Former Gympie Nestle worker at centre of asbestos fight



The man, identified in court documents only as Mr Jones, was a maintenance fitter at the Gympie plant from 1961 to 1998, where he worked with Klingerit gaskets.He died in 2018, from malignant mesothelioma, a cancer that commonly affects the lungs.It is alleged he developed the disease from inhaling asbestos dust and fibre caused by the company’s failure to take reasonable care to avoid exposing people to “the risk of foreseeable injury arising from the supply, sale and subsequent use of Klingerit”.Mr Jones was paid compensation by WorkCover Queensland after his diagnosis.BONUS: Your chance to win $20k with free Courier Mail subscriptionThe company launched action on behalf of Mr Jones and a second man it compensated, Mr Simpson, against the makers of Klingerit.Mr Simpson was a former Queensland Government worker; he died in 2020.Klinger Limited has pleaded its defence on 17 grounds.These include that its products only contained chrysotile asbestos; it did not know inhaling this form of asbestos could cause mesothelioma based on the state of scientific and medical knowledge at the time; and it was not responsible for any improper use of its products.MORE GYMPIE NEWS* Multimillion-dollar hydro project mooted for Gympie region* ‘Absolutely insane’: New Gympie cafe flooded with support“If Mr Jones, in the course of his employment, made use of Klingerit as a packing material, Klingerit was not intended by the defendant for use as a packing material,” the company stated.Klinger also argued the composition of Klingerit was such that it was impossible to inhale asbestos from the product if it was being used as intended.The cases were brought to light as part of an appeal by WorkCover to have the cases joined, or heard one after the other.Judge Nathan Jarro granted this request, saying factual nuances did exist in the cases but there were enough common threads in them to have them heard close to each other.

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Pizza worker robbed for food in Williamstown lift in Melbourne


A Melbourne pizza delivery man has been robbed of his tasty package while he was in the lift of the building in which he was trying to drop it off.

Victoria Police were told the 27-year-old victim was delivering the order to the property on Nelson Place in Williamstown about 7.40pm on January 10.

But as he got into the lift, he was followed by three other men.

One of the men demanded the worker hand over the pizza.

The victim complied and gave over the meal, fearing the offender was carrying a knife.

But the pizza was not the end of the robbery and the man then demanded cash from his bag.

The victim had around $200 in cash stolen before the trio exited the lift.

On Wednesday, police released CCTV images of one of the men and urged anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers.

The three males are all described as African in appearance.

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Qld aged care worker given wrong second dose of COVID-19 vaccine


Queensland health authorities have confirmed that an aged care worker received the wrong second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The woman was given a Pfizer dosage for her first jab but received AstraZeneca for the second this week, not realising the error until she was given a pamphlet after the injection.

The employee of the Ipswich aged care facility, west of Brisbane, was monitored for an hour by healthcare professionals at the clinic before being sent home with an ice pack for a headache, 9 News reported.

She was told to watch for any adverse reactions and to call an ambulance if she became unwell.

On Friday afternoon, Queensland chief health officer Jeannette Young confirmed the woman had received the wrong dosage.

“I’m sure the place where it happened will look at how that occurred, but she’s fine today, which is very good news,” she told reporters.

The mix-up comes after the Prime Minister on Thursday night revealed new medical advice for the AstraZeneca jab, recommending Australians under 50 not receive the vaccine due to the rare possibility of blood clots.

Scott Morrison said the guidance was based on advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).

The AstraZeneca vaccine will continue to be issued to those when the benefits outweigh the risks of the deadly virus.

Those include elderly Australians, who are more likely to become seriously ill from coronavirus than young people.

Administration of the Pfizer vaccine will not be affected.

ATAGI considered evidence from colleagues in Europe, where there were a small but concerning number of cases where people developed blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.

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Former childcare worker Bronte John Ciracovitch charged with eight more child abuse offences



South Australian Police have laid more charges against a former Adelaide childcare worker accused of child sex offences. 

Bronte John Ciracovitch was arrested in September last year and charged with having a sexual relationship with a child, and producing and possessing child exploitation material. 

On Thursday afternoon the 30-year-old faced the Adelaide Magistrates Court on fresh charges, including aggravated counts of indecent assault, procuring a child to commit an indecent act as well as producing and possessing child exploitation material.

He has also been charged with maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship. 

South Australian Police allege that the most recent charges relate to offences committed while the accused was working in a childcare centre.

Mr Ciracovitch was already in custody and appeared in court by videolink. 

He did not apply for bail. 

The ABC understands the childcare centre where the accused worked only notified 180 families of his arrest after a suppression on his identity was lifted last month. 

The centre has been contacted for comment. 

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‘Broke in a heartbeat’: Island warning after worker wage revolt



Workers at an idyllic tropical north Queensland island resort owned by one of Queensland’s richest families claim they have worked hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime while being stripped of penalty rates under a decade-old WorkChoices-era ‘zombie’ agreement.

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Nationals MP Michael Johnsen resigns following rape allegation and sex worker scandal



NSW Nationals MP Michael Johnsen has quit parliament after an escalating scandal involving a sex worker.

Nationals Leader John Barilaro said he welcomed the news.

“Yesterday … I told Mr Johnsen his position as a Member of Parliament was untenable and called for his resignation,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Upper Hunter MP went to ground on Tuesday after the ABC reported he’d allegedly offered a sex worker $1000 to have sex with him at his parliament house office, exchanged lewd texts with her and sent her a video while sitting in parliament.

The report cames a week after it was revealed the same sex worker had accused him of raping her in 2019 and police were investigating. Mr Johnsen has vehemently denied the accusation.

After that Mr Barilaro stripped him of his role as parliamentary secretary, removed him from the Nationals and coalition partyrooms and suspended him from the National Party.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Wednesday she was “very relieved” he had quit.

“That’s a good outcome and we look forward to moving forward,” she said.

The development robs the government of it’s majority, leaving it to fight a by-election where it holds just a 2.2 per cent margin.

Labor Leader Jodi McKay says the ALP is ready to have “a red hot go” at winning the seat which has been held by the Nationals for more than 90 years.

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Worker shortage hurting Gippsland businesses who cannot fill job vacancies


For Kevin Campbell, trying to find hospitality staff to keep his Lake Tyers pub open every day during the current tourism boom has been a nightmare.

Despite the spectacular East Gippsland location and beach lifestyle on offer for workers, the Waterwheel Tavern has been closed two days a week for the past six weeks due to a staffing shortage.

“Through no choice of our own we’ve had to shut on a Monday and Tuesday just from a lack of staff to cover the shifts,” Mr Campbell said.

“It’s disappointing for us because there are still plenty of people around but we can’t really capitalise on it, which is a bit of a bummer.”

An influx of grey nomads and campers exploring the region, about 350 kilometres east of Melbourne, has compounded the situation for Mr Campbell and his employees.

He said those left working were battling fatigue trying to cover the bases that would usually be covered by a team of kitchen, bar and floor staff.

But turning away customers just over a year since deadly bushfires ripped through the area, and the subsequent pandemic restrictions, had been particularly distressing, Mr Campbell said.

The Lake Tyers pub has been closing some days due to a lack of staff.(

Supplied: Waterwheel Beach Tavern

)

“And then we start losing clientele over an extended period of time.”

Mr Campbell said he used to rely on European backpackers and working holiday makers who stayed at the caravan park which is part of the hotel.

But during the COVID-19 lockdowns, the uncertainty of hours led many staff to return to home or move to pursue other work.

“We lost three of our core staff who chose to go down another path outside hospitality, which was real pity,” said Mr Campbell, who employs up to 35 people during peak season.

“It was a real kick in the guts when we went to reopen again as we were having to retrain the staff that we could find.”

Calls for better educational opportunities

It is a similar story in other industries.

Therese Kearney works for Catholic Care Victoria, which started offering free counselling services to the community after the bushfires; it too cannot find qualified staff to live and work in the region.

“But we cannot get the personnel, we can’t get counsellors to come to the rural areas — even if we do, we can’t get them to stay.”

The organisation has been advertising for nine months to fill roles in the region, prompting Ms Kearney to suggest education needed to be better targeted.

“We’ve got to train people for these areas knowing they will be coming into regional areas,” she said.

A woman sitting in a n office in front of a computer
Laura A’Bell just moved into a new office and wants a local to fill a vacant marketing job.(

Supplied

)

Better education opportunities for locals was something Mirboo North-based business owner Laura A’Bell said could help match jobseekers with available positions.

She is still trying to fill a marketing role at her communications firm which was first advertised in December.

A lack of public transport in regional areas and not enough affordable housing were also a problem, she said.

“There is less than 1 per cent vacancy in towns across Gippsland and rents have spikes from this demand.

“There was one girl who would consider moving up here for the role but there was a lack of housing.

“We have a beautiful new office space in Mirboo North to service clients nationally; I thought it would be a really great opportunity to have a local Gippsland person join us.”

Workers lacking confidence

Luke Henderson, a director of a Gippsland-based recruitment agency, said it was an unusual job market over the past six months.

He said the agency was receiving fewer applications because jobseekers were being more fussy in what they applied for and that less people were leaving secure roles.

“In the past you had people who were [looking at] changing careers or employers and looking for something new,” he said.

Woman working on a strawberry farm
Farm workers are in short supply.(

Supplied: LuvaBerry

)

Mr Henderson said it was just as hard to recruit for high-skilled roles as it was for entry-level jobs, with transport and logistics and agriculture the sectors with the highest vacancies.

The expectations of businesses and jobseekers needed to be adjusted to get more people into vacant roles, he said.

Little interest in casual roles

Erica resident Kelly Miller has been looking for work but said opportunities were often part-time or casual roles, which was “not always practical” because she had a mortgage.

“And the positions I have been offered have been at a substantially lower pay rate than I’m on at the moment,” she said.

“What [businesses] are offering is not always competitive.”

Back at his Lake Tyres pub, Kevin Campbell said issues recruiting hospitality staff could also be linked to changes to the training and apprenticeship system over the past 10 to 15 years.

“The big picture of hospitality and tourism has to be reinvented career-wise,” he said.

He said he wanted more government incentives, among them education, to make hospitality a more desirable and rewarding career.

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COVID updates: NSW quarantine hotel worker who contracted COVID-19 had been vaccinated — as it happened


Health authorities are racing to identify the source of the new infection, which has broken the state’s 55-day streak of no locally acquired cases.

These were some of the other key events on Sunday:

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Vaccinated NSW quarantine worker who tested positive to coronavirus was infectious during overnight shift



A Sydney hotel quarantine security worker who has tested positive to COVID-19 was infectious during his shift on Friday night, causing 130 workers to immediately self-isolate, NSW Health said on Sunday.

NSW announced its first locally acquired case of COVID-19 in 56 days on Sunday after a 47-year-old security worker tested positive on Saturday night during routine testing despite having no symptoms.

The man’s four family members have so far tested negative to the virus.

The source of the new infection, which will be included in Monday’s numbers, is under investigation and urgent genome sequencing and testing of close contacts are underway, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard and NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant told the media on Sunday.

The person, who works at Sydney’s Sofitel Sydney Wentworth and Mantra Sydney Central hotels at the weekend and at an office during the week, received his first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination on March 2, with his next second dose due “in the next week or so,” Mr Hazzard said.

Dr Chant said his immune response was not expected to kick in until at least 12 to 14 days after the jab, which means the man was considered infectious during his shift at the Sydney Wentworth hotel on Friday night.

Authorities have asked 130 people who worked at the hotel from 7pm on Friday night to 7am on Saturday to immediately self-isolate and get tested.

“We are asking those individuals to immediately self-isolate and get a test, and basically, that allows us time to work through and ascertain the nature of interaction that this security guard would have had to those quarantine workers,” Dr Chant said.

Hotel quarantine staff working multiple jobs was identified as a risk factor in Melbourne’s deadly second wave. Hotel quarantine workers are now banned from holding a second job in Victoria, but there is no such restriction in NSW.

NSW Health has also issued alerts on a few Sydney venues visited by the hotel worker. The venues in Hurstville, Beverly Hills and Haymarket cover the dates from 8 March until 13 March. 

Anyone who visited Angelo Anestis Aquatic Centre in Bexley on Saturday 13 March from 9-9.30am or Pancakes on the Rocks at Beverly Hills on 13 March between 10.45am and 12 noon is being asked to monitor for symptoms.

Anyone who travelled on a train from Hurstville to the city arriving at 6.30am on Friday March 12 and the city to Hurstville leaving at 7am is being asked to do the same.

People linked to the venues were being contacted, Dr Chant said, but she added the venues were considered “low-risk” at this stage.

More venues linked to the positive case were likely to be identified, she said.

Dr Chant said the hotel quarantine system was “always going to be associated with risks of transmission”, particularly as new variants of the virus emerged.

“We are noticing that we have got increases in various variants’ different levels of transmissibility. And we look at transmission events and how we can further reinforce the system,” she said.

“This virus is infectious and can be transmitted in this setting. We do everything we can to minimise that risk, but just be reassured we are committed to finding out exactly how this transmission occurred.”

There were 9,269 tests reported to 8pm last night in NSW, compared with the previous day’s total of 9,994.

Three new cases were also acquired overseas, bringing the total number of cases in NSW since the beginning of the pandemic to 5,048.

NSW Health is also asking anyone who has arrived in NSW from Queensland after 11 March to check the Queensland Health website for public health advice after a doctor at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital returned a positive test on Friday.

Several venues of concern in Brisbane are listed on the website and anyone who has attended these venues during the relevant times is being urged to immediately self-isolate and call NSW Health on 1800 943 553.

Anyone who has entered NSW from Greater Brisbane since Thursday 11 March 2021 and who has not attended any of the venues of concern is being urged to monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if even the mildest of symptoms occur.

Greater Brisbane is defined as Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Moreton Bay and Redland.

In addition, anyone who has been in Greater Brisbane since Thursday 11 March should avoid non-essential visits to hospitals and residential aged care facilities until further notice, NSW Health said.

NSW Health is currently treating 51 COVID-19 cases, none of whom are in intensive care.

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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Pfizer vaccine gives Queensland health care worker an anaphylactic reaction


A health worker on Queensland’s Gold Coast has had a severe anaphylactic reaction to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Someone who has a history would be asked to wait around for 15 to 30 minutes under medical care.

“You are in a room monitored by nurses, they have all the equipment there to deal with an anaphylactic reaction, if it should happen,” she said.

“It sounds like in this case everything was well managed and the individual is fine.

“This has already been flagged as a risk, there are risk mitigation strategies in place, so it is normal and nothing to be concerned about whatsoever.”

Queensland Health said anaphylaxis following immunisation was “a serious but rare event” estimated to occur between 1 and 10 times per 1 million doses distributed, depending on the vaccine.

It said the Therapeutic Goods Administration had “rigorous safety standards”.

“[It has] robust procedures to quickly detect, investigate and respond to potential safety issues if they arise,” the Department said.

You should not be worried at all.

Dr Short said if you were concerned, you should tell the person who gave the vaccine and you would be monitored for longer than other people.

Each case is addressed individually and Dr Short said there should be no concerns whether it is the jab was from Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published varying advice on who should avoid what vaccines, but it recommends people with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the three vaccines not take them.

Queensland Health had the same advice, anyone with anaphylaxis can still get the vaccine, but anyone who has had a reaction to a previous dose or any ingredient of the same vaccine, cannot.

Bruce Willett from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) also assured the public that common allergies are not a concern when it comes to the vaccine. 

The Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines do not contain human or animal products, or common allergens such as latex, milk, lactose, gluten, egg, maize/corn, or peanuts.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention suggested that per 1 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, only 11 people would have a reaction.

The report showed of the 11 reactions, more than 80 per cent were people with an anaphylaxis history.

You would rapidly notice something is wrong.

If you do have it, then it is unlikely to develop after 30 minutes.

Dr Willet said it was unlikely a person would have their first allergic reaction while receiving a coronavirus vaccine. 

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