1. DAYLIGHT SAVING STARTS ON SUNDAY, 27th OCTOBER 2013 – Fiji will start daylight savings on Sunday 27th October, 2013 and end at 3am on Sunday 19th January, 2014.
2. HOUSING AUTHORITY WRITES OFF $370, 000 WORTH OF LOANS – The Housing Authority of Fiji has partially written off the home loan accounts of four village housing schemes worth $370,000.
3. 1998 NATURAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT ACT REVIEW ENDORSED – The National Disaster Management Council (NDMC) has endorsed the revision of the 1998 Natural Disaster Management Act in a meeting today.
4. INCREASE IN REPORTS, RESULTS FROM AWARENESS – The continued advocacy and awareness programs on building violence free communities in Fiji has enabled people to come out and report cases of domestic violence and child welfare to the police and relevant authorities.
5. FISHERIES DEVELOPMENT PLAN TO ENSURE SUSTAINABILITY – Government, through its Fisheries Department, aims to implement a management plan to ensure sustainability of fish stocks for subsistence and commercial development.
1. DAYLIGHT SAVING STARTS ON SUNDAY, 27th OCTOBER 2013
Fiji will start daylight savings on Sunday 27th October, 2013 and end at 3am on Sunday 19th January, 2014.
This decision by Cabinet means that the nation will move clocks forward by one hour from 2am to 3am normal time on Sunday 27th October, 2013.
Members of the public are advised to move their clocks forward one hour ahead from 2am to 3am on Sunday 27th October, 2013.
2. HOUSING AUTHORITY WRITES OFF $370, 000 WORTH OF LOANS
The Housing Authority of Fiji has partially written off the home loan accounts of four village housing schemes worth $370,000.
Housing Authority chairperson, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga said the partial write off of these accounts was being funded jointly through government grant and Housing Authority provision to those village housing schemes that have paid over one and half times the principal loan amount and were facing financial difficulties in repaying the debt.
This partial write off brings to 14 the total number of schemes being assisted under the social housing policy by Housing Authority. Last year, 10 village housing scheme accounts were written off in the Western and Northern Divisions amounting to $505,000.
The villages, which benefitted from the partial write offs, were Saunaka in Nadi, Korovou in Ba, Nakorodamu in Yasawa as well as Namotomoto and Novoci villages in Nadi.
“The move to partially write off these village housing schemes alongside individual home owners’ loan accounts nationwide is to assist homeowners who are facing genuine financial difficulties,” Colonel Tikoitoga said.
“Housing Authority is reducing the remaining debt so that they can make more affordable repayments as well as pay off their home loan account sooner.”
As a condition, once a scheme is written off, no further loans will be issued by Housing Authority to the Village Housing Scheme unless the total amount assisted is repaid in full.
“To ensure that more communities benefit from these housing programmes, Housing Authority will be evaluating other village housing schemes nationwide to determine if they qualify for assistance under the approved policy,” Colonel Tikoitoga said.
The village housing scheme was introduced in 1980 to provide a mechanism for adequate and decent housing for those that resided in the peri-urban and rural areas .
3. 1998 NATURAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT ACT REVIEW ENDORSED
The National Disaster Management Council (NDMC) has endorsed the revision of the 1998 Natural Disaster Management Act in a meeting today.
The endorsement by the NDMC for the review of the Act will await Cabinet approval before being implemented.
Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management and NDMC chairman, Mr Inia Seruiratu said the review is vital for an effective crisis and management system.
“The Act is quite old and may not be relevant anymore thus the need for revision,” Mr Seruiratu said.
National Disaster Management director, Mr Manasa Tagicakibau said it is imperative that the Act be reviewed soon because of changes in disaster management worldwide.
“For the last decade, Government has experienced a lot of changes and challenges in disaster management, especially with the changing climate experienced worldwide,” Mr Tagicakibau said.
Mr Tagicakibau added there is a need to address responses during disasters and coordination with non-government organisations and demarcation of roles to improve efficiency and transparency in managing disasters.
He said the review is needed to also include new initiatives that have developed over the years.
“The high frequency and intensity of natural hazard experienced recently have exposed the need to review the Act.”
The endorsement by the NDMC for the review of the 1998 Natural Disaster Management Act will await Cabinet approval before being implemented.
4. INCREASE IN REPORTS, RESULTS FROM AWARENESS
The continued advocacy and awareness programs on building violence free communities in Fiji has enabled people to come out and report cases of domestic violence and child welfare to the police and relevant authorities.
While speaking at the 25th triennial Pan Pacific South East Women’s Association (PPSEAWA) Conference at Novotel, Lami the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni delivered a key note address on the sub-theme, “Managing the Home Environment for a Peaceful & Balanced Family Existence”.
Explaining the impacts of her ministry’s Zero Tolerance Violence Free Communities Campaign (ZTVFC) Dr Luveni said due to consistent awareness programs at community level, people had started to come out and report the domestic violence and child related cases.
“Through the networking with the communities, there is continued awareness and discussions on these issues and it’s no longer treated a private matter,” Dr Luveni said.
“During the community awareness program, people have received information about Domestic Violence Decree, providing greater protection to the victims of domestic violence who are generally women and likewise it explains the mandatory reporting by the professionals dealing with children under the Child Welfare Decree.
“There has been an increase in reporting of cases to relevant authorities like the police and also Department of Social Welfare. The issues of domestic violence and child welfare have been brought to the forefront and we have the gatekeepers committee that also plays a proactive role in ensuring cases are reported and assistance is available to the victims of domestic violence.”
Dr Luveni said that the awareness programs continued for six to eight months and for some communities it took one year to prepare them for the declaration phase of the violence free program.
“One of the key success of this campaign is the male support, particularly those of the male leaders who take ownership of this campaign,” Minister Luveni said.
“There is closer networking between the government agencies, community policing, health, social welfare, i-Taukei affairs, agriculture and some Non-Government Organisations like Empower Pacific that work together to take the awareness out to the rural and maritime villages.
“The campaign challenges the people and their beliefs. It encourages the communities to value women and children and respect them.”
The minister’s underlying message relative to the family and home management has been, “the family remains the essential ingredient in shaping our lives and the international cooperation on family matters is crucial. We need the support of all those who care, to follow a vigorous plan of action that ensures strengthening families in a non-threatening home environment is a viable perspective for a peaceful and balanced family existence”.
She said building peaceful families was one the key themes inculcated into community awareness programs implemented through the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign (ZTVFC) and currently there are more than 60 communities that have joined this campaign.
5. FISHERIES DEVELOPMENT PLAN TO ENSURE SUSTAINABILITY
Government, through its Fisheries Department, aims to implement a management plan to ensure sustainability of fish stocks for subsistence and commercial development.
Minister for Fisheries, Mr Inia Seruiratu said implementing development programmes will bring about much needed services and income security to the rural communities while preserving the environment and its biodiversity.
“The development programme is aimed at prioritizing issues in order to develop a management plan that improves the contribution of fisheries and aquaculture to food security and poverty alleviation while preserving environmental services and biodiversity,” Mr Seruiratu said.
“These include the issuance of licenses, aquaculture projects, fish and seaweed farming, fish processing, pearl oyster spat collection, fresh water pond culture and fish aggregation device.”
“There is a need to concentrate, develop and expand aquaculture commodities while at the same time regulate fishing activities for sustainable resource management and therefore growing our economy in a sustainable manner is very critical not only to the Government but to every Fijian,” Mr Seruiratu added.
Mr Seruiratu said that the low tuna, shark, beach-de-mer and other harvests from the sea have been a result of over exploitation, illegal fishing activities, destructive methods and overfishing.
“And while Government tries to ensure economic growth, it is very mindful of the sustainability of our natural resources,” Mr Seruiratu said.