Prison/Jail Man

Queensland government to take control of privately run prisons

The Queensland Government has announced it will take control of the final two privately owned prisons in the state as it tries to reduce the number of assaults on staff.

Currently the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre and Southern Queensland Correctional Centre, two of 12 high-security prisons in the state, are run by private operators.

The Palaszczuk Government confirmed this morning it will transfer both facilities in to public control following the Crime and Corruption Commission’s Taskforce Flaxton Final Report, which revealed a staggering number of assaults on staff occurring in privately run prisons.

The move will cost an extra $111 million over four years but the government argues the investment is in the public interest.

Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services Mark Ryan said the decision would have multiple benefits.

“The government is of the view that the transfer to public operation will lead to improved staff safety,” Minister Ryan said.

“The Taskforce observed that Queensland’s hybrid prisons system, with its mix of private and public operational responsibility, was not optimal.

“The government believes by providing QCS with full operational and day-to-day management control of all prisons and all employees, the transition will strengthen corruption resistance in Queensland prisons and improve overall integrity.

“Planning is already underway, and there will be extensive consultation with the private providers, staffing groups, industrial representatives and service providers to ensure the delivery of safe and secure prison services during the transition,” Minister Ryan said.

The state government said there will be more positions available and staff will be given priority to take up positions in the newly transitioned correctional centres.


Inquest into Qld trawler deaths resumes

The last minutes of six fishermen who lost their lives when a sea cucumber trawler sank in wild seas are set to be investigated by a Queensland coroner.

Sole survivor Ruben McDornan will give evidence when the inquest into the fatal sinkings of FV Dianne and prawn trawler FV Cassandra resumes in Gladstone on Tuesday.

Mr McDornan clung to the Dianne’s hull in the darkness after the boat capsized off the coast of the town of 1770 on October 16, 2017.

Inside he could hear the screams of two trapped mates – Adam Hoffman, 30, and skipper Ben Leahy, 45 – whose escape from the trawler’s accommodation cabin was blocked by an unsecured refrigerator when the vessel rolled about 7.30pm.

Their bodies were later found by police divers in the sunken boat but fishermen Eli Tonks, 39, Adam Bidner, 33, Zach Feeney, 28, and Chris Sammut, 34, disappeared.

They are presumed drowned.

Exhausted and injured, Mr McDornan spent hours treading water after the vessel slipped below the surface.

He was saved by a couple on a passing yacht who heard his yells for help.

Coroner David O’Connell will explore whether the FV Dianne was structurally sound and if there was adequate safety equipment on board.

The nine-day search and rescue operation will also be examined.

Experts will give evidence about whether future deaths could be prevented by making it compulsory for fishermen to wear life jackets while working.

Onboard access to personal location beacons, “grab bags” containing diving masks and portable air tanks in an emergency will also be considered.

Last week, the hearing investigated the sinking of FV Cassandra, which capsized in April 2016 with the loss of its two crew – skipper Matt Roberts, 61, and David Chivers, 36.

Their bodies have also never been found.

© AAP 2019

Man attacked by shark in Queensland’s Whitsundays

A man has been airlifted to hospital after being attacked by a shark in Queensland’s Whitsundays.

The man in his 20s was bitten on the thigh near Hardy Reef, about 50km northeast of Hamilton Island.

It’s understood the man had been spearfishing from a private boat at the time.

The RACQ Rescue helicopter was dispatched to the scene along with a critical care paramedic.

The man was taken to a pontoon at Hardy Reef where he was met by the paramedics.

The man was winched on board the helicopter before being transport to Mackay Hospital.

The victim is conscious and is in a stable condition.


ALERT: Confirmed case of measles in Brisbane

Queensland Health has confirmed a case of measles in Brisbane and is urging the public to check for symptoms.

It’s believed the adult male was unknowingly infectious for a week between March 13 and March 21.

Metro North Public Health Unit issued the alert on social media, on Monday March 25.

They’ve provided a list of venues that the person visited in Brisbane’s north while infectious.

– The Sportsman Hotel, Spring Hill – 8-10.30pm Fri 15 March
– Ferny Grove train line Mitchelton to Brisbane Central Station – 1.30pm Sat 16 March
– Fitness First Gymnasium, Elizabeth St, Brisbane – 4pm-5.30pm Sun 17 March
– Palace Cinemas, James St, Fortitude Valley – 8.30pm-11pm Mon 18 March
– Discount Drug Stores, Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley – 10.30am – 11.30 am Tues 19 March and 10.30am – 11.30am Thurs 21 March

Their Facebook post says that anyone who was in these locations on the dates provided, should seek medical advice if they develop symptoms.

“The initial symptoms of measles include fever, lethargy, runny nose, moist cough and sore and red eyes. This is followed a few days later by a blotchy, red rash.

“The rash often starts on the face then becomes widespread over the body.

“Contact your GP or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for more information.

“If you have any of the measles symptoms contact your GP and remember it is VERY important to call the medical practice first if you think you might have measles, so that staff can take precautions to avoid you spreading it to others,” the post reads.

Gold Coast Police

Investigations underway into ‘suspicious’ house fire in Logan

Investigations are underway into a suspicious house fire in Slacks Creek overnight.

Emergency services were called to a single storey address on Wagensveldt Street shortly after midnight.

Two fire fighting crews were able to quickly extinguish the blaze, though the house sustained significant flame, smoke and water damage.

Luckily, no one was reported injured during the incident.

Initial investigations claim that a person deliberately started the fire in a front bedroom, before fleeing the scene.

Police are asking any members of the public with more information to come forward.

Investigations are ongoing.

If you have information for Police, please contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using their online form 24 hours per day.

You can also report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or via 24 hours per day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation.