The Federal Government has announced it will invest $719 million to deliver improved primary health care and increase access to dental and allied health care services as part of the Strong Futures package.

The funding will be delivered over the next 10 years with an aim to improve the health and wellbeing of 65,000 Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, which is set to include new alcohol and drug treatment services.

The Australian Government will continue to fund Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and the Northern Territory Government to deliver primary health care services, which involves more than 250 full-time staff delivering medical, nursing and allied health services in 80 primary health care clinics. 

The Federal Government has announced $8.56 million in funding from the Urban Waterways Renewal project to assist in improving water quality of the Swan and Canning Rivers.

The Queensland Government has announced it has appointed Peter Costello as the head of the Independent Commission of Audit into the state’s finances.

The New South Wales Government has announced it will fund the employment of an additional 200 full-time teachers to target underperformance in literacy and numeracy across government and non-government schools.

The Victorian Government has hit out at the recently announced 3-year rollout plan of the National Broadband Network (NBN), saying that the state has been duded.

The Federal and Victorian Governments have announced nearly $100 million in joint funding initiative to keep the Melbourne based Australian Synchrotron running for the next four years.

Under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to be signed in the coming hours, the Federal Government will contribute $69 million, while the Victorian Government will contribute $26 million to the project.

The future of the research facility was thrown into doubt when the Federal Government and incoming Liberal Government refused to confirm funding in either of their budgets.

Federal Science Minister Senator Chris Evans said the funding will allow the facility to continue its cutting edge experimental research.

“Without this funding deal, the ongoing operation of the facility was in doubt, jeopardising important research here in Australia,” Senator Evans said.

Victorian Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business, Louise Asher, said the new arrangement meant the Australian Synchrotron will continue to provide a platform for future medical research and innovation in Victoria.

"The Synchrotron has found its rightful home as a truly national science facility," she said.

"Victorian researchers and industry partners will continue to experience the benefits of ready access to advanced scientific infrastructure in this State."

Research conducted at the Synchrotron, which is the size of a football field, has already:

  • laid the foundations for the development of a new class of anti-malarial drugs;
  • identified the distributions of nutrients in cereal grains which could help improve the nutritional value of foods; and
  • helped develop an energy efficient high-temperature superconductor (HTS) that could be used in motors, generators and transformers.

"The Australian Synchrotron is used by major companies for research. For example, research is being conducted at the facility on behalf of Rio Tinto to recover copper from ores and tailings. Research has also been conducted for BHP Billiton and Cochlear, amongst many other companies," Senator Evans said.

The Australian Synchrotron hosts more than 3000 researchers each year and conducts about 500 experiments each year.

The South Australian Government has announced the immediate suspension of water trading with New South Wales to South Australia until the end of March to protect the state’s entitlement flow.


The suspension comes after the Victorian Government cut trade for the remainder of the 2011-12 water year from NSW.


Minister for Water and the River Murray Paul Caica said the Victorian and NSW suspensions demonstrate that when it comes to Murray-Darling Basin water the upstream states will always act in their own self-interest without regard to its broader impacts within the Basin.


“The trade suspensions announced by Victoria and New South Wales have forced the South Australian Government to suspend water allocation trade from New South Wales into South Australia from the close of business March 23 to March 31 inclusive,’’ he said.


“The Government will honour all trades that have been already lodged for processing between NSW and South Australia.


“While making this limited suspension of trade is unfortunate, taking no action could jeopardise SA’s entitlement flow for the 2012-13 water year – potentially leading to a reduction in water allocations for consumptive users and the environment.


The New South Wales Government has announced intentions to cut spending to WorkCover after a PriceWaterhouseCoopers audit report found the agency was over $4 billion in deficit. The audit found that the agency had recorded a $1.7 billion blowout in its debt in the past six months.

Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings has welcomed the final stage of the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) that is expected to generate up to 800 jobs.

The Victorian Government has announced it has scrapped its Labor predecessor’s carbon reduction target after an independent review found that keeping the state-backed target jeopodised the state’s growth.

The Independent Verification Group has released its assessment of the Tasmanian forestry industry’s timber supply requirements and the conservation values of nominated areas of Tasmania’s native forests.


Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said delivery of the advice to the Australian and Tasmanian Governments, and the community, was a significant milestone in the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA). 


The Federal and Tasmanian Governments are currently in the process of implementing the IGA as part of the response to increasing pressures and challenges faced by the timber industry, which has shed thousands of jobs in the recent years as a result of changing timber market conditions.


The IGA was developed in response to calls from the industry, unions and environment groups.


Professor Jonathan West led an independent process with forestry and conservation groups to verify the high conservation value of native forests nominated under the IGA, and the timber supplies needed to meet industry needs. The independent verification process was agreed by groups involved in the IGA.


“The Tasmanian forestry industry faces huge challenges and that’s why we are working hard to support workers and secure a sustainable future – without the IGA timber communities would be hit by these market changes without the support they need,” Mr Burke said. 


“For the first time we have an independent view of the current demands for wood supply and the different conservation values of areas within Tasmania.


“This independent information provides a foundation for any discussions about jobs, timber communities or conservation. Without the IGA, this foundation would never have been established.


The report can be found here





State Regional Development Minister, Brendon Grylls, said that with the project will include construction of an intermodal terminal and rail realignment in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, as well as a sealed road link between Wiluna and Meekatharra.

A new survey conducted for the Water Corporation’s Groundwater Replenishment Trial at Beenyup has found that three out of four people support moving to a full recycling scheme.

The New South Wales Government has bought the company that owns the light rail and monorail system in Sydney with an eye to eventually dismantle monorail system to accommodate a new convention centre at Darling Harbour.

New South Wales Minister for Local Government, Don Page, has told a conference on women in local government that more women are needed in councils to better reflect their communities.

The South Australian Government has signed up to the Federal Government’s National Partnership Agreement on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining agreement, becoming the third state to agree to ‘tougher regulations for future coal seam gas and large coal mining projects’.

The Victorian Government has announced it has awarded the $60 million Hurstbridge line upgrade to Abigroup, with work set to begin shortly.

The Federal, Victorian and South Australian Governments have announced a $275 million co-investment in Holden to keep its operations in Australia

The South Australian Government has released a plan that will see Adelaide’s Tonsley Park transformed into a centre for ‘high-value and innovative manufacturing companies’.

Victorian Minister for Local Government, Jeanette Powell, has convened the inaugural 2012 Local Government Ministerial-Mayors Advisory Panel (MMAP).  

The New South Wales Government has announced it will seek to introduce legislation that will ensure that a person can only serve in one elected position in either State Parliament or a council.

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