Sea World’s adorable Polar Bear Cub makes a splash in Polar Pre-School!

Sea World’s super cute, five-month old Polar Bear Cub Mishka has reached the next stage in her development, making a splash in the deep pool at the refurbished Polar Pre-School exhibit!

The grassed area at Polar Pre-School has been removed to make way for the large, deeper pool to allow mum Liya to teach Mishka how to swim, dive and explore life under the water.

Polar Bear Shores Supervisor, Tacha Mulligan said Mishka had mastered her swimming skills in the shallow-water pool and is ready to progress to the deeper pool.

“Mishka has been doing really well in the purpose-built shallow wading pool we designed and has displayed a confident swimming ability but it is time for her to hone new swimming skills in the large pool,” she said.

PHOTO: Supplied | Sea World

“Since making her public debut, Mishka has been delighting crowds at Sea World with her playful and inquisitive nature and we can’t wait for guests to be able to watch her as she continues her development in the deep pool.

PHOTO: Supplied | Sea World

Tacha said Mishka is continuing to grow significantly in size and is now weighing roughly 30 kilograms and starting to interact with solid foods including fish, beef and pork.

Polar Pre-School is a specially designed area which allows for Mishka to develop her life-skills and explore new environments under the watchful eye of her doting mum.

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The M1 looking north from Ormeau bridge

Tough new penalties for drivers who kill someone in an accident in Qld

THE maximum penalty for drivers who kill or seriously injure someone in an accident while speeding or affected by drugs or alcohol in Queensland will quadruple under new laws being considered by the State Government.

The proposed legislation comes after a review into the maximum penalties following the deaths of siblings Sarah, 30, and Daniel Walker, 22, who were killed in a crash north of the Sunshine Coast earlier this year.

The siblings’ close friend, Peter Knowles, and Sarah’s 14-year-old son, Sam, were also both seriously injured.

The man who caused the crash, Donald George Gayler, 66, was charged with driving without due care and attention.

He walked free from Maryborough Magistrates Court last month with a $3000 fine and a three-month suspension placed on his licence.

Sarah and Daniel’s mother, Kerri Walker, along with Knowles’ mother, Trisha Mabley and Sarah’s fiance Victor Bosley have spent the weeks since fighting for tougher penalties.

Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government had consulted with the Walker family and other families whose loved ones had been killed in crashes before proposing the changes.

“Every life lost on Queensland roads is a tragedy and community concern has been heightened understandably recently following the crash that killed siblings Sarah and Daniel Walker outside Tiaro in April,” Mr Bailey said.

“This was a tragedy which claimed the life of two family members and left two other passengers seriously injured and I extend my sincere sympathies to everyone affected by this crash.”

Under the proposed changes, the maximum penalty for drivers convicted of careless driving causing death or grievous bodily harm (GBH) will double to a $10000 fine and 12 months in jail.

The maximum penalty will quadruple to a $20000 fine and two years in jail where there are circumstances of aggravation, such as drink or drug driving, speeding and driving unlicensed.

Meanwhile, the maximum penalty for drivers convicted of dangerous driving causing death or GBH would remain at 10 years in jail (14 with circumstances of aggravation), but the current six-month licence disqualification period would be extended to 12 months.

The final minimum licence disqualification periods will be determined following further consultation before the Road Safety Bill is introduced to Parliament.

Mr Bailey said the proposed changes were in line with recommendations handed down by the State Coroner as a result of the inquest into the tragic death of Queensland grandmother, Audrey Ann Dow.

The 81-year-old was killed when a disqualified driver drifted across double white lines and smashed head-on into her vehicle in Mackay in July 2013.

The driver of the other vehicle, Aaron Kite, 28, wasn’t even supposed to be behind the wheel. He was fined just $3000 and disqualified from driving for a further three months after being convicted of careless driving.

In his inquest, the State Coroner described Kite’s driving record as “utterly deplorable”, noting the young man had been disqualified from driving a total of four times.

“This government has accepted these recommendations and is progressing legislative amendments for parliamentary consideration,” Mr Bailey said.

“I want to thank Audrey’s family for their campaign to bring change.”

Southport Courthouse

Two new magistrates appointed to the Gold Coast domestic violence court

FOUR out of eight new magistrates appointed in Queensland will be based on the Gold Coast, including two of whom will be charged with the specific task of helping combat domestic and family violence.

Barristers Clare Kelly and Louise Shepherd will take up their specialist roles at the now-permanent Southport Domestic and Family Violence Court within the next few weeks.

Since 2015, Kelly has served as Principal Crown Prosecutor in the Ipswich chambers of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions while Shepherd has managed domestic violence cases as an Acting Magistrate in Ipswich.

Meanwhile, barrister Don MacKenzie and solicitor Kerrie O’Callaghan will take up new roles as magistrates in the Southport Magistrates Court.

MacKenzie has practised at the private bar in Brisbane since 2009 and has been an Officer in the Royal Australian Navy’s Defence Force Legal Service since 2000.

O’Callaghan was admitted as a solicitor to the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1985 and has been a Member and Senior Member of Tribunals since 1993.

Queensland Law Society president Christine Smyth said it was pleasing to see half of the appointees would take to the bench at Southport Magistrate’s Court – the only courthouse servicing Queensland’s second largest city.

“The Society has consistently supported the idea of specialist courts across Queensland, and we applaud the Government for recognising that more domestic violence courts are needed,” Ms Smyth said.

“Violence is a scourge in our community and domestic and family violence is a stain on our society.

“Those who suffer from these types of violence must have access to reliable and timely assistance from our justice system, and that is what these specialist courts provide.

“Our magistrates are at the very forefront of our justice system, and we must always ensure that they are adequately resourced in order so that justice is served swiftly and adequately for all.”

Bus gold coast public transport

Commuters save almost $50 million with Fairer Fares in southeast Qld

THE state government’s move to slash the cost of public transport in southeast Queensland has saved commuters almost $50 million in the last 10 months, according to new figures released today.

The public transport network was simplified under the Fairer Fares strategy in December 2016, reducing the number of zones across southeast Queensland from 23 to eight.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said commuters were reaping the rewards from the overhaul to the network, with figures today showing they’ve so far managed to save more than $48 million.

“More than 114 million trips across the South East Queensland public transport network were made during this time — and were eligible for savings,” Ms Trad said.

“Commuters are not only saving money, but are also more satisfied with public transport affordability.

“TransLink’s customer satisfaction rating for affordability is at its highest level since 2010-11 when reporting began, tracking at close to 60 per cent since February.

“This shows that passengers continue to appreciate the cost-of-living benefits we have delivered by reducing public transport fares.”

Cheaper concession fares have also been delivered for job seekers receiving Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance, as well as Asylum seekers who reside in Queensland.

“Almost 5000 job seekers and about 500 asylum seekers have been approved for concession fares, each saving on average $1.21 for each trip taken,” Ms Trad said.

“These groups have saved more than $352,000 and have made more than 291,000 trips.

“Our free weekend travel initiative for children aged under 15 has been popular with families making more than 493,000 trips and saving $700,000.

“And 1.5 million more journeys have qualified for ‘8 and 50 per cent’ than would have benefitted from the previous Government’s ‘nine and free’ policy.”

Doctor Patient

Campaign launched to remove stigma from Bipolar disorder

One of our leading health organisations is fighting to break the stigma around Bipolar disorder this World Mental Health Day.

The Mental Illness Fellowship Australia said many Australians are comfortable talking about, and seeking help for, depression and anxiety.

CEO Tony Stevenson told MyGC there is still a negative stigma surrounding Bipolar disorder and a patient’s ability to recover from the illness.

“There are just so many myths,” he said.

“People with Bipolar disorder are often stigmatised as being dangerous, unpredictable or even ‘two faced’.

“The reality is that with treatment and support many people with this disorder live in full recovery and may experience long periods in remission.”

It’s estimated up to 1 in 50 people have Bipolar disorder and most experience their first symptoms by age 30.

The disorder is often depicted in popular culture as an illness which makes people wonderfully creative or extremely dangerous.

Mr Stevenson said the overflow of misinformation makes it more difficult for people with the disease to speak to friends or family and seek help.

“There is still widespread misinformation, discrimination and stigmatisation around severe and/or psychotic mental illness,” he said.

“People with bipolar disorder are often misrepresented as having different identities or personalities, as opposed to having markedly different moods with an integrated identity.”

MIFA provides support services on the Gold Coast if you or someone you know needs help or support call 1800 985 944.