Islamic Council wants hate law reforms
(Translation appears in Arabic section)
Brisbane - M E Times Int'l: The Islamic Council of Queensland wants the state government to follow NSW and increase penalties for hate speech after a group of men badgered worshippers at two Brisbane mosques this week.
Four men, led by self-styled pastor Logan Robertson, allegedly told a teenager at the Kuraby Mosque on Wednesday he was a terrorist, threatened an older man and targeted a second mosque in Darra.
Council spokesman Ali Kadri will write to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, urging her to strengthen laws around hate speech to better protect worshippers of all faiths from abuse.
Thousands of NSW TAFE marks missing
Sydney: The NSW opposition claims TAFE students' futures have been "put at risk" after more than 400,000 marks were not entered into the provider's systems.
In an internal email obtained by Labor sent last week, TAFE NSW's managing director said hundreds of thousands of marks were not put into its student management system - which he described as poor and inefficient.
However, it's understood many marks have been entered since the email was sent last week. Only about 62,000 scores are now believed to be missing.
The drastic change for welfare recipients to get benefits
Canberra: Welfare recipients will soon be asked to have their faces scanned before they can claim their benefits.
It is part of a new trial of biometric security measures the government will begin within months.
Similar to how SmartGates work at airports to check passports, government services will ask recipients to take a photo on a computer or phone to create a MyGov ID.
The photo will then be checked against passports and driver’s licences.
But there are questions as to whether this information could be misused.
The new technology means welfare recipients will have to upload pictures of themselves online.
Australian Privacy Foundation’s Bernard Robertson-Dunn said people needed to be assured “it works properly” and the government “doesn’t use the technology to do things it didn’t say it was going to do”.
Human Services Minister Michael Keenan said on May 1 the misuse of data which could be used to “impinge on people’s privacy” was “clearly” a concern for many Australians.
New Look at Westmead Hospital’s Transformation
Sydney: A glimpse of one of the state’s biggest health projects – the more than $900 million Westmead redevelopment – reveals a major transformation for Western Sydney health services.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Health Minister Brad Hazzard today unveiled new fly-through vision of the 14-storey Central Acute Services Building.
“I am thrilled to unveil what will actually be Australia’s largest health precinct, including two new emergency departments, state-of-the-art digital operating theatres and inpatient units,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“This massive project will further propel Westmead as a truly world-class health, research and education precinct for Western Sydney patients.”
Mr Hazzard said the redevelopment is at the heart of the NSW Liberals & Nationals’ record $8 billion health infrastructure boom over the next four years.
“Not only will the Westmead Redevelopment improve health outcomes for local patients, but it will also be a key provider of jobs for greater Western Sydney, generating some 850 jobs on-site in coming months.”
Once the project is completed, more than 30 per cent of the existing Westmead Hospital will have been refurbished and 1400 additional car spaces added.
The Central Acute Services Building, due for completion in 2020, will feature:
• Separate adult and paediatric emergency departments
• A new helipad
• Medical imaging
• Cardiac inpatient units
• Sterilising service
• A NSW Infectious Diseases Unit
• State-of-the art operating suites
• Surgical inpatient units
Labor commits $6b for western Sydney rail
Sydney: Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has promised $6 billion in federal funding for two western Sydney rail projects if he's successful at the next federal election.
In a speech to Labor faithful at the party's annual state conference in Sydney's Town Hall on Sunday, Mr Shorten seized on the government's "disproportionate" tax policy on the day workers' Sunday penalty rates were cut across the country.
Mr Shorten committed $3 billion to the Sydney Metro West project, linking the city to Parramatta, which will double capacity between the CBD and Parramatta.
Another $3 billion will go towards the Western Sydney Rail project, which will connect all of the city to the new airport planned for Sydney's west.
"If I'm prime minister, my government will do our part, we'll put in our share of the money to make Metro West a reality," Mr Shorten told the conference.
"We have a responsibility to make sure these communities remain great places to live, work and raise your kids."
He took aim at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's values, promising the crowd he would reverse penalty rate cuts - which took affect on Sunday - if elected.
"Your penalty rates matter to me just as much as the prime minister's giveaway to the banks matters to him," Mr Shorten said.
"That's where the other fellow and I are different."
Mr Shorten told the conference equal pay for women was also a first order economic priority for a Labor government.
In the final NSW Labor conference before both state and federal elections, Mr Shorten also promised $300 million in federal funding for parking facilities near public transport amenities.
"This may not sound glamorous, it's not anything '2.0' - but I reckon when there are practical things we can do to make your life easier, we should just get on and do them."
NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley welcomed Mr Shorten's funding commitments, describing him as "Father Christmas".
"This will revolutionise public transport in western Sydney," Mr Foley told reporters.
Day two of the annual conference also saw the party resolve to create a climate change act.
The act would provide "a long-term framework for climate change mitigation and adaptation".
The party membership also voted to consider the introduction of legislation that would replace "out of date" private acts that govern some independent NSW colleges and deliver mandatory consent training for their staff.
Dogs and cats can donate blood — and vets need it now more than ever
Perth: Your beloved cat or dog is struck by a grave illness — or a car — and needs serious medical treatment.
And like human patients, pets can also need blood transfusions, so dog and cat blood donors are increasingly being sought to provide this life-saving service. What's more, demand for dog and cat blood is rising.
There are a couple of reasons for this, said Claire Sharp, an emergency and critical care veterinarian at Murdoch University in Perth.
Pet owners have shifted the way they look at their furry friends.
"I think 20 years ago, pet cats were outside-only, or only came inside occasionally," she said.
"They were an aloof member of the family, not like a child or a true family member.
"But over time, with dogs as well as cats, people in Australia began treating their pets like real family members."
Say Goodbey to the Mouse in Your House
Sydney: Pests such as rodents, spiders and bugs are responsible for over 5 billion worth of property damage each year according to the National Pest Management Association. Rodents harbor and spread more than 200 diseases which can easily be transmitted to humans, and the amount of food destroyed by rodents and cockroaches each year is enough to feed over 200 million people. A staggering 78% of homeowners reported having pest problems in 2017.
Due to the amount of damage that has been dealt, reducing pest damage has quickly become one of Australia’s highest priorities. As a result, a new device called the "Ultrasonic Pest Reject" has been developed for the sole purpose of reducing this damage and helping Australia residents rid their home of pests.
The goal is to have the device installed in every Australia home by the end of 2018.