Friday, March 17, 2023

Native Title cuts Qld beach off from locals

This is pretty obnoxious

A small strip of land in sleepy Burrum Heads has ignited debate over native title and residents’ access to a public beach, which has sparked warnings from an MP it could lead to “more challenges across the country”.

The Butchulla people were granted almost 100ha of native title land on the Fraser Coast in December 2019, including 17ha of which is exclusive use.

One small section of this exclusive-use section stretches along a foreshore in front of Burrum Heads residents’ homes and includes a car park which was previously used by people to access the beach.

The car park was recently blocked off with logs, while residents have complained that people are now being chased off this land and feel unsafe crossing the strip to the beach, which remains public.

Police were called to at least one incident which took place on Australia Day, but a Queensland Police Service spokeswoman said it was “verbal in nature” and no offences were found to have been committed.

Griffith Law School associate professor Kate Galloway said while it was understandable the residents may feel disappointed, the law was clear that when an exclusive-use determination was made the native title holders had the property rights.

She said it was possible to negotiate a land use agreement with the traditional owners.

The state Resources Department confirmed that access to the land was not permitted without agreement of native title holders and that it was working on the situation with the council and Butchulla Native Title Aboriginal Corporation.

One resident, who declined to be named, said people did not have an issue with the native title being granted, but wanted to access the beach as they had for decades. “People used to walk along the beach, but they’re not game to do it now,” he said.

Hinkler MP Keith Pitt said something needed to be sorted out before the situation escalated further. “This is not a remote piece of land. This is almost 100ha near populated areas used by all Australians for a long period of time and that should be able to continue,” he said.

“I think there’s going to be more of these types of challenges across the country, not less, into the future.”

Prof Galloway said native title was the same as any other property right, and that right had been determined by the court.

“Previously, it appears that the residents have assumed that they hold a substantive right relating to the land. The court now says that they do not have this right,” she said.

“The same situation could occur regardless of the type of property right of the residents’ neighbour, whether it was native title, Crown land, or freehold.”

“It is understandable that residents who believed that they held an access right would feel disappointed by this outcome. However when it is put in perspective, and assuming that they did not in fact have such a right, the outcome is more understandable.”

The Butchulla Native Title Aboriginal Corporation were contacted but declined to comment.


Don’t axe QoVax: A priceless biobank with the answers to long Covid is threatened with destruction

Rebecca Weisser

Why has the Queensland health department withdrawn funding for its award-winning QoVax research program studying the safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines?

Only last August, Queensland’s Health Minister, Yvette D’Ath, and the chief operating officer of Queensland Health, Dr David Rosengren, celebrated the work of the QoVax team, led by Professor Janet Davies, which was a highly commended finalist in the Pursuing Innovation category at the 2022 Queensland Health Awards for Excellence.

The prize was no surprise. The program is the creation of 27 highly-skilled researchers, health professionals and administrative service staff with over fifty research, digital, scientific, and clinical skillsets such as laboratory scientists, nurses, solution and enterprise architects, pathologists, molecular and computational biologists, bioinformatician data scientists and infectious disease specialists. They were supported by multiple partners including twelve health service agencies, five universities, and two private pathology services

QoVax was also strongly supported by Queenslanders, rapidly enrolling more than 10,000 participants, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, from 85 per cent of postcodes across the state including communities in regional and Far North Queensland of whom more than 2 per cent identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

That level of support didn’t just happen. People from the QoVax team like Josh, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health worker, and Janette, a registered nurse from Cairns, met with elders and First Nation communities in remote locations. They were accompanied by the Royal Flying Doctors Service who transported blood samples back to the laboratory in Cairns for testing.

Countries like Australia and New Zealand were uniquely placed to investigate vaccine efficacy because their diverse population was, until late in the pandemic, relatively free of the Covid-19 virus. Full marks to Queensland, and Professor Davies, for seizing the initiative. She was conscious from the outset that the Covid vaccine rollout was the largest coordinated vaccination program that had ever been undertaken and she wanted to record and evaluate the experience of Queenslanders.

The QoVax team didn’t just collect the standard data. Participants provided information on environmental and social determinants of health and biospecimens of blood and saliva that have been used to derive genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic datasets that will shed light on how the novel vaccines impact the immune system.

The secure digitally integrated biobank has 120,000 biospecimens: serum, saliva and peripheral blood mononuclear cells, in three -80 degrees Celsius freezers and three liquid nitrogen dewars. The linked data repository has four million linked data points and more than 500 whole genomes.

In addition, the biobank has access to real-time electronic medical records. With 70 per cent of hospitals in Queensland storing medical records electronically, the study was intended to allow long-term digital surveillance of health outcomes related to Covid-19 vaccinations, and intersections between vaccine responses and Sars-CoV-2 infection.

Studying immune responses is a vital part of assessing vaccines and Davies’ work is consistent with similar studies completed on other vaccines but her research is particularly important because two new vaccine delivery platforms were used – modified messenger RNA and viral vector DNA. The multiomic datasets that her team has collected will be critical to deciphering the impact of these platforms on the DNA, RNA and proteins synthesis of the human immune system. This is particularly important because the original trials of these vaccines were meant to last two years but the placebo group was vaccinated after only two months. As a result, there is a shortage of rigorous data adding even more importance to Davies’ research which includes an unvaccinated cohort. The information will allow researchers not just to better understand how the vaccines work but why vaccinated or unvaccinated people get repeat infections, long Covid, severe Covid or indeed die of Covid.

The study and the biobank have enormous international significance. The main comparable study is the UK Biobank but that country had very different early experience with high Covid caseloads prior to the rollout of vaccines.

Already the QoVax team has presented early findings at five conferences. The team was working on next steps to make the QoVax biobank and data repository accessible. The process had begun to scope and develop a user interface through collaborative workshops with researchers and health professionals across Australia.

Yet instead of answering vital questions about why Australia, one of the most highly vaccinated countries in the world, has such high excess mortality, and so many cases of long Covid in vaccinated people, Professor Davies is being forced to close down the QoVax program and sack her staff.

Worse still, the biobank, which should be a resource for the world, is threatened with destruction. Its precious resources will be destroyed in twelve months to save a trivial sum of money. The whole project has cost only $20 million.

Australia usually punches above its weight in medical research with eight Nobel prizes for physiology and medicine. Unfortunately, it also has a reputation for treating its scientists with contempt. Nobel laureates Barry Marshall and Robin Warren were ostracised in Australia for several decades after their amazing discovery of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and its role in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease by a ‘gastric mafia’, an entrenched coterie of established scientists who refused to accept their findings because the therapeutic implications dented their vested interests.

The value of this data collected by QoVax is incalculable. It is a national scandal that it is not properly resourced. Every Queenslander involved in the project needs to speak up, as does every vaccinated person who has suffered from long Covid, or repeated Covid infections, or has been hospitalised with Covid, as well as every person that has suffered a vaccine injury or death and every person subjected to a vaccine mandate (when the vaccines did not stop transmission of the virus).

All Australians deserve answers to the questions these vaccines have raised. The best chance at finding those answers lies in the samples stored in the QoVax biobank. Brainless bean counters and bureaucrats and those with a vested interest in not answering those questions must not be allowed to destroy it.


Australia has already achieved net zero. What climate crisis?

Australia has more than reached net zero emissions, and we are in surplus, argues the nation’s leading climate scientist.

So why is the Albanese government pouring billions into going even further with this agenda, and in the process wrecking lives by replacing one of the cheapest and most reliable electricity systems in the world with one of the most expensive and least reliable?

And with a leading Scandinavian car ferry line banning electric cars for safety reasons, why is the NSW Liberal National party government pushing apartment buildings into making it easier to charge EV’s when it should be banning such dangerous death traps from all car parks?

Fortunately, there are those who stand out against this. Prominent among these is the nation’s best-known geologist, the highly credentialled Professor Emeritus Ian Plimer.

Notwithstanding the frequent calls by politicians to ‘follow the science’, few consult or even read Plimer just as few media outlets publish or broadcast him.

However, he recently gave an extended interview, ‘What climate crisis?’, available free on demand on ADH TV

Plimer challenges the elites’ determination to move to net-zero emissions. Even if the discredited global warming theory were true, he says net zero is unnecessary for Australia.

He has come to the startling conclusion that Australia has already achieved net zero. He explains that when we burn coal and petroleum products and release CO2 into the atmosphere, this is sequestered into grasslands, crops and forests and dissolved in the coastal sea.

Incidentally, never fall for yet another linguistic trick from the Orwellian Minitruth, the Ministry of Truth, and call CO2 ‘carbon’. That’s done to suggest something unclean. Similarly, for reasons explained previously, never ever use ‘gender’ when you mean ‘sex’.

Returning to the sequestration of CO2, this occurs during photosynthesis, the process by which a plant uses CO2 from the air and water with energy from the light of the sun to produce its own food and what we need, oxygen.

Now, unlike politicians, plants do not distinguish between the 3 per cent of CO2 which is man-made and the rest. To a plant, it’s all food and not a pollutant, the silliest claim the elites could make .

Since Australia is lucky enough to be a continent with very few people, says Plimer, we absorb far more CO2 than we need.

Far from net zero, we are in a massive surplus, absorbing ten times our CO2 emissions. To achieve what we already have, our politicians are wasting billions and billions.

Plimer argues we should become the centre of every CO2 emitting industry in the world. After all, if a politician is under the delusion that CO2 is a pollutant and that it’s going to change the climate, he or she should campaign to locate heavy industry, smelting, metal manufacturing, in Australia.

Plimer’s thinking is impeccable. Why is he being silenced? Why don’t the global warmists try to prove this eminent scientist wrong? Is it because they cannot?

Asked what he would do if he were in power, he says he would stop subsidies and get rid of ‘foolish policies’ that as soon as you have electricity from wind or the sun, coal-fired power stations are to be blown up.

Rejecting claims about fossil fuel, he’d repeal legislation banning nuclear energy. Wholesale electricity contracts would be for the life of a nuclear power station, 80 or 100 years, to protect investors from politicians trying to stop them from providing cheap and reliable electricity ‘24/7, 365 days a year’.

Professor Plimer is right. What climate crisis indeed?


Qld youth justice laws pass amid heated debate in Parliament

Better than nothing

Queensland’s new youth justice laws aimed at boosting community safety in the wake of the teen crime crisis have passed after days of heated debate.

The new laws, announced by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk following the tragic death of Moreton Bay mother Emma Lovell, have been criticised by some advocates as not going far enough, while others condemned them as a knee-jerk reaction that will see vulnerable kids end up in jail.

Legislative changes included breach of bail being applied to children, increasing the maximum penalty for stealing a car from seven to 10 years, plus a more severe penalty of 14 years if the offence is committed at night or involves violence.

However, restrictions to maximum allowed penalties for juveniles mean it would be unlikely children would ever receive such a jail term – a point seized on by the LNP.

It also included increased penalties for criminals who boast about their crimes on social media, and amendments to the Youth Justice Act requiring courts to take into account previous bail history and criminal activity.

This week the Premier also announced a review into the assistance offered to victims of crime following a push by Labor MP Jonty Bush.

Despite voting in support of the laws, the LNP said immediately afterwards the measures would have little impact on the youth crime crisis.

“The most significant measure to make it through this week was the one thing that the Palaszczuk Labor Government fought against for two years – breach of bail,” LNP police spokesman Dale Last said.

“The LNP’s breach of bail policy has been adopted word for word by the Palaszczuk Labor Government and (Thursday) became law.

“It is the firm view of the LNP Opposition that detention as a last resort must be removed from the Youth Justice Act, to work hand-in-hand with breach of bail. The Palaszczuk Labor Government chose not to support that in Parliament.”

Key stakeholders and advocates had also been critical of the process, arguing there was not enough time for submissions and public consultation.

Police Minister Mark Ryan has defended the state’s new justice measures, saying increasing the seriousness of a crime – like stealing a car at night – would mean the young offender could dealt with in the District Court rather than the Magistrates’ Court, meaning the sentence imposed would be higher.

Since Ms Palaszczuk made the December announcement, other deaths allegedly at the hands of youths have shocked Queenslanders.

Toowoomba pensioner Robert Brown, 75, died after being allegedly attacked by four teens while waiting for a taxi at the city’s Grand Central Shopping Centre, while Uber driver Scott Cabrie was allegedly killed by his teenage passengers on the Fraser Coast during an attempted robbery.

The state government had conceded its new youth crime measures were a breach of human rights, but had pushed through with the laws by overriding protections.

Greens MP Michael Berkman, in a fiery spray against the government on Thursday, said Labor had “started a race to the bottom they cannot win” as he slammed them for “copying” the LNP’s homework.




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