26 September 2023

PS from the PaSt: 5 – 11 September 2012

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1. This week 10 years ago, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten announced the establishment of the Office of Asbestos Safety to coordinate a national approach to dealing with asbestos.

Mr Shorten said a national strategic plan with the buy-in of all Australian Governments and political parties would be the foundation of the response to the Asbestos Management Review.

“As an insidious killer, asbestos is a national issue requiring urgent attention and greater national preventative coordination,” Mr Shorten said.

2. NSW transport employees lost their right of appeal against decisions relating to promotions, disciplinary action and dismissal, after the Minister for Transport, Gladys Berejiklian announced staff would no longer have access to the Transport Appeals Board.

Ms Berejiklian said the Board represented an archaic system that allowed transport staff to cause lengthy delays if they were disciplined for criminal or inappropriate behaviour at work.

“There have been many examples of employees who have committed criminal acts, breached their code of conduct or treated customers and fellow employees with contempt, only to be reinstated or had their suspension or demotion overturned by the Board,” Ms Berejiklian said.

3. Victorian Premier, Ted Baillieu announced special motions would be moved in Parliament to adopt gold as the State’s Mineral Emblem.

Mr Baillieu said Victoria was the first State to adopt a floral emblem, the Pink Heath, in 1958.

In 1971, a land faunal emblem, Leadbeater’s Possum, and a bird emblem, the Helmeted Honeyeater, were adopted and in 2002 a marine faunal emblem, the Weedy Seadragon, was added.

“Gold has played a central role in the history of the development of our great State,” Mr Baillieu said.

“And it is this rich history, illustrated by gold, which has built our State. I am sure this will be met with bipartisan support.”

4. The Queensland Police Service launched a new SMS service on the Policelink number to help deaf and hearing-impaired people contact police.

Minister for Police, Jack Dempsey said the new service would ensure the hearing-impaired could easily and independently contact police in relation to non-urgent matters.

“The new service will allow an SMS or email to be sent to the dedicated Policelink line, which will then direct the message in the priority email queue,” Mr Dempsey said.

“Policelink has quickly grown to be a vital tool in helping the public report matters which are not life threatening or where the suspected offenders have left the area.”

5. Also in Queensland, the Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, Andrew Powell sought the input of North Queensland Councils to develop a plan to manage crocodiles in the region.

Mr Powell said authorities could not take a one-size-fits-all approach and he recognised the people who understood the issue best were those on the ground.

He said any crocodiles found to be dangerous would be trapped and removed while authorities would work to set up a three-tiered system that included exclusion and zero-tolerance zones.

“Contrary to what has been reported, croc traps are on the way up to Cairns, but we want to work with locals to establish where they will be most effective,” Mr Powell said.

6. And a decade ago in South Australia, 370 feral camels were removed from the Nullarbor National Park during a four-day aerial cull. Manager of the State Feral Camel Project at Biosecurity SA, Nick Secomb said the cull was necessary because the animals were causing local environmental damage and presenting a significant risk to people using the Eyre Highway, which dissected the park.

“In recent weeks there have been numerous accounts of camels crossing the highway, creating dangerous situations for road users travelling at highway speed,” Mr Secomb said.

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