Racing against family time

24 Mar
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Jason Taylor in the enclosure before a ride on the Gold Coast. Picture: Christie Perrin

By Christie Perrin, Bond Journalism Student

Gold Coast-based jockey Jason Taylor dedicates himself to the sport of horse racing, yet as a consequence, juggles his schedule to find precious family time.

His wife Alana, 40, and six-year-old daughter Jessica, are not only his biggest supporters but are proud of his commitment to being a successful jockey not only in Australia, but also in Singapore, Mauritius and New Zealand.

Since leaving school at 16 to pursue his racing career, he has won many premium races such as The Stradbroke Handicap.

“I was also very active and involved as the Vice President of the Queensland Jockeys’ Association where we helped apprentice jockeys and working jockeys improve their pay and the safety of their rides,” Mr Taylor, 45, said.

However, being so passionately involved in his jockey career results in an immense amount of his time going towards work instead of family.

“A typical week for me is Monday morning wake up 3:30am, riding track and exercising horses then home 6 am,” Mr Taylor said.

“You then either are in the office the rest of the day organising your week with horses you are riding and going to, or preparing to go to race meetings.

“Some of those race meetings are a distance away like, for instance, a Grafton meeting on the Tuesday, Brisbane meeting on Wednesday, Rockhampton on Thursday and Ipswich on Friday then Gold Coast or Brisbane on Saturday and the Sunshine Coast on Sunday.”

With horse racing taking up every day of Mr Taylor’s week, finding time to spend with his wife and daughter is difficult.

“It is hard for me when my daughter has to go to her school diary to try and find a day that we can do something, while she’s at school, because on the weekends I am always definitely racing,” Mr Taylor said.

“It is basically very difficult being away from the whole family on occasions where some weeks I’m fleetingly seeing them for a couple hours.

“It’s a great but challenging feeling being a father and juggling the demanding jockey working career at the same time.”

Mrs Taylor adopted the role of his manager in 2001 to be able to spend more time with her husband and become more involved in his career.

Mrs Taylor said she had to book him on respectable rides whilst also aiming to maintain loyalty to previous contacts.

“He had to give up winners to keep connections he had already formed in the racing business and then the races he didn’t have rides in, I would sell his ass and try and get him on rides,” Mrs Taylor said.

“I gave up managing Jason in 2009 to do my last IVF treatment, and also to raise our daughter and balance our family.

“Jess and I are great supporters, if we don’t go to the races to watch Jas we support him on TV.”

Mrs Taylor and Jessica always watch Mr Taylor’s rides but fret about his safety.

“Many jockeys we know have been killed, so that’s always in the back of our minds,” Mrs Taylor said.

“We even watch the races on the phone while I do school pick up.”

Jessica said she loved watching her Dad on television and telling her school friends about the trophies he wins.

“I think it’s cool dad being a jockey because he gets really big trophies and one time he let me hold a trophy,” Jessica said.

“I go to the races to watch Dad and call out to him in the enclosure and we wave at each other, it is special.

“I miss him every day he is riding but am so proud of him and love watching him on TV.”

Gold Coast goes crazy for Acai

24 Mar
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FORTY TWO 20 cafe in Burleigh, barista and waiter Bennett Epiha shows off his 23rd bowl of the day. Picture: Robyn Fairbairn

By Robyn Fairbairn, Bond University Journalism student

People on the Gold Coast are going crazy for Acai bowls, with 72,100 followers of the acaibowlss Instagram page and its colourful pictures of the trending breakfast food.

The acai (ah-sigh-ee) berry is a grape-like fruit harvested from the rainforests of South America.

Acai bowls are frozen acai pulp mixed with fruits and berries and topped usually with granola, banana and coconut.

Barista at Burleigh Heads Mowbray kiosk, Millie Clout said the normal price for a decent sized bowl is $12 and she makes on average 200 Acai bowls a weekend and about 50 on a weekday.

Ms Clout said the trend began about two years ago and she thought people were obsessed with Acai bowls because of the health epidemic.

“Everyday countless people come in their active wear and order Acai bowls,” Ms Clout said. “I usually serve the same people on a weekly basis, who always come in for their standard Acai bowl brekky.”

She said the Acai bowl was probably the healthiest thing on their menu and fuelling their increasing popularity because of their exotic aesthetic.

“If Acai bowls weren’t so visually attractive they wouldn’t be so popular, so in this case I almost believe the aesthetics of the bowls trumps the actual taste,” she said.

New Zealand tourist and customer at Burleigh Heads Mowbray kiosk, Mark Trimble said he was obsessed with Acai bowls and gets ‘Acai cravings’ at least three times a week.

“I had never heard of them until I came to Australia and now every single café I see sells them and every second street has a purple Acai flag on the side of the road,” Mr Trimble said.

“I can’t escape them.”

Mr Trimble said he liked them because they were refreshing and filling.

“Kind of like a thick fruity smoothie but far better,” he said.

He said he hadn’t posted a picture of an Acai bowl on social media yet but plenty of his friends have started to.

FORTY TWO 20 kitchen staff member and waitress, Ruby Crawshaw said she believes the Acai bowl trend is linked to social media.

“I always see customers taking pictures of their Acai bowls, and I assume they would share this on some sort of social network platform as it has become trendy to eat Acai bowls,” Ms Crawshaw said.

She said café FORTY TWO 20 had been selling them for two years now and she made between 20 and 40 each day.

She said she believed the trend would last for a while because it had only just started gaining momentum and more and more people were hash-tagging acaibowlss on Instagram.

“It’s mainly the youth that order them, so people ages 15 onwards that are really invested in social media,” she said.

Full time journalist at the Gold Coast Bulletin, Emily Selleck, who writes for the paper’s lifestyle and trending section, said the Acai bowl craze aligned with increased usage of Instagram and was born out of the stereotyped ‘healthy Gold Coast lifestyle’.

“This trend is a perfect combination of both being a super food and creating Insta worthy pics, which is why they are so popular,” she said.

“People associate the Gold Coast with things such as being fit, healthy or relaxed and the Acai bowl fits that image.”

She said just like the chia seed, kale and veganism trends the Acai bowl movement would continue to develop but there would always be something new on the market.

“People are always looking for something fresh and already on Instagram I have seen people posting pictures of Pitaya bowls which are believed to be a branch off the Acai bowl,” she said.

Skin Cancer Capital

24 Mar

By Amanda Doyle, Bond University Journalism student

Individuals with five or more skin cancers each are on the increase, according to the Principal Doctor at Tweed Skin Cancer Clinic.

Dr Glen Parker said he had observed an exponential growth of skin cancers in recent years but said early detection can lead to a cure, making it essential for all Gold Coasters to practise efficient sun safety.

Dr Parker cuts out more than 15 skin cancers a day on average, and freezes multiple more, seeing a big population of females over the age of 40.

“The thing I’m seeing more and more of, is patients with five or more skin cancers at a time,” he said.

“Most skin cancers I find are in people who don’t know they have them.”

The most severe skin cancers Dr Parker works with are patients who work outdoors or surf frequently, with a rise in older generation patients who had to walk to and from school when they were younger.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon Dr Isolde Hertess said two out of three Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer by the time they are 70.

Dr Hertess said she frequently saw patients who had left their cancers undiagnosed for months.

“I can tell how aggressive the cancers are and act very quickly,” she said.

“If you get regular checkups and remove skin cancers early, it is a 99 per cent cure rate, however if left for too long there’s the potential for fatalities.”

Both Dr Parker and Dr Hertess stress the importance of regular – ideally annual – checkups.

Skin cancers can grow anywhere on the arms, legs, back, face, under the face, private areas, head and more increasingly inside the ear, which can be extremely difficult to remove, said Dr Parker.

The Gold Coast is Queensland’s skin cancer capital due to the high UV index all year.

Tweed Skin Cancer Clinic has the highest pickup rate for skin cancers and melanomas in Australia, according to national pathology audit results.

“No matter how severe the case, I don’t often come across a patient I can’t get back to good health,” Dr Parker said.

Griffith University Commerce-Finance student Tim Summerville said he noticed an unusual mole on his ear after years of sun exposure, and found it was a basal cell carcinoma – the most common yet least dangerous form of skin cancer.

“I never expected to have a skin cancer at 20 years of age,” he said.

“It just reinforces that none of us are immune from skin cancers and we should all practice sun safety from early on.

“I have a scar to remind me that it is a serious concern of many Australians and we should start taking it more seriously, starting with regular checkups.”

‘Slip Slop Slap Seek Slide’ is the core message of the Cancer Council Australia’s SunSmart program to protect Australians against skin cancer.

The slogan stands for ‘slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade and slide on sunglasses.’

It’s time to UberEat

24 Mar
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Owner and Manager of Mr Pad Thai Natalie Sirisom showcasing the UberEats delivery bag. Picture: Eliza Reilly

By Eliza Reilly, Bond University Journalism student

UberEats has hit the Gold Coast with a rapidly growing number of local businesses signing up to the delivery service, according to the team behind the service.

Providing a pathway for restaurants to find new customers is the goal for UberEats says Uber customer service representative Adam McLean after the app was launched on the Gold Coast on February 15.

“UberEats is like the middle man so customers can go on to our app and look at what type of food they would like,” he said.

“We’re growing quickly, every single day the team is calling up restaurants that eaters want on the platform and having a chat to them about what we can do for their business.”

Customers can place orders at any of the range of businesses on the app which are then relayed to the eateries and delivered straight to the customer’s home by an UberEats courier.

“The service is basically set up so that restaurants can be self-sufficient and UberEats is there to manage the platform and resolve issues they may face,” Mr McLean said.

A $5 booking fee is charged on every order to help UberEats cover operational costs which is consistent with all the other Australian cities (Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) which offer the service.

Travellers returning from these cities after experiencing UberEats and questioning its absence on the coast served as a major reason why the Gold Coast was the first regional city to receive the apps services.

This coupled with the Gold Coast’s vibrant food culture makes Crave Social Media and Graphic Design manager Kate Linton believe UberEats will thrive on the Gold Coast.

“The food culture on the Gold Coast is growing, we want to see the coast stand out not only for the tourist market but for our great food culture,” she said.

“If businesses provide quality food and UberEats can provide a great service, we think that it will be very successful for businesses on the coast.”

Food delivery options were limited prior to UberEats so the ability to sample a range of cuisines from the comfort of home or work further excites Ms Linton.

“Before UberEats the only food that you could really get delivered was pizza and as much as we love pizza, it’s not always what we want to eat if we want takeaway food delivered,” she said.

“We are loving the idea that we can get our favourite foods delivered straight to us for just a small fee.”

A Bond Gold Coast News poll of 30 people showed two-thirds of Gold Coasters surveyed have already tried the service resulting in an 8.5/10 average satisfaction rate.

The main reason for dissatisfaction was the delivery area which fails to cover some of Gold Coast major suburbs such as Currumbin and Carrara, however UberEats hopes to soon service these areas.

Owner and manager of Mr Pad Thai Noodle Bar Natalie Sirisom said despite everything being so far so good after three weeks with UberEats, she is unable to tell whether they are making any more profit than usual with the service.

“They take quite a large percentage of the money but at the same time it is their responsibility to provide bags and drivers and fix all of the problems that we may encounter,” she said.

“We don’t know if it’s going to work out yet but we will assess how it’s going in a few months’ time.”

When asked about the percentage UberEats takes from each order, Mr McLean declined to answer but said as they become more confident in their position, the company may be able to reveal their ‘trade secrets.’

“Essentially we’re trying to set it up so that the eater pays less and ensure that the restaurants are getting their money’s worth,” he said.

The struggle to find a delivery driver left UberEats as the logical business boosting option for Ms Sirisom following a string of customers ringing and asking for delivery.

“We saw an opportunity to boost our business so we thought we would sign up and give it a go,” she said.

“There is no contract so if we are happy with the service, we will continue to use it but if not we can easily stop and UberEats is okay with that so there is no pressure on us.”

The restaurant’s most popular dish by far ordered through the platform is its namesake, pad thai.

“Everyone knows our pad thai dish,” Ms Sirisom said.

From the benches to the beach

24 Mar
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Runner on Miami Beach. Picture: Yasmin Bonnell

By Yasmin Bonnell, Bond University Journalism student

The beach is a place most people go for a day in the sun and water with friends, but for many on the Gold Coast it has become the new place to work out.

Varsity Lakes resident Rekisha Satour said she prefers running along the beach rather than working out at the gym because it gives her a chance to think clearly and focus on herself.

“The gym is always jam packed with people and I can’t think clearly about what my goals are,” she said.

“At the beach I can visually see the distance that I have to run which gives me a sense of accomplishment.

“It’s a good way to socialise and have that extra bit of motivation.”

University student Andrea Nikoletatos said working out at the beach also motivates her.

“I would rather wake up to go for a run and watch the sunrise than go to the gym and stare at a wall,” she said.

“We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world so I want to take advantage of it.”

Ms Satour said while there are many lovely beaches on the Gold Coast, her favourite place to work out is Miami Beach.

“The atmosphere is just so great and the scenery is beautiful,” she said.

Gold Coast City Council have been running an Active and Healthy program since July 11, 2016, which will continue until next June 4.

The program provides daily group fitness trainings for all ages and fitness levels with diverse classes like seniors group exercise, beach body workout classes and more.

Prices range from $3 to $20 with some free classes available.

In a brochure promoting the program Gold Coast City Mayor Tom Tate said council aims to motivate community members to undertake more regular physical activity, participate in community activities and make movement part of their everyday lives.

Sessions are held at Gold Coast beaches from Currumbin to Coomera.


Young people encouraged to become Entrepreneurs

24 Mar
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Dominic Andersen-Strudwick, Founder and CEO of The Australian Youth Entrepreneurship Foundation said he approves of Bond’s new Transformer project. Picture: Emily Bradfield

By Emily Bradfield , Bond University Journalism student

Young people under pressure from high youth unemployment rates are being encouraged to consider entrepreneurship.

Dominic Andersen-Strudwick, founder and CEO of the Australian Youth Entrepreneurship Foundation, said involvement is key.

“Governments need to be investing more in entrepreneurship,” he said

“The rate for youth unemployment in outback Queensland is now 36.6%.

“We are talking about 15 to 24 year olds in Queensland’s backyard and they have a youth unemployment rate that is double Syria’s.

“If they’re allowing that to happen something is wrong.”

The Australian Youth Entrepreneurship Foundation is a non-for-profit organisation which runs a four-hour business start-up seminar for youth to grow their own business.

Mr Andersen-Strudwick, studying a Bachelor of International Relations at Bond University, said he started the program in 2014 because he wanted to inspire young Australians to be the best they could be.

“It sucks to start a business as a young person, essentially it takes you too long,” he said.

“Three dollars an hour for internships and apprenticeships minus tax, and you’re still working for someone else.

“At the end of the day you’re still working to build someone else’s dream.”

The Foundation’s Youth Entrepreneurship Seminar (YES) is designed for youth and is the only one of its kind in Australia.

Almost three-quarters of Bond University students surveyed said they were concerned about unemployment after graduation.

Bond Law student Nick Faulks said he was wary about his options after graduation.

“Myself as a law student, there’s about a million law graduates a year and only 228,000 jobs made available every year,” he said.

“I study Law and International Relations and the best hope I’ve got for a job is in private business.

“It’s never been like that before.”

Mr Faulks says high wages and business expenses mean you can’t get in at the ground level any more so people are forced to look at the chain and jump in at higher areas.

“Entrepreneurship is like jumping the queue,” he said.

Bond has responded to the growing need and will provide an opportunity for students to build business ideas.

Transformer, which is scheduled to start in May, is a voluntary program open to students of all faculties to explore and develop ideas.

Program Manager, Shilo Brosnan describes the project as a work experience opportunity on campus.

“Transformer aims to develop highly valued skills in the workplace such as creative problem solving, big picture thinking, initiative and evidence-based decision-making,” she said.

“They are producing real work outputs and they can use them as examples of their capabilities.

“Importantly, they are working to produce something that they have chosen.”

Mr Faulks said projects like YES and Transformer will indirectly help to decrease youth unemployment rates.

“Young people can generally think about big ideas but they can’t really put them into action, it’s a big problem our generation has,” he said.

“So if you can teach young people how to fit the mould and get their ideas to come to fruition a lot easier then it’s perfect and it could have tremendous economic advantages.”

New shark nets spark controversy

24 Mar

By Emily Kershek, Bond University Journalism Student

Shark nets introduced to the Gold Coast in 1962 have continued to spark controversy among residents.

The Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website said the purpose of shark nets was to catch dangerous sharks that could attack swimmers and surfers.

Bond University Associate Professor of Environmental Science Daryl McPhee said bull sharks, white sharks, and tiger sharks were responsible for most fatalities, but not all bites were fatal.

“It’s logical to think that if you’re killing large sharks the beach is safer, but it’s very difficult to determine objectively whether they work or not,” he said.

While these nets were installed to prevent fatal shark attacks along the coast, many people fear they are doing more harm than good.

Gold Coast resident Elise Figuero said she believed shark nets came with a cost and were causing more damage to the environment than performing their intended function.

“I think that they’re a waste of money to be honest,” she said.

“And then they put the other marine life in danger, so for me I think it’s totally not beneficial in reducing attacks.

“I think people just have to take basic precautions and then you can avoid incidents in the water, so, for me, it’s a big waste of government money.”

However, resident Essa Hourani said she didn’t mind the shark nets installed along the Gold Coast because they provided people with a sense of safety.

“We’re surrounded by water so if you can do something to make people feel safer in that environment, then at least they have peace of mind and can enjoy their life,” he said.

“Of course, it’s not nice what happens to the fish and other ocean life, but I guess that’s the price to pay for a bit of human safety.

“There has to be a risk balance between what we do that affects nature and what we do to protect ourselves.”

With Gold Coast residents either supporting or opposing shark nets, one thing is for certain, according to Dr. McPhee.

“You’re about 20 times more likely to drown at a surf beach than you are being bitten or killed by a shark, so if you look at it objectively, the risk is low with or without shark nets,” he said.


Pacific Fair upgrade brings more shoppers

24 Mar


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Kylie Collier, Manager at Sass and Bide Pacific Fair visual merchandising the store. Picture: Sophie Wallace

By Sophie Wallace, Bond University Journalism student

More than 400 specialty stores are drawing locals and tourists to the recently redeveloped Pacific Fair.

Pacific Fair Fashion Retail Assistant Manager Erin Ruby said the $670 million redevelopment has had a positive impact on the Gold Coast offering jobs in the construction process as well as the final product.

“I know a lot of Gold Coast ladies have had the opportunity to work in high end fashion since the redevelopment of the centre,” she said.

“Pacific Fair has become an international shoppers’ destination, the introduction of designer stores supports the demand for high end retail which has been popular with our Chinese, Arab and local clientele.”

However, Ms Ruby said she has heard negative feedback from small minority locals.

“They have failed to see that in order to be recognised on an international level we must run this operation at an international standard,” she said.

“Complaints about paid parking have led to extended free parking periods after media uproar but they need to realise that this is the case across the majority of huge high-end shopping centres”

Pacific Fair Bailey Nelson Assistant Store Manager Chelsea Redpath said she found tourists spent lavishly on designer brands and the numbers would rise with the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

“I have already noticed an increase in foot traffic throughout the shopping centre compared to when we had only been open for six months,” she said.

\“Pacific Fair has become a huge fashion destination for tourists and locals, I also find we get a lot of customers making the trip from Brisbane to shop here.”

Business News Australia reported a high demand for luxury fashion brands such as Tiffany and Co, Gucci and Prada.

Gold Coast local Karla Hinton said she thought Pacific Fair was like a shiny new toy for tourists and less friendly for locals.

“I personally think that the high-end fashion demand is more popular for tourists and that some locals like myself prefer to shop at Robina,” she said.

Limited transport to Hinterland

24 Mar

By Alexandra Bernard, Bond University Journalism Student

Tourists without vehicles are left frustrated when they try to visit the Gold Coast Hinterland.

No public transport options exist to reach some of the most well-known areas of the Hinterland, including Springbrook National Park.

The only option is to take a tour with prices averaging $90+ per person for day tours.

Some non-locals said this was too much, especially if they wanted to visit more than once.

Bond University student Emily Young, originally from Melbourne, said she would love to visit Springbrook but has been unable to.

“It’s supposed to be so beautiful there, but without a car it’s really hard,” she said.

Ms Young suggested a public bus route to Springbrook.

“I expect there not be trains or anything because that would ruin the environment, but a bus could work,” she said.

“I feel limited by the lack of transport and I wouldn’t pay that much [$90] for a day trip.”

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said such a route could benefit visitors, but might not be viable.

“The challenge with public transport is always ‘is there sufficient demand for a service?’ to be maintained,” he said.

“Realistically, it would require quite a lot of paying passengers to make the service viable.”

While Ms Young, as well as older tourists, could rent a car, those under a certain age visiting from overseas don’t have the option.

Many car rental companies won’t allow people under the age of 21 to rent a car, regardless of their licence status and those under 25 often must pay a surcharge.

Alma Tidblom, from Sweden, faced this issue on a trip to Australia at age 20.

“The rental companies wouldn’t let us rent a car, but we were lucky to have friends in Australia who lent us theirs,” she said.

Several Bond study abroad students also faced the challenge of being car-less and relied on Australian friends to take them places without access to public transport.

American Emily Dumont travelled to Springbrook after having found a friend to give her a lift.

“I don’t think I’d pay $90, just because I could find a ride with a friend,” she said.

American Lauren Westerhouse, also went to Springbrook with friends and said she thought $90 would be too much to pay for a day trip.

However, another study abroad American Lauren Hesketh, said she was happy to pay for a tour to the Hinterland.

“We went to Purling Brook Falls, Natural Bridge and Twin Falls with tour guides and transport included,” she said.

“I paid $90 for that, which I thought was reasonable.”

Queensland Government media spokesperson Andrea Dobbyn said Springbrook National Park has around 600,000 visitors every year.


The National Parks in the Gold Coast Hinterland area include Springbrook, Mount Tambourine, Mount Barney and Lamington National Park.

Springbrook National Park lies 24km west of Mudgeeraba and the National Parks website said its features are the most photographed in the Hinterland.

Broadbeach’s much needed makeover 

24 Mar

By Amelia Chapman, Bond University Journalism student 

Completion of Broadbeach’s $1 million Surf Parade makeover is due for May – much to everybody’s relief.

The suburb’s major thoroughfare has been undergoing construction transforming it into a pedestrian-only family friendly and entertainment zone since last December.

Street parking has been taken out and gardens and trees flattened to allow more footpath space and to accommodate the increase of tourism within the area.

Broadbeach resident Peter Scott said he was excited for what’s to come.

“I can’t wait till it’s all finished, hopefully there’s heaps of new restaurants and bars,” he said.

However, not everyone has been happy about the ongoing construction.

Storeowner of Movenpick Broadbeach on Surf Parade, Akeel Premji said the construction had definitely affected his business.

“Ever since the construction the figures have dropped and there are fewer customers,” he said.

Mr Premji said the council had been unsympathetic and inconsiderate.

He said even though storeowners had been told about the construction and when it was going to take place, they had been told the road would still be open for traffic.

“The road closure for second stage came as a surprise, I believe they could very easily put more people on the job and get it done quicker,” Mr Premji said.

Melanie Karibasic was not pleased with all the noise the construction brought with it.

“Apparently they gave out earplugs to staff around the area because the noise was so loud but I missed out,” she said.

Ms Karibasic described the noise from the construction as unbearable at times.

Local resident Sally Urvine said the finished project should attract more tourism.

“With the Commonwealth Games so close it’s so good to see the council working hard to improve our area,” she said.

“I am very excited for it all to be done and check it all out.”

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