The Federal Government’s Australia Business Arts Foundation (AbaF) and Artsupport Australia program are to be merged to form a new institution to promote philanthropy, sponsorship and business support for the arts.

Arts Minister Simon Crean said Harold Mitchell's review of private sector support, and the review of the Australia Council, both recommended a single body be established to drive private giving.

"This recognises the importance of a partnership approach to investing in the arts. To meet the demand for investment, there must be a strong investment partnership between governments, the private sector and the community.

New measures – including more staff on the phones and better technology – will tackle increased demand for Centrelink services.

The first Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between a private sector employer and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) regarding part time Defence personnel has been signed at Victoria Barracks, Paddington.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG)  meeting this week received a report from its Future Competition and Regulatory Reform Taskforce which has been consulting with peak business bodies and organisations including conservation groups which have an interest in environmental regulation reforms.

COAG has agreed to establish an independent review panel to conduct a broad ranging investigation into cost, competitiveness and productivity challenges in the commercial, civil and large scale residential construction industry. 

Liberal state governments have been accused of lack of leadership and political point scoring following the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Canberra which failed to reach agreement on the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul Henderson has accused the Liberal Premiers of colluding to take at least $1 billion from the Territory under a new GST carve up.

COAG has released two report cards on the implementation of its deregulation priorities and competition reforms under the National Partnership Agreement to Deliver a Seamless National Economy.

The Federal Minister for Early Childhood and Child Care, Kate Ellis has announced a consultation on childcare and early learning services, focusing on funding for services in urban, regional, remote and Indigenous communities under the Budget Based Funded (BBF) program. 


“This $57 million program supports more than 300 various services around Australia and plays an important role in ensuring families have access to an early childhood service where the market would otherwise fail to provide one,” Ms Ellis said.


“Importantly, the consultation I’ve announced today follows the Government's commitment of $59.4 million to improve the quality of centre-based BBF services, including ongoing funding to raise staff qualifications and support building maintenance.” 


A discussion paper entitled Quality Early Childhood Education and Care for Children in Regional, Remote and Indigenous Communities: A Review of the Budget Based Funding Program will be the focus for the consultation


The discussion paper looks at what is working and what can be improved, and the consultation will include meetings for stakeholders and interested parties. 


The discussion paper and factsheets are available at

The Federal Government will develop a National LGBTI Aged Care Strategy to support the implementation of the $3.7 billion aged care reform package, Living Longer Living Better, that was announced on April 20 this year.

Tasmanian women are participating this week in Australian Government consultations in Hobart about issues facing women in the workplace and ways to help more women into work.


The Minister for the Status of Women and Member for Franklin, Julie Collins, said the opinions of Tasmanian women will help shape the Australian Government’s 2012 National Workforce Development Strategy.


“Job creation is a major priority for the Australian Government, particularly in areas of higher unemployment such as Tasmania,” Ms Collins said.


“We need to have a very clear understanding of the barriers different women face in the workplace if we are to genuinely advance the status of women.”


A series of face-to-face consultations is taking place around the country to develop the national strategy.


Senator for Tasmania, Carol Brown, will represent Minister Collins at the Hobart consultations on Friday.


“It is particularly important women in Tasmania have their say on this strategy, which aims to improve women’s workforce participation,” Senator Brown said.


“The nature of the workforce in Tasmania is different in many ways to other areas of Australia and has unique regional characteristics.


“Getting more women into the workforce is central to our economy and to stopping women and their families fall into poverty and social exclusion,” Senator Brown said.


The Australian Government is putting almost $100,000 towards consultation directed specifically at gathering women’s views.

The Australian Government has tabled its response to the Senate Economics References Committee report The asset insurance arrangements of Australian state governments.

The Federal Government has appointed technical experts and consultants for a scoping study into Wilton’s suitability as a second Sydney Airport.

Australia has slipped below the OECD average for broadband and wireless distribution, with the country recording 24 subscribers per 100 inhabitants, finishing at 21st out of 34.

Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Grierson has announced she will not re-contest her seat at the 2013 Federal election, citing family and personal reasons behind her decision to retire from Federal politics.

The Minister for Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet, has announced enhanced support for manufacturing under the Commercialisation Australia program.

The Federal Government has opened the consultation period for the creation of a streamlined, nationally consistent licencing scheme for electrical workers, which it says will provide a $22 million annual benefit to the economy, growing to $120 million after 10 years.

The Victorian Managed Insurance Authority and the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) have co-developed the country’s first Diploma of Integrated Risk Management targeted specifically at the country’s public sector.

The Federal Government has pledged an additional $1 billion to support the pay rise awarded to workers in the social and community services sector.

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia has called for the Productivity Commission to develop a more accurate method to track performance of Australia’s major cities; and calling on all three levels of government to integrate the way they plan, regulate and operate metropolitan infrastructure.

The Federal Government has announced a new high-level dialogue between senior business leaders from Australia and Hong Kong on RMB trade and investment.

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