Construction Site

Family’s safety call after scaffold death

The family of an 18-year-old apprentice who was killed when scaffolding collapsed at a Sydney construction site are calling for immediate changes within the industry.

Christopher Cassaniti was crushed to death on Monday after 15-metre high scaffolding collapsed on him and a co-worker at a construction site in Macquarie Park.

“We feel devastated and empty by the loss of our beautiful boy Christopher,” his family said in a statement on Tuesday.

The family members said they didn’t want the young tradesman’s death to be “just another statistic”.

“We ask that the government step in and take immediate action and implement stringent measures regarding safety on construction sites.”

Paramedics were initially unable to reach the formworker who was trapped under rubble and was pronounced dead at the scene a few hours after the incident.

Video from the scene showed workers confronting police who refused to let them search the tangled metal at the apartment complex site.

“You’re wasting time,” one worker yells.

“If you move anything more, it could collapse,” an officer responds, saying other emergency crews needed to stabilise the site.

Mr Cassaniti’s family said no one else should have to endure the “horrendous pain” they faced as a result of the incident in which a second man received injuries to his lower body.

Days before his death, Mr Cassaniti’s mother sung the praises of her son, who turned 18 on Wednesday.

“We wish you all the best that the world can dish out and may God be forever in your heart and bless you with much joy, happiness and most importantly health,” she posted to Facebook.

Friend Benjamin Betros said Mr Cassaniti had a “heart of gold”.

Another friend, Bella Mineo, said on Facebook: “You have been my friend since the first day of kindergarten … words can’t express how much this hurts. You were full of positivity, always smiling, always seeing the best in everyone.”

Mr Cassaniti’s death also prompted condolences from political leaders.

“I am just so saddened about the death of young scaffolding apprentice Christopher Cassaniti. To his parents and workmates, my heart goes out to you,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted on Tuesday morning.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten also sent his condolences and described Mr Cassaniti’s death as shocking.

“As a father of three, it is incomprehensible what his family must be going through at this time – and I think I speak for everyone when I say they are in our thoughts,” Mr Shorten tweeted.

A spokesman for construction company Ganellen expressed sympathy to the family, colleagues and friends of the young man.

SafeWork NSW and police are now trying to work out why the scaffolding at the Lachlan’s Line apartment complex collapsed.

© AAP 2019

Plastic Bag Groceries

Plastic bag consumption down 80% since supermarket ban

In the realm of supermarket shopping, there’s nothing quite as frustrating as parking your car and realising you left all of your reusable plastic bags at home.

Because that’s always when you remember – when you’ve parked the car.

You grab your money and reach for your stash of reusable bags, and that’s when it hits you: they’re still in the cupboard or stuffed in the third drawer or under the sink.

Sigh.

It’s not the 15c per plastic bag that is annoying, so much as the knowledge that you’re going to bring home even more plastic to add to the 6 or 7 dozen bags already crammed into your kitchen’s crevices.

The upshot to all of this, however, is the benefit to the environment.

Since Coles and Woolworths implemented a blanket ban on plastic bags starting on July 1 last year (and many other smaller retailers followed suit), consumption of plastic bags has dropped by a whopping 80%.

The National Retail Association (NRA) estimates that a total of 1.5 billion single-use plastic carry bags were eliminated in the first three months following the self-imposed ban.

“Some retailers are reporting reduction rates as high as 90 per cent,” says David Stout, NRA Manager of Industry Policy.

“The major supermarkets have also diverted the profits from the sales of alternative bags to the community sector, with groups such as Landcare, Clean Up Australia, Little Athletics Australia, SecondBite and Guide Dog being the beneficiaries.”

This is fantastic news.

In saying that…

Where are the stats on the increased purchase rates of plastic bin-liners?

And doggie do-do bags, for those walking their pets?

We used to reuse our supermarket plastic bags for both of these purposes, meaning we’ve had to buy plastic bags to compensate – and we can’t be the only ones.

Single use consumption might be down by billions of units, but is there a correlating upward swing in the purchase of other types of plastic bags?

I must admit, the sceptic in me wonders if this paints the full picture.

Big W

Big W to shut 30 stores across the country

Woolworths has announced it will shut 30 struggling Big W stores across the country with regional areas expected to cop the brunt of the closures.

The news comes despite a slight improvement in the performance of Big W, with sales growing by 6 per cent.

However Woolworths says the improvement is slower than planned.

Following a review into the Big W chain, the company has identified approximately 30 stores over the next three years as their leases expire.

Two distribution centres at Warwick in Queensland and Monarto in South Australia will also shut, with Big W to move its supply chain closer to its stores.

Woolworths is yet to announce which Big W stores will close because of ongoing discussions with landlords with all stores and distribution centres to operate as normal in the meantime.

However analysts predict regional stores in New South Wales and Queensland are likely to see the majority of closures.

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci says BIG W’s improvement is a good sign, but isn’t happening quickly enough.

“As foreshadowed at our half year 2019 results, while the recovery in trading for Big W is encouraging and there remains further opportunity for for improvement, the speed of conversion to earning improvements is taking longer than planned.

“We understand the impact the the store and DC closures will have on our team and will endeavour to provide affected team members with alternative employment options within the Woolworths Group where possible.”

“The decision will lead to a more robust and sustainable store and DC network that better reflects the rapidly changing retail environment.

“It will accelerate our turnaround plan through a more profitable store network, simplifying current business processes, improving stock flow and lowering inventory.”

Cat and Dog

Locals urged to support AWLQ’s Stray Animal Day this Thursday

Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ) is urging Gold Coasters get behind Stray Animal Day this Thursday, April 4.

The charity is calling on local animal lovers to get involved by fundraising, sponsoring or donating to help create a brighter future for stray and abandoned animals.

Since 1959, AWLQ has worked with Councils and the community to rehome 130,000 stray and homeless animals.

Last financial year alone, AWLQ helped to rehome 6,373 animals, including 430 in their senior years, while the Shelter Vet Clinic provided 30,775 medical treatments, desexed 3,962 cats and dogs and microchipped 3,881 cats and dogs.

This year, Stray Animal Day focuses around the AWLQ Promise to never euthanise a healthy, sociable, or treatable animal in their care.

Stray Animal Day is a day to show compassion for stray animals, so show your support by fundraising, sponsoring or donating. Funds raised will go directly towards helping the AWLQ care for these animals and are tax deductible. For more information, visit: strayanimalday.com.au/

Court

New tough bail and parole laws for convicted terrorists in Qld

The Palaszczuk Government has passed new legislation which brings in tough new bail and parole laws for convicted terrorists in Queensland.

It comes two weeks on from the Christchurch terror attacks, which saw 50 people killed at the hands of an Australian terrorist.

The Queensland Parliament passed new laws so that those convicted of terrorism or those with links to terror activities will not be eligible for bail or parole.

The new laws reverse the statutory presumption for bail for those who are either convicted of a terrorism offence or are currently or have been subject to a control order under the Commonwealth Criminal Code, no matter what they have been charged with.

A presumption against parole will also apply to prisoners who have previously been convicted of a terrorism offence, who are the subject of a control order, or who have promoted terrorism.

These prisoners will only be eligible for parole if the Parole Board Queensland is satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances.

Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath says the Palaszczuk Government hopes to send a strong message that terrorism has no place in Queensland.

“The legislation passed today establishes a presumption that those involved in terrorism, those supporting terrorism, or those with links to terror activity will not be eligible for bail or parole.

“Queenslanders have a right to live in safety and free from violence.

“We make no apology for taking a strong stand on terror.

“On behalf of all Queenslanders, the Palaszczuk Government offers condolences to the families devastated by the terror attack in Christchurch.

“We stand united with New Zealand because terror has no place in our communities,” Ms D’Ath said.

Ms D’Ath said the new legislation will be delivered on a commitment by the Council of Australian Governments.

“This commitment ensures the presumption against bail and parole for offenders motivated by terrorism is a nationally consistent law.

“As I have said previously, the most effective defence against terrorism is preventing radicalisation and the progression to violent extremism,” Ms D’Ath said.