Showing posts with label Queensland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Queensland. Show all posts

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Two hyper-infectious COVID-19 strains now on Australian east coast

According to The Guardian on 7 January 2021: 

A Queensland hotel quarantine worker has contracted the highly infectious UK strain of Covid-19, prompting the state’s health authorities to send aged care homes in parts of greater Brisbane into lockdown. 

The cleaner, a woman in her 20s, was working at a hotel that contained patients with the strain, which has been found to be more infectious than previous strains. 

While The Sydney Morning Herald reported on 8 January 2021: 

Six returned travellers in Sydney have tested positive to the UK variant of the COVID-19 virus and four returned travellers are positive for the South African variant - both believed to be more contagious than earlier strains. 

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant revealed the 10 people who arrived since November 30 had all been quarantined in special health accommodation - separate from the NSW Police-run hotel quarantine sites. 

A family of four learned they all carried the more infectious South African variant of the virus (known as B1.351) when their preliminary test results came back on Thursday night. All 16 people on their flight from South Africa to Sydney have been moved into the accommodation as a precaution, Dr Chant said. 

Then on 9 January 2021 ABC News reported that a woman;  flew to Brisbane on a Jetstar flight from Victoria and has tested positive for the highly contagious UK variant of coronavirus.

All four of the travellers in NSW with the South African variant of the virus have been discharged from the special accommodation as they were no longer infectious. The other two remain in quarantine in the facility. In an abundance of caution the Victorian woman who travelled to Queensland is also in quarantine.

The South African variant of the virus appears to have emerged in August 2020 while the UK variant was identified in November 2020.

This situation has resulted in changes to public health orders.

Northern NSW Local Health District, media release, 8 January 2021:

The NSW Government has put in place a new Public Health Order to ensure anyone who visits NSW from the Greater Brisbane area, or who has arrived in NSW from this area in recent days, must follow similar ‘stay at home’ rules as those being put in place by the Queensland Government.

Under the Order, anyone entering NSW by any mode of transport from the City of Brisbane, City of Ipswich, Lockyer Valley Region, Logan City, Moreton Bay Region, Redland City, Scenic Rim Region, and Somerset Region must go directly to their home or place of accommodation in NSW, and remain there until 6pm on Monday 11 January 2021.

The Order applies to anyone who has arrived in NSW from those areas since 12.01am on 2 January 2021. People who have arrived in NSW after transiting through Brisbane Airport will not be subject to the requirements of the Order, provided they have not been in the listed areas.

Once at their home or place of accommodation, Queensland arrivals are allowed to leave only for the purposes of obtaining food or essential shopping, taking exercise, work duties if they cannot be done from home, caring duties or medical care, until 6pm on Monday.

People coming to Greater Sydney (including Wollongong, the Central Coast and the Blue Mountains) from Queensland or elsewhere are also reminded of the need to wear face masks in certain situations, including while shopping, under a separate Public Health Order signed earlier this week.

In addition, from 6pm today all people arriving in NSW from Queensland by air must also complete a self-declaration form stating their name, address and where they stayed in Queensland, and dates of arrival and departure.

Enforcement officers will have the power to require information and identification documentation to assist in checking compliance.

Anyone who is travelling to NSW from Queensland, or has recently done so, is asked to monitor for even the mildest of symptoms and immediately get tested and isolate if any symptoms develop. Once tested, you must remain in isolation until a negative result is received, in line with the normal advice for all people in NSW.

Anyone who has been in the Greater Brisbane area since 2 January cannot visit people in aged care or health care facilities in NSW.

Genome sequencing has confirmed a Queensland case of COVID-19 has the more transmissible UK variant of the virus. NSW Health continues to closely monitor the situation and regularly updates its health advice.

We will continue to work closely with our colleagues in Queensland and other states and territories to ensure that appropriate public health measures are in place to protect the health and safety of people throughout Australia. [my yellow highlighting] 

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

It would appear that there are some Northern Beaches residents who don't believe that NSW COVID-19 public health orders apply to them


On the morning of 21 December 2020 the Northern Beaches local government area COVID-19 cluster had grown to 86 individuals.

Commencing at 5:02pm on Saturday 19 December, public health orders were put in place for Northern Beaches residents who have been told they are not to leave their home except to go shopping for food or other goods and services, receive medical care or for compassionate needs, exercise and work and education, where these cannot be done from home.

On 21 December 2020 public health orders were also made for Greater Sydney and the NSW Central Coast as contact tracing showed how far infected individuals and their initial contacts had travelled.

However, nine and a half hours into Monday 21 December Queensland Police had already turned around 81 vehicles and directed 112 people into quarantine as a result of random border checks which revealed they may have come from areas covered by these public health orders.

Unfortunately Queensland Police have also discovered that 4 NSW residents allowed to cross the border on condition that they self-quarantine for 14 days have decided to breach quarantine,

Those who have been in Greater Sydney since 11 December are now being denied entry into Queensland and a 'hard border' is being re-established by the Queensland Government, with returning Queenslanders now having to hotel quarantine if they did not cross the border before 1am today.

To date there have reportedly been 27 close contacts of confirmed Sydney Northern Beaches COVID-19 cases found in Queensland, all of which are now in quarantine, with one returning to NSW. Of these 7 appear not yet to be classified as testing negative for the virus.

People from the Northern Beaches are also travelling within New South Wales, though some may have left the Northern Beaches before public health orders were in place.

A Northern Beaches resident was discovered in Shoalhaven on 21 December 2019, having left his/her home after public health order restrictions came into force in the early evening of 19 December.

School holidays began in New South Wales on 21 December and one can almost guarantee we will hear of more Northern Beaches residents deciding that public health orders don't apply to them.

Sunday, 6 December 2020

Wannabee water raiders re-positioning themselves for another attempt to dam and divert water from the Clarence River catchment?

Once more the usual suspects are eyeing of North-East NSW as a source of water for urban and industry expansion. 

It isn’t hard to imagine which river system is top of their wish list. Their obsession with rivers within the Clarence River catchment is well-known.

The Chronicle (Online), 1 December 2020:

The Toowoomba Regional Council will join the Western Downs, Southern Downs, Goondiwindi, Lockyer Valley and Tenterfield in the alliance, which will seek to access millions in state and federal government funding for new water security studies.

Cr Antonio said it was an important first step for the councils, and hoped more local governments would join.

We’re looking at firstly water mapping and where we can get future water from,” he said.

I’m excited about it – it should’ve been done years ago but we’ve done it. We’re going to do mapping first, and one of the first things we’ve got to do is get it from the State Government.”

WATER Northern Rivers Alliance launched a campaign for smart water options in the Northern Rivers, instead of the Dunoon Dam

Cr Antonio said the agreed vision of the group was about winning new water to provide for generational urban, rural and industrial outcomes.

Water security is a national issue, and the new alliance would work together to tackle it at a regional level,” he said.

Improved water security would be a significant driver of regional growth and potential economic activity, particularly from private sector investment.

The broader region of the Darling Downs and northern New South Wales is suffering through lack of long-term water security options.

We believe that further investment in water security by all levels of government at a regional level is vital to seize the wealth of opportunity before us.”

The Chronicle (Online), 24 November 2020:

TRC Mayor Paul Antonio said water security was a national issue, and federal support would be needed to tackle it on a regional level.

The broader region of the Darling Downs and northern New South Wales is suffering through lack of long-term water security options,” Cr Antonio said.

At the meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister, we asked for $5 million in funding assistance from the Federal Government to initiate planning of long-term water security through a broadbased regional feasibility study.

Improved water security would be a significant driver of regional growth and potential economic activity, particularly from private sector investment..... 

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Perspectives on the Qld-NSW border closure

Perspective One

Echo NetDaily, 18 August 2020:

Queensland is closed. Annastacia is showing us she knows how to deliver some serious borderline discipline. It’s a show of strength – perhaps, some might say, a borderline disorder. There’s a state election around the corner (31 October) and she’s not about to let a few hundred NSW cancer patients in need of treatment soften her public displays of tough love for her Queensland constituents.

There’s been endless stories of seriously ill people who have been severely affected by the sudden border closures and the quarantining requirements. I even heard the heartbreaking story of a very ill man who had received treatment at a Queensland hospital and was made to cross into NSW to meet his wife by foot. At a local doctors surgery as many as ten doctors can no longer attend. Is that a show of strength Ms Palaszczuk?

In the previous border closure earlier this year I knew of people who were able to get border passes for a day trip to IKEA. Just a few months ago we could print a pass and return home with a flat pack. Now we have to beg for chemo. That’s nuts. We don’t even have COVID here. In Northern NSW we’ve become refugees in our own country.

We are standing at the border knocking, ‘Hey Queensland, you’ve been coming down here every weekend for years now, clogging up our roads, swimming at our beaches, enjoying our kooky hippyesque charm… we don’t want to come in for a holiday, we would like to go to hospital.’

Until COVID, borders were something that only meant something in the State of Origin. Or if someone cut you off on the highway and had a Queensland numberplate you mused it was because of their statewide merging disorder. For over half the year they’re an hour behind us because of their silly reluctance to take on daylight savings. But now the Queensland border has been sealed shut. They’re sailing into the distance. Who knows how far behind they may be once the border reopens? Will we need passports to enter?

COVID has carved Australia into a quarantine pie, it has made us separate people. It has made Queenslanders distrustful of us. And here in NSW, it has made us suspicious of Victorians. Every time we see a VIC numberplate we hit down hard on the hand sanitiser. State premiers who previously seemed a tad irrelevant in the big game of politics have become the major players. They get to play Big Daddy or Big Mummy to keep their state safe. I’m not sure what’s happened to Scott Morrison – he appears to have gone to sleep. Every time I turn the telly on, it’s not Scotty’s face I see, it’s Daniel Andrews. And I have to admit I really feel for him. He has to bring the COVID-19 outbreak under control, otherwise the rest of Australia will blame Victoria for their financial ruin. He does look very tired.

The pandemic has ugly impacts. It has made us territorial. We are one country – at least we used to be. Our lockdown has sent us to our burrows – it has made us conspiratorial and suspicious. It is causing us to lose trust. When Annastacia created a travel bubble between Queensland and NSW, she cut Mullumbimby and Byron Bay out. I doubt that was an accident with the protractor in the planning department. ‘We ran out of arc’. It’s because people from Sydney come here. It’s because we’re perceived as loose – after all we’re famous for immunising with a turmeric poultice.

So, farewell Queensland. We’ll see you on the other side. Or perhaps, we won’t.

Perspective Two

Yes this border closure can be hard on individuals, families and communities.

For those living in the Northern Rivers region who need to access health services in southern Queensland and medical personnel who can no longer cross the border to work in our hospitals and clinics unless they leave their families and don't return until the border opens, it is more than hard.   

However, the Northern Rivers is part of a state, New South Wales, which allows its residents free movement within its own borders during this global pandemic.

This means that people can freely travel from local government areas where COVID-19 infection growth is active to areas where infection growth is low or where there are no known cases of the virus.

New South Wales has a premier who appears to be in thrall to a prime minister whose constant push to prematurely ease public health order restrictions put in place by the states destabilised the national response to the pandemic.

So here in New South Wales we remain one of only two states with a high cumulative number of confirmed of COVID-19 cases, a relatively high death toll and active community transmission of the virus.

Currently the other six states and territories are managing to keep infection rates very low.

Additionally, we have people travelling within our state who crossed into New South Wales from Victoria which is in the middle of an infection surge and, we are not sending them home. Because quite frankly the Berejiklian Government has no idea where these Victorian travellers are.

Even within our state trust in the 'experts' engaged by the NSW Dept. of Health has taken a battering - given the release of the Commission of Inquiry into the Ruby Princess Report on 14 August 2020.

It is no wonder that the Queensland Government does not trust any assurances given by either Scott Morrison or Gladys Berejiklian that new cases of the virus are unlikely to cross the border if Anastasia Palaszczuk were to reopen Queensland to people from New South Wales right now.

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Shortage of doctors at Lismore Base Hospital due to Queensland-NSW border closure

Life during the COVID-19 pandemic has become a little harder across the NSW Northern River region......

ABC News, 12 August 2020:

A senior doctor at a major hospital on the New South Wales north coast says the closure of the Queensland border is a "political stunt".

Chris Ingall, an executive on the Medical Staff Council at the Lismore Base Hospital, said the health service was "scrambling" to cope with the effects on patients & staff, who must quarantine for 14 days if they enter Queensland from outside the so-called border bubble in the Tweed Shire.

"You've got over 100 doctors that work at Lismore Base Hospital that live in Queensland; they are no longer available to us because they don't want to leave their families & not get back," he said.

"So we are scrambling for doctors, anaesthetists, emergency doctors, a lot of the frontline doctors who are no longer going to be able to support Lismore Base Hospital."

Dr Ingall said it was having a significant impact on the risk posed to residents in the Northern Rivers.

"This doesn't need to happen at all from a medical perspective because there is no community transmission in the Northern Rivers," he said.....

Queensland has relaxed its border restrictions for people "entering to obtain specialist health care, or as a support person to a person obtaining specialist health care, that cannot be obtained at their place of residence".

But those entering from beyond the border bubble will have to go into government-provided quarantine for 14 days.

The cost for an adult is $2,800; one adult and one child is $3,255.

People classified as vulnerable or who can prove financial hardship can apply to have the fees waived.....

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Queensland locks down its borders once more

ABC News, 5 August 2020:

Queensland will close its border to all of New South Wales and the ACT from 1:00am on Saturday.

The 68-year-old Queensland woman was diagnosed with the virus in the past 24 hours and authorities are still investigating the source of the infection.

Two historic cases have also been added to the state's total of 1,088 cases.

The hotspot declaration means anyone travelling from NSW or the nation's capital will soon be banned from entering the Sunshine State.

Queenslanders who return after travelling there will be sent to mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.

Queensland COVID-19 snapshot:
Confirmed cases so far: 1,088
Deaths: 6
Tests conducted: 581,286

Latest information from Queensland Health......

New South Wales COVID-19 numbers as of a 5 August 2020 NSW Health update:

Confirmed cases (including interstate residents in NSW health care facilities) 3,631

Deaths (in NSW from confirmed cases) 52

Of the 12 new cases reported to 8pm last night:
  • one is a traveller in hotel quarantine
  • 10 were locally acquired linked to known cases including:
    • two cases linked to the Thai Rock restaurant in Wetherill Park
    • two cases linked to the Apollo restaurant in Potts Point
    • six cases associated with the funeral gatherings cluster
  • one is locally acquired with unknown source
There are now:
  • 105 cases associated with Thai Rock Wetherill Park cluster
  • 58 cases associated with the Crossroads Hotel cluster
  • 46 cases associated with the funeral events in Bankstown and surrounding suburbs, including 15 associated with Mounties in Mount Pritchard.
  • 30 cases associated with the Potts Point cluster, including 24 cases linked to the Apollo Restaurant cluster and 6 cases linked with the Thai Rock Restaurant Potts Point cluster (two cases attended both and are counted as Thai Rock cases).

Sunday, 2 August 2020

A conga line of #COVIDIOTS

Queensland Police News, 30-31 July 2020:

Woman fined for not declaring hot spot, Gold Coast 

myPolice on Jul 31, 2020 @ 3:06pm 

 Police have given a 25-year-old woman a $4003 fine this morning after she allegedly provided false information by failing to declare she had been to a hot spot in New South Wales. 

The woman was travelling with a man by car with Queensland registration plates when around 4am they attended the Miles Street checkpoint with a Queensland Declaration Border pass stating they had not visited a known hot spot. 

Police working at the checkpoint believed the man and the woman were acting suspiciously and questioned them further about their movements and it is alleged differing versions were given. 

It is alleged the woman eventually admitted to recently being in Campbelltown and the man from Fairfield. 

Police also established that the 53-year-old man was wanted for other criminal matters in New South Wales and was taken in to custody. 

The woman was given a $4003 fine and turned away from the border. 

Chief Superintendent Wheeler said this highlights that police are being very vigilant on our border checkpoints. 

“If you are coming into Queensland, even with a valid Border Declaration pass, you stand a very good chance of being intercepted and questioned by police. 

“We make no apologies for our vigilance and scrutiny as this is about keeping Queensland safe from the threat of COVID-19,” said Chief Superintendent Wheeler.  

BWC vision can be viewed here:

Three women charged under the Public Health Act 
myPolice on Jul 30, 2020 @ 4:09pm 

Detectives from Task Force Sierra Linnet have charged three women for allegedly providing false information on their Queensland border declarations. 

Police will allege that all three women travelled to Victoria and deliberately provided misleading documents at the Queensland border. 

A 19-year-old Heritage Park woman, a 21-year-old Acacia Ridge woman and a 21-year-old Algester woman have all been charged with one count each of providing false or misleading documents – Section 364 of the Public Health Act (maximum penalty – 100 penalty units or $13,345) and fraud (dishonestly gain benefit / advantage) – Section 408C(1)(d) of the criminal code (maximum penalty five years’ imprisonment). 

Police can also confirm that all three women are now cooperating with QPS and Queensland Health officials. 

A criminal investigation is also being undertaken by Task Force Sierra Linnet investigators which is unrelated and not connected to the alleged travel to Victoria. 

All three women are currently in quarantine and are due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on September 28. 

There is no further information available at this time in relation to the ongoing criminal investigation. 

The Queensland Police Service is committed to ensuring everyone complies with public health directions and will continue to enforce restrictions at the border. 

The Queensland Entry Declaration can be accessed at


NSW Police
, Latest News, 27-30 July 2020: 

Victorian man charged over alleged breach of Public Health Order 
Thursday, 30 July 2020 02:58:56 PM 

Police have charged a Victorian man with breaching a Public Health Order after he flew from Melbourne to Sydney allegedly without a permit to enter NSW. 

Just before 1pm yesterday (Wednesday 29 July 2020), officers who were deployed at Sydney Airport for Operation Coronavirus, were requested to assist NSW Health who were talking with a man who had just arrived on a flight from Melbourne. 

Police were told the 21-year-old man from Roxbough Park, Victoria, was unable to produce a NSW Health exemption. 

The man was assisted to charge his phone before it was established that he did not have a permit but would apply for one so he could care for his children. 

It’s alleged that the man made a number of applications for a permit and had provided false information. 

After establishing that the man did not have children, nor a valid reason to be in NSW, police directed him to return to Victoria. 

He was offered options for travel and further assistance from NSW Health.
The man allegedly refused to make travel plans and failed to comply with police directions and was arrested about 3.30pm before being taken to Mascot Police Station. 
During a subsequent search of the man and his bags, officers located a bottle of alprazolam, which was not prescribed to him. 

He was charged with not comply with noticed direction re s 7/8/9 - COVID-19 and possess prescribed restricted substance. 

The man was granted conditional bail but is required to quarantine in a Health-managed hotel until he appears at Downing Centre Local Court on Monday 17 August 2020. 

Police continue to appeal to the community to report suspected breaches of any ministerial direction or behaviour which may impact on the health and safety of the community. 

Anyone who has information regarding individuals or businesses in contravention of a COVID-19-related ministerial direction is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Latest breaches of Public Health Orders across state 
Monday, 27 July 2020 02:38:30 PM 

Three people have been issued Penalty Infringement Notices after failing to self-isolate on return from Victoria. 

Details of these alleged breaches are further outlined below: 

- About 12pm on Saturday (25 July 2020), officers attached to Murray River Police District attended a home on Decimus Street, Deniliquin, following reports two people who had returned from Victoria on Tuesday 21 July 2020, had been seen entering a store on Cressy Street. A 33-year-old woman and 31-year-old man allegedly told police “it’s a free country”. They were both subsequently issued $1000 PINs. 

- About 12pm yesterday (Sunday 26 July 2020), officers from South Coast Police District attended a home at Surf Beach, after reports a 63-year-old woman had visited a supermarket in Batemans Bay despite being directed to self-isolate after returning from Victoria. She was issued a $1000 PIN.


Victoria Police, Breaking News, 29 July 2020: 

Teen charged following evade 
Wednesday, 29 July 2020 04:44 

A teenaged boy has been charged after evading police in a car last night. Officers were called to Holland Crescent, Truganina about 11.50pm after reports of a group of males acting suspiciously. 

When police arrived it is alleged that two males drove off in a BMW. 

The BMW was sighted a number of times by police and it is alleged that it was travelling at high speed and failing to stop at red lights. 

The car was eventually spotted in Quarrion Court, Hoppers Crossing about 12.40am. 

As officers approached the BMW, the two occupants got out of the car and ran from police. 

The driver, a 16-year-old boy from Truganina, was arrested after a short foot chase. 

The other occupant of the car is still outstanding. Investigators have interviewed the youth and he has been charged with reckless conduct endangering serious injury, drive manner dangerous, drive speed dangerous and unlicensed driving. 

He has been bailed to appear at a Children’s Court at a later date.
The teen was also found to be in breach of the directions issued by the Chief Health Officer. 
He has been issued a $1652 penalty notice. 
The directions by the Chief Health Officer, under the State of Emergency declared in Victoria, have been enacted to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~, 1 August 2020: 

A Victorian woman has been charged after she allegedly gave false information to police upon her arrival into Queensland. 

Officers from task force Sierra Linnet reviewed the border declaration of a 51-year-old woman who told authorities she was travelling into Queensland from Victoria for “essential work purposes”. 

Gympie police attended an address at 11am this morning and spoke to the woman. Further investigations revealed that she lied at the border about her purpose for entering Queensland, police said. 

She has since been taken to hotel quarantine. 

She was charged with one count of failing to comply with a COVID-19 border direction, and was issued a Notice to Appear at Gympie Magistrates Court on November 30. 

Investigations are ongoing.


Friday, 24 July 2020

Claims being made that people denied entry into Queensland are not moving out of northern NSW

Northern Rivers residents from the Clarence Valley up to the NSW-Queensland border are reporting a high incidence of 'visitors' from Victoria and Sydney who appear to be settling in for a prolonged stay.

Although it has been over 70 days since there was any local COVID-19 transmission, with interstate sourced infection again being reported in the Northern Rivers region some local residents are understandably becoming slightly nervous.

Northern NSW Local Heath District has advised that; Anyone who is unable to practise physical distancing should wear a mask and NSW Health has urged people to avoid non-essential travel and social gatherings.

Queensland Police have recorded attempts to cross the border by seven Victorians from banned areas & two Sydney men.

Queensland Police, media release excerpts, July 2020:

* A 27-year-old Victorian man has been fined after attempting to enter Queensland at Texas after allegedly claiming not to have been in Victoria within 14 days. Police intercepted his vehicle at a state border control checkpoint on Inglewood Texas Road around 3.30pm on Thursday [16 July 2020]. Officers will allege the man, who had been refused entry to Queensland twice previously, had been in Melbourne after receiving information from Victoria Police. 

 * Six Victorian travellers have been fined for trying to enter the state with false border declarations on the Gold Coast over the weekend [11-12 July. Police intercepted a minivan on Saturday night where all six occupants were refused entry at the M1 border control check point. On Sunday, officers intercepted the same van on Stuart Street in Coolangatta around 2pm. After speaking with the 19-year-old male driver, it will be alleged the same group were attempting to cross with border with declarations falsely claiming they had not been in Victoria in the previous 14 days. All six people, including two 19-year-old women and four men aged 18, 19, 23 and 28 years old, were fined $4,003 for failing to comply with the Covid-19 Border Direction. They were again refused entry. 

* Around 11am [8 July 2020], officers at the Griffith Street border control check point intercepted a bus and spoke with a 43-year-old male passenger to verify his border pass. His declaration indicated he was travelling from New South Wales to Queensland for essential medical treatment. Police will allege the Sydney man was in possession of false identification, did not require medical treatment and had completed the border declaration fraudulently. The man was refused entry to Queensland and issued with an infringement of $4,003 for failing to comply with the Covid-19 Border Direction.

* A New South Wales man has been fined after trying to enter Queensland in the boot of a vehicle at Wallangarra. Officers intercepted the vehicle on Border Street around 6.45pm on Sunday night [19 July 2020] and while conducting a search, located the 41-year-old man hiding in the boot. The man was fined $4,003 for attempting to enter Queensland without a Border Declaration Pass, in breach of the Queensland COVID-19 Border Direction. Two women, aged 28 and 29, were also in the vehicle at the time. All three people were refused entry to Queensland.

Sydney Morning Herald, 18 July 2020:

Queensland Police yesterday erected a 700-metre barricade on the Gold Coast in an attempt to stop people from known hotspots illegally crossing the NSW border.

ABC News, 19 July 2020:

Dozens of Australian Defence Force personnel have been deployed to Queensland's border crossing on the Gold Coast to help deal with lengthy delays. Queensland police said 600,000 border passes were issued last week.

Sydney Morning Herald, 18 July 2020:

...the risk of spread by travellers from Victoria is dangerously high. Cases of infection have been reported in greater Sydney but also in Ballina on the North Coast and Merimbula on the South Coast. NSW Police say 150,000 vehicles have been allowed to enter the state even after the border was closed last week.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Insurance Australia Group (IAG) has confirmed its major rural and regional insurer, WFI, will join its other subsidiary, CGU, in no longer providing public liability cover if there is "unconventional gas" operations on properties

ABC News, 10 June 2020:
Image: ABC Southern Queensland: Nathan Morris

Australia's largest insurance company says it will no longer cover farmers for public liability if they have coal seam gas (CSG) infrastructure on their property. 

The development has made farmers fearful they will have to cease farming altogether if they cannot get cover. 

Insurance Australia Group (IAG) has confirmed its major rural and regional insurer, WFI, will join its other subsidiary, CGU, in no longer providing the coverage if there is "unconventional gas" operations on properties. 

IAG said for customers who "have operational CSG or shale gas activities or infrastructure on their property, such as a coal seam gas well, we will be unable to provide liability cover as part of their insurance policy". 

IAG said the company does not specialise in mining and resources operations and the change will affect existing customers when their policies come up for renewal. AgForce Queensland said that is as soon as the end of this month. Michael Guerin talks to a man in front of a book shelf. 

AgForce Queensland CEO Michael Guerin says farmers are worried the change could expose them to liability risks..... 

Queensland farmers said they were fearful the change could expose them to liability risks and could extend to other risks associated with CSG, such as the potential for groundwater contamination. 

It is understood the Queensland Government has been holding talks with insurers, mining industry representatives and AgForce, in an attempt to resolve the problem..... 

ABC News has obtained legal advice provided to the New South Wales Government in 2014, warning that insurance for CSG in Australia was "inadequate" and measures were needed to address the potential cost of contamination risks. [my yellow highlighting]

AgForce's Queensland chief executive Michael Guerin said farmers were deeply concerned. 

"Producers, like any business, can't operate without insurance," Mr Guerin said.

Spokesperson for the Lock the Gate Alliance, Rick Humphries is calling on the gas industry to compensate farmers.....

He said while some other insurers were providing cover for now, there was a risk they would pull out of the sector or jack up prices. "All of those dangers are there," he said. 

"There's a danger that insurance premiums will go up [and] there's a danger insurance will be harder to get." 

AgForce Queensland said insurance being withdrawn threatened the coexistence of unconventional gas and agriculture. 

He said there had been a lot of hard work in devising complicated agreements to allow the two industries to work together over the years. 

"If part of the insurance industry starts withdrawing cover, it puts that at risk, and that's the core of the concern at the moment," Mr Guerin said. 

Anti-mining, pro-agriculture group Lock the Gate said the gas industry should be made to compensate farmers. Spokesperson for Lock the Gate and former mining consultant, Rick Humphries, said farmers should not be the ones facing the risk. 

"The onus is on the gas industry to get insurance products that cover their assets and protect the farmer," Mr Humphries said. 

"The farmer shouldn't have to run around and look for insurance products. 

"But the way that the system has worked is that the Government has knowingly allowed gas industry to enter into contracts with farmers that expose farmers to a whole range of business and natural resource risks around water and land contamination." 

He said laws needed to be changed to force the companies to act. "The whole mining and gas model is all about transferring as much risk away from the shareholder," he said. 

"The companies won't willingly step up and do this because it's an additional expense, and they have to take on the risk. 

"Governments have to intervene to force mining and gas companies to take out insurance products, or demonstrate they [have] adequate coverage that will compensate landholders."......

Read the full article here.


* Queensland Government Audit Office 2019-20 report on Queensland coal seam gas activities can be found at:

ABC News, 30 March 2020:

A leaked expert report shows the Queensland Government was advised to stop further gas fracking in the state's sensitive Channel Country, but a separate department had already extended gas exploration until 2030. 

A confidential report to the Queensland Environment Department prepared by environmental scientists recommended that infrastructure for gas fracking and mining was "unacceptable" in the Lake Eyre Basin floodplains, known as the Channel Country. 

The 47-page report, obtained by ABC News, lists scores of potential risks associated with so-called unconventional gas extraction, (also known as gas fracturing or fracking), including direct impacts on threatened species and water quality. 

As ABC News revealed earlier this year, the Queensland Mines Department in March 2019 had approved Santos to keep exploring commercial gas opportunities in the area until 2030, despite an election commitment to protect "pristine rivers" and work with stakeholders. 

A union of environmentalists, graziers, traditional owners and other stakeholders, known as the Western Rivers Alliance, said the promised consultation did not happen. 

The report, recommending that further fracking for natural gas be stopped, was received by the Environment Department in October last year.....