World Game Partnership to Kick Goals for First Nations Health

The health, wellbeing and future prospects for children in remote communities will be winners, through a major extension of the successful John Moriarty Football program to 12 centres across New South Wales and Queensland.

The Liberal National Government is committing up to $4.5 million for the expansion, to be driven through a partnership between the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) and John Moriarty Football (JMF).

JMF and FFA will work together to provide senior coaching staff, mentoring, training and education for children involved in the program. FFA will also identify and support pathways to national football programs.

“This is a game-changing move for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, designed to help children between two and 16 to reach their full potential in football, in education and in life,” said Minister for Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt AM.

“We have seen the success in the remote Northern Territory centres of Borroloola and Robinson River which have been involved in the program since it was established in 2012, with more than 90 per cent of children in Borroloola now participating.

“Two hundred children have enrolled each year, including Shay Evans who is now playing with the Westfield Young Matildas.

“I congratulate Shay and her fellow JMF scholarship winners but scores of other participants are also continuing to kick personal and life goals, both on and off the field.”

The JMF program is community driven, with children are supported to attend school and make healthier lifestyle choices.

The expanded program will focus on primary health through:

    • Nutrition programs, with meal plans developed by a sports dietician
    • Mental wellbeing, through emotional self-regulation training, with coaches focussing on building resilience
    • Community cohesion, through gatherings to support tournaments and holiday clinics encouraging community interest and participation
    • Parental involvement to enable families to improve health through physical activity

“JMF is extremely grateful for this very significant funding commitment,” said Moriarty Foundation Managing Director Ros Moriarty. “We look forward to replicating our model of football as a powerful tool for wellbeing, supporting resilient, healthier outcomes for young players, their families and communities.”

NSW and Queensland communities to participate will be selected on the basis of evidence of strong local interest and intention to embrace the program.

“Our game has a deep history of Indigenous participation, and this step will allow us to do so much more to improve health outcomes for Indigenous children,” said Moriarty Foundation Board Member and FFA Board nominee Craig Foster.

“Football has the power to unite the whole community to support opportunity for all young Australians.”

FFA Chief Executive David Gallop said FFA had been a keen supporter of John Moriarty Football for several years.

“Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic has visited Borroloola on a number of occasions and scouted Shay Evans back in 2014,” he said. “This announcement will help achieve our vision of involving more Indigenous Australians in football, as players, coaches, referees and administrators.

“We look forward to working closely with John Moriarty Football to generate significant health and community benefits while offering a pathway for Indigenous footballers to emulate the success of Young Matilda Shay.”

Regular sport and physical activity, particularly for young children, has documented and far reaching health benefits.

“It reduces the risk of obesity, increases cardiovascular fitness, promotes healthy growth of bones and muscles, improves coordination and balance, and gives children a greater self-confidence and belief in their abilities, on and off the sporting field,” said Minister Wyatt.

“The JMF program has the potential to contribute to Closing the Gap in health equality, education and employment, and positively impact on the high chronic disease prevalence rates among First Nations people.”

The three-year funding will be provided through the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme over 2018–19 and 2020–21. For more information on John Moriarty Football visit the website.

DonateLife Thank You Day – every organ and tissue donor makes a difference

Today, on DonateLife Thank You Day, we honour organ and tissue donors and their families across the nation, for the thousands of lives they have saved and transformed.

DonateLife Thank You Day is important because organ and tissue donation is important. Approximately 1,400 Australians are currently on transplant waiting lists, and a further 11,000 people are receiving renal dialysis, many who could benefit from a kidney donation.

Today and every day, we should recognise the selfless and generous people who make organ and tissue donation possible. This includes families, who play a crucial role by confirming their loved one wanted to be a donor.

So far this year there have been 1,296 organ donor recipients, an increase of 10 per cent on this time last year. Many thousands more have benefited from eye and tissue transplants.

Thanks to both deceased and living organ and tissue donors, recipients are given a second chance, enabling them to resume an active role within their families, to return to work, to plan for a future and live life to the full.

I encourage all Australians to show their support by attending local Thank You Day events, sharing a thank you message on social media and acknowledging organ and tissue donors, as well as their families, with the hash tags #DonateLife and #ThankYouDay.

Since January this year, there have been 172,993 new registrations on the Australian Organ Donor Register, up more than 16 percent on 2017.

Thank You Day is a good time to consider becoming an organ and tissue donor, too.

Talk to your family and loved ones, then go to donatelife.gov.au – you can register instantly on your phone, tablet or computer. All you need is your Medicare card.

It takes just a minute but remember – that minute could make a lifetime of difference for the people in need of organ or tissue donation.

For more information about DonateLife Thank You Day, visit donatelife.gov.au/tyd

ACCC will not oppose Santos’ acquisition of Quadrant

The ACCC has decided not to oppose Santos Limited’s (ASX: STO) proposed acquisition of Quadrant Energy Holdings Pty Ltd.

Santos and Quadrant are active in the production and supply of natural gas (and related condensate by-products) and crude oil in Western Australia. The parties also jointly own domestic gas processing facilities and associated fields at Varanus Island and Devil Creek.

The ACCC found after detailed investigation that it is unlikely that the proposed acquisition will result in a substantial lessening of competition in the supply of gas to domestic customers in Western Australia.

“The ACCC considers that a combined Santos/Quadrant will continue to face strong competition from a range of suppliers, including large LNG producers such as Chevron and Woodside,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“Most market participants believe the Western Australian domestic gas market is currently oversupplied. While the demand-supply balance could tighten in future, the ACCC considers that the proposed acquisition will not have a significant impact on future gas prices.”

“In Western Australia, gas exporters are required to reserve 15 per cent of their gas for the domestic market, so this should ensure that gas available for domestic customers continues to grow, and from a range of players,” Mr Sims said.

In addition, the ACCC approached the relevant WA government departments and no concerns were expressed about the proposed acquisition.

Many market participants also did not express competition concerns, but some customers did and the ACCC investigated those concerns and took them into account in its assessment of the proposed acquisition.

Further information is available at Santos Ltd – proposed acquisition of Quadrant Energy.

Background

Santos is an ASX-listed company that produces oil and gas in Australia and Papua New Guinea. In Western Australia, aside from interests held jointly with Quadrant, it has interests in exploration and undeveloped gas assets in the Browse, Bonaparte and Carnarvon Basin.

Quadrant is an oil and gas company with a primary focus on activities in the Exmouth and Carnarvon Basins in Western Australia. Aside from interests held together with Santos, it jointly owns the Macedon domestic gas processing plant with BHP, and has interests in various oil joint ventures and exploration permits, including in the Bedout Basin.

Honey investigation concludes due to testing uncertainty

The ACCC has concluded its investigation into allegations Capilano Honey Limited (Capilano) breached the Australian Consumer Law in relation to representations about its ‘Allowrie’ honey and other products.

The investigation followed allegations in the media that a number of honey products including Capilano’s ‘Allowrie’ honey, labelled ‘pure’ and ‘100% honey’ were adulterated with sugar syrup.

The allegations were based on results arising from a testing process known as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) testing. NMR testing can be used for a variety of applications, but has only recently emerged as a testing method for honey adulteration.

The ACCC is advised NMR testing is not yet reliable enough to determine whether honey is adulterated and therefore should not be used as a basis to support legal action. This is consistent with the approach of regulators in the UK, US and the EU.

The ACCC’s investigation found Capilano had taken steps to provide assurance, and did not uncover any other evidence that supported the allegation Capilano’s ‘Allowrie’ honey was adulterated with sugar syrup.

“During the course of our investigation however, it also became evident that there is low confidence in the current test method (the C4 test) used to detect adulterated honey.

“Governments and research agencies around the world are investigating alternative testing methods, including NMR, but these are not yet developed to the point they can be used with sufficient confidence,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.

Since 2015, the Department of Agriculture has tested imported honey using the C4 test, which did not detect adulteration in ‘Allowrie’ honey or some supermarket private-label products.

“The ACCC understands that where there are different tests for honey products that produce different results, it can cause significant frustration among consumers and industry,” Mr Keogh said.

“We understand the Department of Agriculture, which is best placed to determine the most appropriate form of honey testing, is reviewing testing standards.”

“It’s important that consumers have confidence in the claims made about the foods they purchase, including honey. The ACCC urges the honey industry and the Department of Agriculture develop an agreed approach to testing, and implement more robust programs to provide greater assurance about the integrity of their products,” said Mr Keogh.

Background

The allegations raised with the ACCC in September 2018 related to blended Australian and imported honey and not Capilano’s Australian honey range. Consequently, the ACCC’s investigation only focused on Capilano’s blended imported and Australian honey product under the Allowrie and certain supermarket private label brands.

The inspection of imported honey is the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture.

The Department of Agriculture does not use NMR testing to test honey for adulteration.

Sydney man arrested over 190kg New Zealand cocaine seizure

A 41-year-old Alford’s Point man has been arrested in Australia and approximately 190 kilograms of cocaine seized in New Zealand following a joint international operation involving the Australian Federal Police (AFP), New Zealand Police and New Zealand Customs.

An investigation into an Australian-based organised crime group identified a potential shipment of illicit drugs that left Balboa, Panama, on Saturday, 4 August 2018. On Monday, 20 August 2018, a container listed as a shipment of bananas arrived in Auckland, New Zealand, on a vessel from Balboa, Panama.

New Zealand Customs and New Zealand Police examined the container and located five large duffle bags containing approximately 190 kilograms of cocaine, making it the largest cocaine seizure of the drug at the New Zealand border. Further forensic testing will determine the exact weight and purity of the cocaine.

The cocaine was replaced with an inert substance and Australian and New Zealand agencies began a controlled delivery after it was identified the drugs were destined for distribution in Australia.

On Wednesday, 14 November 2018, AFP officers conducted search warrants in the Sydney suburbs of Alford’s Point and Wiley Park. The 41-year-old man was later arrested in the Sydney CBD this morning (Thursday, 15 November 2018) after surrendering to police.

Police will allege in court the man was attempting to take possession of approximately 57 kilograms of the substituted cocaine. Further enquiries are ongoing into the source of the illicit drugs and other potential recipients in Australia.

The man appeared before Sydney Central Local Court yesterday, was scheduled to reappear on Wednesday, 16 January 2019.

AFP acting Commander Kirsty Schofield, State Manager NSW, said the success of this investigation is another example of the AFP using its partnerships to combat international drug syndicates attempting to bring harmful substances into our communities.

“We will continue to work closely with our domestic and international law enforcement partners to combat transnational crime and bring charges against those in this evil trade. This investigation demonstrates the power of intelligence sharing and inter-agency cooperation in striking at the heart of globally-connected criminal syndicates impacting Australia.”

The man was charged with one count of attempting to possess a commercial a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.5, by virtue of section 11.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

APRA launches review of capital requirements for private health insurers

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has commenced a review of the capital standards for private health insurers to ensure they remain sufficient to protect policyholders.
The review of the capital framework for private health insurance (PHI) is the final phase of APRA’s PHI Roadmap, launched in 2016 shortly after APRA took over regulatory responsibility for the sector from the Private Health Insurance Administration Council (PHIAC). Phase One, focused on risk management, took effect from April this year, while Phase Two, aimed at lifting standards of governance and decision-making, was finalised in September and comes into force from 1 July next year.
APRA will now turn its attention the capital framework it inherited from PHIAC to ensure it remains fit for purpose. Aside from examining whether the minimum capital requirements sufficiently support PHI resilience, APRA will consider more closely aligning the framework to the capital framework used by life and general insurers.
Executive Board Member Geoff Summerhayes said APRA was responsible for keeping the industry on a sustainable footing so policyholders remained confident that valid claims would be paid.
“Private health insurers have been under duress for several years as declining affordability pushes younger, healthier policyholders out of the system, putting further upward pressure on premiums. In times of stress, holding healthy levels of capital enables insurers to continue honouring their commitments to policyholders. This review will determine whether the existing framework still adequately supports that objective,” he said.
APRA will shortly commence consulting with industry and other stakeholders ahead of releasing a discussion paper on potential revisions to the capital framework towards the middle of 2019.
Mr Summerhayes said capital levels in PHI were broadly appropriate, and did not need to be reduced.
“The review may conclude that minimum regulatory capital requirements should be lifted to better reflect the risks faced by the industry. Even then, many insurers already have sufficient holdings to absorb an increase without the need to raise additional capital.
“Any changes to the capital framework are unlikely to materially affect premiums; claims costs, rather than capital levels, have been the primary driver of health insurance premium rises over recent years,” he said.
Phase Three of the PHI Roadmap is expected to be finalised before the end of 2020, with transition arrangements put in place to help insurers adjust to the new framework.
A letter to industry outlining the review process and timeline is available on APRA’s website at: https://www.apra.gov.au/review-private-health-insurance-capital-framework

Australia commits to strengthening nuclear and radiation safety

The Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) team today concluded their 12 day mission to benchmark Australia’s framework for nuclear and radiation safety against international best practice.

The IRRS mission, facilitated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), spent the last fortnight interviewing staff and reviewing ARPANSA and state and territory regulatory authorities’ practices.

This was the very first IRRS mission to undertake a comprehensive multi-jurisdictional review, including all six states, two territories and the Commonwealth, and this was identified as a good practice by the IRRS team. Besides this, the report noted Australia’s robust national safety framework and detailed several other good practices, while also identifying areas for improvement.

ARPANSA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson, expressed his commitment in keeping the momentum of the IRRS going.

“I am very pleased with the diligence and transparency of all parties. The IRRS has enabled us to come together, and have a frank and open discussion not only about the national framework for radiation and nuclear safety, but also about  the mechanisms for its efficient and effective implementation”.

“The purpose of inviting an IRRS mission to Australia was to learn from our international peers with a view to continuously improve, and together, we achieved this goal”.

“I am very grateful to the IAEA for putting together such an experienced and dedicated team. We welcome the recommendations and suggestions and are pleased we received recognition for what we do really well”.

Good practices identified include:

  • ARPANSA, together with state and territory regulatory bodies, has established comprehensive guidance that addresses existing exposure situations.
  • ARPANSA has a well-developed strategy to compensate for the departure of qualified staff.
  • ARPANSA integrates all types of risks in the management processes, the regulatory activities, and day-to-day work activities in a holistic and comprehensive way.

Many of the recommendations and suggestions confirmed or elaborated on the actions identified by Australia as a result of its self-assessments. Highlights include:

  • The Commonwealth Government, in conjunction with State and Territory governments, should consider formalising the existing elements of the framework for safety into a comprehensive national policy and strategy for safety.
  • The Commonwealth Government should make a firm commitment and take actions with specific milestones to address decommissioning of facilities and radioactive waste management by assuring the strategy, programmes, funding and technical expertise for safe completion are in place.
  • The Commonwealth Government should ensure full implementation of the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources. This will continue to promote the safe and secure use of radioactive sources. This will ensure the safety and security of the domestic and international communities and fulfil Australia’s commitment to this important international instrument.
  • The Governments of all jurisdictions should ensure that all parties, having accountabilities for safety of facilities and regulatory activities, have the necessary capabilities and human resources to carry out their responsibilities.
  • Regulatory bodies in all jurisdictions should assess domestic and international experience related to nuclear and radiation safety and evaluate the need for updating their processes for authorization, review and assessment, inspections and regulations.
  • ARPANSA should establish criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of licensee’s emergency exercises and assign roles and responsibilities to its staff during emergency situations.

Dr Larsson highlighted the tremendous effort put into the review, and next steps.

“I acknowledge the hard work of the states and territories, and extend my sincere thanks for their contributions and efforts which enabled this one-of-a-kind multi-jurisdictional review”.

“We look forward to working with them and relevant Commonwealth departments to bring the IRRS recommendations into fruition. We will create an action plan to address these findings with full consideration of IAEA safety standards”.

The IRRS report will be finalised by the IAEA over the coming months and provided to ARPANSA in early 2019, after which the report will be made public on ARPANSA’s website.

$51.5 Million Boost to pursue Criminal Prosecutions for Financial Misconduct

The Liberal National Government is providing an additional $51.5 million to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) and the Federal Court of Australia to enable further prosecutions of criminal misconduct by banks and other financial institutions and to ensure civil claims are dealt with effectively and expeditiously.

ASIC’s increased enforcement activity, stemming from the additional $70 million in funding from the Liberal National Government, is expected to give rise to more prosecutions by the CDPP and more civil corporate misconduct cases before the Federal Court. This includes cases highlighted by the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

As part of this funding boost, an additional $41.6 million will be provided to the CDPP over eight years. This funding will allow the CDPP to consider more prosecutions put forward by ASIC and hire additional prosecutors to manage the increased caseload. This additional funding will also allow the CDPP to prosecute cases faster to ensure individuals and companies that have broken the law face justice sooner.

A further $9.9 million will also be provided to the Federal Court of Australia over four years to fund the appointment of additional resources including two new judges to support civil cases. These appointments will enable the Federal Court to accommodate an increase in disputes with financial institutions as well as civil claims resulting from ASIC’s increased enforcement activity.

The Government has also asked the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) to conduct a review of whether the Federal Court’s criminal jurisdiction should be expanded to include corporate crime. Any criminal prosecutions for misconduct by banks and other financial institutions are currently heard in state courts and hence have to compete with state cases for resources and scheduling. The creation of this additional criminal jurisdiction in the Federal Court would allow these prosecutions to be prioritised and penalties for breaches of the law to be handed out faster. The AGD will consult with relevant stakeholders including the states in undertaking the review and provide its report to the Government in January next year.

Further, the Government will establish a Committee of Regulatory Enforcement Strategy chaired by the Attorney-General’s Department and comprising representatives from the relevant agencies that regulate the financial services sector. These agencies will meet on a regular basis to discuss enforcement matters in the sector and provide feedback to the Government on regulatory and civil enforcement policy.

These initiatives and the additional funding underscore the Liberal National Government’s commitment to ensuring that these agencies and our broader justice system are appropriately resourced to effectively hold banks and other financial institutions to account for misconduct. A strong financial sector which is trusted by Australians is part of the Coalition’s plan for a stronger economy.

Memorial hosts centenary military history symposium 1918: The end of “the war to end war”

As part of centenary commemorations of the Armistice that ended the First World War, the Australian War Memorial today hosted a special one-day symposium exploring the last year of the war: 1918: The end of “the war to end war”.

11 November 2018 marked 100 years since the guns of the Western Front in France and Belgium fell silent, after more than four years of the bloodiest conflict the world had then seen. The end had come more suddenly than most military and political leaders anticipated.

The Memorial’s symposium brought together a program of leading military historians including Professor Robin Prior, Visiting Professorial Fellow at the University of Adelaide, to cast fresh light and discuss the climactic events of 1918 – from the failed German Spring Offensives to Australia’s final infantry action in the costly capture of Montbrehain.

Historians from the Memorial’s Military History Section, including Ashley Ekins, Lambert Western Front Fellow Dr Aaron Pegram, and Dr Meleah Hampton, also delivered papers as part of the event.

Head of the Memorial’s Military History section, Ashley Ekins, said one of the Memorial’s principal aims is to disseminate knowledge and understanding of Australia’s military history.

“This symposium hosted by the Memorial provided an opportunity for historians to examine the end of the war and Australia’s role in it, sharing their knowledge and insights with symposium participants.

The event brought together people from different backgrounds, perspectives, and knowledge. It provided a forum for informed discussion and debate, connecting people seeking to understand a pivotal event in history and its impact on Australia,” Mr Ekins said.

The event included a question and answer session and an opportunity for attendees to engage with historians and authors in an informal environment.

Western Sydney Airport taking off

Significant progress on Australia’s biggest aviation project in decades took substantial steps forward today, with two major contract milestones achieved on Western Sydney Airport.

Experienced planning, design and engineering firm Arup won the Airport Planning Services contract, following a competitive procurement process.

Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann said Arup has a strong track record in planning and building major infrastructure, both in Australia and across the world.

“They’ve been working in various capacities on huge infrastructure projects including Optus Stadium in Perth, Brisbane’s new international cruise terminal, as well as projects at Melbourne and Perth airports,” Mr Cormann said.

“As Airport Planner, the Arup team will work closely with Western Sydney Airport to develop an overarching plan and functionality design for airside and landside facilities.”

Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said early planning will be key to unlocking the airport’s potential in terms of job creation and new export opportunities.

“Western Sydney Airport has been projected to support 11,000 jobs during construction and a further 28,000 in the first five years of operation,” Mr Tudge said.

Functional planning for the airport to develop the architectural design of the terminal and other airport buildings will be delivered under a separate contract that is yet to be procured.

In addition, Western Sydney Airport has released requests for tender to three organisations for the first bulk earthworks package for airport construction, following an expressions of interest phase:

  • CPB Contractors and Lendlease joint venture;
  • Ferrovial Agroman and QH & M Birt joint venture;
  • Salini Impreglio.

Mr Tudge said the announcement follows initial earthworks on the airport which began in September.

“The first bulk earthworks contract is to level the northern half of the 1,780-hectare site, which involves moving around 11 million cubic metres of earth,” he said.

The northern half of the site will be the location of the first 3.7-kilometre runway.

A second runway is expected to be required in the 2050s.

The contract for this first bulk earthworks package is expected to be awarded in mid-2019. The four remaining major works packages will be released to the market progressively and cover a range of work, including earthwork on the southern half of the site and construction of the terminal, runways, car parks and supporting buildings.