Friday, September 03, 2021

Un-co-operative Muslims cause quarantine problems in Qld.

Muslims think they are better than us

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said the Australian International Islamic College at Carrara was closed after it appeared a family of five returned to Queensland from Melbourne.

Ms D'Ath told parliament early indications were the family evaded detection by travelling to the Gold Coast via an inland route.

She said the family was in hotel quarantine but is "refusing to be tested and so far is not cooperating with authorities".

The school has been closed and students sent home. "This is a difficult situation," Ms D'Ath said.

The Carrara campus of the Australian International Islamic College has closed after a family of five linked to the school ­– which has about 200 students - appeared to have recently returned to Queensland from Melbourne.

Principal Christine Harman told parents she had been working closely with Queensland Health on the emerging situation. “Our College became aware that members of our Carrara campus community may have returned from a Covid-19 hotspot,” she said.

“Based on our initial inquiries and the early information that we received we were unable to determine whether they had undertaken the mandatory hotel quarantine period of the manner by which they entered the state

“As a result, we immediately took proactive and precautionary steps to safeguard our school community and contacted the appropriate authorities to investigate our concerns.”

Ms Harman went on to “reassure all families” that the school was not currently dealing with a confirmed Covid-19 case, “but rather a potential quarantine or border entry issue”.

Earlier Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called for the family, which has been forced into quarantine, to "cooperate with authorities".


University rankings again

Australia has maintained six universities in the world top 100 with Melbourne University the top local contender, and Australian National University and the University of Queensland tying for second position.

Monash and Queensland University both lifted their positions, pushing Sydney University down the ranking by seven places in the 2022 Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings.

More than one-third of Australia’s 37 ranked universities improved their standing since last year, while just seven lost ground.

Times Higher Education’s chief knowledge officer, Phil Baty, said the full effects of the pandemic on Australian higher education, which has probably been hit worse than most other nations due to the impact of closed borders and the drying up of international student revenue, would take some time to filter through.

“The knock-on effects of reduced revenues could be seen for years,” Mr Baty said.

However, Australian vice-chancellors downplayed the importance of the ranking with Duncan Maskell, vice-chancellor of the University of Melbourne, saying only that he was “content” with his institution’s performance in this year’s ranking.

“I am more proud of the fact that, despite the very serious challenges of the past 12 months, the university has continued to perform at an incredibly high level in the things that really matter: educating our students and doing excellent research that makes a difference in the world,” Professor Maskell said.

Brian Schmidt, vice-chancellor of Australian National University, noted that rankings were not “what drives our mission as a university”.

We exist to serve the nation and all Australians, as well as our region and the wider world, through truly transformational research and teaching,”

The University of Queensland said it was “an exceptional result” and that the institution’s “ambitious” agenda in engaging with industry partners as part of the story behind its rise.

Western Sydney University leapfrogged seven local rivals and broke into the global top 250 for the first time.

The top five universities globally were: Oxford, Stanford, Harvard, California Institute of Technology and Massachussetts Institute of Technology. Cambridge was the only other non-US university in the top 10.


Strawberry farmers' issue SOS as prices below cost of production force them to spray out fields

Fields of beautiful ripe fruit are being killed off in Queensland as the price of strawberries drops below the cost of production.

Some growers have started spraying out blocks four to six weeks ahead of schedule, slammed by the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on sales in New South Wales and Victoria.

Queensland Strawberry Growers' Association president Adrian Schultz estimated that demand was down as much as 50 per cent as Queensland farmers enter the usual peak of their growing season.

"They're a touch-and-feel product. People like to pick them up and look at them and so we need that foot traffic. We need people going through the major stores, fruit and veggie shops," Mr Schultz said.

"Not having restaurants, cafes, bakeries, cake shops as outlets is also having a pretty massive impact."

Queensland growers' average cost of production is estimated to be around $1.30 for 250 grams. Some supermarkets are selling strawberries for $1 a punnet to move their backlog of fruit.

"I'm just hoping that the impact of this [reduced demand] doesn't result in more strawberry farmers going to the wall," Mr Schultz said.

"We can not operate — getting a return of $1 a punnet — and not lose money, so that's why, on our farm, we've decided that we're going to spray out some blocks next week."

Growers have sent out an SOS, pleading with Australians to take advantage of the low prices and buy them by the basketful for healthy snacking and try them oven-roasted with a baked brie or in a spicy strawberry salsa.

"The best thing that people could do to help us at the moment is go and grab a couple of punnets while they're at such a good price," Mr Schultz said.

In 2020, Australia's strawberry production was valued at $435 million, with 82,310 tonnes of fruit grown nationally. Around 42 per cent of of that yield comes from the Sunshine State.

The practice of spraying out crops usually only occurs at the end of the growing season and prevents the spread of disease from rotting fruit.

All spraying meets food safety standards and is not done on fruit that is for consumption.

New South Wales grower Asaf Bar Shalom hopes restrictions will end by the time Berrylicious starts its picking season in mid-October so that customers can visit his greenhouses at Thirlmere.

Many smaller growers are relying on diversification and a "pick your own" offering for survival.

Lillian McMartin has been growing strawberries for 35 years. Four years ago, her family made the decision to reduce their number of strawberry plants from 700,000 to 34,000 and focus on "pick your own".

The family also grows lychees, custard apples, figs and sugarcane on their Bli Bli property that Graham McMartin's parents bought in 1945. Their farm cafe sells award-winning ice cream and sorbet loaded with fresh fruit.

"We started off with jam and we found that wasn't utilising enough fruit. So then we started making the ice cream as well and we do strawberry sundaes and loaded pancakes with fresh strawberries and strawberry sauce. It's very good and very popular," Ms McMartin said.

Visitors are charged $15/kg to pick beautiful, super ripe, red strawberries straight from the field. "People are prepared to pay. They only pick what they want and a lot of them don't like to buy from the supermarket," Ms McMartin said.

Most of the nation's export crop is grown in Western Australia.

Jamie Michael is one of the state's largest strawberry growers, supplying fruit into the domestic, interstate and international markets. He said Western Australia's crop size was reduced by 25 per cent going into this season in anticipation of lower international exports, but the cutback was not enough to buffer producers from reduced prices.

At the peak of his season, Mr Michael stopped sending fruit to markets in New South Wales and Victoria after his agent told him he was "struggling to give them away".

"At the moment, I know there are quite a few Queensland growers who are already spraying out either some or all of their crops and that is around four weeks early for those guys. So, we are hoping that is going to help with the [market] situation on the east coast," Mr Michael said.

"A lot of farms are starting to open for 'pick your own' … the price is fairly low and they can get a good bulk amount of product and make some use of stuff that there is really no point picking."


Kids as young as THREE should be asked which pronoun they want to be called, says NSW government guide

Children as young as three should be asked which pronoun they prefer, a government guide has suggested.

The guide, produced by the NSW Office of the Children's Guardian, was first introduced in a bid to help schools and junior sporting clubs keep kids 'safe' in new environments away from the home.

Gender pronouns refer to people as he/him/his or she/her/hers, while those who see themselves outside of binary gender may prefer to be referred to with 'they/them'.

But critics have warned asking a preschool-aged child about their gender identity could be confusing and detrimental to personal development.

They also believe it could be distressing for young children because it will leave them confused as they haven't yet grasped the concept of gender.

The controversial government publication, titled Empowerment and Participation, was released this year. It states adults and parents looking after children aged between three and eight must never assume gender identities. 'Ask for their preferred pronouns and (then) res­pectfully use them,' the guide reads.

Dr Bella d'Abrera, from the Institute of Public Affairs Foundations of Western Civilisation Program, believes questioning a child's preferred gender pronoun is wildly inappropriate.

'Asking children this question is ridiculous. Three-year-olds have no idea what a pronoun is, let alone which one they would prefer adults to use,' she told the Daily Telegraph.

'As a society, we need to let children be children. They should not be forced to participate in something which is scientifically false, which is that there are more than two genders.'

She added that 'woke bur­eaucrats' should never look to introduce radical gender theories on young children.

A spokesman from the NSW ­Office of the Children's Guardian argued the potential use of pronouns could be beneficial. 'The advice is about being polite and not making assumptions. Knowing how a child prefers to be addressed avoids confusion and establishes trust,' he said.




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