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‘We are failing’: Bureaucrats on notice

Digital Transformation Office CEO Paul Shetler. Photo: SuppliedMore public service news
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Australia’s public service must stop failing customers and?become as good as Airbnb?and Uber?at helping people, the bureaucracy’s new Digital Transformation Office chief?Paul?Shetler?said.

Mr Shetler told a crowd of 300 at a breakfast at the National Gallery of Australia on Tuesday?that most users were reporting a problem with Australian government websites.

“Our job is to serve the public and we are failing,” he said.

“It’s not good enough in the age?of Uber and Airbnb.

“If Amazon?did that they’d go out of business.”

He said Australians, like people in many countries, often became overwhelmed because they?were wrongly forced to keep in their minds a map of how government services worked when dealing with the public service.

“It’s not a policy problem, it’s a delivery issue,”?Mr?Shetler said.

“In many places now government is leading in service delivery [over the private sector].”

Mr?Shetler?is 28 days into his new job of chief executive of the?DTO.

The DTO is a small agency with a modest budget answering to Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull created to reform?how the?government interacts with Australians on the internet.

Secretaries Drew Clarke and Kathryn Campbell from the?Communications and Human Services departments and Australian Public Service Commissioner?John Llloyd?chose Mr?Shetler for the job with final approval granted by the minister.

He has moved from the United Kingdom where he was an executive in?the?Government Digital Service and the?Chief Digital Officer for the UK Ministry of Justice.

Mr?Shetler said his first weeks at the helm of digital reforms in the UK were filled with “hostile meetings” where people thought he represented a group of latte-sipping time wasters?who?wore?cargo shorts and peddled the latest fad.

Eventually he said the attitude changed because he and others focussed on reforms they could make easily and quickly to prove to public servants and clients they were interested in making life easier for people.

They could then work their way toward bigger changes and he said he would?bring the same approach to Australia.

During his time in the UK he made it easier for citizens to access?applications for civil claims, book prison visits and?fill out power of attorney?applications.

He was also involved in overseeing the roll out of a common platform to change the outdated way staff worked across the UK’s court system.

In February CIO reported successful delivery of the platform was in doubt, according to the UK’s?projects watchdog, the Major Projects Authority.

“You can’t do it all at once otherwise it will be a train?wreck – it must be iterative and responsive starting from a position of humility,” Mr Shetler?said at the Institute of Public Administration Australia event?on Tuesday.

At the same time he said goals would be set to make changes within timeframes of about five months.

Small businesses, job seekers and parents were the top three categories of people dealing with the federal public service online and he said the economy could save more than $20 billion each year by reducing face-to-face and postal interactions.

Mr?Shetler said his new position was the “best digital job in the world” and came with huge opportunities because the Australian government was so willing to bring in changes across and between departments and agencies.

He said at all times his focus would be on the customer.

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Money woes for chalet

Stalled: The Mount Buffalo Chalet has been left in limbo with Parks Victoria unable to say when a refurbishment will be done. A community group has been formed to pressure the government.FEARS are growing for the fate of Mount Buffalo Chalet, after a $3.5 million blowout inestimated refurbishment costs.
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The long-awaited redevelopment is in limbo with building administrator Parks Victoriafailing to find a tenderer to meet the $7.5 million budget.

“Five firms responded to the tender and all came in over budget,” a Parks Victoria spokeswoman said.

“The lowest tender was more than $3 millionover the budget.

“Due to the exceptionally high additional costs, the minister asked for further information to ensure the best use of taxpayers’money.

“Parks Victoria has been working with the firms who tendered and government partners to confirm the next steps, and have provided additional information over the past couple of months.”

However no start date has been setand the condition of a Heritage Victoria permit that work begin by April may not be met.

Ovens Valley MP Tim McCurdy, Alpine Shire mayor Jan Vonarx and newly formed lobby group Community Action for the Chalet are pressing for a meeting with Environment Minister Lisa Neville.

“My great fear is that the Labor Government is going to walk away from the Mount Buffalo Chalet,” hesaid.

“The community wants the chalet returned to its former glory and the government needs to commit to the plans that were in place to see the chalet again become a major day visitor attraction.”

Cr Vonarx said the council was “extremely concerned” about the fate of the 1910 guest house.

“We don’t want it to go to wrack and ruin and then have them saying ‘we can’t do anything about it’,” Cr Vonarx said.

“Everyone is getting toey about what’s happening.”

Chalet groupinterim co-ordinator David Jacobson said his group washarnessing concern with aFacebook page attracting more than 500 likes since Friday.

“If the government can spend millions of dollars to not build a freeway in Melbourne, what’s $3 million for the chalet,” Mr Jacobson said.

“We don’t think the tenders came in high, we think the budget was set too low by the previous government.”

Parks Victoria said repairs would be done at the chalet.

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Holbrook Landcare appoints highly skilled project officer

Ashley Paech and Tim Trescowthick collect soil samples on the Trescowthick’s property Roachdale near Holbrook. Picture: Supplied.
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Holbrook Landcare Network has recruited Ashley Paech as the new Farming Systems project officer to work mainly on its prestigious carbon project.

Holbrook Landcare executive officer Dale Stringer said he was very pleased to have such a skilled agricultural professional join Holbrook Landcare.

“Ashley will be primarily responsible for the delivery of the ‘Carbon Farming and Your Business’ project, but will also bring a strong agriculture focus, particularly livestock, which I believe will greatly strengthen Holbrook Landcare’s capacity in this area,” Mr Stringer said.

“We will also be working towards a staff structure where Ashley will play a leading role to help shape our sustainable agricultural activities.”

Mr Paech was formerly employed as Program Manager Meat and Wool (Hume Region) with the Victorian Government’s Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, where he was involved in farm business management and agricultural extension at the delivery and management level.

His professional interests lie in areas such as business strategy; farming systems; risk management; grazing management and animal nutrition; change and adjustment in rural industries; value chain analysis and project development and management.

Mr Paech said he has a strong passion for working with land managers to understand the capability of their land, the relationship between their farming enterprise and the landscape and interactions within the farming system.

“I am really passionate about finding the right balance between sustainability, productivity, economic and social outcomes,” he said.

Mr Paech said he was very keen to get out and about in the community and meet the region’s farmers.

Having grown up in the Walla Walla area, he has a good grounding in mixed farming systems and the challenges for land managers in the region.

As well as being employed with Holbrook Landcare four days a week, Mr Paech will help run his family’s mixed farming property near Walla Walla.

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New energy agreement deal signed

Left: President of Chongqing Tianfu Coal Industry Group, Mr Yang Zu Hong shakes hands with CEO of Harp Syngas Aldous Hicks at the signing of the joint venture documents. Photo by Jen WalkerA MITTAGONG company will be involved in the world’s first commercial extraction of syngas after signing a joint venture agreement with Chongqing Tainfu Coal Industry Limited.
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Harp Syngas, a subsidiary of Syngas Power, will provide the technical know-how to the Chongqing Energy Investment Group, one of the largest enterprises in China.

CEO of Harp Syngas, Aldous Hicks, said that Australia was at the forefront of in-situ gasification – the technology used to extract energy from deep coal – but until now no-one actually delivered it in commercial quantities.

“Syngas is the best solution at the moment to reducing the “nasties” produced by burning pulverised coal in boilers. There is a very strong anti-coal movement in Australia and rightly so. Coal is a great energy source and brought great wealth to Australia and the world, but it is now time to produce energy in a much cleaner way,” he said.

Syngas production happens hundreds of metres below mined-out open-cut or underground coal mines. The process involves drilling into the coal seam, injecting air or oxygen and sometimes water to gasify the coal to produce syngas.

Syngas Power said that no fracking is involved and the process has the lowest surface foot print of any energy source.

Mr Hicks said the process had substantial potential in China because no new coal mine licences were being issued.

“We want to go over mined-out mines, so there is no need for new land area to be set aside for the process.

While we would like to use this technology in Australia, I think we are too risk averse. However, it is certainly time to look at other sources of energy apart from coal mining.

President of Chongqing Energy Investment Group, Mr Feng Yue, said they chose to work with Syngas due to their reputation and technical expertise.

“This is the first time we have used this technology. I believe this type of clean energy will eventually change the way we mine,” he said.

Syngas Power was established in 2011 and is involved in projects in the U.K. and Japan as well as in Western Australia and the Hunter Valley.

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Fire safety warning for Highlanders

Above: Highlanders are urged to be vigilant about bushfire safety. Photo: FDCHIGHLANDERS are urged to be proactive about protecting their homes from bushfires.
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The Highlands has experienced wild weather over the past week and Bowral fire fighter Max Cottingham urged residents to remain vigilant about bushfire safety.

Mr Cottingham said it had been a quiet period for the Bowral Fire Brigade, but said strong winds had caused some problems.

“There have been no major incidents of late, we’ve mainly been called out for wind related incidents with power lines or fallen trees,” he said. “But it’s a timely reminder for people to keep their yards tidy and to have a bushfire safety plan.”

Mr Cottingham said Highlanders should keep their gutters clean and contact a tree arborist to clear out dead wood in trees.

“Don’t leave fire safety to chance,” he said.

The 2015/16 bushfire season officially begins on October 1, but the threat of bushfire may arrive earlier this year.

For more information, visit 梧桐夜网rfs.nsw.gov419论坛

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Lindsay West heads north to help Canadians

Katoomba-based Fire and Rescue NSW Metro West 3 zone commander Lindsay West at the fire control centre camp in Cariboo fire district in British Columbia, Canada, last week. A helicopter pilot prepares to fill another load of water to drop on a huge wildfire burning in Puntzi Lake in north-western Canada. A team of 102 Australian firefighters, including Lindsay West, are currently in Canada providing assistance.
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A Katoomba firefighter is helping battle a bushfire crisis across three states in Canada.

Australia has sent a 102-strong team of firefighters and senior incident controllers to help combat the spreading wildfires, which have already forced the evacuation of more than 10,000 people and destroyed dozens of properties.

Among the Aussie contingent is Katoomba-based Lindsay West, the Fire and Rescue NSW zone commander of Metro West 3, which includes the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Lithgow.

Mr West told the Gazette on Friday that he is part of a small all-Australian team that took over as incident managers of the Puntzi Lake wildfire in British Columbia’s heavily forested interior plateau last week. The area is about 500km northwest of Vancouver.

Mr West said the initial briefing his team was given revealed how different Canadian fire conditions are to ours.

“In some areas they have ground fuel loads of 100 tonnes per hectare, which is outrageous to us,” he said.

“They are saying it is an 8100-hectare wildfire and there is a possibility of further lightning strikes, triggering new fires.

“This fire grew nearly six times in size between Friday [July 17] and Saturday, increasing from 12 to 70 square km.

“The British Columbia Wildfire Management Branch classified it as a rank 4/5 wildfire and a fire of that rank causes entire trees to candle and spreads by crowning [burning into the tops of trees].

“Crews leave the fire control centre, about 3.5 hours’ drive from the fire, at 7am each day and return at 7.30pm.”

He said most of the firefighting was done by air or on foot and there was not a fire engine to be seen.

For residents remaining near Puntzi Lake there has been some relief of late.

“Rain last weekend allowed crews to contain 30 per cent of the fire, mainly on its southwest flank and now the fire is about 70 per cent contained,” Mr West said.

“But while rain and cooler weather is welcome, [weather bureau and Canadian wildfire and forest service] officials say it’s not sticking around long enough to make a major difference.

“There are more than 250 active fires still burning across British Columbia.”

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Online police arrest Forrestfield man on underage sex charge

Police claim the accused used social media sites to communicate in a sexual manner with a 13-year-old girl. Photo: Daniel AckerA Forrestfield man has been charged with using the internet to procure a girl for sex.
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Police arrested the 37-year-old?on July 16 after he arranged to meet a girl at Lake Monger Park in Glendalough.

It’s alleged that between April and July he used social media sites to communicate in a sexual manner with a 13-year-old girl.

He’s been charged with one count of using electronic communication to procure a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity.

The arrest was made by officers working for the?joint?anti child exploitation team which is a taskforce made up of Federal and WA police officers working together to combat online child sexual exploitation.

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Australia’s political donations little better than corrupt developing nations, claims Andrew Wilkie

The poker machine lobby has been generous in donating to political parties. Photo: John Woudstra Andrew Wilkie Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Second pokie lobby tips $45,000 into Andrews-linked fundPolitical leaders urge donations reformWho paid for Labor’s success in Victoria?

A federal MP claims Australia’s political donations system is little better than the sleazy cash-in-brown-paper-bag operations that occur in corrupt developing nations.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie lashed out the major parties and some of his crossbench colleagues for accepting “grubby money” from the gambling industry, which successfully rolled back his attempts to curb poker machine use in Australia.

He said large donations the gambling industry made to the political parties and to the Liberal MP and?then opposition spokesman?Kevin Andrews were made as investments in return, whether that be an immediate or eventual policy decision favourable to their vested interest.

“Any suggestion that that money didn’t influence policy is patent nonsense,” Mr Wilkie told the ABC on Tuesday.

He said the proof was in the fact that the modest reforms to curb poker machines made by the Gillard minority government were “quickly overturned” by the Coalition government with the support of Labor in the Senate.

“We in Australia rail at wads of cash in brown paper bags in other countries but our political donations system is little better,” Mr Wilkie said.

Mr Wilkie’s comments follow Fairfax Media’s revelations that Clubs NSW directly donated $20,000 to the Victorian fundraising body which supports Mr Andrews, when he was the Coalition’s spokesman for gambling policy, as well as $10,000 last year.?It has since emerged that the same fundraising body also received?a?donation?of $45,000 from another pro-pokie machines lobby group .

Mr Andrews says any suggestion his policies can be bought or influenced are “wrong and offensive.”?Fairfax Media does not suggest the donations directly influenced Mr Andrews’ decision making.But Mr Wilkie said the donation exposed a clear conflict of interest.

“It’s one thing to hand money over to a political party but to effectively hand it to the Shadow Minister … through another entity … frankly it makes this no better than large sums of money changing hands in a brown paper bag in a developing country,” he said.

Mr Wilkie said donations should be declared immediately and the disclosure threshold of $13,000 lowered.

The Labor Party also supports real-time declarations and voluntarily discloses all donations made to it above $1000.

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Police news in brief

Check out this week’s Campbelltown police news in brief.
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Drugs, knifefoundAn 18-year-old Ambarvale man was charged with five offences (including supplying a prohibited drug, resisting police in execution of their duties and custody of a knife) after attempting to evade police in his bike in Campbelltown. After a search, police found a large quantity of ice in his pockets and a knife. The man resisted police a number of times in custody. He will appear in Campbelltown Local Court on August 10.

Domestic disputePolice recovered a shotgun, ammunition and cannabis at a St Helens Park house after being called to investigate a domestic dispute. A 56-year-old St Helen Park man was arrested and charged with 6 offences, including intimidation, possess prohitbited drug, possess unauthorised firearm and other firearms charges.

Three-month sentenceA 26-year-old Ambarvale man was arrested and charged with five offences after an arrest at Campbelltown Railway Station. He had stolen a mobile phone from a department store earlier in the month, and was found to be in possession of a large quantity of steroids, prescription drugs, shotgun ammunition, another person’s identification and several mobile phones when he was stopped at the station barriers. He has been charged with larceny, goods in custody, possession of ammunition and drug charges. He pleaded guilty after appearing in Campbelltown Local Court and was sentenced to three months imprisonment.

Shoplifting spreeAn 18-year-old Ingleburn woman has been served Field Court Attendance Notices after going on a shoplifting spree in a Campbelltown shopping centre with another female. Various items were stole from nine different stores. The woman will face nine counts of shoplifting when she appears in Campbelltown Childrens Court in September.

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Krew gets ready for another Relay

GREAT EXPERIENCE: Le Krasey?Krew members Melva McLennan, Kathy?Pynsent and Lesa Weekes are looking forward to the Cessnock?Relay?For Life.The eighth annual Cessnock Relay for Life is less than three months away and is gearing up to be a great day, with around $3000 already raised by teams for the October 17 event.
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Relay For Life raises funds for the Cancer Council’s research, education, support and advocacy programs, with the Cessnock community having contributed more than $700,000 since 2008.

This year’s relay will be a new format, running from 10am to 10pm, instead of an overnight event like previous relays.

One team that has taken part in every Cessnock relay is ‘Le Krasey Krew’ from Kearsley Public School.

It began as staff at the school who had had brushes with cancer wanting to participate and give back to a cause they felt close to.

“It was an event we all felt quite passionate about,” team captain Kathy Pynsent said.

From there it expanded into friends and family, all who held some connection to Kearsley Public School.

Last year, Le Krasey Krew raised around $4000, but the most they have raised in one year is up around the $8000 mark.

The group has had many memorable moments at relays over the years, but the most unforgettable being the enjoyment that they’re had.

“It’s a fun thing,” team member Melva McLennan said.

“You get a lot out of it,” Mrs. Pynsent added.

Mrs. Pynsent and the school’s administration manager Lesa Weekes have been part of Le Krasey Krew since they formed and said the biggest thing they have realised over the years is just how many people are affected by cancer.

“You don’t realise how many families it’s touched,” Mrs. Pynsent said.

“Until you see the candles,” Mrs. Weekes added.

But they encourage anyone and everyone to get on board and participate in the day that is fun for the whole family.

“Everyone should do it just for the experience,” Mrs. Pynsent said.

Le Krasey Krew will hold a car boot sale at Kearsley Public School on Saturday, September 5 from 8am to 2pm. Sites are $20.

The team is also planning a movie night fundraiser at Maitland Cinema (email [email protected] hotmail南京夜网 for more information).

To register your team for Cessnock Relay For Life, click here.

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Koroit girl at heart

A MUSICIAN’S LIFE: Former Koroit resident Kayla Dwyer is currently on the road, singing and songwriting but will always be grateful for her small town upbringing and the opportunities it has provided her with. Kayla Dwyer isnow basedinMelbourne and spends her time travelling around Australia in her van, writing songs about her adventures as a musician, fire-fighter and teacher. Kayla answered this week’s Q&A.
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What did you most love about living in Koroit?

So many things I do today have stemmed from opportunities I had in Koroit. My very first gig was at Mickey Bourke’s Hotel. My state-wide CFA family started with volunteering at the Koroit Fire Brigade. Koroit will always feel like home.

If you could live anywhere where would you choose?

I’ve haven’t seen enough of the world to decide! I think I would just live on the road if I really could.

What is your favourite holiday destination?

Best holiday I’ve been on was living in a Fijian village. Beautiful people! Memorable experience!

What are you reading at the moment?

The Art Of Creative Thinkingby Rod Judkins.

If you had a million dollars what would you do with it?

Travel, buy some beautiful guitars, build my own recording studio and buy a super duper motor home to live out of!

What is something people might not know about you?

I collect troll dolls.My cousin gave me my first troll when I was eightyears old.At last count there were 347.

If you could choose to go back 100 years or forward 100 years what would you do and why?

Fast forward! I would love to see what music people are listening too in the future. That would be wacky.

If you had all the time in the world to pursue and perfect any hobby what would it be?

I would love more time to pursue the drums. I’ve got my drum kit in my room and once I get on I struggle to get off.

When and where are you your most happiest?

On the roadI feel entirely whole, calm, relaxed and completely free and on a stagewhen I feel like I’m truly alive.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

You’ll never be ready. Now is as good a time as any.

Do you have a motto you live by?

The oneI often find myself repeating when things get tough is “everything happens for a reason”. Another favourite is “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. I like to feel alive.

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Myer Bendigo to shed jobs

STAFF at Bendigo’s Myer will be offered voluntary redundancies as the department store giant overhauls its operations.
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Bendigo is one of 42 stores which arepart of the redundancy program.

A spokesperson for the company said the redundancies wouldgive Myer the flexibility to reduce staff hours during quieter periods.

“To continue to achieve high standards of service in the future, we are changing the mix of permanent and casual team members to achieve greater flexibility, so we can align our workforce with customer demand and adapt to changes in store traffic flows,” the spokesperson said.

“This new model will give Myer stores the ability to have more flexible hours available for peak periods such as Christmas and stocktake, while ensuring appropriate levels of service during quieter times. This is critical to meeting the expectations of our customers.

“This is part of a significant change to the way we approach customer service. Our future success will depend on our ability to have the right people in place at the right time to delight our customers every time they visit our stores.”

A Myer spokesperson said there was no target for redundancies at the Bendigo store.

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