Victorian Government announces $36.8m for regional police stations

vic police regional developmentPolice are the latest target of a spending blitz by the Victorian Government.

Almost $600 million will be spent in next week’s state budget on public safety, including $36.8 million on regional police stations.

New police stations will be built at Colac, Murtoa, Bright, Warburton, Mallacoota, Cowes and Corryong.

And $2.94 million worth of refurbishments will take place across stations at Bacchus Marsh, Bairnsdale, Benalla, Churchill, Cobden, Geelong, Lakes Entrance, Maffra, Moe, Mount Buller, Portland, Rosebud, Sorrento, Warragul and Warrnambool.

Almost $4 million will be spent replacing or upgrading police residences across Victoria.

Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Justice, Ben Carroll, announced the regional funding in Colac this week.

“Community safety is paramount,” Mr Carroll said.

“The Government is delivering on a commitment to provide better resource for a modern police force,” Mr Carroll said.

The State Government will be spend $11.47 million building the new Colac police station, an announcement welcomed by Colac Otway Shire mayor Frank Buchanan. To read more click here.

The 3rd Australian Regional Development Conference; Participation and Progress will be held in Canberra on 5 – 6 September 2016.

The conference explores opportunities for innovation in regional Australia. With its rich resources, diversity, and value, regional Australia is the catalyst for the future.

Addressing issues such as sustainable development, environmental sustainability, land use, community development, investment, agribusiness and innovation it is an opportunity not to be missed.

To register for the conference CLICK HERE.


Rural towns critical to refugee resettlement

The Land

NSW country towns will be crucial to the resettlement of Syrian refugees, with government already receiving a heartening response from local councils.

Professor Peter Shergold, the state’s co-ordinator general for refugee resettlement, said NSW could take more than half of the 12,000 Syrians bound for Australia, with regional towns identified as ideal long-term destinations.

He said several rural communities had approached the government with offers to house refugees, teach them English and provide jobs, ahead of the first arrivals expected by December.

“I think rural and regional NSW will be crucial to this effort,” Professor Shergold said.

“If (refugees) know there is local government that is willing to welcome them, that there are community organisations that can lend support, that there is the prospect of part-time and full-time work – then my view is that many of the refugees will be willing to give regional NSW a go.

He said the availability of health and education facilities would be critical in determining the communities where refugees could be based.

“The whole point of this co-ordination is not just to provide immediate settlement services – as important as those are – but to see how we can help the refugees contribute to Australia.

“Often when refugees come here they have family connections. That’s one of the reasons they are relocated in Sydney, Newcastle, and Wollongong.

“But we should expect these refugees (from Syria) will not have those connections, and will be far more open to taking up opportunities in regional areas.”

Professor Shergold said the perception that refugees would be welfare-reliant was incorrect.

Read more.

Bush telecommunications needs help with more reforms

The Australian, 3 September 2015.

Vodafone Australia chief Inaki Berroeta.

Vodafone Australia chief Inaki Berroeta.

Recently I drove to Armidale in country NSW to open a new ­Vodafone retail store with the local federal MP and Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce. During the drive I had cause to reflect on the potential for improved mobile telecommunications in regional Australia.

Vodafone will soon be building more than 18 mobile base stations in the region around Armidale, dramatically improving our ­mobile coverage by an extra 2000sq km. This will deliver better mobile coverage and more employment opportunities in the community while giving more choice and competition to local consumers and businesses.

This would not have been possible without the government’s mobile black spot program and the support of the NSW government, which fund not only improvements in mobile coverage but also competition in regional and remote areas where it is severely lacking. The combination of subsidised construction of mobile stations with a requirement on industry to work together to share infrastructure is a major step forward for which both governments deserve significant credit.

Our geography and low population density means there are major challenges in ensuring regional and remote Australians can benefit from a choice of fixed and mobile telco providers.

Many Australian taxpayers would be surprised to learn that over the past decade Telstra has received more than one billion of their dollars to maintain and ­extend its network. There would be a huge outcry if a major supermarket chain received such substantial amounts of taxpayer funds to maintain its market dominance, but such a huge handout to the incumbent telco has gone largely unquestioned.

Further, Telstra charges monopoly prices for other operators to access its fixed transmission links, many of which were built when Telstra was a government-owned monopoly. To build mobile base stations, carriers need to connect to these fixed transmission links to take the voice and data traffic to the rest of the world. But there are some shoots of green; the policy environment is changing. The NBN rollout and the mobile black spot program are solutions

Australia will not achieve its potential, or lift its long-term economic and social wellbeing to its highest level without access to modern telecommunications services at affordable prices.

These are exciting opportunities and we look forward to ­continuing to work with government, industry and consumers to maximise the benefits of more competition and choice in telecommunications for regional and remote Australia.

Inaki Berroeta is the chief executive of Vodafone Australia.

View the full article here.

The population dilemma facing Australia’s cities

Originally Published by Brisbane Times 24 August 2015, Tony Moore.


Aspial Corporation’s planned 30 Albert Street residential tower is expected to be the tallest in Brisbane Photo: supplied

Community by community, Australia’s capitals are facing the decision of whether to grow up or grow out.

As populations increase, city planners are working to increase population density in selected areas, but often face accusations of making blind “taller is best” decisions.

The Gold Coast has announced its plan to concentrate urban development in the new Southport CBD.

On Monday Brisbane City Council announced it would debate a development of a 91-storey “vertical village” in the CBD – the third building that will bump its head on Brisbane’s nominal ceiling height of 27 metres.

A forum titled “How are cities responding to urbanism?” will be held at Brisbane’s Customs House on September 1, attracting two of the world’s most influential thinkers on tall buildings to Brisbane.

One of the international guest speakers is Ahmad Abderlrazaq, project director of the world’s tallest building – Burj Kalifa – in downtown Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The second international speaker is Carol Willis, director of New York City’s Skyscraper Museum; who will talk about the world trend towards “super-slim” towers.

Brisbane’s Renaye Peters, the former chair of the Queens Wharf Precinct, property development manager at Brisbane Airport Corporation, a member of the Urban Land Development Authority and most recently a director at architect’s Conrad Gargett will moderate the morning sessions on Australian case studies.

“The symposium is about densification of our cities,” Ms Peters said.

“We believe it is time to have a mature discussion on the challenges of the growth of our urban areas,” she said.

“And how our buildings respond and how our built environment responds.”

“The discussion that we have formed with a range of other speakers is around ‘How do our cities respond’ in a way that makes them liveable and affordable,” she said.

“Some of the great cities around the world have great density, but they are still affordable and they are still liveable.”

Brisbane’s Lord Mayor Graham Quirk in March 2013 said Brisbane needed to review its “ceiling height” of 279 metres, calling for authorities to change the angle flights could arrive in and out of Brisbane’s airport.

Cr Quirk – trying to encourage greater density – argued raising the height limit from 279 metres to 300 metres allowed “six extra storeys and an extra $624 million in high rise investment in inner-city Brisbane.”

Brisbane has over the past five years begun this debate, with new urban areas at South Brisbane’s Kurilpa Point, the new Queens Wharf precinct being planned and the increasing density of the Brisbane CBD now more obvious.

Increasing city density will make a future underground rail system more viable and the range of debate on how to help fund this infrastructure.

View the full article here.




Karen Corr of Make a Change Australia to present at the Australian Regional Development Conference

Karen Corr, Director of Make a Change Australia to to present at the Australian Regional Development Conference being held next week (26– 27 August 2015) at the Commercial Club Albury.

The Conference is an initiative of the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc., a non-Government ‘not-for-profit’ organisation.

Karen Corr

Karen Corr

Speaker Introduction: Karen Corr is an engineer turned changemaker, social entrepreneur and facilitator. She is the founder and Director of Make a Change Australia, an organization set up to empower people to create change in their own communities.

Karen spent 10 years working as an Environmental Engineer providing technical services and water modeling, sustainability strategies and specialist consulting with a firm focus on the triple bottom line.

In 2009 Karen started her own business EcoSuccess providing sustainability & project management services for business & community. In addition to running her business, Karen invested substantially in local leadership positions including the Inaugeral President of the Bendigo Sustainability Group and Chair of the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance.

Karen is a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs and was awarded the accolade of Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012. She was a 2014 Victorian State Finalist of the Rural Women’s Award.

It was during her time at the School of Social Entrepreneurs that the idea for Make a Change Australia was born. Since then she has been developing and implementing innovative programs to empower people to create change in their communities such as the Inspiration Café, Outside the Square, Expand Your Impact and Let’s Nut it Out initiatives. Whilst delivering the majority of her work in Central Victoria, a new partnership with Jump Leads NFP provides the possibility for further expansion across regional Australia.

Presentation Title: Just like LEGO! Building Bridges – Connecting Sectors. Community Engagement that works.
Co-Author: Sharon Seyd, Director at Jump Leads NFP

Overview: Local Councils are committed to progress, community development and public service. They are the responsible public authority, required to adopt transparent and sometimes cumbersome protocols. These systems that hold Councils to account are necessary, critical in fact – but they can sometimes stand in the way of the dynamic interaction with local communities.

To view and/or download the Australian Regional Development Conference program please click here.