World-class animal research lab to be built at Dreamworld

A NEW multi-million dollar world-class animal research facility will be built at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast.

The state government today announced $2.7m in funding to expand the theme park’s Corroboree and wildlife areas.

The Dreamworld Future Lab will give scientists and researchers the space, time and vital access they need to be able to work on conservation projects and protect Australia’s native wildlife.

The facility will also allow school groups and visitors to experience first-hand the impact of scientific research and importance of animal conservation.

Assistant Tourism Industry Development Minister and Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon said the new facility will be the first of its kind in Queensland.

“The Dreamworld Future Lab will be a world-class research facility and will allow us to deploy experts to tackle some of the biggest issues facing our native wildlife – like the threat of chlamydia on the local koala population,” Ms Scanlon said.

“It will be the first of its kind in our state and will enhance the research capabilities of experts at the University of Queensland by allowing researchers and science undergraduates up-close contact with animals in the field.

“It’s important we diversify the Gold Coast’s economy and create highly-skilled jobs for the future.

“But the benefits of the research facility are twofold. Our native animals are a hit with tourists around the world, particularly Chinese visitors – today’s announcement will help to keep the Gold Coast front-of-mind for prospective tourists.”

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said today’s announcement was a win for conservationists around Queensland.

“It’s vital that we find new ways to protect our native wildlife for future generations,” she said.

“This will help to further the great work of our researchers and will also help to promote conservation among the wider public.”

Dreamworld’s General Manager Life Sciences, Al Mucci said the design and development of the new laboratory is expected to start in mid-2019.

“On completion, the Dreamworld Future Lab will be the only operational scientific laboratory in Queensland that will have the capability to create a STEM tourism experience based on the conservation of koalas and other wildlife,” Mr Mucci said.

“We believe this will be the first of its kind in the world where guests will experience researchers working on current wildlife conservation projects.”


South East Queensland hospitals in crisis

The Queensland public health system is in crisis, with hospital emergency departments across the state’s southeast at capacity.

With no vacancies at any public hospital yesterday – except the Queensland Children’s Hospital – the demand is being labelled as unprecedented and unseasonal.

The Palaszczuk Government has announced $3 million to assist with the overflow on South East Queensland hospital emergency departments.

Health Minister Steven Miles says the $3 million allocation from the government will be used to provide extra capacity to help relieve pressure, but that patients should be aware of the very high demand.

“Hospitals are open for emergencies but it’s important people understand that the most critical people will be seen first.”

Though, LNP Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates has hit out at Labor’s policies, saying they’re having a terrible effect on patient care.

“Minister Steven Miles needs to stop blaming patients and start fixing this mess.

“Delivering better health services should be the priority,” Ms Bates said.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said emergency departments were facing very heavy pressure across South East Queensland at the moment, but there was no obvious reason for the unseasonal spike.

“We know the summer flu season has been 2.7 times higher than average and we know continued high heat has been a big factor this summer, but we think a range of factors are contributing to the spike in demand.

“A number of hospital and health services are experiencing huge demand.

“For example in Metro North alone, four of their busiest ever emergency department days have been in the last month.

“Queensland Health is coordinating a statewide, systematic response to resolve this challenge, but we are asking the public to help us by keeping emergency departments for emergencies,” Dr Young said.

“While we are working across the system to address the demand, please remember if you have a GP-style presentation, please go to a GP.”

“GPs can treat many conditions you might otherwise go to an emergency department for, such as removing stitches, sprains and strains, bites and stings, many viral and other infections, and assessment of prolonged illness or injury.”

Black Swan Lake Protest

‘This is not over’: Black Swan Lake supporters to protest Gold Coast Council

Gold Coasters are being called to Council Chambers today to fight for the last 20 percent of Black Swan Lake.

It comes after a letter from Council CEO Dale Dickson to Mayor Tom Tate was revealed, which advised Council to reject a proposal to save the last part of the lake.

In what’s being called the end of the battle for the lake, Council is expected to follow the recommendations, on the basis that the proposal would cost ratepayers too much money.

Protesters are now planning to rally outside of Council Chambers today, from 12.30pm, to call on Council for three things:

  • To refuse the recommendation from Council CEO
  • To look back at the figures that show it was viable to maintain the lake
  • To look at rectifying the fiasco, but certainly to maintain that last 20 percent

The President of Wildlife Queensland Gold Coast Branch, Sally Spain, says despite a five year process, this is still just the beginning.

“This asset was publicly owned, and that’s why the Wildlife Society have expended so much time and effort on it.

“It was an asset that already belonged to the people, and in its own right was a valuable asset,” Ms Spain said.

She goes on to say that it’s not just up to the Council to fight for the lake that housed 65 out of 285 bird species.

“The Turf Club too have some responsibility in this – they could be generous to the community.

“It was a very sheltered and quiet area, a benefit to the racehorses, a benefit to the public and certainly will not compound the problems that filling in the entire lake will do,” Ms Spain said.

The Wildlife Society is continuing to call on Gold Coasters to get involved in the matter, as the land belongs to the community.

Ms Spain says locals can be in contact with their local Councillors to voice their concerns, or they can come down to the protest today.

“Everyone understands who’s looked at the issue closely.

“The science has showed this is a valuable site, it belongs to the community, it should not have been destroyed.

“We have a council that can afford to maintain this, we have a Turf Club that has responsibility,” Ms Spain said.

Are you a proud Gold Coaster?

What makes the Gold Coast a great place to live, work and play? Are there aspects of the city you think could be improved?

Local residents are being encouraged to share their thoughts on the Gold Coast in the latest community consultation to be undertaken by the City of Gold Coast.

Council is hopeful that participation from a wide range of residents with diverse experiences and ideas will help them better understand the priorities of all Gold Coast residents, including those who have recently moved to the city.

The survey only takes a few minutes to complete and you will go into the draw to win one of four Myer gift cards valued at $250. Terms and conditions apply.

The survey is open until 2 April 2019 and can be completed here: gchaveyoursay.com.au/yourcity2019

This is a sponsored editorial brought to you by City Of Gold Coast


Gold Coast Train

A welcome announcement for Gold Coast to Brisbane fast rail

A fast rail line from Gold Coast to Brisbane has been given the thumbs up by the Prime Minister.

Scott Morrison has committed $8 million to fund a business case today for the project, that will see a 32 minute commute to Brisbane for Gold Coasters.

The plan will also look at a track down to the Gold Coast Airport.

The current travel time into Brisbane on the existing rail takes 74 minutes with the train travelling at around 69 kilometres an hour.

If the fast rail line goes ahead, the speed would more than double to 160 kilometres an hour.

The line will be part of a congestion busting plan, which is believed to be among five funded rail projects across the country, aiming to better connect capital cities to regional areas.

The Federal Member for McPherson, Karen Andrews, is elated with the announcement.

“It’s great news for motorists who are stuck on the M1 particularly those heading north on the Gold Coast through to Brisbane.

“This has been a long time coming but work is now underway,” Ms Andrews said.

While an exact timeline hasn’t been established yet, The Minister for Industry, Science and Technology is confident the plans will stick.

“The money is already committed so it will be in the budget.”

“The Liberal National Government is hitting the button right now to get the business case started.”

“The money is there. We’re ready to go,” Ms Andrews said.

The Gold Coast based MP says she more than understands how desperately this project is needed.

“As a local MP here on the Coast I have worked hard on this for a number of years.

“Just the other day I was driving up to Brisbane and it was two hours from Varsity through to the CBD and that’s just not good enough.

“We need to get people off the M1 and on to rail and fast rail will reduce the time that it takes to commute from the Gold Coast to Brisbane.

“It’s going to be an absolute game changer,” Ms Andrews said.

Deputy Mayor Donna Gates says the announcement is great news for the Gold Coast, but hopes that the construction process will be as quick as possible.

“We’d love to see the business case fast tracked as well as the trains.

“It’s a great thing for this city that we’re being recognised.

“There’s one in seven Australian voters live in the South-East Queensland Quarter.

“We need to be taken seriously, we have terrible congestion, our trains are at capacity, people are standing up.

“It’s time we had some better public transport,” Ms Gates said.