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Australia COVID-19, crime and child safety on Townsville minds as Queensland Cabinet sits in the city

00:32  27 january  2021
00:32  27 january  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

Mundingburra MP Les Walker fined and banned from city centre over fight at Townsville nightclub

  Mundingburra MP Les Walker fined and banned from city centre over fight at Townsville nightclub Mundingburra MP Les Walker, who was knocked unconscious at Townsville's Mad Cow nightclub after midnight on January 16, is fined and banned from the city's nightclub strip.Labor Mundingburra Labor MP Les Walker was knocked unconscious at Townsville's Mad Cow Tavern nightclub after midnight on January 16.

With Queensland Cabinet sitting in the capital of North Queensland this week, organisations and residents are calling for solutions to a swathe of problems. Locals want help in areas including child safety , youth crime , domestic violence and business confidence. Today, the North Queensland capital is hosting the first Cabinet meeting of the year, with the rollout of the COVID - 19 vaccine scheduled for discussion. The ABC has spoken with some organisations and leaders who are meeting with ministers, as well as residents who probably won't get the chance, to hear what they want the new-look Cabinet

A rollout of the COVID - 19 vaccine will be discussed with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her Cabinet on Wednesday, as fragments of coronavirus were detected at 13 wastewater sites across the state in the past 48 hours. Key points: Queensland 's Chief Health Officer will fly to "The Prime Minister has announced the rollout will probably commence at the end of next month, so we'll be getting an update from Dr Young to the Cabinet about the Pfizer vaccine and how we will go about distributing that in Queensland ," Ms Palaszczuk said. The announcement comes as Queensland

a large body of water with a city in the background: Townsville is hosting Queensland Cabinet's first meeting of 2021. (ABC North Queensland: Tom Major) © Provided by ABC Health Townsville is hosting Queensland Cabinet's first meeting of 2021. (ABC North Queensland: Tom Major)

The Townsville community hopes Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her ministers listen and act on a range of important issues that will likely be raised during their visit to the city this week.

Today, the North Queensland capital is hosting the first Cabinet meeting of the year, with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine scheduled for discussion.

The ABC has spoken with some organisations and leaders who are meeting with ministers, as well as residents who probably won't get the chance, to hear what they want the new-look Cabinet to prioritise.

MP fined over drunken brawl apologises after Premier's furious call

  MP fined over drunken brawl apologises after Premier's furious call A Queensland Labor MP has apologised after he was fined over a drunken brawl inside a nightclub.Les Walker faced the cameras this morning, still sporting marks from the fight, and revealed his phone call with a furious Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

At least 13 Covid patients are killed in a hospital fire in India, which sets another global record for new infections. As weather warms, some U.S. states look to ease restrictions. The country suspended an early-access Johnson & Johnson vaccination program last week after health officials in the United States put a pause on the vaccine amid concerns of rare blood clots that emerged in a handful of people who received it. South Africa’s decision to move forward again was the second green light this week for Johnson & Johnson.

" COVID - 19 lockdowns may be gradually easing, but anxiety about the world's social and economic prospects is only intensifying. There is good reason to worry: a sharp economic downturn has already begun, and we could be facing the worst depression since the 1930s. "the declaration by the World Economic Forum to make a Great Reset is to all indications a thinly-veiled attempt to advance the Agenda 2030 "sustainable" dystopian model, a global "Green New Deal" in the wake of the covid 19 pandemic measures. Their close ties with Gates Foundation projects, with the WHO, and with the UN

Businesses want confidence

The Townsville Chamber of Commerce said it would raise the issue of snap COVID-19 lockdowns like the one Brisbane experienced earlier this month.

"Being shut down at the drop of a hat … it's a very scary thing to be running a business like that," chief executive Ross McLennan said.

Mr McLennan said he would encourage the Government to adopt New Zealand's alert level system, which outlines a tiered set of restrictions that would likely apply during certain risks.

"You can use that to set the parameters around your operation," he said.

"At the moment, there is a lot of uncertainty if we did get one case or two cases."

He said he also wanted the Government to abolish stamp duty to reduce the cost of unaffordable property insurance, and remove regional payroll tax.

Queensland Cabinet to discuss COVID-19 vaccine rollout as coronavirus fragments detected at 13 wastewater sites in 48 hours

  Queensland Cabinet to discuss COVID-19 vaccine rollout as coronavirus fragments detected at 13 wastewater sites in 48 hours Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young will brief Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk about the vaccine's distribution in Townsville tomorrow, as coronavirus fragments are found at 13 wastewater sites across the state in the past 48 hours. Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young will brief Ms Palaszczuk and the Cabinet in Townsville about the rollout of the vaccine."The Prime Minister has announced the rollout will probably commence at the end of next month, so we'll be getting an update from Dr Young to the Cabinet about the Pfizer vaccine and how we will go about distributing that in Queensland," Ms Palaszczuk said.

The public have also risen to the challenge of suppressing COVID - 19 : by obeying the law; staying at home; getting tested when needed; isolating when required, and following the ‘hands, face, space’ and ‘letting fresh air in’ guidance. Taken together, this means that even though absolute case numbers remain In implementing this plan we will be guided by data, not dates, so that we do not risk a surge in infections that would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS. For that reason, all the dates in the roadmap are indicative and subject to change. There will be a minimum of five weeks between each

In recent years, India has strengthened its laws on child labor, but in the past six months -- with Covid - 19 taking a toll on the economy -- that work has started to unravel.

"I think it's important to look at people's movements, particularly after the COVID," Mr McLennan said.

"People are looking to the regions … to start or to run a business."

Wayde Chiesa, interim chief executive of Townsville Enterprise Limited, agreed and added the need for the Government to reduce power costs.

"Lowering the cost to do business and making it easy to do business," Mr Chiesa said.

"There are businesses out there that are probably worried about what will happen when JobSeeker and JobKeeper come off.

"So, it's important that governments create the right environment for businesses to operate."

Mr Chiesa said he would also be speaking with ministers about the progress of large water and energy infrastructure projects that the Government is already backing.

Child safety overhaul required

John and Sue Sandeman's calls to improve child safety continues years after the Townsville couple successfully fought for new child protection laws.

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“I urge all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the pandemic,” Secretary General António Guterres wrote on Twitter. But governments largely failed to prepare for the way the new public health measures would create opportunities for abusers to terrorize their victims. Eventually, the lockdowns will end. But as the confinement drags on, the danger seems likely to intensify. Studies show that abusers are more likely to murder their partners and others in the wake of personal crises, including lost jobs or major financial setbacks. With Covid - 19 ravaging the economy

And he said COVID - 19 was "likely to be a problem, in particular, in the winter for the next few winters". This was echoed by Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific adviser, who said "it may be necessary next winter to have things like mask-wearing in certain situations". MP Mark Harper, leader of the COVID Recovery Group of Tories, again asked Mr Johnson why restrictions will continue beyond the end of April, when the government hopes to have offered everyone in the top nine priority groups a vaccine.

Mason's Law passed in 2016 in the name of their grandson Mason Parker, who was murdered by his mother's then-partner in 2011.

"Kids are being hurt," Mr Sandeman said.

Last year, a coroner's damning report into the death of another toddler Mason Jet Lee highlighted the Child Safety department's failure in its duty of care.

Ms Palaszczuk promised to adopt the recommendations of the coroner's report and asked for another review of the child safety staff involved.

A light was also shone on the high pressures, workloads, staff turnover and inexperienced officers plaguing the department.

In October, the Government said there had been "significant" reforms and "unprecedented investment" in child safety over the past five years, but demand had increased by 10 per cent in the last year.

Mr Sandeman said he wanted ministers to spend time with Townsville residents who had been let down by the system.

"We want to help the Government to improve child safety, but they're not interested," Mr Sandeman said.

"I want them to talk to a mother or a father who has seen their child being abused."

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Some of Mr Sandeman's ideas included improved and wider access to child protection training courses and more accommodation for at-risk children.

Calls for holistic youth crime solutions

Youth crime is a dominant, divisive issue in Townsville with police responding to a small number of young recidivist offenders and residents frequently taking their frustrations to anti-crime social media pages.

The Government introduced programs, such as Transition to Success and Project Booyah, which have directed some troubled, at-risk youth on better paths.

It has also recently scrapped bail houses for teenagers on remand because of inefficiencies and was trialling 'on-country' programs for repeat offenders.

Some locals want tough on crime tactics, but experts say intensive, tailored, holistic measures are effective.

Act for Kids executive director Stephen Beckett is in Townsville this week to lobby for increased investments in evidence-based policies and programs that focus on the families of young offenders.

"We actually want to start addressing the root causes of what's put them off the rails, and we need to support families so that they can be better parents," Mr Beckett said.

A 2017 State Government sample of 50 young Townsville property offenders found all but one of them were involved or living with people who had histories of reoffending.

The children colonial Belgium stole from African mothers

  The children colonial Belgium stole from African mothers Taken from their homes as children, a group of mixed-race elderly people are now fighting Belgium for recognition.It was 1953 when the white colonials came for her in Babadi, a village in the Kasai region of what is today the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), then a Belgian colony. She was four, the child of a Black Congolese woman and a white Belgian colonial agent. Because she was mixed-race, she would be forced to leave her family and live at a Catholic mission. If she stayed, there would be repercussions: the men – farmers, hunters and protectors of the village – would be forcibly recruited into military duty and taken away.

Townsville human rights advocate and Indigenous elder Gracelyn Smallwood agreed with Mr Beckett, adding the need for more culturally sensitive approaches because of the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in custody.

"A lot of non-Indigenous Australians don't understand the concept of unresolved grief, loss and trauma," Professor Smallwood said.

"[The Government] has got to look at the holistic picture and stop pouring money into programs that are failing.

"You need local solutions for local problems."

Indigenous local Ros Sailor said short-term funding for successful programs was a hindrance.

"We've set up some really great programs to help our people but then all of a sudden the government funding stops, and it seems as though we're set up to fail every time," she said.

Women's services need more funding

Inconsistent and inadequate financial support was also raised as a problem by domestic violence and sexual assault support services.

Townsville providers said victims' calls for help have increased in recent months, on top of an already demanding period since COVID-19 lockdowns.

Mandy Thompson, CEO of the North Queensland Domestic Violence Resource Service, said the centre saw almost the same number of victims in the first three weeks of 2021, as it did during the last quarter of 2020.

Ms Thompson said increased demand came with increased costs, with the service spending almost the same amount in those respective periods.

Cathy Crawford, coordinator of the Townsville Women's Centre, expects waiting lists to grow when her service cuts five staff over the next year as temporary government funding winds up.

"Because we have received COVID support, I am able to measure what it takes not to have a [long counselling] waiting list and that's actually taken three new staff," Ms Crawford said.

"Our waiting lists are down to a couple of weeks rather than three, four months."

The pair also raised the need for additional after hours responses to domestic violence, a review of perpetrator accountability in courts and affordable accommodation for victims.

"[The tightening rental market] and the reduction of income as COVID support decreases is becoming an enormous issue," Ms Crawford said.

Penthouse suite owned by ex-All Blacks rugby goes on sale for £950,000 .
The Vale of Glamorgan apartment was home to former All Blacks and Cardiff rugby player Xavier Rush - whose company X-Stream Developments carried out the renovation. The penthouse apartment sits above six other flats in the development called Alcedonia in well-heeled Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan.Xavier said he was moving from the penthouse, called Magnus, due to a growing family.

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