26 September 2023

PS from the PaSt: 8 – 14 August 2012

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1. This week 10 years ago, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King and the Minister for Human Services, Senator Kim Carr welcomed the NSW Government’s decision to decommission its State register of organ donors.

The move freed up NSW residents to register for an organ donation through the national Australian Organ Donor Register, which Ms King said would also help increase organ donation in NSW and could ultimately save lives.

Ms King said people who registered their donation decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register had access to extensive information about organ and tissue donation, whereas “ticking a box” on a driver’s licence was a barrier to making a truly informed decision.

2. Lord Mayor, Clover Moore announced the City of Sydney would install solar power panels on major City-owned buildings, grandstands, depots and libraries.

Cr Moore said Solgen Energy would undertake a $6 million project to fit solar photovoltaic panels to more than 30 sites in the next two years, which was expected to generate 12.5 per cent of the electricity needs of all City properties.

Cr Moore said the panels could produce nearly 2,000,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year and were expected to reduce the City’s annual carbon pollution by 2,100 tonnes.

“The City of Sydney is delivering on its commitment to reduce carbon pollution by 70 per cent and produce 30 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 — one of the most ambitious programs of any Australian government,” Cr Moore said.

3. Victorian State Sheriff, Brendan Facey announced the launch of cutting-edge Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to crackdown on fine defaulters, meaning people who had avoided paying outstanding traffic fines could find themselves caught out while driving on the road.

Mr Facey said ANPR cameras were mounted on the exterior of the Sheriff’s vehicles and would be used on the roads scanning for number plates.

“When a scan matches a vehicle registration number on the outstanding fines list, the system will alert the Sheriff’s officer there is a successful match,” Mr Facey said.

He said the ANPR technology would enhance the Sheriff’s operations to crack down on unpaid fines and outstanding warrants.

4. Scientists from Victoria’s Department of Primary Industries (DPI) developed a new online weather system to give farmers information about sheep weather alerts and horticulture disease risks up to a week in advance.

The system could develop online warnings including for heat or cold stress in sheep, brown rot disease and soil moisture levels.

Victorian Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, Peter Walsh said the website meant farmers could not only protect their stock but also reduce disease threats, potentially improving yields and achieving more targeted applications of both fertilisers and fungicides.

He said the service allowed producers to change their management and move stock or spray crops to avoid potential problems before they arrived.

5. In Queensland, the Criminal Code was amended to re-enact previously repealed laws to again make it a criminal offence to lie to Parliament.

State Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Jarrod Bleijie said the change would make it an offence to knowingly give false evidence to Parliament or its Committees.

It would also be a criminal offence to cause a disturbance while Parliament was sitting or refuse to attend a Legislative Assembly or Parliamentary Committee and provide evidence.

Mr Bleijie said the amendments would not capture the everyday operations of the Parliament but would apply to Members and non-Members alike.

6. And this week a decade ago, South Australia Police (SAPOL) formed a new section to focus on the firearm involved in an offence, not just the offence and offender.

SAPOL Assistant Commissioner, Madeleine Glynn said the new 12-member Serious Firearm Crime Investigation Section team would investigate, detect and disrupt serious offending involving firearms, with the history of the firearm involved becoming a focus of the investigation.

“Knowing where the firearm has come from, how it came to be in possession of the offender and whether it has been rebirthed can help with serious crime investigations,” Assistant Commissioner Glynn said.

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