26 September 2023

PS from the PaSt: 14–20 February 2012

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1. This week 10 years ago, the Australian Crime Commission announced it would conduct a National Intelligence Assessment of the illegal firearm market and its links to gang activity.

Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, Jason Clare said the Assessment would include tracing the firearms linked to recent shootings in Western Sydney and Adelaide and would provide police across the country with better intelligence to target criminals who supplied and used firearms.

Mr Clare said the Assessment would also involve harnessing information from the USA’s online firearm tracing system, which would help piece together the history of illicit firearms and identify points of origin.

2. Special Minister of State, Gary Gray introduced new laws into Parliament scrapping a range of entitlements and perks for serving and former Federal politicians.

Mr Gray said longstanding expensive travel entitlements would be scrapped or slashed, including the Life Gold Pass, overseas study travel and post-parliamentary service travel.

He said the legislation would also limit undesirable windfall superannuation gains resulting from decisions of the independent Remuneration Tribunal.

Mr Gray said the Tribunal had determined the base annual salary for Federal Parliamentarians should increase from $140,910 to $185,000 per year.

3. In Victoria, the Office of the Road Safety Camera Commissioner opened for business.

Minister for Police, Peter Ryan said former County Court Judge Gordon Lewis would provide independent oversight of the State’s road safety camera system.

Mr Ryan said the Commissioner would ensure motorists had an independent avenue to check the validity of the State’s road safety camera system and had the power to review and investigate any aspect of the system.

“The recent Auditor-General’s report found speed and red-light cameras were accurate and focused on saving lives, not on raising revenue,” Mr Ryan said.

4. Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources, Michael O’Brien announced the State’s first carbon capture and storage project would be developed in Gippsland.

CarbonNet was the second project of its type selected for funding under the Commonwealth Government’s Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships program, and aimed to capture carbon emissions from power plants, industrial processes and new coal-based industries in the Latrobe Valley and store them in geological basins.

Mr O’Brien said the project would fulfil the Government’s commitment to energy security and provide jobs in the Latrobe Valley.

5. Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh announced a new vision to expand Brisbane’s South Bank to form a 5km recreational river strip running from the Story Bridge to Hockings Street.

Ms Bligh said the project would make the Queensland capital one of the most people-friendly river cities in the world.

She said the vision included new riverfront parklands including expanded green space, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, aquatic play area, picnic and barbecue areas, art spaces, markets and a retail and dining precinct, as well as a new major cultural institution and commercial and residential buildings.

6. And a decade ago two new conservation parks were created on South Australia’s west coast.

Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Paul Caica said the Cape Blanche Conservation Park and Searcy Bay Conservation Park on the Eyre Peninsula would help protect the spectacular coastline and unique biodiversity.

“This spectacular area contains significant remnant vegetation and provides important habitat for a number of iconic species,” Mr Caica said.

This included important breeding habitat for the endangered eastern osprey and white-bellied sea-eagle.

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