Wacol-Built Electric, HVO Trucks Spearhead QFES’s Green Transport Push

In an Australian-first trial, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is set to revolutionise its fleet with two groundbreaking prime movers built at Volvo’s Wacol factory.

One truck will run solely on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), a renewable fuel, while the other will be entirely electric, marking a significant stride towards decarbonising the emergency service’s operations.

Queensland Leads the Way in Sustainable Emergency Response

Electric Truck built in Wacol
Photo Credit: Volvo Trucks Australia

The HVO-powered truck built in Wacol, will be mainly based in Townsville, and will undergo rigorous testing across vast distances in North Queensland, demonstrating its ability to handle demanding conditions while significantly reducing carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, the electric truck, also built in Wacol, will be stationed in Caloundra. It will be the first Volvo FMX electric prime mover operating in Australia, utilised for logistical deliveries as part of its trial.

Collaboration for a Cleaner Future

QFES has partnered with the University of Queensland’s researchers to evaluate the trial’s effectiveness, collecting data through on-board vehicle information systems and field assessments.

This collaboration underscores the commitment to evidence-based decision-making and continuous improvement in the pursuit of a greener future.

Government and Industry Unite for a Greener Queensland

Electric Truck built in Wacol
Photo Credit: Volvo Trucks Australia

Minister for Fire and Emergency Services, Nikki Boyd, hailed the trial as a groundbreaking advancement for both emergency services and sustainable transport. She emphasised the government’s dedication to decarbonising the QFES fleet and highlighted the positive impact these trucks will have on the environment and community through reduced emissions and noise pollution.

Minister for Energy and Clean Economy Jobs, Mick de Brenni, echoed this sentiment, stressing the importance of decarbonising the heavy transport sector, which contributes significantly to Queensland’s emissions. He praised the collaboration with Volvo, emphasising the benefits for local manufacturing and clean economy jobs.

QFES Paves the Way for a Sustainable Fleet

Electric Truck built in Wacol
Photo Credit: Volvo Trucks Australia

QFES Commissioner Steve Smith expressed pride in leading the charge towards emissions reduction, emphasising that this trial is a pivotal step in their broader decarbonisation strategy. He noted the potential for expanding the use of HVO and electric vehicles within the extensive QFES fleet, encompassing both Fire and Rescue and Rural Fire Services.

Volvo’s Commitment to Australian Manufacturing and Sustainability

Volvo Group Australia’s vice-president of public affairs, Lauren Pulitano, celebrated the delivery of these innovative trucks as a testament to Volvo’s commitment to a cleaner future and its dedication to local manufacturing in Wacol. She emphasised the importance of partnerships between industry, government, and stakeholders in achieving a sustainable and decarbonised heavy transport sector.

This landmark trial positions QFES and Queensland at the forefront of sustainable transportation, demonstrating a commitment to innovation, collaboration, and a cleaner future for all Queenslanders.

Published Date 03-June-2024

Wacol Hit-and-Run Leaves Gold Coast Man Dead, Two Hospitalised

A Gold Coast man with an extensive criminal history was killed in a two-car collision in Wacol.

In the morning of the 28th of May 2024, at the intersection of Boundary and Progress roads, a Ford Mondeo struck Ryan William Victor Grafton, a 30-year-old passenger in a rideshare vehicle. The Ford driver fled the scene, prompting an ongoing police search.

The impact left the rideshare driver, Hussein Ali Mohamed, with suspected back injuries, and Grafton’s friend, Amelia Vinden, 26, in critical but stable condition with chest and abdominal injuries. Mohamed was discharged from Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital on Tuesday night, while Vinden remains hospitalised.

Photo Credit: Pexel

Grafton’s sister, Lauren Bennett, remembered him as a devoted brother and uncle. Grafton’s past included a 2019 court appearance for offences such as car theft, using counterfeit money, and other crimes. A magistrate at the time described his behaviour as “totally out of control,” acknowledging his history of drug and dishonesty offences across three states.

Police are investigating the crash and urge anyone with information or dashcam footage to come forward. An Uber spokeswoman expressed condolences for the passenger’s death and confirmed support for the driver and injured passenger.

This incident occurred shortly after a fatal rideshare accident in Sydney claimed the lives of a father and daughter. Additionally, a car hit a man in Goodna, causing serious injuries. The driver later turned himself in to the police. Another man was injured and hospitalised following a car crash in Purga.

Published Date 29-May-2024

Wacol Youth Remand Centre Progresses Toward 2024 Completion

Did you know that the Wacol Youth Remand Centre, a facility that aims to provide better shelter for the youth in detention and rehabilitation, will be completed by late 2024?

With the Queensland Police Service (QPS) spearheading the construction process that began in late 2023, the Wacol Youth Remand Centre is a few months away from being ready to house youth being held in watchhouses on remand. 

Initially envisioned to have 50 beds, QPS has expanded the centre’s capacity to 76 beds to ensure that more young individuals will have access to the support and services they need while in custody at the Wacol Police Complex. 

The centre’s strategic co-location with Brisbane and West Moreton youth detention facilities allows youth access to essential services including education, healthcare, counselling, and open-air exercise areas for recreational activities. 

The Wacol Youth Remand Centre, operated by the Department of Youth Justice, will house youth in custody until new youth centres in Cairns and Woodford open. 

The decision to fast-track construction and consolidate the project into a single stage is part of the State’s dedication to addressing youth crime and promoting community safety.

Rapid-build methodologies have driven progress, allowing the facility to take shape swiftly while maintaining high quality and safety standards.

In a statement to media, Premier Steven Miles said that the government will continue to invest in the prevention, intervention and detention programs that work.  

“With more Police and targeted high visibility police operations taking place around the state, we are seeing an increase in arrests and offenders in custody,” he said.

“The Wacol Remand Facility will act as additional remand capacity while two new youth detention centres are built, to minimise the time young people are held in watchhouses on remand.”

“With its close proximity to the Wacol Police Complex, young people will have access to the education, health care and rehabilitation services needed to get back on the right path,” he added.

Published 8-April-2024

New Youth Remand Facility to Boost Detention Capacity in Wacol

An ambitious plan to fast-track the construction of a new youth remand facility has been laid out Wacol, bolstering the state’s detention capacity and improving access to support services for young people in detention. 

Backed by a substantial investment of $250 million, the facility will be a critical addition to the existing youth detention infrastructure.

Early works on this state-of-the-art facility are set to commence October 2023, with a rapid build construction approach in place to ensure the first stage of the project is completed by 2024. The location of the new facility will be on land owned by the Queensland Police Service (QPS), situated near the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre.

Construction and Design Innovation

The Queensland Police Service is taking the lead in the construction of this facility, working closely with the Department of Youth Justice, Employment, Small Business, and Training to ensure it meets the highest standards and is specifically designed for individuals held in custody. 

With the capacity to accommodate approximately 50 young people, the facility will feature common exercise areas and offer access to educational, medical, and therapeutic resources within the adjacent detention complex.

What makes this project unique is the utilisation of rapid build technology and a modular design to expedite the construction process. The Queensland Police Service has already engaged experienced consultants specialising in the design and construction of large-scale modular correctional facilities, ensuring that the project progresses efficiently.

Operation and Purpose

Upon completion, the Wacol facility will be operated by the Department of Youth Justice, Employment, Small Business, and Training and will exclusively house young people in detention until the new youth detention centres in Woodford and Cairns become operational. This significant development will help address the critical need for enhanced detention capacity and the delivery of much-needed services for young people in the criminal justice system.

“Our government is listening, and we are acting. There is nothing more important than keeping the community safe, and we know we need more detention capacity,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. “This youth remand centre will provide best-practice services to young people who have found themselves on the wrong path so early in life.”

Police Minister Mark Ryan emphasised the importance of community safety.

“The fast-track plans for a new youth remand facility means we can quickly increase detention capacity while ensuring we are providing appropriate services for young people in detention. It will reduce the need for young people to be held in watchhouses while they are awaiting placement in a detention centre while also enabling improved access to support resources and services.”

Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll also highlighted the advantages of the facility’s location.

“The QPS Wacol precinct is an ideal location to build this facility as it is located right next to the current youth detention centre, allowing for easy access to a range of government services. The facility will significantly boost watchhouse capacity for the QPS into the future, which is a good outcome for operational staff and prisoners held in police custody.”

With this new youth remand facility, the Queensland government aims to make a positive impact on the lives of young people in the justice system while enhancing community safety and the capacity to address youth crime effectively. Early works on the project signal the state’s commitment to rapid progress in this crucial area.

Published 18-Oct-2023

Over Capacity Hits Wildlife Hospital in Wacol, Injured Koala Denied Treatment

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Queensland is facing criticism raising concerns about the organisation’s capacity to care for wildlife in need, after its Wildlife Hospital in Wacol turned away a severely injured koala because they were allegedly “too busy.”

The ordeal began when a koala was viciously attacked by a dog in the Scenic Rim region Thursday, 21 Sept 2023. The injured marsupial was in desperate need of veterinary attention. 

However, the RSPCA Wildlife Hospital in Wacol, reportedly declined to treat the wounded koala, instead diverting it to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast, a journey that would take approximately 2.5 

Wildlife Rescue Sunshine Coast, an organisation that has been advocating for an inquiry into the RSPCA following a series of controversies, strongly condemned this decision. They pointed out that the Brisbane Wildlife Hospital could have, at the very least, offered to stabilise the injured animal, provide pain relief, sedation, and possibly administer a drip to ensure a more comfortable journey to Currumbin. 

An RSPCA Queensland spokeswoman responded to the criticism, explaining that the Brisbane Wildlife Hospital had been overwhelmed with 22 koala cases during the week, which exceeded the capacity of their veterinary team and facilities. 

Apparently, the hospital had been caring for 130 other animals simultaneously.

RSPCA koala
Photo Credit: Laura Barry/Unsplash

RSPCA Queensland emphasised that they treated the highest number of wildlife cases in the southeast, admitting 24,000 native animals in the past year, a significant increase compared to 8,359 a decade ago. 

The spokesperson highlighted the urgent need for a new purpose-built facility to address capacity issues and better support wildlife care in South East Queensland.

The incident comes amidst a turbulent period for RSPCA Queensland, with ongoing controversies including an independent whistleblower investigation and public outcry over executive bonuses. The organisation is also currently facing unfair dismissal claims by two former executives who allege they were terminated for exposing “maladministration, misconduct, and corruption.” 

Published 28-Sept-2023

Moco Food Services to Build 17-Hectare Cold Storage Facility in Wacol

Moco Food Services, a family-owned company established in 1961, has lodged plans to build a cold storage facility and an office space in Wacol. 

The development application (DA A006235842) filed on 23 March 2023, details a proposal to turn a 42,345 square metre lot along 55 Barracks Road into a major meat processing site as Moco Food Services looks into expanding in the Sunshine State and northern NSW. 

The cold storage facility will have 16,057 square metres of warehouse space that includes the meat processing area, chiller and freezer. It will also have a 2,366 square metres of office space, a hardstand and more than 180 onsite carparking. Around 11 per cent of the site will be landscaped to “ensure a positive visual amenity and softening of hardstand areas.” 

“The proposed warehouse facility is consistent with the established industrial area and as such will not adversely impact on adjoining properties,” the planners stated in the DA. “Further, the height, bulk, scale, and siting of the extensions are in accordance with the requirements of the Preliminary Approval.”

Post-pandemic, demand for cold storage sector, now valued at $5 billion in Australia, has rapidly evolved with sophisticated technology to ensure that the logistics and supply chain are unhampered.

Apart from this investment, Moco Food Services has also been adopting hands-free voice picking and forklifts with automated routing software to expedite its operations for its over 6,000 food lines. 

Published 15-April-2023

How You Can Help RSPCA Queensland in Wacol Identify What’s Killing Lorikeets

Thousands of beautiful rainbow lorikeets undergo medical care or suddenly die due to a seasonal disease called Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome (LPS). This alarming phenomenon, which emerged over four years ago, has been baffling veterinarians at the RSPCA Queensland in Wacol and scientists at the University of Sydney who are studying what’s causing the birds to become paralysed.

Brisbane is currently the central point of this new disease that leaves the lorikeets so helpless as their tongue, neck, and limbs stop working. Because of LPS, the birds are unable to fly, feed or defend or protect themselves from threats, which impacts their survival.

According to a study in the Australian Veterinary Journal, once LPS strikes, the lorikeets have a 60 percent chance of recovery during an intensive treatment process that entails pain relief for their muscle injuries, restoring kidney function, and correcting electrolyte abnormalities. Those with milder symptoms have an 84 percent recovery rate.

Photo Credit: CollectingPixels/Pixabay

LPS manifestations peak between October and June and veterinary reports have ruled out infectious viral disease. Instead, they’ve suggested that the birds could be feeding on a toxic plant.  

“The seasonal occurrence of the syndrome suggests that the source of the toxin only blooms or has fruit during the warmer months and has a relatively limited range (northern NSW and southern QLD),” the experts from the University of Sydney said. 

“Therefore, the next step is tracking blossoming and fruiting patterns of plants that lorikeets feed on and correlating them with the areas in which lorikeets with the syndrome are found.”

Thus, locals can help the experts with their study by identifying plants that the birds have been feeding on and submit photos of their leaves, flowers, or fruits via iNaturalist. The public is also advised not to feed the birds with seeds and other food as they have natural food sources available.

Newly Relocated IVECO Brisbane in Wacol Now Open for Business

IVECO Brisbane has found a new home in Wacol following its relocation, complete with a 20-bay workshop and two drive-through B-double service pits. 

The Italian-owned IVECO, or Industrial Vehicles Corporation, has relocated their Brisbane branch to Wacol, seeking a long-term investment in Queensland’s commercial vehicle market. 

Spanning 22,000 square metres, with 7,000 square metres taking up warehousing, office space and service space, the new IVECO Brisbane is equipped with state-of-the-art servicing equipment and diagnostic tools to help their technicians repair and maintain company vehicles. 

The facility is also home to a drivers’ lounge with sleeping quarters and bathrooms, as well as a customers lounge for visitors to relax. The warehouse and service area, on the other hand, contains a drive-through, an undercover concierge-style drop-off zone, and spaces for large on-site stockholdings.

Earlier in 2020, IVECO Australia announced that local production would continue amidst the pandemic and remain fully operational across the country, primarily in Melbourne. Following the transference of their Brisbane branch to Wacol, complete with new upgrades and facilities, IVECO intends to offer improved services to their customers. 

Customer response following the relocation of IVECO Brisbane has generally been well-received, with the company seeing positive feedback from clients and IVECO owners. 

IVECO Brisbane can be found at 20 Westgate St, Wacol. Those interested in learning more about the company can visit their website here. For the latest updates and announcements concerning the Brisbane branch, follow their social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter

Wacol Distribution Centre Development to Bring New Jobs

A development application lodged with the Brisbane City Council aims to add another distribution centre at Wacol’s industrial precinct and if approved, the site is poised to bring more jobs to the locals. 

Desane Properties submitted the proposal on 7 July 2020  to turn a 3,250 square metre lot, located at the back of its workshop centre, into a distribution site. 

The company said the project will provide at least 20 jobs during the construction.  Once the building is completed, the company expects that the distribution centre will be operating every day. 

The Sydney-based property also wants to build a 35-slot parking space, including one for PWD, in the new building.

Photo Credit: PD Online/Brisbane City Council

“The industrial focus of the proposed development is appropriate within the context of the surrounding area,” the development application stated. “Immediately adjoining the subject site is a number of industries uses, including low impact, medium impact and high impact developments.”

The lot is currently used as a vehicle parking spot leased to the Council by Desane Properties but its term shall expire in a couple of years. 

Walk Back Through Time with the newly Created Wolston Farmhouse My Culture My Story Tour

As part of the Australian Heritage Festival 2018, the newly created Wolston Farmhouse My Culture My Story Tour is set to bring its visitors back in time on Friday, 11 May 2018 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. as they tour through the oldest surviving residential farmhouse in the district.

The tour, led by volunteer guides, explores the rich history of the nineteenth-century rural gem which dates back to the 1950s. Learn about how the Wolston Farmhouse transformed from pastoralism to agriculture and dairying and finally to heritage tourism.

Photo credit: Facebook/Wolston Farmhouse

Two tours will be held on 11 May 2018 starting at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. with refreshments available for sale during the day.

Those who want to be a volunteer guide are encouraged to visit the Wolston Farmhouse during the event.

Wolston Farmhouse

The Wolston Farmhouse was established by Dr Stephen Simpson in 1852. He built a horse and cattle station in the area and named the estate after his Warwickshire birthplace.

Stephen Simpson Photo credit: Facebook/Wolston Farmhouse

Stephen Simpson was an educated man. He was a doctor, Justice of the Peace, Police Magistrate, and later member of the first Legislative Council of Queensland.

The Goggs Family Photo credit: Facebook/Wolston Farmhouse

Upon his return to England, the property was sold to Matthew Goggs in 1860. Goggs raised his family in the estate and continued to the tradition of breeding cattle and horses.

The Grindles Photo credit: Facebook/Wolston Farmhouse

The property was purchased by the Grindle family who introduced the dairy business to Brisbane suburbs in 1906. The family had been the major supplier of milk in the area up to the 1930s.

In 1956, a farmer named Bert Hurley bought the Wolston Estate and finally sold it to the Queensland Government.

Wolston Farmhouse 50 Years Ago Photo credit: Facebook/Wolston Farmhouse

The National Trust of Australia (Queensland) acquired Wolston Farmhouse and the surrounding land from the Queensland Government in 1963. They are the ones who are responsible for the restoration of the Wolston Farmhouse which is now a popular tourist destination in Wacol.

As a celebration of the Australian Heritage Festival 2018, entry to the historic farmhouse is free on 11 May 2018.