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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.

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The Federal Government’s Work for the Dole program could give rural councils around Australia the helping hand they need as well as aid unemployment. The program which came into effect in July has been rolled out in several rural areas of South Australia and currently involves around 4,700 people. Work for the Dole aims to give long-term unemployed people the skills, accreditation and experience to get back into the work force. It is also hoped that the program will boost the self-confidence of those who have been out of full-time employment.

Changes to welfare entitlements are a key part of the Federal Government’s $6.8 billion Job Active program. The Government has previously said that it wants to end the “age of entitlement”. These changes now mean that people aged 18-29 on income support will need to work at least 25 hours per week on an approved project for 6 months each year. Individuals aged 30-49 will need to work 15 hours and those aged over 50 can volunteer on the projects.

There were many critics to the changes which were first announced in the 2014 budget. However it would appear that cash-strapped rural councils are now, and will continue, seeing the benefits of programs such as Work for Dole. Mid Murray Council chief executive Russell Peate says that "It's a positive thing for projects councils can't get to, giving back to the community and for the participants to be more job ready".

Recently the Mid Murray Palmer Cemetery, in South Australia, had a group of Work for the Dole participants help to bring the property from disrepair by clearing overgrown weeds and repairing fences. “It gives the guys an incentive to get up in the morning, be prepared for what they need for the day and it gives them drive to prove themselves and to work for somebody” says Ben Wallacetown who is the Mid Murray Work for the Dole supervisor.

The Work for the Dole program will involve 55,000 people in Australia and could be a key method of driving down unemployment nationally. The Federal Government will provide grants to councils to run projects in office administration, IT, retail, hospitality, the environment and restoring historic buildings.



It appears Samsung may be the latest contender in the race to provide worldwide internet coverage. In a report released by the technology giant, Samsung believes that a network of some 4,600 micro satellites orbiting the earth will provide a means of bringing the internet to some of the poorer and more remote sections of the globe.

Aside from a global network, the micro satellite system would also provide a solution to an internet congestion problem which could reach a head in the coming decade. It is predicted by the year 2028 there will be around 5 billion internet users worldwide using at least 1 zettabyte of data per month. This is 1 billion terabytes. The micro satellites would be positioned much closer to Earth than the current communication satellites which are around 35,000 kilometres from the Earth’s surface. Having the Samsung satellite in Low Earth Orbit would increase the speed of data transmissions and reduce delay. The number of 4,600 is required to provide constant worldwide coverage as the satellites orbit around the Earth. This way no one satellite is dedicated to any particular part of the Earth.

As mentioned earlier Samsung would be joining a race to provide global internet coverage which includes a number of other giant companies. One is SpaceX who recently received an investment of US$1 billion from Google and Fidelity which is believed to be in support of its own internet satellite program. Another is OneWeb, which was initially backed by Virgin and Qualcomm, but has now raised around US$500 million from investors including Airbus Group, Hughes Network Systems and The Coca-Cola Company. The funding is said to be in aid of OneWeb’s space telescope system which aims to provide internet to the masses by 2019. There have also been other ventures more closer to the Earth’s surface such as Google’s internet balloons in Sri Lanka and Facebook’s internet drones.

Providing poorer and remote areas of the world with a reliable internet source would likely have a positive effect on a companies’ global brand and image. But perhaps a larger source of motivation for a company to provide worldwide internet coverage would be the opportunities presented in being able to promote its own products and services and that of its investors.

Samsung is yet to announce any further plans regarding the satellite network.



A joint media release from NBN Co and Senator Mathias Cormann earlier this week highlighted an updated corporate plan for the company in charge with delivering high-speed broadband to Australians. The 2016 Corporate Plan indicated that by the year 2020, all homes and businesses in Australia will have access to the NBN (National Broadband Network).

Currently only around 1 in 10 Australian premises have access to the NBN. However the plan shows that by June 2018, around 75% of premises will have access. NBN Co will continue to prioritise areas which currently have little to no broadband connectivity during the rollout. Last year this figure equated to around 1.6 million premises.

The NBN rollout footprint will nearly double every year for the next 3 years according the corporate plan. NBN Co will be seeking to double its construction workforce in order to stay on schedule with the plan. This will involve educating and reskilling around 4,500 workers.

There is no specific broadband technology favoured by the government. This gives NBN Co the freedom to choose the best mix of technologies to complete the rollout as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. A multi-technology mix (MTM) approach has a peak funding requirement of $46 billion to $56 billion according to the updated plan and will be completed by 2020. This is an increase from the December 2013 Strategic Review forecast of $41 billion. However the MTM approach is still estimated to be around $30 billion less than an all fibre to the premises (FTTP) approach which has a peak funding requirement of $74 billion to $84 billion.

Being one of Australia’s largest and most complex infrastructure projects ever, there are still risks that the peak funding requirement will rise given the possibility of certain scenarios which are modelled in the plan. The media release outlines a commitment by the Government to complete the NBN rollout as quickly and at as low a cost to the taxpayer as possible.



Recent shark attacks on the NSW North Coast and other parts of Australia have led to a Federal Government campaign which will see an increase in shark surveillance and tagging. The $250,000 campaign will launch leading up to the warmer spring and summer months which will see an increase in public activity on Australian beaches.

The NSW town of Ballina has seen two deaths this year as a result of suspected shark attacks. Recently 3 great white sharks were spotted in areas near where the attacks occurred. Ballina Shire Mayor David Wright said that the sharks were sometimes found 10-15 metres off the beach in waist deep water. Mr Wright stated "The DPI (Department of Primary Industries) needs to find out why they are doing this. This never happened before".

Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair has said in a statement "I am acutely aware of the concerns of communities on the North Coast following a spate of recent shark attacks -- we want to make sure we do everything we can to help keep swimmers and surfers safe in our waters”. Mr Blair also stated "Let's not forget the ocean is the domain of the shark, however, this Government is taking action to gain a better understanding of the local risks and how they can be reduced to help inform and protect the public”.

The campaign will see world-renowned shark experts temporarily relocate to the North Coast of NSW. Here they will conduct research that will lead to a better understanding of shark populations and their interactions with humans. The research program will involve on-water surveillance as well as tagging and tracking of local sharks. There will also be an investment towards educating the public to be SharkSmart.

The campaign to better understand shark behaviour differs from previous requests by some members of the public to cull sharks found near popular swimming beaches. The practice of culling sharks is seen by Marine Biologists as ineffective and potentially harmful to shark populations. "Indiscriminately culling sharks is dangerous to marine ecosystems, not to mention expensive and futile. We would be far better off allocating resources to achieving a greater understanding of the ecology and behaviour of these large predators," Jane Williamson, Macquarie University Associate Professor in Marine Ecology.



Over one month ago adult affair website Ashley Madison was broken into by hackers. The hackers threatened to release details of some 32 million users including names and email addresses unless the site was closed down immediately. Recently, the hackers made good on this threat. The website who’s slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair” is marketed to facilitate extramarital affairs. In other words, it is a dating site for married men and women who wish to cheat on their husband or wife.

Earlier this week the Associated Press (AP) in the US released a report which was compiled after analysing the data dumped by the hackers. The report indicates that some 15,000 email addresses from government and military accounts were linked to Ashley Madison. These include those of US Attorneys, an Information Technology Administrator in the White House’s support staff, a Justice Department Investigator and a Division Chief. Other employees visited the website from networks in the Pentagon.

In an attempt to hide their identity, some employees would use non-government emails and handles such as “sexlessmarriage” and “soontobesingle”. Some would also pay for the accounts using pre-paid credit cards. However users could still be identified by their I.P. addresses as they accessed their account on office networks.

The policies regarding visiting such websites during work hours varies between agencies. The fact that these are US government employees on taxpayer time is one issue. Another is raised when considering the fact these are individuals with sensitive jobs who could be blackmailed. Individuals who used military emails to access Ashley Madison could be faced with further problems as adultery can be a criminal offence under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The fallout from the break in of Ashley Madison is ongoing and will have far reaching effects. Recently a second data dump was released by the hackers which appears to contain emails belonging to the CEO of Ashley Madisons parent company, Avid Life Media inc, as well as internal documents.

mojave solar


The central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh will lay claim to having the world’s largest solar power station by March 2017. The facility will take around 18 months to complete and be operational. The power plant will be built on barren, government owned land on an area of around 15km². The 750-megawatt (MW) facility will be almost twice the size of the current largest solar power plant, the Lvanpah facility in the Mojave Desert of California, which has a capacity of 392 MW.

This news by the Indian government comes after the Indian State of Cochin recently announced that they will be converting their international airport into a 100% solar powered facility. From May 2016 the airport will be powered by 46,150 solar powers. This will produce enough power to run around 10,000 homes each year and save 300,000 tonnes of carbon emissions over the next 25 years.

Both projects are part of a larger initiative by the country will see India working towards a goal of generating 175,000 MW of renewable energy per year by 2022. India has the potential to produce around 5,000 trillion kilowatt-hours of solar energy each year as there are an annual average of 300 clear and sunny days. This figure only takes land space into account so by implementing floating solar stations, like Japan has recently done, there is a potential to produce much more solar energy.

Pacific Island nations will also benefit from India’s solar ambitions as the government recently announced that they would be sharing their solar energy with those countries that cannot afford their own solar plant. It is hoped that sharing solar energy with poorer nations will help combat climate change. It is predicted that climate change could have devastating effects on Pacific Island nations as the frequency of natural disasters increases.

Driverless trucks could put millions of jobs at risk

Wednesday, 12 August 2015 20:54 Published in Transport



The shift towards autonomous vehicles is continuing. From Google’s self driving car in California to Volvo’s driverless vehicles which will be tested in South Australia this year. Now it appears the trucking industry is next in line.

German manufacturer, Daimler, has already launched its semi-autonomous vehicle for testing in Nevada, US, and plans to start production within 2 years. The Daimler Inspiration, as its known, became the world’s first semi-autonomous truck to drive on US roads. The vehicle still requires a driver, who needs to take over at certain times such as off-highway driving. But it is believed that a fully autonomous truck is not far away.

Those behind the idea of driverless trucks hope that it will save money, be safer on the roads and more environmentally friendly. However there are fears that these driverless trucks could spell the end of many jobs around the world, especially in the USA where the trucking industry is so large.

In the latest figures provided by the American Trucking Association, the trucking industry employs more than 7 million people, 3.4 million of which are truck drivers. In fact, truck driver is the most common occupation for people in 29 states in the US according to the 2014 US census. It is feared that many of these jobs could be lost should driverless trucks become first choice for transportation companies. The news could get worse for the US workforce as an estimated 47% of workers are at risk of being replaced by automated technologies in the next 20 years, according to researchers at Oxford University in the UK.



Bringing government-grade security to the corporate workplace, LG Electronics (LG) said its new flagship LG G4 smartphone has passed the security certification evaluated by the US National Security Agency´s National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP).

With this new certification, the LG G4 meets the international security standards of a number of governments and meets the US government´s security requirements for Cryptographic Modules of both data-at-rest and data-in-transit, making it ready for the corporate environment with government-grade security. NIAP certification is recognized by 25 Common Criteria member countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Korea and the United Kingdom.

In order to enable secure, reliable access to enterprise data, the LG G4 comes equipped with LG “GATE,” which offers corporations enhanced technologies in platform security, network security, application security and Mobile Device Management (MDM). These layered security components help to maintain the integrity of software components, strengthening system protection and safeguarding corporate data without compromising security or sacrificing performance.

Since 2013, LG has enhanced its technological capabilities in smartphone security based on LG GATE, an enterprise-level platform for businesses LG had developed, and now once again proved its technological superiority. LG GATE not only increases accessibility to enterprise server information, but also provides a variety of security solutions, such as anti-hacking system for enterprise software, and mobile device management functions for smartphones.

The LG G4´s predecessor, LG G3, received the certification from NIAP last November, and also passed additional security test requested by Security Technical Implementation Guide (STIG). This qualified the LG G3 for use as an official smartphone of the US Department of Defense (DoD)-affiliated agencies. The LG G4 is currently under US DoD´s security certification review.

NIAP is an affiliate of the National Security Agency (NSA), the US federal security accreditation body that administers the globally recognized Common Criteria Evaluation and Validation Scheme (CCEVS) to evaluate security conformance with the Common Criteria international standard (

SOURCED FROM LG Electronics MobileComm USA



By March 2016 Sri Lanka could become the first country in the world to have complete internet coverage thanks to a deal between the Sri Lankan government and Google. Multinational company Google plans to deploy its fleet of helium-filled internet balloons into the country so that even citizens in remote areas will have coverage.

The initiative, called Project-Loon, was launched in 2011 and has been tested in areas of New Zealand, Australia, Brazil and the US. The huge balloons float around 19 kilometres in the air, about twice as high as passenger planes, and relay Wi-Fi signals from below between other balloons. Each time a balloon receives a signal, it transmits it below to an area of around 40 kilometres allowing people to connect to the 3G network on their devices.

Currently there are around 22 million mobile phones in use in Sri Lanka, but only 2.8 million of them are connected to the internet. Sri Lanka’s Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Harsha de Silva, hopes that “… every person and every device on the island will be covered by 3G" once the balloons are launched.

The balloons will ned to be replaced by Google about every one hundred days. To keep operational costs down, local internet service providers (ISP) will have access to the balloons. The additional funding from ISP will also provide avenues for future development.

An agreement was reached on the plan to launch 13 balloons in March next year after discussions involving Chamath Palihapitiya, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and perhaps the wealthiest Sri Lankan in the world as well as several Sri Lankan ministers including the Sri Lankan president, Maithripala Sirisena.



The city of San Francisco in the US has followed the lead of German city Hamburg in deploying pee-repellent paint on the walls of public urination hot spots. Certain places in San Francisco with high concentrations of bars or large homeless populations have become problem areas for public urination. Each year the San Francisco Department of Public Works is forced to steam clean urine soaked walls due to the overwhelming smell and complaints from the public. Fines of up to $500USD already exist for public urinators and the city has also installed more toilets around these problem areas but urinators have so far not been deterred.

The paint which has liquid-repellent qualities is made by Ultratech International and is also known as “Ultra-Ever-Dry”. The theory behind using the paint on frequently urinated-on walls is that whoever decides to relieve themselves will get a nasty surprise as their own pee is deflected back onto their shoes and clothes. Inspired by Hamburg who used the specialised hydrophobic paint on some walls in a busy nightclub district, the San Francisco Department of Public Works decided to paint 10 frequently urinated-on walls in the city.

No details are available regarding the cost of the paint but the German equivalent was said to cost around $700USD for an area of 6 square metres. However given the high cost involved with clean-up crews and frequently steam cleaning urine-soaked walls, the idea may have some merit.


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