26 September 2023

PS from the PaSt: 25 – 31 July 2012

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1. This week 10 years ago, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released health reports showing that, on average, Australian men and women aged 18 and over were 3 kg heavier in 2007–08 than they were in the mid 1990s.

The height increase in men over that time was almost twice that of women, at 1.2 cm for males and 0.7 cm for females.

The ABS said that in 2007–08 over half of all Australians (55 per cent of men and 64 per cent of women) reported a waistline measurement that was considered by health experts to increase their risk of poor health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

2. NSW Minister for the Environment, Robyn Parker and Federal Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke announced their support for an initiative by the Lord Howe Island Board to rid the island of more than 130,000 rats.

Ms Parker said more than 30 species had been driven to extinction on the World Heritage–listed island by black rats that came ashore when the SS Makembo ran aground in 1918.

Mr Burke said the CSIRO endorsed the plan, which was part-funded by the Australian Government’s Caring for Our Country program.

“Lord Howe Island is a jewel of the Pacific that is of exceptional natural importance and biological diversity,” Mr Burke said.

3. Sixteen Special Operations paramedics from Ambulance NSW and helicopter doctors who travel overseas in times of disaster spent a day at the University of Sydney’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital learning how to apply their advanced first aid training to rescue dogs.

“Search Dogs are an equal member of rescue teams and their injury or death greatly affects the morale of people operating under the most difficult circumstances,” Assistant Zone Manager with Ambulance NSW, Murray Traynor said.

“The Advanced First Aid training course gives our rescuers the ability to provide their dogs with the same medical care they’d give to a human.”

4. A South Australian program to return endangered black-footed rock wallabies to their native habitat was proving a great success according to the Minister for Environment and Aboriginal Affairs, Paul Caica, who said five animals had been released into a predator-proof enclosure in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands after being raised at Monarto Zoo.

He said the species, known as warru by the APY’s Anangu Traditional Owners, was one of the State’s most endangered animals, with fewer than 200 remaining in the wild.

“This is the third group of warru to be released and they have begun to breed naturally so we are well into the third generation,” Mr Caica said.

5. In Western Australia, new laws to come into force on 1 August would see any driver with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or above immediately disqualified from driving.

Minister for Police and Road Safety, Liza Harvey said the immediate disqualification would also apply to drivers failing to comply with a police request to provide a sample of blood or breath for analysis.

Mrs Harvey said the new measures reflected a continued toughening of the laws relating to drink driving.

She said those caught driving contrary to the new laws would receive a Disqualification Notice, which immediately disqualified them from driving for two months.

“Alcohol is currently a factor in almost a third of crashes in which people are killed and seriously injured on Western Australian roads,” Mrs Harvey said.

6. And a decade ago, WA Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Norman Moore banned future coalmining in the State’s Margaret River area, terminating all pending applications for coal exploration activities within a 230-square kilometre zone.

Mr Moore said the decision followed advice from the Environmental Protection Authority, which indicated coalmining in the area posed an unacceptable risk to the environment.

“The Government has now decided that the advice should also be applied to the whole of the coal mineralisation extending through the identified 230-square kilometre zone,” Mr Moore said.

“This decision is based on unique and local circumstances existing only in the Capes region.”

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