Wide Bay Burnett
In this edition:
- Message from the Premier
- Anzac Centenary—become a part of history
- Queensland growing as economic powerhouse
- Recognising Queensland's sustainable achievers
- Surgery waiting lists slashed
- Government priorities—what are we focusing on right now?
- Supporting disability
- International Women’s Day—8 March 2014
- Landmark child protection reforms
- School leavers offered fee-free training
- Licensing reform
- Report littering online
- Cool shorts:
- Road upgrades in the region
- Year 7 joining high school—the countdown is on
- Big win for mandarin and mango farmers
- Join the Drive to Save Lives
Message from the Premier
Welcome back to the newsletter for 2014!
Although the Christmas break was a great opportunity to relax, it’s also vitally important to remember the challenges this season sometimes brings.
Making sure you and your family are properly prepared in case of a natural disaster is important. Queenslanders should take the time now—if they haven’t done so already—to prepare their homes, their first aid kits and evacuation plans.
For more information, visit Queensland’s new online emergency services portal, which includes up-to-date disaster alerts and warnings, at www.qld.gov.au/emergency.
Failing a major catastrophe on the world stage, I firmly believe that 2014 is going to be the year where it all comes together for Queensland. In terms of job creation, Queensland is already the engine room of the country, indeed, the envy of the other states. This is a direct result of the measures we’ve taken to grow the economy, revitalise frontline services and deliver better infrastructure.
Chart our progress by following our latest six–month action plan, which sets out the government’s upcoming agenda.
Anzac Centenary—become a part of history
Between 2014 and 2018 Australia will commemorate the Anzac Centenary, marking 100 years since our involvement in the First World War.
The Centenary is an opportunity for all Australians to reflect upon, and learn more about, our military history and its impacts on us as a nation.
The Queensland Government is providing $49.3 million in funding for a range of activities that will commemorate the Centenary and the Anzacs, featuring legacy projects, commemorative events and a community grants program.
As part of the suite of legacy projects, the State Library of Queensland will host Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a new generation, engaging with Queensland communities to create a digital memorial of First World War stories.
Additionally, Brisbane’s ANZAC Square will undergo a complete refurbishment to ensure it is preserved for future generations.
The Queensland Anzac Centenary grants program is also offering funding of up to $80 000 to individual community organisations for commemorative initiatives with local relevance, including exhibitions, community education activities and the restoration or enhancement of memorials.
This is an opportunity for communities to commemorate Australia’s First World War effort in a way that is significant to them.
Applications close 14 March 2014.
Queensland growing as economic powerhouse
Now’s the best time to invest in Queensland. CommSec’s latest State of the States report shows Queensland’s economy is growing strong—nominating us as the number one state for business investment.
Our property industry is also experiencing a surge in confidence. And a turnaround in tourism numbers is supporting retail spending—up 4.7 per cent over the year to November.
This strength in economic activity is creating jobs, with the latest ABS data showing that more than three quarters of all the jobs created in Australia in the year to December 2013 were created in Queensland.
Be part of something great.
Recognising Queensland's sustainable achievers
Nominations are now open for the 2014 Premier's Sustainability Awards that showcase the work of Queenslanders achieving excellence in sustainable practices that meet the needs of today’s society while reducing our environmental footprint.
Queensland industry, businesses, communities, schools and individuals can apply for recognition in the following categories:
- Built Environment Award
- Business Eco-efficiency Award
- Community Award
- Innovation in Sustainable Technologies Award
- Minister's Award for Leadership in Sustainability
- Rural Award
- Small Business Award
- Sustainability in Education Award
- Sustainable Heritage Award
Category winners will receive $2,500 to support on-going or future sustainability projects.
Nominations close on Friday 14 March 2014.
Surgery waiting lists slashed
Surgery Connect provides an opportunity for select patients on public hospital waiting lists, where they have been waiting longer than clinically recommended for their elective surgery, to be treated in a private hospital.
In 2012–13 alone, this program supported more than 3800 procedures, and an extra 8000 procedures will be provided over the next four years through public-private partnerships—at a total cost of $55 million. This means less pressure on elective surgery waiting lists in public hospitals. Surgical specialties in high demand include orthopaedics, urology, endoscopy and ophthalmology.
Find out more about hospital elective surgery waiting lists across the state.
Government priorities—what are we focusing on right now?
The final report on the government’s six–month action plan (July—December 2013) has been released, showing what we’ve been focusing our attention on recently. Key achievements mentioned in the report include: hiring 130 additional police officers on top of normal recruitment levels, purchasing 27 flood boats to support the State Emergency Service and commencing Rural Telehealth Services at six trial sites across remote Queensland. We’ve also now released our January to June 2014 action plan. Key actions for the first half of this year are to:
- release Governing for Growth, a whole-of-government economic strategy to reduce the cost of doing business in our state
- launch a 20-year plan for Queensland tourism
- open 13 new kindergarten services at state and non-state schools across Queensland
- commence construction of 202 new social housing dwellings for Queenslanders with the highest housing needs
- continue to provide assistance to Queensland producers in drought-declared areas of the state.
Find out more about the state’s plans and progress.
Elderly Parent Carer Innovation Trial
Following the second funding round for this trial, several community organisations and groups across the state will benefit from one-off capital grants of up to $1 million, and smaller grants of up to $50 000, to implement the innovative strategies they put forward to provide sustainable living arrangements for adults with a disability who are cared for by their elderly parents.
Find out more about the Elderly Parent Carer Innovation Trial.
Queenslanders relying on guide and assistance dogs
People with disability who rely on certified support dogs will no longer have trouble accessing residential or holiday accommodation, with the introduction of new laws to protect their rights..
Find out more about guide, hearing and assistance dogs.
Queensland Disability Conference 2014
Anyone interested in learning the latest on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and how it will be implemented should attend the 2014 Queensland Disability Conference on 24 and 25 March 2014 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The two-day program will feature some of the leading voices from the disability sector and also explore the five-year Queensland disability plan.
International Women’s Day—8 March 2014
Opportunity is knocking for women in our tourism, agriculture, resources and construction industries.
Women's Infolink links Queensland women and girls with resources, information, services and organisations across the state.
Landmark child protection reforms
Working in partnership with parents and the community, new child protection reforms will make it easier for families to get the support they need to provide a safe and secure home for their children.
The government has announced it will implement the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry recommendations and reform how the child protection system operates in our state.
School leavers offered fee-free training
Year 12 graduates can now undertake fee-free training in high priority qualifications, as part of the Queensland Government’s Great skills. Real opportunities action plan.
With approximately 150 qualifications available, Year 12 graduates can enrol in a number of certificate III level qualifications as well as consider a wide range of apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities.
Important new licensing reforms took effect on 1 January this year. The changes focus on giving motorists the skills they need to be better drivers and reduce the risk of crashes.
Young drivers—will now only be granted a P2 licence if 18 years of age, and an open licence if 20 years of age—allowing time to gain driving experience before moving onto less restricted licences.
Older drivers—of 75 years and over will now have a maximum validity period of 12 months for any medical certificates— ensuring any problems are detected early and managed sooner.
New motorcycle riders—will have a more comprehensive knowledge test to sit before being granted a motorcycle learner licence, and are required to undertake Q-Ride, the state’s competency based rider training program.
All drivers—now have a simplified definition for high-powered vehicles manufactured after 1 January 2010—removing the need for drivers of new moderately powered vehicles to apply for an exemption. (High powered vehicles now being defined as having a power to weight ratio of more than 130kW per tonne).
Report littering online
Littering and illegal dumping harms our environment. If you see someone littering from a vehicle or vessel, or you see illegally dumped waste in Queensland—pin your location, upload photos and report it instantly.
2014 Queensland Training Awards
Nominations are now open for the state’s highest training accolade, the 2014 Queensland Training Awards.
- Award categories recognise outstanding achievement by:
- apprentices and trainees
- school-based apprentices and trainees
- graduates of certificate, diploma and advanced diploma courses
- small, medium and large employers who use training in their workplace
- training organisations, teachers and trainers.
Winning an individual award can give your career a great kick start and open many doors.
Find our more about the Queensland Training Awards.
Nominations close 21 March.
Government red-tape—what’s being streamlined?
Businesses and the community are able to search a new online database by type of regulation, industry, or government department to find out about relevant processes and regulations that are being streamlined.
For example, a quick search of ‘construction and housing’ under the construction and
development industry presents information on 45 red-tape reduction initiatives either delivered, or currently being progressed.
Providing good customer service to our community
We have done our homework and know the level of service our customers expect, that’s why we’re focusing on providing better customer service to you through the recently released One-Stop Shop plan.
The plan outlines a way for government to improve people’s experience when interacting with us through new technology, and also by setting up customer counters in local areas.
In coming months we’ll be asking the community to help us design service delivery for their local needs by asking them to share their ideas with us during a number of regional service centre trials. So make sure you come and give us your thoughts!
Road upgrades in the region
Bruce Highway upgrade(Cooroy to Curra)
Works are progressing well on the $790 million Bruce Highway Upgrade (Cooroy to Curra) Section A project. When completed in late 2016, the project will support safe high-speed travel, improve access to regional townships, and meet the capacity demands for long‑term freight and transport needs. The project is delivering a new 13.5km, four-lane divided highway between the existing interchange south of Cooroy and the recently completed section of highway in Federal.
Improving floodways on Kariboe and Boondooma roads
North Burnett Regional Council has received $1.5 million to help build 21 concrete floodways on Kariboe Road and one concrete floodway on Boondooma Road with extra protection added at vulnerable locations. These works will improve access for residents and farmers to travel to work, school and supplies, and to medical and emergency services during and after major rainfall and flooding. The Betterment Fund is a Queensland Government initiative, funded by the state and federal governments to help councils build public infrastructure.
Year 7 joining high school—the countdown is on
Final preparations for the statewide move of Year 7 to high school in 2015 have begun.
The move is a significant education reform that will benefit all young Queenslanders and much work is underway to ensure a smooth transition.
As a practical transition measure, 20 state secondary schools are this year piloting the move of Year 7 to secondary, including Meridan State College (Caloundra), Murrumba State Secondary College and Nambour State High School. There are also around 365 infrastructure projects being delivered at 288 state schools across Queensland, including a new $6.5 million teaching block at Urangan State High School, providing a block of 18 new classrooms for students.
Up to 1300 additional teachers are also being recruited for junior secondary settings in state schools in 2015. Information sessions are currently being held across the state to provide advice about employment opportunities for qualified and passionate teachers interested in working with students in the early years of high school.
Big win for mandarin and mango farmers
Queensland’s magnificent mandarins and mangoes are making their mark overseas with our Asian neighbours ordering more and more from our juicy fruit farmers.
More than 70 per cent of Australia’s mandarins are grown in Queensland and most of the crop is consumed domestically, but securing new markets and increasing our export share is crucial for expanding the local industry.
Thanks to the efforts of government representatives who recently travelled to Bangkok and China to promote the state’s produce, some mandarin producers are already reporting a 50 per cent increase in orders from Thai importers, and six new Queensland mango growers have signed up to be involved in the exports to China program.
These efforts contribute to reaching the state’s goal of doubling Queensland agriculture produce by 2040.
Join the Drive to Save Lives
Too many people die or are injured on Queensland roads.
Together, we can do something about it.