- WA’s health promotion agency Healthway has been strongly criticised for inappropriate use of perks relating to sponsorship arrangements with major sporting organisations, in a report by the State Government’s public sector watchdog.
- All Australian drivers should be made to undertake first aid training before receiving or renewing their licences, St John Ambulance says.
- A study by the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics shows the frequency of domestic assaults jumps rapidly in local government areas where there are more than two hotels per 1,000 residents.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 20th February 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
WA’s health promotion agency Healthway has been strongly criticised for inappropriate use of perks relating to sponsorship arrangements with major sporting organisations, in a report by the State Government’s public sector watchdog.
The Public Sector Commission’s (PSC) report on Healthway found the volume and nature of perks obtained through deals with a range of sporting organisations was “excessive” and oversight of their use was “inadequate”.
The findings follow the recent departure of executive director David Malone, just a year and a half after commencing in the role.
It found Mr Malone, Healthway chairwoman Rosanna Capolingua, deputy chairwoman Cathcart Weatherly and some staff had all derived a private benefit from the deals.
The investigation, which was launched after concerns were raised by the Auditor-General, examined deals with organisations including the Perth Wildcats, Perth Glory, and the Western Australian Cricket Association.
It found the contracts investigated included more than 1,150 general admission tickets to sporting events and concerts and 650 opportunities for individuals to attend events with VIP “access levels” from 2010/11 to 2013/14.
The report, tabled in State Parliament today, concluded that less than half of those were used for a “legitimate business purpose”.
About a third of them could not properly be accounted for and 21 per cent were used in a “manner considered to represent a private benefit to Healthway officers, their families and friends”.
The benefits were worth around $220,000, or around 15 per cent of the total sponsorship value of those arrangements, with the report describing them as “excessive and inconsistent with the obligation to be scrupulous in the use of public resources”.
All Australian drivers should be made to undertake first aid training before receiving or renewing their licences, St John Ambulance says.
The charity has called on state and territory governments to make it compulsory for motorists to complete an online first aid course before they take to the road.
St John Ambulance’s Victorian chief executive Stephen Horton said the practice has been successful in a number of European countries.
[Stephen Horton said] “The science from overseas [shows] up to 85 per cent of preventable pre-hospital deaths are around blocked airways.
“So drivers who come across the scenes of accidents or those involved in accidents, or indeed even passing by other incidents, could save a life simply by keeping an airway unblocked until paramedics arrive.
“Minutes matter when it comes to blocked airways, cardiac arrest as a result of trauma in road accidents.”
Mr Horton said the course would not require extensive hours in the classroom and could be done very easily online.
“Only about 14 per cent of Australians have any degree of first aid training,” he said.
“And that includes many who haven’t completed an accredited course, have perhaps just done some online training. It’s an incredibly low number.
“We all know the road[s] are getting busier and there’s an increasing number of vehicles and young people [would] have the chance to learn these life-saving skills early.”
Researchers have identified a “tipping point” linking rapid rises in the rate of domestic violence to the number of liquor outlets in an area.
A study by the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics shows the frequency of domestic assaults jumps rapidly in local government areas where there are more than two hotels per 1,000 residents.
The statewide research also found that non-domestic assaults “increased markedly” in such areas, while violence was also linked to the number of other liquor outlets such as clubs.
Bureau director Dr Don Weatherburn said the study may help planning authorities, who receive many applications for additional liquor licences.
“Up to this stage they haven’t had a threshold. They’ve often come to the bureau and said, well is there a threshold number? Is there some kind of point at which it becomes a big problem?” he said.
“We haven’t known the answer to that question and now I think we’re starting to get and inkling of at what point you really need to think carefully about agreeing to handing out additional liquor licences.”
Dr Weatherburn said the relationship between violence and the density of liquor outlets was a complex one, but the big surprise was how rapidly assault rates rose once the critical threshold was reached.
“You’ve got a bit of tipping point there once you pass the two mark for hotels,” he said.
“That’s when your problems start to escalate.
“There are very few places in New South Wales that have more than that number.
“Most of them are located in country areas like Hay or Bourke or Harden or Bland, and these areas do have significant problems with alcohol-related violence.”
Dr Weatherburn said the research backed up similar findings in Victoria and would be presented at the Applied Research in Crime and Justice Conference in Darling Harbour.
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