27 September 2023

PS from the PaSt: 4 – 10 April 2012

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This week 10 years ago, policymakers in Public Service Agencies across Australia were criticised for making too much policy on the run without preparing an adequate business case.

In a policy discussion paper, the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) claimed public policy processes in Australia suffered because too few major government decisions were made using an evidence and consultation-based approach.

“We believe that if Governments used a ‘business case’ approach to devising, testing and communicating policies rather than resort to policy outbursts preceded by secrecy, the outcome would not only be better policy, but better politics,” National President of the IPAA, Percy Allan said.

2. Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, Jason Clare said $4.58 million would be allocated to provide police forces across the country with access to the Child Exploitation Tracking System software.

Mr Clare said the system allowed police to compare seized child exploitation material against a national database of previously seized and reviewed material.

“It will allow police to process large volumes of evidence without repeated exposure to these horrible images,” Mr Clare said.

“It also allows police in different States and Territories to work together on child exploitation investigations through a common system.”

3. Australia ratified two international treaties to help manage and conserve fish stocks in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig said signing the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement and the Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fishery Resources in the South Pacific Ocean made sense, given Australia’s strong management of its domestic fisheries.

“These treaties will close a governance gap in important high seas fisheries that neighbour Australia’s domestic fisheries and they will ensure that fishing for those stocks will be subject to international regulation,” Senator Ludwig said.

4. NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell announced the creation of the Dharawal National Park, saying it was a big win for residents in Sydney’s South West and the Illawarra who had fought for many years to have the area protected from mining activities.

Minister for the Environment, Robyn Parker said the new 6,500-hectare park would protect an iconic area close to Sydney and Wollongong and preserve forever its extraordinary biodiversity, including endangered plants and animals.

“It will ensure the protection of significant upland swamps, rich in plant and animal life, which feed pristine water to O’Hares Creek, the headwater of the Georges River,” Ms Parker said.

5. In Queensland, the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) published advice for Public Service staff on the use of social media.

The CMC said while the technology offered benefits for Agencies and the public, it was important to recognise that an Agency’s Facebook site or Twitter account was as public and official as a media release or a report.

“Easier communication does not mean that less rigour should be applied in communication processes and approvals,” the advice said.

“Agencies should ensure that they have conducted suitable risk assessments and developed adequate policies and procedures governing all official use of social media.”

6. And this week a decade ago, South Australian Minister for Transport Services, Chloe Fox announced the State had joined an initiative creating the national TrackSAFE foundation to reduce suicide, level crossing and trespass incidents on rail networks.

Ms Fox said TrackSAFE would pool industry resources and take a national, cohesive approach to safety on all rail networks.

“In SA, more than 850 near-miss, trespass and injury incidents were recorded last year,” Ms Fox said.

“While the safety of customers and the community is of the utmost importance, it’s the trauma that train drivers and other rail employees suffer as a result of witnessing near collisions, serious injuries or fatalities that the community often forgets.”

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