26 September 2023

PS from the PaSt: 24–30 October 2012

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1. This week 10 years ago, the National Sustainability Council for Australia was established to provide independent advice to the Government and public reports on sustainability issues.

Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke said better information was needed about how Australia’s economy, environment and society interacted to inform planning and decision-making.

“The National Sustainability Council will report against sustainability indicators every two years, highlighting key trends and emerging issues for policy and decision-makers and communities around Australia,” Mr Burke said.

2. The National Archives of Australia set a timeframe of three years by which all Australian Government Departments and Agencies would be required to manage new information electronically.

Director-General of the Archives, David Fricker said that by 2015 he expected that all information digitally generated by the Australian Public Service would be stored and managed digitally and transferred in digital format to the Archives.

Mr Fricker said the Archives’ Digital Edge training program would provide Government Agencies with the skills and understanding about digital information management as they moved towards the deadline.

3. Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig announced the establishment of a national register of foreign ownership of agricultural land to provide a comprehensive picture of the specific size and location of foreign agricultural landholdings.

Senator Ludwig said foreign investment had helped build Australian agriculture over the past 200 years and was important for the future growth of the farming sector, but there needed to be more and better information on foreign investment.

He said the final design of the register would consider the need to improve transparency about foreign ownership in agriculture without imposing unnecessary burdens on investors.

4. Victorian Minister for Community Services, Mary Wooldridge announced a Commission for Children and Young People would be established to help protect vulnerable and disadvantaged Victorians.

Ms Wooldridge said the new Commission would improve and promote policies relating to vulnerable children in child protection and youth justice, as well as the safety and wellbeing of all the State’s children and young people.

“Importantly, the Commission will have the power to initiate and conduct investigations into individual cases of vulnerable children and where it believes there have been systemic issues in the delivery of services that affect children’s safety and wellbeing,” Ms Wooldridge said.

5. Also in Victoria a decade ago, Minister for Education, Martin Dixon praised the achievements of the State’s first centre of excellence in deaf education, the Victorian Deaf Education Institute (VDEI).

Mr Dixon said the VDEI was offering world-class teacher training, driving international research and using state-of-the-art technology to improve the way hearing-impaired students were taught, including through the provision of live captioning direct to their iPads and laptops in classrooms across the State.

Mr Dixon said that since the VDEI opened the doors to its new $1.6 million tailor-made building in March, more than 500 professionals, including teachers, audiologists and speech pathologists, had attended its high-quality professional learning programs.

6. WA Minister for Science and Innovation, John Day said the newly established Shark Hazard Advisory Research Committee (SHARC) would assess applications for applied research into shark deterrents, with $2 million made available to encourage and support research into the development of innovations aimed at protecting the State’s beachgoers.

“Sharks have become a greater risk to the community and the Government is initiating numerous strategies … aimed at reducing this risk at the State’s popular swimming beaches,” Mr Day said.

He said the funding would allow the innovative research being undertaken into reducing the risk of shark attacks to progress at a faster pace.

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