Ekka 2018

Family price drops, new pavilions, new competitions, new attractions, more tech, and more at night

There is no better tagline for Ekka 2018 than "back to the future" with this year not only dropping entry price but adding more modern entertainment, while doubling down on the show's traditional roots.
The Ekka started as humble agricultural show in 1876 and hasn't shied away from its past. The animals are an ever-popular aspect of the show. There is quite literally nowhere else in Brisbane where you can see 10,000 animals at once. As you may well be aware, RNA’s Brisbane Showground have been undergoing a regeneration project which includes the CRT Pavilion - a new home for large and small breeds during the show.
This year, the ground and first floor will be home to beef and dairy cattle, poultry and dairy goats during the 10 days in August– adding an extra two football fields of space where you can see animals at the show.
“It is the only building of its kind in the world and has been specially designed to house animals during Ekka and act as an events space and car park facility outside of show – with all revenue invested back into the Ekka,” said RNA Chief Executive Brendan Christou said of the new facility.
There's also a new Woodchop Arena, located at the Bowen Bridge Road end of Sideshow Alley, highlighting the popular and traditional attraction by increasing its footprint 50% in the all-weather indoor space.
Also new to this year's Ekka are a bunch of competitions, including the Dagwood Dog Eating Competition. Australia's No.1 Ranked Pro Competitive Eater and social media star ‘Hulk Smash Food’ (Cal Stubbs) will take on the challenge. Fancy yourself as a cracking Karaoker? There’s i-Sing Karaoke where performers will compete karaoke style in the Queensland state and national finals of the i-Sing Australia competition. Or, if you're more the footloose kind, a boot-scooting Line Dancing Hoedown featuring social dancing, competition demonstrations, beginner workshops and the inaugural Queensland Club Challenge.
The hilarious Heritage Bank Racing Pigs return. Last seen at Ekka in 2015, the popular little piggies will fly through the sky, dive into a pool of water and race each other around a track.
Ekka Fashion returns, this year to a whimsically themed wonderland theme called Enchanted Winter. 70% of the designers are new and 26 women’s and menswear designers showcasing the natural materials of cotton, wool, silk and leather will strut their wares in 40 shows over the 10 days.
There's a brand new technology hub located in the Technology Precinct on the upper floor of the Royal International Convention Centre. The hub will showcase the latest in virtual reality technology where Ekka visitors can walk in the footsteps of Aboriginal people from the 1770s or throw VR snowballs at each other. You'll also be able to fly micro-drones around an obstacle course in a netted area. Australia’s first 5G Connected Car will be there alongside coding activities for kids
One of the greatest modern additions to the show - Ekka Nights - returns with more new excitement than you can fire 2.5 tonnes of fireworks at. Running 6-8pm every night, Ekka Nights kicks off with the national anthem will super star Adam Brand, and then a special fireworks for the littlies at 6.05pm. After that, the night continues ablaze with the motor mayhem of Bronco vs Cowboy Lowd V8 UTE precision driving and race, monster trucks, daring FMX riders, and a wild colonial wagon chase.
The night finishes with a spectacular fireworks and light display. This year's nightly finale will feature an Ekka record breaking 150 firing points in a 360 design. There will be a giant space shuttle blasting off and pyrotechnics shooting out of remote controlled cars as they circle the Main Arena at more than 100kph. If that’s not enough, Ekka Nights will also feature a car powered by a jet engine shooting 30ft flames! Ekka Nights is actually incredible value if you take advantage of the Twilight Pass costing just $20 for entry after 6pm.

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Moreton Bay Uni Construction officially underway

USC Moreton Bay is on track to open for Semester 1, 2020

Construction of the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Petrie Campus is gaining momentum with the opening of the state of the art precinct now only 18 months away.
Last Wednesday USC’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill today hosted a commencement ceremony at the site of the campus expected to have a student population of 10,000 by 2030.
Federal Member for Dickson Peter Dutton, Federal Member for Petrie Luke Howarth and Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham attended the ceremony to mark the start of construction of stage 1 of the newcampus – a three-storey foundation building with more than 16,000 square metres of floor space – will soon take shape on land adjacent the Petrie railway station.
Professor Hill praised each of the dignitaries for the significant roles they have played in enabling USC Moreton Bay, which will bring unprecedented access to tertiary education for residents of the region.
“Moreton Bay is one of Queensland’s fastest growing regions, but is the only region of its size in Australia without its own full-service university campus,” he said.
“USC Moreton Bay represents an exciting opportunity to harness the region’s potential, and significantly boost educational opportunities for local residents.”
Professor Hill said USC already had a strong connection with Moreton Bay, with almost 1,000 new students from the region starting at the University’s campuses on the Sunshine Coast and Caboolture in Semester 1 this year
He said USC Moreton Bay’s initial undergraduate, postgraduate, and research programs would have an employment focus to ensure benefits flow quickly to the wider community.
“As the Caboolture and Moreton Bay campuses grow, we will work closely with local schools, industries and community groups to ensure we deliver study options that meet the region’s needs, and prepare graduates for the opportunities for a changing economy,” he said.
The Minister said it was great to see construction of this important project underway.
“In just over 18 months this site will be a thriving and bustling university precinct,” Mr Dutton said.

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Petition to save local WW1 Memorial Tree

 

Anzac Memorial Avenue, widely known as Anzac Avenue, was opened in 1925 and constructed by returned servicemen, employing many after retunring from war.
It was built to connect Petrie with the burgeoning seaside town of Redcliffe. Approximately 18 kilometres in length, Anzac Memorial Avenue travels through Kallangur, Murrumba Downs and Mango Hill to Deception Bay Road at Rothwell, through Kippa Ring and to it's destination at Redcliffe Parade, Redcliffe.
The road itself has a major point of significance as the longest WWI memorial avenue in Queensland. The Avenue was planted with trees as a memorial to all the soldiers and sailors who lost their lives during the war and to commemorate 'the deeds of valour performed by the heroes who went from our state'.
By mid-1927, 1000 trees had been planted along the stretch.
Today of course, some of the older trees have not survived progress (particularly road widening). However, the Cocos palms planted at Petrie by Governor Nathan in 1925 and the Hoop Pine planted in Redcliffe by Lord Stonehaven in 1926 still remain and the memorial aspect of road has been maintained by subsequent plantings throughout the years.
Now, one of these trees is under threat of removal by a planned development and there is a groundswell of public action over the fate of one particular tree on the corner on the corner of Anzac Avenue and Ferrier Street, Kallangur, just across the highway.
While some online sources suggest the tree in question was part of the original planting, unfortunately records relating to the avenue, once held by the RACQ and Main Roads Department, no longer exist to confirm it.
What's not disputed and on public record is that the parks, gardens, trees of the Anzac Avenue Memorial were registered as State Heritage in February 2009 under the category February "Tree Groups".
As we went to press, the Messenger was unable to confirm any of claims made on the petition page below as all requests for comment from parties involved in the planned development went unmet. However, the change.org petition had been signed by 1489 community members.
We encourage you to go online and have a read at www.change.org/p/save-our-local-anzac-memorial-tree
Pictured: The memorial plaque. Picture via the Queensland Government Heritage register.

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Australia's Best cars Announced

As car buyers are urged to be cautious buying during EOFYS

You've heard it before, if it sounds to be good to be true, it probably is. While there's no doubt you can snag a bargain during the End of Financial Year Sales, there's still a risk of being ripped off.
RACQ spokesperson Clare Hunter said buyers need to keep wits about them, just like any other time of year.
"We often see rock bottom prices around June, but make sure you’re not being taken for a ride,” Ms Hunter said.
“In some cases, these are just everyday prices dressed up EOFYS deals to fool unsuspecting buyers.
“If the price seems too good to be true, there’s every chance new stock is about to come into the showroom and what you’re being offered will soon be outdated.
“If you want a 2018 model for example, double check the date of manufacture, and specify this in the sale contract if need be.”
Ms Hunter reminded drivers the cost of owning a car would continue once they left the dealership with registration, insurance, servicing, repayments and of course fuel.
Ms Hunter said while it was easy to fall for a cheap deal, motorists needed to look at how much the car would cost them four or five years down the track.
“Buying a car should be a considered, well-thought-out decision. Do your sums, know your budget and make sure you don’t get talked into buying something you’re not going to be able to afford in the long run.”
Hot on the heals of the EOFYS comes the announcement of Australia's best cars in various categories, as tested by the various motoring bodies around the country
The groups, including RACQ and it's interstate equivalents put vehicles through vigorous tests in three categories including value for money, design and function (including safety) and on-road performance.
This year 160 cars were tested and 15 cars were announced as leading the field last week.

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Our Region's Golden era

Everything's coming up Moreton Bay as record tourist numbers reveal boon for economy

A record 3.6 million visitors travelled to the Moreton Bay Region last year, injecting close to $1 billion into the local economy.
Moreton Bay Regional Council Economic Development and Tourism Spokesperson Councillor Peter Flannery unveiled the latest tourism figures compiled by the region’s destination marketing organisation, Moreton Bay Region Industry & Tourism, and EarthCheck, the world’s leading scientific benchmarking, certification and advisory group for travel and tourism.
“The data shows the number of visitors coming to our region each year has increased by a whopping 24 per cent since 2015 to 3.6 million people per annum,” Cr Flannery said.
“To put that into perspective, that’s equivalent to the city of Berlin or the country of Puerto Rico now visiting the region every year.
“Those visitors in turn spent close to $1 billion on local tourism operators, businesses and cafes, supporting more than 13,000 jobs.
The approximately $1 billion spend, is an increase of 30 per cent in just three years, and bucks the trend of other regions in South-East which have experienced a drop in tourism expenditure."

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National award wage increase

Australian award workers will receive a pay rise of $24.30 a week beginning in July but not everyone is happy

Last Friday (June 1, 2018) the Fair Work Commission announced a lift to the national minimum wage and award rates of pay by 3.5 per cent. This increase applies to all employees whose employers get their pay rates from the national minimum wage or any modern award wage and all employees who aren’t covered by an award or agreement.
On behalf of Queensland workers Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace welcomed the news.
“This will provide a much-needed real wage increase for almost half a million low-paid private sector workers in Queensland,” she said.
“These are workers who do not enjoy the benefits of bargaining and they rely on this decision for an annual pay increase to help make ends meet."
The unions had argued for a higher increase but acknowledged the 3.5% increase, which equates to $24.32 per week, was a step in the right direction but will still leave some full-time workers struggling.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is campaigning for the restoration of a living wage, stating that the minimum wage should not leave people in poverty, that it should provide a comfortable life for low-paid workers and underpin our labour market.

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Queensland to strengthen security measures

With futuristic biometric face matching tech

Queensland last week became the first state to amend legislation to allow police access to shared cutting-edge biometric face matching services.
Police Minister Mark Ryan said the Police and Other Legislation (Identity and Biometric Capability) Amendment Bill 2018 had been passed to strengthen security measures and improve Queenslanders’ safety in time for the biggest event ever held in this State – the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“This Bill comes off the back of a COAG agreement between the Federal Government and all states and territories to allow law enforcement agencies in all jurisdictions to share access to passport, visa, citizenship and driver’s licence images,” Mr Ryan said.
“This is a vital investigative tool that will allow police to stay one step ahead of terrorists and criminals involved in identity fraud, with identity crime impacting one in 20 Australians every year and the annual cost to the Australian community estimated to be $2.2 billion.
“Image matching services will also help identify disaster victims."
“Queensland and other jurisdictions already share identity information on a manual and ad hoc basis, but the identity matching services will make it simpler and faster for law enforcement and security agencies to share information."

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Bullying

How to deal with this complex issue

More than 817,000 young Queenslanders returned to school recently. Sadly, it's not always an exciting for our youngest. For victims of bullying, inside and outside of school, it can be a daunting return.
Bullying is a complex issue that can take many forms and as we've seen in the media in recent years, can have tragic circumstances.
While parents may feel it's an issue they have to tackle, and the student themselves feel helpless, recent bullying research shows the need for a greater, national, response to tackle this complex issue.

How should we, as parents and carers respond?

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