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One in two West Australians believes there will be greater skills shortages and more pressure on house prices compared with the last mining boom, the latest Westpoll has found.

The results revealed 53 per cent of those surveyed thought there would be more pressure on a housing price bubble and skills shortages than last time, while 32 per cent believed there would be the same level of pressure.

Just 9 per cent of those polled said there would be less pressure.

“There is a clear community expectation that there will be quite severe skills shortages in WA and, perhaps of greater concern, a view that there will be an upward pressure on housing prices,” pollster Keith Patterson said.

“This may lead to significant levels of speculation in housing in the anticipation that values will surge as the resources boom unfolds.”

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union secretary Steve McCartney said the community was right to be concerned about increasing prices.

“I think lower paid members of our community should be concerned because sometimes the benefits of those booms don’t filter down to the low-paid workers,” he said.

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union spokesman Gary Wood said he did not believe there would be more pressure as the WA economy improved.

“There might be the perception put out by the likes of the employer associations so they can attempt to justify the use of overseas labour but it needs to be fully demonstrated they are not just a propaganda war to bring in overseas labour,” he said.

Opposition Leader Eric Ripper said the Government needed to demonstrate a sense of urgency over labour supply, training issues and housing.

“The experience of the last boom was that house prices rose and rents rose and there were skills shortages which made life difficult for small to medium enterprises,” he said.

“The Government is not ensuring that enough housing lots are released.

“The industry is not building enough houses.

“We are storing up a problem for the future.”

Premier Colin Barnett had previously said there was a need to attract more skilled workers to WA and there needed to be more mobility of workers between States.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said last month that interstate and international migration was needed to help fill future job vacancies. 

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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WA’s peak parent group has slammed a plan to test pre-primary students next year as a waste of money, saying it’s “ridiculous” to assess children as young as four.

As part of its strategy to improve literacy and numeracy across WA, the Education Department will start to roll out the 30-minute assessments in the first term in public schools. The Sunday Times can reveal some of the sample questions likely to be used in the so-called “on entry assessments”, which are aimed at picking up early problems.

Pre-primary students in public schools will be asked to: Speak about a certain topic, such as friends or favourite games, for two to three minutes. Estimate how many teddy bears are in a cup. Put objects, from smallest to tallest, in order. Count backwards. Match dots with a number on a page.

WA Council of State School Organisations president Rob Fry attacked the $2 million plan, saying he expected parents to be angered by the “ineffective” results.

“I just find this truly remarkable when you’re dealing with children of such a young age,” he said.

“If you get an exceptionally shy child, you’re asking a four-year-old to talk on a subject for two minutes and some of them won’t want to say anything at that age. Does that mean they’ve got a literacy problem? No, they might be shy.

“It’s ineffective and you are going to get such diverse responses between a child coming from an indigenous community to a child living in a Perth suburb with a highly socially active family.”

School Support Programs executive director David Axworthy said the Education Department based its tests on the Victorian model because it was the “best tool to meet the needs of WA children”. It would also enable shared resources between the states.

“It will leave WA well placed for the introduction of the national curriculum when it is produced in 2011,” he said.

WA Primary Principals Association president Steve Breen supported the plan because it would allow teachers to set benchmarks and adapt their programs to suit children’s needs.

Education Minister Liz Constable said children at risk of falling behind would be identified earlier, allowing urgent action to be taken.

Under the plan, students in 50 schools will be tested in term one before all public schools will have access to the assessments in the final term. From 2011, each pre-primary student will be tested at the start of the year.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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JANNIE and Amanda Klue, their eyes wide with desperation, are staring at two distinctly different futures.
One future embodies the Australian dream: running their own business, living in their own house, building community ties and watching their two children, Jan-Sari, 9, and Pieter-Nick, 6, flourish in an environment that is far removed from their homeland.
The Klues have been living that dream since migrating to the Sunshine Coast from South Africa 22 months ago.
The other future is a bleak one: a barb wire-fenced home with security cameras, guard dogs and streets deemed too unsafe for their children.
The Klues lived that nightmare in South Africa. And now they have been told they must return to it.
Having sold everything before moving to Australian on Christmas Day, 2007, the family must leave the country after their application for a state-sponsored business-owner visa has been rejected.
On Monday, the Klues learned they have until October 19 to get out of the country after they received two-week bridging visas.
In a bid to stave off deportation. Jan-Sari wrote a letter to Anna Bligh this week, in which she pleaded with the premier to help her family.
“We don’t want to leave Australia,” she wrote. 
“My mum and dad has (sic) come to Australia for my brother and my future.”
Mr Klue said on Friday that he had bought a business – Middy’s grocery store at Buderim – as required under the business-owner visa and had ticked every other box, bar one.
He said he couldn’t sufficiently prove to immigration officials that one of the two money-lending businesses he had owned in South Africa was actually his and, as a result, the family didn’t meet the visa’s minimum-assets requirement.
“I thought everything would work out,” Mr Klue said.
“I’m not a fugitive or a criminal … they will show discretion and let commonsense prevail.”
Fighting tears, Mrs Klue described the situation as “unreal”.
“It shouldn’t have come to this,” she said.
Mrs Klue said her children were well-established at Buderim Mountain Primary School and the family now considered themselves Aussies.
An immigration spokeswoman said the Klues simply didn’t meet the criteria for a state-sponsored business-owner visa, and then failed to lodge their appeal against the ruling on time.
She said applicants must show they owned and directly managed a business with a turnover of at least $300,000 for two of the past four fiscal years, or had a successful record as a senior manager.
“Entering Australia on a temporary visa does not mean you have an ongoing right to remain in Australia,” she said.
A spokesman for Ms Bligh said while immigration was a federal government matter, state officials were talking to immigration officials about the Klues’ case.

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The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, today announced the establishment of the Council for Immigration Services and Status Resolution.

The council will provide independent advice on the implementation of measures associated with the government’s immigration policy initiatives including New Directions in Detention and the national rollout of the Community Status Resolution Service.

‘The Government’s focus is on resolving the immigration status of people quickly and fairly while ensuring they are treated humanely and with dignity and respect,’ Senator Evans said.

‘The council will provide independent advice on policies, services and programs to achieve timely, fair and effective resolution of immigration status for people seeking asylum or other migration outcomes in Australia.

‘The terms of reference and membership of the council reflects the range of expertise required to implement the Government’s New Directions in Detention policy.’

The council, which succeeds the Immigration Detention Advisory Group, will meet for the first time on October 21 to identify priority issues to be addressed over the next two years. The IDAG provided valuable advice on the adequacy of detention services, accommodation and facilities at immigration detention centres around Australia.

The new council will also advise on the suitability of facilities and service delivery arrangements but its major focus will be on assisting the department with strategies to resolve a person’s immigration status in a community setting rather than in a detention centre provided they pose no risk to the community.

The council will be chaired by Paris Aristotle AM, director of the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture and a former member of Immigration Detention Advisory Group with more than 25 years’ experience in the field.

Other members will include:

  • Air Marshal Ray Funnell AC (Retd) – former Chief of Air Force and a former member of IDAG, Air Marshal Funnell will serve as the deputy chair for the group
  • Ms Kerrin Benson – chief executive officer of the Multicultural Development Association
  • Mr Noel Clement – general manager of domestic operations for the Australian Red Cross
  • Ms Caz Coleman – project director of the Hotham Mission asylum seeker project
  • Ms Libby Lloyd AM – chair of the former National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and was recently appointed to chair the Violence Against Women Advisory Group
  • Dr Maryanne Loughry – associate director of Jesuit Refugee Service–Australia. Dr Loughry is a psychologist, a research scholar at Boston College and the University of Oxford and a member of the Governing Council of the International Catholic Migration Commission
  • Associate Professor Harry Minas – director of the Centre for International Mental Health, University of Melbourne and the Victorian Transcultural Psychiatry Unit, he is a former member of IDAG and chair of the Detention Health Advisory Group (DeHAG)
  • Associate Professor Nicholas Procter – Associate Professor, school of nursing and midwifery, University of South Australia
  • Dr Jamal Rifi – Dr Rifi is the 2009 NSW Local Hero of the Year and Recipient of 2007 Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission Award. He is a former Commissioner for the Community Relations Commission for a Multicultural NSW, a general practitioner and an active community volunteer
  • Professor Samina Yasmeen – director of the Centre for Muslim States and Societies at the University of Western Australia and a current member of the Australian Multicultural Advisory Council (AMAC).
  • ‘I believe the new group will provide valuable perspectives and their community links will help to strengthen the provision of community services to immigration clients in support of timely case resolution,’ the minister said.

    The minister acknowledged the work of members of the previous Immigration Detention Advisory Group.

    ‘I’d like to acknowledge and thank the valuable and long–standing contribution of members of the Immigration Detention Advisory Group since its establishment in 2001,’ Senator Evans said.

    ‘Their independent expert advice provided to the previous and current government has been greatly appreciated.’

    Information about the Council for Immigration Services and Staus Resolution (CISSR) – Terms of Reference is available on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s website.
    See: Council for Immigration Services and Staus Resolution (CISSR) – Terms of Reference

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    A Perth man has become the first person in Australia to contract a strain of swine flu which is resistant to the antiviral drug Tamiflu.

    WA Health confirmed the 38-year-old man, who has a weaken Australia to contract a strain of swine fled immune system, initially responded to the drug but developed a resistant strain of the virus when his illness relapsed.

    There have been 13 cases of Tamiflu-resistant infections reported around the world.

    WA’s Chief Health Officer Dr Tarun Weeramanthri said in a statement this was a rare and isolated case and did not pose a risk to the public.

    “There is no evidence that the virus has spread to other people – none of the patient’s family or hospital staff caring for him have contracted the virus, and he has not been in contact with the wider community,” he said.

    “Experience from overseas shows us that these cases tend to be confined to individual patients and it is not uncommon for it to occur in people who have weakened immune systems.”

    Dr Weeramanthri said the man had been treated with an alternative antiviral drug that was active against the resistant virus and was no longer infectious.

    However, he remains in a critical condition in intensive care.

    “When it becomes available, the human swine flu vaccine will offer the best protection against the virus and I would encourage people to seriously consider getting vaccinated,” he said.

    The first people to be offered the vaccine will be pregnant women in their second and third trimester, those with underlying medical conditions including morbid obesity, Aboriginal people, children in special schools and frontline healthcare workers, WA Health said.

    Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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    Adult criminals sentenced to outdoor community work will from today wear bright yellow vests emblazoned with “Repay WA” as part of a Government repay wacampaign to increase public confidence in community service as a punishment.
       
    Corrective Services Minister Christian Porter claimed community work had not been used as a sentencing option as often as it could be because there was a perception among the public, and sometimes the courts, that it was becoming “a joke”.
       
    “For the public to view community work as an appropriate sentencing tool, they need to see the work carried out as ordered by the courts,” Mr Porter said.
       
    The State Government has adopted the tougher stance after statistics showed more than 40 per cent of offenders sentenced to community work in 2007-08 did not finish their programs.
      
    WA’s completion rate of 56 per cent, 14 per cent below the national average, confirmed it as the worstperforming jurisdiction in Australia.   
       
    Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan had suggested the vests after seeing them used in Britain this year.
       
    “These vests will go a long way towards providing reassurance to the community that justice is in fact being done with these sorts of offenders,” Mr O’Callaghan said. 
     
    Mr Porter said a crackdown on breaches had resulted in 55 per cent of offenders complying with their orders by attending work sessions, up from 40 per cent in June last year.
       
    The rules will be tightened further in the next year, with offenders hauled back to court if they miss work on any two occasions. The existing scheme allows for three consecutive breaches before action is taken.

    Australian Lawyers Alliance WA president Tom Percy said in February he was appalled by the idea. He said it was designed to humiliate offenders.

    But Corrective Services community and juvenile justice deputy commissioner Heather Harker said yesterday she did not think offenders would be taunted or abused. “Many people out working in the community wear high-visibility vests and in many respects this is no different,” she said.
       
    The vests will be worn by adult offenders working outside — such as in maintenance, repairs and gardening.
       
    Juveniles will not be forced to wear the vests, which have been printed by inmates at Casuarina Prison.
       
    More than 5500 adults and 770 juveniles are completing community justice orders of between 10 and 240 hours with punishments such as cleaning, gardening, administration, recycling, kitchen duties or sorting donated clothes for charity.

    Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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    Migration agents operating in Australia are required by law to be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (Office of the MARA).

    Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (Office of the MARA)

    Prior to 1 July 2009, the MIA acted as the MARA under a Deed of Agreement between the MIA and the department. The 2007-08 Review of Statutory Self-Regulation of the Migration Advice Profession, which was undertaken to assess the effectiveness of the regulatory scheme, recommended that the government consider establishing a regulatory body separate from the MIA.

    In response to the review recommendation, the Minister announced the establishment of the Office of the MARA as a discrete office attached to the department and headed by a specifically designated senior officer solely responsible for Office of the MARA activities. The new body is located in Sydney and assumed functions from the MIA from 1 July 2009.

    The Office of the MARA is supported by a representative advisory board, which includes a nominee from the MIA, a nominee from the Law Council of Australia, a consumer advocate and a community representative.

    The Office of the MARA undertakes a range of functions including:

    • processing registration and re-registration applications
    • administering the profession’s entrance exam and continuing professional development program
    • monitoring the conduct of registered migration agents
    • investigating complaints about registered migration agents
    • taking appropriate disciplinary action against registered migration agents who breach the migration agents Code of Conduct or otherwise behave in an unprofessional or unethical way.

    See: Office of the MARA website

    Source  :  http://www.immi.gov.au/gateways/agents/regulation-of-advice-profession.htm

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