Aussies lag in pre- school­ers

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHRISTIE ANDERSON christie. anderson@ news. com. au

CROCODILE pop­u­la­tions in Queens­land have been ris­ing since the 1970s, plac­ing more peo­ple in di­rect con­flict with the dan­ger­ous rep­tiles.

A new study by a Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion sci­en­tist has, for the first time, ac­knowl­edged that crocodile num­bers across the state are in­creas­ing, with the rate of at­tacks from the preda­tors grow­ing at an av­er­age of 1.3 per year since 1996.

The study, by the depart­ment’s northern wildlife op­er­a­tions man­ager Dr Matt Brien, is to be pub­lished by the CSIRO in com­ing months.

The pa­per, which ex­am­ines pat­terns of hu­man- crocodile con­flict in Queens­land be­tween 1971- 2015, says the man­age­ment of salt­wa­ter croc­o­diles through tar­geted re­movals around areas of higher hu­man habi­ta­tion is es­sen­tial for pub­lic safety.

An EHP spokesman said the re­sults of a three- year sur­vey of crocodile pop­u­la­tions would not be re­leased un­til the project was com­pleted.

“So far the spe­cial­ist teams of wildlife of­fi­cers have com­pleted a sweep of the pop­u­lated east coast in the first leg of the sur­vey with the Nor­man and Staaten rivers in the Gulf the most re­cent to be mon­i­tored,” the spokesman said.

DANIEL BATEMAN AUS­TRALIA’S en­rol­ment rate in early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion is lag­ging on a global stage.

An in­ter­na­tional re­port found that about 70 per cent of Australian three- year- olds were in for­mal child­care in 2014.

That is well be­low rates in France, Ger­many, Den­mark, Bel­gium, Nor­way, Ice­land and Swe­den, which have en­rol­ments above 90 per cent.

The Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co- op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment re­port also found that 15- year- olds who at­tended more than one year of early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion sig­nif­i­cantly out­per­formed stu­dents who did not. MORE than $ 63 mil­lion worth of construction is un­der way at North Shore as the rapid growth in Townsville’s north con­tin­ues.

A new $ 40 mil­lion state pri­mary school, about 60 homes and site works for Stock­land’s lat­est dis­play vil­lage are un­der construction.

North Shore project di­rec­tor An­drew As­torquia said the projects were cre­at­ing hun­dreds of lo­cal jobs.

“Since our launch in 2008, there has been a huge in­vest­ment in the com­mu­nity in­clud­ing a shop­ping cen­tre, roads, com­mu­nity build­ings, schools, kilo­me­tres of bike paths, play­grounds, parks and four dis­play vil­lages,” he said.

“It re­ally is a hub of ac­tiv­ity out here at the mo­ment with trades from just about ev­ery dis­ci­pline work­ing. It shows the re­silience of a city and the im­por­tance of cre­at­ing com­mu­ni­ties that are well planned to con­tinue to at­tract fam­i­lies through liv­abil­ity and life­style.”

North Shore has grown sig­nif­i­cantly since it was launched with about 5500 peo­ple now liv­ing in the mas­ter­planned com­mu­nity.

The com­mu­nity has kick­started a range of res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ments such as the Northern Beaches Leisure Cen­tre, Bun­nings open­ing a new store and Stock­land Shop­ping Cen­tre.

Most re­cently, Ar­care opened its $ 20 mil­lion aged care fa­cil­ity while there are also plans for a tav­ern.

Townsville City Coun­cil di­vi­sional coun­cil­lor Paul Ja­cob said the growth had been helped by fam­i­lies flock­ing to the northern beaches for the great life­style the area of­fered.

“I think it’s re­ally good to see the growth in the northern beaches area … and coun­cil has plans for a youth ac­ti­va­tion hub,” he said.

“It is one of the ma­jor growth areas of Townsville and hav­ing fa­cil­i­ties like a school will fur­ther aid that pop­u­la­tion growth.

“It has an at­mos­phere of a fam­ily area and it’s nice and close to the beach while one of the other driv­ing forces of the area is you can now get straight on the Ring Road and go to three ma­jor em­ploy­ers, be­ing the univer­sity, de­fence bar­racks and hos­pi­tal which makes it just that more at­trac­tive to peo­ple.”

Pic­ture: ZAK SIMMONDS

NORTH SHORE PROJECT DI­REC­TOR AN­DREW AS­TORQUIA GROWTH HOTSPOT: Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion su­perinden­tant Rea­gan Paine, North Shore project di­rec­tor An­drew As­torquia, Mendi Con­struc­tions man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Jeff Doyle and CPB Con­trac­tors project di­rec­tor Marcelo Di Bella at the Bur­dell school site.

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