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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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shark

 

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.

Ashley-madison

 

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

 

daimler

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.

lg-g4-leak

 

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 (www.commoncriteriaportal.org).

SOURCED FROM LG Electronics MobileComm USA

Google-Project-Loon

 

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.

pee-walls

 

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.

perth-city

 

Recent changes to existing residential building codes in Perth will not deter the Western Australian Government from meeting its infill targets, according to Planning Minister John Day. The government had set a target of infill development in Perth to be at 47 per cent to prepare for a future population of 3.5 million. Greater urban infill and higher-density living is seen as a means of constraining sprawling suburbs. Mr Day has said that Perth cannot continue to rely on urban sprawl due to “the social, economic, environmental and transport costs involved.”

However these targets were met with backlash from some community groups and local councils with concerns over issues such as limited parking space for multiple dwelling developments. New tighter restrictions on residential building codes will mean that every apartment will require at least one parking bay. Other changes will limit the number of apartments that can be built in medium density zones. Higher density development will still be encouraged in areas within 800 metres of activity centres and train stations.

Property Council WA Chief Executive, Joe Lenzo, has described the government’s changes as a “backflip” which is a “contradiction to everything the government has already said about limiting urban sprawl...” Master Builders director of housing, Geoff Cooper, said his members would be “very disappointed by the changes…” and that this was move against market demand.

Planning Minister John Day still believes that the infill targets will be met despite the restrictions. "Getting more infill developments, urban developments is really important. There's no change to that view.” Mr Day.

Driverless cars to be trialled in South Australia

Thursday, 23 July 2015 00:00 Published in Transport

driverless car

 

The Southern Expressway in South Australia will play host to the first ever driverless car trial in the Southern Hemisphere during November this year. Volvo will be testing its driverless vehicle in conjunction with Flinders University, Carnegie Mellon University, the RAA and Cohda Wireless and Bosch. The trial will involve manoeuvres such as overtaking, changing lanes, emergency braking and the use of on and off ramps.

The testing will coincide with an international conference in Adelaide on driverless cars which will involve discussions regarding law changes required for the vehicles. Currently four US states have changed their laws to allow driverless vehicles on their roads. South Australia aims to follow suit and become the first Australian state to do so.

South Australian Premier, Jay Weatherill, says that driverless technology promises to improve safety and lower emissions and will “open up new opportunities for our economy”. Mr Weatherwill believes that in 15 years the driverless car industry will be worth $90 billion worldwide. RAA Public Affairs Manager, Penny Gale, says that the technology will become mainstream by the year 2020 and that “all cars that come off the production line will have some ability to drive themselves”. Ms Gale also believes driverless technology will open up new transport opportunities for people with disabilities and the elderly.

SA Opposition Transport Spokesman, Corey WIngard, has concerns over how the driverless cars will generate jobs in South Australia. “We have a jobs crisis in SA. We need to be looking at ventures that will create jobs immediately” says Mr Wingard. Mr Weatherill has countered these fears by claiming that while some jobs may be lost in one area, new jobs will be created in another. “For every loss of job that you might see in one sector of the economy, you’ll see the creation of jobs in the hi-tech sector”, says Mr Weatherill.

A safer workplace with Sayfa

Monday, 13 July 2015 00:00 Published in OHS&R

Fact: In 2010 – 2011 there were 7,730 claims for serious injury as a result of falls from heights.

This equates to 21 employees per day lodging a falls related claim! Typically these claims resulted in over six weeks off work which is longer than the average of four and a half weeks for all serious injury claims. In this age of fewer workers doing more, can your workplace handle this amount of lost time and productivity?

The reality of this statistic is that many of these incidents could have been easily prevented by the installation of correctly fitted and compliant roof access and fall protection systems and regular user training. Are you and your workers doing all that you can to ensure a safe working at heights environment?

This area of workplace safety is often neglected however the potential for serious injury or death is an ever present threat. It is not worth risking the lives of your workers. Imagine the disastrous impact that a fall from height would have on your workplace.

Questions that you need to ask are:

  • Do we have adequate access and fall protection systems in place when working at heights?
  • If so, are they compliant and do they suit the work to be done?
  • Are our workers and all those who conduct work at heights (including sub contractors) fully trained in the operation of these systems?
  • Are our systems regularly maintained and in good working order?
  • Do our workers find our systems easy to use?

As well as the moral obligations, there are also legal ramifications that you should be aware of which can impact significantly. It is a requirement that all employers ensure that their workplace is safe and that all employees are fully protected when working at heights. Failure to provide this can result in hefty fines, litigation or even imprisonment should an incident occur.

Sayfa are the market leaders in height safety and fall protection. It is our mission to SAVE LIVES and we are dedicated to helping you make your employees safe. We know the regulations and can provide you with compliant, reliable and user friendly systems. We can conduct audits on your existing systems to ensure they meet the requirements of current Standards and Regulations.

Why not book a height safety awareness session today? This can be the first step towards ensuring your workers do not become a statistic. Our Australia wide Accredited Installers can inspect your systems and will offer realistic and cost effective solutions to help keep your workplace compliant and safe.

Join us to SAVE LIVES and let us make your workplace a SAFER workplace.

IT’S THE SAYFA WAY.

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