Brisbane Times Australia
Dreamworld operator Ardent Leisure pleads guilty over 2016 tragedy - Sydney Morning Herald
During proceedings in Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning, a sentencing hearing was set for Monday, September 28.
The ride fault killed Sydney mother Cindy Low, Canberra mother Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi on October 25, 2016. The raft carrying the four victims and an empty raft collided at the end of the ride's conveyor belt, causing the riders' raft to flip over. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk places flowers at the makeshift memorial outside Dreamworld in 2016.Credit:Glenn Hunt Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Wednesday the 2016 incident was "an absolute tragedy". "Im quite sure that the families want closure. But that is a matter for Dreamworld so I dont want to comment on any further action that could be taken there," she said. After lengthy inquest hearings at Southport in 2018, Coroner James McDougall handed down a scathing report into the tragedy on February 20, 2020. The report said it was "very fortunate" nobody else was killed on the ride before the 2016 tragedy. Mr McDougall said there was a "systemic failure" by the theme park in relation to "all aspects" of safety. There is no evidence that Dreamworld ever conducted a proper risk assessment of the ride in its 30 years of commission, he said. Mr McDougall said it was "unfathomable" that hazard management fell to ride operators and staff who identified risks, rather than through formal engineering inspections. The lax approach to safety, Mr McDougall said, made such a tragedy much more likely. "It was simply a matter of time. That time came on October 25, 2016," he said. Queensland Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said last week she was pleased with the action the prosecutor had taken in laying "the maximum charges in the act". "Im very supportive of his swift action in relation to this. It was a recommendation from the coroner to the independent prosecutor, and those charges have now been laid in the courts," Ms Grace said. - with Matt Dennien
Minogue avoids Queensland hotel quarantine, as Premier declares NSW hot spots - Sydney Morning Herald
Anyone who has visited the local government areas of Liverpool and Campbelltown in the past two weeks will be refused entry to the Sunshine State.
Meanwhile, Mr Miles confirmed Australian singer and television personality Dannii Minogue received a state government exemption and avoided hotel quarantine upon returning to Queensland from the US. Speaking on ABC Radio Brisbane on Tuesday, Mr Miles said Ms Minogue was instead allowed to quarantine for two weeks in her own home. Singer Dannii Minogue is allowed to quarantine in her own home, unlike most people returning to the Sunshine State.Credit:NETWORK SEVEN "Anyone can apply for those exemptions and the Chief Health Officer [Dr Jeannette Young] considers all of the advice put to her from other medical professionals," Mr Miles said. "In this case, I understand that the person in question is in quarantine and all of the quarantine conditions will be enforced on her. "She has come from a high-risk location and so, like anyone arriving back from the United States, we need her to comply with those quarantine conditions. "I understand she is quarantining at home under conditions put to her by Queensland Health." Staying in her private residence, reportedly at the Gold Coast, means Ms Minogue will be spared having to pay $2800 in hotel quarantine costs enforced on others crossing the border. Mr Miles said he understood why there was public outcry regarding the decision involving Ms Minogue, but he said she was paying for her own private quarantine. "As I understand from the advice that Dr Young has provided to me, the quarantine arrangements in place in this instance mirror, if not [are] greater, than the arrangements in the hotel quarantine," he said. "They incorporate contract security [to make sure she maintains quarantine] as well as testing, so those requirements will ensure that Queenslanders are kept safe and they are being administered by a trusted third party, all at her own expense." Dr Young said she provided exemptions from quarantine if she was confident the system they had in place protected the broader Queensland public. "I provide exemptions because Im confident the process they have in place will adequately protect the Queensland community if any of the people who are in quarantine were to be positive," she said. "We have to watch social distancing in nightclubs and restaurants [and] waiting outside the nightclubs, that might need to be policed a little bit more," Dr Perry told the inquiry. "We will watch what happens in Victoria and its not completely out of the question that our borders may need to close again in the next week or next month and the nightclubs may need to close down."
Closing Queensland's borders, nightclubs again 'not out of the question' - Brisbane Times
AMAQ president Dr Chris Perry said another mass closure could happen "in the next week or next month".
Queensland nightclubs reopened little more than a week ago after several months of COVID-19 closure. Guests are allowed to order drinks at the bar, but dancing and gathering on the dance-floors are banned. Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said police had issued three venues with $6600 fines for rule breaches and a number of people were escorted out of venues for dancing. FILE IMAGE: Laruche nightclub in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley. Meanwhile, the state borders reopened on Friday, to visitors from every state except Victoria due to the recent resurgence of the virus in Melbourne. "I think its beholden to the hospitality industry to make sure they do their things right, otherwise a second lockdown is going to be terrible," Dr Perry said. "Almost all of the cases in Victoria are people under the age of 40 - its nightclubs, restaurants, a lack of social distancing, people hugging and kissing their 50 best friends. "You just have to put the message out to be vigilant." Dr Perry said Queensland's health department should remain ready for a second wave by not being lured into a false sense of security. "Keep the numbers up with personal protective equipment, dont deconstruct the ventilators, be prepared for the next couple of years to put up the borders again," he said. Also during Monday's inquiry hearing, former Queensland premier Campbell Newman came under fire from Public Health Association of Australia chief executive Terry Slevin. Mr Slevin said Queensland should consider implementing a dedicated public health officer training platform, which exists in states such as NSW and Victoria. He added that the removal of more than 4000 "so-called desk roles" from Queensland Health under Mr Newman in 2012 had stripped expertise from the sector to "deal with a response of this type". "And while eight years ago sounds like a long time, that public health expertise hasnt been adequately built up," Mr Slevin said. "I think now Queensland will pay the price for that diminishment in its expertise and capacity and it has to be recovered quickly, but unfortunately a training program isnt a quick fix. "[But] that is certainly something Queensland should consider in terms of developing a highly trained and expert workforce in public health response." Queensland recorded one new case on Monday - a woman in her 30s from the Sunshine Coast who had recently returned from overseas and was already in hotel quarantine when she was tested. "We have only one new case, but its in hotel quarantine, so we have absolutely no concerns about that issue for Queensland," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
WWII 'warbirds' get $1.1b Brisbane parallel runway off to flying start - Brisbane Times
After a mystery trip from WWII to Texas, and 1500 man-hours of restoration, a Mark 16 1945 Spitfire "warbird" became the first plane to touch down on the new runway.
Wingmen Steve Boyd in an L-39 Albatross, Brad Bishopp in a P51D Mustang and Ross Parker in a CAC Wirraway were with him overhead as the Fighter Pilots Adventure helped christen the tarmac of Australia's first capital city runway in 25 years. "We only picked her up about two years ago," Mr Rolph-Smith said of the company's million-dollar 1945 Spitfire. (From left) a 1945 Spitfire, L39 Albatross and P51D Mustang take flight.Credit:Gaynor Sipolis / Brisbane Airport Corporation "It took us 18 to 20 months to do the full restoration. We tested her on January 20th, so this bird is fresh." Mr Rolph-Smith said he was not sure how the British-made Mark 16 1945 Spitfire got to Texas after WWII. "It was in a museum in Galveston and we just tracked her down. The re-assembly took a while - 15,000 man-hours." The Spitfire - the first plane to land on Brisbane's $1.1 billion new parallel runway - is powered by a Packard-Merlin motor generating 1650 horsepower. The Spitfire is "fresh".Credit:Glenn Hunt/Getty "It has a timber propeller and it is a very, very agile aircraft which is very, very nice to fly," Mr Rolph-Smith said. the pilot of 25 years said the sky show the - including a series of low passes and a tail chase - were part of a well-drilled routine. He rates the new runway as "absolutely spectacular." "It is beautiful, smooth, great lighting, state of the-art-designs," he said. Before the warbirds - at 11.15 am - Virgin flight VA 781 was given the honour of becoming the first plane to leave Brisbane's new runway. The first flight - Virgin 781 to Cairns - prepares to take off from Brisbane's new runway.Credit:Beau Chenery Two large water cannons christened the B737 as it eased onto the 3.3-kilometre stretch, formally known as Brisbane Airport's Runway 01L/19R. Captain John Ridd and first officer Troy Parker banked the Virgin flight north soon after take-off to head for Cairns. July 12, the date chosen for the formal opening after the COVID-19 pandemic ruined the opportunity for a public open day, is significant. A light-hearted moment as Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey "jumped the gun" on the ribbon cutting.Credit:Gaynor Sipolis / Brisbane Airport Corporation. It commemorates the first flight between Brisbane and north Queensland 73 years ago by now defunct Barrier Reef Airlines on July 12, 1947. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk insisted on social distancing throughout the ceremony even reminding people during photographs. Even before the speeches began, there was a reminder: "Remember everyone: Handshakes are out. Elbows are kings and queens for today!" Awareness of Melbourne's lockdown - with 279 new Victorian COVID-19 cases on Sunday - was everywhere. Cameron Rolph-Smith takes the Spitfire fo a spin.Credit:Gaynor Sipolis / Brisbane Airport Corporation While Gert-Jan De Graaff was the man in the Brisbane Airport Corporation chief executive chair for the opening, previous chief executives Koen Rooijmans (1997 until 2009) and Julieanne Alroe (2009 to 2018) were also on hand to share memories. Mr Rooijmans said the federal government always supported the project despite early delays, while Ms Alroe said cementing the Qantas routes in and out of Brisbane convinced her the privately run airport would be viable in the longer run. Runway project director Paul Coughlan said once the complex dredging phase - obtaining sand from Moreton Bay without blocking the mouth of the Brisbane River - was underway, he knew the project would succeed. Mitchell Palm, the great-nephew of Queensland aviation pioneer Bert Hinkler, recalled stories of his great-great-uncle landing at the original Eagle Farm. "Back in those days it was very, very different. They first flew in 1905 and he flew from England to Australia in 1932," he said, adding that Mr Hinkler would have been stunned at the advances. "Here we are nearly 100 years later and jet aircraft are nearly a way of life." Ms Palaszczuk joked that she was doubled blessed on "a fantastic day for Queensland." "We have the opening of this second runway and zero new COVID-19 cases overnight for Queensland," she said. "So I am very happy premier today." Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack channelled former National premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen - "We'll beat COVID-19, don't you worry about that" - and acknowledged the work of Virgin boss Paul Scurrah in keeping Virgin "on the tarmac". (Front, from left) Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Brisbane Airport parallel runway project director Paul Coughlan and Minister for State Development, Tourism and Innovation Kate Jones celebrate the first flight.Credit:Gaynor Sipolis / Brisbane Airport Corporation "It's been decades in the dreaming. It's been a couple of years in the planning, eight years in the building - the Governor couldn't wait to snip the ribbon - but it's happened," he said, "We've opened the runway. Well done Queensland. It truly is a great Queensland moment. "But it is truly a great national moment, for this is a runway for all Australians."
Smartphone use not bad parenting, study finds benefits for families - Brisbane Times
A new study has found rather than a sign of bad parenting, light to moderate smartphone use was associated with greater family connection.
"I wanted to challenge the idea that if we just took away smartphones, everyone would be a great parent, and we know that is definitely not the case," she said. "We actually found that as long as youre not spending huge amounts of time distant from your family because of smartphone use, it actually has a really positive effect." The observational study looked at the phone use of more than 3500 parents, and assessed them based on 12 different measures of phone use, including texting, calling and social media, as well as briefly checking a phone compared with continuous use. Dr Modecki said the notion of family displacement was key in assessing smartphone use - as long as the phone use was not taking you away from your family, there was no negative association. "Smartphones allow us to be connected to work, to get support, find information, to run errands, it allows us to be physically present in ways that otherwise we would have to be elsewhere," she said. "We also found a difference between if you are immersed in scrolling through social network sites compared to texting or glancing at your phone while still being actively engaged with your family." Dr Modecki said despite becoming inescapable in recent years, smartphones were still very new technology, and their effects still werent properly understood. "We dont actually know what bad parenting is yet in terms of smartphones. Im not saying its not there, but just that simple use is not it," she said. "Smartphones facilitate so many ways for us to be around our kids and to deal with things in our life, especially with COVID at the moment."
Media Super and Cbus look to merge as super funds feel squeeze - Brisbane Times
The super funds representing the media and construction industries have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore a merger.
Mr Noonan said the fund had $550 million in cash and insisted the merger was not an indicator it was in trouble. He said consolidation would give members greater investment opportunities. By increasing our size, we can provide access to a greater range of investment opportunities and provide a better deal through cost savings, potentially reducing the investment fees, he said. Cbus chair Steve Bracks said it was important for the funds to retain strong ties to members. "For 35 years our fund has had a strong bond with our members," Mr Bracks said. "This affinity with our members has built a strong level of trust in the fund. Media Super has a very similar history and connection with their members." The super sector has increasingly been under pressure to consolidate. APRA told poor-performing funds to merge or exit the industry in May and Assistant Minister for Superannuation Jane Hume said last month COVID-19 had exposed structural weaknesses in the retirement savings system and there was now an urgent need for more funds to merge. APRA oversees more than 40,000 superannuation products at 185 funds and critics say this fosters chronic under-performance through the sector. Senator Hume said the government was "greasing the skids" for greater consolidation. "The Productivity Commission made it abundantly clear that mergers of underperforming funds would improve retirement outcomes," she said. Mr Noonan said Media Super'sinvestment in Australia's film industry and collection of ancient instruments would be maintained. "There are various ways of protecting these investments, you dont need someone on the board itself," he said.
Trial to look at whether a common inhaler could stop the worst of COVID-19 - Brisbane Times
Australian and British researchers are investigating whether giving COVID-19 patients an asthma inhaler will halt the worst effects of the disease.
"So there had to be something they were doing which was preventing them from progressing to the more serious stage of the disease." The trial has been set up to look at whether that something might be the steroid inhalers used by many people with chronic lung issues. Distinct from the familiar blue Ventolin inhalers, many people with long-term serious asthma and other lung issues use a brown inhaler that delivers a dose of corticosteroid budesonide, sold commercially as Pulmicort, among other names. Steroids suppress the immune system, which would seem like the last thing anyone who had a deadly virus would want, but Professor Nicolau said it might be a good thing when it came to COVID-19. "In people with bad cases of COVID, what seems to be happening is a runaway inflammatory reaction in the lungs," he said. "So we hope that the steroid will act as a handbrake to stop people rolling all the way down the hill into a serious case of the virus." The beauty of the trial, Professor Nicolau said, was that Pulmicort inhalers were very cheap and so could be sourced easily, and if found to be successful, they could be given as a precaution to everyone who contracts COVID-19. "This isnt some new vaccine or miracle drug. Asthma drugs cost virtually nothing, and there are billions of doses already produced," he said, "to the point where the drug company involved, AstraZeneca, is giving us the drugs for free. We asked for 5000 and they just gave them to us." The trial will involve at least 500 people recruited from Churchill Hospital in Headington, England, as Australia has too few cases to assemble the trial group quickly, something that has been a problem for other coronavirus-related trials being conducted in Australia. The trial began about two weeks ago and will run for two months, with the possibility of being extended if required. University of Oxford researchers recently published the results of a separate trial that showed promising results using a steroid given to advanced COVID-19 patients as a tablet. "Its quite possible the medical community has underestimated how powerful turning down the immune response can be in the right circumstances," Professor Nicolau said. "You can think of it as like sending the army home in the middle of a war; it goes against every instinct you have, but sometimes the army is doing more harm than good."
Fatal fall for man after apparent attempt to scale nightclub fence - Brisbane Times
The body was found in laneway off Gipps Street in Fortitude Valley about midday on Sunday, a police spokesman said.
An 18-year-old man has been found dead after an apparent attempt to scale a fence behind a popular Brisbane nightclub and backpackers hostel overnight. Police were only called to the scene in laneway off Gipps Street in Fortitude Valley about midday on Sunday when his body was found. Police say the man's body was found in a laneway behind Birdees nightclub and Bunk hostel, shown bottom right.Credit:Google Maps Initial investigations suggested the man had been trying to climb a fence behind Birdees nightclub and the Bunk hostel when he fell, a police spokesman said. The venues have been approached for comment. In a statement later on Sunday afternoon, police said the Bribie Island man had suffered a "severe head injury" and investigations into the incident were ongoing. A report will be prepared for the coroner. Just hours later, paramedics were called to an apartment building in Surfers Paradise after a woman fell from a balcony near Fern Street. A Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman said the woman suffered head and leg injuries after falling up to seven metres.
Man allegedly hit woman with axe, tried to strangle her in city carpark - Brisbane Times
The incident caught the attention of a group of men, who intervened and allowed the woman to escape, restraining the alleged attacked until police arrived.
A man will face court today after allegedly striking a woman with an axe and trying to strangle her in a Brisbane city car park, before being restrained by a group of bystanders. Police will allege the man approached the woman, who was known to him, in an Adelaide Street car park about 5.10pm on Wednesday, threatening her with the weapon and demanding she get into his car. The situation caught the attention of another group of men, who intervened and allowed the woman to escape.Credit:Queensland Police Service A scuffle then allegedly broke out in which the Gold Coast woman, aged in her 20s, was hit with the axe and choked. The situation caught the attention of a nearby group of men, who intervened and allowed the woman to escape.
Four die on roads in 24 hours in horrific start to Queensland holidays - Brisbane Times
Three people were also seriously injured in the accidents in Brisbane, Toowoomba, Nambour, Yeppoon and Cardwell.
Police had earlier launched Operation Cold Snap to try to reduce the road toll during the school holidays. At Pallara, near Inala, a 19-year-old man died after a car hit a power pole on Ritchie Road about 10pm on Friday. The man was the back-seat passenger in the car, which was travelling north on Ritchie Road. The driver, an 18-year-old Park Ridge woman, was taken to Royal Brisbane and Womens Hospital with serious injuries. Another passenger, a 17-year-old boy, was also taken to hospital with serious injuries. In North Queensland a 34-year-old Kirwan man died after his car crashed into a tree on the Bruce Highway south of Cardwell about 5pm on Friday. Witnesses tried to free the man from the vehicle but were unsuccessful. The man, who was driving alone, was declared dead at the scene. Near Nambour, a 37-year-old man on a motorcycle died when his blue bike collided with a black Toyota on Nambour Connection Road at Parklands in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Police say preliminary investigations show the motorcycle was travelling south before the collision. The motorcyclist was taken to Nambour Hospital but was declared dead shortly afterwards. In Toowoomba, a man died after a car collided with his mobility scooter as it was travelling through a roundabout in Geddes Street. "The collision caused the rider to fall off the scooter onto Geddes Street, where he suffered life-threatening injuries," police said in a statement. "The 92-year-old Centenary Heights man was transported to Toowoomba Hospital, where he later passed away." The two occupants of the car were not physically injured. Near Yeppoon, a serious crash north of Rockhampton on Friday afternoon left a 32-year-old man in hospital with life-threatening injuries. Police will allege that about 3pm on Friday, a motorcyclist overtook several vehicles and hit a small truck, which was turning from Barmaryee Road into Racecourse Road at Barmaryee, north of Yeppoon. The man suffered chest and head injuries and was flown to Brisbane, where he remains in a serious condition. Police are appealing for anyone who may have been travelling in the areas at the time of the crashes or who has dash cam vision to come forward. Queensland police have urged people to make smart choices when they drive. "Dont drive if you are tired, watch your speed, drive to the conditions and avoid distractions," they said in a statement.