Rural women making their mark in 2020

Source: Government of Queensland Regions


Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the Rural Women’s Award acknowledged the positive and innovative contributions of women across the agriculture industry.

The Queensland finalists are:

  • Kerrie Sagnol- Kerrie wants to develop a foundational level online course, designed as a confidence-building entry point into understanding and reviving soil. She also wants to research how farmers overseas are implementing practices on-ground, sharing that information directly to clients and via freely accessible online case studies.
  • Samantha Meurant- Samantha is the founder of the Rural Compass podcast. She wants to further develop a nationwide online directory, pointing people in the direction of purchasing and hiring from all rural, regional and remote businesses.
  • Elisha Parker- Elisha is a co-founder of If she wins, she plans to extend the capabilities of the online Cattlesales marketing and advertising platform to offer interactive catalogue hosting for stud stock bull, female and special sales and auctions, aimed at benefiting and boosting the Australian cattle industry nationwide 
  • Kay Tommerup- Kay is a dairy farmer who is passionate about reconnecting consumers with where their food comes from and how their purchasing choices make a real difference to everyone. Her vision is to underscore rural economies with sustainable practice, products and marketing, ensuring farmers can be paid fairly through authentic connections and consumer support.

Mr Furner congratulated the finalists and praised their aspirations to improve Queensland’s agriculture industry. 

“On behalf of the Queensland Government, I thank Kerrie, Samantha, Elisha and Kay for their leadership and outstanding commitment to Queensland agriculture and rural and regional communities,” he said.

The Queensland winner will be announced at a Brisbane award ceremony on 25 March 2020 and will receive a $10,000 Westpac bursary and networking and professional development opportunities to assist in implementing their project. 

All finalists will join the prestigious AgriFutures alumni of rural woman who are making a difference to Australian agriculture.

The annual AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award is open to all women working in agribusiness and rural and regional communities and aims to provide a platform to support and inspire the next generation of female leaders in agriculture.

The Award is supported by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and sponsored by Westpac. ABC Radio, Australian Community Media and RM Williams Outback Magazine are Award media partners.


Media contact:          Ron Goodman            0427 781 920

Paying tribute to bushfire victims and heroes

Source: State of Tasmania Government

23 February 2020

Mark Shelton, Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

It was with great honour and humility that I represented the Tasmanian Government at the NSW State Memorial Service today, paying tribute to the people who lost their lives during the unprecedented NSW bushfire season.

I was joined by TFS Deputy Chief Bruce Byatt at the State Memorial, held at Sydney Olympic Park, which recognised and paid tribute to the 19 civilians and six firefighters who died across NSW due to fires since October 2019.

Across Australia, a total of 33 people have died from bushfires this season, including three volunteer RFS firefighters, three US firefighters, two Forest Fire Management Victoria officers and one Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning firefighter.

The Service paid tribute to the brave firefighters who lost their own lives protecting the lives and properties of others.

It also recognised the valued contribution of firefighters from all Australian states and territories, including Tasmania, as well as the United States, Canada and New Zealand.

In addition to paying tribute, the memorial was a strong show of support for the many thousands across the country affected by this season’s fires.

This memorial service was an opportunity for Australia to come together to reflect on the bushfire season, acknowledge the incredible efforts and sacrifice of our volunteers and emergency services personnel and pay tribute to those who lost their lives.

First Tunnel Boring Machine Breaks Through

Source: Government of Victoria 2

The first section of the Metro Tunnel is now complete – with the first tunnel boring machine, Joan, today breaking through to complete the journey from Arden Station to the tunnel’s western entrance in Kensington.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan today visited the site to celebrate this major milestone with the tunnellers who have worked around the clock for months as Joan dug underneath the city and installed the tunnel’s massive concrete rings.

After tunneling under rail lines, CityLink, Moonee Ponds Creek, North Yarra Main Sewer and the West Melbourne Terminal Station, Joan – named after former Victorian Premier Joan Kirner – has now broken through a 13-metre-deep shaft at Childers Street, Kensington.

Since her launch in August 2019, Joan has travelled 1.2 kilometres and installed 4,200 curved concrete segments to create 700 rings lining the walls of the tunnel. The segments, each weighing 4.5 tonnes, are among 56,000 being manufactured by 70 workers at a purpose-built concrete manufacturing plant in Deer Park.

The second TBM, Meg – named after Australian women’s cricket captain Meg Lanning – is travelling on a parallel route to carve out the second tunnel from Arden to Kensington and will break through in the coming weeks.

Work began in January at the site of the new Anzac Station on St Kilda Road site to assemble the third and fourth TBMs for the Metro Tunnel Project. These are expected to be launched in mid-2020.

Work on the state’s biggest road infrastructure project, North East Link, is also starting in Melbourne’s north.

Early work includes protecting and moving over 34 kilometres of gas, water and sewer pipes and drains and over 95 other utilities, to open the way for major construction to start in 2021.

The $15.8 billion project will connect the Eastern Freeway and the M80 Ring Road and take 15,000 trucks of local roads every day.

When finished, the Metro Tunnel will create capacity for more than a half a million extra passengers a week during peak times across Melbourne’s train network.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“We said we’d build Victoria’s biggest public transport project – and it’s great to see the first section of the Metro Tunnel complete.”

“The Metro Tunnel and North East Link are part of our massive pipeline of road and rail projects that will transform the way Victorians move around our city and state.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan

“Whether it’s upgrading rail lines, building new stations or delivering safer and more reliable roads – we are delivering the major transport projects Victorians need.”

Deadly Digital Communities delivers technology in remote regions

Source: Government of Queensland

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Queensland can sharpen their digital literacy skills with applications now open for the 2020 Deadly Digital Communities program.

Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minster for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said today that Deadly Digital Communities, an initiative of the State Library of Queensland and Telstra has been helping to close the digital divide in Queensland since 2017.

“In 2020, Queensland public libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres can apply for funding up to $10,000 to host programs that encourage people to gain confidence and skills in accessing digital technologies and connecting online through free community-based and digital learning programs,” Ms Enoch said.

“Participants are able to learn practical skills such as how to use email and social media, seek information, register or pay bills online.

“As part of last year’s program, five remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities including Aurukun Shire, Cook Shire, Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire, Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire and Torres Strait Island Regional councils boosted their skills by hosting a local technology leader to deliver the training.”

Mr Edward Natera, Chief Executive Officer, Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire Council, welcomed the Deadly Digital Communities opportunities.

“Pormpuraaw was one of the case studies in the Telstra commissioned Australian Digital Inclusion Index [ Australian Digital Inclusion Index  ] which highlighted issues around affordability and access in our community; this funding means community members can access vital online services at no cost to them at Council’s Indigenous Knowledge Centre,” Mr Natera said

State Librarian and CEO Vicki McDonald said Deadly Digital Communities helped to meet the needs in individual communities.

“Staff from the State Library of Queensland provide onsite professional development to local technology leaders,” Ms McDonald said. 

“The program is already proving to be a success. Communities in Cherbourg and Palm Island have successfully implemented the program through their Indigenous Knowledge Centres and other service providers,” Ms McDonald said. 

Michael Parks, Telstra’s acting Government, Regional Affairs and Sustainability Executive, said Telstra was committed to working with the Queensland Government to improve digital inclusion across the state. 

“As more and more services and daily interactions move online, using digital technologies brings vital health, social and financial benefits – especially for people in regional and remote locations,” Mr Parks said. 

“We believe that digital literacy has become an essential skill in the digital age. At Telstra, we want all Australians to have the option to connect, participate and interact in the digital world, irrespective of where they live – this is what this initiative is all about.” 

Applications close 27 March. 

For more information  


Media Contact: Debbie Turner 0437 859 987



Four arrested in possession of drugs, torch taser and credit card knife

Source: State of Victoria Police

Saturday, 22 February 2020 23:08

Four people have been charged with possession of drugs, weapons and stolen goods after being intercepted in a car on Flinders Street early this morning.

The three men and a woman were located sitting in a vehicle in a carpark on Flinders Street at 3am.

A search of the vehicle and the occupants was conducted which resulted in police allegedly locating:

• 40 credit cards

• one extendable baton

• one credit card knife

• one machete

• two folding pocketknives

• one guitar

• two laptops

• one iPad Pro

• one laser level

• six mobile phones

• one torch taser

• a quantity of ice

• a quantity of heroin

The three men, aged 40, 37 and 25 years from South Yarra, Hoppers Crossing and Tarneit have been charged with possess proceeds of crime, handle stolen goods, possess prohibited weapon, possess controlled weapon, possess drug of dependence and commit indictable offence whilst on bail.

The 26-year-old Box Hill woman has been charged with handle stolen goods and fail to appear whilst on bail.

The four are expected to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court later this morning.

Creina O’Grady

Media Officer


Central Queensland supported to create jobs and boost economy

Source: Government of Queensland

Employing and retaining skilled workers, improving community wellbeing, and investing in infrastructure to tap into significant ‘paddock to export’ potential—they are all topics for discussion at the second Palaszczuk Government Regional Community Forum for Central Queensland at Gladstone next Monday.

The forum, one of seven being held across regional Queensland today, brings local community members together with government representatives to discuss opportunities to drive future jobs and growth in the region.

The Central Queensland Forum will be chaired by Member for Gladstone and Assistant Minister for Treasury Glenn Butcher MP, Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke MP and Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga MP, and they will be joined by Ministers Mick de Brenni MP and Kate Jones MP.

The Government continues to support regional Queenslanders to boost the economy and create jobs, and these forums ensure the community has a strong voice to talk about local strengths, challenges and priorities.

Queensland is a vast, unique State and no two regions are the same, but it was apparent from the first round of forums last October that there were consistent themes being raised locally, which we’ve now made strategic priorities for discussion.

Discussions will centre on skills and training, drought and water security, support for small business, emerging industries, tourism including Indigenous tourism and access to government services.

Mr Butcher said discussion at the first Central Queensland regional forum in October 2019 helped shape a Local Action Plan for the region to improve skills, training and youth development; leverage tourism and liveability to drive migration to the region; and improve community wellbeing, including mental health.

“Forum members will work with the Queensland Government’s Office for Rural and Regional Queensland to consider what outcomes are most important to the local community and to develop local action plans,” he said.

Mr Barry O’Rourke said the forum will include a guided tour of Gladstone Harbour and LNG facilities.

“Forum members will also hear about the Year of Indigenous Tourism, the extension to the Year of Outback Tourism, and how the Palaszczuk Government is seeking to improve the delivery of services to Queenslanders,” he said.

Mrs Brittany Lauga said the forum at Gladstone was one of seven taking place across regional Queensland with similar discussions underway at Cloncurry, Winton, Moranbah, Cherbourg, Roma and Mareeba on Monday.

A third round of forums will be held across rural and regional locations including the Wide Bay, Burnett, Fraser Coast region in May.

To find out more about the Regional Community Forums visit



Media contact: Richard O’Leary 0447155332



Major Transport Work Coming In Autumn

Source: Victoria State Government

Victoria’s massive transport infrastructure program will continue over autumn with the next phase of work concentrating on level crossing removals, major road works and maintenance.

The dangerous and congested level crossing at Toorak Road will be gone for good six months ahead of schedule after nine-days of intensive construction over the April school holidays.

Major works continue in Cheltenham and Mentone with buses replacing trains from 20 to 27 March to prepare for two-month construction blitz starting on 23 May, which will see three level crossings gone for good and two new stations built. There will also be station closures and road closures in the area throughout this time.

From 20 July, a three-month construction blitz will begin on the Upfield line to elevate the tracks, build two new modern stations and remove four level crossings – including the notorious Bell Street crossing, which frustrates more than 40,000 drivers that use the level crossing each weekday.

Ongoing excavation to build an underground pedestrian connection between Flinders Street Station and the new Town Hall Station in the Metro Tunnel will impact trams on Flinders Streets in March, and buses replace trains on the Sunbury line in March for Sunbury Line Upgrade works.

Works will also continue throughout Autumn on big road projects across Melbourne. There will be closures on West Gate Freeway ramps over the school holidays to carry out a range of West Gate Tunnel works, as well as overnight closures of the West Gate Freeway to prepare for widening works.

Major work will start on Stage 2 of the Monash Freeway upgrade in Autumn, which will deliver 36 kilometres of new lanes and cut nine minutes off the trip between Pakenham and Malvern in the morning peak. These works will result in a range of overnight lane and ramp closures and speed reductions until the project is complete in 2022.

There will also be intensive work on the Western Roads Upgrade that will improve roads in Werribee and Laverton, and early works will begin on the Mordialloc Freeway upgrade which will mean closures along Old Dandenong Road and Lower Dandenong Road during April.

Essential maintenance will be carried out across all modes of Victoria’s public transport network in April.

For more information about the massive program of work on Victoria’s transport network and the associated disruptions, visit Plan ahead by visiting or

Quotes attributable to Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan

“We’ve got nearly 120 major road and rail projects on the go across the state and this autumn we’ll ramp up works on some of the biggest of them.”

“I thank passengers and motorists for their patience while we get this critical work done and encourage them to plan ahead.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne

“It’s vital we continue to invest in the infrastructure that we all use to get us where we need to go. The work we’re doing in Autumn will ensure everyone gets home safer and more reliably.”

Palaszczuk Govt launches tourism initiative in country music capital

Source: Government of Queensland

The Palaszczuk Government plans a major marketing push in the global home of country music to encourage more American tourists to come to Queensland.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced the initiative, which will launch in Nashville, Tennessee this month.

“We have a world class line up of country music artists in 2020. This is such a great targeted initiative to attract thousands more American tourists to Queensland,” she said.

“Major events like CMC Rocks at Ipswich and the Gympie Music Muster support a lot of local businesses and jobs. This initiative will help to boost overall visitor numbers.

“Through this initiative, Queensland will be promoted to country music fans throughout the US to inspire Americans to choose Queensland as their international holiday destination in 2020 and beyond.

“The tourism industry is struggling as a result of floods, fires and the coronavirus. Operators and businesses need all they help they can get. This initiative will have a great impact.”

The initiative announced today will be delivered through a deal struck by the Palaszczuk Government and Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp (NCVC). It comes after the government, NCVC and the Country Music Association (CMA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2018 to promote Queensland as ‘Australia’s Home of Country Music’.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones personally signed the MOU in Nashville in 2018 as one of the first steps towards having Queensland recognised as Australia’s Home of Country Music, a key part of the government’s events strategy to drive more visitors here.

“We know that people travel far and wide to experience world class major events. And this initiative is about capitalising on our events to generate more holiday bookings in Queensland,” she said.

“Queensland is Australia’s Home of Country Music. CMC Rocks has grown rapidly since its move to Queensland in 2015. We’ve got the Groundwater Country Music Festival, Gympie Music Muster and in 2020 we’re launching Savannah in the Round. 

“NCVC has a highly-engaged database of almost one million American country music fans. We’re tapping into that specific music loving market.”

International country music artists, including upcoming CMC Rocks QLD 2020 headliner Kip Moore and fellow artist Dustin Lynch, have posted messages of support to millions of fans via social media channels following the bushfires. Tourism and Events Queensland and NCVC are also offering tourism experiences for artists performing at CMC Rocks QLD event that can be showcased to their fans.

Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp President and CEO Butch Spyridon said the offer of support to Queensland during “tough times”, builds on the strong relationship between the Music City and the Sunshine State.

“Between the fires and the impact of the coronavirus, our friends in Queensland have been significantly impacted,” Mr Spyridon said.

“Nashville has had a growing relationship with Queensland, and we wanted to reach out and help in a meaningful manner.

“This is about neighbours helping neighbours, even if we are 9,000 miles apart. When devastation strikes in the world, we all need to come together.”

To find out more about Queensland’s suite of world-class country music events, visit;

  • CMC Rocks QLD – 20-22 March 2020, Willowbank Raceway, Willowbank. Limited tickets still available, visit
  • Groundwater Country Music Festival – 24-26 July 2020, Broadbeach, Gold Coast. Visit
  • Gympie Music Muster – 27-30 August 2020, Amamoor Creek Forest, Gympie. Visit
  • Savannah in the Round – 2-4 October 2020, Mareeba, Tropical North Queensland. Visit


Media contact: Jack Harbour 0419 620 447


State Government’s infrastructure fund delivers tourism boom

Source: Government of Queensland

The Palaszczuk Government’s election commitment to deliver new attractions and tourism infrastructure in Queensland this term will deliver $235.6 million in construction work and create more than 1200 jobs throughout the state this year.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kates Jones said the Palaszczuk Government was the first in Queensland history to deliver a series of dedicated tourism infrastructure funds, designed to partner with the private sector to improve the state’s tourism offering.

In total, the government’s Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund, Great Barrier Reef Rejuvenation Fund, Outback Tourism Fund and the Attracting Tourism Fund will bring almost 900,000 more tourists to Queensland and generate almost $106 million for local businesses each year.

“Tourism employs one in 10 Queenslanders. New infrastructure is vital when it comes to keeping these jobs in our state and supporting this industry to grow in the future,” Ms Jones said.

“This year will be massive. Right across the state we’ve got new attractions and infrastructure coming on line in 2020.

“From Cairns to Coolangatta we are investing in new tourism infrastructure projects to create jobs in Queensland.”

Projects coming on line include:

  • Scenic Rim – 6 day walk
  • Longreach – Qantas Founders Museum Light and Sound Show
  • Yelarbon – Art Silo Project
  • Barcaldine – Freedom Parks
  • Aramac – Yambangku Aboriginal Eco Tourism
  • Julia Creek – Artesian Baths
  • Mt Isa – Riversleigh Fossil Centre revitalisation
  • Longreach – Eco-lodges
  • Birdsville – Courthouse hologram project
  • Bundaberg – Lady Musgrave Island Pontoon
  • Cunnamulla – New historical theatre and historical building upgrade
  • Hamilton Island – Passage Peak viewing platform, upgraded walking trails and a new ferry terminal
  • Green Island – refurbished dining area
  • Pelorus Island – new high-end boutique retreat
  • Hook Island – new day visitor access to the revitalised eco-resort site
  • Lady Elliot Island – enhanced volunteer accommodation hub

“No matter where you look, we’ve got a project that will be a boon for the local tourism industry,” said Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones.

“The LNP cut $188 million from this industry.

“At the last election we sent a clear message to the state’s tourism sector. We restored the funding cut by the LNP and have invested more in this sector than any government in Queensland’s history.

“With floods, fires and now the coronavirus, tourism operators are doing it tough. That’s why this new infrastructure is more important now than ever before. “


Media contact: Jack Harbour 0419 620 447

Search for missing boy Mehdi Shohani

Source: State of Victoria Police

Saturday, 22 February 2020 19:47

Police are appealing for public assistance to help locate missing 12-year-old Mehdi Shohani.

The Broadmeadows boy was last seen in Iron Bridge Court, Craigieburn about 10.30pm on 22 February.

Police and family members hold concerns for Mehdi’s welfare due to his age.

Investigators have released an image of Mehdi in the hope someone can provide information on his current whereabouts.

He was last seen wearing black and white shorts, an army hooded jumper and red and black runners.

Anyone who sees Mehdi or has information on his whereabouts is urged to contact the Craigieburn Police Station on 9303 4433.

Senior Constable Alistair Parsons

Media Advisor