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Quality news, views and analysis of issues that affect and inform us in the Douglas Shire.

NEWS IN 5 / Monday October 18 2021

IN BRIEF / The latest news affecting the Douglas Shire

Police Continue Search for Missing Spear Fisherman near Sudbury Reef

THE search effort for a local spear fisherman missing near Sudbury Reef near Fitzroy island continues today.

The 26 year old man became separated from his 56 year old fishing companion during a dive, failing to return to the boat around 4.15pm on Saturday afternoon.

An aerial and surface search, including four helicopters and numerous vessels commenced early this morning.

Police divers arrived from Brisbane yesterday and searched the surrounding area while Water Police Vessel, the Perry Irwin, remained onsite overnight.

Lights, Camera, Action for New FNQ Film Studio

THE former Bunnings building at the corner of Fearnley and Spence Streets in Cairns will be the new site for Screen Queensland’s new Far North Queensland film and TV studio. Construction is set to commence early next year. The new site will create an ideal space for local television, film and multimedia producers and crews, a fabulous drawcard for interstate and international productions choosing the iconic Far North as a film destination.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said “this new studio for the North also creates a state-wide network of world-class facilities with Screen Queensland Studios in Brisbane and Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, giving producers yet another reason to choose Queensland.”

Far North Queensland Screen Champion, Speaker of the Queensland Parliament and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said he was delighted to see the project progress to the next stage.

Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich reports that “recent productions for the region include the Queensland-made hit movie This Little Love of Mine, which rated number one on Netflix in the UK, and Network Ten series Dive Club, which filmed in Port Douglas and released to international audiences on Netflix recently,” Ms Munnich said.

“The Far North is home to expert local screen businesses such as Lone Star Productions, the team behind the NITV and SBS food and travel program Strait to the Plate, and cinematographers BioPixel and BioQuest who worked on David Attenborough’s Life In Colour.

“Currently in production at Mission Beach in FNQ is Screen Queensland-supported Irreverent – Matchbox Pictures’ drama series for Universal Studios Group about a criminal who poses as the new church reverend in a small reef town.”

Once completed the studio complex will house a sound stage and support facilities including production offices, construction, wardrobe, and hair and makeup departments, along with an events space and permanent creative tenancy opportunities. The new facility is estimated to be operational by mid-2022.

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Local Highway Safety Works Completed

KEY safety treatments along the Captain Cook Highway have been completed between Port Douglas and Mossman. 

Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said the $2.4 million project saw three key intersections upgraded. 

“Drivers will notice the addition of turning lanes at Heritage Lane, Maxwell Street North and Mossman Motel Holiday Villas entrance. 

“This will help improve traffic flow through the area and protect those who are turning off the Captain Cook Highway.” 

Ms Lui said the project also delivered a spate of improvements on the Captain Cook Highway, including speed limit reductions, lighting upgrades and road resealing.

“With our beautiful beaches and lush rainforest attracting hordes of holiday makers to the area, the benefits of this upgrade will surely be felt by locals and tourists alike,” she said.

“To protect people walking to the Mossman main street, we’ve installed a pedestrian refuge near Maxwell Street North given this area is a common crossing point. 
 
“The speed limit has also been lowered to 60km/h between Shannonvale Road and Parker Creek crossing – locally known as Alchera Drive

“This lowered speed gives drivers some consistency as they travel into Mossman, and helps to reduce the likelihood of crashes. 

“At the southern entrance of Mossman, we’ve improved the Mossman-Mount Molloy Road intersection through new line marking, extra warning signs and advance warning lights for the level crossing.

“The speed limit through this section has also been reduced to 80km/h to reduce the risk of dangerous crashes.” 


Turtles Come Out of the Shell Early for Nesting Season

NESTING turtles have been reported at Cow Bay beach this weekend. Locals and visitors alike are urged to take care and be mindful of early nesting. Down in Mon Repos near Bundaberg, one of the world’s most important nesting sites, the first flatback turtle arrived 30 days earlier than expected, so please keep your eye out for turtles locally. Have you spotted turtles nesting anywhere recently? We’d love to hear from you if you have!
Turtle run towards the ocean after leaving her egg.

Queensland’s Covid Vaccine Plan Revealed Today

PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk has released Queensland’s COVID Vaccination Plan to chart a course through the next stages of the pandemic.
Key features include greater freedoms for those who are fully vaccinated including being able to cross the border from interstate hotspots in time for Christmas.
This will be achieved in cautious and measured stages once 70 and 80% of eligible Queenslanders are double-dosed.

Key milestones are:

At 70% of Queensland’s eligible population fully vaccinated EXPECTED ON NOVEMBER 19

Anyone who has been in a declared domestic hotspot in the previous 14 days can travel into Queensland provided that:
+ They are fully vaccinated
+ Arrive by air
+ Have a negative COVID test in the previous 72 hours
+ Undertake home quarantine for 14 days

Direct international arrivals into Queensland will have to complete 14 days quarantine in Government-nominated facility.
International arrivals who arrive via another state or territory will have to quarantine in a Government-nominated facility until 14 days have passed since they arrived into Australia.

At 80% of Queensland’s eligible population fully vaccinated EXPECTED ON DECEMBER 17

+ Travellers from an interstate hotspot can arrive by road or air
+ They must be fully vaccinated
+ They must have a negative COVID test in the previous 72 hours
+ No quarantine required

Direct international arrivals can undertake 14 days (subject to review by AHPPC) home quarantine and subject to conditions set by Queensland Health provided they are:
+ Fully vaccinated
+ Have a negative COVID test in previous 72 hours

Those who don’t meet these criteria will need to enter within Queensland’s international arrivals cap and quarantine in a Government-nominated facility, just like now.

Those arriving via other states and territories won’t need to quarantine if they are:
+ Fully vaccinated
+ Have undertaken at least 14 days (subject to AHPPC review) of quarantine under the direction of another state or territory at home or in a government-nominated facility.

Those who don’t meet the criteria to arrive via another state or territory will need to apply for a border pass and undertake up to 14 days (subject to review by AHPPC) quarantine in a government-nominated facility.

It is important for businesses to know, at 80% vaccination coverage, there will not be government financial assistance available in the event of increased restrictions or lockdowns.

At 90% of Queenslanders fully vaccinated

No entry restrictions or quarantine for vaccinated arrivals from interstate or overseas
Unvaccinated travellers will need to apply for a border pass, or enter within the international arrivals cap, and undertake up to 14 days (subject to review by AHPPC) quarantine

As of today:
72.26% of Queenslanders have had one dose
56.58% are fully vaccinated


People who are fully vaccinated are 86% less likely to catch COVID and pass it on.
If you are fully vaccinated your chance of dying from COVID-19 falls by 90%.

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