Government childcare inquiry may hear limited evidence... and more 9am zedlines.

The Australian Childcare Alliance has raised concerns a Senate inquiry into the Government’s planned sector overhaul will only hear limited evidence. [image: wikimedia]

In local news...

Children in Rockhampton courts higher than other cities
The amount of children seen in Rockhampton courts dropped dramatically last year, but experts warn the figure is still higher than children seen on the stands in other Queensland cities.

A Queensland's Magistrates Courts report tabled in parliament says 3.98% of Rockhampton court defendants in 2014-15 were children down 6.72% the year before.

The 2014-15 figure is higher than Mackay and Gladstone, however University of Queensland youth justice lecturer Dr Suzanna Fay-Ramirez says the amount of children facing court statewide is increasing.

Townsville urged to take measures against Zika
Townsville homes are being treated as concerns emerge about a potential Zika virus outbreak after an Oonoonba resident fell ill after returning from overseas.

With initial tests suggesting either Zika or dengue fever, Queensland Health sprayed in and around homes near a Rockhampton man hotel the man had been staying at.

Townsville Public Health Unit director Dr Steven Donohue says because the resident was only home for a couple of days while ill the risk of transmission was low, but urged residents to take preventative measures around the home.

In national news...

Labor will try and neutralise same-sex marriage debate
The Federal Opposition will this week attempt to bring a vote on legalising same-sex marriage to Parliament as the cross-party bill remains stalled in the House of Representatives.

Labor MP Terri Butler says a decisive action this week would neutralise same-sex marriage as an election issue and had the potential to stop a vitriolic election campaign before it began, citing the Safe Schools debate last week as an example.

With the Government having sufficient numbers to block debate on the issue however, Labor is likely to fail before it gets to a vote.

Government childcare inquiry may hear limited evidence
The Australian Childcare Alliance has raised concerns a Senate inquiry into the Government’s planned sector overhaul will only hear limited evidence.

The inquiry, which will analyse the Government’s proposed streamlining of childcare payments and tougher activity tests for parents, has so far received more than 100 written submissions with only three groups having been invited to appear at the hearing, one being a Government department.

Childcare Alliance president Gwynn Bridge says she feels the families and children using the childcare sector aren’t going to have their voices heard.

In international news...

Ceasefire in Syria holds into second day
A ceasefire in Syria appears to be holding into its second day, even amid reports of scattered airstrikes and bombings.

In what is regarded as the most successful effort to date in slowing fighting in the five-year civil war, villages in the provinces of Aleppo and Hama were bombed by Syrian or Russian warplanes on Sunday.

The United States and Russia are monitoring the ceasefire.

Zimbabwean president celebrates 92nd birthday
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has marked his 92nd birthday with an elaborate celebration in a drought-stricken area of the country over the weekend.

The $800,000 celebration involved giant cake, balloons, poetry readings, songs, and chants praising him as a visionary African icon, in an area which has seen 75% of the staple maize crop destroyed by drought.

Zimbabwe has appealed for nearly $1.6 billion in food aid that Mugabe says he would not accept if it came attached to conditions the country should accept gay rights, conditions no aid organisation is known to have attached.