Qantas to train thousands of pilots in Australia. 18,000 have already applied.

A new multi-million-dollar pilot training centre will be built in Toowoomba on Queensland’s Darling Downs, as part of a plan by airline giant Qantas to keep up with growing global demand and already 18,000 people have applied for positions.

The site at Toowoomba’s Wellcamp Airport will be one of two centres to be built across Australia — with the second location yet to be announced.

Earlier this year, Toowoomba and Mackay had been shortlisted among seven other regional locations, including Alice Springs, Bendigo, Busselton, Dubbo, Launceston, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga.

The $35 million academy and accommodation facility will have an initial intake of 100 pilots when it opens its doors next year, with a capacity of up to 250 pilots a year.

Picture Alan Joyce QF

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said enrolments will be open to domestic and international students.

“What we’re ultimately creating is a world-class pilot school for students from Australia and around the globe,” he said.

“Toowoomba will be an amazing place to learn to fly.

“It’s home to Australia’s newest airport and offers over 300 days of Queensland sunshine each year and an environment that is textbook for pilot training.”

Picture Boeing cockpit

More than 18,000 people have so far registered their interest for enrolments online.

Construction will begin next month at Wellcamp airport, and will be operational by mid-2019.

Qantas says an estimated 790,000 extra pilots will be needed globally over the next 20 years – about a third of those in the Asia Pacific – as population growth and burgeoning middle classes see more people take to the sky.

Airlines are already complaining about a shortage of pilots, with Qantas having to cut back some regional services this year because it was running short. The airline was recently granted permission to bring in up to 76 foreign pilots and flight instructors for its QantasLink arm, sparking anger from Qantas’ pilots unions.

Medicinal Marijuana in Australia.

SICK Australians with some of the worst ailments will no longer wait months for relief or be forced to turn to the black market to access medicinal cannabis with the government green-lighting the legal sale of marijuana products for medical use in Australia.

Australia has finally jumped a medical hurdle that will make it easier for people with chronic illnesses to obtain legal supplies of medicinal marijuana. Well, a little bit easier, every good thing comes with a caveat in this nation where the words ‘nanny state’ is a constant.

For years now people with debilitating and wasting diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s,  M.S, arthritic discomfort and nausea from chemotherapy have had to rely upon modern drugs and methods of pain treatment with the use of chemically produced pain killers  or chemicals which by and large treat a symptom but not the associated problem and ongoing crisis.

Now the Australian government has decided that the time has come for doctors to be allowed to provide patients who meet strict criteria to have access to medicinal marijuana. But if you are thinking ‘wow what an amazing step’ think again. Like all things a government does things are not going to be that easy.

Weed Tweets ™ (@stillblazingtho) | TwitterDoctors have already been importing the drug, but they’ve been doing it on a patient-by-patient basis.

This involves a long process of approvals through the states and a government department known as the Therapeutic Goods Association, who require ‘paperwork’ (there you go, paperwork – just what an overworked doctor needs) outlining the evidence and potential benefits and it’s also reliant on the availability of the drug overseas.

Because of the need to bring the marijuana in from overseas some people have had to wait months before they actually receive their treatments, and when you are dying or suffering a debilitating disease every day in that month counts.

As of now, though, it will be easier to import medicinal marijuana from approved international suppliers, which means the product will be able to be imported in bulk and warehoused in Australia until it’s needed. And some places in Australia will be given approval (with the necessary paperwork) to grow the product under very strict conditions.

So does that mean it’ll now be easier to get?

Yes and no. A patient who already has approval to use medicinal marijuana will no longer have to wait for the product to be imported, assuming that product is one that has met all of the import regulations.

But for those who don’t already have a prescription, it won’t be any easier to get one as a result of this change.

And it will be quite hard to access the product because medicinal marijuana isn’t approved by the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) as a registered good. Only a government Minister could approve a product without giving the appropriate government department permission to use it.

Patients will need special approval to take it, and the TGA will provide two ways to go about getting this:

  • Firstly, doctors can apply to become “authorised prescribers” of specific non-listed drugs to patients with particular medical conditions
  • Secondly, doctors can apply for medicinal marijuana on behalf of their patients through the “Special Access Scheme”

In both cases, doctors need to be able to show that the drug would be of benefit for a particular patient with a particular disease, and the application processes are stringent.

One never ceases to be amazed at how a government bureaucrat can make a decision about a person they have never met and their health and pain whereas a doctor with years and years of firsthand experience cannot!

As well, the use of marijuana for medical purposes still needs to be legal in the state or territory in which a patient lives.

And naturally all the various states and territories have different rules and regulations, another hurdle through which a patient will have to jump.

One medico hedged her bets this way: “Doctors here don’t want pressure to provide scripts yet because we want to make sure it’s actually safe and effective first.”

And for those who may have thought that Australia was about to become the Holland of the South Seas, think again. You won’t be able to role a joint and harmonise with the world because your doctor has cracked the government code of bureaucracy. The medicinal marijuana they prescribe is most likely to be in the form of a liquid tincture, a dermal patch or synthetic spray.

At least for some there is relief on the horizon.


Honour their spirit. The Australian War Memorial.

In juts under over month from now the free world will remember the end of World War 1. A war that claimed 40 million military and civilians lives – let alone the trauma of those who came home wounded in body and mind. Since the end of WW1 100,000 military personnel have died in various conflicts overseas.

Remembrance Day has a special significance in 2018.

Sunday, 11 November 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice which ended the First World War (1914–18).

Photograph taken by Steve Burton. PAIU2013/193.12

Tomb of the Unknown soldier Australian War Memorial AWM Canberra

One hundred years ago, on 11 November 1918, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after four years of continuous warfare. With their armies retreating and close to collapse, German leaders signed an Armistice, bringing to an end the First World War. From the summer of 1918, the five divisions of the Australian Corps had been at the forefront of the allied advance to victory. Beginning with their stunning success at the battle of Hamel in July, they helped to turn the tide of the war at Amiens in August, followed by the capture of Mont St Quentin and Pèronne, and the breaching of German defences at the Hindenburg Line in September. By early October the exhausted Australians were withdrawn from battle. They had achieved a fighting reputation out of proportion to their numbers, but victory had come at a heavy cost. They suffered almost 48,000 casualties during 1918, including more than 12,000 dead.

In the four years of the war more than 330,000 Australians had served overseas, and more than 60,000 of them had died. The social effects of these losses cast a long shadow over the postwar decades.

Each year on this day Australians observe one minute’s silence at 11am, in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts.

Remembrance Day National Ceremony

10.30am – 12pm

The Remembrance Day National Ceremony includes a formal wreath laying, and Australia’s Federation Guard and the Band of the Royal Military College, Duntroon will be on parade.

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Free tickets for the National Ceremony are available on line.

Remembrance Day Ceremony

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Remembrance Day breakfast

A breakfast event will be held in the Memorial’s Anzac Hall at 8am.
This sit down plated breakfast includes a presentation from Memorial Head of Military History, Ashley Ekins.



Last Post Ceremony

Each day the story of one of the fallen servicemen or women listed on the Roll of Honour is told at the Last Post Ceremony.

Traditionally on the 11th of November, the eulogy for the Unknown Australian Soldier is read. Remembrance Day 2018 will be the 25th anniversary of its first recitation by then Prime Minister the Honourable Paul Keating.

Dignitaries lay wreaths at the Stone of Remembrance, Remembrance Day 2014

Gallery Photographs from 11 November 1918

An unidentified cinematographer capturing the last shots to be fired before the armistice on 11 November 1918. Note the line of bare trees under which the guns are placed.

Sydney, NSW. 1918-11-11. Crowd in Martin Place celebrating the news of the signing of the armistice. This date was celebrated in later years as Remembrance Day

Cambrai, France. 11 November 1918. Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, centre front, with British Army commanders on Armistice Day. (Donor Imperial War Museum Q9690)

Adelaide, South Australia. 1918-11. A huge crowd at Parliament House for the Declaration of the Signing of the Armistice. (Donor W.S. Smith)

Story and images courtesy Australian War Memorial Canberra