Toyah Cordingley has been remembered as a kind soul who had a deep affinity for animals after her body was discovered on a beach north of Cairns yesterday.
The 24-year-old pharmacy worker was reported missing along with her large dog on Sunday.
The ABC reports that police yesterday began a murder investigation after discovering her body on an isolated stretch of Wangetti Beach.
Douglas Shire councillor Michael Kerr, who managed the animal refuge where Ms Cordingley used to work, said the community had been left in shock.
“It’s devastating for the shire, for the family, it’s not something you think would happen in this region, it’s mind boggling,” he said.
“She was one of the most beautiful, caring, loving people you could come across, she was a special person, she really was.”
Cr Kerr said Ms Cordingley had a unique connection with animals and was popular in the Port Douglas and Cairns communities.
“Toyah used to work at [Paws and Claws] animal refuge looking after animals. She had such a calming effect on animals, she was the type of person who could deal with a stressed out or aggressive animal and calm them instantly,” he said.
“People remembered her; everyone knew who she was. She touched so many people in a short time, she was that type of person.”
The animal refuge posted a tribute to Ms Cordingley on Facebook.
Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said whether women lived in regional towns or large cities, they should not have to feel unsafe.
“I am incredibly angry and sad because no one should have to feel threatened walking their dog on a beach,” she said.
“It isn’t something people have had to be concerned about in the Douglas Shire [before].
“We want to support police to find the killer as soon as possible. We want this killer to be found.”
Federal Labor has softened its opposition to a contentious immigration bill, increasing the likelihood that the Government will allow refugee children on Nauru to go to New Zealand with their families, reports the ABC.
Australian Border Force officials last night revealed 11 children were transferred off Nauru on Monday for medical attention, leaving 52 minors on the island.
The Coalition has indicated it could accept New Zealand’s offer to take up to 150 refugees, but only if legislation passes Parliament ensuring people sent to offshore detention can never travel to Australia.
For two years the the Federal Labor Opposition has opposed the bill.
But, said the ALP report, the ALP has announced it would support the travel ban if the Government pledged to accept the offer, which was first made in 2013, and removed all children and their families off Nauru.
“These children need help,” Shadow Immigration Minister Shayne Neumann said.
“We think it’s time for action, it’s time for the Prime Minister, who talked a big game before the Wentworth by-election, to do the right thing by these kids and their families.”
The ALP said the travel ban should only apply to the cohort sent to New Zealand, and not everyone who had arrived by boat since July 2013.
In a letter to Immigration Minister David Coleman, Mr Neumann said any new laws should limit travel to Australia — but not completely ban it.
According to the latest figures, there are 652 people on Nauru, with 541 classed as refugees and 23 as failed asylum seekers. The status of another 88 is yet to be determined.
Border Force’s chief medical officer Dr Parbodh Gogna last night said doctors had seen an “unprecedented jump” in refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru needing treatment over the past couple of months.
“A significant ramp up at that point, everything from mental health and obviously there was physical illness as well,” Dr Gogna said.
Doctors on Nauru suggested people’s resilience had broken down after five years on Nauru, he told Senators.
The Senate Estimates Committee was last night told the United States has taken 276 people from Nauru as part of a resettlement deal and rejected 148.
Labor said the Government should allow families currently in Australia for medical treatment to apply for US resettlement.
The Opposition said the Coalition should also ask New Zealand to take more than 150 refugees.
US President Donald Trump says the United States intends to build up its arsenal of nuclear weapons to pressure Russia and China, according to a Reuters report carried by the ABC..
The warning came after Russia said it would be forced to respond by increasing its own missile capabilities if Mr Trump carried through on his threat to quit the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).
The treaty, signed by former US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, required the elimination of short-and-intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles by both countries.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Trump repeated his contention that Russia was not abiding by the INF treaty.
“Until people come to their senses we will build it up,” Mr Trump said, referring to the United States nuclear arsenal.
“Russia has not adhered to the agreement. This should have been done years ago. Until people come to their senses, we have more money than anybody else by far, we’ll build it up until they come to their senses.
“When they do, then we’ll all be smart and we’ll all stop and by the way not only stop but we will reduce, which I would love to do.”
Mr Trump boasted about America’s nuclear ability, claiming that “until they get smart, there will be nobody that’s going to be even close to us”.
He also took aim at “anyone else who want’s to play that game” including China, suggesting that they should be included in any new or renegotiated agreement.
Meanwhile in Moscow, Mr Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton met with Russian officials, denying Russian allegations the United States was using the threat of treaty withdrawal to blackmail Russia.
Washington had not yet taken any decision on deploying missiles in Europe targeting Moscow in the event that the INF treaty is scrapped, Russia’s RIA news agency quoted him as saying.
Mr Bolton said Russia was violating its commitments under the pact, an allegation Moscow has denied.
The European Union warned Mr Trump to assess the potential impact on American citizens and the world of the US withdrawing from a nuclear weapons treaty with Russia and increasing their its arsenal.
The EU statement said the arms control treaty had been an essential cornerstone of Europe’s security structure for more than three decades and helped contain the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
“The world doesn’t need a new arms race that would benefit no one and on the contrary, would bring even more instability,” the EU said in a statement.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters earlier on Monday (local time) that the US move to end the treaty would force Russia to increase its own capacity.
“This is a question of strategic security. Such measures can make the world more dangerous,” Mr Peskov said of the planned US withdrawal.