26 September 2023

PS from the PaSt: 15 – 21 August 2012

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1. This week 10 years ago, it was announced that the Local Government Association of NSW and the Shires Association of NSW would merge to enable the new group to effectively lobby the State and Federal governments on Local Government issues.

President of LGA NSW, Keith Rhoades said the merger would increase the credibility of Local Government in NSW, with the Association to be divided into a metropolitan/urban region and a rural/regional region to ensure fair representation of Councils’ interests regardless of geographical location.

Cr Rhodes said the amalgamation would most likely happen in early 2013, as administrative steps needed to be taken with Fair Work Australia and the NSW Industrial Registry.

2. An audit by NSW Auditor-General, Peter Achterstraat of literacy levels for Aboriginal students in NSW schools found there had been no improvement in the previous 10 years, and he called on the Department of Education and Communities to do more.

Mr Achterstraat said despite gains at individual schools, the State’s test results over the previous decade showed no discernible signs of improvement in the overall performance of Aboriginal students.

“Unless there is a change in approach, the Government’s goal to halve the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students by 2018 looks unattainable,” Mr Achterstraat said.

3. Prime Minister, Julia Gillard announced a review by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) of Commonwealth, State and Territory counterterrorism measures introduced after the London terrorist bombings in 2005.

“It will look at control orders, preventative detention and certain ‘emergency stop, question and search’ powers held by police,” Ms Gillard said.

“Terrorism is an ever-present threat and the review of our laws is important to ensure that our laws remain necessary and provide effective powers for our police and security agencies.”

4. City of Melbourne Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle announced that one of Melbourne’s most significant trees was irreversibly diseased and needed to be removed according to a report from an independent arboriculture expert.

The Shrine of Remembrance’s Gallipoli Lone Pine was grown from seeds collected by soldier Sergeant Keith McDowell on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915.

The independent report recommended the 80-year-old pine be removed as it had been attacked by a fungus and would become hazardous.

“While we would dearly love to see the Lone Pine survive, sadly, after considerable effort there is nothing further we can do to rescue it,” Cr Doyle said.

5. Queensland’s Wet Tropics were named as Australia’s 14th National Landscape in a program identifying the country’s best nature destinations.

Federal Minister for Environment, Tony Burke said the listing would help locals refocus and refine what they were offering visitors and market that natural competitive advantage to the world.

“The Wet Tropics has long been one of our great ecotourism destinations,” Mr Burke said.

“It includes World Heritage–listed rainforests that give us a fascinating insight into the way Australia’s plants and animals have evolved since the break-up of Gondwana 35 million years ago.”

6. And in South Australia a decade ago, Minister for Police, Jennifer Rankine announced former Assistant Commissioner of SA Police, Tony Harrison would be the Director General of the new Community Safety Directorate, which would bring together the State’s security and emergency management experts.

Ms Rankine said the Directorate would provide strategic advice and high-level coordination across police, correctional services, emergency services and road safety.

“The Directorate will further assist our ability to plan, respond and recover from a wide range of safety issues such as fires, natural disasters, crime and offender management and road safety, while building community resilience,” Ms Rankine said.

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