Daily News Roundup

November 26, 2018

PHOTO: The blaze burning at Wartburg, where the state school has been closed today. (Facebook: Shaz Morris)

Two homes have been lost and at least four others damaged as hundreds of residents flee their properties amid a dangerous bushfire burning north of Bundaberg, with conditions expected to worsen today.

Rural Fire Service area director Craig Magick said fire was directly threatening six homes on the edge of Agnes Water, near the Round Hill area.

“We have multiple fire units protecting houses along that sector of the fire and we have water-bombing aircraft working with ground crews to contain that fire — we have 40 plus appliances on site,” Mr Magick said.

“This an extremely large and volatile fire — with the current severe weather conditions it is difficult for firefights to bring this fire under control quickly.”

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Jonty Hall said fire conditions would worsen today, with winds expected to pick up around Deepwater National Park at lunchtime.

“Very dry conditions up through there and reasonable south westerly breeze and that will push those fire dangers up into the very high range through the middle part of the day and early afternoon,” she said.

QFES Assistant Commissioner John Watson said the fire had burned through about 11,000 hectares and directly threatened eight properties overnight.

“We’re working this morning to protect those properties … we’ve got quite a number of crews in place at the moment — 30 fire crews overnight, 30 fire crews working today with aircraft,” Assistant Commissioner Watson said.

“We have something like 50 fires burning across Queensland, mostly in containment lines, but with the weather conditions that are predicted … we’re expecting another severe fire day.

“Any fires that get started across the state are going to be very difficult to contain.”

Gladstone mayor Matt Burnett said residents who had chosen to remain in affected areas should evacuate their homes.

“You could sit there and roll the dice, but at the end of the day … I don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s a bit of a worry,” Cr Burnett said.

He said an evacuation centre at Miriam Vale would remain open for as long as needed.

###

After a hard-fought election campaign, Victorians have voted for another four years of a Labor Government under Premier Daniel Andrews.

Labor has promised to borrow big to pay for a swag of pledges that it promises will shape Victoria for future generations.

So if the Premier does what he says he’ll do, what are you going to see on the ground?

You’ve probably noticed a number of major building sites popping up over the past few years. Strap in, that was nothing. Labor is borrowing money to pay for major infrastructure projects across the state.

It’s spending $1.5 billion on a new hospital in Footscray, which will be finished by 2025.

Meanwhile Frankston Hospital will get a $526-million upgrade, and hundreds of millions will also be splashed on hospitals in Morwell and Maryborough.

$200 million will also be used for 1,000 new public housing properties.

In addition to big projects, this Government is also planning to build big roads.

Construction on a rail link to Melbourne Airport will also begin within the next four years, with the State Government committing $5 billion towards the project.

If you’ve got young kids at home, then you need to know about a few changes.

Along with federal Labor, the Victorian ALP has promised to introduce 15 hours a week of kindergarten for three-year-olds.

100 new schools will also be opened and $1.7 billion will go to building and improving kindergartens.

And there will be free dental care for all kids at public schools, which will save families about $400 a year.

First-time parents will also be given a bundle of baby products when they go home from the hospital.

For older kids, there will also be free tampons and pads in public school toilets.

There will also be new paediatric emergency departments at the Geelong, Maroondah, Frankston, Casey and Northern hospitals, and seven new early parenting centres.

If you want to be a parent but can’t afford it, then there’s good news. Labor will set up and run low-fee, bulk-billed IVF clinics in Melbourne and regional Victoria.

If you’re an outdoor type, then you’ll probably be pretty pleased with the extra $105 million for better campgrounds and hiking trails.

Fees in state and national parks will also be halved.
There will also be new rebates and discounts for solar panels, hot water systems and battery storage.

###

Almost 83,000 people have died around the world, including 170 in Australia in the past decade, due to potentially dangerous medical devices, an international investigation into the global device industry has found.

In a world-first investigation, journalists from 36 countries have combined safety data, including more than 5 million “adverse event” reports, to create a global picture of the harm caused by medical devices.

The data has revealed 1.7 million people have been injured as a result over the past decade, including more than 8,500 in Australia.

The ABC worked in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) — the team behind the Pulitzer-Prize winning Panama Papers — for the global investigation.

It has revealed for the first time how lax regulations and vested interests have allowed dangerous and malfunctioning devices onto the market, putting patients’ lives at risk.

Implants can improve lives, even save them. And device makers say the good their products do vastly outweighs the harm.

For The Implant Files investigation more than 250 journalists used data extrapolated from databases across the world to cross-reference public records of approvals, malfunctions, injuries, deaths, recalls, financial documents, court filings and even government tenders and political donations.

In total they collected more than 8 million device-related health records including 5.4 million “adverse event” reports sent to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the past decade.

And because there is no global resource for recalls and safety notices exists, the ICIJ decided to build one.

The International Medical Devices Database (IMDD) for the first time gathers recalls, safety alerts and field safety notices to create a searchable portal that anyone can access.

###

With oil exploration looming on the horizon for the Great Australian Bight, stakeholders felt it was an important time to learn more about the species that call the rough waters off Australia’s southern coastline home.

In a joint effort between BP, The South Australian Research and Development Institute [SARDI], the CSIRO, the University of Adelaide and Flinders University, the Great Australian Bight’s deep sea waters have been surveyed for the first time and results have revealed 400 new species of invertebrates.

The paper’s lead author, Dr Hugh Macintosh, said this kind of survey was important because it established baseline knowledge about the environment.

“Decisions like [oil exploration] can’t be made when you don’t have any information about the local environment, and it was identified that we knew nothing about the Great Australian Bight,” he said.
“[We] were given free rein to design these studies, to go out and report back to government and industry stakeholders so that we could help informed decision making.

“All we can hope for is that people make these kinds of decisions with evidence so that people can weigh [up] those when they make these decisions.”

The study’s surveys took place over six years, between 2011 and 2017.

Since 2011, the Australian Government has awarded 11 exploration permits in the Great Australian Bight.

Norwegian oil company Equinor plans to drill an exploratory well on its permit site in late 2019, pending approval of its environmental plan from the regulator.

The Bight’s waters are usually associated with the southern right whales that spend their winters migrating and calving in its waters.

This study shed light on the Bight’s unseen depths.

“The deep sea is fascinating — you find things with fangs, that glow, that have jelly — you find really weird, wonderful, alien creatures,” Dr Macintosh said.

“A lot of the stuff we found is typical for the deep sea, but deep sea species are really weird — there are giant sea spiders that roam the landscape, big sea cucumbers that are the consistency of Jell-o.

“My work is on clams. Clams usually eat plankton, but there isn’t a lot down there, so there are carnivorous clams that lie in wait to eat things that wander past them.”

The study collected 1,267 species and 32 percent of these were new to science.

 

This daily news roundup is curated with stories from ABC News.

SheSociety on FacebookSheSociety on InstagramSheSociety on Twitter
SheSociety
She Society is a site for the women of Australia to share our stories, our experiences, shared learnings and opportunities to connect.