26 September 2023

PS from the PaSt: 19–25 September 2012

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1. This week 10 years ago, scientists from Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) successfully flew an experimental hypersonic vehicle at the Andoya Rocket Range in Norway.

The test vehicle reached a maximum height of 350 kilometres and achieved speeds of up to Mach 8 on descent.

Scientists believed the launch could be a major step forward in the quest for hypersonic flight.

The experimental flight was undertaken as part of a joint research program, Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE), being conducted by DSTO and the US Air Force Research Laboratory.

2. The Australian and New Zealand Governments agreed to share intelligence about the top criminal targets in both countries.

Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, Jason Clare said the key to catching serious organised criminals was intelligence.

“Many of the major criminals who target Australia also target New Zealand … [and] in many cases [we] are hunting the same criminals and the same organisations,” Mr Clare said.

“It is therefore essential that we share our intelligence holdings on these crooks.”

3. Road safety advertising campaigns developed by Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC) were picked up by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be used around the world supporting global road safety public education campaigns.

Victoria’s Assistant Treasurer, Gordon Rich-Phillips said four of the campaigns would be used in China, which had 20.8 road fatalities per 100,000 population, compared with 5.9 in Australia and 4.6 in Victoria.

“Through this commitment, developed nations assist developing and under-resourced nations in their efforts to reduce road trauma,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.

He said the move highlighted the TAC’s reputation as a world leader in road safety education.

4. Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle announced a new tree retention and removal policy to better protect the city’s 70,000 public trees and define when they could and could not be pruned or removed.

Cr Doyle said trees were a vital component of Melbourne’s character and needed to be protected, with the new rules allowing the City of Melbourne’s earlier involvement in construction works near trees.

“Our city’s trees face a number of challenges associated with the urban environment such as pollution, traffic and development,” Mr Doyle said.

“This new policy will give us greater control and power to protect our tree stock and ensure its longevity.”

5. WA Premier, Colin Barnett announced the State’s Commissioner for Children and Young People would set up a one-stop shop for complaints about child abuse under new measures recommended by a report into the response of Government Agencies and officials to allegations of sexual abuse at St Andrew’s Hostel in Katanning.

Mr Barnett said the Commissioner was best placed to oversee the system given the role’s high public profile, independence and purpose as a protector of children’s interests.

“This Government wants to ensure the shocking breaches of trust that occurred at these institutions are never repeated,” Mr Barnett said.

“On behalf of the Government and the community, I apologise to the victims and their families for the abuse that was able to continue over such a long period.”

6. Also in Western Australia a decade ago, Minister for the Environment, Bill Marmion urged the public to stop dropping rubbish in and around Perth’s rivers after the Swan River Trust retrieved more than 6.3 tonnes of general refuse and five tonnes of timber and rubble from waterways and foreshores in the previous 12 months.

Mr Marmion said the behaviour of people who dropped litter and junk in and around rivers was inexplicable.

“This is a conversation we need to have as a community to make it clear that littering is not okay,” Mr Marmion said.

“Most disturbing is the mass of plastic bags and fishing line that continues to be found, despite people knowing the terrible impacts these items have on river wildlife from pelicans to dolphins.”

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