In this edition:
- Message from the Premier
- A safe night out is a great night out
- Funding boost for the bilby
- ResourcesQ—driving the future of Queensland’s resources sector
- Finding forgotten rental bonds
- C’mon, Get in the Game!
- If you smoke your future’s not pretty
- Call for volunteers for our parks
- Everyone’s Environment—grants up for grabs
- Sustainability awards showcase Queensland talent
- Cool shorts:
- Commemorative certificates for Queenslanders
- All aboard the Sunlander train
- 2015 Premier’s Anzac Prize for students
- Greater security for farmers and graziers
- New wash-down bay for Chinchilla
- War memorial tours for Queenslanders
- Funding for irrigators in the Murray-Darling Basin
Message from the Premier
In June the Treasurer outlined our strong plan for Queensland families in the 2014–15 budget.
It strikes the right balance between increased spending on education, health and community services, while not introducing or raising any new taxes, or reducing services.
With this budget we have been able to increase education funding by seven per cent to $11.8 billion—with more than $66 million this year for the Great Teachers = Great Results action plan. We are also delivering ten new schools through a $1.38 billion Public Private Partnership with $59 million allocated in 2014–15.
The health budget will be a record $13.6 billion in 2014–15. We have also put money into key infrastructure and road projects across the state delivering $768 million of improvements to the Bruce Highway over the next year.
We have a strong plan for the state and Queensland families. The 2014–15 budget is about investing in the services and projects we need not just for today but for future generations.
A safe night out is a great night out
Having a fun night out is a great way to end a busy week. And with the introduction of the Safe Night Out Strategy, going out in the evenings will now be safer and more enjoyable.
The objective of the strategy is to promote socially responsible behaviour and put an end to alcohol and drug-related violence.
Up to fifteen key safe night precincts will be established at a number of entertainment areas throughout the state, to provide safe and secure surroundings.
Additionally, drug and alcohol awareness campaigns will be rolled out to schools and to the wider community, in an effort to educate young people on the importance of responsible behaviour and respect for others.
The strategy is designed to enable us all to play a part in changing our culture and make Queensland the safest state in the country.
With community and industry support, the Queensland Government has introduced legislation and tougher penalties for those who do not respect social norms and responsible behaviour. The government is making sure that police and the courts have sufficient powers to deal with violent and anti-social behaviour, and that police and liquor licensing compliance officers can deal with unsafe venues and irresponsible service of alcohol practices.
Funding boost for the bilby
With the introduction of exotic predators such as feral dogs, foxes and cats, Queensland’s bilby population has been rapidly dwindling since the 1970s. Listed as an endangered species, these cute critters once lived across 70 per cent of mainland Australia and can now only be found in isolated colonies across the country, including a patch of far west Queensland.
The size of a rabbit, with a long pointy nose and large distinct ears, the bilby is ranked as a critical priority under the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection’s Back on Track species prioritisation framework. The good news is that the Queensland Government has teamed up with the Save the Bilby Fund and provided $50,000 to help tackle this critical problem head-on and help protect the bilby in its natural environment over the long term.
ResourcesQ—driving the future of Queensland’s resources sector
With a commitment to growing a four‑pillar economy, the Queensland Government is focused on developing the state’s strengths in tourism, agriculture, resources and construction.
On the resources front, the Queensland Government is working with industry on ResourcesQ to drive growth and jobs in the sector over the next 30 years.
We’re planning to ensure all Queenslanders prosper from the state’s resources wealth—with an economically strong, competitive, diverse and agile resources sector.
The launch of the draft ResourcesQ vision and objectives now gives you a chance to have your say on this $37.9 billion sector.
The draft plan—which has been developed in partnership with industry—is open for public comment from 7 July to 4 August.
Finding forgotten rental bonds
Have you ever forgotten to claim a rental bond refund? Over the last 25 years, more than 42,500 Queenslanders have forgotten to claim their bonds.
This means there is currently $9.35 million in unclaimed bonds sitting with the Residential Tenancies Authority.
At present, funds that are unclaimed for seven years or more are redirected towards providing social housing for vulnerable families throughout Queensland. However, you can claim your refund at any time, whether you’re a tenant or landlord—even after seven years or more have lapsed.
C’mon, Get in the Game!
In an effort to encourage active participation in sports and recreation at the grassroots level, the Queensland Government is offering access to funds through the latest round of Get in the Game funding.
Get in the Game consists of three funding programs run over a period of three years.
The Get Started program assists children and young people who can least afford, or may otherwise benefit from joining a sport or recreation club. This program is currently offering vouchers worth up to $150 to eligible individuals to pay for membership or participation fees at registered sports or recreation clubs.
The Get Going program offers local sport and recreation organisations funding of up to $10,000 for projects that increase membership numbers.
The Get Playing program offers local sport and recreation organisations funding of up to $100,000 to help develop their facilities.
Applications for all Get in the Game programs are currently open. Get Started applications close 15 October 2014 (unless available vouchers are fully allocated prior to this date). Get Going and Get Playing applications close 1 September 2014.
If you smoke your future’s not pretty
According to recent health surveys, smoking rates among young females, aged between 25 and 44, remain high. In response to this, the Queensland Government has created a targeted Quit Smoking campaign to remind young women throughout the state that their habit is costing them their health and their looks.
Call for volunteers for our parks
Does the idea of getting out in the fresh air among wildlife sound appealing?
Volunteering is a great way to get actively involved in the conservation of our natural environment. There are currently a variety of volunteer opportunities available across Queensland’s 12 million hectares of parks and reserves and you can sign up to make a difference in your local community.
You could be helping park rangers deliver educational material to visitors, or perhaps help look after a campground. As a volunteer you will receive full training and the opportunity to learn new skills. You might also make new friends along the way!
Everyone’s Environment—grants up for grabs
Would you like to help preserve our environment and cultural heritage? The Queensland Government’s Everyone’s Environment grants program, worth a total of $12 million, aims to protect our state’s precious environmental and cultural heritage through the active participation of individuals and organisations around Queensland.
Successful recipients from rounds one and two have been awarded grants to complete projects ranging from the clean-up of waterways, to the restoration of degraded landscapes, to improving community access to historic shipwrecks and properties, to pest and weed control.
Applications for round three grants are open until 15 August 2014.
Sustainability awards showcase Queensland talent
Queensland is world-renowned for its beautiful environment, so it’s only natural that protecting our landscape is one of our top priorities. The vision, innovation and hard work of Queenslanders who are working towards creating a more sustainable future for us all has recently been recognised, with the announcement of the Premier’s Sustainability Award winners for 2014.
The coveted Premier’s Award prize went to Tanner Kibble Denton Architects in association with TannerGHD, for their innovative restoration of Brisbane City Hall.
Other winners included:
- Minister’s Awards for Leadership in Sustainability—Groundworks for Eco blanket
- Community Award—St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School
- Built Environment Award—Sovereign Homes
- Business Eco-efficiency Award—Brisbane Airport Corporation
- Small Business Award—U&A Cleaning Services
- Innovation in Sustainable Technologies Award—Thiess, Saipem Australia and Santos GLNG—The Narrows Marine Crossing Project
- Rural Award—Grazing BMP Partnership
- Sustainability in Education Award—Silkwood School
- Sustainable Heritage Award—Tanner Kibble Denton Architects in association with TannerGHD.
Commemorative certificates for Queenslanders
In a unique opportunity presented by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Queenslanders can now purchase new commemorative birth and death certificates. As Australians commemorate the Anzac Centenary from 2014 to 2018, Queenslanders can order Anzac historical death certificates or commemorative Anzac birth certificates.
In addition, new Queensland Maroons commemorative birth certificates can be purchased, for anyone born in Queensland.
All aboard the Sunlander train
As the 61-year-old Sunlander train nears retirement this New Year’s Eve, time is quickly running out for you to experience this iconic Brisbane to Cairns train journey. So if you’d like to experience rail history, get in quick to purchase tickets.
2015 Premier’s Anzac Prize for students
The 2015 Premier’s Anzac Prize provides 70 Queensland students with the opportunity to attend the Anzac centenary commemoration in Gallipoli and travel to the Western Front battlefields in France and Belgium. The once-in-a-lifetime prize covers travel, accommodation, insurance and meal expenses. Students in Years 8 to 11 have until 19 September to lodge a submission.
Greater security for farmers and graziers
With the recent introduction of Queensland Government reforms, farmers and graziers from rural and regional Queensland can now enjoy improved processes to lease or purchase property.
These reforms mean that farmers and graziers around the state will be able to renew their land leases on a rolling basis, providing long-term investment certainty for their agricultural business.
In addition, rents for rural land used for primary production will be reduced, and the process for farmers and graziers to upgrade their property from a lease to a purchased freehold title will also be simplified and available at affordable rates.
New wash-down bay for Chinchilla
Chinchilla is set to see an improvement in weed management thanks to the recent opening of a new multi-million dollar wash-down facility funded through the Royalties for the Regions program.
The facility will help protect agricultural production and address the issue of weeds being transferred via transport or machinery. As a result, farmers throughout the region will enjoy greater security in the protection of biodiversity and agriculture.
A joint effort, the project has received funding from the Australian and Queensland governments, Western Downs Regional Council, QGC and Powerlink.
War memorial tours for Queenslanders
War memorials play an important role in commemorating Australia’s involvement in the First World War and Queenslanders and tourists can now visit many of the war memorials located throughout our state using specially developed driving itineraries.
There are 12 driving routes around the state, each with its own driving itinerary to help you navigate your way around the state’s many war memorials.
For the Darling Downs, there are three journeys that take in parts of the region, including the:
These journeys cover distances from 355 kilometres to 1767 kilometres, and span from one to six days.
Funding for irrigators in the Murray-Darling Basin
The Queensland Government has allocated $11.2 million to improve the efficiency of irrigation infrastructure for farmers’ properties in the Murray-Darling Basin.
The funding, delivered through the Healthy HeadWaters Water Use Efficiency Project, will see 12 projects undertaken that will enable farmers in the Murray-Darling Basin region to save approximately three billion litres of water annually.
In a climate of environmental change, this new irrigation infrastructure will provide economic benefits to the community and businesses in the region and help support agricultural growth over the long term.