Biological virus to be released across the Tweed to control rabbit population

A BIOLOGICAL virus will be released across the Tweed next month in an effort to control the rabbit population.

A new strain of the calicivirus, RHDV1 K5, was first released nationally as a biological control in February and is expected to be released across the Tweed in late November.

Rabbit owners across the Tweed are being advised to take precautions to protect their pets from the nasty virus.

Council has strongly urged residents with pet rabbits to have them vaccinated.

Council Coordinator of Natural Resource Management, Jane Lofthouse, said residents with pet rabbits were urged to get them vaccinated as soon as possible.

“Owners can also protect their pet rabbits against the virus by ensuring their pets do not come into contact with wild rabbits or eat grass that has been grazed on by wild rabbits,” Ms Lofthouse said.

“The virus can be transmitted by fleas, mosquitoes, and flies, so try to ensure hutches are insect-proof.”

Victorian Acting Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Cameron Bell said the current vaccine should be administered every six months to ensure all-round protection.

Ms Lofthouse said the wild rabbit population across the Tweed was made up of the European wild rabbit and escaped or dumped free-living domestic rabbits.

The animal reproduces rapidly in the wild and competes with livestock and wildlife for food and water.

“Rabbits are increasingly becoming an urban issue as domestic rabbits escape or are deliberately released,” she said.

“[they are] damaging gardens, undermining house footings, destroying house termite barriers and bringing wild dogs, foxes and brown snakes closer to human habitation.”

Free-living populations are known to habitat the Chinderah, South Kingscliff, Casuarina, Koala Beach, Bilambil Heights, Tumbulgum, Condong, Murwillumbah, Tyalgum and Limpinwood areas.

Ms Lofthouse said some residents had managed to tame the wild rabbits by feeding them on their properties.

Residents who wish to catch tame rabbits can do so by loaning purposely built rabbit traps from Council.

Ms Lofthouse said the Rabbit Sanctuary in Grafton will then collect the rabbits and prepare them for rehoming.

For more information, see the Rabbit Sanctuary Facebook page or website www.rabbitsanctuary.com.au

For more information on the release of the biological agent, please contact Amy Hockings at North Coast Local Land Services on (02) 6623 3906.

NSW Ambulance

Body boarder pronounced dead on the beach after drowning in rough surf

A MAN in his 20s has tragically died after drowning in rough surf at Fingal Head, south of the Gold Coast.

The man was body boarding with mates at Fingal Headland Point on Sunday morning when tragedy struck.

Emergency services were called just after 11.30am following reports a man had become distressed in the water.

It’s understood the man lost his board and was tossed around in treacherous seas while trying to climb onto rocks.

Following an intense search operation, involving Queensland’s Surf Life Saving rescue helicopter and water police, the man’s body was retrieved from the water just after 1.30pm AEDT.

Life Savers and paramedics tried frantically to revive the man on the beach but sadly, despite their desperate efforts, he could not be saved and was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Gold Coast Uni hospital

New rapid flu tests tipped to improve emergency response on the Gold Coast

NEW and improved technology that allows doctors to diagnose influenza more quickly will be rolled out at two of the largest hospitals on the Gold Coast, making future flu seasons easier to manage.

The State Government will spend $600,000 to introduce the rapid point-of-care testing system in 15 of the state’s largest public hosiptals next year, including at the Gold Coast Uni and Robina hospitals.

The new point-of-care tests screen for influenza A and B strains and can provide results within 30 minutes.

Minister for Health Cameron Dick said the testing was “very efficient” and would “greatly assist” hospitals with early diagnoses and the subsequent management of patients.

Gold Coast Public Health Staff Specialist Dr Paul Van Buynder said the new rapid testing would have multiple benefits for patients and the health service.

“This will enable us as clinicians to decrease transmission in hospital by putting those patients with influenza into a negative pressure room so that other patients are less likely to be infected,” Dr Van Buynder said.

“In aged care settings we will be able to respond rapidly to outbreaks by having a positive diagnosis a day earlier than we currently get it.”

Mr Dick said the Palaszczuk Government would also invest an additional $700,000 in automated blood culture machines to replace the current systems in 2018.

“These machines quickly detect infections that are spreading through the bloodstream,” he said.

“This improved technology will lead to more efficient and timely diagnosis and management of bacterial infections secondary to influenza.”

Surfers Paradise restaurant owner fined $284,000 for paying staff $8 an hour

Underpaying workers nearly $60,000 has cost the owner of a Japanese restaurant in Surfers Paradise more than a quarter of a million dollars.

Nine workers at Samurais Paradise were paid as little as $8.00 an hour over four months.

Owner of the business, Shigeo Ishiyama, who formerly operated the Japanese Curry House Kawaii, was criticised by Federal Circuit Court Judge Salvatore Vasta who said the exploitation of the workers was “heinous” and “certainly deliberate”.

Mark Lee from the Fair Work Ombudsman’s office told MyGC the $284,000 fine is one of the top five fines of its kind in Australia this year.

“If you extrapolate that four-month underpayment over the course of a year, as the judge did in this case, that’s an unlawful wage saving of nearly $200,000,” he said.

“It is close to the maximum penalty that’s available for the court to give in this case.

“Originally, when we first came across these  issues they sought to cover them up and hide them, and it wasn’t until we took the matter to court that they admitted the conduct.”

Employers and employees can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free advice and assistance about their rights and obligations while a free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Three arrested, drugs, cash seized in Coomera raids

Two men and a woman from Coomera are facing multiple charges after a raid by the Gold Coast Rapid Action Patrol today uncovered drugs and $14,600 in cash.

Around 8am today police executed a search warrant at a Jackson Street address in Coomera, allegedly locating in excess of 150 grams of Methamphetamine, various drug smoking utensils and property indicative of drug supply.

A 28-year-old Coomera man charged with trafficking and possessing dangerous drugs, and possessing the proceeds of crime will appear in Southport Magistrates court on Wednesday.

A 23-year-old woman and a 37-year-old man from Coomera were given a notice to appear in relation to possession of drug offences.

They are due to face Southport Magistrates Court in a fortnight.