Holiday Ideas

Winter Magic Festival Photo: Mike Baker/Flickr

 

BY KIAN HALL

 

Wondering what to do with your time now that TAFE is on holidays? There’s plenty of great things to fill your time with; reading, writing, getting some quality time with your blog and online friends. If none of that appeals to you maybe try going into hibernation until July 14th.

Between hibernation, that new game you bought but haven’t had enough time to play yet and your online social obligations you could even try getting out of the house and doing something new and interesting. Just once. Don’t push it; you’re on holidays now!

The Blue Mountains has a Winter Magic Festival during the holidays, and as it’s only for one day it still allows for plenty of sleeping. The Blue Mountains are well known for their natural beauty and the culture of the people. Tourists flock year round to Katoomba to experience it’s many cafes and knickknack shops. On June 21st the Winter Magic Festival gives it even more visiting appeal. There are stalls, fun activities, a parade, and amazing costumes. This year is set to be even more spectacular than usual as the festival will be celebrating the bicentenary of the crossing of the Blue Mountains.

So when you’re tired of sleeping, you’ve finished the new game and your online friends are annoying you, come along to the Winter Magic Festival! If you’re feeling brave enough put on a costume, or wear something quirky (like the jumper your grandma knitted you for Christmas) and enjoy the celebration.

Or just sleep. It’s up to you.

Port Expansion Danger to Barrier Reef

Turtle swimming in waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Sam Harris/flickr

 

BY CHARLOTTE MUTORO

The coal terminal at Abbot Point is one of five ports along the Queensland coast to be given the go ahead for expansion.

Abbot Point, which is close to the Great Barrier Reef has been designated a port development priority area under the Queensland Ports Strategy.

UNESCO has expressed concern over the proposed developments close to the world heritage site in a report released a few days ago.

‘‘Considering the high rate of approvals over the past 12 years, this unprecedented scale of development affecting or potentially affecting the property poses serious concerns over its long-term conservation,’’ the UNESCO report states.

With a number of development proposals in the pipeline, awaiting approval UNESCO is considering imposing an “in danger” status to the world heritage site by February of next year.

“There are 35 major development applications seeking approval within the next 18 months that would impact on the reef … Thankfully UNESCO has recognised the scale of the threat and is calling for urgent action,” Program Director for Greenpeace, Ben Pearson said.

“We may as well kiss the reef goodbye if we sign off on even half of sixfold expansion of coal port capacity planned in the World Heritage Area,” Mr Pearson said.

“We understand the Great Barrier Reef is unique and special to all Queenslanders and we are committed to its protection for this, and future generations.” the Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said.

The Abbot Point terminal was bought by the Indian coal importer Adani Enterprises in May 2011 for two billion dollars to assist India’s growing energy needs. Further plans lodged by the Hong Kong-based Energy World Corporation will see gas exports to Asia increase with a 1000 kilometre gas pipeline planned to run from Cooper’s basin to Abbots Point.

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on the planet, visible from space.