26 September 2023

PS from the PaSt: 26 September – 2 October 2012

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1. This week 10 years ago, Geoscience Australia and Engineers Australia signed an agreement to revise the Australian Rainfall and Runoff Guide, increasing the quality, consistency and accessibility of flood-risk information.

Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson said the Guide formed part of a suite of products, including maps of historical floods derived from satellite imagery and a national flood portal providing a single point of access to flood studies.

“These flood studies provide fundamental information needed for planning our communities, planning emergency response, and for the design and construction of major infrastructure including roads and bridges,” Mr Ferguson said.

2. NSW Health reported 124 cases of measles for the year so far — the largest outbreak in the State in more than a decade.

The Department appealed to people to ensure they were properly immunised against the disease.

Director for Health Protection at NSW Health, Dr Jeremy McAnulty said measles was a nasty infection that was preventable through vaccination.

“Measles is highly contagious and can be spread by being in the same room with someone carrying the disease,” Dr McAnulty said.

“People need two doses of the free Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine from their GP for the best protection against measles.”

3. A formal apology was offered by the NSW Minister for Family and Community Services, Pru Goward and Premier, Barry O’Farrell to people in the State affected by past forced adoption practices.

The apology, which was a recommendation of a Parliamentary inquiry into those practices, expressed great sorrow and remorse for the lasting damage caused to the lives of so many.

“Saying sorry can never change what happened, but it is our great hope that this sincere and heartfelt public apology will offer healing and comfort to those who have suffered because of the practices of the past,” Mr O’Farrell said.

4. Australia’s Chief Climate Commissioner, Professor Tim Flannery released the National Climate Commission’s latest report on Queensland’s weather, showing the State’s climate was already changing.

Professor Flannery said the report highlighted the real costs of climate change for Queenslanders, including threats to the State’s $14 billion agriculture industry, $17.7 billion tourism industry, and the 3.8 million Queenslanders who lived along the coast.

“The costs are well understood but the opportunities are less widely known,” Professor Flannery said.

“The Sunshine State has one of the best solar resources in the world. While the use of solar energy in Queensland has doubled in less than two years, it can take greater advantage of its solar resources.”

5. WA Premier, Colin Barnett announced a package of new shark mitigation strategies after an unprecedented five fatal shark attacks within 12 months.

Mr Barnett said the measures included $2 million for a new service to allow the Department of Fisheries to track, catch and, if necessary, destroy sharks identified close to beachgoers; $200,000 for a feasibility study and trial of a shark enclosure; $2 million to continue shark tagging programs; and $2 million for an applied research fund to be overseen by the Chief Scientist.

“These new measures will not only help us to understand the behaviour of sharks but also offer beachgoers greater protection and confidence as we head into summer,” Mr Barnett said.

6. Also in WA a decade ago, Premier, Colin Barnett announced a freeze on Public Service positions, a crackdown on unused leave and cuts in PS expenditure to protect the Budget surplus.

Mr Barnett said savings initiatives would include an immediate lowering of the ceiling on the number of full-time equivalent employees; a limit on the growth in public sector leave liabilities; and a reduction in Agencies’ budgets for purchasing non-essential goods and services.

Treasurer, Troy Buswell said recent volatility in the iron ore price and the persistently high Australian dollar were placing significant strains on the State’s finances.

Mr Barnett said the measures were expected to generate savings of $328 million in 2012–13.

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