BSMQ Skilled Program Update

According to Business & Skilled Migration Queensland, the BSMQ skilled program is temporarily CLOSED.

Expressions of interest (EOI’s) submitted for SkillSelect after 5.00pm AEST 30 July 2019 will not be considered.

EOIs submitted from 29–30 July 2019 (5.00pm AEST) will be accepted and considered over the coming months.

It is unlikely that the subclass 489 program will reopen (for skilled applicants) due to the closure for nominations on 10 September 2019.  New subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa will be introduced.

The BSMQ Business program remains OPEN.

Police arrest woman over strawberry contamination

strawberry contamination

A 50-year-old Queensland woman has been charged with seven counts of contamination over the strawberry needle incidents that sparked a nationwide crisis.

The woman, My Ut Trinh, known as Judy, was arrested and charged with seven counts contamination of goods under Section 238 Criminal Code, which has a three-year maximum penalty.

A circumstance of aggravation will also be alleged, elevating the maximum to 10 years’ imprisonment.

It is understood Trinh worked at the Berry Licious/Berry Obsession farm in southeast Queensland and it is alleged she had grievances about her treatment at work,

According to 7 News, Trinh allegedly told others she “wanted to bring them down” and “put them out of business.”

Police launched an investigation on Sunday, September 9 after a Queensland man reported swallowing a contaminated berry. Two people in Victoria then came forward after similar experiences.

Police say the woman’s DNA was found inside a contaminated punnet in Victoria as part of a two-month, complex investigation.

She is expected to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday morning.

Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker from the Drug and Serious Crime Group described it as a major and unprecedented police investigation.

“The Queensland Police Service has allocated a significant amount of resources to ensure those responsible are brought to justice,” Spt Wacker said.

“While the investigation is far from over, I would like to acknowledge the tireless effort of our investigators as well as members from all other agencies across Australia who played a role.

“I would also like to thank those within the strawberry industry for their co-operation and members of the public who assisted us with our inquiries.”

The crisis extended across the country with all six states beginning investigations after reports of tampering had seen needles or pins discovered in strawberries, as well apples and bananas.

It resulted in tonnes of strawberries being dumped or going to waste around Australia threatening the future of the half-a-billion-dollar industry.

In response, Coles and Aldi pulled all strawberries from their shelves, while Woolworths only removed the affected brands it stocked.

The Queensland Police Service co-ordinated a national investigative response with multiple government, law enforcement and intelligence agencies before the Caboolture woman’s arrest.

A police taskforce was established with officers from the State Crime Command co-ordinating the investigation together with detectives in a number of police districts in Queensland.

Police have said that investigations are continuing.

Originally posted on News.com by Shireen Khalil

https://www.news.com.au/national/queensland/police-arrest-woman-over-strawberry-contamination/news-story/fbe4e890572060b129c6c100a2fcca62

Stop biodiversity loss or we could face our own extinction, warns UN

biodiversity loss

The world has two years to secure a deal for nature to halt a ‘silent killer’ as dangerous as climate change, says biodiversity chief

biodiversity loss

The world must thrash out a new deal for nature in the next two years or humanity could be the first species to document our own extinction, warns the United Nation’s biodiversity chief.

Ahead of a key international conference to discuss the collapse of ecosystems, Cristiana Pașca Palmer said people in all countries need to put pressure on their governments to draw up ambitious global targets by 2020 to protect the insects, birds, plants and mammals that are vital for global food production, clean water and carbon sequestration

“The loss of biodiversity is a silent killer,” she told the Guardian. “It’s different from climate change, where people feel the impact in everyday life. With biodiversity, it is not so clear but by the time you feel what is happening, it may be too late.”

Pașca Palmer is executive director of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity – the world body responsible for maintaining the natural life support systems on which humanity depends.

Its 196 member states will meet in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, this month to start discussions on a new framework for managing the world’s ecosystems and wildlife. This will kick off two years of frenetic negotiations, which Pașca Palmer hopes will culminate in an ambitious new global deal at the next conference in Beijing in 2020.

Conservationists are desperate for a biodiversity accord that will carry the same weight as the Paris climate agreement. But so far, this subject has received miserably little attention even though many scientists say it poses at least an equal threat to humanity.

The last two major biodiversity agreements – in 2002 and 2010 – have failed to stem the worst loss of life on Earth since the demise of the dinosaurs.

Eight years ago, under the Aichi Protocol, nations promised to at least halve the loss of natural habitats, ensure sustainable fishing in all waters, and expand nature reserves from 10% to 17% of the world’s land by 2020. But many nations have fallen behind, and those that have created more protected areas have done little to police them. “Paper reserves” can now be found from Brazil to China.

The issue is also low on the political agenda. Compared to climate summits, few heads of state attend biodiversity talks. Even before Donald Trump, the US refused to ratify the treaty and only sends an observer. Along with the Vatican, it is the only UN state not to participate.

Pașca Palmer says there are glimmers of hope. Several species in Africa and Asia have recovered (though most are in decline) and forest cover in Asia has increased by 2.5% (though it has decreased elsewhere at a faster rate). Marine protected areas have also widened.

But overall, she says, the picture is worrying. The already high rates of biodiversity loss from habitat destruction, chemical pollution and invasive species will accelerate in the coming 30 years as a result of climate change and growing human populations. By 2050, Africa is expected to lose 50% of its birds and mammals, and Asian fisheries to completely collapse. The loss of plants and sea life will reduce the Earth’s ability to absorb carbon, creating a vicious cycle.

Originally published on The Guadian by  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/03/stop-biodiversity-loss-or-we-could-face-our-own-extinction-warns-un

The World’s First Immigration Economy

Australia’s economy is addicted to immigration, requiring ever-increasing infusions of new people to stave off an inevitable collapse.

Australia has enjoyed 27 years of uninterrupted growth since its last recession—108 consecutive quarters of economic expansion and counting. A few developing countries such as China can match that record, of course, but no other developed economy even comes close. When even China started to slow down in 2012, it raised fears among commodity exporters like Australia. Iron and coal are Australia’s top two exports, and China is their No. 1 destination. But even then, Australia’s GDP growth merely slowed from 3.9 percent in 2012 to 2.6 percent in 2013. Other developed countries might be thrilled just to reach 2.6 percent in the first place.

But Australia’s extraordinary economic statistics mask a more difficult economic reality.

At the lowest point in the spring and summer of 2013, Australia’s quarterly growth rates fell to 1.7 percent. At the same time, Australia’s population was growing at an annualized rate of 1.8 percent. Measured in per capita terms, then, Australia’s economy actually shrank for two consecutive quarters.

Australia also experienced a “per capita recession” for four quarters during the global financial crisis and for two quarters during the dot-com bust of 2000. It recorded a quarter of negative per-capita GDP growth in 2003. Viewed this way, Australia’s economy has in fact matched every U.S. recession of the last 40 years, with one additional slowdown in the first half of 1986.

Australia’s population has grown by nearly 45 percent since 1991. No other major developed country even comes close to that rate. Unlike similarly fast-growing countries in Africa and the Middle East, Australia doesn’t have a particularly high fertility rate. In fact, the rate is well below the replacement level required to keep its population stable. The majority of Australia’s population growth comes from immigration. In turn, Australia’s so-called economic miracle is based on immigration, too.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reckons that Australia’s population passed the 25 million mark “just after 11 p.m.” on Aug. 7. That represents a doubling of the country’s population in less than 50 years. At the same time, 50 years of unparalleled immigration have given Australia the largest foreign-born population of any major developed country in modern times. As of 2016, over 28 percent of people in Australia were not born there. With immigration hitting new records in the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year, that figure is almost certain to breach 30 percent by the end of the decade. Immigration is now adding nearly 1 percent per year to Australia’s population. 

Their presence gives the economy a boost—and saves the government a lot of money. Australia has a universal single-payer health care system called Medicare, which is similar to the U.S. Medicare program but is open to all citizens and permanent residents. With immigration continuously boosting the population of healthy, working-age, taxpaying adults who need little medical care, Australia is able to support its national health system at relatively low cost.

Australia has even managed to turn immigration into an export industry. After minerals, Australia’s largest “export” may well be educational services, represented by tuition fees paid by international students studying in Australia. As a result, Australia, with a population of about 25 million, is ranked fourth in the world for the number of international university students. In addition to 382,000 international university students, Australia hosts a further 248,000 junior college and high school students. And international enrollments are growing at double-digit rates, with about one-third coming from China.

Edited by Jeff Cao. 

 

Originally posted by Salvatore Babones at https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/10/03/australia-the-worlds-first-immigration-economy/

Supporting Queensland strawberry growers

strawberry growers
strawberry growers

We are proud to be supporting strawberry growers all across Queensland by participating in this event at King George Square on Wednesday. This is how communities come together and how Australians support one another!

Queensland Police reassured the public saying all strawberries produced after 13 September are safe to eat amid food contamination crisis!
Photo credit: Karl