Rider killed, passenger injured after motorcycle crash – Cessnock

A motorcyclist has died, and a passenger has been hospitalised following a motorcycle crash near Cessnock this afternoon.

Just after 1pm (Saturday 24 November 2018), emergency services were called to Cessnock Road, near Duffie Drive, Neath, after reports a Kawasaki motorcycle had lost control and crashed.

The rider, a 59-year-old man, was unable to be revived and died at the scene.

The female passenger, aged in her 50s, was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Officers from Hunter Valley Police District attended and have established a crime scene.

Local traffic diversions are in place as officers examine the scene and motorists are urged to monitor livetraffic.com.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Supercars action begins

The second instalment of the Newcastle 500, the city’s biggest event, has begun with the SuperUtes first on track this morning.

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The City of Newcastle is supporting Hunter woman Charlotte Poynting in the SuperUtes class.

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Poynting, 19, is driving a SuperUte emblazoned with the colourful Newcastle brand.

A43I0402-COPY.JPGPit crews in action this morning.

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Crowds started gathering just after sunrise to score the best vantage points.

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City staff are out there greeting fans and promoting Newcastle.

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Hundreds gathered in Gregson Park, Hamilton, yesterday afternoon for signings by Supercars drivers before their star power lit up Beaumont Street in a parade of vintage cars.

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Diners spilled out of restaurants as the procession passed in the first celebration of the four-day Entertain Newcastle festival, organised with our partners to spread the high-octane atmosphere across the city.

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Darby Street will light up tonight with live music and early Christmas lights, before tomorrow sees the staging of the Supercars concert at No.1 Sportsground.

Greens say Education Minister Must Not Ditch University Sexual Assault Taskforce

The Australian Greens have called on the Education Minister to not ditch a proposed university sexual assault taskforce . Fairfax Media has revealed that the taskforce was close to being announced by former Minister Birmingham, but has since been put on hold by Minister Tehan.

Australian Greens Education Spokesperson said:

“For the Minister to effectively ditch a taskforce on such an important issue is offensive and shows he has no understanding of the very real issue of sexual assault and harrassment on university campuses. The taskforce is ready and waiting to go, why is the Minister blocking this crucial accountability measure.

“Minister Tehan would rather stand up for denialists of campus rape culture like Bettina Arndt than for students who have been working in good faith with the Government over the last few years.

“All the key players understand the need for an institutional change in culture to protect women in universities. The Minister must admit he was wrong and allow the taskforce to proceed as planned” she concluded.

Australian Greens Spokesperson for the Status of Women, Senator Larissa Waters, said:

“What a blow for women’s safety on campus that the Morrison coup has led to shelving an important reform to keep women safe.

“Women shouldn’t have to run the gauntlet of sexual assault and harassment to gain an education.

“The Morrison Government should immediately progress the taskforce and ensure universities and residences are held to account when it comes to ending rape on campus.

“The safety of women on university campuses shouldn’t be neglected because of Liberal Party ministerial musical chairs.”

Improving visibility of superannuation assets in family law proceedings

Women will get a better deal in accessing superannuation assets at the end of a relationship as a consequence of a new information-sharing initiative announced today as part of the Coalition Government’s Women’s Economic Security Package.

$3.3 million will be provided to the Australian Taxation Office to develop an electronic information-sharing system to ensure the family law courts have better visibility of parties’ superannuation assets when making property orders.

Separating couples will have access to faster and fairer family law property settlements as a result of this new system which will make it easier to identify lost or undisclosed superannuation assets.

“The Coalition Government’s Women’s Economic Security Statement is delivering practical measures to help give women greater choices about their lives and to build financial security for themselves and their families,” Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer, said.

“Improving the visibility of superannuation assets in family law proceedings is particularly important for Australian women.”

“The Coalition Government is focused on delivering a family law system that supports the needs of Australian families,” Attorney-General, Christian Porter, said.

“Getting full visibility of superannuation assets in family law matters can be complex, time-consuming and costly, often requiring parties to go on ‘fishing expeditions’ using subpoenas and other formal court processes, with no guarantee of success. This new system will ensure faster and fairer resolutions of family law property disputes.”

“Superannuation is often the most significant asset in a separated couple’s property pool, particularly for low-income households with few assets,” Assistant Treasurer, Stuart Robert, said.

“About 40 per cent of people with superannuation have more than one account.”

“In 2015–16, the gap between the median superannuation balance of men and women nearing retirement age was 42 per cent,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

“Parties to family law proceedings are legally required to disclose all of their assets to the court, including superannuation, however, in practice, parties may forget, or deliberately withhold, information about their superannuation assets.”

The non-disclosure of superannuation assets can often disproportionately disadvantage women due to a significant disparity in superannuation savings between men and women. A lack of financial disclosure by a former partner can result in women receiving a smaller share of property than they would otherwise be entitled to.”

Non-disclosure of assets in family law proceedings can also delay cases. A recent study by the Women’s Legal Service Victoria found that two-thirds of clients surveyed faced delays caused by a former partner failing to make the necessary financial disclosures.

Giving the courts access to superannuation information held by the ATO is expected to result in faster and fairer family law property settlements. It will help parties in family law proceedings, particularly women, avoid the cost and complexity involved in seeking superannuation information from multiple superannuation funds, or subpoenaing employment records.

It will also provide the family law courts with a more accurate and reliable source of superannuation information to inform a property settlement, and result in more just and equitable outcomes.

The electronic information-sharing system will commence on 1 July 2020.

Zero tariffs top Hong Kong trade talks

The future is looking good for Aussie farmers with zero tariffs to be locked in for agriculture exports to Hong Kong.
Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the Australia–Hong Kong FTA would lock in those zero tariffs and support a $1.4 billion agricultural trade relationship.
“The Coalition Government is delivering new markets and better tariffs for our farmers,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Zero tariffs for our agriculture exports to Hong Kong means we can keep exporting the high-quality produce we are known for.
“Meat, livestock, seafood and wine are some of our most valuable exports and we can now provide certainty to these industries.
“This FTA recognises our reputation as a supplier of clean, green world-class produce.
“It is also proof of the strong agricultural relationship between Hong Kong and Australia.
“Hong Kong is also a major gateway to the rest of East Asia and gives our farmers a way to tap into other markets.”
Australian agriculture continues to benefit from FTAs signed with China (ChAFTA), Korea (KAFTA), Japan (JAEPA) and Peru (PAFTA) and will be a key beneficiary from the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11).

High-Tech Hector to Boost Road Safety for Senior Australians

Virtual reality is being used in a unique project to check the driving skills of senior Australians and improve road safety, thanks to a $726,000 investment by the Morrison Government.

Called Hector VR, the Virtual Reality Driving Simulator for Older Drivers targets people between 70 and 80 years of age and is now being trialled in the Inverell district of New South Wales.

“This is ground-breaking innovation, to enable senior Australians to live longer, better lives,” said Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt AM.

“Hector VR supports people to maintain their proficiency on the road and can be used to test driving skills, to help them decide if they should stay behind the wheel.

“The thought of giving up your licence and the extra independence that comes with driving yourself can be daunting for people as they age, particularly for those in rural and regional areas.

“However, we have to make sure it is safe for them to keep driving and this technology will help with that potentially lifesaving decision.”

Developed by aged care provider McLean Care in partnership with Deakin University’s School of Engineering, the trial uses emerging interactive virtual reality, linked with smart sensor technology.

The driving simulator is contained in the shell of a Holden Captiva vehicle, to increase the sense of reality for drivers.

“Sensors are also installed which measure the driver’s reaction times and heart rate to assess their responses to a variety of situations that can arise when driving,” said Member for New England Barnaby Joyce.

“In addition to helping older drivers maintain and test their skills, Hector VR is designed to help those with medical conditions, such as dementia and who can no longer drive, to re-live the driving experience.

“The virtual driving scenarios are modelled on the township of Inverell including important local buildings, major shopping centres, retail outlets and landmarks to make the user’s experience as realistic as possible.

“The simulator includes differing road environments and realistic scenarios such as country driving and various levels of traffic.”

Development of the virtual reality driving simulator was funded through the Government’s $34 million Dementia and Aged Care Services grants scheme, which is promoting innovation across the country.

“I congratulate McLean Care and Deakin University on this exciting project, which is already attracting national and international attention,” said Minister Wyatt.

The Government’s work to support senior Australians is backed by a record $5 billion boost to aged care over the next four years.

ACCC releases electricity monitoring discussion paper

The ACCC is commencing a new inquiry into the supply of electricity in the National Electricity Market and is consulting on how it will undertake this role.

The ACCC has been tasked with monitoring and reporting on the supply of retail and wholesale electricity in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the ACT, until 2025. It will have a focus on monitoring prices, profits and margins, including the effect of policy changes in the National Electricity Market.

The ACCC will report, at least every six months, on information it obtains from energy companies, including the prices customers are paying for electricity and the underlying factors for any significant price movements.

The ACCC will be looking to use existing sources of data, but, where necessary, will use its compulsory information gathering powers to obtain crucial information from retailers and other market participants. The ACCC will specifically be examining whether any wholesale cost savings are being passed through to customers.

In its July 2018 report on restoring electricity affordability and Australia’s competitive advantage, the ACCC made recommendations that would bring about increased competition and lower supply costs so as to reduce prices significantly for businesses and households. The ACCC has been asked to monitor the effects of policy changes, including those resulting from its July 2018 report recommendations.

A discussion paper for the inquiry, published today, is seeking submissions on three key areas:

  • the analytical framework for this role, including our expectations of market outcomes and participant behaviour, and the measures we will use to monitor and analyse prices and behaviour
  • how we will monitor the impact of policy developments
  • the processes and timing for the collection of information, including what data we will require.

“This new long-term role for the ACCC will ensure pressure remains on all players in the energy supply chain to behave in a competitive way and only pass on those costs that are reasonable. It is also important that they pass on any cost savings to consumers,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“The ACCC will also be monitoring whether the policy changes it recommended are helping to drive low prices to consumers.”

“If we find problems in the market that aren’t being fixed by existing policy tools, we will be making recommendations to government on what extra changes are needed,” Mr Sims said.

“The ACCC is interested in views on how we are to perform this new function, to ensure that we provide the most useful information to the government and the public while imposing the least information burden necessary on the energy companies.”

Responses to the discussion paper will help inform the ACCC’s first report, which will set out the ACCC’s approach to monitoring, as well as expectations for how an effectively competitive market should be functioning and how market participants should be behaving. The ACCC will hand its first report to the Treasurer by 31 March 2019.

Submissions close by 19 December 2018 and can be emailed to ElectricityMonitoring@accc.gov.au(link is external).

The discussion paper and terms of reference are available at Electricity Market Monitoring.

Background

On 20 August 2018, the then treasurer, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, directed the ACCC to hold an inquiry into prices, profits and margins in relation to the supply of electricity in the National Electricity Market.

The ACCC must provide its first report to the Treasurer, the Hon Josh Frydenberg, by 31 March 2019 and a second report by 30 September 2019, with reporting to continue at least every six months until 2025.

Australia’s population to reach 30 million in 11 to 15 years

Based on current trends, Australia’s population is projected to reach 30 million people between 2029 and 2033, according to the latest figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Population projections are based on assumptions of future levels of fertility, life expectancy and migration, which are guided by recent population trends.

Anthony Grubb, Director of Demography at the ABS, said: “The projected time for the nation to grow by 5 million people on current indications will be similar, if not a little shorter, than the 14 years it took to grow from 20 million to 25 million.

“Looking further ahead, based on the medium of our three main projection assumption series, Australia could add a further 10 million to our current 25 million by the year 2043.

“However under our higher range of fertility, mortality and migration assumptions the population would reach 35 million 5 years earlier in 2038. Conversely, under lower assumptions the population would only reach 35 million a decade later in 2053.”

Historical and projected population of Australia

Under all assumptions, the population of New South Wales is projected to remain as the largest state with a population of between approximately 9 and 9.3 million. Victoria is projected to experience the largest and fastest increase in population; possibly reaching between 7 and 8 million by 2027.

Queensland is projected to continue growing over the projection period, increasing to 6 million people in 2027. Western Australia is projected to increase to 3 million by 2027, while South Australia is projected to have slower growth, increasing to 2 million.

The population of the Australian Capital Territory is projected to increase to between 479,000 and 510,000 people closing the gap on Tasmania’s population which is projected to reach between 545,000 and 573,000 people in 2027. The Northern Territory is projected to increase to between 270,000 and 284,000 people in 2027.

 

Projected population, States and territories, at 30 June

Series A (a)
Series B (b)
Series C (c)
2027
2066
2027
2066
2027
2066
‘000
‘000
‘000
‘000
‘000
‘000

New South Wales
9 285
14 796
9 152
13 088
9 022
11 754
Victoria
7 908
14 525
7 694
12 030
7 497
10 091
Queensland
5 931
10 469
5 789
8 718
5 676
7 507
South Australia
1 866
2 437
1 853
2 214
1 838
2 040
Western Australia
2 935
4 926
2 941
4 760
2 928
4 493
Tasmania
573
744
559
581
545
453
Northern Territory
270
386
277
439
284
490
Australian Capital Territory
510
939
495
775
479
612
Australia (d)
29 284
49 226
28 766
42 608
28 274
37 444

(a) Higher assumptions of fertility, life expectancy, overseas and interstate migration flows.
(b) Medium assumptions of fertility, life expectancy, overseas and interstate migration flows.
(c) Lower assumptions of fertility, overseas and interstate migration flows, and a medium assumption of life expectancy.
(d) Includes Other Territories.
Selected population milestones, Australia, Series A, B and C

Population Milestone
Series A (a)
Series B (b)
Series C (c)

30 Million
2028/29
2030/31
2032/33
35 Million
2038/39
2043/44
2053/54
40 Million
2048/49
2058/59
. .
45 Million
2058/59
. .
. .

(a) Higher assumptions of fertility, life expectancy and overseas migration flows.
(b) Medium assumptions of fertility, life expectancy and overseas migration flows.
(c) Lower assumptions of fertility and overseas migration flows, and a medium assumption of life expectancy.

Further information is available in Population Projections, Australia, 2017 (base) to 2066 (cat. no. 3222.0) available for free download from the ABS website.

ACCC not satisfied with proposed OxoPak marks

The ACCC is proposing to reject an application for four certification trademarks for certain biodegradable plastics by OxoPak Pty Ltd.

OxoPak is seeking to register the marks as part of its certification scheme for plastic bags and other packaging materials that meet certain specified standards of oxo-biodegradability.

The ACCC has concerns that the marks may give consumers the impression that the plastic product complies with certification standards relating to food safety, marine life safety, environmental sustainability and waste reduction.

“We accept that in the right conditions oxo-biodegradable plastics can break down faster than other plastics, but our initial assessment is that these trademarks make representations that go beyond this and may mislead consumers,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.

”The OxoPak marks may give consumers the impression that certified plastic products meet particular food safety standards, or have no harmful impact on marine life and the environment, but these factors are not assessed as part of the certification process, which only deals with oxo-biodegradability.”

“Businesses applying for approval of certification trademarks must ensure that the certification standards are consistent with what the marks indicate to consumers,” Mr Keogh said.

“Businesses should also ensure that the marks are not misleading, confusing or ambiguous.”

The ACCC invites further comments and submissions before it will proceed to a final assessment of the applications in early 2019.

Background

The certification trademarks are illustrated below.

OxoPak certification trademarks

OxoPak states that its proposed certification trademarks are intended to indicate that the product bearing the marks meets ‘higher standards of degradability, biodegradability, and eco-toxicity than other products within the same product category’.

The ACCC has a role in assessing and approving rules for the use of a CTM. As part of its assessment, the ACCC examines the rules to ensure they are not to the detriment of the public, or likely to raise any concerns relating to competition, unconscionable conduct, unfair practices, product safety and/or product information.

The ACCC conducted a public consultation of the marks to inform its initial assessment. The ACCC received submissions from OxoPak, Planet Ark and the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, Plastic Free July Foundation, Australian Bioplastics Association Incorporated, and Good Environmental Choice Australia.

All submissions received are available on the ACCC’s online consultation hub. The proposed certification trademark rules, and a copy of the ACCC’s initial assessment are also available via the consultation hub.

Interested persons have one month from the time the ACCC’s initial assessment is published by IP Australia to provide written or oral submissions, or seek a formal conference, before the ACCC makes its final assessment.

AIR FORCE HELPS YOUNG WOMEN SOAR

Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, and Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP, today welcomed the opening of the inaugural AIR4 event which aims to encourage young women to see the value in pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) studies.

More than 1,400 female students and 80 teachers participated in various interactive activities at Melbourne’s iconic Luna Park, including learning about driverless cars and experiencing HoloLens firsthand.

Minister Pyne said the interactive activities offered students the opportunity to have fun with rides and attractions while exploring the possibilities of STEM-related fields.

“Women represent only 16 per cent of STEM graduates across Australia. In order for Defence, and indeed the country, to get the very best capability, we need to have greater female participation in STEM subjects,” Minister Pyne said.

“We may have the next aerospace inventor, satellite engineer, or a future fast jet pilot at the AIR4 event. For these girls, we see their future as limitless, and we would like them to see it that way too.”

Minister Ciobo said activities like AIR4 offered students the opportunity to better understand how STEM subjects can be applicable across all professions and industries.

“It’s great the students got to engage in exhibitions such as the Augmented and Virtual Reality, where participants could fly or watch a pre-recorded flight, wear protective equipment and helmets used by Defence personnel every day and test new wireless sensing systems,” Minister Ciobo said.

Students also had the opportunity to attend a special screening at St Kilda’s Palais Theatre, of Jasper, a cutting-edge animation made in partnership with the Royal Australian Air Force and the University of Technology Sydney.

Jasper was made to spark interest in aviation and developed using both traditional techniques and new technologies such as robotics and 3D printing.

The film was recently awarded Gold at the prestigious 2018 Animation Effect Awards and Festival. Jasper’s character is based on Squadron Leader Jacqueline Killian, who voiced the main character and will share her personal story and career achievements at the event.

To watch the Jasper animation, visit: www.airforce.gov.au/ 

More information on AIR4 is available at: www.air4.com.au/ 

DST is a proud sponsor of the AIR4 initiative.