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National News Australia

75 years of petal power – it’s time to party!

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Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers

75 years of petal power – it’s time to party!

 

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers unveils 75th anniversary program and the inaugural Carnival Queen shares her memories 

Seventy five years ago a bullock team led a street procession that stretched three miles in length through Toowoomba. This was the first Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, an idea that bloomed as a way to use the “Garden City” reputation to generate economic prosperity following the hardships of war.

Fast forward to 2024 and this event is now the toast of the country. Just two weeks after being crowned the best major event in the nation at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, the 75th anniversary program has been revealed and it features more than 77 events over four petal-filled weekends from 13 September to 7 October, with the fitting theme, It’s A Party.  

Petal-fuelled showstoppers this year include the full Queensland Symphony Orchestra performing under the baton of Chief Conductor Umberto Clerici, a 75thMemorabilia Exhibition, exciting new dining experiences and the return of another record year of #trEATS, the expansion of the popular Teddy Bears’ Picnic into the Thrive on Arts four-day event at the Empire Theatre, the return of beloved Carnival Queens to share their memories, and more than 40 million petals on display across the city’s famous parks and public spaces.

A jaw dropping 83 events and activations (making up a combined total of 1025 days) will be on offer this year across four jam packed weekends of floral fun!

Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Cr Geoff McDonald said the entire region was excited about the 75th anniversary of the event.

“What a year for Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers and what a year for everyone who has ever taken part, walked in the parade, wandered the gardens, danced at the festival, and worked as a volunteer or team member!” he said. “It’s your time to party!”

“We know what Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers means to the region – recent statistics from Tourism and Events Queensland unveiled a fresh milestone for last year’s event with a record-breaking attendance figure of 417,517—an impressive 14% surge compared to the 2022 results and the first time we have topped the 400,000 mark. Importantly, this also means direct and incremental spending across the region reached a total of $24.54 million, another record for the event.

“This year we are focusing on celebrating what the event brings to the region culturally and socially, with the theme being It’s a Party.  There are special accessibility programs and itineraries for 2024, to allow absolutely everyone to experience the beauty of the flowers.

“We are also calling on anyone with memorabilia to allow us to share it at a dedicated exhibition, and we’d love past Carnival Queens and Quest entrants to get in touch!”

Announcing the program today in Toowoomba, Cr McDonald was joined by the inaugural ‘Queen of the Carnival of Flowers’ from 1950, Fay Clayden (nee Ryan) who made the trip from Brisbane, and said she had no idea the impact the Carnival would have on the Garden City and its community over the next seven decades (see the interview below).

Blooming new events for the 75th anniversary, include: 

  • Carnival Memorabilia, a celebration of 75 years on display outside the Toowoomba City Library, from 13 September to 7 October while the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery has the Carnival Queen Exhibition.
  • Symphony Under the Stars will be performed by the full Queensland Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Chief Conductor Umberto Clerici in his first trip to the Garden City on Friday 4 October with tickets available from 14 June.
  • Dinner Edits, an all-new dining experience will see local breakfast and brunch favourites open for a ‘Dinner Edit’ of their menus on 21 and 28 September and 5 October. Tickets from 14 June.
  • The Teddy Bears’ Picnic will be morphed into a four-day kids’ event at Empire Theatre by Thrive on Arts from Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 September.
  • This year 50 Community Events join the program, from Bricks in Bloom, a floral LEGO expo, to the fabulous Hanging Baskets at Cobb+Co Museum, tribute art exhibitions and trails, Clivia, Orchid and Geranium flower shows, Alice in Wonderland-inspired Fairy Garden activities, a Carnival of Trains, wonderful Parsley, Rosemary & Thyme High Teas, a Spring Jazz Festival, walking tours that celebrate the city’s architecture and history, Behind the Curtain Tours at the Empire Theatre and so much more!
  • In an international coup, Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers will be on display from 23 September to 3 November in the world-famous Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore!!

Returning stars include: 

  • Prepare yourselves Petals, this year’s Grand Central Floral Parade at the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers will be a party for the ages on Saturday 21 September from 10am! Organisers are hoping for 75 floral floats celebrating the incredible history of the event, entries are now open!
  • Better dig out your stretchy pants because a record number of floral-inspired #trEATS are expected this year. Introduced in 2020, #trEATS (standing for Toowoomba Region EATS) is the regional food trail that features signature springtime dishes from cafes, restaurants and bars inspired by Toowoomba’s most famous event, all priced at $10-$20, and the good news is that there’s four weeks to devour them, from 13 September to 7 October!
  • The hugely popular Festival of Food and Wine will take place in Queens Parks from Friday 13 to Sunday 15 September. June 14 is the day the lineup is announced and tickets go on sale.
  • Queens Park and the Botanic Gardens will be home to stunning Feature Floral Displays, information hubs, food trucks, the Heritage Bank Parkland Entertainment program, Gardener Information points and the fantastic Ferris Wheel which will run from Friday 13 to Sunday 22 September. Sister park Laurel Bank will feature the breathtaking floral attractions, without the Ferris Wheel, and is also home to the Twilight Tours.
  • Twilight Tours of Laurel Bank are a highlight. Ticketholders hear from experts about the darker side of plant life in a one-hour nocturnal tour, meet shady characters like English and Spanish oaks, Gingko trees and Japanese maples, track down exotic and rare species and see what goes on behind the scenes to create a picture-perfect park.
  • The Chronicle Garden Competition and the Toowoomba Exhibition Gardens will both run from Friday 20 to Sunday 29 September with a record number expected. Organisers advise to book bus tours early this year!
  • Returning in 2024 is the popular Talking Pubs, a walking guided tour of three character-filled Toowoomba pubs with tastings included, happening each Sunday 22 and 29 September and 6 October – with tickets on sale from 14 June.
  • The Heritage Bank Parkland Entertainment will run every Friday to Sunday plus the school holidays, Sideshow Alley will operate from Friay 20 to Sunday 22 September and Cinema Under the Stars returns on Saturday 28 September, this year, in Peacehaven Park.

CALLING FOR MEMORABILIA and for PAST QUEENS AND QUEST ENTRANTS – please contact 07 4688 6661 or email info@tcof.com.au with contact details. 

 Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers 2024 – 13 September to 7 October.

 

For more National Australia news, click here.

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National News Australia

Teenager Charged with Terrorism Offence After Sydney Church Stabbing

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Teenager Charged with Terrorism Offence After Sydney Church Stabbing

In a significant development, a 16-year-old adolescent has been formally charged with a terrorism offence today, stemming from an intensive investigation conducted by the Joint Counter Terrorism Team Sydney in relation to an alleged stabbing incident at a church in Sydney.

The events unfolded on Monday evening, April 15, 2024, around 7:10 pm, when law enforcement authorities responded to distressing reports of a stabbing incident at a church situated at the intersection of Box Road and Welcome Street in Wakeley. Upon arrival, officers from the Fairfield City Police Area Command encountered a 53-year-old individual with severe head injuries, indicating the gravity of the situation. Additionally, a 39-year-old man sustained lacerations and a shoulder injury while attempting to intervene in the altercation.
The situation escalated further as it was revealed that a 16-year-old male, who had been restrained by members of the public, was subsequently apprehended by law enforcement personnel. Following this, investigators from the Joint Counter Terrorism Team Sydney took a proactive step by attending a medical facility later in the day, Thursday, April 18, 2024, to conduct a thorough interview with the adolescent suspect.

Subsequently, the 16-year-old was formally charged under section 101.1 of the Criminal Code Act (Commonwealth) 1995 for committing a terrorist act. This offence carries a severe penalty of imprisonment for life, highlighting the gravity of the charges laid against the individual. The accused has been denied bail and is slated to appear before a bedside court hearing scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, April 19, 2024.

The Joint Counter Terrorism Team Sydney, comprising personnel from the NSW Police Force, Australian Federal Police, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), and NSW Crime Commission, has been instrumental in swiftly responding to and investigating the matter, underscoring the collaborative efforts in ensuring public safety and security.
In light of these developments, authorities urge members of the public to remain vigilant and report any information related to extremist activities or potential threats to community safety, emphasizing the importance of every piece of information, regardless of its perceived significance. Individuals can contact the National Security Hotline at 1800 123 400 to report any relevant information.

Furthermore, individuals with information pertaining to criminal activities are encouraged to reach out to Crime Stoppers at 1800 333 000 or via the online portal at https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. All information provided will be treated with utmost confidentiality, and the public is reminded to refrain from reporting information through NSW Police social media channels.

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National News Australia

What do you do if you are the first on the scene of a crash, or arrive before emergency services?

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What do you do if you are the first on the scene of a crash, or arrive before emergency services?

 

Some people do, many people don’t.

Do I get out and help?

It’s an individual’s choice to stop at a crash scene.

Most people should stop if they feel confident.

The reason for that is because they may at some stage render life-saving assistance or at least evaluate the scene and provide that information to emergency services or police.

Whether a motorist should stop can also depend on the location.

For example, on a bridge it’d be fairly difficult, you’re going to create a lot of disruption there.

If you come across a crash there the best thing to do is ring triple zero as we can get the emergency services there before it becomes congested.

It can also depend on conditions and whether it’s safe.

Not only do you have to consider the safety of the persons in the crash, your own safety has to be paramount as well, because you’re no good to us or anyone else if you’ve been run over.

Do I direct the traffic?

Most police would prefer members of the public did not get out and direct traffic at a crash scene.

That’s the job of emergency services, in particular police and sometimes TfNSW and Councils.

Directing traffic is quite difficult and quite dangerous — you’ll never see police doing it without wearing hi-vis protective clothing, a torch, a wand, a police vehicle parked nearby with emergency lights flashing so we can warn people. Some cars nowadays come with cones and triangles, etcetera, that you can put out in an emergency-type situation.

Don’t forget to call triple-0

 

For more National Australia News, visit here.

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Next major step in reforming emergency services funding

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Next major step in reforming emergency services funding

 

The public is invited to have their say on the best path forward to reform the way emergency services are funded via a consultation paper which is now online.

The NSW Government is encouraging views on the design and scope of a new model to replace the current system which places the burden of an Emergency Services Levy (ESL) on insurance premiums.

Currently, only households and businesses that pay for insurance are paying the levy to fund Fire and Rescue NSW, the NSW Rural Fire Service and the NSW State Emergency Service.

The NSW Government last November announced the levy would be removed from insurance and applied instead to property.

The ESL Consultation Paper is seeking feedback on four possible models to create a sustainable system that will spread the costs across all property owners.

The NSW Government is committed to ensuring any new model will include protections for pensioners and vulnerable members of the community. The model will also be revenue-neutral and continue to be determined solely by the funding needs of the three agencies.

As climate change increases the instances of natural disasters, the funding requirements of our emergency services are expected to continue rising, increasing the ESL, and making insurance more unaffordable.

In fact, NSW Treasury estimates that the total annual cost of flood and bushfire to the economy is projected to increase from $7 billion in 2020-21 to $24 billion by 2070-71 as climate change related extreme weather events become more frequent and intense.

The existing ESL has pushed insurance premiums in NSW up by around 18 per cent for residential property and around 34 per cent higher for commercial property.

Rising costs now mean more than one-third of households in NSW do not have home contents insurance – which is the highest rate of any state in the nation.

The Government is asking for feedback on a range of design features, including how levy rates should apply to different property types and locations, how the levy should be collected, and what protections should be provided for pensioners and other vulnerable groups.

The release of the Consultation Paper follows the announcement of a Stakeholder Reference Group which is providing the Government with a broad range of expert advice on a new model.

The Consultation Paper is open for feedback until 22 May 2024, and can be found here.

Treasurer Daniel Mookhey said:

“Public feedback is an important step in reforming the way emergency services are funded into the future.

“I want to ensure that we create a lasting system where everyone contributes to the crucial emergency services we all rely on.

“We’re encouraging industry stakeholders and the wider community to express their views now so the new funding model for emergency services in NSW is fair, efficient, simple and adapted to the future impacts of climate change.”

 

For more National Australia News, visit here.

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