THE House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport Committee today presented to Parliament its Advisory Report on the Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Bill 2018.

The Committee recommended the passage of the Bill, which would require aged care providers to report staff-to-patient ratios for their facilities on a quarterly basis.

The Committee Chair, Trent Zimmerman MP, stated that ‘aged care has been a particular focus of the Committee’s work during 2018. In October, the Committee released the final report for its inquiry into aged care and followed that up with this inquiry.’

"The Committee has recommended the passage of the Bill and welcomes the increased transparency for consumers that will be provided by the publication of staffing ratios. The Committee has also recommended that staffing ratios be published with additional contextual information to assist consumers interpret the data and enable them to be in a better position to make an informed choice," Mr Zimmerman said.

The Report is available at the Committee’s website at: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Health_Aged_Care_and_Sport/StaffingRatioBill/Report

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THE House Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy has released its report into the management and use of environmental water.

The inquiry focused on the role of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH), including how environmental water is being used, the outcomes achieved and options for improving community engagement.

Environmental water is released from storage at times and locations where plants and animals benefit from higher river flows or when wetlands need replenishment.  

The Committee has recommended that certain practices continue, including the ‘good neighbour’ policy, working with Indigenous communities, funding complementary measures, water trading, and  continued investment in infrastructure programs to ensure that water efficiency is optimised.

The report has also recommended:

  • Enhancing public awareness and communicating outcomes relating to environmental watering actions. The CEWH should update its communications and engagement strategy and review the adequacy of its existing mechanisms for consultation with the community.
  • The CEWH should consider establishing an advisory or consultative group to inform environmental water use decisions.
  • Utilising the best available technology to monitor water movements and assess environmental conditions.

A copy of the report and further information can be found on the inquiry website at www.aph.gov.au/environmentalwater.

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THE Joint Standing Committee on Northern Australia has commenced an Inquiry into the Opportunities and Challenges of the Engagement of Traditional Owners in the Economic Development of Northern Australia.

A significant proportion of Northern Australia is subject to native title claim or determination. The Committee’s 2014 report Pivot North: Inquiry into the Development of Northern Australia identified current land tenure arrangements and native title processes as a barrier to the economic and social development of Northern Australia.

The Committee Chair, Warren Entsch MP, stated that "enabling Traditional Owners to pursue economic development opportunities on their land will support sustainable economic growth in Northern Australia, and create much needed employment opportunities in remote areas".

Submissions from interested individuals and organisations are invited by Thursday, February 28, 2019. The preferred method of receiving submissions is by electronic format lodged online using a My Parliament account.

Further information about the Committee’s inquiry, including the full terms of reference and details on how to lodge a submission are available on the Committee’s website.

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THE Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said October trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), represent a strong lead-up to the Christmas trading period with a 3.56 percent total year-on-year increase.

Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA, said October's results should increase confidence, and predicted retailers can expect to see a busy Christmas.

“As we lead into Christmas, October is the third consecutive month with year-on-year growth topping 3.5 percent," Mr. Zimmerman said.

“Retailers across the country can expect to see an uptick in sales, with consumers rushing through stores to finalise their purchases and set their tables in preparation for Christmas.” 

The Other retailing category saw the strongest year-on-year growth at 5.50 percent, with consumers turning to online platforms to purchase gifts for the big day.

“We have noticed consumers are increasing their basket size online to prepare for the rush that occurs in the lead up to the festive season.”

The ARA said in October, the Clothing, footwear and personal accessories category saw a strong result, with 4.84 percent year-on-year growth, as the summer season begun to spread in consumers’ minds across Australia.

“With the warm weather ramping up, we have noticed a considerable increase in the apparel category with shoppers purchasing fashion and accessories to wear for the warmer months ahead,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Household Goods also noted an impressive growth (3.22%), with the Furniture category recording a considerable year-on-year result (4.10%), as more consumers began refurbishing their homes and purchasing outdoor furniture.

“With December becoming increasingly warmer, Aussies will be looking to re-decorate their homes and purchase outdoor furniture to celebrate the upcoming festivities and enjoy the warmer weather outdoors.”

The ARA saw conservative figures for Food retailing (3.90%), Specialised food (4.55%), Supermarkets (4.01%), and Electrical goods (3.20%), with Pharmacy, Cosmetics and Toiletries recording remarkable growth (2.58%).

“Although the Food category noticed stagnated growth throughout the October trading period, we can expect this category to see a resurgence in growth, with the festive season being the opportune time to consumers to purchase from food specialty retailers,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Across the country Victoria (6.39%) led the nation for the fifth consecutive month in a row, with Tasmania (5.71%), the Australian Capital Territory (4.70%) Queensland (4.11%), South Australia (2.42%), Western Australia (0.63%) and New South Wales (2.14%) indicating a substantial growth. Unfortunately, the Northern Territory (-0.31%) recorded negative figures for the third consecutive month in a row.

“As the festive season is about giving and sharing with loved ones, our members and retailers can be rest-assured that the retail industry is going to be prosperous and filled with customers across shop floors this Christmas.”

 

Monthly Retail Growth (September 2018 – October 2018 seasonally adjusted) 

Other retailing (8.48%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (4.84%), Food retailing (0.18%), Household goods retailing (0.61%), Department stores (0.41%) and Cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.91%)

Queensland (1.11%), the Australian Capital Territory (1.07%), Victoria (0.63%), Western Australia (0.62%), the Northern Territory (0.62%) South Australia (0.13%),Tasmania (0.11%), and New South Wales (-0.45%)

 

Total sales (0.34%).

Year-on-Year Retail Growth (October 2017 – October 2018 seasonally adjusted)

Other retailing (5.50%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (4.84%), Food retailing (3.90%), Household goods retailing (3.22%) Cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services (2.07%), and Department stores (-0.33%).

Victoria (6.39%),Tasmania (5.71%), the Australian Capital Territory (4.70%) Queensland (4.11%), South Australia (2.42%), Western Australia (0.63%), New South Wales (2.14%), and the Northern Territory (-0.31%).

Total sales (3.56%).

 

About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association, representing the country’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As Australia’s leading retail peak industry body, the ARA is a strong pro-active advocate for Australian retail and works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.auor call 1300 368 041.

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THE Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories will hear from the National Capital Authority about its role in planning, promoting and maintaining the National Capital on Thursday at the Committee’s biannual public briefing.

Committee Chair Ben Morton MP said: “The Committee’s attention has been keenly focussed on the Canberra region over the past year with issues such as Canberra’s national institutions and stage 2 of ACT light rail considered in depth. This briefing allows us to build on that work and consider other matters that are of interest in the nation’s capital”.

Mr Morton highlighted that members of the public are welcome to attend and observe the proceedings. Audio of the hearing will also be webcast live on the Australian Parliament’s website.

Further information may be found on the Committee’s website.

Biannual public briefing details:

Thursday, 6 December 2018
Committee Room 2R2, Parliament House, Canberra
10.10am—11am (approx.)

Interested members of the public may wish to track the committee via the website.

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DREAMWORLD is providing the local community with an increased number of job opportunities ahead of the busy Christmas holiday period.

With the seasonal recruitment drive for the December school holiday period now coming to an end, Dreamworld has welcomed approximately 170 new team members since the last employment drive in September, which attracted an additional 110 staff members.

“The recruitment drive has provided more locals with critical work experience to help pave the way for their future careers and give them practical skills within the work force,” said Dreamworld chief operating officer, Paul Callander.

As Australia’s largest theme park, Dreamworld employs between about 900 to 1,100 people at any one time and aspires to nurture and support the South East Queensland community by offering a multitude of positions.

“This season, new team members will work within the fields of food and beverage, ride operation, guest services, life guarding, retail, entertainment, security and cleaning,” Mr Callander said.

“Multi-hire opportunities are often extended to Dreamworld team members, ensuring employees become equipped with numerous skills, working across various departments.

“The new team members are currently completing their orientation and training to prepare them for their new roles and successful applicants from the November and December recruitment rounds will have the opportunity to apply for permanent, ongoing vacancies in the new year following the peak period,” he said.

The theme park industry plays an important role in boosting the local economy and providing the community with practical opportunities in roles that are crucial to the Gold Coast tourism industry.

Theme parks remain vital to tourism, with the industry employing nine per cent of the 46,000 tourism jobs on the Gold Coast.

Anyone who is interested in joining the Dreamworld team can express their interest via the website – www.Dreamworld.com.au/employment

ABOUT DREAMWORLD

Australian owned and operated, Dreamworld is Australia’s biggest theme park, home to more than 40 rides, waterslides and attractions including the new look Tiger Island, DreamWorks Experience, ABCKIDS World, Dreamworld Corroboree and wildlife precinct and WhiteWater World. See dreamworld.com.au for details.

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THIS WEEK will be an eye opener for Brisbane and regional students when they rub shoulders with government ministers, check out the latest mining technology, and get a taste of university life.

The 20 students, who will receive their Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) Ambassadors certificates from Minister for Education Grace Grace, will be the star turn at the QMEA annual breakfast on December 7 in Queensland’s biggest mining town – Brisbane -  where they’ll meet resource sector leaders.
                                                                                                                                    
Their three-day excursion will include visiting University of Queensland, checking out mining equipment at Hastings Deering’s Acacia Ridge workshops, learning about the latest research into mine safety at SIMTARS at Redbank, and exploring the latest in mining technology at CSIRO/QCAT Pullenvale and BHP’s Integrated Remote Operations Centre (IROC). 

The students were selected from a record 51 candidates from QMEA schools across Queensland. 

“These ambassadors have shown a keen interest in professional and trade pathways in the resources sector and are active champions for these careers in their own schools,” said Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Ian Macfarlane.

“It’s exciting to see the next generation of bright young people who’ll potentially leave the big smoke or return to their regional communities to take up resources sector careers.

“Our sector offers amazing opportunities for our young people and our QMEA ambassadors will help get the work out among their peers.

“We’ve had some brilliant talent come through the QMEA, including this year’s keynote speaker Kaitlyn Tobaine, who is in her second year as a diesel fitter with BHP.

“Latest statistics gathered by the Queensland Government show that QMEA is a successful strategy in encouraging students into science technology engineering and maths (STEM) subjects and trade careers.

“Of students who graduated from high school in 2017, 19 percent of QMEA students entered post-school study or employment in engineering and related technologies compared to 11 percent from non-QMEA schools.

“There was an increase in female participation in these pathways over 12 months from 3 percent to 4 percent (non-QMEA was 2.3 percent) and Indigenous participation was considerably higher at 16 percent compared to 11 percent in non-QMEA schools.

“The percentage of apprentices/trainees employed by industry from QMEA schools has doubled since 2017 to 16 percent, compared to 2.5 percent from non-QMEA schools.

“These statistics are reflective of the high acceptance of the program by students, teachers and industry.

“We are enormously grateful for the Queensland Government’s support of QMEA, and Premier Palaszczuk’s promise of further support as we increase from the current 60 schools to 100 over the next four years

“This is the largest industry/schools partnership in Australia, and would not be possible without the $1million plus contribution from QRC members.”

The QMEA is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program. 
 
QRC is the peak representative body for Queensland‘s resources sector. The Queensland resources sector provides one in every five dollars in the Queensland economy, sustains one in eight Queensland jobs, and supports more than 15,400 businesses and community groups across the state, all from 0.1 percent of Queensland’s land mass.

www.qrc.org.au

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THE Stevie Awards, organiser of Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, has announced that the final entry deadline in the 2019 (sixth annual) competition is January 30, 2019.

The awards are considered the only business awards to recognize innovation in business throughout the entire Asia-Pacific region.

Late entries will be accepted through March 8 with the payment of a late fee. Complete entry details are available at http://Asia.StevieAwards.com.

The Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards are open to all organisations in the 29 nations of the Asia-Pacific region: Large and small, for-profit and non-profit, public and private. Seven nations are added to those eligible to submit nominations to the 2019 Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

The awards focus on recognizing innovation in all its forms, wherever it is achieved in the workplace. Entries will be accepted in eight languages -- Chinese, English, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Thai and Vietnamese -- in the following awards category groups:

New awards categories introduced for 2019 include Most Innovative Startup of the Year and Most Innovative Tech Startup of the Year. There are no entry fees for these categories.

Asia-Pacific Stevie Award winners will be announced on April 17. Winners will be celebrated and presented their awards during a gala banquet on May 31 in Singapore.

Scores of professionals from throughout the region will participate in the judging process to determine the Stevie winners.

Some of the Asia-Pacific region's most innovative organizations have won Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards in the past five years including ABS-CBN Corporation, Bangkok Health Research Center, Cisco Systems, Delta Air Lines, Dentsu, Freelancer.com, GE Indonesia, Globe Telecom, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Huawei, Maras Group, MetLife Asia Ltd., MSLGROUP China, Ooredoo, PT Petrokimia Gresik, Samsung, Seoul Metropolitan Government, Singapore Power, Sony, Telkom Indonesia, Xiaomi, and more.

The Stevie Award trophies, made by the company that makes the Emmy and other major international awards, are among the world's most coveted prizes. The name Stevie is taken from the name Stephen, which is derived from the Greek for "crowned."

About the Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in seven programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers and the Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 10,000 nominations each year from organizations in more than 70 nations. Honoring organisations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognise outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at www.StevieAwards.com.

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QUEENSLAND’s resources sector has dug deep to get behind farming communities affected by the drought with total contributions of $800,700 to several drought relief organisations said the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said all droughts cause extreme hardship on farmers which can last for many years.

“As a former farmer I know how devasting a drought is to people’s livelihoods and the pain has a lasting impact on regional communities including local shops and suppliers,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“As two primary industries, resources and agriculture have a long and proud history of working together. The CSG industry has formed co-existence agreements with landholders delivering around $400 million in payments.”

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development Mark Furner said contributions from the resources sector had made a tangible difference to producers during the drought.

“These generous donations have a bigger impact than you might think, because when our farmers are supported the communities where they employ people also do better,” Mr Furner said.

“Businesses in the resources sector have certainly led the way, and it’s not too late for other businesses to follow their example and support the Queensland Drought Appeal.”

Mr Macfarlane said the resources sector has also played its part by building infrastructure which farmers use to service their farms and farmers have swapped the Akubra for a hard hat to work in mines delivering skills to the sector.

“It’s important for the resources sector to help out regional communities with many of our own projects operating nearby,” Mr Macfarlane said

“The largest combined donation of more than half a million ($507,500) was given to the Queensland Drought Appeal which was passed onto the Queensland Country Women’s Association (QCWA).”

The Queensland Drought Appeal was launched by the Queensland Government with an initial $100,000 contribution from the Government in August.

Full list of contributions:

  • Origin Energy: $100k to ‘Drought Angels’ plus $57,500 in matched employee donations (through the Origin Foundation) to Rural Aid's ‘Buy a Bale’ campaign
  • Santos: $129,500k - $75k Drought Appeal plus $41k from cattle sale proceeds $13,500 matched staff donations
  • Shell: $117k Drought Appeal (17k matched staff donations)
  • Adani Australia $111k
  • Rio Tinto: $100k Drought Appeal
  • New Hope: $50k to Aussie Helpers
  • QAL: $35k worth of hay to Rural Aid
  • Idemitsu Australia and Ensham Resources $20k Drought Appeal
  • South32: $20k Drought Appeal
  • Evolution: $15k (plus $1500 fuel to local transport provider to deliver hay)
  • Peabody: $12k ($5k Aussie Helpers, $5k Buy a Bale, $2k drought relief fundraiser)
  • Arrow Energy: $10k towards feed for livestock & $2200 Drought Angels
  • APLNG: $10k Drought Appeal
  • Hasting Deerings: 10k to Buy-a-Bale (split 5k in matched employee donations)

Total contribution: $800,700.

www qrc.org.au

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THE Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has congratulated Rio Tinto after the company’s Amrun project on Cape York made its first shipment of bauxite more than a month ahead of schedule.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the $2.6 billion project was a leading example of a resource company working with local communities and suppliers while delivering on targets.

“First shipment six weeks ahead of schedule is a great achievement for Rio Tinto which is a big part of the Far North economy and communities,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Rio’s commitment to hiring locally was demonstrated with 1,200 people employed at peak construction, and since project inception in May 2016, close to 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been employed by the project.”

More than 80,000 tonnes of bauxite is bound for Rio Tinto’s Yarwun alumina refinery in Gladstone after a ceremony attended by local Wik-Waya Traditional Owners and representatives of the Western Cape Communities Co-existence Agreement (WCCCA). The company says Amrun is expected to reach a full production rate of 22.8 million tonnes a year by 2019.

“Bauxite is one of the building blocks of the modern economy, used to produce aluminium, which goes into everything from soft drink cans in your fridge to frames for solar panels on your roof,” he said.

QRC’s own economic data for the 2017-18 financial year showed the resources sector is a significant investor in the State’s economy and local communities.

“From Toowoomba in the south to Weipa in the north the resource sector contributed to 1,260 community organisations which is an increase of 38 percent on the previous year and in the Far North region the sector contributed $959 million to the economy and supported 6,291 full time jobs,” he said.

QRC is the peak representative body for Queensland ‘s resource sector. The Queensland resources sector provides one in every five dollars in the Queensland economy, sustains one in eight Queensland jobs, and supports more than 15,400 businesses and community organisations across the state, all from 0.1 percent of Queensland’s land mass.

www.qrc.org.au

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THE Industry, Innovation, Science and Resources Committee today tabled the report for its mining inquiry, entitled Keep it in the regions: Mining and resources industry support for businesses in regional economies.

A key issue during the inquiry was the terms of payment offered by mining companies to their suppliers and contractors in regional areas. 

The Committee is pleased to be able to announce that, since the inquiry was launched, resource companies Anglo American and Peabody have decided to offer payment terms of 30 days or better to all Australian small and medium sized enterprises.

In addition, Australia’s biggest mining company, BHP submitted that it has now changed its payment terms policy to provide terms of 30 days or better to all locally-based supplier businesses – regardless of size.

"This change will benefit up to 700 local businesses around Australia," said Committee Chair, Barnaby Joyce MP.

"Mining companies have essentially been using regional businesses as a bank," Mr Joyce said, "It’s time for this practice to stop. Our Nation has an obligation to make sure that in the region where the wealth is extracted, the greatest benefit goes back to the people who live in the same area."

Deputy Chair, Luke Gosling MP, agreed, saying, "The Committee calls on all mining companies operating in Australia to provide fair payment terms to regional businesses.

"If the industry does not act, the Committee is recommending the Government revisit legislating maximum payment terms," Mr Gosling said.  

The Committee’s report also makes recommendations aimed at increasing local procurement by mining and resources companies, addressing gaps in regional areas around skills, training and apprenticeships, and building innovation through the mining equipment, technology and services (METS)  sector.

Other key issues for the inquiry were the impacts of FIFO work practices and the mining industry’s interactions with landholders.

"If you look back at the history, mining companies used to build whole towns – Murrumba and Dysart for example. Now they prefer to fly their workers in and out and do the bare minimum for the nearby towns. Benefits from mining should be long term, not boom and bust," Mr Joyce said.

"One thing we do know is that communities thrive when their workers and families live in the area and can contribute to the local economy. The Committee made some recommendations around this issue, but we think industry bodies like the Minerals Council of Australia also have a role to play in making sure their members do the right thing," Mr Joyce said.

The report will be available on the Committee’s website.

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