Push for speed camera on Hinkler Drive

ANOTHER fixed speed camera could be rolled out to deter offenders from one of the Gold Coast’s worst speeding hot spots following calls from concerned residents.

Member for Gaven Dr Alex Douglas MP is lobbying for a fixed speed camera to be introduced on Hinkler Drive at Worongary to allay residents’ fears of a serious accident.

“Residents have told me they’re worried about speeding motorists on Hinkler Drive who often use the road to avoid the Pacific Motorway,” Mr Douglas said.

“I’ve asked the Police and Emergency Services Minister to urgently consider a camera to deter speeding motorists.

“Gold Coast City Councillor Glenn Tozer also shared his concerns with me, particularly given the volume of offences recorded on the road.

“I’ve heard that residents in the area have been the target of aggressive drivers who break the 50 km speed zones and put the lives of others at risk constantly.

Mr Douglas said residents were also concerned about the number of heavy vehicles using Hinkler Drive as a bypass to the motorway, causing a large amount of carbon monoxide in the local neighbourhood.

“The area has been described by the local media as the city’s worst speeding hot spot since it opened in 2007.

“I am also seeking the assistance of Nerang Police for increased speed monitoring and enforcement in the area.”

Surf and ink a highlight in Broadbeach

This year’s SURFn’ink tattoo festival has come at the height of the bikie crackdown, with a strong police presence expected.

Officers will be on the look out for people with connections to criminal motorcycle gangs.

The event starts tomorrow, just days after new tattoo licensing laws came into effect, at an annual cost of more than $1,100.

SURFn’ink will celebrate its fifth year at the Gold Coast Convention Centre with a three day festival
featuring an A-list of tattoo artists from Australia and around the world.

More than 10,000 people are expected to attend the event which features tattooists, tattoo competitions, rockabilly and rock’n’roll bands, guest appearances by Angry Anderson and Dean Vegas, pro-wrestlers, Miss SURFn’ink pageant, art fusion and industry related displays.

To ensure tattoo industry operators are abreast of Queensland’s recently introduced tattoo industry laws
and the assessment process, Queensland’s Office of Fair Trading will hold a free seminar at the
SURFn’Ink Festival tomorrow evening at 7pm.

The seminar will cover details of who needs to apply and everything that people inside or hoping to enter
the industry will need to know. The presentation will be delivered by Peter Reinhold, Director Business
Services Division at the Office of Fair Trading.

SURFn’ink organiser Lindsay Hall said the Office of Fair Trading seminar will be an opportunity for those working
in the industry to hear first-hand what the new laws entail and how artists can ensure that when the licensing
deadline comes into effect from 1 July, they have ticked all the necessary boxes.

“We are pleased to host the Office of Fair Trading for this seminar as there are so many myths and rumours
circulating within the industry right now. This will give everyone the chance to hear about the laws and their
obligations come July.

“SURFn’ink attacts one of the biggest gatherings of tattoo artists in the country and many tattooists from
interstate and overseas are keen to find out how these laws will affect them when they come to Queensland for
events such as ours.

“These regulations are unheard of in other countries around the world. International artists especially need to be
assured they are still welcome to come to Australia to tattoo at festivals and events,” said Lindsay.

The Office of Fair Trading has outlined that tattoo parlour operators will need to apply for a licence to run their
businesses before June 30. They are urging people within the industry not to delay their applications as existing
operators will face closure if they have not applied by the deadline.

From July 1 the new licensing laws will make it illegal to operate a tattoo parlour without a licence, carry out body
art tattooing without a licence or permit or employ a tattooist who does not have a licence or permit.

Once a licence application is received it will be assessed by the Office of Fair Trading. The assessment will include screening by the Queensland Police Service to ensure no links to criminal motorcycle gangs. Operators who apply by the deadline will be able to continue operating while they are assessed.

For more information on the new laws visit www.qld.gov.au/tattoolicensing.

Health experts call for sugar tax on soft drinks

Health Experts have renewed a call for a sugar tax to be considered.

Cancer Council, Diabetes Australia and the Heart Foundation want sugar-sweetened drinks such as soft drink to be taxed and regulated the same way tobacco and alcohol is.

It would follow the lead of Mexico, which has recently imposed a 10 per cent “soda” tax.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with serious health issues.

“One can of soft drink alone can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar – and many people think it’s acceptable to have one can a day – it isn’t,” Ms Clift said.

“Consuming sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight gain and obesity, which can lead to some cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart problems.

“Obesity is a growing problem in our state – 65 per cent of Queenslanders are overweight or obese, and alarmingly, 33 per cent don’t even realise it.

“A range of strategies to curb our country’s growing obesity epidemic have been tried in the past – but clearly haven’t worked.

“We need to explore new, innovative options and consider a multi-faceted approach to improve the long-term health of Queenslanders.”

The Courier Mail reports, doctors and researchers believe the tax could save millions of dollars in medical costs. They say reducing sugar consumption can help avert millions of cases of obesity-related illness in the next decade.

Sugar Australia nutritionist Dr Mary Harrington said there was limited evidence to show a sugar tax could reduce obesity.

Other recommendations made by the health groups include restricting marketing sugary drinks to children and reducing the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages in children’s settings and workplaces.

Around 14 per cent of Queenslanders admit to consuming non-diet soft drink at least daily, and 16 per cent of children aged 5-17 years consume non-diet soft drink and non-diet flavoured drinks at least once daily.

Cancer Council Queensland recommends Queenslanders limit their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and instead drink water or unflavoured low-fat milk.

Police segway trial to be extended

Queensland Police will continue to trial the use of Segways in the state’s pedestrian areas with an additional two Segways to be trialled on the Sunshine Coast.

Acting Police, Fire and Emergency Services Minister John McVeigh said police would continue the existing trial of Segways at South Bank and along the Cairns Esplanade.

“The extension of the initial three-month trial period will also allow police to extensively test the capabilities of the Segways during the peak holiday period,” Mr McVeigh said.

“The extension and expansion of the trial period will allow police to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the use of Segways by police.

“The Newman Government is committed to ensuring police officers have all the equipment they need to help keep Queenslanders safe, including the trialling of new technologies such as Segways.

“This trial is another example of how, after years of Labor neglect, the Newman Government has taken steps to move the Queensland Police Service into the 21st century.

“The Queensland Police Service is also currently conducting a mobile data trial which will see police officers have access to Queensland Police databases with the swipe of a finger.”

Member for Noosa Glen Elmes, who inspected the new Segways on the Sunshine Coast today, said he looked forward to seeing the Segways patrolling the Noosa and Mooloolaba/Alexandra Headlands areas.

“The Segways are proving to be a useful form of transport to help officers protect Sunshine Coast communities,” Mr Elmes said.

“The Segways are a fantastic community engagement tool and if they help officers to build stronger relationships in the community and make people feel safe, then we are taking a step in the right direction.”

Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said the personal transporters had assisted officers in the investigation of armed robberies, break and enters, wilful damage and numerous street offences.

“Officers involved in the trial have said the use of the Segways has been beneficial in their day to day work,” Commissioner Stewart said.

“Some of the benefits include improved sight lines, slow manoeuvrability in crowds and the distance covered during patrols.”

Commissioner Mr Stewart said the Segways had been used on 35 shifts in the Southbank area and during the trial, 140 street checks had been performed, nine eviction notices issued, four suspects located, four people located wanted on warrant and four helmet warnings issued.

In Cairns, the Segways had been used on 22 shifts and officers had been involved in more than 112 public engagement jobs, two street checks, issued seven cautions for drinking in a public place and located one person wanted on a warrant.

Challenge to Queensland bikie laws close

A High Court challenge against Queensland’s anti-bikie laws is imminent, a barrister for motorcycle gangs has said.

Wayne Baffsky commented on the legislation introduced after the bikie brawl in Broadbeach in September.  That fight was between the Bandidos and Finks and prompted the Newman Government to impose new anti-association laws.

Several members of criminal motorcycle gangs have since been charged, some telling authorities they have cancelled their membership.

In November three Mongols were arrested in the foyer of a Main Beach Hotel.  They were the first to be charged under anti-association laws.

Later several were arrested at a pub on the Sunshine Coast and slapped with similar charges.

Abc.net.au  reported that Mr Baffsky defeated laws that criminalised the Hells Angels in New South Wales in 2011 and is helping lead the challenge in the Sunshine State.

The Sydney barrister will argue that the legislation, which riders say are an attack on their civil liberties, are unconstitutional.

Mr Baffsky told the ABC “too many people are suffering at the end of the day for laws which are, in my view and in many other people’s view, absolutely unnecessary and brought in under a false premise”.

He added other people committing much more serious crimes seem to have escaped the Government’s attention.

He predicted a challenge is likely within one to two weeks.