Archives July 2018

G20 will give Brisbane an Expo 88 boost – Minister

Queensland Chief Scientist Geoff Garrett. Photo: Jessica ShapiroG20: Full coverage
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Brisbane will bounce forwards from this week’s G20 world leaders’ summit in the same way it did after the Commonwealth Games in 1982 and World Expo 88, Science and Technology minister Ian Walker told Fairfax Media.

Mr Walker said boosts in tourism, medical investment and agricultural research would be Brisbane’s lasting legacy from the G20, which is costing around $400 million to host.

“It is very difficult to tell at the moment, because you often only tell when you look back,” Mr Walker said.

“But it is going to be one of those events like Expo 88, like the Commonwealth Games where people will look back to those events and say ‘Wow, that changed Brisbane’,” he said.

“We came forward another notch of age as a result of that.”

Mr Walker said the change to outdoor eating after 1988 was an example of a change in living standards that Brisbane gained after the cosmopolitan influences from World Expo 88.

For 2014, Mr Walker nominated the nanopatch – where a one-centimetre square placed on the skin can inject crucial vaccines cheaper and without needles – the cervical cancer-fighting Gardasil vaccine – and new agriculture research to develop Vitamin A rich bananas for sub-Sahara Africa – as crucial leading technology from Queensland to the world.

The Australian government estimates it will cost $400 million to host G20 and Brisbane expects to raise around $100 million in investment, business growth and future tourism growth from the summit.

Mr Walker said Queensland would capitalise on the expected G20 recommendation for a two per-cent GDP growth rate to lift living standards from science and agricultural research.

“We have certainly charged the Chief Scientist (Geoff Garrett) to make sure that he speaks with his colleagues who will be attending from, around the world,” Mr Walker said.

“To explain what we are already doing in the science and innovation area and the strides we have made and how we can be a part of that future.”

The nanopatch and Professor Ian Frazer’s cervical cancer fighting vaccine Gardasil will be promoted as two examples of innovation that could be world-leading, Mr Walker said.

“I know the Chief Scientist will be talking about Gardasil – Ian Frazer’s ground-breaking vaccine on cervical cancer.

“And the nanopatch – which is not there yet, but it is almost there – which is going to be a new way of delivering injections.”

The one-square centimetrenanopatch has thousands of “micro-projections” on the underside which inject the vaccines into the skin.

Gardasil’s Professor Frazer is speaking at 11.15am on Wednesday on Day 1 of Brisbane City Council’s Global Cafe – a medical and science innovation session being run at Brisbane City Hall.

Mr Walker said few Queenslanders – let alone world leaders – were aware of the advances in agricultural research underway in Brisbane.

“For example through the Gates Foundation some of the researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are presently looking at the nutritional context of bananas,” Mr Walker said.

“Now, bananas are quite nutritious when they are grown in Queensland,” he said.

“But in sub-Sahara Africa, it is a much-different beast.

“It is lacking in Vitamin A and it is lacking in serious nutrients.”

Mr Walker said banana research was the third area where Queensland’s medical research innovation could be used in wider regions of the world after being discussed at the G20.

“I think that it is great chance to expose to the rest of the world, the high level of achievement we have here and what we can provide to the rest of the world in this area.”

Chief Scientist Geoff Garrett is also the facilitator of the Q and A sessions at each at the two-day Global Cafe techno-forum at Brisbane’s City Hall.

Mr Walker said the G20’s lasting legacy to Brisbane was still being shaped.

“I can remember before Expo 88 you couldn’t eat on the footpath in Brisbane,” Mr Walker said.

“That was the thing that came as a result of the cosmopolitan atmosphere that Expo 88 created,” he said.

“And I am sure that as we lead into the next few days and the G20 comes to Brisbane, again Brisbane will get that little glimpse of being a truly international city.”

“And that will be the lasting legacy.”

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G20 Brisbane: Union attempts to grab leaders’ attention

QNU advertisement aimed at G20 leaders.G20: Full coverage
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It is not the first thing most people would think of when thinking G20.

But the Queensland Nurses’ Union hopes to at least prick a few world leaders’ minds.

The QNU has joined with the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association to call for Australia to adopt the Financial Transaction Tax, known colloquially as the ‘Robin Hood tax’.

The tax is applied to banks and other financial institutions each time they make a transaction, such as trading stocks or bonds or credit default swaps.

QNU Secretary Beth Mohle said public health care should be on the summit’s agenda.

The group had made a television advertisement in an effort to reach the 25 world leaders during their time in Brisbane.

“Governments are put in place to protect the health and wellbeing of their people,” Ms Mohle said in a statement.

“The provision of universal healthcare for all people should be the priority of our leaders. Sadly this does not appear to be the case in Australia at this time.”

Ms Mohle said the recent Ebola crisis highlighted the vast discrepancies in health care across the world, while Australia was still fighting the proposed $7 Medicare GP co-payment.

While a levy of between 0.005 and 0.05 per cent has been proposed by the group as an appropriate FTT, Ms Mohle said broadening the tax base and “ensuring transnational corporations paid their fair share” were other options.

The QNU are not the first group to try and take advantage of the world spotlight on Brisbane. World Wildlife Foundation, Transparency International and the C20 – the civilian G20 – have all had billboards rejected by the Brisbane Airport Corporation.

WWF have responded by collecting 40,000 signatures protesting the BAC decision to reject its #onmyagenda climate change ad as “political”. It has called for people to tweet world leaders their opinions on climate change, in lieu of the billboard.

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Queensland MPs take advantage of allowances

Only five MPsspent less than 80 per cent of their allowances. Photo: James DaviesQueensland’s MPs have not been shy in spending their allowances.
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The annual review of the state’s allowances system revealed the majority of Queensland’s 89 MPs spent between 80 and 100 per cent of the three allowances granted to them above their base salaries.

An analysis of how allowances were spent showed 63 MPs spent between 80 and 100 per cent of their electorate allowance, while 16 went over by up to 20 per cent and five spent more than 120 per cent.

The information and communication allowance was the trickiest for MPs to keep account of, with 47 MPs spending between 80 and 100 per cent, and 39 going over budget.

The biggest expense for most MPs was production, publication and distribution of material, which cost just over $1 million.

But savings were made in the general travel allowance, with all but seven MPs spending under 80 per cent of their allowance.

Any overspend must be paid back by the MP.

The allowance system was overhauled in October last year, following a mass public outcry over a Cabinet approved $57,000 a year payrise.

Under the new system, the 30 previous allowances were reduced to three – electoral ($27,500 to $34,000 based on an electorate’s size), information and communication ($34,000) and general travel entitlements (between $25,500 to $40,000 based on electorate size)

MPs must now also provide receipts to show how they spent the money. Previously, allowances were seen as a “defacto salary top up” with no documentation required.

An accounting of how each MP spent their allowances was released in September.

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Police gun holsters under investigation after serious injury

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EXCLUSIVE

Victoria Police has launched an urgent investigation into potential design flaws with its custom-made gun holsters after a sergeant was shot and seriously injured last month.

It is the third incident involving a “holstered discharge” – when a gun fires in its holster – since the force’s $10 million semi-automatic weapons rollout in 2012.

A possible outcome of the internal investigation is the recall and replacement of all 13,000 holsters if design defects are identified.

With the review under way, police command recently issued a “hazard alert” to all armed members amid doubts surrounding the holsters’ safety features that arose from the latest incident on October 2.

The sergeant’s pistol was discharged in its holster during the incident in Melbourne’s inner north and he was rushed to hospital with serious leg injuries.

Victoria Police has urged its employees to regularly check the correct fitting of their holsters to ensure they were providing the “highest available levels of security”.

Fairfax Media has agreed not to publish specific details about equipment features that are currently under review because of serious concerns for member safety raised by force command.

Police Association secretary Ron Iddles said he believed the holsters for the Smith and Wesson semi-automatic pistols were unsafe and the concerns were legitimate.

“I think there is an issue with the holsters,” he said.

“They have been in existence for three years, and on any one day there would be thousands of police officers holstering a firearm, wearing it, taking it off … but it is still concerning.”

Mr Iddles, formerly one of Victoria’s leading homicide investigators, said force command’s investigation into holster design showed it was treating occupational health and safety “very seriously”.

“We are not in dispute,” he said. “This is about the safety of our members.”

The Victorian WorkCover Authority conducted a separate investigation after the Preston incident that examined the design of the police force’s gun holsters. But a spokeswoman said the watchdog was confident holster safety was being “appropriately managed by Victoria Police”.

The review is not the first time Victoria Police has had to address safety concerns relating to its semi-automatic weapons’ holsters. It was forced to replace about 2000 holsters during the testing phase when field trials exposed dangerous design flaws.

Victoria Police spokesman Kris Hamilton said the holsters provided a high level of security for the semi-automatic weapons carried by police and was used by law enforcement agencies worldwide.

“Approximately 2.5 million operational shifts have been worked by police carrying this weapon,” he said.

“We will not, however, take shortcuts when it comes to safety.”

Acting Senior Sergeant Hamilton said the force was constantly reviewing operational equipment and had begun the latest investigation in response to the Preston incident. The investigation has so far confirmed that holster security can be improved byensuring correct configuration, he said.

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North East winner from both parties

Cr Mark ByattA KEY North East regional alliance group has backed the Victorian Coalition’s plan to invest $100million in regional centres like Wodonga and Wangaratta.
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But Labor is also talking the right talk when it comes to regional development policy, according to 4Hume chairman Mark Byatt, with regional centres to benefit either way come November 29.

The Coalition has announced that $100million will be made available over four years for the use of the 10 regional cities at the heart of the government’s Regional Cities Victoria plan if it wins the election.

That $100million will come from the existing $1billion Regional Growth Fund, of which $500million remains — thus leaving $400million for other regional and rural projects.

Cr Byatt said the funding promise was not a surprise given the Coalition’s Regional Cities Victoria plan showed it recognised the importance of regional centres.

“It’s very good to see they’re backing their policy position by backing investment in that portfolio,” he said.

The cash would be used to improve CBD areas and build economic and social infrastructure.

Cr Byatt said with each regional centre receiving $10million over four years, it was “a very good start” to investing in regional Victoria.

But Benambra MP Bill Tilley said the funds would still be given based on the merit of each project, in terms of how it would impact and aid employment and other investment in each city.

“In Wodonga we’ve got the revitalisation of the CBD, aspirations for Baranduda Fields, and Junction Place that could all benefit from this,” he said.

The Coalition’s commitment follows several pledges by Labor on the regional front including: a $200million regional fund for job-creating projects; $1billion in funding for rural and regional roads; and plans to abolish the Regional Growth Fund and bring back the Regional Development Fund.

Cr Byatt said he was pleased both sides had allocated funds to regional Victoria, regardless of what the fund was called.

“Whether it’s the growth fund or the development fund is irrelevant,” he said.

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DSI parts go down in history

Acquisition committee member Christopher McQuellin and museum and social history co-ordinator Bridget Guthrie look at the gearbox, which was signed by staff on completion. Picture: TARA GOONAN
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THE last gearbox to roll off the production line at Lavington’s DSI Holdings was yesterday handed over to Albury’s Library Museum.

The acquisition committee accepted the gearbox as part of an exhibition entitled Speed that will focus on transport in Albury across the ages.

Albury Council’s social history co-ordinator Bridget Guthrie said the history of DSI would be the grand finale of the exhibition.

“We undertook active collecting so that history isn’t lost,” she said.

“We have gone into the plant prior to their closing and have taken photographs, done oral history accounts with the staff, sound and film recordings and acquired transmissions.”

The last gearbox was made two days before the company’s closure on October 31.

The plant was responsible for the production of about 4.5million transmissions during its 43 years of operation in Lavington.

Items including staff cards, stamps, photos and engineering blueprints will also be part of the exhibition.

Acquisition committee volunteer Christopher McQuellin said the plant had an important social history that needed to be recorded.

“The plant that has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Albury-Wodonga and it hasn’t been appreciated properly,” Mr McQuellin said.

“Albury-Wodonga made the only gearboxes to be manufactured in Australia and this is the last one.

“It’s a sad part of manufacturing history in Australia.”

DSI Holdings Plant manager Howard Morey said it was important to hand the items over to the city.

“If the plant is decommissioned and sold, some of that stuff could be lost and I was worried about that, so when they approached me I thought it was a fantastic idea,” Mr Morey said.

“Old and current workers had uniforms that were worn back in the Borg Warner days, so when they heard the museum was collecting them they brought them forward.

“It’s important to me and the people who have worked there over the years that these items and this history isn’t lost.”

The exhibition will involve the Library Museum and the Albury Regional Art Gallery and will open in March 2016.

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Golfing great helping others

IT was great to see Marcus Fraser is back on the circuit.
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My mother has been keeping me up to speed with the articles re his return.

I was fortunate to have spent some time with him in Dubai over a meal and a drink.

On the golf course we followed him religiously.

I think he would be glad to hear that while he is away he has contributed unknowingly to help a sick girl in need.

I was given his TaylorMade golf bag in Dubai.

My daughter, who worked for Emirates, was given the unenviable job of lugging it back to Australia on her last trip with them.

The bag was never used by me, and when the opportunity came to do something useful with it through our local golf pro, we jumped at the chance.

Charlotte Wood has a rare form of epilepsy called Doose syndrome.

Due to the amount of seizures she has had, damage to her brain function has occurred.

A function was held for her and raised about $25,000 (not sure how much the bag raised but I think it was around the $500 mark).

This money is being distributed to Charlotte’s education and the Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick, Neurology Department.

— MICHAEL MULLIGAN,

Mittagong

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Young views worthwhile

WODONGA youngsters last night gave their opinion as to how they might feel safe from bullying.
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Their ideas included greater surveillance of the city by police on the street, school crossing guards and CCTV cameras.

They were offered at an anti-bullying forum hosted by Wodonga Council’s youth services team.

The team is undertaking a cross-border community anti-bullying campaign, with suggestions collected from last night’s forum, and another scheduled for tonight, being utilised as part of the campaign.

Wodonga Primary School principal Pam Martin also shared with the forum some of the school’s own processes of dealing with bullying, including a brochure made by students that includes techniques they use to stop bullies.

Bullying in all its forms — verbal, physical and online — was named as one of the key concerns by young people in a Wodonga survey.

The idea that a brochure outlining a clear process for everyone to follow against bullies should be circulated throughout the city is a good one, and would go a long way to presenting a united front against the perpetrators.

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Chair brings comfort to patients

Patient Doreen Scott, of Wodonga, found the new chair more comfortable and is assisted by nursing unit manager of the medical ward and oncology services, Jenny Commins, and Leukaemia Foundation’s Carmel Duck and general manager Chris McMillan. Picture: TARA GOONANIT may only be a new chair, but for cancer sufferer Doreen Scott, it has made all the difference in the world.
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Yesterday Ms Scott received her chemotherapy treatment at Albury hospital as she has done for the past three months, but this time she spent the hours in comfort as the result of a two-year project to provide the oncology unit with six new chairs each valued at $6000.

“It definitely makes it easier,” she said.

The new chairs are automatically operated and have side tables.

“It’s very comfortable, it just doesn’t have a coffee machine on the side,” Ms Scott said.

The hospital’s auxiliary president Gareth Jones said it had bought five new chairs with donations and the sixth had been funded by the Albury-Wodonga and Murrumbidgee Leukemia Foundation.

The foundation provided $3000 towards the chair with the auxiliary and Essential Energy funding the balance.

The group’s support services co-ordinator Carmel Duck said patients often sat in the unit for six to eight hours while receiving treatment and it was vital to have chairs that were comfortable and flexible.

The foundation’s Border office is moving to level three of the Gardens Medical Centre.

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Border course shows promise

International course designer Mike Etherington-Smith with Albury-Wodonga horse trials course designer Sylvia Roberts and Meg Paterson, 13, on Red at the water jump. Picture: TARA GOONAN
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ONE of the world’s leading cross-country course designers has said he was envious of Albury-Wodonga’s equestrian facility.

And while the terrain may be a “little flat and plain”, Mike Etherington-Smith believes there is plenty of scope to improve the centre’s cross-country course to appeal to riders and spectators.

Yesterday’s visit to the Albury-Wodonga Equestrian Centre in Thurgoona was Etherington-Smith’s first trip to the Border and the man who designed the Sydney 2000 Olympics cross-country course was impressed with what he saw.

But the British Eventing chief executive and former professional rider also had some words of advice for event organisers.

“As a course designer we want to put horses in front of people,” he said.

“Don’t tuck the jumps away — you want to build a course that is both user friendly and spectator friendly.”

Etherington-Smith’s trip to the Border has been funded by Equestrian Australia to provide world-class mentoring to Aussie course builders.

He spent yesterday walking the Albury course and inspecting fences with Syliva Roberts, course designer for the Albury-Wodonga International Horse Trials.

Event director Angela Ramsay said it was a major coup to have input from a designer of the calibre of Etherington-Smith.

“To have the opinion and experience of someone associated with Olympic and World Equestrian Games is invaluable,” Ms Ramsay said.

Etherington-Smith said times had changed since the days when he was eventing.

In Europe the trend is towards courses with more vertical fences, deeper water and smaller timber to test riders’ skills, he said.

“It means people have to ride properly,” Etherington-Smith said.

“We need to build courses so that people can learn at the lower levels, otherwise they will crash and burn at the higher levels.”

Regional competitions were crucial in helping riders and horses progress up the ladder.

As a course designer we want to put horses in front of people. Don’t tuck the jumps away — you want to build a course that is both user friendly and spectator friendly.

Mike Etherington-Smith

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