news

News: Pet shops to ban puppy farms.

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Pet industry to push back on puppy farms?

Encouraging news from the pet shop industry which has made moves to shut out horrifying puppy farms (or ‘mills’ as they are also known) in a bid to win back the trust of the buying public. The farms are used to stock the demanding industry of pet shops across the country and are known to involve hundreds of female dogs and male dogs kept in a constant cycle of breeding and birthing with few staff to care for the animals and little to no money spent on veterinary bills as some of the puppies are just used to replace ill or dead breeders.

Amid growing concern from an increasingly aware public, the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) said it will only sell puppies from accredited breeders and guarantee to re-home any lost, abandoned or surrendered dogs. In NSW the association will pay the RSPCA to re-home dumped or lost dogs originally sold through its shops. But chief executive Roger Perkins said the PIAA would absorb the cost and there was no need for individual retailers to mark up the price of new puppies. It is also working with the Australian Association of Pet Dog Breeders (AAPDB) on the accreditation program that will introduce an annual audit of PIAA-approved breeders by an independent veterinarian.

The new policy begins October 1.

Animal welfare groups claimed the policy wasn’t nearly enough and that more needed to be done to stop puppy farms for good because they could still sell their dogs online or through classified ads in newspapers.

Asher Keddie and Ita Buttrose

Ita’s former husband to sue ABC for Paper Giants

The former husband of magazine queen Ita Buttrose is suing the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for its portrayal of him as ‘a pitiably weak man’. Alisdair ‘Mac’ Macdonald launched the defamation action in the Supreme Court. The two-part docudrama focused on the birth of Cleo Magazine when Ita was handpicked by then underdog Kerry Packer as he attempted to show his father Frank he could make savvy business decisions.

The series depicted Ita’s first husband as unable to cope with her sudden success and shows her returning home to an empty house as he walked away from the relationship and his pregnant wife. The case will head to mediation first.

– Speaking of the magazine heyday, Mamamia looked at why mags are not what they used to be.

Australia not prepared for growth

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has said Australia is ill-prepared for the growth it has earned during a mining boom. The transport infrastructure report, which looked at needs up to 2030, said most of the worldwide infrastructure couldn’t handle a 50 per cent increase in demand. “Some countries have begun linking strategic infrastructure planning to long-term infrastructure funds, as is the case in Canada, Denmark, Switzerland and the United Kingdom,” the report said. “But other countries, including Australia, India and the United States, should improve financing mechanisms to ensure funding is consistent with strategic infrastructure needs.” The OECD’s Barrie Stevens added:

“Australia needs to identify what they think is critical infrastructure to the economy at a national level  and to develop a better long term view for new rail roads, new port facilities and air traffic management. A lot of countries do this on a reactive basis.”

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“The recession is not going to last forever and after it many countries will be caught with overstretched facilities.”

“It helps to know where the money is coming from. How much is going to come from taxpayers? From user fees? From businesses? Once you have that start then it gives planning more credibility. A number of countries have an infrastructure find. The UK has one, that Canadians do this, it’s nothing new under the sun.”

Media players have their say on inquiry

It’s not just about journalists and the news. The Australian Government has received the report of the Independent Inquiry into the Media and Media Regulation and it makes a number of recommendations, mostly about how to better deal with a media market that has broken borders and embraced the multi-platform nature that online has brought with it. Currently different industries have their own, sometimes self-regulated, regulatory bodies which the inquiry called slow to act and, in a manner of speaking, without impact. It proposed a new body, one body to rule them all. Mumbrella editor-in-chief Tim Burrows was floored by the proposal of the News Media Council which would have jurisdiction over even small blogs.

“The inquiry called for the creation of the News Media Council – covering all news outlets including websites. And it wants to include any news website that has more than 15,000 page views a year – that’s less than 300 a week. The problem is how you decide on the web what a news site is. The Inquiry suggests ‘the news media are those that gather, analyse and disseminate news, often with their own opinions added’,” he said. News Limited editor David Penberthy wrote: “As part of the mainstream media I might not agree with everything that comes from the mouths of lefty critics of News Corporation, such as blogger Grog’s Gamut or Crikey rabble rouser Stephen Mayne. But I respect their right to say and publish what they like. Nobody has a monopoly on wisdom and it has been a good thing for democracy that over this past decade independent critics have questioned big media, powered by the freedoms of the internet. The recommendations of this inquiry would put a handbrake on that freedom.”

“Moreover, they could also cost you, the taxpayer, a bit of a dough. One recommendation is that the Productivity Commission should examine whether public funds be used to help media organisations deal with declining print revenues and the transition to digital. If we believe in free markets, I’d say declining print revenues are our problem, not yours, and that it’s the job of media companies to find a solution that doesn’t involve a taxpayer bailout.” But even the commentators agree the report itself offers one of the most valuable insights into Australia’s media history and should be required reading for anybody who studies it. Read the report here.

Wagga Wagga evacuated as river to hit record peak

Wagga Wagga yesterday

As this is published at 7am, the Murrumbidgee River that wends by the New South Wales city of Wagga Wagga is set to hit a peak of 10.8m, a level not seen since 1853 when the river nudged 11m. 8000 people have been directly affected by the evacuation order, given because the river is expected to overwhelm the flood levees that surround the city. The floods in New South Wales have claimed two lives.

THE VIEW FROM CANBERRA

by Lauren Dubois

Gillard’s rearranged Cabinet

I love any event that involves the Governor General. She’s Canberra’s version of The Duchess of Cambridge. She never puts a perfectly colour matched foot wrong.

Yesterday, Quentin Bryce was in a crisp white skirt suit, cinched at the waist and accented with a navy floral brooch. Flawless, as always.

Oh, she was swearing in the new ministry members. Just in case you were wondering.

After last week’s spill, the Prime Minister’s had to pull a few knives out of her back and “refocus” her cabinet. Which means, getting rid of those people you think screwed you over.

The newly reshuffled ministry with Governor General Quentin Bryce

Former Attorney General and Emergency Services Minister, Robert McLelland was the fall guy. Sent to the backbench for his public support of Kevin Rudd. What was it that Shakespeare said? Something about, women are from hell so be really nice to them, yeah?

Senator Kim Carr was another Rudd supporter and faced being kicked out. He managed to cling on to the Ministry, but was demoted from Manufacturing to Human Services Minister. He had a certain air of “Not Happy Jan” about him, at Government House.  (Chin up cowboy, you’re still in the Ministry! Could be worse. You could be Robert McLelland.)

ACT Senator, Kate Lundy is the big winner of the shakeup. She’s made it to the Cabinet as Sports Minister. In an Olympic year. So jealous.

The GG gave Senator Lundy her best wishes, saying, “It’s wonderful to be swearing in another woman minister in our country, in the week of International Woman’s Day”.

Brendan O’Connor is also now a Cabinet member, in the role of Small Business Minister. Former faceless man David Bradbury has made it into the ministry, as Assistant Treasurer.

The notable absentee was Labor’s bright, new, shiny thing, Bob Carr. He can’t make his move to Canberra until the NSW Parliament gives the OK. (Yada yada… complicated constitutional laws… trust me, it’s all legit). There’ll be a joint sitting of NSW Parliament in the next couple of days, and then Senator Bob will officially belong to Canberra.

In the meantime, he’s backtracking on some of his personal opinions (and his disapproval) of Australian foreign policy. (Hey guys, you know how I said invading Libya was a terrible idea? Psych! Totes kidding.) He’ll be heading to NZ later this week to cosy up to a group of Pacific Leaders.

Lauren Dubois is a freelance political reporter and Canberra correspondent for Mamamia. For all thing politics, you can follow her on Twitter here