27 September 2023

News in Brief

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Scientist of the year announced

The University of Western Australia’s Institute of Agriculture Director Professor Kadambot Siddique (pictured) has been named as the Premier’s Scientist of the Year.

Also honoured into the Science Hall of Fame was Emeritus Professor Donna Cross for a 40-year career shaping all major school bullying prevention programs in Australia, as well as many school wellbeing policies and curricula.

Other honours went to Professor Britta Regli-von Ungern-Sternberg from Telethon Kids Institute and The University of Western Australia; Professor Hongqi Sun from The University of Western Australia; Dr David Gozzard from The University of Western Australia; Denby Evans from Telethon Kids Institute and Curtin University: and Rebecca Famlonga from Murdoch University and the Telethon Kids Institute.

The full range of the Premier’s science Awards can be accessed at this PS News link.

America’s Cup triumph remembered

The WA Maritime Museum has announced that a special exhibition and public celebration to mark 40 years since Australia II won the America’s Cup will take place in September.

Titled, Australia II: 40 Years On, the exhibition will include a new film featuring untold stories by the 1983 winning team members.

The film, containing archive footage and photography, digital animation and soundscapes, will be screened inside the exhibition on an eight-metre curved screen.

Visitors to the WA Maritime Museum will be able to inspect Australia II and its famous winged keel, which is on permanent display there.

The exhibition will run from 9 September to 4 February 2024.

Support for Banksia Hill changes

Youth Custodial Officer members of the Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association (CPSU/CSA) have welcomed the proposed changes at the Banksia Hill Detention Centre.

Branch Secretary of the CPSU/CSA, Rikki Hendon said the union was now beginning consultations with its members to ensure their voices were heard on how changes at Banksia Hill and Unit 18 are rolled out.

“It is sustained, member-led action and pressure that has contributed to the significant shift in the Government’s narrative on Banksia Hill Detention Centre and youth justice,” Ms Hendon said.

“We are hopeful this is the first step in the right direction on the journey to systemic change.”

Extra funds for coastal protection

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage is allocating $3.6 million to cover 37 major coastal planning and protection projects.

Local coastal managers and community groups will contribute approximately $4.36 million in funding and in-kind donations to deliver the projects.

Minister for Planning, John Carey said the funding would ensure coastal land managers could prepare and implement plans and strategies, and partner with community groups to undertake on-ground activities identified in coastal management plans.

More information on projects involved can be accessed at this PS News link.

Police prepare for recruitment boost

The Western Australia Police Academy is doubling the number of recruit courses it runs, dramatically increasing how many new officers are entering the force.

Up to 1,000 recruits will begin training before July 2024 with the Academy increasing personnel, infrastructure and equipment at the Joondalup facility.

There has been significant growth in interest from Western Australians with 1,600 local applicants eager to join the force and more than 1,300 British and Irish police officers applying to move to WA.

Around 150 international recruits have already received a visa or are awaiting approval.

Search for WA’s best young people begins

Nominations are now open for the 2023 Youth Awards that recognise outstanding Western Australians aged 10-to-25 years.

There are 10 award categories from which the WA Young Person of the Year will be selected.

Category winners receive a $1,000 prize, with the WA Young Person of the Year to receive a $10,000 travel bursary to participate in youth-related events and activities across the State, in addition to a personal travel prize valued at $3,000.

Nominations close on 15 September, with winners to be announced at the 24th WA Youth Awards on 27 October.

Educator awarded for prison work

Manager of the Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison Campus, Cassie Tasker has been named Education Champion of the Year by the Australasian Corrections Education Association (ACEA).

Ms Tasker (pictured) was recognised for her work developing and providing innovative education and training programs which reflected the complex learning needs of a mainly First Nations cohort of prisoners.

President of the ACEA, Helen Farley said the judges selected Ms Tasker because of the passion and dedication she had shown providing life-changing educational opportunities to prisoners with complex backgrounds.

Ms Tasker grew up on a Goldfields sheep station and went to school in Kalgoorlie, before moving to Perth to complete a teaching degree. A mother of three, she has worked at Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison since 2011.

Electrician missed wires

In what Director of Energy Safety at Building and Energy, Saj Abdoolakhan described as mistakes breaching many electrical safety requirements, an electrician missed hazardous exposed wires while checking work at a Two Rocks home.

The defendant was fined $3,500 and ordered to pay $1,199.30 in costs for breaching the State’s electricity licensing regulations.

The court was told the electrician completed and signed a checklist verifying he had visually inspected the electrical installation and certifying that the work complied with the required electrical safety standards.

However, a Western Power electrical inspector later noted a hole in the lounge room wall where a light switch cover should have been installed. Inside was a 240-volt exposed and energised cable connected to the lighting circuit.

Contact with live electrical parts at this voltage could have caused a fatal electric shock.

Abortions out of Criminal Code

New abortion laws have been introduced to Parliament following public consultation that found overwhelming community and medical practitioner support for change.

Under the changes, abortion will now be included in the Public Health Act 2016 and removed from the Criminal Code.

The Bill addresses inequity of access, in line with other Australian jurisdictions, and removes clinically unnecessary barriers for women accessing an abortion.

It also reduces the number of health practitioners required to be involved in care from two to one and abolishes the Ministerial Panel requirement for later-term abortions.

DWER opens new office at Bunbury

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) has opened a new Bunbury Office.

The new office space allows for better collaboration, with provision for the team to grow from 58 up to 100.

It has upgraded meeting equipment to support staff working both remotely or in person. It also features a new wet and dry laboratory and a secure storage garage for monitoring equipment, vehicles and boats.

South-West Regional Manager, Adam Maskew said communal rooms had been named with the assistance of the Wardandi people using Noongar words.

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