Operation Heat Shield to deliver a major policing boost this summer

first_imgOperation Heat Shield to deliver a major policing boost this summer Operation Heat Shield funded again, off the back of its success in 2019-20Police to target crime and antisocial behaviour during summer monthsMore police on the beat in the CBD, suburbs and regional WAMajor boost to policing hours to increase police patrols and targeted operations to tackle burglary, theft and family violencePrevious Operation Heat Shield resulted in 2,500 arrestsFollows McGowan Government’s unprecedented investment to deliver 1,100 extra police officers The McGowan Labor Government has announced a major $5 million boost to WA Police to crack down on crime and antisocial behaviour over the summer months and keep Western Australians safe.The funding will ensure the highly successful Operation Heat Shield will run from December 2020 to the end of May 2021, with an additional 55,000 police hours deployed on the streets of the Perth central business district, and in other entertainment and shopping precincts, our suburbs and regional Western Australia.Heat Shield will deliver high-visibility policing to tackle the rise in crime rates historically experienced over the warmer months when more people are out socialising.This will include patrols at suburban centres, the Perth CBD and shopping, entertainment and transport hubs, and increased operations to target burglary, theft and family violence.The first Operation Heat Shield, which ran during the same period last year, resulted in 2,500 arrests, 1,425 summonses and 5,882 charges.As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:“There is no greater deterrence to crime and antisocial behaviour than a visible police presence, and Operation Heat Shield will ensure our police are out in force this summer.“My Government has made an unprecedented investment in WA Police resources across WA, to ensure the community is protected and our State remains safe and strong.“We know that historically, crime increases during the summer months and this major police blitz will ensure there is a major police presence on the streets, not just in the CBD, but across Perth’s suburbs and regional WA as well.“Supporting WA Police has been a key priority of my Government. Today’s announcement follows the significant boost to frontline police announced as part of the State Budget, with an additional 800 police officers recruited, on top of the 300 being delivered.”As stated by Police Minister Michelle Roberts:“To keep Western Australians safe and secure, the McGowan Government has increased police numbers and resources to record levels.“We’re resourcing our police more than ever before to continue to drive down crime and antisocial behaviour.“Thanks to all Western Australians’ commitment to beating COVID-19, we can be out enjoying time with family and friends.“With this further $5 million funding, Western Australians can expect to see a strong police presence throughout WA in our entertainment precincts, shopping centres, and on our roads.”Premier’s office – 6552 5000 /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:Australia, Burglary, business, community, covid-19, family violence, Government, Investment, Minister, operation, police, Premier, resources, violence, WA, Western Australialast_img read more

Protecting Competition in Canada’s Grocery Sector

first_imgProtecting Competition in Canada’s Grocery Sector From: Competition Bureau CanadaRemarks by Matthew Boswell, Commissioner of Competition – Grocery Innovations Canada 2020 – Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers – November 25, 2020Grocery Innovations Canada 2020 – Canadian Federation of Independent GrocersNovember 25, 2020(As prepared for delivery)Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for the kind introduction, and thanks to the CFIG for inviting me to speak today. It is my pleasure to have the opportunity to talk to you about the role of competition enforcement in the grocery sector.In the past year, Canadians have seen what all levels of the grocery sector are capable of in the face of a crisis. A simple glance at the statistics about how much Canadians spend on groceries every year, or the number of products available year-round, is a quick reminder of your work’s importance, and how essential it is to all Canadians.Competition Drives Resilience and AdaptabilityThe pandemic has shown us the importance of low prices and consumer choice, and how critical it is to have resilient and adaptable supply chains that can react to large-scale disruptions, such as what we’ve experienced these past months. The pandemic has also reminded us about the unavoidably physical nature of how we put food on our tables, even as consumers dramatically accelerate their use of online grocery and delivery services. I’m certain that many Canadians, particularly those living in our major cities, had to think about the reality of food supply chains for the first time in many years. That we made it through this difficult period thus far without major disruptions speaks to both the impact of the pandemic and the strength of the response from all levels of the grocery supply chains.Focusing on that resilience and adaptability, I believe competition has an important role to play. Just like the economy itself, a more diverse and competitive market can better react and adapt to unforeseen challenges. Open and competitive markets ensure that companies of all sizes can participate, succeed or fail on the merits of their work, creating an environment that rewards those who innovate and create value. When the Bureau enforces competition law in a strong and principled way, we protect and promote the competitive process, making Canada’s markets more resilient and adaptable.Competition Law in CanadaIt is worth a brief discussion about what competition law in Canada is and is not. We have recently seen a return of the debate over a code of conduct between suppliers and retailers in the grocery sector, similar to the codes of conduct found in the United Kingdom and Australia. The purpose of such codes is to address what many feel is an imbalance of power between large retailers and their suppliers, and to discourage unfair behaviour on the part of major retailers.As it stands today, competition law in Canada focuses on conduct that could potentially dampen competitive intensity or thwart competition on the merits. Competition law in Canada does not regulate imbalances in bargaining power, and in its current role, the Bureau cannot develop or enforce a code of conduct for any industry. What the Bureau can do, however, is provide a procompetitive perspective to policy-makers at all levels of government, and we continue to do so, as needed.Our enforcement work falls into four categories: addressing anticompetitive mergers, halting abusive conduct by dominant players, breaking up criminal cartels, and stopping deceptive marketing practices. The Bureau has pursued active enforcement in the grocery industry, most recently with our inquiry into Loblaw’s conduct with its suppliers, and our ongoing investigation into an alleged bread price-fixing cartel.Competition law is rarely as black and white as it may seem on the surface, requiring the Bureau to navigate the grey areas present in every case. This means that for every case we take on, the Bureau must complete a thorough and complete examination of the facts relevant in Canada before concluding that there has been a contravention of the Competition Act.Returning to imbalances of bargaining power, the line between hard bargaining and anticompetitive conduct is not always a bright one. The intent to reduce incentives to compete, such as a retailer passing on the costs of retail competition to suppliers, can push what some might see as simply hard bargaining by a large player into a violation of the Competition Act. When the Bureau investigates complaints raised by vigilant market participants, we always conduct a thorough investigation to ensure we can draw a clear line between vigorous competition and anticompetitive conduct.Loblaw InvestigationBack in 2017, we discontinued an inquiry into allegations that Loblaw Companies engaged in conduct contrary to the abuse of dominance provisions of the Competition Act. The Bureau’s extensive inquiry into alleged anticompetitive policies enforced by Loblaw against its suppliers shows the importance of being ready to sort through the grey areas and draw that clear line. Our investigation covered several practices carrying allegations of anticompetitive intent. Although Loblaw ended a number of those practices during the inquiry, it was important for the Bureau to complete its investigation to confirm whether these practices met the standard for anticompetitive conduct. While the evidence did not sufficiently support the allegations, completing the inquiry was necessary to reach an informed conclusion and be fully transparent to the marketplace regarding our findings. That being said, we know that even in the same market, the facts may be very different in the future, and may warrant an inquiry.Competitor CollaborationsSimilarly, conduct that looks alike in principle can have dramatically different competitive effects in practice. This really matters when it comes to collaboration between competitors, which can range from procompetitive buying groups made up of smaller players, to full-blown criminal cartel behaviour, the most serious offence in Canadian competition law. This highlights the need for clarity and open communication on the appropriate bounds of collaboration in our ever-evolving marketplace. The Bureau took on that challenge earlier this year by issuing revised competitor collaboration guidelines for consultation and a statement on flexibility for collaborations during the pandemic. This statement, driven by our exceptional circumstances, recognized that the pandemic may call for the rapid establishment of business collaborations of limited duration and scope to ensure the supply of products and services that are critical to Canadians.However, I would like to note the recent House of Commons industry committee’s interest in communications between certain competitors in the grocery industry regarding employee wages. In general, communications among competitors regarding employee wages would seem to be unrelated to an effective response to the pandemic and I heard of such discussions with concern. I want to take this opportunity both to reiterate that it is essential that all businesses remain cognizant of their obligations under the Competition Act and also to note that increasing collaboration amongst competitors carries a risk for businesses to continue down a slippery slope. Now more than ever, Canadians expect and deserve vigorous competition for their hard-earned money.With this in mind, I want to re-affirm the Bureau’s commitment to protecting competition, especially in a market as vital as yours. We must all rally together during crisis, and we must continue to ensure that those with market power do not undermine the competitive process.It is the Bureau’s responsibility to protect Canadians from anticompetitive practices, and you have my commitment that we will continue to work with all sectors to help us navigate the many challenges we’ve all experienced as a result the pandemic.Thank you for having me, and I look forward to your questions. /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:Australia, business, Canada, Commissioner, communications, Criminal, Economy, environment, future, Government, industry, investigation, resilience, statistics, United Kingdom, warrantlast_img read more

Government’s tools support ag to continue to lead nation in a reduced emissions future

first_imgGovernment’s tools support ag to continue to lead nation in a reduced emissions future The National Farmers’ Federation says the Government’s suite of climate change action measures will recognise agriculture for its significant contribution to Australia’s emissions reduction task and ensure it continues to be a leader in the mitigation of climate change. President Fiona Simson said the methodologies released today by Energy & Emissions Reduction Minister Taylor, complemented a suite of established measures and were another important tool in the toolbox.Today Minister Taylor identified five methodology priorities.“The two that the NFF are vitally interested in are soil carbon and plantation forestry,” Ms Simson said.“Soil carbon especially, needs much more research and better information about the impacts of different management practices. We are pleased that these methodologies will be designed with industry.“We also welcomed the Minister’s reiteration this week of the substantial role agriculture has already played in Australia’s emissions reduction.”Emissions from cropping and grazing have fallen by 69 per cent over the past three decades, from about 300 million tonnes per year in 1990 to about 92 million tonnes today.Ms Simson said the NFF maintained the view that farmers should have been compensated for the land clearing limitation laws that lead to the reduction.“Our members are steadfast that these credits should not be forfeited.”The NFF has a plan for agriculture to be Australia’s next $100 billion industry by 2030. To get there, an important goal is for the farm sector to be trending towards carbon neutrality by the same year.The NFF also supports an economy wide net carbon neutral target by 2050, with a number of strict conditions.“Farmers must be convinced that there are identifiable and economically viable pathways to net neutrality, including impacts from inputs such as energy; and any associated legislation must be fair and advantageous to agricultural. It’s essential that there is no unnecessary regulatory impediment.”Ms Simson said farmers shared the Government’s view that a target must be underpinned by a robust plan.“At a Government and industry level, there is a lot of good work underway on the path to a reduced emissions future.”The Climate Research Strategy for Primary Industries (CRSPI) aims to support farmers to use a common approach to develop sector specific greenhouse gas baselines and to create transparency and trust in comparing sectoral and individual responses.“Accurate and agreed-to measurement methodologies are paramount to agriculture’s full participation in emissions reduction efforts.”Ms Simson said the NFF welcomed the new levy-funded, cross-commodity Agriculture Innovation Australia (AIA) and its identification of climate as a priority area for investment and innovation.“The AIA Climate Initiative is undertaking comprehensive consultation with RDCs, the NFF, state farming organisations and peak commodity groups“We commend Minister Littleproud on bringing AIA to fruition and its focus on climate.”Meat and Livestock Australia has also updated its plan for the red meat sector to be carbon natural by 2030, to include an investment program of $230 million This commitment will complement and integrate with the AIA and CRSPI initiatives.Ms Simson said other complementary government initiatives included:The Low Emission Technology Statement, which targets five priority technology stretch goals, of which soils carbon, clean hydrogen and energy storage are of considerable interest.The Agriculture Stewardship Fund, which includes a grants scheme for co-benefits, a Biodiversity Certification Scheme and NFF’s Agriculture Sustainability Framework.The King Review of the Emissions Reduction Fund which includes recommendations for a small-scale fixed carbon price and development of stacking or co-benefit options.“There is no doubt the Government has established serious initiatives backed by significant investment, which is entirely appropriate to proactively address the wicked dilemma of climate change,” Ms Simson said.“The farm sector not only conditionally supports an economy wide aspiration of net zero emissions by 2050, we are also engaged with the considerable and demonstrable efforts underway that will put agriculture in the best position to adapt in these changing times.” /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:Agriculture, Australia, climate change, emission, Farming, Government, industry, innovation, Investment, legislation, livestock, Minister, National Farmers Federation, President, research, sustainability, technology, zero-emissionlast_img read more

Major step forward for RAF Lossiemouth upgrades as runway refurbishment finishes early

first_imgMajor step forward for RAF Lossiemouth upgrades as runway refurbishment finishes early The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) awarded a £75-million contract for the airfield operating surfaces project to VolkerFitzpatrick in August 2019. The project was expected to be completed in spring 2021 but fast work allowed the runway to be handed over to RAF Lossiemouth on 15 December 2020, following successful completion of pre-use checks.Resurfacing works are one of many improvements being made at RAF Lossiemouth, future-proofing the Moray base for years to come. Other improvements include accommodation for personnel, a new Air Traffic Control Tower, upgrades to drainage and electrical supplies, and upgraded facilities for IX (Bomber) Squadron.For most of the runway work, which started in earnest in January 2020, aircraft continued to operate from RAF Lossiemouth. This work required the RAF’s new P-8A Maritime Patrol Aircraft being delivered to nearby Kinloss Barracks and operating from there during the majority of the runway works. A short period of relocation was also needed for Lossiemouth’s Typhoon aircraft while the intersection between the Station’s two runways was resurfaced; this started in August 2020 and saw the Typhoons also operating from Kinloss Barracks as well as Leuchars Station. The intersection resurfacing finished in October 2020, allowing the P-8As and Typhoons to return and operate from their home station.The P-8A Poseidon is a submarine hunter which locates and tracks potentially hostile submarines. Home to four fast-jet squadrons flying the Typhoon, it has been some time since RAF Lossiemouth has regularly operated a larger aircraft such as the P-8A Poseidon. The P-8As represent a new era in operations from this station and a significant investment in Scotland which introduces a new UK Defence capability.Russ Liddington, DIO’s Project Manager for the resurfacing works, said:The completion of the runway works months ahead of schedule is a testament to the hard work and collaborative attitude of everyone involved in the project, whether from DIO, VolkerFitzpatrick, RAF Lossiemouth or one of the subcontractors. The runway resurfacing and associated works, such as installing new drainage and airfield lighting, will see the runway life extended by up to 25 years. I’d also like to thank the local community for their support which is much appreciated by us all.It is fantastic to see the works completed so quickly and a pleasure to see the RAF using much improved airfield facilities in support of defence.Wing Commander Pete Beckett, Director of the Lossiemouth Development Programme, said:The completion of the runway work here at RAF Lossiemouth represents the first major upgrade to be delivered by the Development Programme and to have such a complex project delivered some three months early in the challenging context of 2020 cannot be under-estimated. My congratulations must go to both DIO and VolkerFitzpatrick in achieving this milestone.For the wider Programme though, this is just the start. We already have one major project in delivery and expect to start another five projects in the first half of 2021. While we have secured the Station’s operational output through the new operating surfaces, we now turn more towards the people-focussed improvements where we are going to upgrade both working and living accommodation across the unit. The exciting times continue!Representatives from DIO, VolkerFitzpatrick and RAF Lossiemouth mark the handover of the completed runway. DIO Crown Copyright, 2020.Station Commander RAF Lossiemouth, Group Captain Chris Layden, said:It’s been a privilege to see our newly resurfaced runway so busy since its early completion.We’ve already conducted joint training with F-35B Lightning aircraft from 207 Squadron and been joined by a large US Navy detachment. That is of course in addition to our usual 24/7 Typhoon and Poseidon operations. Lossiemouth now really is a next-generation maritime patrol and fighter station!My thanks go to my team, and contractors VolkerFitzpatrick for their hard work in successfully delivering the main runway ahead of schedule.Keith Maplethorpe, VolkerFitzpatrick development director, said:Completing the works ahead of schedule has been a collaborative effort and is testament to the ongoing commitment of our teams to ensure that key projects can continue throughout this pandemic. We are looking forward to the next project at RAF Lossiemouth.As a defence critical project, upgrade work at RAF Lossiemouth has continued despite the difficulties presented by coronavirus, with various safety measures taken to make the site COVID secure. /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:aircraft, community, coronavirus, Defence, Government, infrastructure, Investment, Keith, maritime, project, runway, Safety, Scotland, submarines, U.S., UK, UK Governmentlast_img read more

BHC Honiara distributes vegetable seeds and gardening tools to Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock

first_imgBHC Honiara distributes vegetable seeds and gardening tools to Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock The British High Commission in Honiara yesterday (18th January) handed over millions of vegetable seeds and gardening tools to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.British High Commissioner to Solomon Islands and Nauru, His Excellency Dr. Brian Jones handed over the more than 5 million vegetable seeds and about 618 gardening tools to the Ministry.Handing over the items, High Commissioner Jones said:Every new seed planted brings hope. And in 2021, a sign of hope for the future is even more important.He said the UK Government is proud to support the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock replenish its stocks of vegetable seeds and garden tools, to ensure that they can support vulnerable gardeners across the provinces.At this time of year, as we face cyclone season, a good supply of seeds is the best form of savings account in the rural areas. Even if a disaster hits and damages vegetable gardens, a supply of seeds can get people’s gardens growing again and restore food security. And as low-lying areas of Solomon Islands face uncertainty in the future from climate change, food security is ever more vital.Dr Jones said 2021 will be a tough year, even as we see the shoots of our recovery from coronavirus worldwide.I am pleased to support the Ministry in its agricultural extension work, ensuring people have access to good quality seeds and the tools to grow them, across the provinces of Solomon Islands.Receiving the items, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Hon. Senley Filualea expressed gratitude to the people of Great Britain for seeing fit to donate seeds to the people of Solomon Islands through his ministry.As you are aware, the Solomon Islands budget for 2021 is not yet decided on due to the many uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But our needs are still there and are many. The need to ensure our people can live through this pandemic times and the need to keep our economy afloat are great challenges for us at this time.The challenges of the 2019 COVID-19 are still here with us in 2021. We were hoping that this year will be different but as you may have heard from the global news on status of COVID-19, it is increasing again. And despite some efforts on the availability of vaccines, we were also informed that it will take months before Solomon Islands can even have some vaccines available and the vaccine programs other countries are rolling out as well will take months, which means we will still have months of negative economic growth and food insecurity before we can all come out of this pandemic.He said the gifts, are timely.These are New Year gifts for our farming household around the country and I am honoured Excellency Dr. Brian Jones to receive these gifts on their behalf. “My ministry will ensure the distributions will reach far wide to all provinces in the country.Hon. Minister Filualea on behalf of the DCGA government, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and people of Solomon Islands thanked the UK Government for the timely support to the people of Solomon Islands. /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:Agriculture, Britain, British, climate change, Commission, Commissioner, coronavirus, Government, Great Britain, Honiara, livestock, Nauru, Solomon Islands, UK, UK Governmentlast_img read more

G20 EMPOWER: advancing women’s leadership in Private Sector

first_imgG20 EMPOWER: advancing women’s leadership in Private Sector Representatives of private and public sector work together to plan policies aimed at developing companies’ ecosystems that can promote women’s empowerment.February 2nd, 2021The G20 Alliance for the Empowerment and Progression of Women’s Economic Representation (G20 EMPOWER) brings together Private Sector leaders and Government counterparts to jointly advocate for and enact women’s advancement to leadership positions in the private sector.Launched during the 2019 G20 Summit in Japan and established during the Saudi Presidency, it includes, to date, 27 Members from G20 and guest countries. The Italian G20 Empower Presidency, held by the business association Valore D, has launched its plan of work – with the unanimous support of the Italian Department for Equal Opportunities and of the G20 Empower membership – to further progress women’s empowerment across the three cross-cutting areas of the G20 agenda for 2021: people, planet and prosperity.As stated by Paola Mascaro, Chair of G20 EMPOWER, on December 21st 2020, during the opening meeting with the Co-Chairs – Canada, Japan, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia – “this Alliance provides us with an important opportunity to have an impact: utilizing the best practices of the private sector to plan and implement, adopting a pragmatic and bottom-up approach, policies aimed at developing companies’ ecosystems which can promote women’s empowerment at the top level”.The Alliance is also intended to build, in each G20 country, a network of “advocates” within the private sector, with the aim of identifying challenges and sharing evidence-based analysis, practical lessons learned, knowledge and best practices that support the greater recruitment and advancement of women as business leaders. /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:business, Canada, empowerment, G20, Government, Impact, Indonesia, Japan, leadership, planet, presidency, Saudi Arabia, womenlast_img read more

Parliament passes laws to improve consumer access to credit

first_imgParliament passes laws to improve consumer access to credit Consumers and small business will have better access to finance following the passage through parliament of the Morrison Government’s reforms to the Mandatory Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR) Regime.The strengthened regime will deliver benefits to lenders and borrowers and drive competition in the lending market while preserving and enhancing important security and consumer protections.Australia’s largest banks will now be required to participate fully in the credit reporting system in order to provide more Australians with better access to credit. With a deeper, richer set of credit data, consumers will be able to demonstrate their credit worthiness and seek a better deal, while lenders will have greater opportunity to compete for customers with positive credit histories.Consumers experiencing financial difficulty can now better demonstrate their credit worthiness through a more accurate reporting of their circumstances. A new category of credit information will also enable financial hardship information to be reported alongside repayment history. Lenders will only have access to this hardship information in situations where the consumer is seeking to access new credit, or the consumer agrees to the information being provided.The scheme also offers consumers greater financial transparency and protections, following additional amendments made by the Government. Consumers will be able to access their credit files for free every three months. Credit reporting bodies will also be mandated to share a consumer’s credit score range, and an explanation of the input information that determines the credit score.By improving transparency and access to data in the financial services sector, the Morrison Government continues to build a stronger and more competitive economy. /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:AusPol, Australia, Australian Treasury, business, credit score, deal, Economy, finance, financial services, Government, market, Morrison, Morrison Government, parliament, security, Small Businesslast_img read more

Research shows New Zealanders want income support increased

first_imgResearch shows New Zealanders want income support increased Green Party of Aotearoa New ZealandNew UMR research reveals that 69 percent of New Zealanders agree that the government should increase the amount if income support paid to those on low incomes or not in paid work.“Everyone deserves to live with dignity, to be able to put a roof over their heads and to put food on the table. Clearly the majority of New Zealanders agree with this,” says Green Party spokesperson for Social Development & Employment Ricardo Menéndez March.The survey was commissioned by a group of more than 40 organisations and found people from across salary groups, ages, renters and home-owners largely agreed with lifting income support.“Our current social safety net just doesn’t do enough. We see this as more and more people continue to queue at Work and Income to make ends meet whilst property investors are profiting from the housing crisis.“We must go further and faster to deliver income support that enables everyone to live good lives. We will continue to push for a Guaranteed Minimum Income of $325 per week, paid for by a Wealth Tax from six percent of the wealthiest New Zealanders, so that everyone can live with dignity.“During COVID-19, we saw our collective ability to work together to change the system to protect us. The Government now has a social mandate to improve the lives of all New Zealanders, especially those who are struggling to make ends meet.” /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:covid-19, crisis, employment, food, Government, Green Party, Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, meet, New Zealand, property, research, Safety, salary, Social Development, survey, taxlast_img read more

Family Court abolition doesn’t fix problems faced by divorcing families: study

first_imgFamily Court abolition doesn’t fix problems faced by divorcing families: study Macquarie University/The LighthouseKilling the Family Court is not about to make divorce easy, quick or cheap. Indeed, Macquarie Law School research shows that without careful implementation and further reform, it is likely a step in the wrong direction, write Sonya Willis and Rose Al-Kahili.Battle lines were firmly drawn as the Senate debated, and passed, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Bill 2019 on 17 February 2021. The legislation abolishes the current Family Court of Australia moving its existing judges into the Federal Circuit Court with the Liberals and One Nation voting in favour and Labor and the Greens against.It is a move the Law Council of Australia and more than 155 stakeholders who work with Australian families has warned will have “devastating impacts on families, result in a loss of structural, systemic specialisation and dismantle the appeal division”.Their concern is that the newly approved merger of the courts (to be renamed the Federal Circuit and Family Court (FCFC)) will exacerbate problems in the “chronically under-resourced and over-burdened” Federal Circuit Court (FCC).The analysis of experts in the field does not augur well for achieving the Government’s stated aims from the legislation, which are that the “reforms … establish a single point of entry for federal family law matters, ensure the development of common Rules of Court, forms and practices and procedures, enhance judicial appointment criteria, and streamline the family law appeals pathway.”Divorce, while never easy, becomes hugely difficult in the many cases where mental health, domestic violence, addiction and/or poverty are complicating factors.It is uncontroversial that the existing family law system is failing families and society badly and that reform is essential. The difficulties arise when it comes to determining how best to reform an area of law that is fraught with complexity, pain and suffering on a bewildering scale.While there is definitely potential for improvement in family law procedure, the death of the Family Court is very likely to prove a step in the wrong direction unless it can do significantly more than just moving judges from one court to another.Based on our research, we suggest that the solution needs to focus more on the actual difficulties litigants experience in court.Reforms must consider litigants’ vulnerabilityFamily law disputes all too frequently involve vulnerable litigants and their, even more vulnerable, children. Divorce, while never easy, becomes hugely difficult in the many cases where mental health, domestic violence, addiction and/or poverty are complicating factors.Currently more than 80 per cent of family law disputes are heard in the FCC and family law makes up about 90 per cent of the FCCs workload. In many respects, the FCC already resembles a slightly cheaper version of the Family Court of Australia (FCA).The reforms are primarily about procedure and the management of cases but the legislation only really begins the reform process at best. Currently, running a family law case in either the FCC or FCA jurisdiction is time consuming, expensive and difficult, eroding litigants’ capacity to work and parent their children, let alone enjoy any quality of life.Many litigants in the FCC are self-represented and these litigants, and their children, are the most vulnerable to existing failures in the system because they cannot afford legal assistance. The reforms need to benefit litigants and their children, particuarly the self-represented ones.18 issues that disrupt the flow Our research focused on these most vulnerable litigants. In order to objectively assess the procedural problems occurring in the FCC and trends in those problems, we reviewed every reported procedural decision involving self-represented litigants in the FCC in 2013 and 2019. We examined 89 cases from 2013 and 173 cases from 2019.Merger: The Family Court of Australia building in Sydney … the Federal Parliament has voted to combine the court into the Federal Circuit Court, raising concerns that the system will be even more over-burdened.Across these cases, we identified 18 issues which disrupted the flow of litigation through the FCC and mapped their frequency.The results may come as some surprise to those thinking that combining the FCA into the FCC is going to solve the problems experienced by family law litigants. The data indicated that transfers between the FCC and the FCA caused increasing issues but, such transfers remained a problem affecting less than 10 per cent of FCC self-represented procedural decisions in 2019 and less than 2 per cent in 2013.Therefore, of itself, the combining of the FCA into the FCC is unlikely to fix the problems facing most family law litigants or the affected courts.Like many of the families appearing before it, the FCC is struggling to do the best it can with insufficient resources and conflicting imperatives.The biggest procedural issue for self-represented litigants in the FCC was their required documents being not in order as a result of them having failed to file, tender or disclose necessary material in court. This issue affected more than 30 per cent of cases in 2013 and nearly 25 per cent of cases in 2019.Other common issues included failing to comply with court procedures, not understanding the role of the court or the law and failing to maintain any objectivity in relation to the matter, particularly the best interests of children of the marriage.Delays in the court’s processes due to domestic violence issues and deliberate attempts to lie to and mislead the court were also depressingly common.Many cases suffered from numerous issues.Additional funding is crucialSadly, many of the 18 identified issues experienced by self-represented litigants are difficult to resolve without significant additional funding for additional court resources and/or legal representation.Courts determining family law disputes are often faced with unenviable decisions on how to best arrange for the care of children by parents who are struggling to cope and the division of, often inadequate, assets.Court processes must be designed as best as possible to enable courts to work out what is fair and in the best interests of the parties and their children while being simultaneously mindful of the potential trauma, invasion of privacy and inherent indignity such processes entail.Courts are doing their bestLike many of the families appearing before it, the FCC is struggling to do the best it can with insufficient resources and conflicting imperatives.The FCFC judges (including those judges joining from the FCA) will, no doubt, continue to do their very best to deliver fair outcomes to every litigant as efficiently as possible. It is vital that the reforms preserve and grow the precious expertise of the current FCA and its judges wherever possible.Hopefully, the Government will provide more resources for the FCFC and for its most vulnerable litigants and not rely too heavily on the limited (albeit important) role of procedural efficiency. It is also important that the new FCFC court producures address the procedural diffiulties identified in our reearch, which will be challenging given the volume and scope of matters the new FCFC will be responsible for.The Government and the public need to have realistic expectations about what can be achieved with limited resources and complex intractable problems.Dr Sonya Willis is a Senior Lecturer at Macquarie Law School specialising in civil procedure.Rose Al-Kahili is a Client Service Officer in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and a Macquarie University Law Honours Student /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:Australia, Australian, Courts, domestic violence, efficiency, family court, family law, Federal, Government, Law Council of Australia, legislation, Macquarie University, mental health, parliament, Sydney, universitylast_img read more

Recognising our state’s high-achieving volunteers

first_imgRecognising our state’s high-achieving volunteers South Australia will say thank you to the thousands of volunteers who stepped up over the past year to help the state battle bushfires and a global pandemic, as well as running a vast range of community and charitable activities, with nominations now open for the 2021 South Australian Volunteer Awards.Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said the awards recognise and celebrate the vital role that volunteers play in the wellbeing of our society.“Throughout one of our most challenging years in living memory, South Australian volunteers have given their time and skills to save lives and property, put food on the table for people in need, and ensure our most vulnerable community members are supported,” said Minister Lensink.“As demand for services grew and some volunteers needed to stay home to protect themselves from COVID-19, we required even more people to rise to the challenge – and that’s exactly what happened.“Nearly 2,500 new South Australian volunteers registered during the peak of the pandemic for relief volunteering positions, and these people were absolutely crucial to our response.“The Marshall Liberal Government thanks each and every volunteer whose contributions over the past year have improved the wellbeing, safety and inclusivity of our communities.”The prestigious Volunteer Awards will be presented to outstanding South Australians and local businesses at the State Government’s annual Volunteers Day Thank You event on 14 June 2021.Nominations fall into the following categories:The Joy Noble Medal – South Australia’s highest distinction for an individualvolunteerThe Premier’s Award for Corporate Social Responsibility – recognition of the strong contribution the business sector makes to our communities through philanthropy, partnerships or releasing employees for volunteer serviceThe Andamooka Community Project Award – awarded to a community, or group of volunteers, which has undertaken a community project resulting in significant community benefitThe Excellence in Volunteer Management Award – recognises the dedication and commitment of volunteer managers who support and facilitate the engagement of volunteers, presented in partnership with Volunteering SA&NT.In addition to the four state awards, volunteers in South Australia can also be recognised with a Premier’s Certificate of Recognition for outstanding volunteer service, providing an opportunity for organisations and community groups to acknowledge their most outstanding volunteers by nominating one or more for a certificate.“We are fortunate to have one of the most dedicated volunteering communities in the nation, with more than 900,000 South Australians giving their time to the community on a regular basis,” said Minister Lensink.“Each year, we take great pride in shining the spotlight on those people who have made a particularly outstanding contribution to South Australia through their volunteering efforts.“Volunteering is often a selfless act that goes without thanks, but we want to make sure they know their work is noticed and appreciated.”Nominations for the Premier’s Certificate of Recognition and South Australian Volunteer Awards close on March 26 and April 6 respectively. Eligibility criteria and applications can be made online at www.dhs.sa.gov.au/services/volunteers/recognition /Public News. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:Andamooka, AusPol, Australia, Australian, bushfires, business, community, corporate, Employees, Government, Human Services, Minister, pandemic, philanthropy, property, SA Government, South Australia, wellbeinglast_img read more