Waste levies scrapped across flood-hit Qld regions

The Queensland Government has unveiled an exemption to the waste levy for businesses and councils in flood-hit regions as the major clean-up continues across the state.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the move while will inspecting flood damaged areas in the southeast on Wednesday morning.

“Local councils, I know, have a big job to get the rubbish off thousands of streets,” she said.

“What we’re doing today is we’re announcing that we’re going to be waiving the levies for all flood-related waste.

“Households don’t pay these levies but businesses and industries do.”

12 councils will be included; Gold Coast, Logan, Brisbane, Noosa, Moreton Bay, Gympie, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Somerset, Toowoomba, Fraser Coast and North Burnett.

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said under the exemption, all flood-related waste including damaged goods will be disposed to landfill without incurring the levy.

“We want our affected communities and businesses to get back on their feet as soon as possible, and the waste levy exemption is one of many ways the Palaszczuk Government is providing support,” Minister Scanlon said.

“It means they can help to clean up their properties without worrying about the cost.

“We’re working with waste sector representatives to determine their processing capabilities to help manage the clean-up, as some waste industry businesses have also been affected by the recent rain event and flooding.”

The Premier also urged New South Wales to implement a similar exemption as a lot of rubbish has made its way over the border from flood affected towns in northern NSW.

“Some of the rubbish is also coming up from northern New South Wales from businesses and everything,” the Premier said.

“Perhaps the NSW Premier can look at something similar there, but I’ll leave that to them.”

Qld records 6,596 COVID-19 cases, 12 deaths as number of infected children climbs

Queensland has recorded another 6,596 COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths as the number of infected children continues to rise.

Health officials have not been able to release any details about the age or vaccination status of those who passed away, saying there had been a delay in receiving the data.

While there was an increase in case numbers on the previous 24-hour reporting period, Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said hospitalisations continued to “improve significantly”.

There are now 404 people receiving treatment for the virus in public hospitals, which is down from 462 yesterday. 36 of those are in ICU.

A further 28 people are being treated in private hospitals.

There has been a sharp increase in positive infections in school-aged children, just over a week since the school year began.

1,905 kids aged 5-17 have tested positive in the last 24 hours, up from 1,587 the day before.

The Chief Health Officer said the numbers aren’t hugely concerning at this stage.

“We had larger numbers only two or three weeks ago and we are not seeing increases among hospitalisations in children,” he said.

“The bigger concern when children get infected is the risk to their parents and their grandparents.”

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the education sector as a whole was dealing well with the rise in cases.

“Schools are still managing very well,” Minister D’Ath said.

“There hasn’t been a need to have any classes quarantining and, of course, there’s been no school closures which is great news.”

Two new cases in Qld, CHO ‘recalibrating’ border plans after NSW quarantine decision

Queensland has recorded two new cases of COVID-19 but health officials have said both are of little concern to the community.

The first is a flight crew member who was tested in hotel quarantine but didn’t receive their result until after they had left.

They are now on their way to Papua New Guinea.

“So that’s one case of no risk to Queensland but a risk out there, so we’ll manage that,” Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said.

The other case is a fully vaccinated truck driver who travelled into Queensland from Victoria.

“He arrived coming through the Goondiwindi border area,” Dr Young said.

“Coming through Ipswich he got a phone call from Victoria, he immediately pulled over, contacted us and he’s now in the Prince Charles Hospital.

“So he’s been no risk to anyone at all. He’s totally asymptomatic.

“I thank him very, very much for what he did to respond so quickly.”

Meanwhile, the Chief Health Officer has admitted she may need to “recalibrate” her thinking about the reopening of the border after New South Wales announced it would reopen to the world on November 1.

It means fully vaccinated travellers would be allowed to enter the southern state without having to quarantine, either in a hotel or at home.

Unvaccinated travellers will still have to undergo quarantine requirements.

When asked about what it meant for Queensland, Dr Young said she still had to look over the announcement in full.

“There’s just been an enormous change this morning that I haven’t been able to get my head around so I need to go and work out what that change means,” she told reporters.

“It’s not just a change that will impact on NSW .. it then leads to a flow on to every other state.

“So I just need to re-calibrate my thinking that I’ve been coming to over the last few weeks.”

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath was also asked if the announcement by NSW will see the government hesitate to reopen the borders

“No,” Ms D’Ath said.

“We will look at what is happening here in Queensland and our vaccination rates and the measures that we can take to keep Queenslanders safe

“That’s been our priority.

“We’re concentrating on, when the virus comes to Queensland, and it will, what are we doing to protect our community.”

Ms D’Ath said there was still a lot of discussions that need to be had about what the NSW decision means for the rest of the country.

“They’ve just announced this, this morning,” she said.

“Scott Morrison’s going to have to explain how he sees this working in one single state when it’s international borders

“And I hope this is discussed at a national level with all the Premiers.”

Ms D’Ath still refused to give any hint as to when the state government would open the borders back up, insisting that decision was down to the people of Queensland.

“How quickly we open our borders domestically and internationally is in the hands of Queenslanders,” she said.

“You can decide, go out and get vaccinated today

“That is the one thing that we need to protect our community

“We can provide the pop-up clinics, the mass vaccination centres, the pharmacies and the GPs.

“We can provide the vaccine but we can’t drag people in to get vaccinated, that is up to you as Queenslanders.

“What sort of Christmas do you want to see? What kind of 2022 do you want to see?”

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson taking coronavirus ‘one-day-at-a-time’ on the Gold Coast

Tom Hanks has provided an Instagram update, while isolating on the Gold Coast with coronavirus.

He and wife Rita Wilson were diagnosed yesterday, after presenting to the Gold Coast University Hospital with flu-like symptoms.

They’re believed to be doing fine, and have updated social media this morning, along with some advice.

“Hello folks. @ritawilson and I want to thank everyone here Down Under who are taking such good care of us.

“We have Covid-19 and are in isolation so we do not spread it to anyone else.

“There are those for whom it could lead to a very serious illness. We are taking it one-day-at-a-time.

“There are things we can all do to get through this by following the advice of experts and taking care of ourselves and each other, no?

“Remember, despite all the current events, there is no crying in baseball. Hanx,” his post reads.