Vic Parliament News - April 2018

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Future in focus

Victoria is now the second place in the world where MPs have established a focal point to consider the opportunities and challenges presented by Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Jointly led by Innovation Minister Philip Dalidakis and Shadow Minister David Southwick, the Victorian All-Party Parliamentary Group on AI has a focus on the future, examining how Victoria can benefit from and address concerns about new technologies.
The group’s launch included a seminar presented in the Parliamentary Library by Professor Genevieve Bell, one of the world’s leading technologists.
Professor Bell has recently returned to Australia after 20 years in Silicon Valley, and now heads up a new research institute at the Australian National University.
At the seminar, she said innovation is not simply about advances in technology. It’s also about paying attention to what people care about, what they want, and what they don’t want.
“There is a critical set of challenges around Artificial Intelligence that we aren’t tackling,” Professor Bell said.
An article featuring an interview with Professor Bell and a video of her seminar presentation are available via the Victorian Parliament’s Facebook page.
The future of how we drive is also being examined, with the Economy and Infrastructure Committee conducting a public inquiry into electric vehicles.
Industry insiders say we’re on the cusp of a transformation in the transport sector as motor vehicles make way for the growing presence of the electric vehicle.
The inquiry has received a range of evidence, which is discussed in a feature article: Charging how we drive.
Two major reports were also presented to Parliament recently, with an emphasis on reforms for a better future.
A comprehensive parliamentary committee report into drug law reform has called for a more effective drug response framework in Victoria that recognises health and community safety as key areas of focus.
In its 18 chapter report, the Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee has made 50 recommendations, after an extensive inquiry that received more than 230 submissions and held nine days of public hearings.
“The report comprehensively explores the key areas of prevention, law enforcement, treatment and harm reduction,” said Committee Chair, Geoff Howard.
It is available from the Committee’s website along with a summary booklet outlining the findings and recommendations.
The Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Committee has recommended a suite of reforms to assist rural and regional councils provide the services and infrastructure all Victorians deserve.
In its report, the Committee has made 14 recommendations intended to strengthen rural and regional councils’ financial positions.
“There is a certain level of service that all Victorians are entitled to and which is essential to maintain the liveability and economic contribution of Victoria’s regional areas,” Committee Chair Josh Bull said.
The report is available from the Committee’s website.
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