Koala Search Team Ready For 2020 Bushfire Season


With Australia’s bushfire season fast approaching, a team that specialises in finding koalas in fire-ravaged locations is gearing up for another huge effort.

After last summer’s fires destroyed vast tracts of bushland across eastern Australia, USC’s Detection Dogs for Conservation team spent many days searching for surviving koalas using heat-seeking drones and the now world-famous USC x International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) koala detection dog Bear.

The detection dogs team, which was co-founded in 2015 by USC researchers Associate Professor Celine Frere and Dr Romane Cristescu, searched for koalas across more than 5,000 hectares of land in partnership with IFAW.

Dr Cristescu said the team was now bracing itself for another long summer of scouring scorched bushland.

“While it is unlikely that we will see bushfires to the scale of last year, we are still preparing for multiple fires that can impact many hectares of koala habitat during the next fire season – especially, this year, Queensland has higher than average risk of bushfires,” Dr Cristescu said.

“We expect we might be called upon, with our partners at IFAW, by different wildlife rescue groups, to help them locate koalas – as with drones and dogs we can find many koalas that otherwise can escape the naked human eye. And in places such as QLD and NSW, where populations are already declining, every koala counts.

“Last year we found koalas struggling with and dying from burns, dehydration and malnutrition weeks after the fires had been contained, and we were able to find help for them. That is why we are preparing now for the 2020-2021 season.”


Bear, whose skills last year caught the attention of Hollywood actor Tom Hanks, is one of a team of USC detection dogs.

He has been specially trained to sniff out koalas by the scent of their fur, which enabled the team last fire season to locate more than 100 koalas, many of which needed help and were rescued.

IFAW wildlife campaigner Josey Sharrad said post-fire wildlife rescue was critical to koala survival.

“Bear was our secret weapon during these fires. His ability to smell what we can’t see was crucial to locating survivors,” she said.


“Many of the koalas that were rescued have now been released back into the wild after months of rehabilitation. With over 6,000 koalas perishing in New South Wales alone last bushfire season, every one that we can save counts towards the future survival of the species.”

This work by USC’s Detection Dogs for Conservation and IFAW is supported by Wildcare, Qld Koala Crusaders, AZWH, Friends of the Koalas, Jali Aboriginal Land Council, Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, Two Thumbs Wildlife Trust, Australian National University, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Vets for Compassion and the Native Animal Rescue Group.

08/11/2020 |

Are State COVID Border Closures Legal?


Recent decisions of various State Governments around Australia to close their borders for protection against the spread of COVID infections has been a source of comfort for some, frustration for others and a degree of confusion for practically everybody.


The power by which each State (and Territory) can individually/unilaterally decide who can and cannot enter its area comes from the way the State/Territory and Federal Governments were all set up under the national Constitution for Australia which was passed when Australia first became one unified nation in 1901.

But does anyone have a right of challenge against any State Government boarder closure decision and what powers might the Federal Government have to intervene and sort out disputes between the States should one arise?

Outspoken entrepreneur and sometimes politician, Clive Palmer is currently pressing a legal challenge against the WA border closure claiming the relevant laws are invalid under s.92 of the Commonwealth Constitutional (1901). S.92 says that all trade and commerce between the States must remain “absolutely free”. Previous Court decisions on that section however have held that the relevant law will only be invalid under s.92 if the primary object of the law was to create a commercial advantage to one State over another. Consequently it is hard to see how the Palmer case has any chance of success.

As for the Federal Government, because each of the Sates still retain exclusive power to make laws in relation to public health , on first principles, Canberra has no power to direct a State to either open or close their borders. Theoretically, if matters got out of hand the Federal Government could rely on its national “defence” power under s.51 (vi) of the Constitution to control all people movement anywhere in Australia under a style of martial law but the general view is that civilian unrest and/or an escalation of COVID infections would need to have reached extreme levels before any such power could be legally invoked.

So for the time being we have this peculiar situation where a health issue which is clearly of national importance is left to be managed individually by each State in any way each State sees fit to do.
Consequently, at the risk of stating the obvious, if we want to avoid COVID evolving into a legal/political nightmare we all need to dedicate ourselves to following the advice of our doctors and scientists.

Michael Zande is a Queensland Law Society Accredited Family Law Specialist with over 30 years’ experience in the field. He is the principal at Zande Law Solicitors, Suite 7, Norwinn Centre, 15 Discovery Drive, North Lakes.  To contact Michael for advice, phone 3385 0999.
The information in this article is merely a guide and is not a full explanation of the law.  This firm cannot take responsibility for any action readers take based on this information.  When making decisions that could affect your legal rights, please contact us for professional advice.

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The legality of State Border Closures – It's and interesting question. Article –

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11/09/2020 |

USC Moreton Bay Wins Construction Award


USC’s new state-of-the-art campus at Moreton Bay, which has attracted 1,800 students since opening in February, has just been recognised with a top construction award.

USC-Moreton Bay Campus Petrie

The project team, led by Hansen Yuncken, won the Master Builders Association Award (Brisbane) for an education facility over $10 million at the 2020 Housing and Construction Awards and is now in the running for the Queensland state finals in October.

The three-story, 16,000 square-metre USC Moreton Bay building at Petrie features modern labs, teaching spaces and technology and is Australia’s newest university campus.

USC Chief Operating Officer Dr Scott Snyder said the win recognised the achievement of an exceptional project team, and the completion of a world-class facility that would become a long-standing knowledge and innovation hub for the Moreton Bay region.

“USC Moreton Bay has 1,800 enrolled students and growing, and by 2030 it is expected to cater for 10,000 students across more than 100 study programs,” Dr Snyder said.

“It has everything you’d expect from a modern university, including a 460-seat capacity auditorium, $15 million worth of state-of-the-art technology, nursing simulation and science labs, engineering labs as well as a library, student support facilities, a café and shops.”

Hansen Yuncken Queensland State Manager Greg Baumann said the award was a tribute to how the team worked with USC to deliver such an ambitious project.

“The attention to detail, workmanship and level of quality on this project speak for themselves and these awards are a terrific recognition of the team’s hard work and effort,” Mr Baumann said.

The foundation building is the first stage in a planned 10.5-hectare university precinct that will form the heart of The Mill at Moreton Bay, a vibrant civic, cultural and educational precinct planned by Moreton Bay Regional Council.

It was designed by award-winning architects Hassell Studios.

04/08/2020 |

Winterising Your Pool – What Does It Mean?


Pool Winterising essentially involves the reduction in chlorination and water filtration of your pool over the cooler months, reducing energy and chemical cost, while maintaining pool water health.

With all of us spending more time at home due to COVID-19, and potentially exercising less frequently, maintaining a swimmable pool over winter is more important than ever.



Your pool is generally used less frequently in Winter and water chlorination is not as readily reduced by the sun, so your pool can be maintained with considerably less power and chemical consumption, and therefore less cost.

Simply turning off your pool equipment, neglecting debris removal and allowing the water to turn green, can lead to costly problems when you decide to switch everything back on come Spring. With little to no use, pool equipment can become failure prone, and algae build up can permanently damage pool covers and pool equipment and make a return to healthy ph balance much more difficult.

Winterisation Treatment

The addition of a copper based algaecide to your pool care program in winter will allow you to somewhat reduce chlorination and filtration, and help prevent your pool from turning green. If you have a pool blanket this will reduce your need for chlorination and filtration even further.

The addition of an algaecide is an insurance that will help your pool return to normal ph balance faster, in times of less use and potentially less water management.

Before applying an algaecide, clean your filter and basket, follow the application instructions and run your filter as normal for several days, after which chlorine levels and filtration may be reduced by around a third. Monitor the ph balance of your pool and adjust accordingly.

An algaecide can be a good preventative measure all year round, in case of equipment failure, power outage or forgetting to switch on filtration, but is most important in Winter, given that we are spending much less time outside and are more likely to have periods of inactive filtration.

If your pool is prone to neglect over winter, now may be a good time to discuss Winterising your pool with your local pool professionals or alternatively, arrange a managed pool maintenance program.

Atlantis Pool Shop are a family owned and operated business, located at 4/14 Burke Crescent North Lakes, Qld.

Ph: 07 3491 9700

19/05/2020 |

Unveiling The New Moreton Bay Regional Council


Majority Clearout At MBRC As New Council Takes Office

On Wednesday 22nd April our new Mayor and 12 Local Councillors officially took office with seven of the thirteen Council positions having new representation.    

The newly elected Mayor and Councillors could not meet as a group due to social distancing requirements.

Councillors took the Declaration of Office in front of CEO Greg Chemello, on a rotation spaced 15 minutes apart.

The new Moreton Bay Regional Council is:

(Newly elected representatives highlighted)

Mayor: Peter Flannery

Division 1: Brooke Savige

Division 2: Mark Booth

Division 3: Adam Hain

Division 4: Jodie Shipway

Division 5: Sandra Ruck

Division 6: Karl Winchester

Division 7: Denise Sims

Division 8: Mick Gillam

Division 9: Cath Tonks

Division 10: Matt Constance

Division 11: Darren Grimwade

Division 12: Tony Latter


“This is an important day for our region and I congratulate the councillors on being elected to lead our community at a time when leadership is needed most,” Mayor Flannery said.

“Having met with all our councillors to discuss their priorities and ideas for our region, I’m pleased that they are collectively focussed on the immediate need for financial support and economic recovery, as our region fights to come back from coronavirus.

“I’m very pleased to have six returning councillors bringing their experience back to the chamber, and six new councillors bringing fresh ideas with them.

“I’d particularly like to welcome our three new female Councillors – Jodie Shipway (Div 4), Sandra Ruck (Div 5) and Cath Tonks (Div 9) – increasing female representation in our team of 12 up to five alongside Brooke Savige (Div 1) and Denise Sims (Div 7).

“I also want to thank the community for putting their faith in me to lead through this uncertain time.

“When we started this campaign, we didn’t know we’d be hit with the global pandemic that is COVID-19. So, locals have certainly made the right choice in electing an experienced councillor and a safe set of hands. That’s critically important at an uncertain time like this.

“I promise locals that my door and the door of every councillor you have elected will always be open to people who have their hearts in this community and have ideas on how we can get through this challenging time together.”

“We may be living in uncertain times and no one knows what the world will look like on the other side, but between the experience of our returning councillors and the fresh ideas of our new councillors, I think we already have the foundations for success.

“My door will always be open to anyone who has ideas on how we can do things differently here in Moreton Bay Region.”

Mayor Flannery said that the community had to be at the heart of every economic, strategic, and stimulus decision they make in the Chamber and he has committed to leading an open and accountable Council that’s united in its focus on economic recovery.

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07/05/2020 |
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