Economy Matters

COMM11008 – Blog Three
By Amanda McRae

The Gladstone region, known, to be where major industry of Australia resides, is experiencing the flow on effects of the current economic downturn.  From the recent boom made up of several, new major, and large, world-class industry projects commissioned and constructed simultaneously. There have been great benefits to the region because of boom.  As the town resets, however, Member for Flynn, Mr Ken O’Dowd said, “we are coming off a high and moving towards a very low  low,” (Hansard 2016d, p. 117).

Figure 1: Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd in Parliament.  Source: Hansard (2016e)

In parliament, O’Dowd (Hansard 2016d, p. 117) stated, many businesses have been hit hard.  Unable to pay staff, businesses are in receivership after decades of being in business.   People left without work, large debts from assets that they can’t pay off and families are struggling.  Not to mention the extent of the many houses, units and businesses left vacant for over a year.

One of many business owners, Ms Helen Neil closed the doors of an iconic furniture warehouse after eight years.  Ms Neil said, “people just don’t have any money at the moment, you don’t expect the town to die this much,” (Mortimer 2016a, n.p).

The business is holding a closing down sale with 50-70% off stock.
Figure 2: Simply Solid Timber Furniture business.  Source:  The Gladstone Observer (2016a)
Source: The Gladstone Observer (2016b)

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball acknowledges, “we know Australians are facing tough challenges in managing their household budgets,” (Hansard 2016b, p. 44).

“We have seen a big lift-up in mining construction investment and then a decline, and that was always going to happen,” said the Prime Minister (Hansard 2016c, p. 53).

Figure 3:  Prime Minsiter Malcolm Turnbull during question time in parliment  Source: AFR (2016)

“My government is providing the clear economic leadership Australia needs to remain a prosperous and secure First World economy,” said Turnbull, (Hansard 2016a, p. 70).

Mr Ken O’Dowd reiterated the current situation in the Gladstone region in parliament. “While the nation’s economy continues to grow strongly, many in Central Queensland are doing it tough,” (Hansard 2016d, p. 117).

Some businesses seeing the downturn as a challenge, an opportunity to reset, plan, start, renovate and get strategic with innovation. Particularly with “Advanced QLD” innovation initiative.

Stimulating the economy with the injection of funds and creating new jobs is crucial for the region.  Further new projects announced due to start construction in near future:

  • $42m Gladstone Hospital upgrade  – to start mid-2017 (Palaszczuk 2016).
  • $16m Southern Oil Refinery, an advanced bio-fuels pilot plant (Gillie 2016a, n.p).
  • $10m CQUniversity’s Gladstone Marina campus upgrade (Hansard 2016d, p. 117).
  • New retail shops (Gillie 2016b, n.p).
  • $950m Hummock Hill Tourist Development (Gillie 2016c)
  • Tourism boost through P&O Ships
  • $17m marine terminal (Mortimer 2016b)

The community remains resilient and positive.  It does raise questions, however, learning from the last boom, what will be done to prevent this from happening again locally in the future?  How do you soften the brunt next time?  Only time will tell, however, it is good to see the local Federal and State members addressing the downturn in parliament and progressing further on new projects.


AFR 2016, Image: Malcolm Turnbull, viewed 20 September 2016,×350.gka5lx.png/1444899997418.jpg

Enoch, L 2016, Leeanne Enoch MP, Twitter, viewed 20 September 2016,

Gillie, C 2016a, New industry gets state tick approval, The Gladstone Observer, view 20 September 2016,

Gillie, C 2016b, Two new restaurants for Stockland Gladstone, The Gladstone Observer, viewed 20 September 2016,

Gillie, C 2016c, Govt approves Hummock Hill Island tourism development, The Gladstone Observer 2016,

Hansard 2016a, Australia, House of Representatives 2016, Questions without notice: Economy,  Debates, 15 September, pp. 70, viewed 20 September 2016,;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F9de5f081-9ccf-4f72-a05a-02462c1f3a0c%2F0101%22

Hansard 2016b, Australia, House of Representatives 2016, Questions without notice: Economy, Debates, 14 September, pp. 44, viewed 20 September 2016,;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2Fbf6692fe-063a-41a2-9ebb-5de513f31940%2F0113%22

Hansard 2016c, Australia, House of Representatives 2016,  Question without notice: Economic, Debates, 12 September, pp. 53, viewed 20 September 2016,;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2Fd961ab05-d592-46b4-8a71-e41c76b2d8ae%2F0143%22

Hansard 2016d, Australia, House of Representatives 2016, Federation Chamber – Constituency Statements – Flynn Electorate: economy, Debates, 14 September, pp. 117, viewed 20 September 2016,;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2Fbf6692fe-063a-41a2-9ebb-5de513f31940%2F0215%22

Hansard 2016e, Image: Ken O’Dowd, Australia, House of Representatives 2016, Federation Chamber – Constituency Statements – Flynn Electorate: economy, Debates, 14 September, video, viewed 20 September 2016,

Mortimer, J 2016, Two iconic Gladstone Businesses close their doors, The Gladstone Observer, viewed 20 September 2016,

Mortimer, j 2016, Market opens as Gladstone sellers drop prices to force a sale, The Gladstone Observer, viewed 22 September 2016,

Palaszcuk, A 2016, Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Twitter, viewed 11 August 2016,

The Gladstone Observer 2016, Image: Furniture warehouse, viewed 20 September 2016,

The Gladstone Observer 2016, Image: business, Gladstone workers in uncertain future as sale ‘deadline’ nears, viewed 23 September 2016,


Addressing climate change; locally, nationally and globally.

COMM11008 – Blog Two
By Amanda McRae

The consequences of Climate change globally is a huge challenge for governments around the world. Effecting areas of economic, political, and social (Jones 2013, p.2) contributing to billions of dollars in economic losses globally. As scientists predicted, seeing an increase in disease, famine (Jones 2013, p. 1-2), sea level rises, extreme weather events (Cohen 2016), infrastructure damage, erosion, and loss or disruption of life.

United States of America President Barack Obama, a world leader in addressing climate change (Chavar 2016, n.p), reads  documentation, charts, and graphs of a morning,  he said, “it’s terrifying.”  Obama continued, “okay, we really got to get on to this, we really got to pay attention to this,” (Chavar 2016, n.p).   Watch Obama on Climate Change video further via this link.

Locally, the Council is currently focusing on one of the areas damaged from major weather events. With an additional $300,000 of crucial funding to contribute to the erosion at Wild cattle creek (GRC 2016b, p. 1).

Figure 1: Wild Cattle Creek.  Source:  The Gladstone Observer (2016)
Figure 2: Millennium Esplanade Beach Erosion.  Source:  The Gladstone Observer (2016)

Boyne Island resident with a house on the shoreline, Kevin Blessington, hopes from the Gladstone Regional Council plans, there will be improvements made in the area’s safety and usability (Annett 2014). “Erosion will always happen when you have excessive weather activities but all you can do is try to prevent damage,” he said (Annett 2014, n.p).

Figure 3: Boyne River mouth, Boyne Island.  Source:  The Gladstone Observer (2014)

Australian Minister for Science, Mr Greg Hunt said, “The Turnball’s new government’s stance regarding climate science, is it’s important, significant and critical to Australia’s long-term planning,” (SBS 2016, n.p), as Climate change is addressed.

Figure 4:  Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball  Source: Daily Telegraph (2016)

Among several proposals regarding climate change, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball announced, a $300 million dollar investment for the pacific to assist, (ABC24 & Shepard 2016).

The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms Julie Bishop addressed Australia’s situation in parliament. Ms Bishop said, “our 2030 target of reducing Australia’s contribution to global emissions is by 26 to 28 percent from 2015 levels,” Ms Bishop said,  (Hansard 2016, p. 1).

The Minister continued, “ensuring this is in Australian’s national interests,” Ms  Bishop said, “the statement on climate change is being tabled by the Turnball government for consideration, to enable ratification of this historic agreement by the end of this year,” (Hansard 2016, p. 1).

Climate change, a subject so complex with many elements involved has one link in common which is humanity. As government leaders around the world unite to address this challenge, “We must continue to show leadership and encourage all countries to ratify the agreement,” Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said (Shepard 2016, n.p). Climate change is everybody’s problem: the world is in our hands.



Australian Broadcast Corporation, ABC24 News 2016, Malcolm Turnball presser:  Pacific, ABC24 News

Annett, T 2014, Boyne beach erosion continues to frustrate, The Gladstone Observer 2016, viewed 9 September 2016,

Daily Telegraph 2016, PImage: PM, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball tackles climate change, disaster mitigation at ASEAN Summit, viewed 9 September 2016,

Chavar, A J, Laffin, B, Landler M, Davenport C 2016, Obama on ‘terrifying’ threat of climate change, New York Times, viewed 9 September 2016,

Cohen, S 2016, Climate denial and sea level rise, The Hugginton Post 2016, viewed 9 September 2016,

Gillis, J 2016, Flooding of Coast, caused by global warming, has already begun, The New York Times, Science, viewed 9 September 2016,

Gladstone Regional Council (GRC) 2016a, Shoreline erosion management plan final report, 2014, viewed 9 September 2016,

Gladstone Regional Council (GRC) 2016b, Wild cattle creek erosion control to receive crucial funding, Budget 2016-17, viewed 9 September 2016,

Hansard 2016, Australia, House of Representatives 2016, Debates, Questions without notice – climate change, 31 August, pp. 65, viewed 9 September 2016,;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2Ff706773d-28cd-4fb7-b62a-9ed884a645d8%2F0161%22

Jones, M 2013, Community climate change: how heroes shape our perception of climate science, Centre for Public Administration and Policy Virginia Tech, Social Science Quarterly, pp. 1-39, viewed 9 September 2016,–how-heroes-shape-our

McCright, A 2010, The political dynamics of climate change, Workshop on Sociological Perspectives on Global Climate Change 2010, National Science Foundation, pp. 108, viewed 9 September 2016,

SBS 2016, SBS world news radio: climate research will once again be a core priority for Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO, following intervention from new science minister Greg Hunt, viewed 9 September 2016,

Shephard, T 2016, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tackles climate change, disaster mitigation at ASEAN Summit, News Corp Australia Network, The Daily Telegraph, viewed 9 September 2016,

The Gladstone Observer 2016, Image: Wild Cattle Creek, Erosion threatens wild cattle creek at Tannum Sands, , viewed 9 September 2016,

The Gladstone Observer 2014, Image:  Boyne river mouth, Boyne beach erosion continues to frustrate,  viewed 9 September 2016,

Big Brother Generation

COMM11008 – Blog Five
By Amanda McRae

A cyber world’s expert, Dmitri Alperovitch, does not believe Australian government has done enough in educating the public regarding cyber security threats, given a sense of complacency (Bresser 2016, n.p). Never before have we been more connected than now. The twentieth century introduced the world and governments to the internet.  Being connected online comes with many benefits like instant sharing of information, resources, and communication throughout the world, however, with it comes the threat of Cybersecurity.

American President Barack Obama stated, “It’s the great irony of our Information Age…the very technologies that empower us to create and to build also empower those who would disrupt and destroy. And this paradox — seen and unseen — is something that we experience every day,” (Anderson 2011, p. 116).  The Cybersecurity threats are not just relative to Australia but globally.

463368796 (1).jpg
Source: Getty Images – Justin Sullivan


The reality television series Big Brother was introduced to Austalia in 2004 “Big Brother is watching,” “the eye in the sky,” well via cameras watching every move though only for a harmless storyline.  A frightening thought, now a reality via the internet, “Big Brother is watching”, whether “Big Brother” be hackers, cyber criminals, threatening privacy and cyber security.  Check out this Cybersense video link

Big Brother (2016)


According to Slocombe (2016, p. 76), last year in 2015, there were over 1,200 cyber security incidents in Australia, both involving government, and non-government organisations.  Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull states this equates to over A$1 billion in cybercrime, Australian Crime Commission estimated (PHYS ORG 2016, n.p).

In 2014, hackers stole 500 million of users information online from the big internet giant Yahoo (ABC NewsRadio 2016).

The recent new online survey Census debacle, affected households throughout Australia, raised questions of online cyber security and safety. At any time, Besser (2016, n.p) reports, with an internet connection, devices of almost anything; phones, computers, even cars, are vulnerable to being hacked.

A multi-million dollar budget Cybersecurity strategy has been devised to combat hacking and strengthen security over the next ten years.  “This Strategy addresses how we can continue to protect ourselves and be more resilient…as individuals, businesses, governments and as a nation,” said Turnbull (Prime Minister 2016).

Figure 1:  Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull  Source:  PHYS ORG (2016)

Former Central Intelligence Agency boss Michael Hayden interview. Source: ABC News (2016)

Cybersecurity is proving, “to be one of the defining challenges of the 21st century” (NBC News 2016, n.p). As the internet and technology advances, generations become more internet savvy, Slocombe (2016, p. 76), said, “yes the threats are increasing, but so too is awareness and defences against them.”  “The Australian Government knows it needs to protect these things and will continue to strive to stay ahead of whatever the threat environment is,” said Australian Government Cyber Advisor (Besser 2016).

Stay smart online link

Australian Cyber Security Centre (2016)




Anderson, W & Johnson, L 2011, ‘Current United States presidential views on cyber security and computer crime with corresponding Department of Justice Enforcement guidelines‘, Journal of International Diversity, Missouri State University, no. 4, pp. 116.

Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) NewsRadio 2016, Yahoo, Twitter, viewed 23 September 2016,

Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) News 2016, Government computer network breached in cyber attacks as experts warn of espionage threat, viewed 3 September 2016,

Australian Cyber Security Centre 2016, New cyber security strategy launched, viewed 3 September 2016,

Australian Government, Department of Cybersense videos, viewed 23 September 2016, Defence,

Australian Government 2016, Stay smart online, viewed 30 August 2016,

Artic Sheep, Census post, Twitter 2016, view 25 August 2016,

Besser, L & Stockwell, P 2016, Cyber War, Four Corners, 30 August, viewed 22 September 2016,

Ceely, S 2016, Internet of hacked things: the biggest threat to online safety is ourselves,Four Corners 2016, viewed 30 August 2016,

Huffing Post 2016, The Census website was deliberately hacked, prompting massive crash, viewed 25 August 2016,

Joff, Census post, Twitter 2016, viewed 25 August 2016,

(NBC) News 2016,  Obama announces executive action on Cybersecurity,  February 2015, viewed 23 September 2016,

Phys Org 2016, Australia admits government hack attacks, boots cyber security, viewed 3 September 2016,

Prime Minister of Australia 2016, The Hon Malcolm Turnball MP, Australia’s cyber security strategy,  21 April, p. 1, viewed 23 September 2016,

Rao, S & wires 2016, News Corp Australia Network, 2016, Australian cyber crime threats: Four Corners investigates how hackers are hacking into our information, viewed 22 September 2016,

Slocombe, G 2016, ‘Cybersecurity: threats multiply, but awareness and defences are strengthened’, Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter, September 2016, vol. 42, no. 7, pp. 74-76.


Dairy Farmers Milk Wars

COMM11008 – Blog Four
By Amanda McRae
The Australian government is taking action regarding the “dairy farmer’s crisis”. Queensland Minister for Resources and Northern Australian Senator Canavan in parliament said, “We will continue to work with the dairy sector to make sure we have a strong, efficient and resilient dairy sector in our country,” (Hansard 2016, p. 60). 
Figure 1:  Dairy cattle  Source:  Kerr (2016)
Four elements make up the Dairy Industry:  producers (farmers), processors, marketers and the consumer.  Both processors and marketer’s influence the prices and control contracts.
The Government’s involvement will ensure and regulate fairness and lawful compliance from those involved.  Which is the reason for the recent announcement of the full investigation to look into the Dairy Farmers crisis.  Barnaby Joyce confirms the investigation will get under way in November (Vidot 2016).

Agriculture Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce
Figure 2:  Barnaby Joyce presser  Source:  Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) News Rural, Vidot (2016)

“The Investigation would give the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission  (ACCC) power to compel companies to produce information, and power to prosecute where required,” Joyce said (Vidot 2016).

An “All in-depth and independent inquiry is a thorough and fair way to uncover inefficiencies and inequities that our farmers face – and identify a way forward,” said Joyce (Champion 2016, n.p).  Results of the report will be announced, mid-2017 (Campion 2016, n.p).  
Local Federal Member for Flynn, Mr Ken O’Dowd, welcomes the announcement as the local region use to thrive in the dairy industry (Thorpe 2016).
Back in April, local Federal Member for Flynn, Mr Ken O’Dowd, called for urgent action to save the dairy industry, he said, “It is plainly absurd that bottle water is more expensive than milk,” (Kerr 2016, n.p). 
Figure 3:  Milk supply in supermarket  Source:  Long (2016b)
According to Vidot (2016, n.p), Deputy Prime Minister, Federal Minster for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce has sought major retailers to dismiss cheaper  priced milk.  
The impact of inconsistent pricing and sales has flow on implications for the farmers as Four Corners (2016, n.p) discusses. Farmers need to cover their farming overheads (Long 2016a) as if they can not this causes “cash-strapped Dairy farmers to be forced to sell their babies because they can’t afford to feed them,” (Whitmont 2016, n.p).
Boles (2016, n.p) advises, farmers continue to urge the community to think about what they are buying and are asking consumers to buy Australian dairy. The government continues to work with the dairy industry, “People all over the world want Australian milk, cream (and) cheese – we need to ensure there is still a viable industry in the decades to come,” said Mr O’Dowd (Thorpe 2016, n.p).

baffle creek
Source: Baffle Dairy Fresh Milk Facebook Page (2016)

Baffle Dairy Fresh Milk 2016, Baffle Dairy Fresh Milk Facebook page post and comments, Facebook 2016, viewed 2 September 2016,

Boles, D 2016, Sales of $1 milk have dropped during the dairy crisis, ABC News 2016, viewed 2 September 2016,

Campion, V 2016, ACCC to undertake full examination of the dairy industry, The Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, media release, 25 August, viewed 3 September 2016,

Farm Weekly 2016, Image of  Agriculture Minister Benaraby Joyce, viewed 2 September 2016,

Hansard 2016, Australia, House of Representatives, Questions without Notice – Dairy Industry, Debates, 9 August, pp. 60, viewed 22 September 2016,;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansards%2F1a29ded1-e7dc-4605-87aa-2fcf6a321e27%2F0126%22

Judd, B 2016, Dairy push for milk levy as Federal Government considers assistance package, ABC News 2016viewed 2 September 2016,

Kerr, D 2016, O’Dowd calls for urgent action to save the dairy industry in Queensland, Ken O’Dowd website 2016, viewed 3 September 2016,

Long, W 2016a, Sales of $1 milk have dropped during the dairy crisis, ABC News 2016, viewed 2 September 2016,

Long, W 2016b, Milk image, ABC 2016, viewed 2 September 2016,

Thorpe, A 2016, O’Dowd welcomes ACCC inquiry into dairy industry, Central Telegraph 2016, viewed 3 September 2016,

Vidot, A 2016, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce announces ACCC investigation into Australian dairy industry, ABC News Rural 2016, viewed 2 September 2016,

Whitmont, D 2016, Dairy farmers forced to sell up in face of plunging milk prices, Four Corners 2016, viewed 2 September 2016,


Gladstone Hospital Accident & Emergency Upgrade

COMM11008 – Blog One
By Amanda McRae
Source: Queensland Health, Queensland Government website (2016)

A highly controversial topic within the community regarding the much needed ‘Accident and Emergency upgrade for the Gladstone Hospital’,  has been in the planning stage for years (Bunting 2016).  Members of the community agree with the State Member that something needs to be done.

“The Gladstone Hospital Accident and Emergency Centre, currently doesn’t meet the standards of hospitals,” Labor State Member for Gladstone, Mr Glenn Butcher said (Hutchinson 2016, n.p).

Taking it further, to a community petition addressed to Federal Government, Member of Flynn, Ken O’Dowd to make a critical investment in our public health system.  Petition story link.

Source: 7 News Central Queensland, Facebook page (2016, n.p).

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said, “The community needs and deserves contemporary health services that meet today’s healthcare standards, and that is what we’ll provide,” (Jambour 2016, n.p)

The visual plans are now in place.  “With the support of his party, he hopes to continue and fast track development”, Mr Butcher said (Hutchinson 2016, n.p).

“This is a great win for Gladstone and I am thrilled to be able to kick start this vital project for our community,” Mr Butcher said (Jambour 2016, n.p).

The funding announced months ago, has been set aside for the new Accident and Emergency upgrade of the Gladstone Hospital (Hutchinson 2016).

Source:  Palaszcukuk (2016)

$42m Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announcement – Gladstone Observer (Annett 2016).

Source: Annette (2016)

“Whilst speaking to the minister, I did outlay my concerns that this is taking a long time to get going”, Mr Butcher said (Hutchinson 2016, n.p).

“Great that he is listening, great that he has taken it away to have a look,” Mr Butcher said, “If we can get this hospital upgrade started sooner rather than later, it would be much better for our community,” (Hutchinson 2016, n.p).

The outcome of this upgrade would have a tremendous flow on effect, boosting town morale to start.

To stimulate the local economy of the Gladstone region, which is currently facing a downturn as the Minister for Health is aware of, Hutchinson (2016) reports, with an injection of funds from the Turnball-Coalition government to the region.  This will produce much-needed jobs, in areas of construction, health and more.

Most importantly improve the current standards of Health Services in the Accident and Emergency, acknowledged by the State Member, Mr Butcher (Hutchinson 2016), for the patients/carers, staff and community.  With the new and much needed modern, state-of-the-art facility, doubled in size, in the Gladstone Region (Annette 2016).

Seven Local News Gladstone link to Gladstone Hospital Plans story above (aired 10/08/16).  Source: Seven Local News Gladstone (2016).

Source: RACQ Capricorn Helicopter (2016)


Annette, T 2016, Gladstone department will double in size with $42m upgrade, 7 July 2016, Gladstone Observer, viewed 11 August 2016,

Bunting, P 2016, Comments blog, 7 News Central Queensland, Facebook page, viewed 11 August 2016,

Butcher, G 2016, Glen Butcher, Member of parliament, Facebook page, viewed 11 August 2016,

Hutchinson, E 2016, Gladstone hospital plans, 7 News Central Queensland, Facebook page, viewed 11 August 2016,

Jambour, A 2016, Palaszczuk Government to deliver new Gladstone Emergency Department, viewed 11 September 2016,

Palaszcuk, A 2016, Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Twitter, viewed 11th August 2016,

RACQ 2016, ‘RACQ Capricorn helicopter’, Twitter, viewed 11 August 2016,

Save our hospitals, 2016, viewed 11 August 2016,

Queensland Government, Queensland Health website 2016, ‘Gladstone Hospital’, viewed 11 August 2006,’.asp