Indigenous students encouraged to get their applications in

Source: Australian Executive Government Ministers

Applications for Indigenous students from all around Australia to travel to Canberra and see first-hand the opportunities available to them working in Government will be closing in one week.

Up to 70 Indigenous students will have the opportunity to participate in the annual Work Exposure in Government (WEX) program, running between Sunday 20 October to Friday 25 October 2019.

Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, has encouraged Indigenous students to get their applications in, as WEX offers a unique educational tour and showcase of career pathways for Indigenous Australians.

“We want to see more Indigenous Australians working in Government and bringing valuable Indigenous experience into policy making and service delivery across all of our Departments and Agencies,” Minister Wyatt said.

“This program is an excellent way for our students to see what’s possible and available to them should they choose a career in the public sector.”

“The week includes learning how laws are made, how services are delivered, and more importantly, how Indigenous people can be a part of that.

“Working in government offers long-term, stable employment and a wide variety of options for people to make a real difference in their communities and the country as a whole,” Minister Wyatt said.

The program includes meetings with Ministers and a range of Indigenous Australians working in the Australian Government, as well as visits to the Australian Defence Force Academy, Australian Federal Police headquarters, and cultural institutions. The trip also includes a careers expo so participants can see if Government jobs are right for them.

Ms Ashlen Foster-Britton, Wiradjuri woman and previous participant, said WEX helped her work out how she could get involved with Indigenous policy-making at the Federal level.

“When I was a teenager I was interested in contributing to make the lives of Indigenous Australians better, but I wasn’t sure where I could find information on working in the Government,” Ms Foster-Britton said.

“WEX gave me the opportunity and the resources to pursue my passion and was the launching pad to start my career working in Indigenous affairs in the Australian Public Service. It was also a great chance to make some lifelong friends.”

WEX is an annual event and open to Indigenous students in years 10, 11 and 12. Applications are open until Friday 23 August for students as well as teachers and support staff to participate.

More information and application forms are available at

Army helps Close the Gap in East Pilbara

Source: Australian Executive Government Ministers

The remote East Pilbara community of Jigalong in Western Australia came together today for the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Programme (AACAP) 2019 Closing Ceremony.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, said the AACAP deployment harnesses the skills of the construction, trade and training personnel in the Army.

“This is the 23rd consecutive year the Australian Army has deployed to a remote Indigenous community to deliver infrastructure, vocational skills training and health care services,” Minister Reynolds said.

“The 150-strong contingent of Defence personnel, along with teams from Papua New Guinea and Tonga, have spent three months building projects including a public amenities block and a youth and family centre.”

Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt, AM, MP said AACAP was an important element of the Australian Government’s Closing the Gap initiative.

“The Army has done incredible work during AACAP 2019 to improve health, education and employment outcomes for the Jigalong community,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The Army Dental Clinic made a significant contribution to improving health in the community, treating over 60 residents in Jigalong.

“The Vocational Training Program was also a huge success with four paid positions in the local construction industry created, along with one paid position in the local school, and TAFE qualifications in tourism awarded to three trainees.”

Minister for Defence Industry and Member for Durack, the Hon Melissa Price MP said Jigalong was the first Pilbara community to benefit from the Programme.

“On behalf of the people of Jigalong, in my electorate of Durack, I wish to thank the Army for their hard work and involvement in the community over the last three months,” Minister Price said.

“The Jigalong community have thoroughly enjoyed hosting the AACAP members, and have engaged with them through weekly sport, school visits and special events, including a Welcome to Country ceremony and NAIDOC Week celebrations.”

AACAP is a joint initiative between the National Indigenous Australians Agency and the Australian Army, conducted annually since 1997. Planning is already underway for the next AACAP in Pormpuraaw, Queensland.

For further information on AACAP visit:

Imagery is available at:

Universities share in $33.6 million to help Indigenous students succeed

Source: Australian Executive Government Ministers

The Morrison Government’s Indigenous Student Success Program (ISSP) is delivering practical and tailored support to help Indigenous students succeed in higher education and unlock greater opportunities in life.

Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, said $33.6 million will be provided to 38 universities to directly support the increasing number of Indigenous Australians accessing higher education to complete their studies and take those skills to contribute to their communities.

“As a Government we know that an education is a great foundation in life, more Indigenous Australians than ever before are enrolling in university and we need to make sure this also translates to a higher number of graduations,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The Morrison Government’s funding under ISSP helps universities deliver practical support to over 19,000 Indigenous students so they can excel in their tertiary studies and set themselves up for rewarding careers that make a positive impact to Australia.

“The latest round of funding brings the total ISSP investment for 2019 to around $70 million and addresses some of the barriers to Indigenous success.

“For example, we have seen a 27 per cent increase in Indigenous students receiving tutorial assistance since 2017 which means more students are getting the personal attention they need to complete their degrees.

“The program enables universities to offer scholarships, tutorial assistance and mentoring, personal support services and outreach programs in a culturally appropriate way that is tailored to suit the local needs of their students.

“The ISSP also assists universities to grow the number of Indigenous staff, including those in senior academic and senior executive positions to improve Indigenous knowledge and support increasing numbers of Indigenous graduates.”

Minister Wyatt saw first-hand the impact of ISSP when he visited Charles Darwin University for the Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture.

Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor for Indigenous Leadership and Regional Outreach, Dr Steve Shanahan, said the funding under ISSP allows Charles Darwin University to run a number of workshops and facilities dedicated to Indigenous success.

“Using ISSP funding, we run an Indigenous Academic Skills Workshop each Semester where we fly in Indigenous students from all over Australia for a week-long program to prepare them for all aspects of university life,” Dr Shanahan said.

“ISSP also funds the Indigenous Student Services team which provides about 17 staff to provide academic support, pastoral care, mentoring and advocacy for CDU’s Indigenous students throughout their study journey.

“The team provides a central source of information and regularly contacts every Indigenous student to check in and see how they are doing. The team operates three culturally safe facilities and learning environments to help students study in a way that best suits them.

“ISSP also supports the Tutorial Support program which has attracted highly qualified and competent tutors who respect and are committed to Indigenous student success.”

More information on ISSP is available at…

New Chair For V/Line Corporation

Source: Government of Victoria 2

The Andrews Labor Government has announced Gabrielle Bell as the new Chair of the V/Line Corporation Board.

Ms Bell has been a Board Director at V/Line since July 2015 and will take over from Jeroen Weimar.

Mr Weimar was recently appointed Deputy Secretary, Transport Operations, under the new Department of Transport structure, having been the Chief Executive Officer of Public Transport Victoria.

During his tenure, Mr Weimar oversaw continued performance improvements at a time of record patronage growth and huge capital investment in new rail infrastructure.

Ms Bell, working with the Chief Executive Officer James Pinder, will continue to improve V/Line’s performance and make sure it continues to operate a safe, reliable and accessible network for all Victorians.

Ms Bell has experience working as a corporate lawyer in Australia and South-East Asia, and is currently serving on the boards of South East Water, VicSuper Pty Ltd and InLife Independent Living Ltd.

During her career she has specialised in general corporate advisory, including corporate governance. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

The appointment comes as the Andrews Labor Government continues to upgrade every regional rail line in Victoria under the $1.75 billion Regional Rail Revival and record investment in new VLocity trains.

Ms Bell’s appointment will continue until August 31, 2022.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne

“Gabrielle Bell’s appointment as Chair will allow V/Line to continue improving its performance and delivering better services for passengers.”

“The V/Line network is growing faster than ever before – which is why we’re delivering a more punctual, reliable and accessible regional rail system for all Victorians.”

“I want to thank Jeroen Weimar for his contribution as V/Line Board Chair and the significant improvements made to V/Line’s strategic direction during his tenure.”

Tips on nominating for our Community Awards

Source: State of Victoria Local Government 2

Friday 06 September 2019

Our Community Awards are an opportunity to recognise the individuals and groups who work hard to make Yarra a fantastic place to live, work and play. Plus, winners will receive a $500 or $250 prize!

Nominating is easier than you think! You don’t need to write an essay about your nominee – dot points will do. 

Before you nominate

To get started, you will need some contact details for your nominee, yourself and a referee who is familiar with your nominee. These details are:

  • Full name
  • Email address
  • Address
  • Contact phone
  • Age (for an individual nominee)

You contact details will remain confidential, and we won’t contact you about anything other than our community awards. 

What to include in your nomination

Tell us why you think your nominee deserves to be recognised. 

Sometimes it’s the little things that people do that make our city a better place. Maybe they’re a positive role model, a volunteer who gives their time to a great community project, or someone who always makes others feel included. 

Have a look at last year’s winners for more ideas. 

Nominate now

Fill in the online forms to nominate:

Pick the category that best suits your nominee – but don’t worry, nominees may be considered for more than one category.   

Find out more about the judging criteria or download hard copy nomination forms. 

Innovative Mackay resources project building momentum

Source: Government of Queensland Regions


Assistant Minister for State Development and Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the awarding of the tender to Fergus Builders is a major step forward in the delivery of this election commitment, which will create up to 22 direct and indirect jobs onsite and through the supply chain.

“The Palaszczuk Government is proud to partner with Mackay Regional Council to deliver a world-class facility that will drive research and innovation in the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector,” Mrs Gilbert said.

“It will also provide improved training opportunities for the new wave of apprentices entering the industry.

“Mackay is one of Queensland’s major resource industry support hubs, and this new centre of excellence will leverage off existing local expertise and further advance the state’s METS vision.”

Mackay Regional Council is managing the delivery of the Resources Centre of Excellence on council-owned land at Crichtons Road, Paget, with the facility to be operated by the Resource Industry Network once complete.

The $3.28 million contract includes construction of an administration building, workshop, laboratory, landscaping and utilities and sets it up for the next stage, which will include fit-out of an underground mining simulator.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the Resources Centre of Excellence was one of council’s largest current projects and was an exciting development for the region.

“This state-of-the-art centre will further enhance Mackay’s reputation as the service hub for the resources industry in the Bowen and Galilee Basins,’’ Cr Williamson said.

“It’s fantastic that this tender has been awarded to a local company, with Fergus Builders selected due to their competitive price and track record in major construction projects in our region.

“They have previously delivered projects for council, including the Dudley Denny City Library and Paget workshop extensions.”

Resource Industry Network General Manager Adrienne Rourke said the awarding of the tender for construction was another important milestone in what would be a significant landmark for this region as a leading global METS hub.

“We’re extremely excited to be part of this innovative development for the Mackay region and are eagerly looking forward to operating the Resources Centre of Excellence,’’ Ms Rourke said.

Users of the centre will include training providers, researchers, and private companies within the METS sector.

Construction works are due to begin soon, and with completion scheduled for March 2020 the facility will be operational and ready for its first intake of students soon after.

This project is supported by the Palaszczuk Government’s $175 million Jobs and Regional Growth Fund, which is assisting big-thinking, job-creating projects across regional Queensland.


Media contact: Jan Martin 0439 341 314 

Regional manufacturing hub opens its doors in Townsville

Source: Government of Queensland Regions


Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the Townsville Manufacturing Hub, located at the TAFE Queensland Bohle campus, delivered on a 2017 election promise and helped to progress the government’s Advanced Manufacturing 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan.

“Townsville businesses are powering ahead when it comes to manufacturing, contributing $840 million to Queensland’s economy in 2017-18,” Mr Dick said.

“They are also providing more than seven per cent of jobs in the region, from areas such as metal production and food products, and we want to grow the sector even more.

“Through the hub, manufacturers will gain access to advice and support, including business development and training programs, and tailored workforce skills to improve their productivity and international competitiveness.

“The hub will promote collaboration between industry with vocational, tertiary and secondary education providers such as Tec-NQ, to ensure our next generation workforce has strong skills in science, technology, engineering, arts and maths.”

Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke said the hub would help to propel regional manufacturing by harnessing opportunities in advanced metal production and food transformation.

“The hub will provide a catalyst for promoting and delivering world-leading technologies, processes and practices,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“This includes the Internet of Things, automation and robotics, to boost manufacturing productivity and drive innovation.

“A local reference group will also be established to identify and ensure the needs of regional manufacturers are met.

“Hub staff will collaborate with and forge strategic links between local industry, government agencies, economic development agencies and education providers.”

Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the hub team have already been supporting horticulture peak body Growcom and the CSIRO to develop The Centre of Excellence for Food Transformation.

“The facility will harness advances in food technology to reduce food waste in the vegetable supply chain,” Mr Stewart said.

“This will be done by converting locally grown fruit and vegetables into value-added products such as snacks, liquids and powders for health supplements and nutraceuticals.”

Operations manager for Townsville laser cutting business NEM Group, Elara Hughes, said the hub is helping the company continue the transition into Industry 4.0 through process improvements and new qualifications for staff.

“The hub will provide exciting opportunities for other regional manufacturers looking for support,” Ms Hughes said.

“I see a lot of value in creating a strong and collaborative ecosystem to lift industry’s capability and develop regional manufacturing.”

Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said the establishment of the regional hubs was part of the government’s commitment to supporting and growing Queensland’s manufacturing industry.

“To increase the capability of local manufacturers to undertake defence work, the Townsville Manufacturing Hub will have strategic links and work closely with the recently-opened Townsville Defence Hub,” Mr Harper said.

“Local manufacturers will also be able to access robotics and automation infrastructure through the services of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub in Brisbane, which is being developed in partnership with QUT and global leading-edge company Urban Art Projects (UAP).”

Regional manufacturing hubs are also established in Cairns and Rockhampton. Each is supported by a hub coordinator, a skills development and training officer and a project support officer working out of the region.

Mr Dick said the regional manufacturing hubs are another Palaszczuk Government initiative helping to grow and advance regional Queensland.

“I’m thrilled to be part of a government that actively promotes and supports our regions,” he said.


Media contact: Lesley Major 0419 288 284

Sydney motor dealer sentenced to 12 months jail

Source: New South Wales Department of Finances

A Concord car dealer has been sentenced to 12 months in prison and ordered to pay $246,000 in compensation to three clients, for two offences of fraudulent appropriation relating to money received from the sale of cars.

Mr Nicholas Agar was convicted and sentenced by the Parramatta Local Court on 12 July 2019 for the offences and later appealed to the District Court. On 4 September 2019, the District Court dismissed the appeal and confirmed the sentence.

Mr Agar was the sole director of DBN Holdings Australia Pty Ltd, trading as Sports Auto Group. He was also the general manager of Avant Automotive Pty Ltd, which traded as Autoline Sydney. The companies operated from the same premises at Parramatta Road, Concord.

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Ms Rose Webb welcomed the outcome which is the result of a thorough investigation into the defendant and his businesses.

“In March 2017, NSW Fair Trading investigators and NSW Police, executed a search warrant at the Concord business premises, and seized documents and computers,” Ms Webb said.

NSW Fair Trading suspended the motor dealer licence of Avant Automotive the same day as the search, and a month later the licence was cancelled and permanently disqualified.

One charge concerned events in 2016, when Mr Agar agreed to sell a client’s Nissan GT-R Premium and estimated its value at $130,000. After selling the vehicle, Mr Agar stopped responding to his client. His client did not receive any money from the sale.

“Mr Agar accepted payments which did not make it into the hands of his trusting clients, despite his contractual obligations to them.

“This is a great result for the consumers who went into business with Mr Agar and didn’t see anything in return. It should also serve as a reminder that NSW Fair Trading is serious about car dealers, and any business, looking to defraud their customers,” Ms Webb said.

The court also ordered Mr Agar to pay $22,880 in legal costs.

$62 million in grants available for Australians with disability to live more connected lives

Source: Australian Ministers for Social Services

The Morrison Government has announced applications are now open to share in $62 million worth of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) grants.

Two ILC grants rounds are now open: Mainstream Capacity Building program ($32m available) and Economic and Community Participation program ($30m available).

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Stuart Robert, said today’s announcement marks the first step in a $122 million investment in the two flagship programs designed to improve access to health services and employment for Australians with disability.

‘People with disability should be able to access health services that are inclusive of their needs, and enjoy the same employment opportunities and participation in community activities as everyone else – these grants engage with these challenges,’ Mr Robert said.

The Mainstream Capacity Building Program will invest $64 million over three years into activities focused on making mainstream services more accessible to people with disabilities. The $32 million of funding available this round will focus on health such as improving understanding of disability in the health sector or making community health clinics more inclusive.

The Economic and Community Participation Program will invest $58 million over three years, years into projects that provide people with disability better opportunities for meaningful employment, empowering them to participate in and benefit from the same community activities as everyone else. For this round, $30 million of funding is available.

‘These two grant rounds will improve understanding and knowledge of disability in the health sector and amongst employers while also providing greater opportunity for people with disability to lead, shape and contribute to their own communities. I encourage all eligible organisations – those already well established and those laying new foundations for people with disabilities, families and carers – to apply.’

Applications for these grants close at 11pm AEDT on Monday, October 21. Applications can be sent via the Community Grants Hub:

Drug testing trials to help welfare recipients become job ready

Source: Minister for Families and Social Services

The Morrison Government will introduce legislation to trial drug testing for new welfare recipients as part of our commitment to remove barriers to employment.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said job seekers struggling with substance abuse issues would benefit from the trial as its primary focus was to help people access support services through a $10 million Treatment Fund.

“People on welfare who take drugs are denying themselves the best opportunity to take advantage of the jobs we are creating,” Minister Ruston said.

“That’s why the Morrison Government is trialling reforms to the welfare system to ensure that we can identify and encourage people with substance abuse issues to get treatment, rehabilitate and make them job ready.

“This is about identifying people who need our help. Once identified we will be able to assist people pursue treatment to address their substance abuse issues through a $10 million Treatment Fund.”

The Treatment Fund will boost drug rehabilitation and support service capacity in trial sites.

The two-year Drug Testing Trial will be rolled out in three locations: Logan in Queensland, Canterbury-Bankstown in New South Wales and Mandurah in Western Australia.

It will test 5000 new recipients of Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (other) for illicit substances including ice (methamphetamine), ecstasy (MDMA) and marijuana (THC), cocaine and heroin.

Welfare recipients who test positive will be placed on Income Management for a period of 24 months or the duration of the trial where 80 per cent of their welfare payment will be quarantined to prevent the money being spent on drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and gambling products.

A second drug test will be scheduled within 25 working days of the initial positive result. After a second positive test, the job seeker will be referred to a medical professional who will assess their circumstances and identify treatment options.