from the lookout at Brooms Head on Monday, 30th January, 2016:
Tuesday, 31 January 2017
Giant plume from the Fannings Trail fire near Sandon east of Grafton lights up the midnight sky
from the lookout at Brooms Head on Monday, 30th January, 2016:
from the lookout at Brooms Head on Monday, 30th January, 2016:
The Daily Examiner 31 January 2017
Only three fires were burning in the Clarence Valley on Tuesday, 31 January 2017 – two small and one large. A grass fire at Lanitza, a bushfire at Candole State Forest in the Powells Gap Rd area and, another bush fire across 2,351 ha of Yuraygir National Park in the Fanning Trail area alight since Monday morning.
Sadly there are suspicions that the state forest and national park fires may have been deliberately lit.
As the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting lower than average rainfall in parts of eastern Australia with temperatures above average though to at least April, the likelihood of more fires cannot be ruled out.
Let’s all make sure that any further fires are from natural weather events such as lightning strikes - by making sure we keep our own fires in our kitchens where they belong it hot windy weather ,as well as keeping a sharp eye out for suspicious activity in bushland or parks and reporting incidents to local police and if necessary the fire brigade.
To report a fire emergency
Call Triple Zero (000)
If you are deaf or have a speech or hearing impairment call 106
For assistance with distressed or injured wildlife call 13 000 WIRES or 1300 094 737 (Grafton and Yamba)
This is Clarence Valley Council’s week ending 27-28 notice of The Clarence Valley 2027 10 year Community Strategic Plan placed in Coastal Views on Friday 27 and in The Daily Examiner on Saturday, 28 January 2017.
As the final strategic plan will be a guide for council deliberations over the next decade it can be considered an important reference document.
Someone obviously thought this small giveaway leaflet mounted as a sign was a good idea when Clarence Valley Council sent people forth to conduct the two-page community strategic plan survey at a busy little shopping centre in Yamba on Monday, 30 January 2017.
One local resident contacted North Coast Voices saying that many local shoppers thought it was some sort of eye test program and were passing the workers by on their way into Coles and that the people conducting the survey were reduced to calling out to shoppers asking them if they would stop and take a short survey.
When asking about the lack of adequate signage the local was told that a larger sign was being delivered on Thursday – but a further query elicited the fact that the survey ended in Yamba on the Friday.
The associated February community workshop ends an hour after the bus service stops for the night in Yamba, which is somewhat par for the course when it comes to council organisational skills.
A lesson in how not to conduct genuine community consultation.
Political Research Associates, 20 January 2017:
This report is excerpted from Matthew N. Lyons’s forthcoming book, Insurgent Supremacists: The U.S. Far Right’s Challenge to State and Empire, to be published by PM Press and Kersplebedeb Publishing. This report is also featured in Ctrl-Alt-Delete: An Antifascist Report on the Alternative Right….
Maybe you first heard about them in the summer of 2015, when they promoted the insult “cuckservative” to attack Trump’s opponents in the Republican primaries.1 Maybe it was in August 2016, when Hillary Clinton denounced them as “a fringe element” that had “effectively taken over the Republican party.”2 Or maybe it was a couple of weeks after Trump’s surprise defeat of Clinton, when a group of them were caught on camera giving the fascist salute in response to a speaker shouting “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”3
The Alt Right helped Donald Trump get elected president, and Trump’s campaign put the Alt Right in the news. But the movement was active well before Trump announced his candidacy, and its relationship with Trump has been more complex and more qualified than many critics realize. The Alt Right is just one of multiple dangerous forces associated with Trump, but it’s the one that has attracted the greatest notoriety. However, it’s not accurate to argue, as many critics have, that “Alt Right” is just a deceptive code-phrase meant to hide the movement’s White supremacist or neonazi politics. This is a movement with its own story, and for those concerned about the seemingly sudden resurgence of far-right politics in the United States, it is a story worth exploring.
The Alt Right, short for “alternative right,” is a loosely organized far-right movement that shares a contempt for both liberal multiculturalism and mainstream conservatism; a belief that some people are inherently superior to others; a strong internet presence and embrace of specific elements of online culture; and a self-presentation as being new, hip, and irreverent.4 Based primarily in the United States, Alt Right ideology combines White nationalism, misogyny, antisemitism, and authoritarianism in various forms and in political styles ranging from intellectual argument to violent invective. White nationalism constitutes the movement’s center of gravity, but some Alt Rightists are more focused on reasserting male dominance or other forms of elitism rather than race. The Alt Right has little in the way of formal organization, but has used internet memes effectively to gain visibility, rally supporters, and target opponents. Most Alt Rightists have rallied behind Trump’s presidential bid, yet as a rule Alt Rightists regard the existing political system as hopeless and call for replacing the United States with one or more racially defined homelands.
This report offers an overview of the Alt Right’s history, beliefs, and relationship with other political forces. Part 1 traces the movement’s ideological origins in paleoconservatism and the European New Right, and its development since Richard Spencer launched the original AlternativeRight.com website in 2010. Part 2 surveys the major political currents that comprise or overlap with the Alt Right, which include in their ranks White nationalists, members of the antifeminist “manosphere,” male tribalists, right-wing anarchists, and neoreactionaries. Part 3 focuses on the Alt Right’s relationship with the Trump presidential campaign, including movement debates about political strategy, online political tactics, and its relationship to a network of conservative supporters and popularizers known as the “Alt Lite.” A concluding section offers preliminary thoughts on the Alt Right’s prospects and the potential challenges it will face under the incoming Trump administration.
PART 1 – ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT
Two intellectual currents played key roles in shaping the early Alternative Right: paleoconservatism and the European New Right.
Paleoconservatives can trace their lineage back to the “Old Right” of the 1930s, which opposed New Deal liberalism, and to the America First movement of the early 1940s, which opposed U.S. entry into World War II. To varying degrees, many of the America Firsters were sympathetic to fascism and fascist claims of a sinister Jewish-British conspiracy. In the early 1950s, this current supported Senator Joe McCarthy’s witch-hunting crusade, which extended red-baiting to target representatives of the centrist Eastern Establishment. After McCarthy, the America First/anti-New Deal Right was largely submerged in a broader “fusionist” conservative movement, in which Cold War anticommunism served as the glue holding different rightist currents together. But when the Soviet bloc collapsed between 1989 and 1991, this anticommunist alliance unraveled, and old debates reemerged.5
In the 1980s, devotees of the Old Right began calling themselves paleoconservatives as a reaction against neoconservatives, those often formerly liberal and leftist intellectuals who were then gaining influential positions in right-wing think-tanks and the Reagan administration. The first neocons were predominantly Jewish and Catholic, which put them outside the ranks of old-guard conservatism. Neocons promoted an aggressive foreign policy to spread U.S. “democracy” throughout the world and supported a close alliance with Israel, but they also favored nonrestrictive immigration policies and, to a limited extent, social welfare programs. Paleconservatives regarded the neocons as usurpers and closet leftists, and in the post-Soviet era they criticized military interventionism, free trade, immigration, globalization, and the welfare state. They also spoke out against Washington’s close alliance with Israel, often in terms that had anti-Jewish undertones. Paleoconservatives tended to be unapologetic champions of European Christian culture, and some of them gravitated toward White nationalism, advocating a society in which White people, their values, interests, and concerns would always be explicitly preeminent. To some extent they began to converge with more hardline White supremacists during this period.6
These positions attracted little elite support, and after Reagan paleocons were mostly frozen out of political power. But they attracted significant popular support. In 1992 and 1996, Patrick Buchanan won millions of votes in Republican presidential primaries by emphasizing paleocon themes. Paleocons also played key roles in building the anti-immigrant and neo-Confederate movements in the ‘90s, and influenced the Patriot movement, which exploded briefly in the mid-90s around fears that globalist elites were plotting to impose a tyrannical world government on the United States. Some self-described libertarians, such as former Congress member Ron Paul, embraced paleoconservative positions on culture and foreign policy.7 After the September 11th attacks in 2001, the resurgence of military interventionism and neoconservatives’ prominent roles in the George W. Bush administration solidified the paleocons’ position as political outsiders.8
The Alt Right’s other significant forerunner, the European New Right (ENR), developed along different lines. The ENR began in France in the late 1960s and then spread to other European countries as an initiative among far-right intellectuals to rework fascist ideology, largely by appropriating elements from other political traditions—including the Left—to mask their fundamental rejection of the principle of human equality.9 European New Rightists championed “biocultural diversity” against the homogenization supposedly brought by liberalism and globalization. They argued that true antiracism requires separating racial and ethnic groups to protect their unique cultures, and that true feminism defends natural gender differences, instead of supposedly forcing women to “divest themselves of their femininity.” ENR writers also rejected the principle of universal human rights as “a strategic weapon of Western ethnocentrism” that stifles cultural diversity.10
European New Rightists dissociated themselves from traditional fascism in various other ways as well. In the wake of France’s defeat by anticolonial forces in Algeria, they advocated anti-imperialism rather than expansionism and a federated “empire” of regionally based, ethnically homogeneous communities, rather than a big, centralized state. Instead of organizing a mass movement to seize state power, they advocated a “metapolitical” strategy that would gradually transform the political and intellectual culture as a precursor to transforming institutions and systems. In place of classical fascism’s familiar leaders and ideologues, European New Rightists championed more obscure far rightist intellectuals of the 1920s, ‘30s, and beyond, such Julius Evola of Italy, Ernst Jünger and Carl Schmitt of Germany, and Corneliu Codreanu of Romania.
ENR ideology began to get attention in the United States in the 1990s,11 resonating with paleoconservatism on various themes, notably opposition to multicultural societies, non-White immigration, and globalization. On other issues, the two movements tended to be at odds: reflecting their roots in classical fascism but in sharp contrast to paleocons, European New Rightists were hostile to liberal individualism and laissez faire capitalism, and many of them rejected Christianity in favor of paganism. Nonetheless, some kind of dialog between paleocon and ENR ideas held promise for Americans seeking to develop a White nationalist movement outside of traditional neonazi/Ku Klux Klan circles.
EARLY YEARS AND GROWTH
The term “Alternative Right” was introduced by Richard Spencer in 2008, when he was managing editor at the paleocon and libertarian Taki’s Magazine. At Taki’s Magazine the phrase was used as a catch-all for a variety of right-wing voices at odds with the conservative establishment, including paleocons, libertarians, and White nationalists.12 Two years later Spencer left to found a new publication, AlternativeRight.com, as “an online magazine of radical traditionalism.” Joining Spencer were two senior contributing editors, Peter Brimelow (whose anti-immigrant VDARE Foundation sponsored the project) and Paul Gottfried (one of paleoconservatism’s founders and one of its few Jews). AlternativeRight.com quickly became a popular forum among dissident rightist intellectuals, especially younger ones. The magazine published works of old-school “scientific” racism along with articles from or about the European New Right, Italian far right philosopher Julius Evola, and figures from Germany’s interwar Conservative Revolutionary movement. There were essays by National-Anarchist Andrew Yeoman, libertarian and Pat Buchanan supporter Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com, male tribalist Jack Donovan, and Black conservative Elizabeth Wright.13
AlternativeRight.com developed ties with a number of other White nationalist intellectual publications, which eventually became associated with the term Alternative Right. Some of its main partners included VDARE.com; Jared Taylor’s American Renaissance, whose conferences attracted both antisemites and right-wing Jews; The Occidental Quarterly and its online magazine, The Occidental Observer, currently edited by prominent antisemitic intellectual Kevin MacDonald; and Counter-Currents Publishing, which was founded in 2010 to “create an intellectual movement in North America that is analogous to the European New Right” and “lay the intellectual groundwork for a white ethnostate in North America.”14
Read further book chapter excerpts at: http://www.politicalresearch.org/2017/01/20/ctrl-alt-delete-report-on-the-alternative-right/#sthash.oATVBB5a.hKmyQJAL.dpuf
Monday, 30 January 2017
CLARENCE LANDCARE INC, Mini Kooka E-News, January 2017:
SPECIAL ENVIRONMENT CALENDAR DATES FOR 2017
World Wetland Day—2nd February
World Wildlife Day—3rd March
Schools Clean Up Day—4th March
Clean up Australia Day—6th March
National Ground Water Awareness Week—6th to 12th March
World Water Day—22nd March
***** International Mother Earth Day & Earth Day 2017—22nd April ******
World Migratory Bird Day—2nd Saturday in May
National Volunteer Week—9th to 15th May
World Oceans Day—8th June
World Environment Day—5th June
Naidoc Week—3rd to 12th July
Schools Tree Day—29th July
National Tree Day— 31st July
National Honey Bee Day—22nd August
Keep Australia Beautiful Week—22nd to 28th August
National Landcare Week—5th to 11th September
World Clean up Day— 8th September
World Rivers Day—last Sunday in September
Recycling Week—13th-19th November
Pollinator Week—20th to 27th November
International Day of Climate Action —24th October
World Soil Day—5th December
Boston Globe, 24 January 2017:
The Trump administration has instituted a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants.
Emails sent to EPA staff since President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday and reviewed by The Associated Press detailed the specific prohibitions banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency’s social media accounts.
The Trump administration has also ordered a ‘‘temporary suspension’’ of all new business activities at the department, including issuing task orders or work assignments to EPA contractors. The orders are expected to have a significant and immediate impact on EPA activities nationwide.
The EPA did not respond to phone calls and emails requesting comment Monday or Tuesday.
The Huffington Post, 24 January 2017:
The Huffington Post also received a message that was reportedly sent to staff Monday that seems to cover the current agency guidance on talking to the press in general, not just about the directive on grants. The memo states that the agency is imposing tight controls on external communication, including press releases, blog posts, social media and content on the agency website.
(”Beach team” refers to staffers for the new administration working at the various agencies while new leadership is put in place; “OPA” most likely refers to the “Office of Public Affairs.”)
The Guardian, 26 January 2017:
The Trump administration is mandating that any studies or data from scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency undergo review by political appointees before they can be released to the public.
The communications director for Donald Trump’s transition team at the EPA, Doug Ericksen, said on Wednesday the review also extends to content on the federal agency’s website, including details of scientific evidence showing that the Earth’s climate is warming and manmade carbon emissions are to blame.
Former EPA staffers said on Wednesday the restrictions imposed under Trump far exceed the practices of past administrations…..
The EPA’s 14-page scientific integrity document, enacted during the Obama administration, describes how scientific studies were to be conducted and reviewed in the agency. It said scientific studies should eventually be communicated to the public, the media and Congress “uncompromised by political or other interference”.
The scientific integrity document expressly “prohibits managers and other agency leadership from intimidating or coercing scientists to alter scientific data, findings or professional opinions or inappropriately influencing scientific advisory boards”. It provides ways for employees who know the science to disagree with scientific reports and policies and offers them some whistleblower protection.
Sunday, 29 January 2017
At 30 June 2015, 28.2% of Australia's estimated resident population (ERP) (6.7 million people) was born overseas [Australian Bureau of Statistics, Estimated Resident Population by Country of Birth, 30 June 1992 to 2015]
Of these a total of 166,310 individuals born in the listed countries are potentially affected by the U.S. travel/immigration ban by presidential order on 27 January 2017 [PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES]:
South Sudan 4,410
When one adds to this an unknown number of Australians who have travelled to these countries since 1 July 2011 and face the possibility of being denied a U.S. tourist or work visa on that basis, the number of Australia citizens and permanent residents potentially affected grows.
The US State Department has advised visa issuance to nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen has been temporarily suspended following the signing of the Executive Order on Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals on 27 January 2017.
Australians who are dual citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria are no longer eligible to apply for an ESTA to enter the United States under the VWP. Any of these Australians who have previously been issued an ESTA are likely to have the ESTA revoked.
Australians who have travelled to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen since 1 March 2011 will also no longer be eligible to apply for an ESTA to enter the United States under the VWP.
If you are affected by these changes and wish to travel to the United States, you will need to apply for a non-immigrant visa at a US Embassy or Consulate. Exceptions from these travel restrictions will be made for Australians who have travelled on official Australian Defence Force or Australian Government business. No exceptions will be made for government officials or ADF members who are dual citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan.
The Secretary of Homeland Security may waive these travel restrictions on a case by case basis for travellers from the following categories: Australians who have travelled on behalf on international organisations, regional organisations or State and Territory governments on official duty; Australians who have travelled on behalf of a humanitarian NGO; Australian journalists who have travelled for reporting purposes; Australians who have travelled to Iran for legitimate business-related purposes following the conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on 14 July 2015; or Australians who have travelled to Iraq for legitimate business-related purposes. Those travellers who are potentially eligible for waivers do not need to apply separately for this – an application will be automatically generated by the ESTA questionnaire.
For further information regarding the changes, visit the Embassy of the United States of America in Australia, the United States Department of State Visa Information or the United States Customs and Border Protection website. You should also speak to your nearest US Embassy or Consulate for further assistance on visa applications.
If you need to apply for a non-immigrant visa, the United States Visa Information Service for Australia encourages applicants to apply at least three months in advance of the intended date of travel.
ACLU PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF, 28 January 201... by clarencegirl on Scribd
One of the temporary restraining orders granted 28 January 2017:
The Economist, 29 January 2017:
In her brief and unequivocal ruling on the evening of January 28th, Ms Donnelly wrote that Mr Alshawi and Mr Darweesh “have a strong likelihood of success” in showing that their deportation would violate their rights to due process and equal protection. There is “imminent danger”, she wrote, that “there will be substantial and irreparable injury to refugees, visa-holders and other individuals from nations” targeted by Mr Trump’s executive order, should it be fully implemented. Ms Donnelly thus “enjoined and restrained” the government from deporting refugees or “any other individuals from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen legally authorised to enter the United States”.
The ruling, along with similar non-removal orders from judges in Virginia and Seattle, means that nobody who was told they didn’t belong in America when they arrived on January 27th can be deported—for now—though there were reports from several cities on the night of January 28th that customs officials were disregarding the judges' orders and arranging for individuals to be sent home. It also bears reminding that these rulings are stays, not final determinations. Further judicial hearings in February will determine if the stays should be lifted. And the rulings do not come close to erasing Mr Trump’s executive order; the ban remains in effect for refugees and others who were planning to come to America in the coming days, weeks and months.
Another temporary restraining order can be found here.
With only three years of borrowed money left to complete roll out of the National Broadband Network (NBN) and still not yet at the halfway mark, serious questions about this increasingly sub-standard telecommunications infrastructure are being asked.
Australian Medical Association, media release, 17 January 2017:
Better Access to High Speed Broadband for Rural and Remote Health Care - 2016
10 Jan 2017
Approximately 30 per cent of Australia’s population lives outside the major metropolitan areas. Regional, rural and remote Australians often struggle to access health services that urban Australians would see as a basic right. These inequalities mean that they have lower life expectancy, worse outcomes on leading indicators of health, and poorer access to care compared to people in major cities.
In 2016 the AMA conducted a Rural Health Issues Survey, which sought input from rural doctors across Australia to identify key solutions to improving regional, rural and remote health care. The survey identified access to high-speed broadband for medical practices as a key priority.
This result reflects not only the increasing reliance by medical practices on the internet for their day to day operations, but also the increasing opportunities for the provision of healthcare services to rural and remote communities via eHealth and telemedicine. For the full potential of these opportunities to be realised, good quality, affordable, and reliable high-speed internet access is essential.
The AMA recognises that technology-based patient consultations and other telehealth initiatives can improve access to care and can enhance efficiency in medical practice, but the need for better access to high speed broadband goes beyond supporting rural and remote health. In today’s world, it is a critical factor to support communities in their daily activities, education, and business, and has the potential to drive innovation and boost the rural economy.
This position statement outlines the importance of better access to high speed broadband for medical practices, other healthcare providers and institutions, and patients, to improve regional, rural and remote health care in Australia, and highlights key solutions for achieving this.
2. Internet access in regional rural and remote Australia
Despite its tremendous growth, internet access is not distributed equally within Australia, and internet use by country people has yet to reach the level of use in capital cities, for a wide range of reasons.
In many country areas the internet connection is still very poor. In 2015, 80 percent of non-urban Australians had an internet connection at home compared with 89 percent of those in capital cities. Internet use via mobile phone was much lower in non-urban areas, at 37 percent, compared to 60 percent for capital cities. This reflects the patchy, unreliable or absent mobile coverage in many rural and remote areas. While mobile broadband use was highest in non-urban areas, at 29 percent, compared to 25 percent in capital cities, mobile broadband is currently not a good solution for business or eHealth, due to the relatively small amounts of data on the relatively costly plans available.
Internet services, particularly in more isolated areas, only make available relatively small download allowances and these come at a much higher cost and slower speed than those services available in metropolitan areas.
3. Supporting regional rural and remote health
3.1 The need for better access for health services
The health sector needs telecommunications connectivity for health service delivery and management, doing business with Government and complying with Government requirements, continuing professional development, online education, mentoring, and clinical decision and other support.
Health was identified in the Regional Telecommunications Review report as one of the particular segments of the community requiring special consideration. To effectively leverage telecommunications technology to deliver better health outcomes at lower cost in regional, rural and remote areas and to implement new models of health care, both mobile and broadband technology must be reliable, affordable, and supply adequate capacity.
However, the utilisation of telehealth and telemedicine in rural and remote Australia remains patchy and is not used to full potential, because of no, or inadequate internet access. As noted in the Regional Telecommunications Review report, the ability of hospitals and clinics to support remotely located clinicians and patients via video conferencing and remote monitoring could be severely limited in areas serviced by satellite, which may not be able to consistently and reliably deliver the necessary capacity and technical capability.
The AMA Rural Health Issues Survey received many comments from rural doctors on the problems encountered with poor internet access. For example:
- High-speed broadband [is the] single most critical issue to run practices now, many areas not getting the best from NBN.
- Internet services by satellite are slow and time consuming. Reliable internet services at reasonable speed and reliability is critical.
- Internet services are a critical area [of concern]. The NBN has been deficient in providing a comprehensive coverage even in areas that are under 25km from a major regional centre i.e. Orange and Dubbo.
As mainstream healthcare provision becomes increasingly technology based and requires more and faster broadband services to operate, there is a real risk that regional, rural and remote areas of Australia will be left further and further behind in their ability to provide quality health services.
3.2. The benefits of high speed broadband for rural and remote health care
High-speed affordable broadband connectivity to the Internet has become essential to modern society, and offers widely recognised economic and social benefits, with numerous studies showing a strong link between broadband growth and rapid economic development. Affordable and reliable broadband access can support the development of new content, applications and services that allow people to work in new ways, changing business processes in ways that stimulate productivity and potentially increase labour-force participation.
3.2.1 Economic benefits
It has been estimated that in New Zealand, the benefits from broadband-enabled health care could reach around $6 billion over a 20-year period. These benefits come from reduced hospital, travel and drug costs and improvements in care. A case study by Deloitte Access Economics shows savings to a single older Australian of $7,400 per year, with savings to the Government, through reduced health and service provision costs, of over $14,500.
3.2.2 Driving greater efficiency and reducing costs
Telehealth practice will be one of the most important online services in the broadband future, enabling significant changes to work practices to drive greater efficiency and reduce costs.
If sufficiently supported, telehealth services, such as video-conferencing, could become more effective in complementing local health services. They could be used to expand specialty care to patients in areas with shortages of health care providers as well as extend primary care to remote areas, reducing the need to travel, and increasing the frequency of patient and primary care provider interactions. By providing timely access to services and specialists, telehealth could improve the ability to identify developing conditions, and thereby reduce the need for more costly treatments and hospitalisations in the future. Telehealth could also help to educate, train and support remote healthcare workers on location and support people with chronic conditions to manage their health.
A CSIRO report on home monitoring of chronic disease, for example, shows that a modest investment in home monitoring technology, allied to risk stratification tools and remote monitoring, could save the healthcare system up to $3 billion a year in avoidable admissions to hospital, reduced length of stay and fewer demands on primary care.
3.2.3 Supporting eHealth solutions now and into the future
eHealth encompasses patient access to doctors via online consultation, remote patient monitoring, online tools and resources for patients and doctors, clinical communications between healthcare providers, and professional’s access to information databases and electronic health record systems. If sufficiently supported with affordable, high-speed broadband services, eHealth has potential to improve health outcomes at all levels, from preventative health, specialist and acute care and self-management of chronic conditions, through to home monitoring for people living with disabilities.
Advances in information technology will act as a catalyst for the development of a range of potential eHealth solutions to some of the challenges faced by rural and remote communities. If available and accessible, improved connectivity will facilitate new and emerging best practice models of health care, such as those which incorporate high definition video conferences, data exchange and high resolution image transfer.
Technological advancements in health care that could become the way of the future, if affordable and sufficient access to broadband services becomes available, include better point of care diagnostics, resulting in faster, cohesive patient care; biosensors and trackers to allow real time monitoring; 3D printed medical technology products; virtual reality environments that could accelerate behavioural change in patients; and social media platforms to improve patient experience and track population trends.
3.2.4 Supporting education and training
The internet also plays a big part in the lives of doctors and their families, assisting with education and social cohesion. It enables rural doctors to learn from the most current resources, explore treatment options, watch demonstrations of procedures and attend live discussions with experts.
Access to high speed broadband has the potential to change the way medical education, training and supervision is delivered in rural and remote areas . As pressure on access to prevocational and vocational training places increases, harnessing this technology to support training is a viable strategy to create additional training places in rural and remote locations and ultimately improve access to specialist services for rural and remote patients.
The use of telehealth and telesupervision as an adjunct to face-to-face teaching will allow doctors in training to remain in rural and remote settings to complete their training, and enhance the likelihood that they will choose to work long term in a rural areas. Improved information and communications technology will enhance the learning experiences for trainees at rural sites and during rural rotations, provide exposure to innovative models of care, and improve supervisor capacity by allowing supervisors to transfer knowledge, supervise and mentor trainees remotely.
Improved telehealth and communication technology infrastructure to support teaching and training at rural sites will also enhance professional collaboration between rural and remote medical generalist practitioners and other specialists in the provision of shared care, skills transfer and education.
The requirement for doctors to maintain their skills is a fundamental component of medical registration. It is important that processes mandated by the Medical Board of Australia, including in revalidation proposals, do not discriminate against medical practitioners working in rural and remote Australia. Access to high speed broadband is an essential support for rural and remote practitioners who must comply with these requirements.
4. What can be done to improve broadband access for country Australians?
The AMA is of the view that high-speed broadband should be available to the same standard and at the same cost to all communities, businesses and services across the whole of Australia. The platforms used must be able to accommodate future developments in information and communications technologies and provide connectivity through suitable combinations of fibre, mobile phone, wireless, and satellite technologies. For rural practices, in order to be incorporated routinely in everyday practice (clinical, educational and administrative), network connectivity must be sufficient, reliable, ubiquitous and dependable.
The Government must ensure that broadband services are affordable in regional, rural and remote Australia. Lack of affordability is regarded as one of the most important barriers to good internet access for country people whose incomes, on average, are 15 per cent lower than those of city people.
Government policies play a tremendous role in bringing internet access to underserved groups and regions. Unless issues around equitable and affordable access to telecommunications in regional, rural and remote Australia are addressed, the potential benefits of the digital economy for non-urban Australians will go unrealised.
The AMA urges the Government to consider the following actions:
· Fully consider the recommendations of the 2015 Regional Telecommunications Review, and, in particular, adopt Recommendations 8, 9, and 12, to:
o Develop a new Consumer Communication Standard for voice and data which would provide technology neutral standards in terms of availability, accessibility, affordability, performance and reliability.
o Establish a new funding mechanism, the Consumer Communication Fund to replace the existing telecommunications industry levy and underwrite over the longer term, necessary loss-making infrastructure and services in regional Australia.
o Collect benchmark data on availability and affordability of broadband data and voice services (including mobile services), to be reported annually, in order to improve the understanding of the changing circumstances of regional telecommunications.
· Extend the boundaries of the NBN’s fibre cable and fixed wireless footprints and mobile coverage wherever possible.
· Begin an incremental process of terrestrial network expansion over the longer term to address increase in usage over time.
· Develop measures to prioritise or optimise the broadband capacity available by satellite for hospitals and medical practices, such as exempting or allocating higher data allowance quotas, or providing a separate data allowance (as is the case with distance education).
· Create universal unmetered online access to government, hospital and health services for people and businesses in rural and remote areas.
· Establish an innovation budget for development of local infrastructure solutions for rural and remote areas.
· Engage with state and local government and related stakeholders who wish to co-invest or coordinate planning to achieve the optimum overall infrastructure outcome for their area. This could involve public-private partnerships or the leveraging of philanthropic infrastructure funding through, for example, tax concessions.
 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) (2015), Australia’s Welfare 2015
 Australian Government Regional Telecommunications Review (2015)
 Alcatel-Lucent (2012), Building the Benefits of Broadband. How New Zealand can increase the social & economic impacts of high-speed broadband
 Centre for Energy-efficient Telecommunications (CEET)(2015), Economic Benefit of the National Broadband Network
 Alcatel-Lucent (2012), op.cit.
 Deloitte Access Economics (2013), Benefits of High-Speed Broadband for Australian Households. Commissioned by the Australian Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
 CEET (2015), op.cit.
 National Rural Health Alliance (2013), eHealth and telehealth in rural and remote Australia. Accessed October 2016
 Prof. Branko Celler et al (2016), Home Monitoring of Chronic Disease for Aged Care, CSIRO Australian e-Health Research Centre.
 National Rural Health Alliance (2013) op. cit.
 National Rural Health Alliance (2016), website accessed October 2016
 Deloitte (2016), Design, service and infrastructure plan for Victoria’s rural and regional health system discussion paper, commissioned by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
 Wearne S M (2013), Using telehealth infrastructure for remote supervision could create medical training places where they are needed. Medical Journal of Australia, 198 (11): 633-634. 17 June 2013.
 Australian Government (2016), Australian Government Response to the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee Report: Regional Telecommunications Review 2015.
Broadband for the Bush Alliance (2016), Broadband for the Bush Forum V: Digital Journeys Communiqué
Broadband for the Bush Alliance (2014), Broadband for the Bush Forum III: Building a Better Digital Future Communiqué
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