Chemical Leak at Virginia Factory Forced People to Evacuate

Police declared an emergency declaration under the Public Safety and Preservation Act (PSPA) on Thursday afternoon, 9 March 2023, due to a chemical leak at a Virginia factory forcing the evacuation of people within the exclusion zone.

At 2.35 pm, an emergency declaration was declared due to a chemical spill at a factory located on Newton Street in Virginia. People within the exclusion zone were asked to evacuate and police asked the members of the community to avoid the area while emergency services responded to the emergency.

The exclusion zone included the intersections of Newtown Street and Robinson Road, Hadley Street and Robinson Road, Bilsen Road and Robinson Road, Lisgar Street and Pritchard Road and Newtown Street and Pritchard Road.

Eight crews from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services attended the scene. A QFES spokesman said that a scientific team also conducted air monitoring tests to determine what type of chemical leak it was and what caused it.  

The police revoked the PSPA declaration at around 4 pm and declared the emergency situation no longer exists with no injuries reported.

QFES advises people to always call Triple Zero (000) first for any life-threatening emergencies.

Some of the types of emergencies, according to QFES’ guidelines for hazardous industry, include:  

  • Fire (including the generation of toxic combustion products)
  • Explosion (including BLEVE)
  • Spill (of hazardous solids and liquids)
  • Gas leak (flammable, toxic, asphyxiant, pressurised or refrigerated liquid)
  • Structural failure
  • Natural events (including floods, earthquake, storms, storm tides, etc)
  • Impact event (road vehicles, railways, aircraft, ships)
  • Subversive activities (bomb threat, vandalism, sabotage)
  • Transport incident 

Published 13-March-2023

Virginia Spiritual Mentor Sailesh Chand Building His Dreams with NDIS Support

Sailesh Chand is a Virginia local with a goal of creating an online presence as a spiritual mentor and he is building on this dream with the help of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). 

As a meditation teacher and Hindu priest, Sailesh said that he has been sought by people for guiding their personal and spiritual concerns. He realises that he can help more people if he works in the digital space to share his skills in the community.

“I give many talks and have developed quite a social media following; I am trying to work out how I could channel this into earning a living,” Sailesh said.

“I realise that I need good social media skills to advertise my services and I am getting some training support for this.

“I have a support worker who is just really nifty at that and she is showing me how to create content, and I have recently started learning more and getting help from a professional digital marketing specialist who has shown me the basics of how to build my online presence, which is different to creating content.”

Born in Fiji, Sailesh was diagnosed with a giant cell tumour at 20 years old and was given six months to live. He went on a spiritual journey to India for his healing but he soon found himself settled in Australia, where he had his left leg amputated.

Photo Credit: Supplied

He managed to thrive without NDIS support, initially, but realized that the quality of his life can still improve if he had the assistance, particularly for someone with physical challenges as a person with a disability.

“Being able to access the NDIS changed a lot of things for me.

“Currently I have a support worker who helps me with a lot of the physical challenges I have and he is also a qualified allied health assistant, so, he also helps me with health appointments and prosthesis appointments.”

“NDIS has had a big impact on my family’s life; having access to help in the house and garden has changed things a lot, especially for my wife.

“I feel that overall these supports have helped me play my role as a husband and father better as I am less reliant on my family members to do things that I would normally be able to do.”

Eventually, Sailesh wants to be more independent even while walking on crutches and a prosthetic leg, which he was able to access through NDIS. He’s also learning to run his own webinars and create a podcast for his online community, I Pure Soul

“I just ran my first webinar, for free, just as a test run and I had 56 people sign up for it and they were based all around the world.

“My next step is to turn the next webinar into a paid webinar and hopefully I can build from there.

“I would also like to learn how to create and record a podcast; I haven’t accessed any support for this as yet but, I would like to do that in the future.

“I am really passionate about helping others and if I can help them in some way while earning a living, it would be a dream come true.”

To learn more about NDIS, contact Carers Queensland on 1300 999 636, or email

Service Station with Retail Showroom Proposed on Sandgate Road in Virginia

A development application has been submitted for a new service station next to a single-storey retail showroom at the site of a large warehouse and vacant lot on Sandgate Road in Virginia. 

The development proposal, DA A005871526, also includes the creation of a shared driveway along Radley Street, which will open the space up for the existing buildings on the site.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Possible occupants for the retail area include a home store or an outdoor and camping brand. Meanwhile, the existing showrooms found on the southern section of the precinct, such as Drummond Gold Virginia, Big Swing Gold Virginia, National Tiles Showroom, and Christmas Shack will remain. 

Photo Credit: Developmenti/BCC

Some structures will be demolished to make way for the service station, two retail tenancies (spanning 2,400 square metres and 900 square metres), and a forecourt fuel canopy.

Photo Credit: Developmenti/BCC

The showroom area will have 110 car parking spaces, four motorcycle bays, and three parking spaces for persons with disabilities.  The proposal also includes landscaping and other improvements. 

Photo Credit: Developmenti/BCC

Local Opposition

Even though public notification isn’t applicable for this development, neighbouring businesses on Sandgate Road have collectively made a submission to oppose the plans for the service station and showroom. 

“We feel this will have a catastrophic impact to the 7/11 Fuel and Convenience on 2009 Sandgate Road,” landowner Jim Petrocitto said on behalf of other fuel providers in the area, such as bp Truckstop, Shell Coles Express Virginia, Freedom Fuels Geebung, Puma Zillmere, Caltex Zillmere Diesel Stop, and Caltex Woolworths.

“There is sufficient/oversupply of fuel retailers and we feel that this proposed addition would greatly impact our tenancy and location.” 

The development application was filed on 1 November 2021 and is currently under assessment. 

Virginia’s Big Girls Don’t Cry to Come Back as Curvy

A Virginia plus size lingerie store has gotten a second wind barely a month after announcing it has shut down the business. Big Girls Don’t Cry (Anymore) will soon be joining the Curvy family from Lane Cove, NSW.

Big Girls announced the latest development, saying that the online store will be back in operation “very soon.” 

“Big Girls has changed ownership and will be joining the family. We’re working around the clock to resume the online operations in the coming days.”

Karen Mason, Big Girls’ founder, decided to close her store in December 2020 after a year of struggle. Her husband, Keith, passed away in May and her liquidator Jarvis Archer said she could no longer sustain the business despite trying to keep it going with the help of her staff.

Ms Mason started her business in 1992 and soon expanded online as BrasToGo. Her suburban outlet in Virginia also serves as the warehouse. A recent expansion has been impacted by the pandemic as boxes of orders could not be delivered in time, resulting in cancellations.

Photo Credit: Curvy/Google Maps

Meanwhile, Curvy owner Wes Blundy started his business as a joint partnership with Bras N Things. Inspired by the system of, Curvy went solo in 2014 with the goal of providing plus-size pieces for the whole of Australia. 

Mr Blundy believes that Big Girls and Curvy have gone through similar paths in the last year and felt that Mason’s store, now iconic, should thrive.

Curvy is working with Big Girls for the transfer of the business’ intellectual property (IP), inventory, as well as other related records and assets. Reopening the store in Virginia is still up for consideration.

Specialty Lingerie Business in Virginia Goes Bust Before Christmas

Big girls may have one reason to cry as this Brisbane-based lingerie business with a physical shop in Virginia goes under —- right before Christmas. 

Big Girls Don’t Cry Anymore, a plus-sized brand that owner Karen Mason set up in 1992, has enlisted the help of a liquidator, Jarvis Archer. 

On the online website, Ms Mason informed the customers of closing down her business, which has become an iconic brand in Australia. 

According to Mr Archer, Big Girls Don’t Cry Anymore has over 100,000 customers in its database and earned $6 million this year. The company was planning to release the very first lingerie business app in Australia, which includes a virtual fitting room among other sophisticated features.

Photo Credit: Instagram

The liquidator also said that despite Ms Mason’s efforts to innovate and attract new customers, the business experienced challenges in the delays of overseas supplies due to COVID-19.

In May, Ms Mason lost her husband, Keith, further impacting her ability to maintain the business’s profitability and cash flow. 

Big Girls Don’t Cry Anymore has 20 full-time workers and 33 casual staff who are hoping to keep their jobs if another entrepreneur takes over. 

Mr Archer said that the business would be an attractive venture for the right buyer with its loyal customers, a knowledgeable team and a strong sales growth potential. 

Virginia Lingerie Store Has 15 New Jobs But No Applicants

A Virginia lingerie store has 15 new jobs and has gone weeks without any takers. Owner Karen Edbrooke said that she has been looking for unpackers, order fillers and responders to enquires but she hasn’t had any luck because the applicants say they can get more money just by not working. 

Ms Edbrooke runs the lingerie and swimsuit store Big Girls Don’t Cry Anymore on Sandgate Rd. She said that they currently have loads of product shipments and deliveries on hold. In the last few weeks, the shop owner said that she could not cope with the demands because she could not get applicants to stay or keep working.

Despite advertising for the job openings more than a month ago, Ms Edbrooke said many of the applicants actually do not want a job or prefer shorter work hours. She believes that many people have been demotivated to find work because of the government’s JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments amid this coronavirus crisis.

One applicant told the shop owner, “I can just get more [money] by not working,” referring to the government’s stimulus. 

Photo Credit: Big Girls Don’t Cry Anymore/Facebook

Big Girls Don’t Cry Anymore is not the only retail store struggling to find staff. 

“I have a friend in the same situation, his staff won’t come back to work. It’s ridiculous,” a follower of the store said on Facebook.

According to senior industrial relations specialist, Michael O’Brien, it is the retail and service industries struggling the most during this COVID-19 crisis. He said that those with junior roles work fewer hours but may also benefit from JobSeeker or JobKeeper for their second or third jobs.  

“We are offering casual positions at the retail award rate, which can be accessed online to anyone. Hours vary on what you can offer us – anything from 16 hours to 38 hours,” Ms Edbrooke said. 

But Ms Edbrooke said they received an overwhelming response even from outside Brisbane hours after her story broke in the media on 2 Aug 2020.

Photo Credit: Big Girls Don’t Cry Anymore/Facebook

Big Girls Don’t Cry Anymore has been in business since 1992 and caters to well-endowed women. Most of the products are imported from America and this Virginia lingerie store also sells maternity bras, posture bras and bridal wear exclusively for big girls. 

They claim to have the “largest range of fuller figured bras in Australia.”