Act like an adult
Doctors are pleading with Queensland’s adults to act their age this Christmas and keep out of the state’s hectic emergency departments.
ED admissions are increasing by 3.2 per cent a year in Queensland and typically spike over the Christmas break.
Last December Queensland ED admissions were 3 per cent higher than the monthly average for 2016 – meaning doctors and nurses treated an extra 3,500 patients.
Emergency physician Dr Jennifer Williams said a dangerous combination of alcohol and immaturity was partly to blame for the December hike.
“Australians drink three times more at Christmas than they do at any other time of the year and that inevitably leads to more accidents, fights and cases of alcohol poisoning,” Dr Williams said.
“As well as drinking more, some grown-ups get as carried away at Christmas as their kids.
“They can’t wait to hop on new skateboards and scooters to show the kids how it’s done – and then end up in ED with fractures.
“Parents and relatives should be aware that some toys are best left to real kids, not big ones.”
Dr Williams said it was doubly important for adults to stay in control because of the risks faced by young children over summer.
There were 291 drowning deaths in Australia in 2016/17, a 3 per cent increase on the previous 12 months. Seventy-three people drowned in Queensland, with December and January the peak months for fatalities.
Dog laws unleashed
Southern Downs Regional Council consultation on proposed changes to its Animal Management Local Law closes on Friday 22 December.
If passed the proposed changes would give council officers the power to remove and euthanise problem animals such as barking dogs after community complaints.
As reported earlier this month, councillors at their November meeting voted in favour of giving animal control officers the ability to issue ‘removal notices’ to the owners of nuisance animals if the owners fail to comply with earlier compliance directives.
In a media statement the council said a removal notice “may require the owner to destroy the animal, or permanently remove the animal from a specified area”.
“It will be an offence to not comply with a removal notice,” the statement said.
“If the owner fails to comply with a removal notice, an authorised person may seize the animal and dispose of the animal.”
Submissions by any person in support of, or objecting to, the proposed local law are due in by 22 December stating the grounds of the submission and the facts and circumstances relied on in support of the grounds.
The proposed local law is available for viewing on the council’s website at www.sdrc.qld.gov.au.
Written submissions are to be made to Southern Downs Regional Council, PO Box 26, Warwick, Qld 4370, or firstname.lastname@example.org,
Pool tenders sink
At its December meeting, the council resolved not to accept the tender submissions made for the management and operation of the Stanthorpe Fitness Centre, Stanthorpe Aquatic Centre, Killarney Pool and Allora Pool.
Tenderers were given the option of applying for one or more contracts, with commencement dates set down as January 2018 for the Stanthorpe Fitness Centre and April 2018 for the Stanthorpe Aquatic Centre and the other pools.
A council statement released this week said there were four non-conforming tender submissions.
“The tenders were evaluated but the submissions did not conform to the criteria and therefore could not be assessed effectively,” the statement said.
“Council will liaise with the tenderers and provide feedback on why their tenders were nonconforming.
“Council is seeking to make best use of rates by ensuring the swimming pools and other facilities are run as cost effectively as possible, while delivering a standard of service that meets community expectations.
“Council resolved to again call for tenders for the management and operation of the four facilities, which will occur early in the new year.
“Council will continue to manage the Stanthorpe Fitness Centre for a further 12 months or a lesser period should a suitable contractor be identified.
“The swimming pools will continue to be managed by the lessees until the completion of the next tender process.”
Development strategy feedback
The council, at its December general meeting, resolved to endorse a community consultation program for its draft Economic Development Strategy.
A statement said the Southern Downs Region “has the potential to increase its contribution to the Queensland economy”.
“The region is well located, being two hours from Brisbane and at the junction of two highways, with ample land that is appropriately zoned, access to water and very safe and liveable communities,” the statement said.
It said there are three goals in the Economic Development Strategy –
* Increase population by 10 per cent by 2020;
* Attract $300 million of investment by 2020;
* Attract 1500 new Jobs by 2020.
“Those sectors targeted by the strategy include agriculture, the region’s primary industry, food processing, health and aged care, transport and logistics, education and tourism,” the statement said.
Portfolio Councillor for Economic Development and Mayor Tracy Dobie said that the formulation of this strategy “highlights council’s commitment to the economic growth and job opportunities for the entire region”.
“Council is striving for more investment, more jobs, more visitors and more residents,” Cr Dobie said.
“Assisting existing businesses to expand and attracting new businesses to come into our area is a key function for council’s Economic Development Department.”
The Draft Strategy will be up on the SDRC website in the coming days.
Community members, businesses and organisations can are invited to send written submissions to email@example.com.
Doggone, prepare for New Year’s Eve
While New Year’s Eve is one of the most exciting nights of the year for humans, it can be one of the most stressful nights for our pets.
Dog’s Queensland is reminding dog owners to plan ahead this New Year’s Eve to ensure pets and people are ready for the celebrations.
General Manager Rob Harrison said the cause of the most distress for pets is loud noises.
“Fireworks, loud music and crowds of people are the main culprits that cause dogs stress and anxiety on New Year’s Eve,” he said.
“Not surprisingly, noise phobia is very common in dogs as they can hear four times as well as humans and so New Year’s Eve can be a dog’s worst nightmare.
“Loud noises like fireworks will often prompt dogs try to run from the noise and escape, thus leading to extremely dangerous situations such as dogs running in front of cars or becoming stuck in an unusual or tight hiding space.
“Those that don’t escape can injure themselves, particularly their paws, as they attempt to get away.
“This year, we are calling on all dog owners to be prepared and plan first for their dog and then for themselves.”
Other hazards to be aware of on New Year’s Eve include food, drink or decorations left lying around which dogs can consume, visitors forgetting to close doors or lock gates as they leave, or children who aren’t familiar with appropriate behaviour towards dogs.