed last month.
16
SPORT
Crisis at Demon–land
The Melbourne Football Club dropped
one of its major sponsors, EnergyWatch
in the wake of its CEO Ben Polis admitting
to the Herald Sun that he made dozens of
offensive remarks on Facebook against
Aborigines, Asians and women, including
Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The
sponsorship arrangement was estimated
at $2 million a year. EnergyWatch is now
under different management.
Streaming live AFL rights
The AFL and the NRL has won its appeal
in the Federal Court against an earlier
ruling that allowed Optus customers to
take and watch football matches on a
short delay via its TV Now service, also
available on smart phones, according to
a report in MX. The Age reported that
the football organizations are now free to
pursue damages, or Optus can still ask
the High Court to review the case.
Prayer rooms at AFL venues
The requirement for Muslims to pray five
times a day has led to prayer rooms for
all denominations at AFL grounds, the
Herald Sun reports. Richmond Tigers
player Bachar Houli said that many
Muslims were forced to pray in carparks
or in stairwells at AFL grounds, and AFL
chief Andrew Demetriou said that prayer
rooms were long overdue.
Meanwhile, in The Australian, former
Victorian premier and Hawthorn President
Jeff Kennett called the idea ‘stupid’ and
‘political correctness gone mad’;. Bachar
Houli responded by saying that ‘people
wanted to enjoy the footy as well as
continue with their beliefs’.
Journos galore
According to The Age, Foxtel, Nine and
Macquarie Radio will send about 460
people to cover the London Olympic
Games. The paper notes that this means
there will be nearly 60 more journalists
and other media staff there then athletes.
Job hunt
Racing Victoria is looking for a new Chief
Executive Officer. Contact Kathy McLean
of Fish and Nankivell on 0414 376 698.
LETTER FROM MELBOURNE
TRANSPORT
AIR
Qantas job cuts
According to the Herald Sun, Qantas will
cut 400 jobs and its Tullamarine heavy
maintenance base, and 660 workers at
Avalon are also at risk. According to the
paper, a review conducted by the airline
found that the Tullamarine base must
close within months, while Avalon was
not viable beyond two years without
major state government investment.
RAIL
Axe to fall on public transport
jobs?
Hundreds of jobs in the Department of
Transport are expected to go, according
to The Age. Transport Minister Terry
Mulder refused to say exactly how many
workers would lose their jobs, but insisted
that front line staff would not be affected.
All aboard
A $750 million contract has been awarded
to a consortium of Abigroup, John
Holland, and Coleman Rail to build
the next stage of Melbourne’s Regional
Rail Link. According to the Financial
Review, the consortium will construct the
stage from the city to Maribyrnong River,
including tracks, bridge works, signalling
and upgrades to the existing network,
to connect passenger services between
Footscray and Southern Cross stations.
Quiet Please…
The Age reports that the plans for Stage
Two of the $5.3 billion Regional Rail
Link have noted a lack of planning for
anticipated levels of noise. According
to the report from the Department of
Planning and Community Development,
the noise mitigation levels for the 30km
section of track through Deer Park and
Werribee were ‘extremely limited’, and
as such, much of the housing through
this section will experience unacceptable
levels of train noise. Planning Minister
Matthew Guy wrote to the Regional Rail
Link Authority, directing it to come up with
a new plan by March of next year.
Tourism risk to scrapping Metcard
According to a technical designer of
London’s Oyster card system, the
decision to phase out paper tickets could
drive away overseas visitors from using
Melbourne’s public transport system,
The Age has reported. John Verity, chief
designer of ITSO London, said that:
‘completely removing paper tickets is
higher risk, because then you don’t have
any alternative back-up for people who
don’t have a smart card to be able to
travel on the system.’
Later, The Age reported that a myki card
for visitors could be on the way, with
unconfirmed reports that it would cost
$12 -$14 a day.
Myki (1)
people to show faith, saying that some
of the problems were caused by a server
failure.
Later, Public Transport Victoria bowed
to public pressure and brought back its
old app, following a flood of complaints,
The Age reported.
A glimpse of the future?
A picture of what Melbourne’s train
timetable could look like in ten years from
now has emerged from an appendix to
the lengthy government commissioned
Rowville rail study, The Age is reporting.
According to the paper, it reveals a plan
to run trains as often as every 4 to 5 min
in rush hour on some Metro lines.
Fall off tipped
The Age has also reported that a decline in
Because of the slow build up caused by the number of passengers on Melbourne’s
Myki readers at city stations, fence gates trains is expected this financial year. The
will be opened to avoid crowd build- paper reported that the decline is being
up, according to the Herald Sun. The blamed on Victoria’s deteriorating rate
paper reported that the move is a major of employment and increased ticket
concession by transport chiefs that myki prices, as well as inconvenient timetables.
in its current format is unable to cope David Stockman, spokesman for Public
with large numbers. Transport Ticketing Transport Victoria, said ‘stagnant
Authority chief Bernie Carolan said that patronage’ could in part be attributed to
more myki readers and myki-only gates declining unemployment.
were being installed to assist with the
problem.
Change in tactics
The Herald Sun is reporting that Metro
Myki (2)
trains had changed from stopping all
Transport chiefs are fast-tracking the stations services mid-run to off-load
installation of myki-only gates at train passengers, in order to run express to
stations to curb commuter complaints, its destination. Metro acknowledged
the Herald Sun is reporting. The Transport the tactics, which, it said, were for the
Ticketing Authority is fast tracking the greater good. The paper reports that it
installation of the new gates on the City comes after the operator failed to meet
Loop and other major stations such as punctuality targets in February and March.
Box Hill and Richmond. All other gated A spokeswoman said: ‘we are now
stations will have their gates replaced applying this approach at other times
with myki-only techonology by the end of to claw back lost time and in doing so,
the year. According to TTA chief Bernie benefit the vast majority.’
Carolan, many of Melbourne’s gated
stations designed more than 30 years ago Delays delays
had to be rebuilt to accommodate myki. Public Transport Victoria chief Ian
In addition to this, Metcard machines are Dobbs said that it was unacceptable
being removed from many stations.
that at least one-third of Department
of Transport projects scheduled for
Not yet popular
completion by midyear would not be
An upgrade to the old Metlink train finished. The Age reported that the
timetable app, PTV, has proven unpopular, setbacks include a minimum 15-month
according to The Age. The new app delay in delivering the new hundred and
includes information on trains, trams $76 million digital radio system, which will
and buses and employs GPS mapping stop frequent dropouts and is now set for
technology. According to the paper, the late 2013.
many people who went online to vent
have been told to learn to love it. A
spokeswoman said ‘the app has many
new and advanced features and is vastly
different to the old app.’ PTV has urged
17
16 APRIL to 22 MAY 2012
Tunnel plan digging deep
The $50 million cash injection for the
Melbourne Metro rail tunnel is intended
to enable more detailed planning of the
9km dual-track rail line beneath the
city. According to the Herald Sun, when
complete, five new underground stations
from South Kensington to South Yarra
will move an extra 25,000 passengers an
hour through the city. Public Transport
Victoria chief Ian Dobbs said although
completion was still up to 8 years away,
planning was advanced.
Puffing Billy
The iconic Dandenong steam rail ride
Puffing Billy will receive $4.4 million in
funding over 4 years in the recent state
budget, according to The Age.
ROAD
Next
Victoria urgently needs to plan and fund
a major infrastructure pipeline for new
projects to ‘stimulate and invigorate
Victoria’s economy’ according to a report
from the Property Council. According to
The Age, the report identifies $39 billion in
infrastructure projects that it says should
be accelerated.
to other infrastructure, we obviously need
to look at the issue of tolls.’
Cameras back
The RACV wants the West Gate Bridge
speed cameras turned back on – six
years after there were secretly turned
off, according to the Herald Sun. It says
that the narrow lanes and heavy traffic,
combined with the many crashes, make
it an appropriate location for the cameras.
Dooring problems
According to The Age, the worst roads
for ‘dooring’ incidents (an accident
where a door is opened into the path of a
cyclist) were in order: St Kilda Rd, Collins
St, Chapel St, Elizabeth St, Beach Rd,
Brunswick St, Smith St, Swanston St,
Johnston St and Bridge Rd. The data was
based on incidents between 2006 and
2010.
Bike network expansion
Speed blitz
The City of Melbourne will spend almost
$5 million in its budget next year on 15
kilometres of new bike lanes and cycle
trails. According to The Age, the council’s
preferred option for La Trobe St is a
separated lane to the left of parked cars,
while Elizabeth Street would get a peak
period bike lane between Flinders and La
Trobe Sts.
Busy busy
A $21 million proposal for an elevated bike
path would run in a sweeping arc between
Flinders St and Southern Cross stations
along the railway viaduct above Banana
Alley, the Herald Sun has reported. RACV
spokesman Dave Jones questioned
the price tag for the project, saying the
money could perhaps be better used.
According to a report in the Herald Sun,
the speed limit in Melbourne’s CBD is to
be cut to 40km/h. Lord Mayor Robert
Doyle told the paper that reducing the
speed limit by 10km/h would protect
cyclists and pedestrians. More than 50
standard science and 24 LED signs will
be changed once the state government
and VicRoads formally approve the limit.
The Herald Sun reported that some of
Melbourne’s roads are busier on the
weekend than they are during the week,
according to VicRoads figures. Alexandra
Parade, Punt Rd-Hoddle St and Warrigal
Rd are among the roads that are just as
busy, or busier on Saturday or Sunday.
A road view of the Victorian Budget
Elevated cycling
Speed limits
The VACC, the peak automotive industry Councillor Ken Ong has called for a
body in Victoria, says the Victorian Trea- separate speed limit for cyclists in the
surer, Kim Wells, delivered a responsible city at 20km/h. The Age reported that Cr
Linking the city
Premier Baillieu said the Victorian gov- and restrained Victorian State Budget Ong noted that cyclists were the ‘silent
ernment had allocated $15 million in this given the economic circumstances, said killer’ in the city, however Garry Brennan
year’s Budget to develop the business VACC Executive Director, David Pur- from Bicycle Network Victoria said Cr
case and undertake preliminary planning chase, but also asked ‘will it boost small Ong had failed to produce any evidence
suggesting that speeding bikers were a
for the East-West Link. ‘The East-West business confidence?’
problem in the city.
Link is a significant project that will transform the way people move around Mel- Meanwhile, Brian Negus from the RACV
bourne in a way not seen since CityLink said that they were “ really pleased to see Push for outbound bus lanes
and the city rail loop were constructed.’ a number of projects committed in this The RACV and Bus Association Victoria
Minister for Roads and Transport Terry budget. There is a lift in speed camera are calling for the urgent introduction of
Mulder said this was a massive project fines which we think is an unfair impost bus lanes in Hoddle St northbound, and
of a scale not seen before in Victoria, and on motorists… But looking forward what also along Victoria Parade, to increase the
extensive geotechnical drilling was need- really is needed is a long term investment effectiveness of Doncaster buses. In The
ed in order to understand the rock condi- strategy to make sure that the govern- Age, Brian Negus from the RACV said
ment is able to deliver big infrastructure that improving bus lanes from the CBD
tions under the ground for tunnelling.
would allow for greater bus frequency to
projects.”
Doncaster.
For whom the new tolls
Tolls could be put in place on existing Bikes chief not happy
roads to pay for new projects such as Bicycle Network Victoria chief Harry Bad luck Victoria
the East–West Link, according to the Barber said he was shocked by the The Age has reported that $158 million in
Herald Sun. This could include the tolling decision by the government to stop funding for the Western Highway would
of a section of the Eastern Freeway, or funding the VicRoads Bicycle Program, be deferred from the federal government
re-introducing a Westgate Bridge toll, which delivers bicycle infrastructure until 2014-15. According to the paper, the
however the Victorian government denied across the state. He also said that high money will instead of to a controversial
such plans. State Treasurer Kim Wells told priority infrastructure projects planned for freight terminal in western Sydney.
the paper: ‘when we are building those next year, such as the cyclists bridge over
future infrastructures, we are looking to the Maribyrnong River at Footscray had
the PPPs because we believe they are also not been funded, The Age reported.
the most efficient model. When it comes
18
LETTER FROM MELBOURNE
Boost infrastructure
The federal budget will deliver a $901
million instalment for infrastructure
to Victoria, part of the six year nation
building scheme, The Age reported.
This includes the West Gate freeway’s
traffic management system, which will
get a $12.5 million boost. This will help
pay for the latest freeway management
technology along the freeway.
Truck plan
According to The Age, the Victorian
government will tackle a near doubling
of trucks on Melbourne’s roads over the
next decade by ordering the port operator
to shift more freight at night and on
weekends.
Hotel. Letter From Melbourne attended.
can’t live their life as they see fit?’
Geelong port plan axed
Anglican Anniversary at
Flinders
The Victorian government announced
that Geelong will unfortunately miss
out on 1,000 new jobs after a feasibility
study regarding relocating the export and
import of cars to the Port of Geelong,
according to The Age. Ports Minister
Denis Napthine said that insufficient
space, an inefficient shipping channel,
and claims from the automotive industry
that would increase their costs meant that
he had dumped the plan.
The Auditor-General published its 34page Public Transport Performance
report in February of this year. Copies of
this report are available from the Victorian
Government Bookshop on 1 300 366 356.
PORTS
UTILITIES
Victorian ports
The nation’s shipping industry wants
the federal government to mount a High
Court challenge against Victoria’s new
$75 million a year port tax, according to
the Financial Review. Shipping Australia
chief executive Llew Russell said the
fee amount to attacks on trade which
under section 90 of the Constitution, only
the federal government was entitled to
charge.
New port to kick-start economy
The Herald Sun reported that the first
major project of the Victorian government
will be a $1.2 billion project to create a
new port which will create more than
2,500 jobs. The new container port will
be at Webb Dock under the West Gate
Bridge and will compete for business
with the two current operators at
Swanson Dock. According to the paper,
development is expected to commence
within 12 months and to be completed
by 2016. It will not use taxpayer dollars,
instead being funded by the Port of
Melbourne Corporation and the private
sector. All port traffic will be taken out of
Port Melbourne with direct access to the
West Gate Freeway or M1.
Ports conference
The International Cargo Handling Coordination Association held its specialist
logistics focus (shipping/rail/road/air)
in Melbourne on 8 to 11 May attracting
many of the who’s who of international
shipping. It’s a changing world. John
Strang of the Strang-Tradex group kept
the conference on track at the Langham
Increasing power bills
The Age has noted that Victorians will
pay 8.5 per cent more for their electricity
as a result of the carbon tax – which is
less then what the federal government
has estimated – according to a thorough
investigation of the climate change laws
by the University of Queensland.
The State Electricity Commission
of Victoria (remember that name!!)
published its 44 page 92nd Annual
Report in December of last year. The
SECV’s core business activities involve
the management of the State of
Victoria’s long-term electricity supply
commitments to the Portland and Point
Henry aluminium smelter together with
the supply of ancillary services to the
National Electricity Market. The SECV
also holds the State of Victoria’s interests
and obligations in Snowy Hydro Ltd, as
well as a number of non-core activities
arising from the privatisation of Victorian
electricity, gas and ports industries.
SOCIETY
Kennett comment
Former Premier Jeff Kennett said on
radio that gay people should be able to
walk down the street in peace. When it
was pointed out to him that he used to
oppose same-sex marriage he said he
had realised: ‘what right have I to say to
anyone that if they live within the law, they
Flinders is a picturesque resort on the
Victorian coast, on Westernport Bay, approximately 75 km from Melbourne. It
was settled in the middle of the 19th century and named in the early 19th century
by the explorer George Bass for his friend
Matthew Flinders. Flinders has been substantially developed in recent years, but,
despite this, the Anglican church of St
John the Evangelist remains a pretty red
brick country church set in a large grassy
paddock. The church recently celebrated
its 120th anniversary, with a service presided over by the Anglican Archbishop of
Melbourne, Dr Philip Freier. This was followed by a lunch at the Flinders Golf Club,
which claims to be the oldest golf club in
Victoria still on it original site. This item
provided by a subscriber to Letter From
Melbourne.
Rats of Tobruk
The Australian reported that the ‘Rats of
Tobruk’ now number less than 100. The
papers reports that in less than three
years, almost half of all Australian soldiers
who survived WWII have passed away,
leaving only 65,000 left.
Katherine Haswell Allen (McArthur),
VALE
96. Dr Trevor Anghie, 69. Robert (Bob)
Bowden, a long standing staff member
at Bayside City Council. David Darling,
86. Chintaman Datar, 84, Librarian
and Hindu priest, known to Melbourne’s
Marathi community as Madhukaka (uncle
Madhu). Rino Guiseppe Della Bosca.
Vance Oakley Dickie, former Member
of the Legislative Council. Peter Alan
Edmanson, 89, Soldier, Bank Manager,
Newsagent, Farmer. Anthony (Tony)
Ellis. Ray Fehlberg. Gwen Ford, 71,
gardener and ‘the beating heart of
Eltham.’ Ruth Funder (nee Watson),
98. Don Gough, Former President and
Inaugural Club Patron of the Westgarth
Baseball Club. Frederick James (Jock)
Granter, former Minister of Water Supply,
Minister of Forests and Minister of Police
and Emergency Services as well serving
in the AIF 1941-46. A State Funeral was
held in Heathcote on May 21. John
Hartley, 84. Greeba Jamison Hoskin,
91, journalist. Alwynne Beryl Jona
OAM, a Life Member of the RSPCA and
19
16 APRIL to 22 MAY 2012
THE DEPARTMENTAL HEAD
Dr David Wilson, geographer and engineer,
has held executive positions in the Victorian
Government and the private sector. He is a
a Trustee at the Queen Elizabeth Centre Club of Australia. Harry
Gordon
Rhodes,
born in Czechoslovakia,
studied
Senior
Research
Fellow Teller,
at the University
of
Foundation. Charles Francis Kilduff, 88. 94. Murray Rose AM,
73, Olympic gold forestry at the University of Melbourne,
Melbourne.
John O’Kane, 69, Lawyer in Geelong medallist. Anthony Frederick Sallmann then worked and studied at Yale, Rome,
and Melbourne and long time friend of AO LVO, 85, Naval Officer, Property Agent Colorado, Paris and China. Past president
the editor of Letter From Melbourne. The and charity worker. Vidal Sassoon CBE, of the Australian Institute of International
Hon. William Kaye AO QC, 93. Athol 84, Hairdresser. David H F Scott, 87, a Affairs 2001-03. A wonderful friend to
Lapthorne, friend and supporter of former director of the Brotherhood of St many and our thoughts go to his wife
THE BUREAUCRAT
Queen’s College. Alexander Galwey Lawrence, and a founding patron of the Lorna and his family. Isabella Tomanda,
Doug
Connell
is a project
management
Lynch, 93, engineer, arts benefactor
and
Victorian
Foundation
for Survivors of 73, designer and entrepreneur. David
expertaswho
has
sportsman, who also served in and
the logistics
AIF Torture,
well
asheld
the founding director Hugh Trumble. Anne-Maria Warren
senior63,
positions
in industry,Aid
the Abroad,
Port
from 1941-45. Trevor Gerald Mast,
of Community
which later (nee Croke), 56. Felix Werder AM, 90,
of Melbourne,
the Department
of
Winemaker. Gladstone Paul McGowan
became
Oxfam Australia.
Professor Alan composer, performer, music critic. Kevin
Transport
Australia
Post.
OAM, 88, agricultural scientist.
A and
George
Lewers
Shaw AO, 96, academic John Wilkinson. Markus Wills, 46. Dr
significant contributor to agri-politics, and philanthropist. Alan Leslie Hawthorn Charles William (Bill) Wilson, physician
especially in the area of water reform. Smith, 81. Taught science at Carey and wonderful uncle to the editor of Letter
Richard John Millott, 65, photographer. Baptist Grammar for 33 years. Kenneth From Melbourne.
Jim
Reark,
President of the Maserati Stewart, 86, World War Two veteran. Leo
THE
LOBBYIST
Alistair Urquhart is a respected
public affairs professional with over
20 years experience in Australia
and overseas.
AFFAIRS OF STATE
Government Relations Master Class
A one-day course in public affairs and communication
The change of government in
Victoria brings new opportunities
and challenges.
Our team presents a unique
combination of experience and talent
from multiple perspectives. They
share their combined knowledge
and skill with participants on how to
successfully influence government
department policy and understand the
importance of research and strategy in
putting your proposal to government.
The team guides the participants in
understanding both the strategic and
tactical elements that must come
together in order to deliver a desired
result.
Affairs of State is an established
independent public affairs firm which
also publishes two monthly digests,
Letter from Melbourne and Letter from
Canberra.
The course includes a VIP tour of Parliament
House, full catering courtesy of the Hotel Windsor,
a workbook, and a package of essential lobbying
materials valued at $200.
20
Next Event:
Please call us for more
information on 03 9654 1300
Venue:
The Hotel Windsor,
Spring Street, Melbourne
For a free brochure and general
enquries please contact:
Camilla Orr-Thomson
Affairs of State
Level 2, 14 Collins Street,
Melbourne VIC 3000
P: 03 9654 1300 F: 03 9654 1165
E: [email protected]