Contaminated water from Ipswich dump site flows into local rivers; Cleanaway fined for environmental breaches


Under their Environmental Authority commitments, the Cleanaway New Chum Solid Waste Landfill facility is banned from allowing water to flow out of the site from the ponds at its northern-most point.

Since the beginning of the year, the company has twice been fined by the Department of Environment and Science (DES) for breaching this directive — with fines totalling $26,690.

Ipswich Residents Against Toxic Environments (IRATE) secretary Geoff Yarham said this was a slap on the wrist for the company, which had been warned about the water releases since mid-last year.

“If the public and the local authorities are complaining, you would think you’d get up and get off your backside and do something and manage it properly,” Mr Yarham said.

“The concept is to manage the ponds so water shouldn’t actually exit the site and contaminate the environment.

“Whenever there’s heavy rain you can generally state these ponds will overflow because they’re not managing them within the requirements of the licence.

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Byron Bay local businesses hit out at Netflix reality influencer show


Byron Bay’s most sought-after local business have been knocking back approaches to be featured in a salacious Netflix reality series about Instagram influencers, as a petition to block its production nears 4000 signatures.

Last week, streaming giant Netflix announced it had teamed up with Eureka productions to create a reality series Byron Baes, that would explore “fights, flings and heartbreak” among social media influencers who are based in the idyllic town on the NSW far north coast.

The series had brought on Emma Lamb, a highly accomplished reality producer who has previously worked on Married At First Sight and The Real Housewives Of Sydney.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that an influencer in possession of a good follower count must be in want of a beach backdrop (for the ’gram).
“And there’s no better backdrop – or magnet for influencers – than Byron Bay, the perfect setting for our next Australian Netflix Original,” ANZ stated in a release about the show.

It’s a red-hot concept that would likely draw huge ratings.

But the show’s premise has gone down in flames with Byron Bay locals, with a petition titled “Boycott Byron Baes Netflix Series by Refusing to Grant Filming Permits” reaching 3900 signatures on Thursday.

The petition’s creator, Tess Hall, said the concept would grossly misrepresent Byron Bay and its values.

“We don’t want to be an Instagrammers’ paradise,” Ms Hall told NCA NewsWire.

“When it comes to Byron Bay, what we have seen about the show would shine a light on the town which doesn’t reflect our values and who we are as a community.

“The fallout for Byron Bay is we become even more renowned as a hotspot for influencers; people who have a massive following who come to these hot spots and create a desire for their followers to visit.

“But that traffic has the potential to cause significant environmental impacts without any real valuable or meaningful injection to the region.”

The petition states Byron Bay “is a community experiencing significant challenges driven by influencer culture and rapidly shifting demographics of residents.”

It aims for “relevant statutory authorities to refuse to grant the production filming permits for any and all local and state government land, roads, parks, and waterways proposed for use during filming of the series. “

It is understood Byron Bay’s top five most popular local businesses on Instagram have steadfastly declined approaches to be featured in the series – despite the potential for considerable surges in trade due to the Netflix exposure.

“Being members of the community, their gut reaction is this show isn‘t the tone and approach they want,” Ms Hall said.

“These business could gain by being included in the series but are vocally and actively choosing not to.”

Rumoured cast members include model and influencer Jess Vander Leahy and Love Island contestant Elias Chigros.

Ms Hall, a filmmaker herself, welcomed Byron Bay and the far north coast becoming a TV and film production destination, but in the right context.

“I’m a filmmaker; I’m all for the Northern Rivers and broader region becoming a production hub,” she said.

“Anything that brings large scale production and jobs to the region is great

“But ‘brand Byron’ has become so big and has been exploited. When I saw the series idea, I decided enough is enough.”



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Care home residents ‘barred’ from voting in local elections because of Covid rules



But Ms Rayner said this should be a choice, and not because other opportunities have been removed.

She said: “As soon as it became apparent that everyone would not be able to share full access to the voting options, then the elections should have been paused, or we should have found a way where the opportunities for all to vote were equalised.

She added that it “should not be acceptable” that residents cannot vote in their local polling station without having to isolate for 14 days, when the rest of the population is out going to the pub, shopping and even socialising in gardens.

A previous version of the DHSC guidance, introduced on March 8, limited visits out of care homes to residents of working age.

It was updated last week, dropping restrictions preventing people over the age of 65 from taking trips outside the home.

It followed a legal challenge by the group John’s Campaign, which argued that the Government was acting unlawfully by imposing a blanket ban regardless of the health of the individual.

The group said at the time that it wants to see the 14-day self-isolation requirement amended.



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Gaming regulator approves 70 pokies for local football club in ‘hard-hit’ Melbourne suburb


Stuart McDonald’s 10-year addiction to the pokies began while watching the football at the Whitten Oval and Docklands Stadium.

“During the half-time break I would go down and put significant amounts in the pokies, then I’d wander back upstairs feeling depressed and miserable,” he said.

It didn’t take long to turn into a full-blown addiction.

“One time I emptied the entire bank account and had to shame-facedly ring my ex-wife and tell her there was no money for groceries that week because I spent it at the football,” he said.

He has since recovered from addiction and the poker machines at Whitten Oval and Docklands Stadium are gone.

Mr McDonald said they should not have been there to begin with.

“Football and gaming don’t mix,” he said.

“Football is meant to be a family-friendly activity and poker machines certainly aren’t.”

Mr McDonald has moved from Melbourne’s west to Warrnambool, in western Victoria.

But he said he’s disappointed the Werribee Tigers Football Club is planning to include 70 poker machines in its new venue in Tarneit, in Melbourne’s outer west.

“There are just venues everywhere, and the western suburbs of Melbourne are particularly hard-hit because they’ve got venues in every corner,” he said.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) has approved the club’s application for 70 poker machines at its proposed new entertainment venue, Club Tarneit, in a rapidly developing area near Tarneit train station.

The proposed site of Club Tarneit in Melbourne’s outer west.(

ABC News: Margaret Paul

)

The club must make $50,000 in annual community contributions and employ a full-time Community Development Manager.

A spokesman for the club declined the ABC’s interview request, saying an appeal is still possible. But in its application, the club said it needed the revenue from pokies to remain viable in the VFL.

Council disappointed by approval

Josh Gillgan, wearing a blue and white checked shirt, smiles at the camera.
Josh Gilligan says the City of Wyndham is already seeing the negative consequences associated with other gaming venues.(

ABC News: Margaret Paul

)

The local council, the City of Wyndham, opposed the application.

Councillor Josh Gilligan said it was disappointing it was approved.

“That’ll add millions of dollars onto an already $290,000 of losses, each and every day, in the City of Wyndham,” he said.

There are currently 903 gaming machines in Wyndham, including 85 at the Tigers Clubhouse in Hoppers Crossing.

A sign saying POKIES - BAR - BISTRO at the Tigers Clubhouse.
The Tigers Clubhouse brought in nearly $8 million in gaming revenue in 2019/20.(

ABC News: Margaret Paul

)

“We’re already seeing the social cost of these types of issues, whether it be domestic violence, whether it be homelessness, whether it be house delinquencies and mortgages that go under,” Cr Gilligan said.

He said the football club is an important part of the community in Melbourne’s west.

“We love footy but when we find that it’s being propped up by pokies venues, our community gets particularly worried about the impact that has on it,” he said.

State Treasurer supported application

Not everyone is so worried.

The local MP, Tim Pallas, who is also the Victorian Treasurer, wrote to the VCGLR to support the Tigers’ application.

“Throughout its history, the Werribee Football Club has established strong links to Wyndham’s young and growing community,” he wrote.

He said the club runs programs with local schools and multicultural groups.

A sign outside the Werribee Football Club.
The Werribee Football Club has had its application approved by Victoria’s gaming regulator.(

ABC News: Margaret Paul

)

“I’m advised the proposed entertainment venue in Tarneit will see the establishment of new facilities to include function rooms, bistro including alfresco dining bar, cafe, gaming room and sports bar,” he wrote.

“Wyndham is a vibrant, young and rapidly-growing community and this type of venue will enhance the provision of facilities for young families,” he said.

He noted the VFL club doesn’t have an AFL-affiliated club “and subsequently experiences different financial challenges”.

AFL says it’s supporting VFL clubs to diversify

A blond woman sits with a drink at a pokie.
The club says it needs the gaming revenue to stay viable in the Victorian Football League.(

ABC News, file photo

)

The council wrote to the AFL in February, to ask what the league is doing to help clubs like the Werribee Tigers move away from gaming revenue.

It is yet to receive a reply.

In the AFL, North Melbourne, Geelong, the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne have at least committed to make their venues pokies-free.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform’s Tim Costello said the league must do more.

“They’ve been saying ‘let’s get clubs out of pokies’ because they do such profound damage to the community.”

In a statement to the ABC, a spokesman for the AFL described VFL clubs as “pillars of the community.”

He said the AFL has reduced licence fees, salary caps and is subsidising travel.

“The AFL continues to work with all VFL clubs on new revenue opportunities to diversify their business operations ensuring the legacy of these clubs continues to play an important part in the Australian football landscape,” he said.

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Local firm to lead Hume Reserve upgrade


A Geelong-based
construction company will oversee a major upgrade of Hume Recreation Reserve inBell Park.

Rendine
Constructions has been awarded the contract to design and construct the new
modular pavilion at the reserve, which is home to Corio Soccer Club.

The existing
change rooms will be demolished to make way for two sets of gender-neutral
change rooms and amenities, which will meet Football Victoria’s standards.

Mayor Stephanie
Asher said the new pavilion will also include referee change rooms, a first aid
room, social space, kitchen, meeting room and storage space.

This fully
funded Council project will provide a best practice community sport facility
for the growing number of soccer players in the northern suburbs.

Councillor Ron
Nelson, Chair of the Sport portfolio, said the work would create an improved
experience for all participants.

It will pave
the way for the Corio Soccer Club to flourish and increase opportunities for
additional community use.

The
Moolap-based firm is expected to start construction on the new facility in the
coming months.

Work is
scheduled to be completed in June 2022.

Corio Soccer
Club President Mario Gregorio said he was eagerly awaiting the completion of
the new facility.

The new
facilities will make the Corio Soccer Club more attractive for all
stakeholders; in particular it will help the club’s drive to attract more
females to the club.

It will also
provide a big advantage to our Men’s State League One side with the new gym,
meeting and rehab rooms.

As a club we
are delighted to see the pavilion project progressing and extremely thankful
for the support of City of Greater Geelong councillors and officers.

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JobKeeper void threatens local operators


“We have run three small tours since March 23, 2020,” Mr Smith said.

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Live and Local acts rock Drysdale


A fiesta of grunge, garage punk and indie is set to rock Drysdale with nine Geelong and Bellarine bands combining for Live and Local on Sunday.

Bellarine drum and bass duo Good Sniff will headline the concert, with one half of the band, Elias Hodson, co-organising the free event for a VCAL assignment.

“A lot of the bands are our mates and we know pretty much all of them,” the 17-year-old bass player said.

“There are some awesome bands playing so it should be a fun day.”

Hodson and drummer Lachie Brown shot to cult fame when their musical tribute to late bandmate and friend Louie Shearman, Louie the Milk Man, played nationally on Triple J’s Requestival last May.

“We got a lot of attention from everyone,” Hodson said.

They have since played alongside the likes of big-ticket acts such as Skegss, Mona Bay, Ruby Fields and Goldminds.

The garage punk band started as a trio but sadly lost Shearman in April 2020. They pushed ahead as a duo with the help of some expensive equipment, Hodson explained.

“Normally a guitar doesn’t sound like a bass so you need a lot of effects pedals and lots of money for that,” he said.

“It sounds pretty good for just bass and drums.

“During COVID was a big learning curve for Lachie and me – it’s a different sound.

“But Lachie’s a very good singer and he’s one of those kids who can play every instrument perfectly.

“He jumped on the drums because I wasn’t doing it – no way – and started singing and it just worked fantastically.”

Hodson only picked up the bass a few years ago studying music at Bellarine Secondary College.

“I picked music as a subject not really knowing too much about it, but I just fell in love with the program at school – it’s insane and there’s amazing people there,” he said.

“It was just a good feeling to jam with other people.

“Lachie came down one day and started jamming with us and we got talking about starting a band.”

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Sputnik V’s ugly cousin. Clinical results for Russia’s EpiVacCorona vaccine are finally here, but developers published in an obscure local journal, raising questions and concerns




As the drug’s developers promised in a recent interview with Meduza, we now have a peer-reviewed scientific article that makes the case for EpiVacCorona, Russia’s latest coronavirus vaccine. Though the research didn’t arrive until March 25, the drug itself won regulatory approval back in October 2020 and has been available to Russian patients outside clinical trials for months. Until yesterday, the only public information about the vaccine was limited to two patents, several statements by Russia’s consumer protection agency (which controls the institute that developed EpiVacCorona), and a few interviews with the drug’s creators. Unfortunately, the long-awaited evidence leaves much to be desired. Notably, scientists released the article in a little-known Russian journal called Infection and Immunity, despite indications from health officials that the research would appear in a more authoritative outlet like The New English Journal of Medicine or The Lancet (which published the first peer-reviewed evidence for the “Sputnik V” vaccine). Meduza reviewed the EpiVacCorona article and asked three experts to assess its strengths and weaknesses.

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Queensland reports a third local case of coronavirus as police clarify details of gathering held by confirmed case



A third local case of  COVID-19 has been reported in the last 24 hours. 

The state’s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, said the new case is the brother of the first case,  a 26-year-old landscaper who tested positive on Thursday.

“He is probably the person responsible for the transmission. Of course, he could have had that in the past, but it is more likely he has had it recently.”

Queensland Police said it is no longer the case that a house party of 25 people was held by a close contact of a 26-year-old man who has the UK variant of coronavirus. 

Police said no COVID-19 regulations were breached, but the individual did have five guests over at his residence. 

“Our evidence is that there was no offence committed, but we are still considering it,” Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said.

Police said the five people have been identified – a number of them were housemates. 

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has defended the release of information that a close contact of a confirmed case of the UK variant held a house party with 25 people while waiting for test results. 

“We did put out the information that we believe was factual at the time so the public were aware.”

“It is extremely unfortunate that what has been discovered over the past 24 hours, that it was not 25 people. As I understand it, this is the information that was received from this gentleman himself.”

She urged people to provide accurate and clear information to contact tracers. 

“I am very pleased that the information has shown that we don’t have 25 people, out there, in the community potentially at risk.

“That the numbers are far lower and it is contained to predominately the housemates – that is a good outcome.”

Health officials said negative test results from 14 casual contacts have come through. 

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction’s restrictions on gathering limits. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSWVictoriaQueenslandWestern AustraliaSouth AustraliaNorthern TerritoryACTTasmania.

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LATEST FLOODING AND LOCAL ROAD INFORMATION


 
THIS INFORMATION IS BEING UP-DATED AS NEWS COMES IN.
 
Council kindly advises residents to exercise caution as we experience heavy rain in our region. Many causeways are underwater.
 
Please obey all signage and flood indicators and if you encounter water on the road DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS IT.
 
Follow this link to view LOCAL ROAD CLOSURES
 
Works staff are currently inspecting locations that are prone to flooding and more information will be provided as it is known.
 
If you require any further information, please contact Council’s Department of Infrastructure Services on telephone 02 6730 2371 between 8.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
 
Outside of office hours, emergency works should be phoned to Council’s on-call Roads and Drainage Crew on 0409 817 242.

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