Protesters hit MP’s office to demand action on aged care


Protesters will rally outside the Dawson MP’s office to demand at least one registered nurse be present at all times at all private aged care facilities.

Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union secretary Beth Mohle said George Christensen’s office was one of seven between Cairns and Brisbane being targeted as part of the union’s Aged Care Day of Action on Monday.

The rally comes as the final report into a 28-month Royal Commission into Aged Care was handed down to the Prime Minister on Friday.

The findings have not yet been released to the public.

Read more: 100 assaults a week: Aged care abuse kept secret

“The QNMU and all Australians await Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s response to the crisis in Australian private aged care,” Ms Mohle said.

“While we wait, elderly Australians continue to suffer as a result of chronic and systemic understaffing in private aged care facilities. All federal politicians should be held to account for their positions on the protection of vulnerable elderly Australians.’

“We will not let yet another review into aged care be put on the shelf to gather dust – we want a commitment to action now.”

Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union (QNMU) Secretary Beth Mohle. Picture: Contributed

Ms Mohle said the union was calling for laws to be strengthened so at least one registered nurse had to be on site at all times.

“Unlike (at) childcare or hospitals, there are no federal laws that state how private aged care facilities should be staffed,” she said.

“As a result, thousands of elderly Australians continue to suffer due to chronic understaffing.”

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QNMU organiser Auriel Robinson said Mr Christensen had been “disturbingly silent” on aged care issues in an electorate with more than 31,000 constituents aged 60 and over.

“Mr Christensen has also not signed the QNMU’s pledge to make safe staffing law in aged care,” Ms Robinson said.

“He has also not turned up to discuss our concerns.

“The Royal Commission have handed over their recommendations – our politicians must act now to protect the tens of thousands of elderly Australians in their care.”

The QNMU stated Australia had about 900 private aged care providers which received more than $66 billion in taxpayer money over the past size years.

“They do not have to publicly report how any of the funds are spent,” it stated.

“Queensland’s largest private aged care providers including BlueCare, TriCare and Bolton Clarke actually cut staff numbers or hours during COVID-19.

“The QNMU reported these matters, and many others, to the federal government but it’s not believed any action has been taken.

“The QNMU and Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation is calling for the introduction of mandated minimum staffing levels and required mix of skills and qualifications in every residential facility, over every shift.”

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Protesters will gather outside Mr Christensen’s office on Milton St at 11am.

All private aged care facilities in Mackay are accredited by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.



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Stars tread fine line as they glam up


Celebrities, they’re just like us. And when it comes to this year’s Golden Globes, that meant ditching the fancy pyjamas and loungewear and actually getting dressed.

Coinciding with the opening day of Paris Fashion Week, itself also a largely digital affair, the red carpet was a pastiche of at-home looks and high-voltage glam for those lucky enough to be presenting awards at one of the two broadcasting sites in Los Angeles and New York.

From left: Cynthia Erivo, Kaley Cuoco, Margot Robbie, Josh O’Connor, Rosamund Pike.Credit:Getty/Instagram

If there was one look that exemplified the desire for escapism and fantasy so desperately needed in Hollywood right now (Los Angeles county reported 1662 new COVID-19 infections on Feberuary 27), it was Cynthia Erivo’s lime green Valentino with matching silver skyscraper heels. Or perhaps it was the return of the “fairytale gowns” of nominees Kaley Cuoco and Amanda Seyfried, both in Oscar de la Renta, or Margot Robbie in black-and white Chanel, whose effortless hair and make-up struck the perfect balance between pandemic austerity and the need to give audiences some semblance of normalcy, at least for a few hours.

Still, there were plenty of vestiges of the past year to remind us all that things are, well, not quite normal. Regina King’s dog, Cornbread, crashed her twirl in metallic Louis Vuitton, while Kate Hudson, also in black-and-silver, forgot to tell her house guests to quieten down during a pre-show interview about her controversial film Music, which has angered the autistic community for its portrayal of the condition.

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Knights enhance reputation as club developing talent



HAVING overseen a series of impressive playoff efforts in recent seasons, Bob Maclot knows 2021 could be his most challenging in years.

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One Injury Reported Following Manhattan Manhole Explosions



Multiple manhole explosions were reported in Manhattan early on Sunday, February 28, with at least one person hospitalized for injuries, local media reported. Daniel Gross livestreamed this video on Facebook from E 56th Street at around 7:43 am on Sunday. Power outages were also reported in parts of the city. Storyful has contacted the New York City Fire Department and Con Edison for comment. Credit: Daniel Gross via Storyful

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More than 2500 cancer diagnoses missed in Victoria during pandemic curbs


While the true extent of the thousands of missed cancer diagnoses is not yet unknown, concerns are mounting that the delays in diagnoses will hinder the prospects of patients diagnosed with more aggressive cancers and could lead to avoidable deaths.

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Professor Evans foreshadowed a potential cancer spike in the next six to 12 months, fuelled by a surge in later-stage cancers being diagnosed, increasing demand on the healthcare system.

“Our modelling indicates that it’s possible that approximately 2500 Victorians will not only be
faced with the prospect of being diagnosed with cancer, but with a later stage cancer than they possibly may have been, and this would be devastating for patients, families and loved ones,” Professor Evans said.

The study found the COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in a decline of up to 30 per cent in life-saving cancer diagnostic procedures, compared with the same period in 2019.

The most significant decrease in diagnoses occurred for head and neck, prostate and breast cancer and melanoma, Professor Evans said.

Those identified by researchers as being most a risk or having their cancer diagnosis missed were older Victorians, men and people living in higher socio-economic areas. Reduction in cancer diagnosis was greatest between April and May last year.

The study found the COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in a decline of up to 30 per cent in life-saving cancer diagnostic procedures, compared with the same period in 2019.Credit:Louie Douvis

Grant McArthur, of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, said the highest number of delayed diagnoses had been found in prostate cancer, where more than 1000 cases were missed.

“We’re worried about that because of the sheer numbers,” Professor McArthur said.

But he said he was increasingly concerned about people who had undiagnosed head and neck cancers, which often required complicated treatment and were more aggressive than other cancers.

”On the other extreme is head and neck cancer, where the numbers are not as high as prostate cancer, but they require really intensive treatments,” he said. “It involves surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and is quite a difficult treatment for many patients, and this could be even more challenging for those patients because of the delays in the diagnosis.”

Professor McArthur said he was bracing for an influx of cancer patients in the next six to 12 months.

“This is still very significant, we think, in a Victorian healthcare setting, and there will be additional demand on the health system as a result.“

He said doctors were also preparing to see more advanced melanomas after people had delayed their skin checks during the pandemic.

The findings of the statewide study follow a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare late last year on the impact of the pandemic on national screening tests, which found there had been a worrying decline in screening for breast, bowel and cervical cancers.

It found just 1100 mammograms were performed nationally in April, compared with 70,000 the month before – a drop of 98 per cent – as COVID-19 infections soared and restrictions to contain the virus were enforced.

There was a 30 per cent drop in mammograms nationally from January to June. About 344,000 tests were conducted, compared with about 489,000 in the same period two years before.

About 364,000 cervical cancer tests were undertaken between January and June last year, compared with almost 807,000 for the period in 2019, a drop of 45 per cent.

There were about 145,000 fewer bowel screening tests completed between January and June last year. About 680,000 were returned, compared with just under 825,000 for the first half of the previous year.

The AIHW researchers found mammogram screenings in Australia picked up again in June, with about 70,000 tests conducted that month, but this was still 10,000 fewer per month than in 2018.

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Queensland finally gets a coronavirus tracing app to replace ‘onerous’ old system


The Queensland government is rolling out a new coronavirus app to make it easier for the state’s hospitality sector to keep track of their customers for contact tracing.

The Check In Qld app was launched on Sunday by the Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Yvette D’Ath, at a pub south of Brisbane.

“This is going to make contact tracing quicker and easier for Queensland Health, which means if we were to get local transmission of COVID in our community we can identify it, we can trace it and contain COVID-19,” said Ms D’Ath.

Users will be able to sign in at certain venues by scanning a QR code — but only at places that are participating in the program.

Participation is not mandatory, and it has only been tested in the hospitality industry, but other businesses can use it, too.

“The app will contain [users’] contact details so they will not have to constantly keep putting their contact details in every time they go to a venue,” Ms D’Ath said.

Until now, the state’s contact tracers have been relying on a patchwork of tools used by venues to comply with COVID-19 regulations to keep an electronic record of their customers.

Doug Meagher, manager of the Orion Hotel in Springfield, where the new app was launched, said the old method was convoluted and onerous.

“We had Excel spreadsheets that we then had to electronically send them to Queensland Health,” said Mr Meagher said.

“We had to retain the data for 28 to 56 days, we then had QR codes where you were sent different codes … it was onerous.”

Health minister Yvette D'Ath launches the Check In Qld app
Health minister Yvette D’Ath says the app will make life easier for the hospitality industry and contact tracers.(ABC News: Emilie Gramenz)

Information deleted after 56 days

New South Wales, Victoria and the Australia Capital Territory launched similar apps in the latter half of 2020.

Ms D’Ath said the Queensland government wanted to assess what was already available and working before committing to its own app.

Queensland based its app on the ACT model, Check In CBR, which launched in September.

Testing and trials of Queensland’s Check In app began in January at selected venues from Cairns to Ipswich.

More than 200 businesses took part in the trial and are now using the new app, the government said.

Ms D’Ath said Queenslanders should have confidence their data will be secure.

“We are collecting the least amount of information, and only the information we need in relation to contact tracing,” the minister said.

Information gathered on the app will be only used by authorised health officials and will be deleted after 56 days.

“Ours only collects the information that is absolutely essential, and of course we’re only keeping it for 30 to 56 days,” Ms D’Ath said.

Nurse receives coronavirus vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccines have started rolling out in Queensland, but the app should help the government to contact-trace future cases.

No new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Queensland on Sunday, though there are 11 active cases in the state.

More than 5,200 tests had been conducted in the past 24 hours, according to Queensland Health.

Vaccinations started rolling out last week on the Gold Coast, and so far around 2,030 Queenslanders have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab.

In coming days, more locations will be added to the rollout.

“We have our other three hubs going online this week. The RBWH, the Townsville University Hospital and the Sunshine Coast University Hospital,” Ms D’Ath said.

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Preschool play leads to school success


“It makes a big difference and the gains made continue into school and beyond; we know it works and that they hit the ground running,” she said.

Professor Fleer said the more formal setting of school presented challenges for children who couldn’t regulate their behaviour.

“They want to be like every other child listening and sitting still et cetera, but if they have to focus on that they can’t focus on the curriculum, there’s no space left,” she said.

“You can see the school failure happening over time because students are so focused on behaviour instead of the joy of learning.”

The Playworlds model was developed with early childhood educators to make it easy for them to do in their classrooms. The reliance on imagination and lack of props or expensive resources also make it accessible regardless of a preschool’s socioeconomic status.

The success of such early learning further strengthens the case for universal free childcare, Professor Fleer said.

“What’s the best way to invest in the future? It’s invest in infants, invest in toddlers, invest in preschoolers,” she said.

“The long-standing research is out there. We know that investing in early childcare matters.”

Calls for universal free childcare are mounting as Australia begins to repair the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Billionaire philanthropist Nicola Forrest and Thrive by Five chief executive Jay Weatherill addressed the National Press Club this month to push for an overhaul of the childcare system.

“High-quality early learning centres should be a basic human right for every single Australian kid, no matter their postcode and regardless of whether both or neither parent works. It’s about uniformity, consistency and equality of access,” Ms Forrest said.

Helen Gibbons, director of early education and care for the United Workers Union, said she was pleased to see increasing momentum to change the system to improve things for children, their families and educators.

“A lot of voices are coming together now,” she said. “We need to be opening up barriers for children to access high-quality environments.”

Ms Gibbons said the government needed not only to make childcare more financially accessible for families but also improve the structural issues faced by staff, such as low pay and insecure work.

“The COVID-19 crisis really highlighted what an enormous crisis there was in the early education workforce,” she said. “It showed us the government can do direct intervention when it wants to.”

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Man stabbed at popular St Kilda cafe



Police were called to Staple Providore & Cafe on Fitzroy St about 10am on Sunday morning following reports of “an altercation”. “A man received multiple stab wounds to the upper body and was transported to hospital with serious injuries,” a police spokeswoman said. A 42-year-old St Kilda man was arrested at the scene and is currently assisting police with their inquiries.— Do you know more? Email brianna.travers@news.com.auPolice believe the parties involved are known to each other.It is not known what provoked the violent altercation. At least four police cars and two ambulances attended the scene. The cafe has been cordoned off as police comb the scene for evidence. The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone who witnessed the incident or with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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'I froze my eggs' when I decided to transition from female to male



Nate attended the Queensland Children's Hospital's transgender clinic which has seen an increase in patients. The latest available data shows that in …

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Best of cartoons, February 28, 2021


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