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Community groups, charities eligible for RACQ funding grants

Community groups and charities that are doing it tough during the coronavirus crisis are now eligible for grants to help them get through.

The RACQ Foundation has announced that it has extended it’s assistance to community groups, that can now apply for up to $20,000.

Previously, funding had only been given to community groups that were impacted by natural disasters, however a special exemption has now been made.

RACQ spokesperson Renee Smith says they stand ready to help.

“It’s been truly devastating to see the impact COVID-19 has had on communities and charities across our State.

“So, we’re really pleased to be able to extend our eligibility to community organisations or charities that are either assisting in the recovery process or whose operations have been significantly impacted by this pandemic.

“Eligible groups can now apply for up to $20,000 in funding, which were hoping will help them and their communities recover.

“Whether you’re a local community group that has lost other forms of sponsorship, advertising revenue or patronage due to COVID-19, or an organisation involved in reconnecting older Queenslanders with their community, we encourage you to apply,” Ms Smith said.

The RACQ has already approved nearly $80,000 in funding to several charities during the crisis.

“We’ve provided immediate funding to charities helping Queenslanders stay on their feet during this crisis and are now opening this process to all Queensland-based community organisations or charities,” Renee Smith said.

“We want to make sure no vulnerable Queenslander is left behind as a result of a community service shutting down.

“Whether it’s a cyclone, drought or a pandemic – we’re here to help you and your community get back on your feet,” she added.

Visit RACQ Foundation’s website for more information and to apply.

‘Black Summer’ royal commission hearings begin today

The National Bushfires Royal Commission’s hearings get underway today, are are set to focus on climate change.

More than 3000 homes were lost over the ‘Black Summer’, which tragically claimed the lives of 33 people.

More than 10 million hectares of land were burned, which is roughly 1.6 percent of Australia’s total land mass.

Today, the two week hearing of the Royal Commission get underway, but will be conducted electronically due to coronavirus restrictions.

It’s expected to hear from scientists from the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO and Geoscience Australia, with a focus on climate change.

They’ll be giving evidence about climate trends, as well as the key drivers of bushfires and other natural hazards.

The hearing will also hear from people directly affected by the fires.

There have been more than 1,400 public submissions already.

Construction Site

Federal govt to roll out $1.8B for infrastructure projects

The federal government is today expected to announce a massive funding boost for infrastructure upgrades around the country, amidst the coronavirus crisis.

It’s hoped that by fast-tracking certain projects, the construction industry can continue ticking over during the crisis, creating jobs now and sustaining them into the future.

Around $1.8 billion is tipped to be given out to local councils nationwide.

At this stage, it’s not clear how much money will be coming to Queensland.

However, on the Gold Coast the money could be used for big ticket items, such as the Coomera Connector (second M1).

Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government Mark Coulter says that the funding will ensure local jobs, and that materials are bought locally as well.

An official announcement is expected later today.

Fundraiser for ‘hero’ Gold Coast man who rescued whale soars past $10K

A fundraiser for a Gold Coast man facing a possible hefty fine for jumping into the water to free a baby whale trapped in shark nets has already surpassed a staggering $10,000.

Couple Dale and Alison Harris started the “Tinny Man Saves Whale” gofundme page on Tuesday, in a bid to cover the costs of the potential fine local man Django may receive as a result of his actions, which are being declared as “heroic” by people across the country.

“Early this morning a local guy now a legend in the eyes of the local community rescued a baby whale stuck in shark nets off Burleigh Headland,” the fundraising page reads.

“The authorities have now fined this legend. This page is to cover the cost of his fine, as we are unsure yet what that amount will be ( $1300 – $55,000)  any money raised over and above his fine will go to a charity that specialises in research & education for these great mammals.”

While it’s understood no fine has been issued at this stage, Django appeared on the TODAY show this morning, where he told the hosts he was “100 per cent getting a fine.”

“I’m not stressed. As long as it doesn’t continue to grow,” he said.

However, it appears he won’t have to worry too much about paying the fine if he does receive one, with thousands of people already raising a total of $10,499 by 5.00pm Wednesday, with the fundraiser continuing to grow by the minute.

It all started around 8.00am on Tuesday morning, when Django spotted the distressed baby whale caught in nets off Burleigh Heads while he was free-diving.

He then leapt into action by jumping into the water and cutting the youngster free.

The local man told Nine that while he didn’t regret his actions, he wouldn’t do it again.

“Obviously it was dangerous. I wouldn’t recommend everyone go and do it…But it’s done,” he said.

An investigation by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is continuing.


WATCH: Gold Coast libraries, aquatic centres to remain closed until at least July

Mayor Tom Tate has revealed the Gold Coast’s libraries and aquatic centres will likely remain closed to the public until at least July.

External return chutes were reopened at Southport, Elanora and Helensvale libraries over the weekend, with Gold Coasters now able to return items to those locations only.

Mayor Tate said locals will be able to pick up books that have been on order from next month, with other library services, like click and collect, to resume from July.

Need to free up some space at your place? Our 24-hour return chutes are now open at Elanora, Helensvale and Southport…

Posted by Gold Coast Libraries on Friday, 15 May 2020

Mayor Tate said the current restrictions make it impossible to reopen the libraries to the public at this stage.

“We get 200 plus people to various libraries daily, and we just can’t do that with social distancing rules at the moment,” he said.

“As far as libraries being opened, we will watch and wait to see.”

Gold Coast Aquatic Centres will also keep their doors shut to the public at this time.

However, Mayor Tom Tate said elite athletes will be able resume training at the facilities.

See the Mayor’s announcement in the video below: