Passengers evacuated from ‘severely damaged’ train

MORE than 50 people have needed to be evacuated from a train on the northern Gold Coast after it struck debris on the tracks overnight.

Fifty-six passengers needed to be removed from the train, which was severely damaged during the incident between Ormeau and Coomera.

Police said the collision disabled the northbound train. Thankfully, no one was injured.

Police believe the debris had been deliberately placed onto the tracks.

The objects were seized and are being forensically examined.

Inspector Jim Plowman told 7NEWS the vandals responsible had put people’s lives at risk.

Police are investigating the incident and are asking for anyone who saw anything suspicious along the train corridor overnight to come forward.


Passengers injured in mid-air emergency

MORE than 30 passengers have been injured after a plane bound for Australia was hit by severe turbulence.

The Air Canada flight, from Vancouver to Sydney, was forced to land in Hawaii following the mid-air emergency.

In a statement, the airline said the Boeing 777 aircraft was carrying 269 passengers and 15 crew when it “encountered unforecasted and sudden turbulence approximately two hours past Hawaii”.

It’s understood oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling and several passengers were thrown around the cabin.

A man who was on board the flight told reporters in Honolulu “a girl” in front of him shot through the plastic ceiling.

At least 35 passengers are believed to have sustained minor injuries – nine of them have been taken to hospital.

There are reports that some of the injured passengers may have broken bones.

“We hit turbulence and we all hit the roof and everything fell down, and stuff … people went flying,” passenger Jess Smith told CBC News.

“I watched a whole bunch of people hit the ceiling of the plane,” said another passenger Alex MacDonald.

“A couple of the air hostesses were bringing food out at the time, and they hit the roof as well.”

Passenger Luke Wheeldon told Honolulu news station KTIV about half the passengers weren’t wearing seatbelts.

“There was no warning and then half of them, their head hit the roof all at once,” he said. “And I went, ‘Oh, this is a bad day.’”

Air Canada says it is arranging accommodation and meals for the affected passengers.


Surfers Paradise from the top of Q1 Gold Coast GC

Gold Coasters can get into SkyPoint for FREE on Saturday

All Gold Coast locals will be able to enter Sky Point for FREE this Saturday, to celebrate one important thing…

The Gold Coast’s 60th Birthday!

That’s right, SkyPoint wants to celebrate the city’s milestone birthday with the heart and soul of the Gold Coast – US!

All day Saturday, you can just flash your proof of residency (driver’s license preferred) at the ticket desk for a ride up the 77 floors to one of the best views of the Gold Coast.

How great is that?

This weekend, the whole city will be celebrating the day the State Government publicly declared our previously named ‘South Coast’ would be known as the ‘Gold Coast’ 60 years ago – marking a new beginning for the nation’s fastest growing city.

SkyPoint’s General Manager Dylan Hunt says there’s not better way to appreciate the Gold Coast.

“As the most iconic destination on the Gold Coast, we’re taking the party to the sky at SkyPoint as we stand together with our city in celebrating its 60th birthday.

“This is the perfect day to remind Gold Coast locals about the incredible attractions they have right on their doorstep and to give them an even greater appreciation of just how stunning their hometown is from the coast to the hinterland,” Mr Hunt said.

Correction: you actually can’t get your ticket before Saturday, all locals can hit up the ticket desk ON Saturday, with their drivers licence to get their FREE one-day pass.

City mayors back new homelessness minister

LORD mayors of Australia’s capital cities are optimistic about Assistant Housing Minister Luke Howarth’s attitude towards addressing homelessness, despite backlash to his desire to put a “positive spin” on the issue.

Mr Howarth – recently promoted to the role – said on Tuesday Australia’s more than 116,000 homeless people make up just 0.5 per cent of the population.

“I want to put a positive spin on it as well and not just say Australia’s in a housing crisis when it affects a very, very small percentage of the population,” he told ABC Radio National on Tuesday.

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers branded the comments an “absolute disgrace”, saying they set a new low in discussions on the issue.

“Scott Morrison’s message via his minister to 116,000 homeless Australians is that they should be happier and more upbeat about it,” Mr Chalmers said.

Social services groups also expressed their distaste.

“All day we’ve been bombarded with messages aghast that a minister would show such poor taste with so little real knowledge,” the housing group National Shelter wrote on Twitter.

Anglicare Australia, meanwhile, said there was no way to put a positive spin on the 300,000 additional social housing properties Australia needs.

Mr Howarth’s comments came ahead of a meeting with capital city lord mayors in Brisbane focused on tackling the issue.

Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said it was a “positive” gathering where the representative from each city had a chance to voice their concerns.

“It was a constructive meeting and the minister seemed very willing to listen and engage with us,” she told AAP.

The group encouraged the federal government to create a national housing and homeless strategy and set an ambitious target for reducing homelessness.

Asked whether there was concern about the minister’s earlier comments, Ms Reynolds stressed the data on the issue can be challenging to navigate.

“We understand that he’s new in his portfolio and that the data around this problem is not easy to fully grapple with,” she said.

The lord mayors will meet again without the minister on Wednesday.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the Morrison government’s designation of a minister responsible for homelessness was a good sign.

“I can confidently say from our meeting this afternoon that the minister is very clear that the council of capital city lord mayors feel that there is a crisis and that it is a top priority for all of us,” she told ABC Radio National.

Mr Howarth earlier said between 2001 and 2016 the number of people living on the street or in tents and other improvised dwellings had decreased, while severely crowded accommodation had increased.

“There are a number of areas and I’ll be focusing on all of them, but I think people on the street is important because that’s what Australians see if they’re in a capital city,” Mr Howarth said.

According to the most recent census in 2016, 116,427 people were counted as being homeless, up from 102,439 in 2011.

NSW experienced the biggest increase, with a 37 per cent rise, while the number of homeless in Queensland went up 14 per cent and rose 11 per cent in Victoria.

© AAP 2019

Prison Cell Hands

Qld government slammed for overcrowded prisons

The opposition has hit out at the Palaszczuk government for failing to ‘plan for the future’ and not doing enough to address overcrowding in prisons.

It comes after shocking figures were revealed by Newscorp, showing numbers in Queensland prisons is at an unacceptable high.

In Southport court yesterday, while sentencing a man who had breached parole, Magistrate Brian Kucks commented that “because prisons are full, people who are breaching their parole are not suffering what (they should) suffer and that is going straight back to jail,” he said, as quoted by Newscorp.

It was also revealed that in some cases, parole and probation officers have at times been hesitant at reporting breaches as well.

This morning, opposition leader Deb Frecklington told myGC the 30 percent overcrowding rate is shocking.

“Overcrowding in Queensland prisons is a serious issue, and it has stemmed from the fact that Annastacia Palaszczuk has failed to plan.

“Two elections ago, Annastacia Palaszczuk actually cancelled a proposed prison redevelopment for around Rocky, and now we’ve seen major overcrowding in our state’s prisons.

“We need to be tough on crime, we need to be making sure that if you do the wrong thing, you do the time.

“But that means we need beds for the prisoners,” Ms Frecklington said.

Corrective Services Minister Mark Ryan has assured that a south-east Queensland facility will be expanded by 2023, adding another 4000 beds.

Though with data showing that imprisoned Queenslanders are up almost 3,000 people in the past five years (according to a Queensland Productivity Commission reports), concerns are that an extra 4,000 beds in four years time still won’t cut it.

“What we see now with these shocking figures, is the fact that Annastacia Palaszczuk has failed to plan for the future,” Ms Frecklington said.