26 September 2023

PS from the PaSt: 1 – 7 August 2012

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1. This week 10 years ago, Minister for School Education, Peter Garrett announced all State and Territory Education Ministers had agreed to a new Teacher Performance and Development Framework that would see all Australian schoolteachers undergo annual performance assessments.

“For the first time, teachers will be entitled to a yearly review of their progress and will receive ongoing support and training throughout their career to help them become even better teachers,” Mr Garrett said.

He said the agreement would mean schools could give teachers feedback on their performance that would be based on evidence collected from classroom observation, parental and student feedback, and student results.

2. A network of Shipping Fairways was created off the north-west coast of Australia to improve the safe movement of ships in the area and protect the marine environment.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese said commercial shipping was vital to Australia’s economy and, with industrial and mining activity on the increase in Western Australia, so, too, was shipping.

“For busy shipping routes, it’s important we continue to increase navigational safety and reduce the risk of ship groundings and collisions,” Mr Albanese said.

“The Fairways will reduce the risk of collision by directing large vessels such as bulk carriers and LNG ships into predefined routes to keep them clear of offshore infrastructure.”

3. Victoria Police announced the establishment of a dedicated Missing Persons Unit within its Homicide Squad. On average, one person is reported missing every 18 minutes in Australia, with 6,000 missing person cases investigated in Victoria alone each year. Victoria Police’s Detective Superintendent Brett Guerin said although many missing persons were often located swiftly, a small number joined the long-term missing persons list, and those cases would be the focus of the new unit.

“A suspicious missing person investigation is often more complex than a murder investigation as there is usually no body, no crime scene and potentially no evidence at all,” DS Guerin said.

“We have chosen detectives with extensive investigative experience from within the Homicide Squad and those with a proven ability to work on protracted investigations.

4. A resident of Sunbury, Victoria, found a cane toad in her backyard — the fourth cane toad sighting in the State in 12 months — according to the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) High Risk Invasive Animals program.

Biosecurity Officer with DPI, Adam Kay said cane toads posed an extreme threat to Victoria’s native species because they could pass on new diseases to native wildlife in addition to the problems caused by their appetites and infamous poison glands.

“It’s vital we follow up all potential cane toad reports to ensure the protection of our environment and Victoria’s biosecurity,” Mr Kay said.

He said many of the cane toad reports turned out to be the native Eastern Banjo Frog, or Pobblebonk, but after initial investigations in the current case, DPI was still unable to explain the presence of the toad.

5. Queensland Deputy Premier, Jeff Seeney called on the Federal Government to match State spending on a proposed $100 million, four-year Floodplain Security Scheme to flood-proof large parts of Queensland.

Mr Seeney said Queensland would commit $40 million over the next four years to deliver a comprehensive planned program of flood mitigation but he believed Federal and Local Government involvement could create a $100 million flood mitigation fund.

“Queensland is committed to an integrated approach to flood risk management and wants to ensure effective use is made of all available funding sources,” Mr Seeney said.

6. And a decade ago in Western Australia, Minister for Science and Innovation, John Day launched what he said was one of the top echelons of supercomputing facilities in the world, the new high-performance computer at the University of Western Australia — the second and final pathfinder to iVEC’s Pawsey Supercomputing Centre.

He said the facilities would greatly benefit a range of data-intensive research applications including the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope project under way in the Mid-West.

“This high-performance computer joins the infrastructure already in use at iVEC’s Technology Park Bentley headquarters and the other Pawsey pathfinder at Murdoch University, adding further capacity to the State’s existing high-performance computing infrastructure,” Mr Day said.

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