Thursday, May 05, 2016
Australia is closing 17 immigration detention centres
After key details from tonight’s federal budget by Scott Morrison emerged over the past week, government ministers began revealing details in parliament today.
Immigration minister Peter Dutton told parliament this afternoon that the closure of 17 onshore immigration detention centres will be announced in the Budget tonight.
“I’m pleased to announce ahead of the budget tonight that we will close 17 detention centres, resulting in 17 detention centres having been opened by Labor and 17 closed by this government,” he said.
“We have reduced the number of children in detention from 2000 under Labor down to zero. We don’t want to see new boat arrivals and we absolutely are determined that we are not going to see men, women and children drowning at sea ever again in this country.”
The minister did not specify which facilities would close, but Business Insider has been unable to find 17 centres.
The department immigration and border protection lists 10 on its website. The department runs five. Others are run by Serco and offshore, by Broadspectrum.
Australia’s oldest immigration detention sites are the 50-year-old Maribyrnong centre in Melbourne and Sydney’s Villawood detention centre, which are also used for other visa infringements by overseas visitors.
There are other centres in Perth, Christmas Island, Northern and Wickham Point in Darwin, Curtin and Yongah Hill in Western Australia. There are immigration transit accommodation centres in Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide for low-risk detainees and community-based family-style housing for detainees in Perth, Sydney, Port Augusta, Christmas Island and Adelaide.
Two years ago, when the treasurer was immigration minister, Scott Morrison closed four centres – Pontville, Scherger, Port Augusta and Leonora.
The announcement comes as the Turnbull government grapples with the future of 850 refugees and asylum seekers at the Manus Island detention centre, which the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court announced last week was illegal, leading PNG prime minister Lucas O’Neil to announce it would be closed.
The subsequent debate over what to do with the 850 men there — 450 have been declared genuine refugees — has seen the Australian government rule out bringing them to Australia and also turning down an offer by New Zealand to take 150 people, with prime minister Malcolm Turnbull saying it would be “marketing” for people smugglers.
Details emerged today that another refugee on Nauru had set themselves alight and is now in a critical condition in an Australian hospital. The 21-year-old Somali refugee, Hodan Yasin, self-immolated a fortnight after another refugee Omid Masoumali, 23, did and died from his injuries.
The minister has blamed asylum seeker advocates for the incidents, saying they were offering refugees “false hope”.
“I have previously expressed my frustration and anger at advocates and others who are in contact with those in regional processing centres and who are encouraging some of these people to behave in a certain way, believing that that pressure exerted on the Australian Government will see a change in our policy in relation to our border protection measures,” Dutton said.
“We are not going to change those policies, and the advocates, by providing false hope to these people, really [are] to be condemned.”
Electric cars good for Australian miners
Due to the unprecedented interest in electric cars and renewable batteries, lithium miners are developing new projects across the state.
In the middle of iron ore country is one of the greatest discoveries of the sought-after resource, with Pilbara Minerals' Pilgangoora mine set to go into construction later this year.
It is one of 20 companies working to get lithium mining projects up and running in Western Australia.
"We are in essence going to be the world's number one lithium producer," Ken Brinsden, CEO of Pilbara Minerals, told 9NEWS.
The mine has promised hundreds of new jobs for unemployed FIFO workers.
"(There is) excitement in the mining industry. A commodity in demand and as result fantastic opportunities for Western Australia," Mr Brinsden said.
The interest in lithium is being pushed by the sales of electric cars, which currently account for three percent of the motor vehicle market and expected to reach 22 percent of the market by 2025.
Tesla is leading the charge — in a month it has already pre-sold 400,000 of the Model 3 electric car, even though it won't be released until 2018.
"Electric vehicles are coming," Kevin Johnson from Argonaut said.
"There is nothing you can do about it."
Game changing $170,000 melanoma treatment now subsidised by taxpayers
SUSAN Barlow watched her own mother die from a melanoma but has become a two time survivor of the disease herself thanks to a breakthrough new $170,000 treatment that will be subsidised from today.
The 53-year-old grandmother of three had a melanoma removed 25 years ago. But in 2013, while undergoing an operation for appendicitis, doctors found her appendix, lower intestines, liver and lung surrounded by secondary cancer.
“It was surreal, one big nightmare waking up and being told by the surgeon, I thought my life would be shortened,” she says.
Susan’s doctor told her treatments for her advanced cancer were few and far between but he signed her up to a clinical trial for a breakthrough new drug Opdivo, which uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.
At the time of her diagnosis Susan’s daughter was pregnant with twins and she was desperate to live to see her new grandchildren.
Her sister was battling breast cancer and in August last year Susan’s mother was also diagnosed with melanoma and passed away very quickly eight months later.
She was unable to access the same clinical trial used by her daughter.
Susan responded well to the new treatment. “All my tumours have shrunk a fair bit, they’ve put me down as stable, the cancer is not progressing,” she says.
The treatment makes her feel tired, she has lost pigment in her skin which now has white patches and she has had a rash and joint aches and pains.
However, she says she’s feeling good and has had none of the side effects that would have come with chemotherapy such as hair loss and nausea. “This drug has given me a chance to see my new grandkids,” says the Adelaide resident.
Susan says there is no way she could have afforded the $170,000 treatment and she is pleased it is now subsidised. “Other people will get a chance and a hope,” she says.
More than 12,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed each year in Australia and 1600 people die from the disease. The melanoma capital of the world, we have more than 11 times the average global rate of melanoma.
Susan’s doctor Professor Michael Brown who was involved in clinical trials of Obdivo says the medicine is a “game changer”. “The most striking thing is that at one year 73 per cent of patients are alive on Obdivo,” says the specialist from Royal Adelaide Hospital. This compares to just 43 per cent who survived on standard chemotherapy treatment.
“The other striking thing is patients had tumours shrink 40 per cent on Opdivo compared to 17 per cent shrinkage on standard chemotherapy,” he said. And patients whose tumours shrank maintained that shrinkage whereas on standard chemotherapy tumours began to grow again after six months, he said.
Typically only 15 per cent of patients with advanced melanoma survive for five years, a third of patients treated with Opdivo lived at least five years and the trial is still continuing.
“I’ve seen many big tumour masses shrink, it really can be dramatic,” Professor Brown says. Around eight per cent of tumours shrink completely on the drug while one in three have some shrinkage.
The medicine is also useful in lung cancer and treble negative breast cancer but is not yet subsidised for these purposes.
Around 1500 patients with advanced melanoma are expected to benefit from the treatment that is delivered by injection every two weeks.
Laundry detergent pods dangerous to kids
I use these things so I am sad to hear of the harm they cause
Packets of brightly-coloured laundry detergent are hospitalising American children at an alarming rate, according to a new study that deemed them the most dangerous type of household detergent.
Research published in Pediatrics revealed that US medical centres receive over 60,000 calls a year from parents of children who have mistaken neatly-wrapped detergent sachets for candy.
The study found that one child every day is admitted to hospital with laundry detergent exposure, and on average two children die a year after fatally mistaking the detergent for something sweeter.
When broken down, this equates to the US Poison Control Centre receiving a call every 45 minutes with a child suffering the effects of detergent poisoning.
The finding ranks laundry detergent one of the most dangerous household items for kids, with dishwasher detergent – especially those hard tablets with a Jaffa-like ball in them – coming in at a close second.
Ingesting the contents of concentrated laundry detergent carries some pretty serious side effects. After swallowing the liquid, it literally starts to clean your insides, causing burns to the lungs, breathing problems, coma, heart problems and eventually death.
This is because most laundry detergents are extremely alkaline, and cause the pH level in your body to change, potentially damaging every major organ.
Experts are now calling for parents with young children to use traditional bottled detergent, because the risk of packet confusion is simply too high.
"Many families don’t realise how toxic these highly concentrated laundry detergent packets are," says Marcel J Casavant, a chief toxicology doctor who co-authored the study.
"Use traditional laundry detergent when you have young kids in your home. It isn’t worth the risk when there is a safer and effective alternative available."
The trouble with detergent exposure is that parents have extremely little time to react, explains Dr Gary Smith, who also co-authored the study.
"A child only has to put this packet in their mouth and bite down, and as soon as it bursts, game over," Smith told the New York Post.
Smith is now calling for manufacturers to make their products safer for children by making them less appealing to the younger eye.
"Unless this unacceptably high number of exposures declines dramatically, manufacturers need to continue to find ways to make this product and its packaging safer for children."
Here in Australia, it’s estimated that about 50 children are admitted to hospital every week with the symptoms of poisoning.
The primary cause of this is inappropriate prescription or dosage of medicines, with the secondary cause being the consumption of household chemicals like kitchen and laundry powders, capsules and tablets.
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