Queensland fire and emergency truck

WATCH: Fire erupts inside Kmart store at major SE Qld shopping centre

A large fire has broken out inside a Kmart store north of the Gold Coast this afternoon.

The blaze erupted inside the popular department store at the Logan Hyperdome around 2.00pm.

Customers were evacuated as fire crews, with the assistance of the store’s built-in sprinkler system, worked to contain the flames.

The fire has since been extinguished and investigations into what caused it are ongoing.

Luckily, no one is believed to have been injured.

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Australian Flag

Meet the Gold Coast’s 2017 Australia Day Award Winners

The winners of the Gold Coast’s 2017 Australia Day Awards have been announced ahead of next Thursday’s Australia Day celebrations.

The Australia Day’s Citizen of the Year was Griffith University’s Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O’Conner for his “outstanding contribution to the Gold Coast community in a variety of roles”.

In a statement, the City of Gold Coast said the education sector is vital to the city’s economy, and that Professor O’Conner has been a driving force in the University’s growth.

“During his tenure, [Griffith University] has grown to be home to now more than 44,000 students from more than 130 countries and is ranked in the top three per cent of universities worldwide and is one of the Asia-Pacific region’s most influential universities.”

Professor O’Conner said he was very grateful to accept the award from the city

“I do so on behalf of all the many wonderful people who have helped make Griffith University the leading institution it is today,” he said. “It is a large organisation and across the city, staff and external partners work every day to do remarkable things. But I also want to acknowledge the students, whose energy and thirst for knowledge make our campus such a vibrant place to be.”

The other winners from this year are:

  • Kane Elgey (Gold Coast Young Citizen of the Year) – “Kane Elgey ranks among the most available and cooperative players in the Gold Coast Titans’ squad when it comes to community visits, sponsor liaison and media requirements.”
  • Donald Robertson (Sports Achievement Award) – “At 91 years old, Don Robertson has swum every day since 1930. He was the second oldest competitor at the 2016 Pan Pacific Masters Games…and is an inspiration to others, encouraging all Gold Coasters to live a more active lifestyle.”
  • Bianca Cook (Cultural Achievement Award) – “Bianca Cook is a proud, strong, Indigenous Australian, who serves as a senior practitioner for indgenous programs, at ‘Lives Lived Well’ in Burleigh. [She] provides counselling to Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal youths…helping those with substance abuse challenges to…gain the necessary skills to re-enter society.
  • Patrick Brabant (Environmental Achievement Award) – “Patrick has won the Griffith University Science Award for his project on palm oil, as well as being represented on the Queensland Youth and Environment Council, a member of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, and the 2015-16 City of Gold Coast Naturally GC Ambassador.
  • Deborah Hazlewood (Gold FM Community Service Award) – “Debbie is a member of North Burleigh Surf Lifesaving Club as well as patrol captain. She trains new club members in their bronze medallions and coordinates the Seahorse Nippers program for children with special needs.
Police Tape

Second explosive device found hidden in Gold Coast ATM

Bomb squad technicians are at a Mudgeeraba shopping centre this morning after two explosive devices were discovered inside an ATM.

Part of the shopping centre on Swan Lane has been closed with examinations of the devices currently underway.

Videos posted to social media show specialist bomb squad officers analysing the small devices on the ground, just outside the targeted NAB ATM.

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Police were initially called just after 12.45am this morning after an alarm was set off in the complex.

On arrival, smoke was seen billowing from the front of the ATM and an unexploded device was located nearby.

When opening up the ATM, officers then discovered another small explosive device hidden inside.

No cash is believed to have been taken and the culprits remain on the run.

Investigations are ongoing.

Queensland Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni

New plan to ease public housing dependency

The State Government is putting together a plan to help kids from public housing homes to get into the workforce – and ultimately break the cycle of welfare and public-housing dependency.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni says the current system supported kids from public housing to take on apprenticeships or study full-time, but unfairly penalised them if they tried to enter the workforce or study while working.

“Some parts of our rent system act as a disincentive for young people to get out into the workforce,” said Mr de Brenni.

“By taking on full time work under the current system, that kid effectively doubles the family’s rent. This type of scenario has led to young people having to make the choice to enter the workforce or continue living with their parents.

“Kids should be able to kick off their careers without having to make such a heavy choice, especially in cases where they have played a carer role for their parents whilst growing up,” the Minister said.

Mr de Brenni said that the State Government’s upcoming housing strategy – which includes views from more than 1870 people – will be presented at the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Conference in March. He says the strategy is all about creating a pathway for people into independent accommodation wherever possible “whether that be new affordable housing, the private rental market or home ownership.”

A horse and trainer at Magic Millions 2017

Magic Millions Event Renewed For Five More Years

World-class thoroughbred racing will remain on the Gold Coast with a new deal securing the Magic Millions Carnival and Race Day for a further five years.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones announced the new agreement at the weekend ahead of the 2017 Magic Millions Race Day.

“The Magic Millions Carnival and Race Day is a must-do experience on Queensland’s major events calendar,” Ms Jones said.

“Each year this event delivers a significant boost to our economy and showcases Queensland to the world as a premier events and travel destination.”

Ms Jones said the Queensland Government’s renewed support through Tourism and Events Queensland would ensure the iconic event remained on the Gold Coast until at least 2022.

“Events like the Magic Millions deliver ongoing benefits to Queensland and the regions,” Ms Jones said.

“Last year the Magic Millions Race Day delivered an economic boost of more than $12 million and almost 18,000 visitor nights to the Gold Coast.

“These outcomes underline the important role events play in growing our tourism industry, which generates $9.5 billion for the Gold Coast economy and supports more than 50,000 local jobs.”

Racing Minister Grace Grace said the Magic Millions showcased Queensland’s world class racing and bloodstock industries.

“The Magic Millions is an internationally renowned racing and bloodstock event that attracts the best of the best to the Gold Coast,” she said.

“It’s Australia’s richest race day and its yearling sales have a record of producing champions on the track, including Winx who is currently rated one of the world’s best gallopers.

“If you’re serious about racing and bloodstock, the Magic Millions on the Gold Coast in January is the only place to be.”

Magic Millions co-owner Katie Page-Harvey said: “Successful partnerships only stand the test of time if they deliver real results. 2016 is the perfect example of how well the Queensland Government, TEQ and Magic Millions partnership is working.

“At Magic Millions, we understand our responsibility to continue to invest, grow and innovate our current and future schedule of events. We have a proven track record of our commitment to continual improvement and expansion – at the forefront of all our planning and prioritisation are the Queensland and Gold Coast communities.

“We target new international and domestic markets and audiences to attract those who have never experienced the magic of Queensland’s Gold Coast.”

Tourism and Events Queensland Chief Executive Officer Leanne Coddington said securing strong event assets like the Magic Millions played a significant part in drawing more visitors to the state.

“Major events such as Magic Millions bring visitors from across Australia and the world and provide valuable exposure for Queensland’s fantastic destinations,” said Ms Coddington.

“Magic Millions is a key feature on our It’s Live! in Queensland calendar as we look forward to an exciting year of events across the state.

“Securing this event will help deliver on our objective to provide world-class events for Queensland that drive visitation and generate economic benefit to the host regions and the state.”