Vulnerable Queenslanders are being urged to check their eligibility to receive the Palaszczuk Government’s electricity and gas rebates worth up to $416 per year. Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said the Palaszczuk Government was investing $212.8 million in 2020-21 as part of Queensland’s economic recovery plan to help vulnerable Queenslanders with the cost of living. "This past year has been tough for everyone, so I’m urging all concession card holders including pensioners, seniors and veterans to contact their electricity retailer and see if they are eligible for our Electricity Rebate worth up to $341 per year,” he said. “The government estimates that there are thousands of eligible households who are not taking advantage of the assistance and we don’t want these Queenslanders to miss out. “Just call your electricity retailer and have your concession card details on hand, and if you’re eligible, you’ll be able to start accessing the rebate as a credit on your account.” Minister de Brenni said the rebate was currently helping approximately 625,000 Queenslanders but there were more people who could be benefiting.   “Community organisations and retailers have been getting the message out there, but there are still more Queenslanders who could be getting ongoing assistance with their electricity accounts,” he said. “Peoples’ concession card status is private information that electricity providers aren’t automatically aware of, so people need to reach out and put their hand up to receive this rebate.” The electricity rebate was first introduced to support pensioners, seniors, and veterans, and was extended to Health Care Card holders and asylum seekers in January 2017. Now, the rebate is provided to a range of people who need it most, including Low Income Health Care Card holders. Minister de Brenni said Queensland pensioners, seniors and veterans could also be eligible for a gas rebate and should check with their gas retailer. “There are also savings of $74.92 per year available for eligible Queenslanders through the Government’s Reticulated Natural Gas Rebate - all account holders need to do is contact their gas retailer to see if they’re eligible,” he said. Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) CEO Aimee McVeigh said the rebates could help people experiencing financial pressure. “QCOSS urges people who are experiencing hardship to contact their energy retailer as soon as possible,” she said. “If you need help to do this, reach out to your local neighbourhood centre.” Minister de Brenni said the Palaszczuk Government had also helped more than two million Queensland households with their utility costs through its $400 million COVID-19 household relief package. “Last year, Queensland households received a $200 utility rebate and a $50 asset ownership dividend,” he said. “We were able to deliver these savings straight into the pockets of Queenslanders by arranging with electricity providers to automatically apply the credit. “The Palaszczuk Government is committed to supporting Queenslanders and this new year, we’d love to see all those who are eligible gain access to the electricity rebate on offer.” For more information on the Electricity Rebate or Reticulated Natural Gas Rebate visit:  or contact your electricity or gas retailer directly.

What better way to celebrate Australia Day than a Picnic in a Park? It’s even better when the park is Clayton Park a short walk from anywhere in Beachmere.

Add entertainment, lots of shady trees, a BBQ, ice cream and coffee and you have the very best close to home – no jam packed roads or searching for a carpark.

Beachmere Area Network Group (BANG) organised the Picnic in the Park last year as an event to raise funds for two and four legged bush fire victims. It was warmly welcomed and supported ensuring the Picnic was held again this year, with any funds raised supporting local wildlife charities.

BANG has a huge program of events already planned for the new year with the Australia Day, Picnic in the Park just the first in it’s “Celebration of Community” 2021 program.

Join the fun in the park with activities and games, entertainment and more from 11am till 3pm in Clayton Park, Beachmere.

Email or for more information.

Much about society has changed during the COVID 19 pandemic and most of us are a bit over it to say the least. Businesses have been impacted the most with new rules around hygiene and contact tracing. People’s habits have changed too in relation to use of hand sanitiser and proximity to others in public spaces.

So when the vaccine is rolled out from March 2021 say till June or July when contagious diseases normally flourish will there be a lasting benefit once herd immunity is achieved?

To take influenza as the example in 2019 there were 66,135 cases reported in Queensland and 298,320 cases reported in Australia and 812 deaths recorded from it in Australia that year. In 2020 there were 6,034 cases reported in Queensland and 21,266 cases reported in Australia and 37 deaths recorded in Australia last year. So this is roughly a 90% reduction in illness and more than 95% reduction in deaths in one year!

So given the government has set the spending benchmark of around $5M per life saved during COVID, how much is an influenza death prevention worth? It’s going to be hard for them to back away from this level of commitment going forward, so what things will they try to have us keep post pandemic to continue this good work?

Obviously we can’t shut society down for every disease that comes along but the public’s expectations have been raised on the health front. Going back to 800 deaths a year from influenza may no longer be accepted as just a fact of life we are used to and are fine with.

At $5M per life the new cost of preventing the spread of the flu in Australia per annum is $4 Billion per year. Not sure where that money would come from, but even if they spent a quarter of that each year we may prevent 200 deaths a year.

This is all fuzzy logic and unsustainable given the amount of other killer diseases that also make demands on the public purse, but perhaps the free or inexpensive things we are doing to stop disease could be kept.

For example, the crosses on the floor to show customers where to stand apart in queues could easily stay and caps per square metre in restaurants and bars could also be kept if they were financially viable. Hand sanitiser dispensers and signs could be kept, as well as signs requesting people not to enter premises if unwell. Telephone doctor appointments must surely be kept as well as work from home facilities for the unwell.

If we are to salvage any good at all from 2020 then these decisions should be discussed now and governments need to consult the community about these changes. COVID provided cover for governments to make captains calls without consultation or oversight as it was an emergency. Once this is past with the vaccine,A they need to consult the community and take us along for the ride rather than impose rules from on high. Parliament must also approve the new rules rather than one health official alone calling the shots. That’s not the Australian way long term.

By Staff Writer Mozza

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