A Few Words About Us

Australian GovLink is published bi-annually with a purpose to promote and review major initiatives in local, state and commonwealth government departments and to encourage the principles of progress through partnerships between the private sector and government.

A+ R A-

Medical marijuana to become legal in Australia

Sunday, 18 October 2015 00:00 Published in GOVERNMENT NEWS



The Australian Federal Government has announced that it plans to make changes to the Narcotics Drug Act of 1967 which will allow the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes. However it will be up to individual State Governments to legalize the drug for medical use. The proposed changes were announced by Health Minister Sussan Ley who said that the government cares about people suffering from illnesses and wants to provide the most effective treatments.

Marijuana has been used as a means of providing pain relief for people suffering from terminal illness and other diseases. Retired nurse Lucy Haslam initiated a petition on to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, after her son used the drug to help ease the pain of cancer before he died aged 25. Over 246,000 people signed the petition. Lucy Haslam said in a blog post “It wasn’t until a fellow cancer sufferer suggested he try cannabis that his life with cancer became a little more tolerable.”

It is currently illegal for any person to grow, posses, use or sell marijuana in Australia with consequences ranging from fines to prison sentences. This can make the acquisition of the drug difficult and expensive for those who seek it for medical reasons. Sussan Ley explained “Currently there are already systems in place to license the manufacture and supply of medicinal cannabis-based products in Australia, however there is no mechanism to allow the production of a safe, legal and sustainable local supply,”

Cultivating cannabis in Australia would could be economically beneficial as it would stop a reliance on importing the drug from Europe. Should other legal barriers be overcome, it may also be possible for states to export the drug overseas, potentially generating millions of dollars for state economies. Parallels might be drawn with Tasmania’s $300 million poppy industry which produces 45% of the world’s opium for use in pharmaceutical painkillers. New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland all plan on trialling medicinal marijuana and its effectiveness for pain relief and treatment for various illnesses.

The Federal Government will not be changing the status of marijuana for recreational purposes. “Cannabis is classified as an illegal drug in Australia for recreational use and we have no plans to change that,” Sussan Ley.

smart pave


UK Telecommunications Company Virgin Media are rolling out a new innovation which literally puts free Wi-Fi under the feet of its users. The so called “Smart Pavement” will be tested in Chesham in the UK as it aims to bring high speed Wi-Fi to residents, businesses and visitors alike.

The Smart Pavement works by installing wireless routers underneath manhole covers which can be wired directly to the core network. Virgin Media already has a large network of ducts and manhole covers across the UK so it is simply utilising what it already has. The wireless routers are equipped with specially designed antennas which sit under a resin based manhole cover. The design of the antennas and manhole covers allows for a signal range of around 80 metres.

The Smart Pavement also provides a very high speed internet connection to its users with speeds of up to 166Mbps being reported. This is around 7 times the average broadband speed in the UK. According to Virgin Media this will allow a user to download a full episode of a show with a file size of 634Mb in less than 35 seconds.

Virgin Media hopes that the Smart Pavement will help people by keeping the community connected and also save people money on their mobile bills. It is not yet known whether more Smart Pavements will be tested in other areas.



Water run-off from roads and pavements can be a major cause of damage in areas that experience severe flooding. In 2007 the American Midwest was hit by repeated flash flooding due to heavy rainfall from hurricane Dean and tropical storm Erin. Over 2 thirds of homes damaged in these events were flooded by water run-off from concrete. On a smaller scale, flooding can also be experienced on roads due to other occurrences such as burst water pipes.

The problem is the lack of a permeable layer on the surface of many roads and pavements. This means that a majority of liquid is not absorbed and simply runs off or pools in sections. Pooling water can create a hazard on roads for motorists and also on footpaths for pedestrians.

UK building materials company Tarmac may have a solution to this problem. It has developed a new kind of ‘thirsty concrete’ that can absorb up to 4,000 litres of water in the first 60 seconds with an average of 600 litres per minute, per metre squared (see video below for demonstration).

Named Topmix Permeable, the concrete is made with a permeable surface layer compiled of relatively large pebbles. This allows water to drain through fast and effectively. Underneath the surface is an ‘attenuation layer’ made of a kind of loose rubble. This then leads into the city’s underground reservoirs. Capturing all this running water allows for it to be filtered and reused as irrigation, drinking water, swimming pools etc.

Permeable concrete technology has been around for around 50 years but until recently, was mainly used underneath the surface to help with drainage. The problem being that due to its porous nature, it could not sustain the weight of heavy traffic for extended periods of time. Researchers at Tarmac believe that Topmix Permeable is capable of dealing with the demands of a busy road.

If ripping up old concrete entirely and replacing it with Topmix Permeable is not feasible, it could be used in conjunction with existing concrete. Topmix Permeable can be installed alongside existing concrete so that the runoff from old roads, footpaths etc. is fed into the ‘thirsty concrete’.

Another bonus of Topmix Permeable is its ability to stay much cooler than regular asphalt in hotter climates. "During periods of rising temperatures and intense rainfall, water stored within the system evaporates creating a cooling effect reducing surface temperatures," Tarmac said in a press statement. Unfortunately it cannot be used in cold climates where water has the potential to freeze as this can expand the concrete and damage it.



Manuka set to trial smart parking in early 2016

Thursday, 01 October 2015 10:54 Published in Transport



In an effort to continue a city-wide transport reform, the ACT Government will implement a 12 month smart parking trial in Manuka beginning early next year. ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said in a statement “One of the priorities for my government is a comprehensive reform of transport in Canberra – from light rail and buses to better roads and active travel”. This will now include the smart parking trial which was first outlined in the Government’s Digital Canberra Action Plan 2014-2018.

Smart parking aims to reduce congestion in town centres and also save drivers time with the use of smart phone apps and real time traffic signs. Information regarding parking congestion will be captured by in-ground sensors which will then be relayed to smart phones and intelligent traffic signs. Drivers are able to use this information to determine where their nearest available parking space is. Manuka’s local retailers may also see advantages during the trial as smart parking is predicted to increase turnover of parking spaces.

The trial was originally set to commence in 2015 but was set back due feasibility issues regarding the launch of a free WiFi network in the precinct. The WiFi network is an integral part of the smart parking system and will be launched before the trial, however a date is yet to be announced.

There are some potential down sides to the smart parking trial for users including the possibility of peak and off-peak prices for parking. There is also a risk that users will be distracted by the mobile application if they look at their phones whilst they are driving. However user will be encouraged to plan their journey before they start driving and make use of the real-time traffic signs.

The ACT Government will judge the success of the trial after the 12 month period. If the results are positive, smart parking may be expanded across Canberra as part of a five year implementation plan linking it to free WiFi networks.

UK to test electric car charging lanes

Monday, 21 September 2015 00:00 Published in Transport



The British Government is set to trial new road technology that would allow electric car users to charge their vehicles whilst they are driving. One of the major complaints with electric cars at the moment is that they just don’t go as far on a full tank as regular cars. Charging stations are becoming more frequent but these still require vehicles to be stationery in order to recharge.

The 18 month trial, set to begin later this year, will see cables buried underneath specialised charging lanes which will generate an electromagnetic field. Vehicles will also be fitted with wireless receivers in order to pick up the energy and convert it to electric power. Roads will be able to detect approaching electric cars thanks to a communications system so that the process can begin before the car has actually arrived.

A similar trial is already in place in South Korea which sees electric shuttle buses able to recharge as they travel along a 12km stretch of road. In this system cables are also placed underneath roads but generate electricity from a process called Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance.

This is a major project for the British Government who are committing £500 million over the next 5 years. This will also include an increase in the number of charging stations across the country so that one can be found every 20 miles. "Vehicle technologies are advancing at an ever increasing pace and we're committed to supporting the growth of ultra-low emissions vehicles on England's motorways," said the government's chief highways engineer, Mike Wilson.

There are sceptics for this kind of technology who believe that the cost of such a project would be too high and that it may not be economically viable in the long run. Also that with the continuous improvements being made in battery technology there may never be a need for recharging roads.



Australia’s newest Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has released details regarding a reshuffling of cabinet, one week after he announced to the Australian public that he would be challenging former Prime Minister Tony Abbott for the leadership. In what Mr Turnbull has labelled “a 21st century government and a ministry for the future,” there have been a number of changes including an increase in the number of women in cabinet, reshuffling of positions and dumping of several senior ministers.

Malcolm Turnbull, who became Austalia’s 29th Prime Minister last Monday (14th September), is the fifth Prime Minister Australia has seen in the past 5 years (including Labor’s Kevid Rudd twice). A multimillionaire and former investment banker, lawyer and technology entrepreneur, Malcolm Turnbull is seen as a favourable choice for Prime Minister by many in the business community.

One of the first challenges faced by the new Prime Minister is to mend party divisions following the ousting of Tony Abbott. According to Mr Turnbull "One of the great challenges for any leader is to ensure that there is renewal. That…we are able to bring up new talent, new faces, into leadership positions over time”. Some of the major changes to cabinet include the promotions of Scott Morrison and Maris Payne who have been appointed treasurer and defence minister respectively.

Scott Morrison, who has previously served as immigration minister and social services minister, replaces former treasurer Joe Hockey who recently announced his resignation from parliament after nearly 20 years of service. Mr Hockey is expected to replace Kim Beazley as Australia’s Ambassador to the United States in Washington.

The appointment of Maris Payne as defence minister was perhaps one of the biggest surprises in the cabinet reshuffling as many expected former education minister and now industry, innovation and science minister Chris Pyne to receive the role. Maris Payne becomes Australia’s first female defence minister and is one of five women in the new cabinet. She replaces Kevin Andrews in the role who served as defence minister for less than one year.

Other women to be appointed new roles in the cabinet include Michaelia Cash as minister for employment, women and the public service and Kelly O’Dwyer as minister for small business and assistant treasurer with responsibility for tax reform. They join Deputy Party leader and foreign minister Julie Bishop and minister for health and minister sport Sussan Ley as women who retained their roles.

Mr Turnbull said of the changes to cabinet “…this is a process of renewal as you will have gathered there are some very big changes in the Cabinet,” also that there are “Very big changes to meet very big challenges to help all of us seize very big opportunities."

3D Printers can build 10 houses in 24 hours

Friday, 18 September 2015 11:55 Published in GOVERNMENT NEWS

3d print


A private Chinese inventor has discovered a way to build 10 houses in just one day. Ma Yihe uses a series of four 3D printers, each are 10 x 6.6 metres in size, which precisely construct these full sized single story homes layer by layer. The printers use a mixture of refined construction waste and cement to build the walls of the houses which have been designed carefully to ensure safety and practicality.

Ma Yihe has also constructed his company headquarters and research centre using the 3D printers. His office covers an area of 10 square meters and was constructed in about a month. Ma Yihe does admit however that the technology currently faces limitations as the 3D printers are not yet capable of constructing the roofs of these buildings.

Traditional building methods, including mining for raw materials, can be damaging to the environment. The 3D printing method uses waste from demolished buildings and industrial waste and construction material which can often simply be dumped. As well as being safer for the natural environment, 3D printing can also create a safer work environment for builders.

The houses constructed using the 3D printing method are produced for around US$5,000. This makes them a viable option for low cost housing in poverty stricken areas. In fact Ma Yihe’s company has ambitions to upgrade the poor housing conditions in some Chinese villages using the 3D printed homes. Not only this, he hopes that one day his 3D printers will be able to construct skyscrapers! For more informatio see the video below.





The Port Adelaide inner harbour is a popular tourist destination in South Australia. Visitors are able to spot dolphins on a river cruise, grab a hidden treasure at the market and learn about nautical history at the maritime museum. Now it appears that a world class aquarium, right in the inner harbour, may be on the cards. “We have so many dolphins down the Port River and we’ve even had a whale in the Port River so to me it makes sense we have some special marine centre” says Port Mayor Gary Johanson. Local businesses are also right behind the idea and believe it would drive up tourism in the area.

Bringing an aquarium to Port Adelaide was an idea that was first flagged in a 2011 Port Adelaide Enfield Council-commissioned study as a potential tourist development in the area but the idea never got off the ground. But perhaps now with the State Government’s plans to sell 40ha of waterfront land in the inner harbour, the Port Adelaide aquarium idea may have legs as a means of stimulating investment from developers. It is hoped that the sale of 6 key waterfront will generate around $2 billion from developers.

The Sea Life Aquarium in Sydney’s Darling Harbour sees around 1.2 million visitors pass through its doors each year and holds 13,000 animals from 700 different species. Mr Johanson says of a Port Adelaide aquarium, “It would be similar to one at Darling Harbour in Sydney, just on a smaller scale.” He also adds that an aquarium would be a great education resource for children.

The idea for a Port Adelaide aquarium comes after comments from Tourism Minister Leon Bignell late last year suggesting a large seafood market, also similar to that found in Sydney, would help rejuvenate the area and boost tourism.

Mr Johanson hopes to meet with Mr Bignell to discuss plans for an aquarium and will aim to form a partnership with the State Government in order to raise private funding for the project.



The Crown of Thorns Starfish, also known as COTS, which has been devastating the Great Barrier Reef for the past 40 years may have just met its match. Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have developed a robot specifically designed to detect and eliminate COTS on the Great Barrier Reef. The COTSbot, as it’s known, is a small submarine type robot equipped with a unique underwater detection system (see below video). This allows it to identify COTS on the reef and proceed to eliminate them through a pneumatic injection arm filled with a fatal dose of bile salts.

COTS have been identified as one of two major causes for the decline of coral in the Great Barrier Reef. The other being tropical cyclones. The invertebrates eat healthy corals and in the right conditions, their numbers can reach plague proportions.

Currently the threat of COTS is being tackled by human divers who search the reef for the pest and inject them by hand. However there aren’t enough divers out there to keep COTS numbers down across the entire protected area. Weather conditions and time limitations can also effect the efficiency of human divers.

The COTSbot has the ability to dive for 8 hours at a time and deliver 200 injections. It can work in any weather conditions, day and night, and could be used in fleets of 10-100 COTSbots at a time. Matthew Dunbabin from QUT’s Institute for Future Environments sees the COTSbot as a “first responder for ongoing eradication programs – deployed to eliminate the bulk of COTS in any area, with divers following a few days later to hit the remaining COTS.”

“Its computer system is backed by some serious computational power so COTSbot can think for itself in the water,” said Feras Dayoub of QUT’s Science and Engineering Faculty and Australian Centre for Robotic Vision. “If the robot is unsure that something is actually a COTS, it takes a photo of the object to be later verified by a human, and that human feedback is incorporated into the robot’s memory bank.”

Trials with the COTSbot on the Great Barrier Reef will begin later this month which will involve scientists verifying each COTS identification that the robot makes. Autonomous trials are scheduled to commence in December. Assuming the trials are successful, researchers hope to raise funds so that COTSbots can be deployed as a real solution to fighting COTS and protecting the Great Barrier Reef.


COTS Detection System




An end to the mining boom is believed to be a major cause for driving the Perth housing market down. According to the Core Logic RP Data Hedonic Home Value Index for August, Perth suffered a 1.3 percent slide in house values for the quarter. This was only shaded by Canberra, the worst performing capital city, which saw a 1.7 percent fall. The best performing capitals were Sydney and Adelaide which had 1.1 and 0.7 percent rises respectively.

The combined capital growth for Australia in the past year stands at 10.2 percent. However a closer look at the data would show that this figure is largely due to stand out performers Sydney and Melbourne. Annual growth rate data shows that there is a large gap between leading city Sydney and the rest of country. Sydney’s annual growth rate of 17.6 percent put it way in front of the next highest growth rate, 10.2 percent reached by Melbourne. Core Logic RP Data head of research, Tim Lawless, said that Sydney’s high annual growth rate has come after strong performances in the past 2 years. “Since the beginning of 2009, (Sydney) has recorded a cumulative capital gain of 76 percent,” Mr Lawless said. This equates to an approximate increase in value of a typical Sydney home of $309,000 since 2009.

The other capitals to have positive growth for year were Brisbane (3.9 percent), Adelaide (1.8 percent) and Hobart (1.5 percent). Perth’s negative growth rate of 1.8 percent for the year was topped only by Darwin’s 4.6 percent slide. According to Mr Lawless “Darwin and Perth have certainly felt the brunt of the downturn in resources investment”. The current market conditions in Perth and Darwin are expected to continue over the next year.


About Us

BGP Publishing
PO Box 159,
Newport Beach,
NSW 2106

Ph. 1800 720 585