Australia's eastern ports to shut down in tug boat strike - and more 11AM Zedlines

A nation-wide tug boat strike will start next week, affecting eastern ports along the coast. Picture source: Wikimedia commons

Eco-tourism delay for Gold Coast Hinterland

A mountain bike and zip line park slated for the Gold Coast Hinterland could be delayed for another 18 months due to red tape and legal battles.

The Scenic Rim Council approved the development application for the
$6 million eco-tourism venture, Guanaba Experience, in May last year, bu the Hinterland community is divided on the proposal and the Mount Tamborine Progress Association has lodged an appeal against the council’s decision.

In its appeal, the MTPA says the proposal is out of character with the surrounding land uses, would have an adverse impact on the area’s biodiversity, does not protect neighbours from excessive noise and has no demonstrated economic need.


Brisbane starts world-first skin cancer research

World-first melanoma research aimed at developing personalised radiation treatments for skin cancer patients is underway at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital.

The process involves removing cancerous cells from the patient and then identifying in the laboratory whether there are immune cells around particular melanoma cells, with patients not being classified on what tumors they have, but on the genetic makeup of the tumours. 

Lead researcher and radiation oncologist Professor Bryan Burmeister says while pharmaceutical companies had looked at the effects of drug therapy on melanoma patients, this type of research using radiation was a world first.


Surat Basin facing massive job loss

The State Government is forecasting as many as 10,000 fly-in, fly-out jobs in the Surat Basin could be lost by 2021.

A separate government report shows Mackay’s youth unemployment has skyrocketed since the end of the mining boom, rising 7.5 per cent, In contrast, southern Brisbane’s youth unemployment fell by 5 per cent and the Sunshine Coast dropped below 10 per cent, a fall of 4.4 per cent for the year.

Western Downs Council chief executive Ross Musgrove said tourism was increasing because people could get accommodation now compared to the height of the boom when every motel was booked out by FIFO workers.

The Darling Downs Maranoa region had the lowest youth jobless rate at 8 per cent.


National strikes for tug boat crews

Tug boat crews in eastern Australia plan strikes next Tuesday and Wednesday for 12 hours, halting all coal carriers, fuel carriers and bulk container vessels into the ports of Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Botany, Melbourne and Geelong.

For 25 years the three-person crews – the skipper, the deckhand and the engineer – have been represented by three different agreements recognising different sets of skills.  

However, Svitzer, the Danish company that operates tugs in Australian ports, wants the crew under a new single agreement.

The strike action will effectively shut down Australia's eastern ports for 12 hours from next Tuesday, January 12, in the first of a series of planned strikes, with the company running the tugs likely to take the strike action to the Fair Work Commission this weekend.


Iraq to intervene in Saudi-Iran conflict

The Iraqi government has offered to mediate escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran over the execution of a Shiite cleric and subsequent attacks on the Arabian embassy.

Officials in Baghdad have expressed concern, worrying that sectarian conflict could unravel Iraq’s campaign against Islamic State.

Saudi Arabia’s execution of cleric Nimr al-Nimr last Saturday inflamed sectarian anger across the Middle East, infuriating the Iranian government.


Alabama judge encouraging denial of same-sex marriage licenses

Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore has urged judges in his state to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Moore’s administrative order defies a US Supreme Court ruling from June that legalised gay marriage across the United States.

The order claims that the US court had not explicitly lifted an earlier state ban on marriage licenses for gay couples.

Mr. Moore, most famous for erecting a monument of the Ten Commandments in Alabama’s court building, is an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage.