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The AMA wants the government cash incentive scheme designed to lure nurses back into the workforce to be extended to include nurses who want to work in general practice.

It was reported this week (The Australian, 27 August 2009) that the Federal Government’s program to bring nurses back into the workforce was failing to meet targets, with only 541 nurses recruited.

AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said nearly $40 million over five years in funding had been set aside for the Bringing Nurses Back Into The Workforce program and it was vital that the money was used effectively.

“The Government’s initiative is too restrictive because it only targets public hospitals, private hospitals and aged care facilities,” Dr Pesce said.

“The Bringing Nurses Back Into The Workforce program ignores the important contribution that nurses can make in other parts of the health sector such as general practice.

“The program’s guidelines should be relaxed so that nurses who want to return to the workforce to take up a position in general practice will be eligible for funding.”

Around 60 per cent of general practices employ practice nurses who work collaboratively with doctors.

“General practice can offer nurses a very rewarding career and a great work/life balance,” Dr Pesce said.

“Getting more nurses into general practice supports multidisciplinary care and will free up GPs to see more patients.”

The AMA also believes general practices should be better supported to employ practice nurses by making practice nurse grants available to all general practices and ensuring that the Medicare Benefits Schedule recognises the full scope of patient care that GP practice nurses can provide.

Source
Australian Medical Association

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There are a number of changes being made to the citizenship test. The key changes are:                                                                                                    citizenship

  • the test questions will be rewritten in plain English
  • the test will not contain any mandatory questions
  • the current pass mark will increase from 60 per cent to 75 per cent
  • the test will be based on the Pledge of Commitment that new Australians make when becoming citizens.

The new citizenship test is planned to begin in late September 2009. The revised citizenship test resource book, which will contain all the information needed to prepare for the test, will be available from late August 2009.

You will be able to sit the new citizenship test in the same locations as with the current test including all 13 department offices, 30 Medicare offices and 4 Centrelink offices across Australia.

Will the new test be easier?

No. The test will continue to assess whether clients have an adequate knowledge of Australia and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship and possess a basic level of English.

Will the test only be in English?

Yes. The government is committed to the citizenship test being delivered in plain English.

If I have already passed a test will I have to sit another one if there are any changes?

No. You will not have to sit another test if you have already passed a test.

Can I make a booking to sit the new test now?

No. Appointments for the new test will not be available until the revised resource book is released in late August 2009.

Can I get a copy of the new test questions?

No. As with the current test questions, the new test questions will be confidential. However, practice questions will be available in the revised resource book and on this website.

Will assistance to complete the test still be available?

Yes. If you have difficulty reading or are unable to operate a computer you will be able to request help from a Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) officer during a standard 45 minute test. The department officer will be able to assist you by reading aloud the test questions and answers or by operating the computer. Please ensure you request assistance at the time you make your test booking.

Source  :  http://www.citizenship.gov.au/test/changes/

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STAMP duty on housing loans could be abolished after the Henry tax review, which is likely to recommend states be given a share of income tax to make up the difference.

The most likely path to do this would be for the Commonwealth to give the states the ability to impose their own surcharge on income tax, which would be collected for them by the Australian Tax Office.

 The Henry review has been inundated with submissions calling for the end of stamp duty.

Tax economists argue that the tax on moving house, although easy to collect, leads to poor use of the housing stock and poor labour mobility, The Australian reports.Having to pay stamp duty not only discourages elderly people from moving to more appropriate accommodation, it also deters people from moving house to a better jobs market. 

At a conference conducted by the Henry tax review at the Melbourne Institute last week, both international and Australian tax economists said stamp duty should go, with Melbourne University professor John Freebairn describing the tax as “a piece of garbage”.

The review panel is being influenced by state submissions arguing that replacing stamp duty by extending other state taxes, such as payroll tax or land tax, would be too difficult to implement nationally.

Tasmanian Treasury secretary Don Challen, who is close to the inquiry’s head, federal Treasury secretary Ken Henry, told last week’s conference that reform of state taxes would succeed only with leadership from the national government.                                                                                                                                                      stamp duty

“If you want to achieve a difficult reform, you’ve got to make it a national one,” Mr Challen said.

He said it would be too hard to win political consensus to extend land or payroll taxes.

“It requires eight lots of political commitment and eight lots of legislation and that path is doomed to failure,” he said.

However, he said he believed states would be willing to act on stamp duty if the commonwealth provided an avenue for alternative revenue.

The idea of giving states a cut of income tax was pressed two years ago by the OECD, which suggested the states “piggy-back” on income tax. The OECD also urged states to drop stamp duty.

One of the world’s leading experts on federal taxes, Canada’s Richard Bird, said the states were heading for a financial crisis because they did not have a sufficient tax base to support their burgeoning health and education costs, which were all rising much faster than the consumer price index.

One of the problems with stamp duty for the states is that it is vulnerable to the state of property markets.

Stamp duty usually raises about $14 billion a year for the states, but the recent state budgets showed big falls of more than $1bn each in NSW and Queensland, in 2008-09, for example.

“In Australia, it should certainly be feasible to permit states to impose a surcharge on the federal personal income tax base,” Professor Bird said.

He said that, ideally, Australia would follow the Scandinavian practice of allowing states to have a flat tax surcharge on income, rather than mirroring the commonwealth’s progressive taxation.

The states would be allowed to set their own level, making states more responsible for their own finances.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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The Concept Plan and Structure Plan that details how the Ocean Reef Marina site should be developed and how it should look in the future.

The concept plan has been developed using feedback and input from the Community Reference Group, Ocean Reef Marina Committee (of Council) and the Ocean Reef Marina Steering Committee.

Based on input from the above, the key issues identified in developing the Ocean Reef Marina site were the provision of: 

• An iconic marina development accessible to all residents                                   ocean reef marina plan 
• First class boating facilities and infrastructure
• Quality marine recreation facilities
• Best practice environmental conservation and preservation 

The Ocean Reef Marina development has the potential to provide the City’s residents with a world class recreational, residential, boating and tourism marina, development that encapsulates high levels of environmental sustainability, community amenity and delivers economic growth and social benefit. 

Preliminary studies and research in the areas of environmental impact and sustainability, structure planning, coastal engineering and hydrology, and financial and commercial viability have been completed and indicate that the site does have the potential for a development of this nature.

Source   www.joondalup.wa.gov.au

 

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