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Vixens hit hard in pocket for refusing to fly to Perth



The Melbourne Vixens have accepted a costly punishment for refusing to travel to Perth last season to play the Fever.

The Melbourne Vixens have called for Super Netball’s “protocols” to be reviewed after begrudgingly accepting sanctions of more than $80,000 in fines and match costs for their failure to travel to Perth last season to play West Coast Fever.

The punishment comes after the completion of a Netball Australia investigation into why June’s round eight game between the teams had to be rescheduled.

The Vixens refused to travel to Perth after three of their players were denied entry to Western Australia after having visited Byron Bay, a Covid-19 “red zone”.

The Fever claimed the Vixens could have replaced the three “compromised” players but decided not to.

“This is not in the best interests of the competition and devastating for our club, members, sponsors and fans,” the Fever said in a statement at the time.

The investigation – completed by the competition’s compliance manager – found that the Vixens had breached Super Netball’s team participation agreement by not travelling to Perth to play the match.

The Vixens have been fined $50,000 – half of which is suspended for two years – and ordered to pay $31,702.92 for the costs to replay the match at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena on July 22.

Netball Victoria, who own and operate the Vixens, have accepted the fine despite their unhappiness with the investigation.

“We are disappointed with the outcome considering the evidence we supplied throughout the review,” Vixens and Netball Victoria CEO Rosie King said.

“We are also disappointed that other options initially presented by the league – such as to delay the game for 24 hours to enable the entire team to travel, or to relocate the game to South Australia or Queensland – were not explored or supported, nor was the league’s ‘Covid-19 decision making process’ enacted which would have provided a framework for teams to follow in such circumstances.

“We understand, however, that the environment in which everyone was working in was extraordinarily difficult with the clock ticking and decisions being made under pressure-cooker conditions.

“The wellbeing and safety of our athletes and staff will always be our priority.

“We hope that the league’s protocols are likewise reviewed as part of a continual improvement exercise.”

Netball Australia CEO Kelly Ryan said while Covid-19 had presented “unique challenges” for the Super Netball competition and that the Vixens had not deliberately attempted to “disrupt the competition”, rule breaches would not be tolerated.

“Netball Australia recognises that clearer processes and protocols are required for the 2022 Super Netball season,” Ryan added.

Originally published as Vixens punished for their refusal to travel to Perth to play the Fever




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Darlene Avis Geertsema: $500,000 reward for info on Devonport cold case



A $500,000 reward is on offer for anyone who provides information that could help crack a 43-year-old cold case as the victim’s daughter pleads for answers.

The daughter of a woman who has been missing for more than 40 years has begged for anyone with information to come forward to help her family seek closure.

Mother of six Darlene Avis Geertsema, 30, was last seen leaving her Devonport home at around 10pm on October 23, 1978.

She left the Best St address in her 1977 red Holden Sunbird with registration number AS 4119.

While the car was found abandoned in a carpark near the Devonport Oval two days later, Ms Geertsema’s whereabouts remain a mystery.

At the time, Ms Geertsema was caring for her two youngest children while her oldest four daughters lived in Queensland.

Now her daughter Kathryn, who was just eight years old when her mother first went missing, is pleading with the public to help police uncover the truth about what happened to her mum.

She remembered her mother as a caring person whom she cooked with a lot.

“She always used to brush my hair every night before bed. I had very long hair, and she used to do the 100 strokes,” Kathryn said.

“We were her world. It was out of character for my mum to leave. She wouldn’t have walked out on us for sure, I know that in my heart. She would have never left me and my brother.”

Kathryn said losing her mother at such a young age was “devastating” and it was especially difficult at major life milestone events like weddings and births.

She said the family were still “fighting for answers” and knowing where their mother was would bring them closure to move on.

“I know it’s 43 years ago but we’re begging anyone with information to come forward,” she said.

“You might think it’s trivial but if anyone can remember anything please come forward and help us to get closure.”

Tasmania Police is offering $500,00 to anyone who can provide credible information to help crack the 43-year-old cold case.

Despite the ongoing efforts by investigators, officers couldn’t find Ms Geertsema’s body nor determine a motive for her disappearance.

A review into the circumstances of the mother’s disappearance began in July 2013.

Detective Sergeant Felicity Boyd said investigations would continue until Ms Geertsema’s body was located or the person or people responsible were prosecuted.

“We have explored several scenarios to explain Darlene’s disappearance, and whilst we maintain an open mind into the circumstances, we do not believe Darlene left the family home voluntarily,” Sergeant Boyd said.

“She would have never, ever intentionally left her children behind and would have never, ever stopped writing to her family.

“We have conducted extensive investigations and it has become increasingly apparent that Darlene is more than likely deceased and that she died in very suspicious circumstances.

“We owe it to Darlene’s children and family to find the answers behind her disappearance and someone out there holds the last piece of this puzzle.”

Anyone with credible information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or go online.

Originally published as ‘Help us get closure’: Daughter begs for answers over mother’s 43-year-old cold case




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West End Brisbane: Man charged over stabbing, allegedly headbutted cop



A man has been charged after allegedly headbutting a cop following an inner-city ‘argument’ with an acquaintance.

A Brisbane man has been charged with the attempted stabbing murder of an acquaintance – and assaulting police – following an argument at an inner-city home on Monday evening.

Police said two men, aged 28 and 35, who were both known to each other, were arguing at a West End home at 5pm when the younger man allegedly stabbed the other in the chest and leg.

The 35-year-old was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, while the 28-year-old was arrested and taken to Dutton Park Police Station.

Police said once at the station, the 28-year-old man allegedly became uncooperative and headbutted a police officer who sustained minor injuries.

He has been charged with attempted murder and serious assault of a police officer causing bodily harm.

He was refused police bail and is expected to face Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Originally published as Man charged with attempted murder and assaulting a police officer following ‘argument’ in Brisbane




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Former Qld CHO Jeannette Young sworn in as Governor



A former top doctor’s first day in a powerful role has begun with a red carpet ride through town and a lavish ceremony.

Queensland’s former top doctor Jeannette Young’s life as the state’s Governor has officially begun following a lavish ceremony at parliament.

As chief health officer for nearly two decades, the doctor was richly rewarded with a wage of hundreds of thousands dollars each year.

But nothing could quite prepare a public servant for the ascension to become the Queen’s representative than a glitzy motorcade through the city.

Dr Young was visibly humbled during the ritzy ceremony on the lawns of Parliament House, the same patch where she became famous for providing Covid-19 updates throughout the pandemic.

She completed her proclamation between a rousing rendition of the national anthem and below the Australian Army Band which bellowed music from the balcony.

The crowd, featuring former prime minister Kevin Rudd as well as previous governors and current ministers, then stood in silence as Vice Regal Salute fired off 19 blasts from across Brisbane River on the Kangaroo Point cliffs.

Annastacia Palaszczuk spoke briefly, again crediting Dr Young for preventing mass deaths throughout the nearly two years of managing the pandemic.

“We will never know the number of lives you have saved,” the Premier said.

“As Queensland’s chief health officer, your bedside manner was calm and direct.

“From a population of five million, only seven people have lost their lives — this is a world-leading result.

“It caps a lifetime dedicated to public health and 16 years as chief health officer.”

Dr Young was then sworn in to the esteemed role, declaring her intention to travel the state to visit every public hospital as well as remote Indigenous communities.

“I see my mission as Governor to serve, acknowledge and support Queenslanders wherever they may live,” she said.

Following the ceremony, the 27th Governor of Queensland was then whisked away in a motorcade escorted by police motorcycles before being greeted by staff at her new sprawling digs at Government House.

Dr Young replaces Paul de Jersey AC, who served in the role since 2014.

Her replacement as top doctor was expected to be infectious disease clinician Dr Krispin Hajkowicz but he shocked many by withdrawing late last week due to personal reasons.

Deputy chief health officer Peter Aitken will act in the role until a permanent replacement is appointed.

Originally published as Former Queensland CHO Jeannette Young sworn in as Governor




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Hefty fines to be handed out on Qld roads



Drivers will cop hefty penalties for two persistent law breaches, with new high-tech cameras targeting offenders from Monday.

The grace period for Queensland’s new high-tech traffic cameras is over, with motorists facing hefty fines for using their phone behind the wheel and flouting seatbelt laws from Monday.

More than 20,000 drivers were busted since July, with 18,000 operating vehicles while distracted, but the offenders only copped warning notices.

Motorists now face penalties of $1033 for driving while using their phone and $413 for not wearing a seatbelt, with Road and Transport Minister Mark Bailey declaring there will be “absolutely no mercy”.

The modern technology will be moved regularly across the state to areas of high crash rates following a rise in road fatalities last year.

Mr Bailey said research proved the distraction from using mobile phones while driving was as dangerous as jumping behind the wheel while drunk.

“There’s absolutely no mercy — we will be finding you and we’ll be catching you,” he said.

“These cameras will be everywhere and they will move regularly.

“People will be very surprised to be caught on roads that they never thought they would get caught on. Enough is enough.”

Mr Bailey said: “We are totally unapologetic about getting tough.”

The location of the mobile cameras will be kept secret, and they will be moved to both urban and rural areas.

RACQ spokeswoman Renee Smith said the new mobile phone and seatbelt detection cameras across the state were needed to improve lingering dangers on the road.

“We know on average around 29 people are killed and more than 1000 others are seriously injured every year on Queensland roads as a result of crashes where driver distraction played a part,” she said.

“More detailed rules around mobile phone use by drivers, along with greater enforcement of the road rules through these first-of-a-kind cameras will help to reduce driver distraction and improve road safety in Queensland.

“Sadly, we’re still seeing drivers refusing to wear a seatbelt. Seatbelts save lives – it’s as simple as that.”

Originally published as ‘No mercy’: Hefty fines to be handed out on Queensland roads




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Residential property prices keep climbing as investors push out would-be first home buyers



Australian housing prices keep creeping higher, pushing more would-be first home buyers off the property ladder and fuelling rate hike talk.

Australian residential property prices keep creeping higher, but experts believe the peak of the current cycle is not far off, with the Reserve Bank tipped to increase interest rates sooner than flagged.

CoreLogic data released on Monday showed national dwelling values inched up 1.5 per cent in October, down from a peak monthly growth rate of 2.8 per cent in March.

That’s a touch higher than predicted by CommSec (about 1.3 per cent) and AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver (1.4 per cent).

The rise brings the national price growth rate over the past 12 months to a whopping 21.6 per cent.

But CoreLogic reiterated what it had been saying for months – the red-hot property market is slowly losing momentum.

That may be cold comfort for already priced out, would-be first home buyers.

“Housing prices continue to outpace wages by a ratio of about 12:1,” CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless said.

“This is one of the reasons why first home buyers are becoming a progressively smaller component of housing demand.”

Other reasons are the end of stimulus measures such as HomeBuilder, more supply on the market – with new listings surging by 47 per cent since hitting a low in September – and, from Monday, the tightening of mortgage assessments in a bid to slow new lending at high debt-to-income ratios.

Inflation data last week was higher than expected, with the most significant price rise being for new homes bought by owner-occupiers.

Economists say pressure is accordingly building on the RBA to up the cash rate from its historic low of 0.1 per cent.

The central bank holds its monthly meeting on Tuesday and every word in the statement that follows will be combed for even the slightest shift in its thinking.

“We now expect the first rate hike in a year’s time,” Mr Oliver said in his latest market update.

“The RBA won’t rush into a rate hike because it wants to see that ‘inflation is sustainably within the target range’.”

The RBA has repeatedly said a hike was unlikely before 2024.

“However, with the economy recovering, we believe that the conditions for the start of rate hikes will now be in place by late 2022, so we expect the first hike to be in November 2022, taking the cash rate to 0.25 per cent, followed by a 0.25 per cent hike in December 2022, taking the cash rate to 0.5 per cent by the end of next year,” Mr Oliver said.

Many other economists are tipping an RBA move in early 2023.

Meanwhile, as housing continues to become less and less affordable, CoreLogic expects demand will skew towards higher density sectors of the market, especially in Sydney, where the gap between the median house and unit value is now close to $500,000.

“With investors becoming a larger component of new housing finance, we may see more demand flowing into medium to high density properties,” Mr Lawless said.

“Investor demand across the unit sector could be bolstered as overseas borders open, which is likely to have a positive impact on rental demand, especially across inner city unit precincts.”

Australia’s apartment markets have generally recorded a lower rate of growth compared to houses, CoreLogic says.

Also on Monday, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed the continuation of a trend seen over recent months – investor mortgage commitments rising as owner-occupier new loan commitments fell.

MEDIAN VALUES AROUND AUSTRALIA:

Sydney: $1.071m (up 25.3 per cent over 12 months)

Canberra: $864,909 (up 25.5 per cent)

Melbourne: $780,303 (up 16.37 per cent)

Hobart: $678,170 (up 28.06 per cent)

Brisbane: $642,097 (up 22.3 per cent)

Adelaide: $543,265 (up 20.07 per cent)

Perth: $526,625 (up 16.37 per cent)

Darwin: $490,236 (up 19.28 per cent)

Originally published as Residential property prices keep climbing as investors push out would-be first home buyers




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Jeannette Young: Outgoing chief health officer’s plea for people to get Covid-19 vaccine



One state’s outgoing chief health officer has pleaded for people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, saying it is ‘as close as we’ll get to a silver bullet’.

Outgoing chief health officer Jeannette Young has made a last-ditch plea for Queenslanders to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

Dr Young, who will be sworn in as the state’s 27th governor on Monday, issued a lengthy statement on Sunday saying it had been an “absolute honour” to serve as chief health officer for the past 16 years.

“The journey has been challenging, rewarding, at times stressful, but always satisfying,” she said.

“Covid-19 has commanded my attention day and night for almost two years now and I am certainly proud of the way we have weathered this crisis.”

More than 61 per cent of Queenslanders aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated, while more than 75 per cent have received their first dose.

“These two shots are as close as we’ll get to a silver bullet to this virus,” Dr Young said.

“Most, if not all, of us will get infected at some point.

“So I urge you – one last time as chief health officer – to get vaccinated if you have not already done so.”

Dr Young further urged anyone not planning to get the jab to reconsider.

“At the very least, I encourage you to speak with a medical professional — someone qualified to provide advice,” she said.

“Recently, I aired my wish to see at least 95 per cent of Queenslanders fully vaccinated.

“Granted, it’s a lofty goal, but if we can achieve that rate for childhood diseases, surely we can strive to do the same for a deadly virus that’s fuelling a global pandemic.”

Dr Young noted seven Queenslanders had died as a result of Covid-19.

“No matter how well this compares with other jurisdictions, I will always remember them and I’ll often pause to think of their families,” she said.

“But I’ll also be thankful this virus did not claim more lives.

“I believe our response as a health authority has been effective, but even the best prevention measures are futile if they’re ignored.”

Reflecting on her career in health, Dr Young said many of her proudest achievements predated the pandemic.

“I was 43 when I was appointed to this role, fresh from a six-year stint in charge of medical services at Princess Alexandra Hospital,” she said.

“Back then, 20 per cent of Queensland adults smoked every day. We’ve since halved that.”

Dr Young said the child vaccination rate in 2005 was 77 per cent, but was now just under 95 per cent.

“Additional vaccines have been added to the schedule, so there are tens of thousands more children out there protected against serious diseases like whooping cough, measles and meningococcal disease,” she said.

“These metrics are very important to me because I know our efforts to reduce smoking and increase childhood immunisation have helped improve lifestyles and prevent deaths.”

Dr Young said she was also proud of her role in establishing a world class aeromedical retrieval service for all Queenslanders, as well as developing a new medical school in Central Queensland.

“I’ve been privileged to be in a profession I love for the past 35 years, but I am excited about the next chapter of my career,” she said.

Originally published as Outgoing chief health officer Jeannette Young makes final plea for people to get Covid-19 vaccine




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Nazi flag flown over synagogue: Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner furious at ‘inadequate’ laws preventing the flying of offensive flag in public



Brisbane’s Lord Mayor is disgusted with the appearance of an offensive flag over a city synagogue, and has also raged against the laws surrounding the issue.

The appearance of a Nazi flag above a Brisbane synagogue has disgusted the city’s Lord Mayor, who wants tougher penalties around the use of hate symbols.

Police on Saturday morning were alerted to the flag being flown out the window of an accommodation block on Margaret Street that overlooks the heritage-listed Brisbane Synagogue.

Police arrived to remove the flag just before 11am, and have since charged a 45-year-old Brisbane man with public nuisance offences.

The swastika is the symbol of the Nazi party, the far-right antisemitic German political party responsible for the murder of six million Jews during World War II.

Saturday’s flag-flying is the latest use of Nazi imagery in Queensland in recent months – including graffiti at the Clapham rail yard at Moorooka in May – and comes as law enforcement bodies raise concerns over rising far-right extremism in Australia.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner shared a photo of the flag on Saturday – as well as his disgust over its appearance.

“This is sickening. For someone to fly this symbol of hatred and genocide right above the Brisbane Synagogue on Margaret St is pure evil. It’s time for this vile flag to be banned in Queensland,” he wrote.

“QLD needs to get serious about cracking down on these open displays of racial hatred.”

The Brisbane Jewish community also aired their concerns over the flag’s appearance, with Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies vice president Jason Steinberg labelling the incident “sickening”.

Meanwhile, Dr Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, said the incident was like “plunging a knife in the heart of Holocaust survivors” and “spitting in the face of the brave Diggers” who fought to defeat Hitler and his genocidal regimen.

“Anyone who loves our country will not feel comfortable knowing that there are individuals in our midst who are brazenly and proudly exhibiting a symbol that represents the pure evil that led to the death squads, gas chambers and the extermination of six million Jews,” Dr Abramovich said.

Victoria in September became the first state to announce it was considering banning the use of Nazi imagery, while numerous other efforts are underway across the country to ban the symbol.

This includes laws drafted by NSW Labor opposition that threaten six months’ jail for using the image, while a Queensland parliamentary committee is currently conducting an inquiry into hate crimes, and whether using the Nazi symbol should be an offence.

“Under the current inadequate laws, this is likely to be classified as nothing more than a low-level “public nuisance”. Not good enough!” Mr Schrinner added after Saturday’s incident.

Originally published as Brisbane Lord Mayor rages against ‘inadequate’ laws as Nazi flag flown over city synagogue




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Woman charged with attempted murder of cyclist after early-morning incident at Inala, Brisbane



An early morning incident in Brisbane’s south has resulted in a woman being charged with the attempted murder of a cyclist.

A woman has been charged with the attempted murder of a cyclist after an early morning incident in Brisbane’s southern suburbs on Saturday.

Queensland police said the 42-year-old cyclist was riding along Wirraway Parade near the Inala Plaza shopping centre in Inala at 4.30am when a 4WD hit his rear wheel.

The cyclist stopped, and the woman behind the wheel allegedly drove at the man, who jumped a front fence of a house in Lapwing Street for safety.

Police said the alleged driver of the 4WD – a 45-year-old Durack woman – then crashed into four fences before allegedly running over the man’s bike laying on a footpath.

Police said the woman stopped the 4WD further along Lapwing Street and was arrested.

She has been charged with one count each of attempted murder and dangerous driving, and five charges of wilful damage, including four fences and the bicycle.

She is due to appear in the Richland Magistrates Court on Monday.

The Durack cyclist was transported to hospital for leg injuries but released after receiving medical attention.

The man and woman are not known to each other, police said.

Originally published as Woman charged with attempted murder of cyclist during early-morning incident in Brisbane




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Qld Covid: No new cases as surf lifesavers front push to get Queenslanders vaccinated for Christmas



Queensland has called upon its iconic cohort of seaside guardians to help residents get vaccinated in time for Christmas.

We call upon them to save us in the surf, and now Queensland has turned to its clubbies to help save Christmas.

Surf clubs from Coolangatta to Cairns have been transformed into pop-up vaccination clinics this weekend as part of a last-ditch effort to get Queenslanders vaccinated in time for the December 17 reopening of the borders.

The state government is calling it ‘V-Day’ – the final weekend that residents can get their first dose of the vaccine if they want a second dose before the state begins welcoming visitors, and a likely surge in virus numbers.

Hundreds of cases a day are expected to be recorded once Queensland fully opens up to outsiders.

“It’s just a matter of weeks until the borders open, so there’s no time to waste,” emergency services Minister Mark Ryan said at a press conference at Caloundra.

There are 23 surf clubs set up as vaccination clinics this weekend for people to get vaccinated. It follows a strategy that has also used pop-up clinics at rugby league matches, Bunnings Warehouses and local high schools.

Each participating surf club will have qualified vaccination staff on hand to administer the jabs.

There were no new Covid cases reported in Queensland on Saturday – either locally acquired or in hotel quarantine – with only 13 cases currently in the state.

The state’s vaccination rate is still creeping towards the 80 per cent double-dose target set down for the reopening of borders, with 63 per cent of the population having had two jabs. About 77 per cent of Queenslanders have had one dose.

Government noted that people who are vaccinated have an 86 per cent less chance of catching the virus and passing it on, and a 90 per cent less chance of dying from the effects of the virus.

Originally published as Surf lifesavers front final push to get Queenslanders vaccinated in time for Christmas




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