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Perth fair-lovers have taken advantage of the city’s trains being back on schedule, with thousands turning out to the Perth Royal Show this morning. 

The show’s organisers have reported strong crowds so far on the opening day of the Show and, with the day expected to stay sunny and topping 26C, between 50,0000 to 60,000 are expected to flow through the gates. 

“It was fantastic that the trains were running on schedule and we’ve had a lot of people entering through the train entrance, so they are obviously taking advantage of the public transport,” Royal Show spokeswoman Maryanne Shaddick said. 

A pay dispute between train drivers and the Public Transport Authority threatened public transport to the Show when drivers called in sick in their masses yesterday, drastically reducing train services. 

However, a deal was reached last night when drivers agreed to an interim wage rise of 5 per cent on the condition that the industrial action stopped immediately.

 The show runs until October 2 but more than half of all show-goers attend over the long weekend, with Monday traditionally the busiest day. 

The weather is expected to stay mostly sunny tomorrow, with a maximum of 23C, and a partly cloudy 25C on Monday. Those attending the Show today will be treated to a shearing and wool-handling competition.

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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Chefs and hairdressers will top the list of most sought-after jobs as Australia emerges from the wake of the global financial crisis. It is thought that the highly transient nature of these jobs, with a high turnover and burnout rate, contributes to the skills shortage in these areas and the inability of supply to meet demand.

Other in-demand occupations will include health-care workers, educators, automotive and metal tradespeople, and IT professionals. The accounting and IT sectors are expected to experience high demand because of industry growth over the next two years.

Not so lucky are those in advertising, public relations and finance, as yet further job cuts are expected in these industries in the next couple of years. Those in marketing have been particularly hard-hit as companies slash marketing budgets in an attempt to stay afloat.

The construction industry has also been struggling as many building and development projects ground to a halt, leaving many construction workers out of work. However, with the Federal Government expected to fund new projects with its stimulus package until 2011, things could start looking up in the near future for the building industry. Industry insiders predict an impending resurgence and consequent shortage of construction workers and apprentices.
 
Some projections anticipate that unemployment will peak at around 7.5 per cent in mid-2010 to early 2011, but those sectors benefiting from public funding and the stimulus package – such as the health sector, education and infrastructure – should be well-protected and enjoy sustained demand.

Jobs such as chef, cook, hairdresser, automotive electrician, panelbeater, metal machinist, welder, bricklayer, carpenter, electrician, plumber, accountant, computing professionals and a variety of health care professionals (dentists, GPs, nurses and many others) all appear on the current Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) as the government attempts to fill in some of the gaps through skilled migration.

Not surprisingly given this outlook, enrolment in vocational courses in hospitality, hairdressing, automative trades and IT are up as students and job-seekers attempt to find work and fill the skills shortage gap. If you are at a career crossroads, trying to decide what to study or just trying to find a job, perhaps you, too, should consider jumping on the skills shortage bandwagon – and land yourself a job in the process.

Source  :  www.careerfaqs.com.au

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WESTERN AUSTRALIA — The first gold has been poured and the initial copper concentrate shipment made at the Boddington mine belonging to Newmont Mining of Denver. At full production, this will be Australia’s largest gold mine.

The Boddington mine is a large open pit 130 km southeast of Perth within the Saddleback Greenstone Belt. Newmont believes Boddington has significant exploration potential, with gold reserves increasing from 16.6 million oz in 2007 to 20.1 million oz in 2008 and an expected mine life in excess of 24 years.

Source  :  www.canadianminingjournal.com

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The Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett has officially launched a $100 million research centre in Perth, which has been set up to help Australia win a massive radio astronomy project.

Western Australia and South Africa are the front runners to secure the $2.5 billion Square Kilometre Array project, with the decision expected in 2012.

To strengthen WA’s bid, Curtin University and the University of Western Australia have set up the International Centre for Astronomy Research with extra funding from the State Government.

The International Director for the S.K.A project Richard Schilizzi says the centre will enhance Australia’s chances.

“It shows that the infrastructure for radio astronomy in Australia is very strong and that means that the ability to exploit the telescope role will be ensured,” he said.

Source  :  www.abc.net.au

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A new international agreement will boost Australia’s ability to detect and identify immigration fraud and cast a wider net when checking the backgrounds of unauthorised arrivals and other people held in immigration detention.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said today that an agreement for biometric data-sharing between Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom was signed last night. Under the partnership, Australia will be able to securely and confidentially cross check fingerprints with Canadian and UK databases.

Currently, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship collects fingerprints from all people in immigration detention, including irregular arrivals and illegal foreign fishers. It is expected fingerprint collection will be progressively rolled out to other people in the immigration caseload in the future.

‘The Australian Government’s ability to detect immigration and identity fraud will be greatly improved as a result of new biometric data-sharing arrangements with partner agencies in Canada and the United Kingdom,’ Senator Evans said. ‘This data-sharing will help to establish the true identities of unknown people, and ensure that fraudulent cases are dealt with appropriately through the improved ability to detect inconsistent identity and immigration claims.

It will also help authorities to increase the chance of detecting people with criminal histories and other people of concern, aid in the timely removal of unlawful non-citizens where their identities and/or nationalities were previously unknown or uncertain, and improve detection of fraudulent immigration practices and trends.

The new biometric data-sharing plan was developed at the Five Country Conference, which is a forum on immigration and border security between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The US is expected to join the data-sharing arrangement in due course.

The benefits of international biometric data sharing were highlighted recently when an individual claiming asylum in the UK was found to have previously been fingerprinted in the USA while travelling on an Australian passport.

The individual was subsequently confirmed as an Australian citizen wanted for sexual assault. The man was removed to Australia to face court, and is now serving a jail sentence.

Senator Evans said the new data-sharing arrangements would not affect privacy laws.

‘The protection of personal information is important to all the countries involved in these arrangements. All data shared by my department will adhere to the Privacy Act 1988,’ the minister said.

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It was calm and still the day an Albany woman driven by instinct swam out to save the life of a fellow surf club member who had been attacked by a shark off Western Australia’s south coast.

Joanne Lucas’ bravery in doing so has earned her the Star of Courage, a bravery award which will presented by the Governor-General Quentin Bryce.

The 54-year-old mother of three had arrived at Middleton Beach, Albany, early on May 10 last year, ahead of a surf club event.

“It was very still and calm, and the sun was shining, and there were dolphins flipping about, a whole pod of dolphins …” Ms Lucas said.

But a short time later, a woman ran up the beach telling her a man had been attacked by a shark.

“I said: `No, no, it’s the dolphins’ and she said: `No it’s a shark’,” Ms Lucas said.

Ms Lucas said running down to the beach, driven by instinct and adrenalin, she stripped off her tracksuit pants and swam 80 metres to where fellow surf club member Jason Cull was critically injured, barely able to swim or tread water.

“It was a completely instinctive thing. I didn’t think: `There’s a shark out there maybe I shouldn’t go out there’,” she said.

“I just thought I’ve got to get this guy out and I’ve got to get him back in.”

All the while, the shark manoeuvred around the scene, with Ms Lucas fearing the frantic splashing of two nearby swimmers trying to scare it away would steer the shark toward her and Mr Cull.

She said she kicked harder and made it to shore where Mr Cull was treated for his injuries.

His leg was completely ripped open from his ankle right up to his knee and he had been “nipped” on the other knee, Ms Lucas said.     Article_shark-200x0

Ms Lucas said she was happy to see Mr Cull now back on his feet and cycling around the place.

Being awarded the star of courage was humbling, she said.

“I’m very honoured and humbled to receive this.”

Ms Lucas said she was quickly back on the beach after the attack.

“It hasn’t turned me off the ocean at all,” she said.

“I actually scan the ocean before I go in now …”

The governor-general is expected to present the star of courage to Ms Lucas at a ceremony early next year.

Source www.watoday.com.au

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