Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orders".

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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:58 am

16 SEPT VIC
Victoria records 42 new coronavirus cases and eight deaths
Victoria has recorded 42 new coronavirus cases and eight deaths as police prepare to crack down on regional travel.

Regional Victoria will return to Stage Two restrictions at 11.59pm on Wednesday, but Melbourne will stay in its Stage Four lockdown.

Authorities are ramping up roadblocks, creating the so-called 'ring of steel' around Melbourne to ensure city residents do not try to take advantage of the eased regional measures.

Premier Daniel Andrews has warned motorists travelling out of the city to expect longer wait times as police tighten checkpoints.
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'I'm sorry to say it will mean that there will be significant queues, there will be travel issues,' he told reporters on Tuesday.

Outdoor gathering limits in regional parts of the state will increase to 10 people from midnight on Thursday morning - as will weddings and outdoor religious gatherings.

Funerals will be allowed 20 mourners and regional Victorians can welcome five visitors from another nominated household.

Melbourne's lockdown rules remain unchanged and people cannot travel out of the city without specific reasons.

The next step for regional Victoria means pubs, cafes and restaurants will be able to serve people outside with strict density quotas, while outdoor gathering limits will be upped to 10.

Regional Victorians will also be able to leave their homes without restriction and all shops can reopen.

The premier said Melburnians should be inspired by the rolling back of restrictions, rather than disheartened.

'I'd encourage people not to see it that way and instead see this as proof positive,' he said.
The move comes after Mr Andrews was heavily criticised for a $290million plan to revive the state's crippled entertainment sector.

The under-fire premier unveiled a funding package on Monday to help the state's sole traders and entertainment industry survive when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Mr Andrews said the plan would turn the city into an al fresco dining hub - but the head of Melbourne's largest restaurant group has already labelled the proposal unworkable.

'The government thinks this is going to be some sort of outdoor Disneyland for dining, but it's not going to work,' Luca Restaurants chief executive Chris Lucas told the Herald Sun.
'The majority of the city's restaurants cannot work outdoors. Outdoor dining really only suits cafes, not to mention Melbourne's problematic weather.'

Restaurant and Catering Industry Association chief Wes Lambert said though the package would help lift the city's restaurants out of lockdown.

'This is a generous and comprehensive package that matches calls from industry organisations like R&CA to help businesses operate outdoors,' he said.

Mr Andrews compared the revival plan - which will see $100million go towards a Melbourne City Recovery fund to inject life back into the city - to New York's Open Restaurants initiative.

The program in the US' largest city involved footpaths, laneways and streets being temporarily transformed into dining areas.

But Mr Lucas said as many as 60 per cent of New York's businesses could still not be saved by the program.

Premier Daniel Andrews has meanwhile flagged regional Victoria may move to the 'third step' of its roadmap plan as early as this week.

That step, allowing people to leave their homes without restrictions and hospitality businesses to reopen, is triggered if its 14-day average remains below five and no 'mystery' cases are recorded.

'There won't be a lot of notice,' Mr Andrews told reporters on Monday.

'That is preferable in making people wait for another week or so.

'Hopefully we can have very good news for regional Victoria tomorrow.'

Under the state government's plan, Melbourne's bars, cafes and restaurants can open for outdoor dining from October 26.

Melbourne will move to its next step of reopening on September 28 if the 14-day average falls to 30-50.

The city took its first tentative steps out of lockdown on Monday, with those living alone or single parents allowed to have one visitor, outdoor exercise extended to two hours and the curfew's start time extended an hour to 9pm.

WHAT REGIONAL VICTORIANS WILL BE ALLOWED TO DO UNDER EASED LOCKDOWN RULES
Outdoor gathering limits will increase to 10 people. That number does not include infants under the age of 12 months.

People in regional Victoria will also be able to leave their homes without restriction.

Limits for outdoor religious gatherings and weddings will increase to 10 people, while funeral limits will rise to 20 mourners.

Five visitors are allowed in a home from a nominated household.

Schools will return to normal operation over the first two weeks of Term 4.

Outdoor auctions will be allowed to have a maximum of 10 people in attendance.

Children can return to community sport and adults can take part in non-contact sport.

Regional Victorians can travel and holiday within regional parts of the state - with tourist accommodation in those areas also opening up

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

'We are defeating this second wave': Andrews reports less than 1000 active cases in Victoria
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So "Dopey Dan" and his government hasn't done such a shabby job at bringing a very dangerous 2nd wave of covid19 under control, I think he deserves a big well done .
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HOSPITALS SITUATION IN VICTORIA
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RESIDENTIAL AGED CARE SITUATION
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Victoria has reported less than 1000 active COVID-19 cases as the coronavirus caseload continues on a positive downward trend.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced there was a total 991 active cases across the state, stating it "should be a point of pride for every single Victorian”.

He praised residents compliant with health orders and “staying the course” for bringing the caseload below 1000 “for the first time in a long time”.

“By getting them to low levels, we have that ultimate pathway where we can find that COVID normal and lock it in and not have a situation that lasts just a few weeks,” Mr Andrews said.

“Doing it in a safe and steady way and in a sustainable way, in a way that can avoid bouncing in and out of lockdowns, in a way that can guarantee that, by the end of the year, we have every chance that Christmas is as close to normal as possible and that 2021 is vastly different to 2020.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

QUARANTINE INQUIRY
Victoria’s CHO Brett Sutton tells inquiry he was unaware private security used in hotel quarantine
Victoria’s chief health officer, Prof Brett Sutton, had no idea private security guards were being used in hotel quarantine until the outbreaks in June that led to the state’s second wave of Covid-19 cases.

The inquiry investigating the state’s botched hotel quarantine program heard on Thursday Sutton and his team had “no oversight” of hotel quarantine, and expressed concerns as early as April of the risks the program posed to hotel guests.

“I did not have a view about the use of security companies in hotel quarantine. I did not know that security guards were used until after the outbreaks,” the chief health officer said in his written submission to the inquiry.

Related: Hundreds seek damages as Victoria faces multiple class-action lawsuits over Melbourne’s Covid lockdown

There was early concern among Sutton’s team that the operation, codenamed Operation Soteria, was mainly run as an accommodation program with not enough focus on public health.

In an email sent to the program’s commander on 9 April, Sutton and deputy chief medical officer Annaliese van Diemen requested an urgent review of the governance of the operation.

“Unless governance and plan issues are addressed, there will be a risk to health and safety of detainees,” the email stated.

Following the email, a public health command liaison position was connected to the operation to give Sutton’s team greater visibility into hotel quarantine.

The chief health officer maintains, however, that he was unaware private security had been used in hotel quarantine until outbreaks among security guards at the Rydges and Stamford Plaza hotels had occurred.

Sutton said in hindsight, the use of private security guards was a risk.

“There are a number of vulnerabilities with respect to transmission risk because of that workforce,” he said.

“The demographics of that workforce cohort provide for significant risks of transmission within the community.”

He said the casualised nature of the work and the dependency of employees on the program made it an incentive for staff to keep working in hotel quarantine, while still attending to other jobs potentially symptomatic or aware of their diagnosis.

“The casualised labour that was involved with a number of them [who] had other work that they needed to do … brought the risk of transmission to other workplaces and other individuals.”

Sutton said there were also potentially cultural and language issues in understanding social distancing rules and infection control, and identifying close contacts.

“It’s clear that there must have been close contacts who were not identified because we’re aware that this virus extended to the broader community without a clear epidemiological link back to the staff at hotel quarantine,” he said.

This meant, Sutton added, that “there are unidentified close contacts in that chain who were never raised as close contacts with the outbreak management team”.

Related: Australian defence force help for Victoria hotel quarantine was offered in April, inquiry told

In June, the then-federal chief medical officer, Prof Brendan Murphy, suggested in an email to Sutton that, given the issues with casualisation, casual staff should be paid their normal hourly rate for two weeks if required to isolate.

Murphy also offered to provide Aspen Medical staff as a surge workforce. Sutton replied security was the main issue.

“It is security staffing that is our main risk at the moment,” Sutton said in an email to Murphy on 21 June.

On Thursday, the inquiry will hear from Victoria police commissioner Shane Patton and former commissioner Graham Ashton. The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, is due to give evidence next week.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

ARE MELBOURNIANS GOING TO BE ALLOWED TO TRAVEL TO OR HOLIDAY OR ESCAPE IN REGION VICTORIA (YET) ?
Police threaten Melbourne residents with $5,000 fine for visiting regional Victoria when coronavirus restrictions ease
Melbourne residents who try to sneak into regional Victoria to enjoy the relaxing of restrictions in the country have been warned they face fines of almost $5,000.

Regional Victoria's pubs, cafes, hair salons and caravan parks will be among the venues reopening from tomorrow, and there will no longer be restrictions on people leaving their homes.

Victoria Police's deputy commissioner of regional operations, Rick Nugent, said police would introduce a new offence to deter people from trying to leave Melbourne without a permitted reason.

"We have been advised the fine for that offence will be $4,957," he said.

"So that is quite a significant fine, and clearly aimed to deter people from the Melbourne metropolitan areas from attending these regional and rural areas."

Deputy Commissioner Nugent said police would be highly active and working hard to keep Melbourne residents from regional Victoria, particularly during the school holidays.

"We do not want regional and rural communities to be put at risk by Melbourne metropolitan people," he said.

"We don't want the virus to spread again in these rural areas, we want to maintain the restrictions and continue to ease them."

Extra police checks and delays at regional borders
Deputy Commissioner Nugent said police would particularly focus on drivers who looked like they were going on a holiday.

"We will be checking every vehicle that is towing a caravan, a camper trailer or other trailer, towing a boat or jetski or has surfboards or fishing rods or swags," he said.

He warned motorists there would be delays at checkpoints.

Police will also establish extra checkpoints on the way to the Mornington Peninsula, which remains under the same restrictions as Melbourne, to make sure other Melbourne residents don't try to head there for a break during the school holidays.

"Additional enforcement will be supported by more pop-up and random checkpoints on the back roads," he said.

Police will also increase checks on bus and train services.

Local police told to protect their communities from Melbourne travellers
Deputy Commissioner Nugent said rural communities did not want visitors from Melbourne.

Police in regional Victoria will also do checks at boat ramps, caravan parks, state parks and pubs and clubs for residents from Melbourne, and will check number plates to see where a car is registered to.

"The people who are found to be found breaching will be issued with a $4,957 fine, that is a huge fine," Deputy Commissioner Nugent said.

"If there is more than one person, if it is mum and dad, mum and dad both get the fine, so that is close to a $10,000 fine."

Police will also send any Melbourne residents found in regional Victoria without permission back home.

SHORT ANSWER = NO , NOT TIL MELBOURNE BRINGS NEW DAILY CASES UNDER 5 PER DAY
https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

NORMALIZING IN VICTORIAN - THE LONG TRAIL TO "COVID-NORMAL" LIFE IN VICTORIA HAS BEGUN

Daylight savings in Victoria to go ahead despite health concerns
Daylight savings will go ahead as planned in Victoria despite experts warning of health and socioeconomic consequences if clocks change by an hour next month.

Monash University professors have suggested Victorians losing an hour of sleep during coronavirus lockdown on October 4 at 2am would present "greater risk of having disrupted circadian rhythms" which is linked to poor mood, sleep and general health.

The experts put forward a proposal to Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt in March, claiming the changeover to daylight saving time would trigger concerning 'body clock' disruption.

"There is a strong case for attention to this detail with some immediacy given the circadian disruption already underlying the impact of the pandemic," Professor of Diabetes Paul Zimmet said today.

"As we approach the changeover to daylight saving time, the practice remains controversial to the extent that the European Union Parliament has recently voted to cease recommending the practice.

"It has left individual nations to decide for themselves."



But Premier Daniel Andrews today rejected the idea the annual calendar event should be cancelled, asserting "daylight savings will be proceeding".

"I don't want to be disrespectful to the professor, who may be a very learned individual," Mr Andrews said.

"Daylight savings will be proceeding. That's why the curfew changes, that extra hour is really important.

"This will be a summer like no other and daylight saving, I can confirm, will be a feature of it."


https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/melbourn ... d=msedgdhp

How Victoria's staged return of elective surgeries will work as coronavirus restrictions ease
It's been nearly two months since the Victorian Government suspended most elective surgery.

In July Premier Daniel Andrews said that was necessary to free up healthcare workers needed to help in aged care, and hospital beds for people sick with COVID-19.

At the time of the announcement the state had recorded nearly 400 cases in one day, and all elective surgery except the most urgent procedures were cancelled.

But now seven weeks later, with Victoria recording just 42 cases, surgeons are ready to begin operating again.

When will elective surgeries begin in regional Victoria?
In regional Victoria increased elective surgeries will resume from tomorrow.

The aim is for hospitals to be conducting 85 per cent of the pre-pandemic number of elective surgeries from September 28, up from the current rate of 50 per cent.

All hospitals will then aim to get to 100 per cent of usual activity once the state moves to the final stage on the state's roadmap to recovery, which is planned for November 23.

What about surgeries in Melbourne?
In Metropolitan Melbourne hospitals will increase elective surgeries to 75 per cent of usual activity from September 28 when the city hits the second stage in its roadmap to recovery.

Melbourne hospitals will then increase to 85 per cent once the city reaches the third stage of the recovery.

[embed: 14-day average]
All Melbourne hospitals will return to full capacity when the state hits its final step in the roadmap, which is currently planned for November 23.

Mr Andrews said this staged resumption will allow the state to perform nearly 19,000 additional surgeries across hospitals in October, and an estimated extra 10,000 surgeries in November.

Will there be a surgery blitz?
Mr Andrews said Victoria will deal with the backlog of people waiting for surgery as soon as it is safe to do so.

"I do, again, apologise to those who have had to wait for their surgery," he said.

He said there will be a "substantial blitz" for elective surgeries that will be announced at a later date.

"There will be a lot of catch-up to be done here, but our health system, working together, are equal to the task," he said.

COVID-screening will continue in hospitals
Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said asymptomatic testing of healthcare workers will continue as Victoria ramps up elective surgeries.

She said hospitals pre-surgery COVID-screening of patients would also continue.

Ms Mikakos said the state would also resume a staged return of other health services like dental visits and specialist medical appointments.

Dental and allied health service restrictions are due to ease in Melbourne from September 28, with dentists able to perform non-urgent examinations and services.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp
Last edited by kingofnobbys on Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:06 am

16 SEPT NSW

NSW records 10 cases of coronavirus, huge spike in COVID-19 testing rates
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has declared NSW is COVID-19 hotspot free and the state is "holding the line well" after 10 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours.

Six cases were travellers in hotel quarantine and four were locally acquired and linked to a known case or cluster.

Testing rates more than doubled yesterday, with 19,566 tests undertaken compared to 8,835 the day before.

NSW Health said one of the new cases — a close contact of another case — had returned a positive result even after completing 14 days of isolation.

They had previously tested negative and only became symptomatic after isolation.

Three of the new cases are linked to a staff member from Concord Hospital emergency department in Sydney's inner west.

They are:

A student at Blue Mountains Grammar School who attended school while infectious late last week
A household contact of the above case who did not attend school while infectious
A close contact of the above student who is not at school
NSW Health has issued alerts for several venues which cases attended.

They are:
Springwood Sports Club (September 12),
Lawson Oval, Lawson (September 13),
Hunters Hill Bowling Club (September 8 ),
JB Hi-Fi Penrith Plaza (September 13)
and Anytime Fitness, Casula (September 11).

Ms Berejiklian said the only mystery case from yesterday's figures has now been linked to a known case.

"Our health experts are so forensic, so even if you have an unknown case, it might be ruled out at a later date."

She said no parts of NSW would currently come under any proposed definition of a hotspot.

"Hopefully in the last months we've demonstrated our ability to get on top of any outbreaks and more importantly our community's capacity to come forward and get tested.

"I'd be arguing there's no reason to even keep the [Queensland] border closed today."

The criteria for Queensland to reopen its border to NSW is 28 days without community transmission but the Government is reportedly considering halving that to 14 days.

Berejiklian not impressed with new Queensland border criteria
Gladys Berejiklian has taken a jab at her Queensland counterpart after the state slightly relaxed targets New South Wales needs to hit before border restrictions are relaxed.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would reconsider a hard border closure with her southern neighbour if there were 14 days with no community transmission of coronavirus.

But Ms Berejiklian felt the reduction from 28 days was still unattainable after recording 10 new coronavirus cases in the state today.

"I'm relieved she has put the impossible benchmark down to a highly unlikely benchmark," the NSW premier said.
https://twitter.com/NSWHealth/status/13 ... 1998741504
"Thank you to everybody coming forward to get tested," she said.

Of the four locally acquired cases, three are linked to a staff member at Concord Hospital's emergency department, Dr Kerry Chant said.

These three cases are a student from the Blue Mountains Grammar School, a household contact who also goes to the school, and a close contact not at school.

Years 10, 11, and 12 are doing online learning until after the school holidays, Dr Chant said.

The fourth local case from today is a close contact of a previously confirmed case linked to the CBD cluster.

The person completed self-isolation prior to developing symptoms and had previously tested negative. Contact tracing is underway.

The state is seeking to expand crowd limits at sporting events ahead of the NRL finals.

9News understands the push is for stadiums to double their capacity from 25 per cent to 50 per cent full, meaning a crowd of 40,000 at ANZ Stadium.

The changes are set to kick in on October 1.

NSW will also take on an extra 500 returned travellers in hotel quarantine a week, on the condition that other states double their intake, Ms Berejiklian said.

The premier spoke with the prime minister this morning before consulting ministers and relevant authorities and agreed that the daily cap would be raised from 350 to 420 people.

"If the other states to agree to up their numbers then we will then also of course also accommodate that," she said.

"We don't want to see any Australians undertaking unnecessary heartache."

Ms Berejiklian has also confirmed restrictions in regional NSW will be relaxed later this week to fall in line with Victoria easing some of the rules.

"Because restrictions have been eased in regional Victoria, we are similarly doing that for our border communities to have consistency," Ms Berejiklian said.

NSW is increasing the number of towns included in the border community and has provided hundreds of permits for agriculture workers to move more freely.

"I understand the health minister is looking at these today and we should have those signed today or tomorrow," the premier said.

Ms Berejiklian again called on her Queensland counterpart to open the border given the low levels of community transmission in the state.

"If you look at any proposed definition of hotspot, technically there aren't any hotspots in NSW," she said.

"I'd be arguing there's no reason to keep the border closed today."

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

Ms Berejiklian said 6 of the 10 cases were in hotel quarantine, with the remaining linked to known clusters.
A mystery case reported on yesterday has now also been linked to a source.

Ms Berejiklian said she was relieved the "impossible benchmark" could be dropped to a "highly unlikely benchmark".

With restrictions easing in regional Victoria tomorrow, the Premier said the same changes would be made for NSW border residents within the next week.

"Whatever you can do in regional Victoria you'll be able to do in border communities," Ms Berejiklian said.

The Premier also announced she has agreed to the Prime Minister's request to take on 500 more international arrivals per week in NSW.

However Ms Berejiklian emphasised this was conditional on all other states doubling their intake of passengers.

"So Queensland and WA would have to go from 500 people a week to 1,000. "

NSW currently accepts 2,400 international return travellers per week.

The Federal Government is pushing states and territories to boost their combined hotel quarantine capacity by 50 per cent, to allow more Australians stuck overseas to return home.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

IMO IT'S DANGEROUS TO RAMP UP REPATRIATIONS EXCEPT IN A VERY CONTROLLED STEPWIZE MANNER , THE RISK IS THESE AUSTRALIANS WHO HAVE PROCASTINATED AND DELAYED FOR 6 MONTHS ABOUT RETURNING HOME ARE LIKELY GOING TO RETURN WITH A VERY MUCH HIGHER PREVALENCE OF COVID19 ( ASYMPTOMATIC , PRESYMPTOMATIC ) AND NO ONE WHO TESTS POSITIVE AT THE AIRPORT AND 2 DAYS BEFORE DEPARTURE TO RETURN HOME SHOULD BE ALLOWED AT THE BORDING GATE , LET ALONE ON THE AIRCRAFT TIL THEY TEST NEGATIVE AT LEAST TWICE OVER A PERIOD OF 3 DAYS.
THEY ARE ALL IN NATIONS WHERE COVID19 PREVALENCE IS ALMOST CERTAINLY MUCH HIGHER THAN EVEN IN THE HOTTEST COVID HOTSPOTS IN MELBOURNE AND SYDNEY,


NSW Premier urges people to continue to come forward for testing
NSW has reported 10 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday - four of which are locally acquired and linked to known cases or clusters.

The other six cases were returned travellers in hotel quarantine meaning none of the new cases are of unknown origin.

The one mystery case reported yesterday has since been ruled out, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced.

Nearly 20,000 tests were carried out in the last 24 hours, Ms Berejiklan said.

She urged people not to wait to get tested and if symptoms develop over the weekend don't wait until Monday to get tested.

Melbourne's 14-day average number of new cases has dropped to below 50 - the threshold set to move to the next stage of reopening on September 28.

On Wednesday, Victoria reported 42 new cases on Wednesday and eight deaths.

Queensland reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. The northern state had recorded just five cases in the last seven days.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/sydney/n ... d=msedgdhp

NSW Covid-19 hotspots: list of Sydney and regional outbreak locations
List of outbreaks in NSW
If you were at the following venues on these dates you must get tested and self-isolate for 14 days, even if your test is negative.

The Crocodile Farm Hotel, Ashfield: 5.30pm to 6.30pm on Friday 4 September for at least an hour. Patrons who were there for less than an hour are considered casual contacts and must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop.
The New Shanghai Night restaurant, Ashfield: 6.30pm to 8pm on Friday 4 September for at least an hour. Patrons who were there for less than an hour are considered casual contacts and must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop.
Oatlands Golf Glub, Oatlands: 6.30pm to 8.45pm Friday 4 September
Albion Hotel, Parramatta: 8.15pm to 11.15pm on Saturday 5 September, guests who attended the beer garden and pavilion for at least an hour.
Fitness First, Randwick: Anyone who attended between Sunday 23 August and Tuesday 1 September should monitor for symptoms and if they develop, get tested right away and self-isolate.
Hyde Park Medical Centre, Sydney: Monday 24 August to Saturday 5 September. Anyone who worked at Hyde Park Medical Centre (including physiotherapy, pathology, dermatology and dental practices and pharmacy on the ground floor of the building) should get tested immediately and self-isolate until a negative result is received.
Eastern Suburbs Legion Club, Waverley: Tuesday 1 September from 6pm, Friday 4 September from 4.30pm, Saturday 5 September from 4.15pm, Sunday 6 September from 5pm, Monday 7 September from 3pm
With the growing number of cases in the area, NSW Health is asking all people who live in, or have visited, the following areas in the past two weeks to get tested if they have any symptoms of Covid-19 at all, even the mildest of symptoms such as a runny nose or scratchy throat.

Bankstown (suburb)
Blue Mountains
Cumberland local government area (LGA)
City of Sydney (East) LGA (includes central Sydney and the suburbs Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Woolloomooloo, Potts Point, Rushcutters Bay, Elizabeth Bay, Centennial Park)
Fairfield LGA
Hunters Hill LGA
Liverpool LGA
Mt Druitt (suburb)
Parramatta LGA
Randwick LGA
Waverley LGA
Woollahra LGA
If you were at any of the following locations on these dates, monitor yourself for symptoms and self-isolate and get tested if symptoms occur.

Anytime Fitness, Casula: 10.15am to 12pm on Friday 11 September
Clovelly Hotel, Clovelly: 12.45pm to 1.45pm on Saturday 5 September
KFC, Concord: 1pm to 1.20pm on 6 September
Croydon Park Pharmacy, Croydon Park: 1pm to 2pm on Thursday 3 September
KFC, Emerton: 12pm to 9.30pm on Monday 7 September
Hunters Hill Bowling Club, Hunters Hill: 6.50pm to 9pm on Tuesday 8 September
Katoomba Sports and Aquatic Centre, Katoomba: 11.30pm to 1.40pm on Friday 4 September
Lawson oval, Lawson: 10.30am to 12.45 pm on Sunday 13 September
The Railway Hotel, Liverpool: 10.00pm to 11.30pm on Friday 4 September
Fitness First, Maroubra: 8am to 12pm on Saturday 5 September
Aldi, North Strathfield: 10am to 10.30am on Tuesday 1 September
JB HIFI Penrith Plaza, Penrith: 4pm to 4.30pm on Sunday 13 September
Charles St Kitchen, Putney: 10.45am to 11.30am on Saturday 5 September
Rouse Hill Town Centre, Rouse Hill: 12.30pm to 1.30pm on Saturday 5 September
Stanhope Village Shopping Centre (including Kmart), Stanhope Gardens: 8.30am to 9.30am on Monday 7 September
Springwood Sports Club, Springwood: 1pm to 2pm on Saturday 12 September
Coles St Ives Shopping Centre, St Ives: 1pm to 2pm on Friday 28 August
Missing Spoon Cafe, Wahroonga: 4.45pm to 5.30pm on Saturday 5 September
Eastwood Netball Association, West Ryde: 12.15pm to 1.30pm on Saturday 5 September
China Doll Restaurant, Woolloomooloo: 6.30pm to 10pm on Thursday 3 September
If you travelled on any of the following public transport routes on these dates, monitor yourself for symptoms and self-isolate and get tested if symptoms occur.

Tuesday 8 September:

Bus route 316 Avoca St Randwick – Bondi Junction station, 8 September, 10.44am to 11.05am
Monday 7 September:

T1/T9 North Shore Line, between 9.17 to 9.29am from Milson’s Point to St Leonards
T1/T9 North Shore Line, between 9.53 to 10.14am from St Leonard’s to Milsons Point
Bus route 379 Bronte Beach – 11.08am to 11.24am Bondi Junction station
Bus route 316 Randwick – 10.44am to 11.05am Avoca Street, Randwick, to Bondi Junction Station

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/sydney/n ... d=msedgdhp

Send NSW public servants to the regions, unions argue
The NSW union movement has thrown its support behind moving public service jobs to the regions in an unusual alignment of Labor's support base with a long-term priority of the Nationals.

Rising automation in farming and manufacturing spurred Unions NSW, the state's peak trade union body, to make the call for the government to encourage public servants to move to rural areas with cash grants for relocation costs and rent subsidies.

In a submission to a NSW parliamentary inquiry on the future of work, the unions argue relocating bureaucrats could help make up for the job losses caused by farms monitoring crops with machines and regional businesses pushing customers to internet services such as online banking.

"Push [public servants] out into the regions, generate jobs and cash flow in those areas," urged Mark Morey, the secretary of Unions NSW. "That's something the state government can do in those areas."

There were almost 340,000 full time equivalent public service jobs in NSW last year and Mr Morey said "as many as possible" should move to regional areas. Their spending would stimulate local economies, he said.

Asked about the unions' proposal, NSW Deputy Premier and state Nationals leader John Barilaro pointed to his own move, announced earlier in the year, to create four offices for his Department of Regional NSW in Queanbeyan, Coffs Harbour, Armidale and Dubbo, each with up to 100 staff.

He said that would "create more jobs for regional communities, support local economies and industry growth and ensure more people are working in the areas that they are supporting".

Mr Morey said he had not spoken with the government about the unions' plan, accusing it of "fighting about Koalas" rather than giving jobs its priority, but he said "it would be good to have [the Nationals] support on this sort of stuff".

Unlike at a federal level where unions and businesses are discussing industrial reform with Attorney-General Christian Porter, Mr Morey has been a persistent critic of the Berejiklian government, particularly over its moves to freeze public sector pay.

Mr Morey said existing support offered to firefighters and police who move to rural areas could be a model for other public servants. Private sector workers should also be encouraged to move to regional areas through payroll tax rebates for their employers, the unions say in the submission.

It also calls for more protection for gig economy workers driving or riding for companies like Uber and Deliveroo, local production quotas for government buying, payments to poor workers and a jobs guarantee backed by state employment.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

NSW Central Coast cafe owner says JobSeeker forcing closure ahead of bumper tourism season
The New South Wales Central Coast is expected to boom this summer, with holidaymakers opting for a beachside getaway amid ongoing pandemic travel restrictions.

But the future is not so bright for a well-established café in the coastal village of Avoca Beach, which has been forced to close due to staff shortages — a direct result, its owner says, of the Federal Government's JobSeeker and JobKeeper subsidies.

Business had been booming for the popular Sul Rondo cafe, but owner Deanne Berry said she was unable to attract staff willing to work.

"They've actually told us to our faces it's not worth their time to get out of bed to come to work," she said.

"They're getting more money than I was as a business owner."

After almost six years in business, Ms Berry is frustrated at becoming another pandemic victim but feels there are no options, especially when she was unable to open for Father's Day.

"This summer I think, is going to be a really big summer for Avoca," she said.

"People can't go too far. It just wouldn't have been fair on existing staff to put them through that kind of service.

"It's extremely physically and mentally exhausting when you don't have enough staff to run."

Paula Martin, director of the Central Coast NSW Business Chamber, said the closure was the first of its kind confirmed in the region, but that anecdotal evidence suggested it was not the only one.

"It has been a really tough, tough time for these small businesses," said Ms Martin.

"We are getting to the point in this crisis where business owners are telling me they are fatigued and they are exhausted."

Federal Member for Robertson Lucy Wicks said the cafe's closure was "sad and frustrating" but argued the Government's coronavirus subsidies were essential to cushion the blow for thousands of people who lost jobs earlier this year.

"I am feeding this back directly into the Government so that we have a very nuanced understanding of what is happening on the ground," she said.

The NSW Business Chamber estimates about 22,000 people across the Central Coast were currently receiving JobSeeker.

With reductions in the coronavirus supplements due to kick-in late September, Paula Martin wants new government stimulus to target sectors that need it most, such as the hospitality, food and service industries.

Otherwise the future looks grim.

"We are forecasting across the coast, we could be looking at up to 30 per cent of business closures," Ms Martin said.

"That's nearly 7,000 businesses that could be forced to close their doors or certainly change their operations in a drastic way."

With the weather warming up and school holidays just around the corner, it is a bittersweet time for Ms Berry.

"JobKeeper was a fantastic initiative. I think doubling the JobSeeker was probably a knee-jerk reaction and happened way too quickly," she said.

"No-one was prepared to go into business in the middle of COVID restrictions, so over the next week-and-a-half we'll be pulling it all apart."

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys
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Posts: 12449
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:10 am

16 SEPT QLD

Queensland considers slashing 28-day clock to reopen NSW border
Queensland is considering lowering the bar to reopen the border with NSW by halving the required number of days with no community transmission to 14.

The criteria to reopen its borders is 28 days of no community transmission, which has been labelled a "tall order" by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
Each time health authorities are unable to figure out how someone acquired the virus, the clock resets to zero, as it did on Tuesday.

The last time NSW achieved 14 days of no community transmission was in mid-June.

Seven people were diagnosed in NSW on Tuesday with heath authorities unable to trace how one of those people contracted the virus.

In the past fortnight, 83 cases have been acquired from an unknown source in Victoria, 82 of those are in Melbourne and one in regional Victoria.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind said the Queensland Government "has suggested they are considering a 14 day rule".

"The 28 day rule of no untraced community transmission, we are hoping our Chief Health Officer will revisit this," he said.

"We believe such a high bar is going to be very hard to achieve, it is almost aiming for elimination which appears to be a far off objective."
Senior members of the Queensland Government have confirmed a change in the criteria was being "considered" but Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young would not be drawn on the issue on Tuesday.

"We’re still concerned that in the past four weeks, there have been 14 cases in NSW of which the cause of transmission is unknown," she said.

"We’ve all done so well to protect Queensland and we can’t let our hard work and sacrifices go to waste by rushing a critical decision."

It was understood moving the yardstick from 28 days to 14 would need to be agreed to by Chief Health Officers in other states and would be revisited when the Palaszczuk government reviews border restrictions at the end of September.
It would mean the borders could open while there were active cases in both states, so long as authorities were able to trace how every newly infected person caught the disease for 14 days in a row.

Southern Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce President Hilary Jacobs said 28 days "was a long time" and she feared more businesses would close if they went without interstate tourism for much longer.

"I understand COVID-19 is a very dangerous and very horrible thing for the world to be struggling with but there needs to be balance," she said.

Image
"The people in northern NSW who are not allowed into Queensland are not being diagnosed, so what are we being saved from?"

On Tuesday, South Australia lifted the 14-day quarantine requirement for people travelling from the ACT, but the period will remain in force for NSW residents until health authorities are confident community transmission had "abated".

UNSW epidemiologist Professor Marylouise McLaws said a 28-day clock was extreme because it was twice the maximum incubation period, rather than the usual use of "twice the average" incubation period of 14 days.

She said the borders could be safely lowered with less than five cases a day outside of returned travellers, "mystery or not."

"Less than five cases a day is not just numerically safe in a mathematical model, it’s safe because contact tracers have the ability to do their job rapidly to find cases within 72 hours." Dr McLaws said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the country would be able to keep a handle on the virus with quarantine, testing, tracing, and outbreak containment.

"But as long as we are closed, we cannot claim success, as a country," he said.

"If we are shut, we are not living alongside the virus, the virus is actually keeping us from living. Let’s now seize the opportunity ahead of us, to safely and successfully reopen this country, reconnect this country, and stay open."

The national cabinet will meet on Friday to discuss the borders and hot spot definitions.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/queensl ... 55vsi.html

Massive crowds turn up for the reopening of Dreamworld after COVID-19
Image
Dreamworld has reopened to visitors as its parent company prepares to return to court over safety offences following the deaths of four tourists on the Thunder River Rapids Ride four years ago.

Ardent Leisure says 400 staff returned to work at the Gold Coast theme park on Wednesday after it closed in March due to COVID-19 health restrictions.

The gates were thrown open a fortnight before the company is scheduled to be sentenced on September 28 for breaching Queensland's Work Health and Safety Act.

Ardent pleaded guilty in July to three counts of failing to comply with its health and safety duty and exposing individuals to a risk of serious injury or death.

The charges relate to the deaths of Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi.

The holidaymakers were killed on October 25, 2016, when they were thrown from a Thunder River Rapids Ride raft into a mechanised conveyor that moved the rafts below the water.

The raft had collided with another and partially flipped after becoming stuck when the ageing ride's water pump malfunctioned, causing water levels to fall dangerously low.

The pump failure was the third that day and the fifth in a week, and no automated shutdown function was installed despite recommendations.

Ms Goodchild's 12-year-old daughter and Ms Low's 10-year-old son survived the incident
Queensland's Workplace Health and Safety prosecutor Aaron Guilfoyle said Ardent had failed to provide and maintain safe plant and structures, and systems of work at the 38-year-old park.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of $1.5million.

Ardent is also fighting a shareholder class action in the Federal Court.

The case was filed in June to recoup the losses of people who bought shares in the theme park operator in the two years before the tragedy.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

BAD NEWS FOR RENTERS IN QUEENSLAND
Queensland Government set to lift coronavirus pandemic tenant eviction freeze
From the end of this month, the Queensland Government will lift its ban on the eviction of residential tenants who have lost jobs or income due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The moratorium applied to any residential tenants who suffered an income loss of at least 25 per cent, and to anyone whose rent equates to more than 30 per cent of their income.

The National Cabinet agreed to the six-month freeze on rent arrears caused by COVID-19, but normal residential tenancy arrangements will come back into effect in Queensland on September 30.

Advocacy groups such as Tenants Queensland had been pressuring federal and state governments to offer the protections until at least the end of the year.

But Queensland Housing Minister Mick de Brenni said it was the right time to end the ban.

"The freeze on evictions was important in the residential sector when movement in Queensland was much more restricted," he said.

"Because of our strong health response, we've been able to keep the economy more open and we've already started delivering Queensland's plan for economic recovery.

"As a result, we've seen Queensland's economy fare better than other economies."

But a number of other coronavirus protection measures will remain in place for tenants until December 31.

These include a prohibition on tenants being listed in a database for unpaid rent, the freedom to end a lease agreement quickly for any tenant experiencing domestic violence, limited reletting costs for tenants who end a lease early, and entry restrictions to support social-distancing requirements.

Figures from the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) showed 1,677 disputes between tenants and property owners had been resolved since April.

Mr de Brenni said a free rental conciliation service would continue to support renters and landlords.

"We've seen 70 per cent of all conciliated tenancy disputes successfully resolved within an average of just over eight days," he said.

Commercial eviction freeze extended
Queensland's moratorium on evictions for commercial leaseholders has been extended to the end of December.

Attorney-General and Justice Minister Yvette D'Ath said the three-month extension was good news for struggling businesses.

"It means that to the end of 2020, commercial leaseholders under affected leases can't have their lease terminated if they fall into arrears as a result of the coronavirus pandemic," she said.

"Since the moratorium was introduced in March, landlords and tenants have worked together in good faith to tackle the economic challenges we're facing.

"This extension is about giving businesses and the thousands of workers they employ the certainty they need in these challenging times.

'No jobs coming back yet'
But Tenants Queensland CEO Penny Carr said she was very disappointed with the Government's decision, and it would leave tenants vulnerable to being evicted.

"They're going to have a very stressful, grim, anxious time in the lead-up to Christmas," she said.

"It's incomprehensible that we've lifted the evictions moratorium for residential tenants but not commercial tenants.

"I just can't understand how we can think that in one circumstance we need to keep the protections in place and in the other we don't."

Ms Carr said many tenants were still feeling the impacts of the pandemic and were struggling to find work.

"They've lost their jobs early on and there's no jobs coming back yet. They're people in travel, people in events and some in hospitality and the arts as well.

"There's a whole range of different household types; they are single parents with children, there are two parents with dependent children, they are singles."

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

NASTY TRICKS VICTIMIZING THE AGED IN AGED COMMUNITIES
Resort owners accused of coercing pensioners
American owners of lifestyle resorts across Queensland are under fire, accused of coercing pensioners into accepting increased rents.

Hometown Australia bought the manufactured lifestyle villages across South East Queensland two years ago.

Since then residents claim they've seen facilities and staff stripped, while rents continue to rise.Carol Fitzpatrick, who lives at Ironbark Aspley, was sent a so-called "goodwill offer" putting her rent up from $324 a fortnight to $370.

"If I was good girl and didn't complain about it and just signed up to it, I could go up to $350 a fortnight, so I would be saving $20," Ms Fitzpatrick told 9News.

Ms Fitzpatrick refused to sign the letter and is now paying the full $370 a week, while she disputes her rental increase with Hometown.

"An extra $1200 a year that I had to find from my pension," she said.

Raising the rent annually is legal under the Manufactured Homes Act — once a year in line with CPI, and every three years under a market rent review.

But owners can take up a goodwill offer, a discounted increase, as long as they don't dispute the rent rise.
BLACKMAIL IN OTHERWORDS - AS MOVING ELSEWHERE IS NORMALLY NOT A GREAT OPTION FOR PENSIONERS WHO DON'T HAVE THE DISPOSABLE INCOME TO AFFORD REMOVALISTS , OR AGENT FEES OR COSTS OF CANCELLING A RENTAL AGREEMENT,

Another Ironbark Aspley resident, Brad Goodwin, saw his rent rise by $39 to $370 a fortnight.

"I found that it was excessive given that we're on a construction site, and the reduction of services that we've received since Hometown took over from Gateway," Mr Goodwin said.

"I was quite appalled by it, and didn't really want to sign. I felt the letter itself was coercive, intimidating and threatening."

Lawyer and former Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts agrees.

"What we're seeing is coercive behaviour," he said.

"The coercive power of raising rents in this particular case is causing a significant injustice well above the Consumer Price Index and well above their capacity to pay."

Hometown Australia says their goodwill offer "does not undermine or remove home owner's rights" to dispute the increase.

But 55 residents at Aspley disagree, and intend to take Hometown to the Queensland Civil and Administration Tribunal over it if the parties can't come to an agreement.

"The goodwill offer seems only to benefit the people asking for the money," says Mr Potts.

At Red Gum Coombabah, another Hometown Australia village, 104 residents have taken Hometown Australia to the tribunal over the rental increases, claiming they're excessive and unjustified.

Beryl Knapp saw her rent rise by $60 a fortnight.

"I didn't sign the form because I was so disgusted," she said.

Residents there claim facilities aren't being maintained.

"The bowls green is inoperative," resident Richard Homans told 9News.

"Twelve months without a major facility and we're still paying for it, no reduction in site rent."

Other residents like Fred Maddren claim staff have been slashed.

"We used to have two and a half gardeners, now we have one. And he hasn't got a hope of keeping up with everything," Mr Maddren said.

Hometown disputes this, saying they've spent about $500,000 on improvements to the park and that staff have increased at Coombabah and Aspley.

Residents at Ironbark Aspley also claim Hometown management isn't fulfilling its operational responsibilities, after a community bus owned by Hometown but driven by volunteers to get residents around was left unregistered and uninsured for more than 90 days.

"They were driving around on that bus for three months without any registration on it, until they were pulled up by a police officer," Carol Fitzpatrick said.

"When we spoke to the manager, he told us it was none of our business and that it had just fallen through the cracks."

Some residents are so angered by the rental increases they've refused to pay the extra charges by cancelling their direct debit.

They're risking eviction while they wait for the rent dispute to be fought out in the tribunal.

The Department of Housing has told residents the goodwill offer "does not amount to coercion" but that "it is an inducement".

In a statement to 9News, Hometown Australia managing director Stuart Strong said: "The goodwill offers give the home owner and the park owner an opportunity to reach a fairer outcome.

"That the lower amount was offered to the home owner as an alternative to a potential lengthy legal process and is a well-balanced approach to the issue."

Full statement from Hometown Australia managing director Stuart Strong

The market rent review process is undertaken based on evidence of an expert valuer's assessment of the facilities, services, and amenity of the community. The expert valuer as part of their report is tasked with specifically considering amongst other things, whether services have been cut or the facilities have not been maintained.

In the case of these two communities the park owner did not enforce its right to increase the site rent at the higher amount as stated in their respective valuation reports. The lower amount was offered to the home owner as an alternative to a potential lengthy legal process and is a well-balanced approach to the issue.

The goodwill offers give the home owner and the park owner an opportunity to reach a fairer outcome. We have been clear in our communications with home owners that they are not obliged to accept the offer and it is entirely open to them to dispute the increase. Some home owners have opted to do this, however, at both communities a significant majority of home owners have accepted our goodwill offer. At Aspley, the home owners have not applied to QCAT for intervention to date.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Hometown Australia have been able to maintain the same level of staff at all its communities. There have been some personnel changes at Coombabah and Aspley and the staffing levels have in fact increased in 2020.

In addition to typical increases in operating costs, in the last 2 years at Coombabah, we have spent approximately half a million dollars on improvements to the park including:

- $45,000 for a refurbished craft cottage

- $49,000 for an upgrade of the community hall bathrooms

- $24,000 on the swimming pool plant room and pumps

- $306,000 on a full upgrade of reticulated water pipes

- $130,000 on a full upgrade of the bowling green at the home owners' request (the bowling green was not out of service and has remained useable by home owners except for when the surface was being replaced over a 2-week period)

- $2,000 for the resurfacing of the tennis court

Despite all the works undertaken in 2019, we did not increase the site rent at Coombabah that year.

It is important to consider that Aspley is a developing park which has transitioned from a transient caravan park to a dedicated residential park with contemporary facilities that were added by the operator in 2017. In 2019 we undertook various beautification works and we will continue to do so into the future.

All maintenance issues are attended to by our grounds staff and all maintenance requests are actioned on a timely basis. We generally assess the need to carry out significant maintenance projects as part of our plan of works across our portfolio.

With respect to a vehicle being out of registration, this was in fact an administrative error and was corrected by Hometown Australia management immediately. No loss was incurred by any home owner. We have an up to date policy related to all home owners vehicular use at our communities.

Hometown Australia Communities is a proud Australian company that is committed to working with its home owners as well as the regulator on any concerns these important stakeholders may have.


https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

BORDER BREACHES
Two arrested at NSW-QLD border as changes to tough rules being 'considered'
Image
Two people have been arrested on the NSW-QLD border after they tried to enter the Sunshine State without a border pass, on Wednesday September 16.

Queensland is looking at relaxing its tough border restrictions with New South Wales by reducing by half the required number of days with no community transmission.

Currently, the criteria to reopen its borders is 28 days of no community transmission.

But that could soon be dropped to just 14 days.

It comes as two people have been taken into police custody this morning for allegedly trying to cross into Queensland from NSW without an approved border declaration pass.

A man and a woman were arrested in Coolangatta at around 7am, after they allegedly attempted to enter Queensland.

The tough border rules are making headlines again this morning as Tourism Queensland pushes for a relaxing of the measures.

Tourism Queensland says the government is now exploring a 14-day rule instead, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

"The 28 day rule of no untraced community transmission, we are hoping our Chief Health Officer will revisit this," CEO Daniel Gschwind said.

"We believe such a high bar is going to be very hard to achieve, it is almost aiming for elimination which appears to be a far off objective."

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/sydney/t ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys
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Posts: 12449
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:21 am

16 SEPT SA

Calls for SA hospitality restrictions to be relaxed
There are calls for tough restrictions limiting South Australia’s hotels and function centres to be relaxed to help the struggling hospitality industry.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp


16 SEPT WA

BORDER ISSUES HEATING UP
PM told to 'call his dogs off' after stoush erupts over coronavirus international arrivals cap
he Prime Minister must "call his dogs off" in the growing fight over which states will increase their intake of Australians returning from overseas to quarantine, Western Australia's Health Minister has said.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said he had written to state and territory leaders requesting that the cap on international arrivals, which currently sits at about 4,000 people per week, be raised to 6,000 per week.

The Federal Government wants WA to take an extra 500 people per week.

However WA Premier Mark McGowan has told media during a doorstop he had not yet received the letter so he had not been able to consider it.

"I don't really like the fact that this has been sprung via a press conference without a discussion with the people actually required to implement it," Mr McGowan said.

"I would have thought that is very directly outside the spirit of the National Cabinet."

Later on Wednesday, the Premier told State Parliament he felt "ambushed" by the Commonwealth's request after finding out about it through a journalist at a media conference.

"No phone call, no contact, no nothing," Mr McGowan said.

"Ambushes like [this morning's] should not be part of this … and they make me very, very, very angry."

The state's Health Minister, Roger Cook, doubled down, saying the fact the request to raise the cap on arrivals was made through a letter from Mr McCormack was "extraordinary".

"The Prime Minister says he's working with … all the premiers under the National Cabinet arrangements yet seems to allow his ministers to go off and do whatever they like," Mr Cook said.

"It's time Scott Morrison called his dogs off and actually took the lead here and worked with the premiers."

Thousands of Australians 'in distress'
The international arrival cap was in place to ensure the hotel quarantine system was not stretched to capacity, but the Federal Government now claims Australia's case load has eased to the extent more people should be allowed into the country.

Mr McCormack told media he simply wanted to make sure that more Australians could return home.

"There are some heart-wrenching stories," he said.

Federal Attorney General Christian Porter told Perth radio station 6PR about 2,500 Australians overseas were categorised as "in distress" or "need to come home quickly".

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade this week said there were about 36,000 Australian residents living overseas, and more than 27,000 of those had expressed a desire to return home.

Mr Porter said he very much hoped WA would agree to doubling its international arrival intake, saying New South Wales had done the lion's share of the "heavy lifting" receiving nearly 2,500 people per week.

"There are a lot of hotels around Australia that could be used for this purpose and be used safely," Mr Porter said.

"The human cost of not doing that is … Australians overseas who can't get back."

'We'll choose protecting West Australians'
Mr McGowan said he would consider lifting WA's cap of 525 people per week if the Commonwealth allowed the arrivals to be quarantined in federally-run army bases or detention centres, something the Federal Government quickly rejected.

He later pushed the suggestion of defence facilities such as Irwin Barracks or HMAS Stirling, referring to them "just like hotel rooms" available for Commonwealth use.

"Secure defence facilities that often have significant vacancies," Mr McGowan said.

"There's defence facilities all over Australia by the way, army barracks and the like, all over Australia that often aren't occupied. I've stayed in them myself at various points in time."

Mr Cook would not say whether the state was willing to agree to the request, but called the plan "crazy".

"[The Commonwealth] needs to actually step up, they need to actually take some responsibility for the quarantining of returning Australians," Mr Cook said.

"You can bet your life, that we'll choose protecting Western Australians over what seems to be numbers … sprouting out of the Commonwealth's head without any sense of plan or strategic thought."

Mr Cook said the requested increase would stretch the state's hotel quarantine system dramatically.

"It would mean that the standard that we required at our hotels to ensure we keep Western Australians safe will struggle to be met, so this is a really dangerous act by the Commonwealth," he said.

Criminals already in Christmas Island detention
A Federal Government spokeswoman said Christmas Island was not a suitable place to send Australians arriving back from overseas.

"The Christmas Island detention facility is being used to detain unlawful non-citizens for crimes including assault, sexual offences, drugs and other violent offences," she said.

"Defence sites are generally not suitable for quarantine due to shared facilities, close living quarters or lack of medical and other life support.

"Furthermore an outbreak at key operational bases would place defence capability at risk"

Mr Porter said quarantining in a hotel was a far safer health option than Christmas Island, which was currently facilitating "quite dangerous people".

WA Liberal leader Liza Harvey said the Commonwealth's request was justified because of the number of stranded Australians overseas.

"There are a lot of distressed Australians overseas at the moment who have a great degree of difficulty getting back home," Ms Harvey said.

"I think we need to show some compassion."

The Opposition expressed its anger over the Government's detention centre proposal by suspending standing orders in Parliament to debate it.

"It is an appalling proposal, it breaks the basic fundamental fabric of our community, it lacks humanity," Ms Harvey said.

WA Nationals leader Mia Davies agreed.

"We need a sensible and human solution, these people have not broken the law," she told Parliament.

WA may open Rottnest to cope with influx
Mr McGowan has also flagged reopening Rottnest Island as a quarantine facility, which in non-COVID times is an internationally renowned holiday destination known for its white beaches and cute native marsupials.

The island, off the coast of Perth, was closed to visitors earlier this year to house cruise ship passengers and arrivals on international flights for two weeks, alongside CBD hotels.

"I am happy to talk to the Commonwealth about that. I've said all along that Rottnest could be available if required in these circumstances," Mr McGowan said.

"Obviously the school holidays are coming up, lots of people have booked holidays, but the urgency of this I don't think is in the next week or two.

"I think it's in the next few months so the potential is there for Rottnest if the Commonwealth wants to work with us on that."

Mr McGowan said he would be unwilling to close down Rottnest Island just before the school holidays and that it would take "some weeks" to be considered as an option.

Deputy Premier Roger Cook had previously rejected the island as a suitable alternative to quarantine Australian arrivals.

"There are limits around Rottnest, we can't put big numbers there and there are also logistical challenges associated with the health and welfare issues," Mr Cook said on Tuesday.

Issue over quality, not cost: Premier
Mr McGowan said the request was not about trying to save the state money on its hotel quarantine bill.

"It's the quality issue, it's the management and quality issue," he said.

"We have hundreds and hundreds of people employed in managing these things currently … Health Department staff, police, security staff."

The Premier said the more people in hotel quarantine, the greater the risk.

"The problem with doing more hotel quarantine is you run the risk of security making mistakes, you make the risk of there being failures in the system," he said.

The matter is expected to be discussed at National Cabinet on Friday.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp


QUARANTINE BREACH

Perth woman says she chose to dodge hotel quarantine as she was 'at her wits end'
A Perth woman who dodged hotel quarantine after crossing interstate lines in the back of the truck says she was at her wits end and wasn't thinking before her mercy dash home.

Asher Vander Sanden, 28, was arrested for breaching quarantine earlier this year when she travelled from Victoria as a stowaway back to Western Australia during the state's hard border closure.

She was originally sentenced to six months' jail. Yet, a Supreme Court judge yesterday overturned the sentence, labelling it "excessive".

Ms Vander Sanden was instead sentenced to 50 hours of community service.

"I tried all the other options," she told Gareth Parker on 6PR's Mornings of her decision.

"I first bought a plane ticket in early July and Jetstar grounded all their flights so I lost that flight.

"And then when I got my G2G pass, I booked a hotel room and booked a flight from Mildura to Melbourne and flight from Melbourne to Perth, and then last minute the taxi cancelled and I missed my flight."

Ms Vander Sanden said she was also suffering from anxiety at the time of her decision after dealing withfamily issues in Victoria.

"I reached out for help in Victoria and I got absolutely none and I was at my wits' end and I didn't know what to do and I just wanted to go home, I just felt like I was going to lose it there," she said.

"I just did the mercy dash back to Perth without even thinking."

https://omny.fm/shows/mornings-with-gar ... abou/embed
Ms Vander Sanden told Parker she understands the seriousness of her decision, particularly why it was wrong.

"I understood about corona, about the risks associated with it. My niece has severe asthma and has respiratory problems, so I understood the severity of the COVID," she said.

"I had the house stocked up before I got there, and just locked the door and just stayed in the house until I was able to contact a lawyer and hand myself in."

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

16 SEPT TAS

Launceston General Hospital bosses in damage control over complaint letter from doctors, as horror stories emerge
A Tasmanian man says he "feared for his life" as he passed in and out of consciousness during a 15-hour wait at the Launceston General Hospital, as the fallout over a letter of complaint written by clinicians at the facility sees management in damage control.

The man, who spoke to the ABC anonymously, said he had a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius and was hallucinating while he waited in the LGH emergency department on a weekend earlier this year.

"I woke up with chronic diarrhoea on a Saturday morning, then I came down with fevers until I started to black out," he said.

He was transported from Bicheno to the LGH by ambulance, only to find eight ambulances ramped outside.

Paramedics put him in a wheelchair and took him into the emergency waiting room through the front door — a move the man said was likely done to ensure he didn't spend time waiting to be triaged in a ramped ambulance.

"I spent from two o'clock in the morning to five o'clock in the afternoon in a plastic chair," he said.

"I was crawling to and from the toilet and passing in and out of consciousness … I really didn't know what was going on around me."

When he was eventually seen in the waiting room by a doctor, the man said the treatment was "quite disrespectful".

"Most of us would treat a dog better than I was treated that day," he said.

The man said it was a different story once he was admitted, and that the staff were "excellent" and it was "one of the best health facilities I've ever been in".

"But I'd say that waiting room in accident and emergency is about as low as it gets.

"If that's a normal day, I'd hate to think what would happen if COVID actually hit the LGH or there was a major disaster somewhere.

"The whole system at accident and emergency just felt like it was on the brink."

Meetings to 'discuss concerns'
The criticism comes a day after revelations that clinicians at the LGH wrote to Tasmanian Health Service management to warn that patients had died unnecessarily due to bed blocking.

On Wednesday afternoon LGH chief executive Eric Daniels said management "take seriously the views of our hardworking staff, and acknowledge that, as in all healthcare settings, particularly in emergency medicine, surges and increases in demand can occur".

In a statement, Mr Daniels said he would be "meeting with our registrars this afternoon to discuss the concerns raised in State Parliament yesterday, and Tasmania's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Tony Lawler, has also met with registrars today".

Mr Daniels said the LGH had been "taking action to improve patient flow and ensure high levels of patient care", listing a series of measures implemented at the hospital.

The LGH was "committed to improving patient outcomes, and providing every possible support to our hardworking and dedicated staff," Mr Daniels said.

"The hospital remains focused on measures to improve service delivery and improve patient flow, even with the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic."

'Silly gotcha moments'
In Parliament today, Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein accused Labor of helping clinicians draught the letter.

Mr Gutwein said his message to health professionals was that the Government wanted to work with them, adding: "We aren't interested in silly gotcha moments."

Ms White hit back at what she described as an "absolutely outrageous suggestion", saying her party had nothing to do with it.

"Those doctors have penned in frustration, in good faith, concerns they see every day in that hospital. The Premier should trust those doctors," Ms White said.

Ms White asked Health Minister Sarah Courtney: "What is your response to the issues that have been raised? How many avoidable patient deaths have been reported at the LGH in the past 12 months?"

Ms Courtney told Parliament Mr Daniels was meeting the registrars who wrote the letter, adding she had also asked the secretary of her Department to consider it.

However, Ms Courtney did not provide a figure on avoidable deaths.

"I've also personally spoken to a number of clinicians both yesterday and overnight so that I can understand what their concerns are, and so that we can map a pathway forward."

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

16 SEPT ACT

CONSEQUENCES OF COVID19

Australian National University cuts 465 jobs due to financial strain
The Australian National University is preparing to slash hundreds of jobs from its already dwindling workforce due to COVID-19 financial strain.

The Canberra university, which tops the country's rankings, estimates it will cut an additional 215 staff in the next nine months, despite having made 250 voluntary redundancies.

The university confirmed on Wednesday cuts were being made due to financial strain, and falling international student numbers during the pandemic.

ANU said it planned to save $130million by 2023 and would seek further voluntary redundancies but slash paid positions if necessary.

'Our international student numbers are down to below 2017 levels and in our best guess scenario will likely fall further in 2021 (a 30 percent reduction from 2019), which is a significant strain on our budget,' the university stated in its recovery plan.

'The stark reality is: we need to save money, and this will mean spending a lot less, both on our non-salary expenditure, but also on salaries,' ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt said in an open letter to staff.

'This is not a course of action we wanted to take, but it is our only viable option going forward if we want to remain a sustainable, stable university.

'The need for our university and its mission is clear, and we must make sure we can deliver on that mission, and not be a hollowed-out shell of our former selves.'

ANU is looking to limit the use of consultants and contractors, it said, as well as reduce travel plans and pursue flexible working arrangements.

The university added it was on track to meet its target of retaining $250million - or three months' operation expenses - by the end of 2020 to ensure it could pay its expenses, such as salaries and bills.

It was, however, facing a a deficit of $192million in 2021, as stated in its recovery plan, which will flow into 2022 and 2023 with a similar magnitude per annum.

'We must adapt to our new financial circumstances in 2021 to remain financially sustainable and avoid placing an unnecessary cost and debt burden on the University's future,' ANU said.

'In order to place ANU on a sustainable expenditure footing and to accommodate projected lower levels of revenue, an ongoing expenditure reduction of approximately $103million per annum is required from 2021. '

ANU's announcement comes as 256 staff at the University of NSW are reported to lose their jobs due to similar cost pressures.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys
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Posts: 12449
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:41 am

16 SEPT FEDERAL

8 COVID-19 deaths recorded, national toll at 824
Dr Nick Coatsworth commended Victorians for their efforts during lockdown, as the state begins to see it's desired results.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

Wealthier older Australians should pay more for aged care, Peter Costello says
Elderly people should face tougher means-testing and potentially pay more for RESIDENTIAL PRIVATE aged care, the former federal treasurer, Peter Costello, has said, while arguing the assessment process needs to be simplified and begin long before residents move into a nursing home.

Costello served as John Howard’s treasurer from 1996 to 2007 and is now chair of the $160bn Future Fund. Over the past few days, the aged care royal commission has been asking economic experts how aged care could be funded given the ageing population and increasing costs.

Costello on Wednesday was asked by the counsel assisting the commission, Peter Gray QC, whether funds could be raised by a so-called hypothecated levy and set aside solely for aged care.

Costello wasn’t a fan of the idea, arguing such funds could generate revenue “massively over or under” what was needed and failed to account for changes in demand.

He noted that the national welfare fund, a trust established by the Chifley government intended to fund pensions, was eventually rolled back into consolidated revenue due to discontent.

Costello cited other examples, stating “the money that was in the Building Australia fund found its way into the drought fund [and] the money that was in the higher education endowment fund has found its way into the emergency response fund”.

The Future Fund, which he chairs, had been successful because it had an independent board and a clear mandate. The $60bn originally invested was “locked up” not to be touched until 2020, the ex-treasurer said.

The commissioner, Lynelle Briggs, asked Costello whether the money in the Future Fund should be directed towards aged care, but Costello said given the government could currently fund itself through borrowing – which he described as “cheap money” – it was not the time to run down the fund.

The former federal Treasury secretary, Ken Henry, told the commission on Wednesday that a levy directed toward a hypothecated fund was needed to pay for aged care. There would be no risk that funds raised would be excessive or allocated elsewhere because it was clear the costs were increasing and would continue to do so, he said.

“If aged care is being adequately funded, then every year the proportion of government spending would have to increase,” Henry told the commission. “Having a hypothecated levy just means you understand that’s the case, and you go to parliament and the population and say ‘This is how much we’re spending on aged care and this is how we are going to raise it’.”

He said the levy would need to be increased over time “because aged care expenditure is the fastest-growing component of government spending”.

The royal commission has previously heard that people’s homes were largely protected from aged care means-testing with a cap on how much of a property’s value could be considered. There are now calls for people’s homes and other assets to be used to a greater extent to fund their aged care.

Costello said while the proposals were “fair” the current means-testing system was confusing. It needed to be simplified, he said, adding his own attempt to fill out asset test forms had left him confused.

Related: ‘Absolute madness’: professor blasts public funding of aged care for those who can afford it

“I don’t know how a person going into a nursing home would ever be able to fill it in, obviously they’ve got to get someone to do it for them because of the complexities,” Costello said. “You’d have to go out and get an army of really good financial advisors.”

The ex-treasurer said there should be financial products available for people allowing them to raise accommodation bonds against the family home. People should begin this process before they become too aged, he added. “If you come after people’s assets after they’ve died I think you’d run into a lot of opposition.”

His comments echoed those of former prime minister Paul Keating, who told the commission on Monday that people with wealth and assets should have to fund more of their own aged care, and that it was not fair that privileged people with access to financial advisors had their wealth protected while “working people” missed out.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/other/we ... d=msedgdhp

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DUMPS ON STATES ABOUT RESTRICTED QUARANTINE AND CAPS ON RETURNS FROM OVERSEAS
Federal Government calls on states to boost coronavirus quarantine capacity by 50 %
The Federal Government is pushing states and territories to boost their combined hotel quarantine capacity by 50 per cent, to allow more Australians stuck overseas to return home.

Transport Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has written to state and territory leaders requesting that the cap on international arrivals, which currently sits at about 4,000 people per week, be raised to 6,000 per week.

New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia have each been asked to take an additional 500 incoming passengers per week, with South Australia also asked to boost its capacity.

Mr McCormack said he had also written to the leaders of Tasmania, the ACT and the NT, to gauge their ability to take on more international arrivals.

"Those letters are telling them that's what they in fact need to do, and I've had discussions with them," he said.

"They know, they understand, this needs to happen.

"There's plenty of empty hotel rooms in these capital cities, and I want them filled with returning Australians."

Mr McCormack said he hoped to see the proposal agreed to and implemented by the end of the month, suggesting Queensland in particular should explore whether it could further boost its quarantine capability by using hotels on the Gold Coast and in Cairns.

Yesterday, WA Premier Mark McGowan said he would be willing to boost his state's quarantine capacity if federal government-owned facilities like the Christmas Island detention centre were made available.

He changed tack today, instead suggesting the state could reopen quarantine facilities on Rottnest Island.

The Federal Government has resisted calls to use Christmas Island for quarantine, with Attorney-General Christian Porter arguing the facility was already used as an immigration centre.

"Christmas Island, with the permission of the State Government, is now being used for what are in many instances quite dangerous people that we want to get back out of Australia and have deported," he told Perth radio station 6PR.

"It's actually a safer health option to bring people from the airport to a well-quarantined hotel than to move them from one plane to another plane to a facility at Christmas Island."

'The best way' is hotel quarantine: McCormack
It is estimated that 27,000 Australians overseas have registered their desire to come home with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The level of passenger intake currently agreed by the states evens out to about 4,000 entries into hotel quarantine each week, but data from the Australian Border Force shows the number of people entering Australia has slightly exceeded that in recent weeks, excluding flight crews and people with transit visas.

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Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the Government needed to examine federal quarantine measures, and repeated suggestions for the Government to use RAAF planes to bring home Australians.

"There are a whole range of Commonwealth facilities in addition to hotel space that Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have all said they're prepared to do more with some support from the Commonwealth," he said.

But Mr McCormack rejected suggestions from Mr Albanese that the Government take a more proactive approach in opening quarantine facilities.

"We feel as though the best way the states can manage the quarantine is with the hotel situation," he said.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

Michael McCormack puts onus on states to increase arrival caps by 2,000 a week
Michael McCormack has shifted responsibility for repatriating more than 26,000 stranded Australians back on to the states, demanding that leaders jointly increase their arrival caps by 2,000 a week.

The deputy prime minister, whose infrastructure and transport portfolio gives him responsibility for the arrival caps, has written to the states asking them to increase the cap of 4,000 arrivals a week to 6,000.

He said the South Australian premier, Steven Marshall, and New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, were “keen” to take more arrivals.

McCormack said he had written to the premiers and chief ministers “telling them they need to” increase their limits.

McCormack asked NSW, Queensland and WA to take 500 additional arrivals a week, and South Australia to take an extra 360. He encouraged the use of Gold Coast and Cairns as potential ports in addition to Brisbane in Queensland.

Berejiklian said NSW would take an extra 500 arrivals a week, up to 2,950, but only on the condition that Queensland and Western Australia doubled their caps.

She said she had been given an assurance by Scott Morrison on Tuesday that other states “would also take that load, and on that basis I was very pleased to do our bit”.

Marshall said South Australia would increase its cap from 500 to 800 a week, but that only 600 of those would be for international arrivals, with the rest set aside for interstate quarantine.

The Western Australia premier, Mark McGowan, blasted McCormack for publicly announcing the demand, saying it was “very directly outside the spirit of the national cabinet”. The Commonwealth should not “palm it all off” and instead work with the states to increase the number of arrivals, McGowan said.

The Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said she supported federal government aircraft being used to fly stranded Australians home, and said she had previously “mentioned to the deputy prime minister, that I would be more than happy to look at taking more Australians here where we have the capacity to do so”.

Related: 'Shattered, heartbroken, financially ruined': stranded Australians plead for help

A spokesman for Palaszczuk told the Guardian Queensland would need the federal government’s support to take more arrivals into hotel quarantine.

McCormack said the requests were based on best medical advice, hotel quarantine capacity, discussions from the last national cabinet meeting and “common sense”.

Asked if he thought state leaders were taking enough arrivals, McCormack said: “Well, they will be after they get their letters and open them.”

He has also asked the leaders of the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory, where caps are set on a flight-by flight basis, and Tasmania – which doesn’t have an international airport – to take more arrivals.

He said Melbourne would continue to be closed to international passenger flights given Victoria’s Covid-19 cases.

“I want to make sure that more Australians can return home,” McCormack said. “There are some heart-wrenching stories.

“I thank the premiers for their forbearance. I’ve notified them that I want to see those additional 2,000 places and as soon as possible. Hopefully by the end of the month but, if it’s possible to do it sooner, then that would be fantastic.

McCormack said there were up to 30,000 Australians overseas who had registered their wish to return home.

“Not every Australian will be able to come home by Christmas, I accept that,” he said.

Related: Airlines warn flying back 100,000 stranded Australians will take six months unless travel caps eased

Asked about setting up a federal quarantine facility such as the Howard Springs camp in the NT – which the federal opposition and states including WA have called for – McCormack said: “I’m not taking anything off the table.”

McGowan said increasing WA’s caps was not as simple as allowing more returned Australians to quarantine in empty hotel rooms in Perth, as there were “management and quality” issues.

McGowan said “quarantine and customs is a federal responsibility. But we’re obviously picking up the slack”.

“There are commonwealth facilities out there, defence bases, immigration facilities that could be used for two weeks’ quarantine for people returning from overseas. I’d urge the commonwealth to have a look at those facilities,” he said.

The ACT chief minister, Andrew Barr, said Canberra could take one flight every 14 to 18 days of about 150 people, but said federal police and the defence force would need to be made available to help enforce quarantine. He said a single hotel would be used for the plan, but the ACT would not allow it until the federal review into hotel quarantine released its report.

Earlier on Wednesday, Anthony Albanese reiterated his call for RAAF VIP planes, including those reserved for the prime minister and governor general, to be used to fly Australians home. He also called for Howard Springs to be reopened.

The caps were introduced in July and are designed to ease pressure on states and territories’ hotel quarantine system.

Premiers and chief ministers request their caps at national cabinet and the limits are enforced by the commonwealth, which governs international borders.

On Tuesday senior members of the government, including the cabinet minister Keith Pitt, said federal quarantine facilities should be considered. The Queensland Liberal National party MP Warren Entsch called for Cairns to become a repatriation hub to help fill empty hotels and employ locals.

Flights have been landing in Australia with fewer than 30 passengers, and as few as four economy passengers, as airlines prioritise more expensive tickets to remain profitable under the cap.

Citizenship law experts have also raised concerns the arrival caps are unconstitutional. The caps are in place until 24 October.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

RESKILLING SCHEME FOR UNEMPLOYED
More than 100,000 to get access to reskilling initiative
New South Wales Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has announced a $160 million investment to enable people to reskill for the jobs of the future.

More than 100,000 people in the state will be able to access the Skilling for Recovery initiative.

“We know every investment we make right now is all about driving economic jobs and productivity growth right across the state,” Mr Perrottet said.

“We can’t forget the importance of reskilling, retraining people right across New South Wales.

“This program will provide a significant benefit for them and keep as many people in work during what will be a very difficult time.”

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

SCHEME TO GET STUDENTS TO PICK FRUIT TO GET DISCOUNT ON STUDY COSTS AT UNI
Students could be given discounts on their uni fees if they fill this backpacker job
The Queensland government is considering giving students discounts on their university debt if they pick fruit and vegetables in the state's regional communities.

Under the proposed plan to fill a shortage of backpackers due to coronavirus, those on welfare could also potentially keep their JobKeeper payments and earn a wage.

"Incentivising them to go out in their anniversary holidays or those who might go on a gap year," Agriculture Minister David Littleproud told 9News.

About 180,000 backpackers are normally in Australia on working holiday visas but that number has dropped to just 70,000.

"We continue to lose backpackers back overseas, a significant part of our labour pool," Richard Shannon from GrowCom told 9News.

"We need to replace them with Queenslanders."

Some farms in the Lockyer Valley region employ up to 200 people to work over 280 hectares of land, yet with the onset of the global pandemic workers are scarce.

"Not any backpackers coming in. The guys that are here are already leaving or going to a different area," Brock Sutton of Sutton Farms told 9News.

"We're finding that we're having to increase our wages to get people in or keep the people that we've got."

Sources have told 9News figures yet to be released by the state government show Queensland's normally 25,000 pickers could drop by up to 7000 people over the next 12 months.

If the government does come up with a solution soon, Mr Shannon believes there will be an upwards pressure on the price of groceries.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp


WHO WILL SERVICE REMOTE REGIONAL (FIFO) AIR ROUTES NOW VIRGIN HAS RENIGGED ?
Regional towns across the country could soon have new air services in the wake of Virgin Australia cancelling routes because of the coronavirus pandemic.

While international and state borders are closed, Regional Express Airlines (Rex) is weighing up whether to fly to towns that Virgin Australia abandoned, such as Port Macquarie and Tamworth in New South Wales.

Rex is based at Mascot in Sydney, and is the nation's largest regional network aside from QantasLink.

Rex deputy chairman and former Nationals MP John Sharp also flagged other routes the airline could fly into.

"We think we can take up the slack in routes that we compete currently against Virgin, like Albury and Mildura, and also routes that Virgin's already abandoned some time ago in Western Australia, like Perth to Geraldton," Mr Sharp said.

"Economics plays the ultimate judge in these things, and if a town's big enough to warrant an air service, Rex is willing to provide it."

He said the regional airline industry wouldn't have survived without the Commonwealth Government's support leaving many regional communities cut off from their capital cities.

Earlier this year, the Australian Government had provided a cash boost to regional airlines through the Commonwealth Grant Agreement through the COVID-19 Regional Airline Network Support program.

"As part of our return of the support that our company's received from the Australian Government, we are prepared to operate services to communities where we don't see any profit," Mr Sharp said.

'More planes in the air'
Speaking at a press conference in Wagga Wagga today, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack would not say if the Government would offer support to Rex should they take over the regional routes, saying they would have those discussions in the future.

Instead, he called on the premiers to ease the border restrictions.

Mr McCormack said he felt that in many cases the border restrictions were for political purposes, but they were restricting business, aviation, and "life as we know it".

"We want to make sure that there are more planes in the air — planes in the air, jobs on the ground," he said.

"Let's get on, open those borders up, allow tourism to be what it needs to be, allow Australians to travel freely around their own country and get more planes flying interstate, that is so important.

"Certainly when it comes to regional areas, some of these places haven't had a COVID case for many months, indeed some of them haven't had a COVID case at all and yet they've been locked down unfairly."

However, Mr Sharp said opening borders prematurely could cause more harm to the aviation and tourism industries.

"It's a fine judgment by governments, but one thing they do need to bear in mind is that a premature … lifting of border closures could result in another wave, and that's going to do us a lot more harm," he said.

Regional mayor commends Rex
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council Mayor Peta Pinson confirmed Rex Airlines had been in contact.

"I commend Rex for their forward thinking," Cr Pinson said.

"Disappointed in Virgin — a little bit of heads up would have been nice to receive from them."

She said it would make "perfect sense" for Rex to pick up the route.

"We're a growing region … our commercial activity is high, we are a low-transmission area — we've had no COVID cases for many months now," Cr Pinson said.

"They [Rex] will be well rewarded by our community, I would imagine.

"… As things start to return to some sort of normality in the way of air travel, I would urge people to support those who support our region, and Rex certainly sounds like they may be one of them."

The mayor said the council had received a lot of interest from other carriers after Virgin Airlines announced last week it was withdrawing its services.

"While some airlines are contracting, an airline is looking at their opportunities too," she said.

"It's not all doom and gloom as far as COVID is concerned for air travel and airlines."

https://www.msn.com/en-au/money/markets ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys
BD.org Sicko
 
Posts: 12449
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:00 am

16 SEPTEMBER DATA

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NO COVID19 PATIENTS IN HOSPITAL IN NT, ACT, TAS, SA , WA .

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CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys
BD.org Sicko
 
Posts: 12449
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Sep 17, 2020 7:25 am

17 SEPT VIC

Victoria reports lowest COVID-19 cases since June
Victoria's daily rise in coronavirus infections eased further on Thursday, as the state began relaxing most restrictions outside Melbourne after a steady drop in cases in recent days.
Residents in regional areas of the state can now have outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, and cafes will be able to seat up to 50 people outside.

Victoria, Australia's second-most populous state, reported 28 new cases on Thursday, the lowest daily rise since June 24 and down from daily highs above 700 in early August.

The southeastern state, at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, reported eight deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours, the same as reported a day earlier.

Average daily cases over the last two weeks in Melbourne, which is on an extended hard lockdown until Sept. 28, continued their downward trend, falling below 45 on Thursday. The average dropped below 50 on Wednesday, the level the state has set to start easing curbs for the city.

Victoria, home to one-quarter of Australia's 25 million people, now accounts for about 75% of the country's more than 26,800 COVID-19 cases and 90% of its 832 deaths.

Victoria records lowest daily COVID figures in over two months
Victoria has recorded its lowest COVID-10 figures in more than two months, with 28 new infections and eight further deaths.
"The 14 day rolling average is down from yesterday as we move toward COVID Normal," Victoria Health said in a statement.

https://twitter.com/VicGovDHHS/status/1 ... wsrc%5Etfw
It comes as anyone attempting to cross into regional Victoria from Melbourne will be fined $4957.

Those valid reasons include work, medical services, care or compassionate care or if your intimate partner lives there.

With regional Victoria today waking to the first day of eased restrictions, "failing to stay in a restricted area" becomes a criminal offence for Melburnians trying to leave the city limits and the original fine of $1652 is tripled.

Seven permanent checkpoints will be reinforced on major freeways.

Highway patrol officers will bolster back roads.

Police will also step up checks on buses and trains, targeting anyone trying to hop a ride out of the city.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria records 28 new coronavirus cases as Melbourne's 14-day average drops
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The Victorian Government has beefed up the border between Melbourne and the regions.
An unarmed soldier checks a driver and the car passengers at a road checkpoint
Victoria has recorded its lowest increase in coronavirus cases in about three months, as the state's 14-day averages continues to fall.

The state reported 28 new infections overnight and eight further deaths with COVID-19.

Metropolitan Melbourne's 14-day daily case average has fallen from 49.6 yesterday to 44.4 today.

Regional Victoria, which entered step three of its recovery roadmap today, now has a rolling 14-day average of 2.9.

Melbourne is scheduled to progress to the second step of the roadmap on September 28, as long as the daily case average remains below 50.

The total number of infections with an unknown source detected in Melbourne in the latest fortnight has climbed by two overnight to 83.

In order for Melbourne to progress to step three of the roadmap on October 26, Victoria needs to record fewer than five "mystery" cases over 14 days.

Progressing to step three of Melbourne's roadmap also requires a statewide 14-day daily case average below five.

Premier Daniel Andrews is scheduled to hold a coronavirus press conference at 10:30am.

Regional Victorians celebrate new freedoms
Under step three of the regional Victorian roadmap, people can now leave their homes for any reason and have small gatherings in public.

Hospitality businesses are preparing to seat customers after weeks of takeaway only, and accommodation is allowed to reopen.

New South Wales has also relaxed its border rules overnight, meaning Victoria-NSW border residents with a permit can travel freely between the states.

Previously Victorians in the border zone could only enter NSW for specific reasons.

Regional Victoria will progress to the fourth step of its roadmap, scheduled for November 23, when there are no new cases for 14 days across the state.

For both Melbourne and regional Victoria, "COVID Normal" will only be triggered when there are no new cases for 28 days, no active cases statewide, and no major outbreaks in other parts of Australia.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/melbourn ... d=msedgdhp
https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/world/au ... d=msedgdhp

‘The strategy is working’: Daniel Andrews highlights record low COVID-19 cases
Premier Daniel Andrews has spruiked his roadmap to recovery and urged Victorians to “stay the course” as case numbers continue to fall across the state.

Victoria recorded its lowest daily increase in cases since June 24 with only 28 overnight infections and eight deaths.

“That is a fantastic outcome and a tribute to the hard work, sacrifice and contribution every single Victorian is making,” the premier said.

“This strategy is working, these numbers of falling and this is exactly what we have to do, stay the course, get these numbers low that is what will keep them low.”

Mr Andrews spoke about the health disadvantages of reopening the state prematurely, saying “if we open up when they (cases) are too high, they will just get higher and higher”.
"The message is, regardless of your post, background or circumstances, this virus does not discriminate, and everybody has to play their part”.

He warned $5,000 on the spot fines would be issued by police to those attempting to move from metropolitan Melbourne to regional areas and additional spot car checks would be introduced.

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MELBOURNE RING FENCED
Huge penalty Melbourne residents can get for leaving lockdown
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Daniel Andrews has set up a so-called 'ring of steel' around Melbourne to stop residents heading to regional Victoria where coronavirus restrictions have been finally relaxed.

Although there are no actual fences, police will use checkpoints at major highways, automatic number plate recognition and extra patrols at bus and train stations to catch city dwellers trying to escape strict lockdown.

Five million Melbourne residents, who are stuck in one of the world's longest lockdowns, will be slapped with a $4,957 fine for breaching public health rules if they dare to leave.

The isolation of Australia's second biggest city is similar to the lockdown of Wuhan, the Chinese metropolis of nine million where coronavirus was identified late last year.

Wuhan was shut down on 23 January as all flights, trains and buses in and out were cancelled and steel fences were set up outside apartment buildings to keep residents in their homes.

The lockdown was lifted in April after 11 weeks, four weeks fewer than Melbourne's shutdown is due to last.

It comes as Victoria recorded only 28 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday - its lowest daily total since 24 June.
Officers say they will check cars with caravans and fishing rods as well as increase patrols at camp sites and national parks to catch any city residents who have escaped.

There will also be increased checks at popular holiday destinations such as the Mornington Peninsula where many well-heeled Melburnians have second homes.

On Wednesday major checkpoints were set up on the Princes Freeway at Little River heading to Geelong and the Calder Freeway near Sunbury on the way to Bendigo.

Premier Andrews is desperate to stop coronavirus spreading from Melbourne to the regions, which have suffered significantly fewer case numbers and were removed from lockdown on Wednesday night.

He said: 'Whether you want to call it a ring of steel or a border or whatever the term, the key aim is very simple: only those who have to go to regional Victoria and have a lawful reason to go to regional Victoria can go to regional Victoria.

'We've got to be inflexible on this.'

He added: 'The police are not mucking about. If you are from Melbourne and you are in regional Victoria and do not have an appropriate excuse, you will be fined.

'Victorians have given a lot but we need to guard the low numbers in regional Victoria.

'Anyone who thinks they might take a punt on heading to regional Victoria and not getting caught, I think your odds are very poor.'

Mr Andrews also asked pub landlords to check customers' identification to make sure they are not from Melbourne.

'If you're not from regional Victoria, then you should not be at the pub, and that compliance will be very, very important,' he said.

Victoria was placed back into lockdown on 8 July after coronavirus escaped from hotel quarantine in late May and spread rapidly. Some 700 cases were recorded in one day on 5 August and more than 700 people have died, mostly in aged care.

Under Mr Andrews' road map out of restrictions, Melbourne will remain locked down until weekly average cases drop below five, which is not expected until October 26.

That would mean Melbourne's lockdown would have lasted 15 weeks.

For regional Victoria, the four reasons to leave home no longer apply, most workplaces are reopening and schools are returning with a staggered start.

Gathering limits have increased to 10 people outdoors and up to five nominated visitors from another household bubble.

Restaurants are operating with a cap of 10 seated patrons indoors and 50 outdoors.

Gathering limits have also increase to 10 people at weddings, 20 mourners at funerals and 10 people plus one faith leader at outdoor religious gatherings.

Children can also return to community sport and adults will be able to take part in non-contact sport.

Mr Andrews announced the eased restrictions for regional Victorians on Tuesday.

'I am so, so pleased and proud of every single regional Victorian who has stayed the course, follow the rules and got tested.

'There is no greater evidence to the people of Melbourne that this strategy, getting numbers low, is essential,' Mr Andrews explained.

Melbourne took its first tentative steps out of lockdown on Monday, with those living alone or single parents allowed to have one visitor, outdoor exercise extended to two hours and the curfew's start time pushed back an hour to 9pm.

What can regional Victorians do under relaxed restrictions from Thursday 17 September?
Outdoor gathering limits will increase to 10 people. That number does not include infants under the age of 12 months.

People in regional Victoria will also be able to leave their homes without restriction.

Limits for outdoor religious gatherings and weddings will increase to 10 people, while funeral limits will rise to 20 mourners.

Five visitors are allowed in a home from a nominated household.

Schools will return to normal operation over the first two weeks of Term 4.

Outdoor auctions will be allowed to have a maximum of 10 people in attendance.

Children can return to community sport and adults can take part in non-contact sport.

Regional Victorians can travel and holiday within regional parts of the state - with tourist accommodation in those areas also opening up

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CURFEW LEGAL CHALLENGE
Judge wants a 'speedy decision' on 'very important' curfew challenge
A Supreme Court judge has said a legal challenge filed against the Andrews government's curfew will canvas a "very important" human rights issues and that the case should be dealt with urgently.

Restaurant owner Michelle Loielo, a member of the Liberal Party, filed the writ in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, arguing the curfew is unreasonable, disproportionate, and violates the human rights of millions of Victorians.

Associate Professor Michelle Giles was named as the defendant in her capacity as Deputy Public Health Commander.

Lawyers for Ms Loielo want the case sent immediately to the Court of Appeal because it could, if successful, render the curfew invalid and impact the lives of millions of Victorians.

Justice Tim Ginnane ordered defence lawyers to provide affidavits from government officials and outline any objections to having the matter heard in the Court of Appeal.

Justice Ginnane said the case was one "that requires some urgency and some particular urgency to deal with it".

But he hesitated to send it immediately to the Court of Appeal because it might not afford the government procedural fairness, and the higher court might send it back if judges decides it was not appropriate for it to be heard there.

"I do understand the restrictions on all individuals in Victoria but they have been imposed by the lockdown and by the curfew ... they're very important matters," Justice Ginnane said.

Justice Ginnane told Ms Loielo's lawyers that he would not simply "rubber stamp" their application to have the case heard in the Court of Appeal, where a decision would carry more weight and be heard by three judges.

"This is not the typical case. So the need for a speedy decision might have greater weight in this case than in many cases."

The government has said the curfew will remain in place until October 26, or until Melbourne reaches a 14-day average of five cases per day. The curfew came into effect on August 2.

Put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, it originally ran between 8pm to 5am but on Monday its start time was moved back to 9pm.

The origin of the curfew came into focus last week after Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton and Chief Commissioner Shane Patton both said it wasn't their idea, while Mr Andrews said he could not "pinpoint" whose decision it was but indicated it was decided by the government.

Ms Loielo, an active Liberal Party member, said the lockdown and curfew has left her on the precipice of financial ruin, with her business revenue having dropped an estimated 99 per cent which may result in her losing her house.

Ms Loielo, who joined the party three years ago, was non-committal when asked at a press conference on Wednesday if she was seeking preselection at the next Victorian election.

"I may do so ??? [but] I don't think that my political or anybody's political affiliation stops them from having an opinion," she said.

"I'm a mum with three kids. I have certainly had a not easy journey in life, I am on my own raising a 13-year-old, an 11-year-old and a five-year-old, and I am just seeking to be heard."

Ms Loielo said she was confident the curfew would be lifted and she was not seeking damages or compensation.

"The ultimate goal is to be able to stop at the BP on the way home and grab my milk and bread, as I used to," she said.

If Ms Loielo loses the case she may be liable to pay the costs of government lawyers. The matter is next due in court on Tuesday.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

MORE RELEVATIONS ABOUT QUARANTINE DESASTER
Victorian hotel quarantine system told guests with coronavirus were allowed to leave quarantine, inquiry told
A Victorian Deputy Chief Health Officer has admitted some quarantined hotel guests were allowed out into the community while awaiting their coronavirus test results.

Annaliese van Diemen made the revelation while giving evidence at the COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry on Wednesday, where she admitted there were a number of potential weaknesses in the bungled scheme.

Dr van Diemen said people who did not show symptoms were allowed to leave the hotel even if they were awaiting a coronavirus test result.

"I'm aware that there were perhaps a small number of instances where people may have been released whilst they were waiting for a test result," she said.

"That was a risk assessment that was undertaken to determine that there was still quite a low likelihood that they would come back positive."

Dr van Diemen also said that even guests who were COVID-positive at the end of their stay could leave if they said they would self-isolate.

"If they were not able to proceed directly to a place in which they could safely isolate, that meant that they required to continue safely isolating in their hotel room," she said.

Dr van Diemen was asked if there was a "potential" for the COVID-positive patients to then breach their isolation at home.

"I believe that people's behaviour shifts significantly when they know that they have an infectious disease that is causing a worldwide pandemic," she said.

Testing at the hotels was never made mandatory, but in late June, when the program was on the brink of ending, the Victorian Government threatened to slap returned travellers with an extra 10 days of quarantine if they refused a test.


Hotel quarantine more 'logistics than public health'
Dr van Diemen and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton had no direct oversight of the hotel quarantine program but endorsed concerns expressed by another senior health official in April.

The program was run by senior public servants.

In a statement tendered to the inquiry, Dr van Diemen noted that the focus on health was not strong enough.

"I think we all could have treated the hotel quarantine program more as a health program than a logistics or compliance exercise and viewed the overarching principles more from a health lens," she said.

She also said that she would have liked to have seen Professor Sutton installed as the state controller, a position which would have given him oversight of the program.

Dr van Diemen said Professor Sutton's appointment to that role may have led to a stronger health focus in the hotel quarantine program.
'No one individual is responsible'
Dr van Diemen also wrote in the statement that she "advocated with the state control centre to have a clinical lead or liaison appointed" to oversee the standards in the program, but she was unsure if the position was ever created.

She said the massive size of the operation meant the blame for the overall failure of hotel quarantine should not fall on one individual or department.

"I don't believe that any one individual is responsible for what occurred," she said.

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AGED CARE
'Just one case' is an 'outbreak' in aged care: Andrews
Daniel Andrews has revealed "just one case" constitutes an outbreak when referring to the state's aged care system, rejecting the possibility of opening up the economy further while securing the sector.
"That's a representation of just how vulnerable people in aged care are," the Victorian Premier said.

"These are community transmissions coming into aged care.

"Many would describe the settings in Victoria in aged care as a lockdown - I don't know if I would quite use that term."

Mr Andrews pointed to the need for continued vigilance in the aged care sector to become a "feature" of Victoria's "COVID-normal".

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'A moment of cheer': 100-year-old Victorian man leaves hospital after surviving coronavirus fight
A 100-year-old who battled coronavirus for six weeks has been discharged from a hospital in Melbourne and returned to the aged care facility where he caught the virus.

“He may be old, but he still matters to us,” wrote Lauren Elizabeth of her grandfather, Roy, who was discharged from St Vincent’s Private Hospital earlier this week.

“That was a very long 42 days but he finally had two negative test results,” she wrote on Facebook. “All lives matter young and old.”

Of the 824 people who have died from coronavirus in Australia more than 500 were aged 80 or above, federal government figures reveal.

The hospital confirmed Roy was released on Tuesday and said he was returning to the aged care home where he caught the virus. The hospital said on Facebook that Roy gave the team an emotional farewell.
“This certainly calls for a moment of cheer. What an amazing outcome for Roy and his family,” the post said.

Elizabeth thanked the “incredible” hospital staff who put their own lives at risk “to protect and care for people like my grandfather”.

Victoria has 464 active aged care cases which is almost half its total figure of 947. St Vincent’s Private has treated 59 aged care residents over the past eight weeks, a spokesman said.

The hospital’s chief executive, Janine Loader, told 3AW radio there were no longer any Covid-positive patients or staff in the building. “There’s certainly a smile on lots of faces in our organisation,” she said.

Related: Conservatives once championed the sacredness of every human life – until Covid | Jeff Sparrow

Federal government data shows there have been 2,023 confirmed cases in aged care and residential homes across Australia with 1,960 of those in Victoria. Melbourne couple Vic Cornell, 95, and Jean Schofield, 87, also left hospital earlier this week after overcoming coronavirus.

Some commentators have controversially questioned the economic and social costs of introducing tough restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus.

In an attack on Victoria’s second wave lockdowns, the Nine News political commentator, Chris Uhlmann, this week wrote: “Covid-19 mostly kills the elderly, especially if they have an existing chronic disease. That is not an argument to let them die but it should guide government responses.”

Earlier this month, the former Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, remarked that lockdowns and restrictions were causing a “climate of fear” and said while “every death is sad” that “has never stopped families sometimes electing to make elderly relatives as comfortable as possible while nature takes its course”.

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INNOVATION UNDER STAGE 4
How Victoria’s Co-Lab Pantry is bringing together the state’s restaurants to sell their gourmet products to a new audience
o-Lab Pantry co-founders Danielle Lebon and Natasha Buttigieg say their two-month-old business started out as an “emotional project” to help local restaurants find a much-needed source of revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.
But now, with 65 restaurant partners on board and new products being added every day, the founders have global goals in mind.

Co-Lab Pantry is essentially an online pantry, or one-stop-shop, selling gourmet food products from Victorian restaurants, bars, local makers and producers.

The e-commerce platform offers buyers a growing choice of specialty products, from ready-to-eat meals to condiments made in restaurant kitchens.

The product list includes Korean BBQ sauce made by Melbourne restaurant Gingerboy, jalapeno and peach hot sauce from Fancy Hank’s, negroni marmalade by gin maker Four Pillars, and cheeseburger dumplings from Drumplings.

The idea was to create a “universal platform” for consumers to buy locally made products, and in turn, help develop a sustainable source of income for restaurants and producers.

Lebon and Buttigieg first started working on the business in April, along with co-founder Avin Chadee.

The trio combined their previous experience in hospitality and events, e-commerce and digital marketing to soft-launch the business at the end of June, before officially launching two weeks later.

Despite only being in operation for a little over two months, Co-Lab Pantry has sold more than 13,000 items from a range that now includes about 800 products.

New products are being added daily, Buttigieg tells SmartCompany, with some vendors who first joined two months ago now adding additional products to their listings.

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Many of these vendors are also redesigning their packaging and making long-term plans to continue producing their pantry items, says Buttigieg, as it is becoming clear they can continue to increase volumes and build new revenue streams.
A selection of products available from Co-Lab Pantry. Source: supplied.

An influx of interest
Apart from its founders, Co-Lab Pantry doesn’t have any employees yet, but Lebon says the business has needed to bring on extra resources to manage growth that has happened “a lot more rapidly than anticipated”.

The founders had initially thought they might see “one order here and there” when they first went live, says Lebon, but instead the interest from shoppers was “instantaneous”.

“Right from the get-go we had orders every day,” she says.

In those early days, the vendors on the platform were ones that Lebon and Buttigieg had been able to connect with because of their previous experience in the hospitality industry.

From there, she says the founders built out a “big list of brands we wanted to work with” and went on a “mission” to contact them all.

But those initial conversations didn’t necessarily lead to new vendors coming on board straight away.

“It was tricky to explain what we were trying to do because it was a new concept,” she says.

“We decided to roll out what we had, and it was easier [for potential vendors] to understand how it works.”

After seeing the Co-Lab Pantry concept in action, many of those vendors got back in touch.

“We had an influx of people coming back and chatting to us; they could understand the brand,” adds Lebon.

Co-Lab Pantry sells gourmet products made by Victorian restaurant and producers. Source: supplied.

‘Intentional’ purchasing
Co-Lab Pantry currently delivers to most Australian states and territories (except for Tasmania and the Northern Territory) and a national approach was always part of the vision, say Lebon and Buttigieg.

But, having refined the concept since launch, the founders are now also thinking about the global possibilities for their platform, including by stocking products from international producers and suppliers.

Already, Co-Lab Pantry has held a number of workshops that have attracted people from Japan and London, says Buttigieg, who says platforms such as theirs can be one way the “foodie community” can connect.

Part of refining the concept has involved developing different models for vendors to have their products listed, including a commission-based model and a wholesale option, as well as recognising the potential for a corporate arm of the business.

“We’ve had a lot of corporate enquiries, which is a real testament to them wanting to support local,” says Lebon.

“In their messaging to staff and clients, they always talk about wanting to send a care package, while also supporting local.”

This interest from corporates is matched by the interest from consumers, with both Lebon and Buttigieg saying it’s clear how much more aware shoppers are now of shopping locally.

“I think consumers are a lot more aware of what they’re purchasing,” says Lebon.

“The pandemic has brought across this need to stick together and support each other.

“People are struggling themselves and this creates a different sense of awareness and empathy towards others. They are trying to be more intentional with their purchases.”

This is also the case with the Co-Lab Pantry’s vendors too. Buttgieg says they’ve noticed vendors purchasing products from the other businesses on the platform to gift to family and friends.

“They’re not competing, just supporting,” she says.

This sense of community is also why Lebon, Buttgieg and Chadee have launched a new campaign encouraging people to ‘nominate a mate’ to receive a hamper of Co-Lab Pantry items.

The business will be sending out a few hampers each week as a way to help support people who are doing it tough and to continue the sense of “togetherness” that has been fostered in recent weeks. Lessons learnt
Lebon and Buttgieg are passionate about their quest to help support local hospitality businesses, and say holding true to your mission is key to getting a new business off the ground quickly.

“Co-Lab started as an emotional project, with us just wanting to help vendors,” says Buttgieg.

“Having authentic conversations with our partners, I think, has kept us going. Even when you are only sleeping two hours every three days, it pushes you along.”

“We’ve been ourselves and stuck to the original reasons for why we started this, and I think people have appreciated that, and have wanted to work with us because of that.”

Entrepreneurs also need to be willing to embrace opportunities that come their way, even if they do so earlier than your original plans, adds Lebon.

“You know you’ve got to work hard when starting a business, but some businesses are unpredictable and you can’t plan,” she says.

“You’ve got to run with it and take the opportunities when they arrive.”
The post How Victoria’s Co-Lab Pantry is bringing together the state’s restaurants to sell their gourmet products to a new audience appeared first on SmartCompany.

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SUPPORTING VIC GROWERS
Victorian government pledges $8.5 million to ramp up Click for Vic campaign
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he Victorian government has pledged to spend an extra $8.5 million to promote its ‘Click for Vic’ website and campaign, which showcases small producers across the state in a bid to help them trade through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launched in August, the Click for Vic website acts as a directory for Victorian businesses, allowing consumers to click directly through to a business’ website.

The state government has partnered with restaurant delivery service Providoor on the website, as well as Co-Lab Pantry, an online version of the popular Victorian Country Market, and regional produce directories The Regional Pantry and The Loddon Shed.

The website and its associated marketing campaign have already reportedly generated more than 200,000 leads for the business featured, according to the government, which is set to ramp up its promotion over coming weeks.

Announced as part of his government’s latest $3 billion business support package, Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday the additional $8.5 million will be spent on “more marketing and advertising, and expanding the digital platform and its partnerships with third-party e-commerce providers”.

“Victoria is home to some of the best fresh food, wine, galleries and homewares in the world — but the pandemic has hit many small producers hard,” Andrews said.

The increased spending comes as retail and hospitality businesses in regional Victoria prepare to reopen this week, after Andrews announced regional areas will soon move into “step three” of the state’s coronavirus recovery roadmap.

The initial Click for Vic campaign announcement in August also included financial support available for farmers looking to diversify into online markets.

“Buying local is always the best policy, but it’s particularly important right now,” Andrews said at the time.

“By backing our local producers, we’re also backing the jobs and communities they support.”


The post Victorian government pledges $8.5 million to ramp up Click for Vic campaign appeared first on SmartCompany.

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SUPPORTING EARLY CHILDHOOOD EDUCATION IN VIC
Victorian government unveils $26.7 million early childhood education support package
The Andrews government has announced a $26.7 million kindergarten support package to assist parents and young students heading into term four.

Victorian Deputy Premier James Merlino revealed $13 million of the package will go to free sessional kindergarten to help parents with fees, providing payments of around $500 per child for term four across the whole state.
An additional $3 million will also be allocated to support highly vulnerable children, as well as an extra 5 hours of kindergarten provided for those disadvantaged children.

Mr Merlino also announced $4 million of the package will be dedicated to helping kindergarten students with the transition to primary school.

“In a normal year, you would have your 4-year-old kids visiting their local schools and engaging in those schools, having a look around, getting comfortable with the school setting,” he said.

“This is not a normal year so we're going to flip it and this funding will provide support for teachers to visit the kindergarten providers.”

“This is a significant package of support for early childhood educators.

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STUDENTS RIPPED OFF
University students forced out by coronavirus chase thousands in college dorm refunds
Australian university students and their families have been left tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket after several Melbourne colleges they were meant to live at this year refused to refund their costs.

Many have signed "watertight" accommodation contracts that mean they must continue to pay rent on residential facilities they have not been able to use for months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In many cases, requests by students for refunds and rental reductions have been refused, despite some of their families having been hit hard by job losses due to the pandemic.

Some universities are instead offering students study credits, scholarships or waiving penalties for breaking contracts, which means families of those students are not getting their money back.

Others are being forced to pay out their entire contracts — some of which have locked students into a 12-month arrangement that has left them paying for empty rooms in Melbourne, while they have moved back to their homes in regional Victoria and interstate.

'They should cut their contract'
Lily Graydon, who moved from Perth to Melbourne to study at RMIT University, said she had been unable to break her "watertight" tenancy agreement with Centurion Student Services at Dwell Village, North Melbourne.

Despite her contract running from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020, she decided to move out of the residential complex and into a share house with a friend when Melbourne's coronavirus restrictions came into force.

Ms Graydon said she did not see the point of staying in the residential complex once face-to-face teaching was halted, and she believed she had a higher chance of contracting COVID-19 at Dwell Village than at her friend's house.

But, Ms Graydon said she could not afford to pay rent in the share house because she was still paying Centurion Student Services $470 each week for a space she had not lived in since April.

"If people want to leave, they should just cut their contract," she said.

Educational institutions are not regulated by the Residential Tenancies Act and were not included in Victoria's Omnibus emergency measures introduced in response to the pandemic.

Dwell Village told the ABC it had been handling requests on a case-by-case basis and had helped 141 residents able to demonstrate genuine need or financial hardship.

Students caught up in contracts, tenancy agreements
The parents of a Melbourne University student have told the ABC they paid $17,735 for her to live at University College — a charity-listed facility — on the Parkville campus during semester one.

However, the student only spent six weeks at the dormitory, before returning to her home in country Victoria because of restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The family is among several University College clients who have told the ABC that their requests for refunds of the balance of their fees — up to $13,000 each — have been refused.

A University College contract for a boarding student shows that if a resident is absent for any reason within the contract dates, they will not receive a refund.

Students told the ABC that University College had waived the fee for breaking the accommodation contract, but was still expecting the terms of the contracts to be fulfilled.

It was offering $3,000 in credits for semester two and, for those who had demonstrated hardship, it was offering a $1,000 scholarship to go towards semester two fees.

But most students had not returned to the boarding dormitories for semester two due to the even stricter lockdown imposed on Victoria following the deadly second wave of coronavirus.

University College did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Melbourne University was also contacted for comment.

An Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) spokesperson told the ABC registered charities were expected to operate according to their charitable values.

The nation's university regulator, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, said it had received no complaints from students about accommodation services during the pandemic.

Students need to 'get a break'
Former Law Institute of Victoria president Geoff Bowyer said students who signed RMIT and Monash University tenancy agreements might be able to have the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal consider whether relief could be granted if a contract had "harsh or unconscionable" terms.

Court cases in the United Kingdom have begun to question tenancy agreements and whether a reasonable person would enter into a tenancy lease or contract if they knew a pandemic was coming.

Under Australian Consumer Law and the Fair Trading Act, a contract that is impossible to carry out for reasons beyond all parties' control becomes a "frustrated contract".

If it falls into that category, it means a student accommodation provider would have to refund money for the services not provided, but it could keep some of the balance to cover expenses.

RMIT Student Union president Daniel Hoogstra said student accommodation facilities needed to give students a break.

"If students aren't in a situation where they can actually stay there and be using services, why should they be paying for them?" he asked.

National Union of Students president Molly Willmott said there were a lot of students across Australia frustrated because they were paying for services they were not receiving.

"The fairest solution here is there needs to be a remission of funds," Ms Willmott said.

"Money is tight everywhere right now, it's not just universities and colleges, it is the families who are paying for these services. And it is unfair to be able to take all of that money and not give it back when the service isn't upheld."

A Consumer Affairs Victoria spokesperson said if the student and accommodation provider were unable to meet the conditions of the contract due to coronavirus, the student might be eligible for a refund depending on the circumstances.

"Accommodation providers are encouraged to be flexible and exercise goodwill towards students," the spokesperson said.

"Students should carefully read the terms and conditions of the accommodation provider, so they know their options if they have to change or cancel their arrangements."

Some universities suspend rental fees
A Monash University spokesperson said it was not penalising students who chose to return home during the pandemic and its subsequent lockdown periods in Victoria.

But a Tasmanian student, who asked to remain anonymous because she was still enrolled at Monash University, said she had spent just 36 nights at the university's Clayton Urban Community halls before moving home due to the pandemic earlier this year.

Yet because her contract runs from January 16, 2020, to December 17, 2020, she says she has been paying $43.25 a day/$302.75 a week in rent all year.

In a statement, the Monash University spokesperson said that Monash Residential Services (MRS), which runs the university's accommodation facilities, had advised all residents on March 23, 2020, that they had "the opportunity to cancel their accommodation leases and leave their room without financial penalty".

"Under normal circumstances, students would be liable for the room rental until the end of the residential contract, or until the room was leased to another student," the statement said.

"The waiver of the terms is on the condition that students fully vacate their rooms and remove all of their belongings."

But the Tasmanian student said she had not received any communication from the MRS or the university in relation to being able to break her lease.

She said she had been unable to retrieve her belongings after moving home, and wanted a rent reduction because she was not using any of the accommodation facility's utilities.

Other students also studying at the university, but living at home, said they were still paying rent to MRS and that they, too, wanted a rent reduction because they were not using the utilities such as electricity, water, and wi-fi.

But the Monash University spokesperson said MRS had, since the start of the pandemic, assisted many of its residents with packing and storing their belongings when they couldn't return to remove them — for a "small fee".

The spokesperson said MRS was also offering payment plans and had temporarily waived fees for late payments.

Monash Student Association (MSA) president James McDonald said the union was "deeply concerned" that students had said they were having great difficulty in cancelling their contracts with MRS.

"MSA continues to urge MRS to reduce the cost of rent for those living on campus to ease the financial burden on students as we confront the greatest economic crisis since The Great Depression," Mr McDonald said.

A La Trobe University spokesperson said the university had put a hold on rental payments for students who chose to move out of student accommodation and return home to study online.

A spokesperson for Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, in regional New South Wales, said the university had only charged accommodation fees for the time students had actually lived on campus.

A University of Queensland spokesperson said students living in the university-owned accommodation were only charged a fee for the time they had resided there, and the university had waived all contract cancellation fees.

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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Sep 17, 2020 8:08 am

17 SEPT NSW

5 new coronavirus cases in NSW, Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirms border conversations
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says talks with her Queensland counterpart over the border closure have ground to a halt and that the "door is bolted".

Health authorities in NSW on Thursday confirmed five new coronavirus infections.

Two of them are locally acquired and linked to known cases or clusters, including one at Concord Hospital in Sydney's inner west, while two were travellers in quarantine.

The other infection was someone in a border community and "could be a false positive" and was "still being evaluated".

Ms Berejiklian confirmed no conversations had proceeded between her and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who have traded public barbs in what has become a frosty relationship.

"With Queensland, the door is locked, bolted and no conversations are continuing, unfortunately."

In a sweeping press conference, the Premier also revealed:

NSW stadiums would be allowed to go to 50 per cent capacity
COVID-19 restrictions could still be in place for Christmas and New Year's Eve
Offices should plan to have Christmas parties with a maximum of 20 people attending
South Australia was "open-minded" about opening its border
Her Government was considering a staggered approach to allowing Victorians across the border again
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant confirmed there were now 21 cases in the Liverpool and Concord hospitals cluster, including eight staff.

Dr Chant said a new case attended the Eastern Suburbs Legion Club, in Sydney's Waverley, bringing the cluster to nine.

More than 20,000 tests were completed in the reporting period, more than double the lower testing rates recorded on Sunday and Monday of this week.

Ms Berejiklian said there was "no doubt" easing the border restrictions brought risk to her state.

"Anything can happen around the corner and especially now the border is easing between NSW and Victoria, it adds an element of risk," she said.

She said her Government was considering a staggered approach to allowing Victorians across the border again, initially restricting Melburnians to entering via Sydney Airport only.

"We do want to ease the pressure where there's little to no risk," Ms Berejiklian said.

Ms Berejiklian also confirmed social-distancing restrictions on stadiums in NSW would be relaxed.

Stadiums will now be permitted to have crowds at 50 per cent capacity for major events, up from 25 per cent.

That means Parramatta Stadium will be able to have 15,000 people at events, the SCG will be able to welcome 23,000 people and Stadium Australia will have a maximum capacity of 40,000.

A checkerboard seating pattern will socially distance people in the stadium, Dr Chant said, and the one person per four-square-metre rule will apply.

Ms Berejiklian said people would "be expected" to wear masks while going to and from their seats.

The Premier also said plans for Sydney's New Year's celebrations should adhere to current coronavirus restrictions.

Under the public health order, no more than 20 people are allowed to gather outside in a public place.

"I would ask everybody to assume the current health orders will be in place, that's the worst case scenario," she said.

Health authorities also flagged that Five Stars Thaitanic restaurant in Casula on Saturday, September 12 from 4:20pm to 5:20pm should monitor for symptoms.

Just over 4,000 coronavirus cases have been recorded in NSW since the beginning of the pandemic.

NSW records five new coronavirus cases, two in hotel quarantine
There have been five new cases of coronavirus in NSW in the past 24 hours.

Two are in hotel quarantine, two are linked to known cases and one is still under investigation and could be a false positive, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said today.

"Worst case scenario we have three community transmissions, in all likelihood its two," Ms Berejiklan said.

One of the new cases is a healthcare worker from the Concord Emergency Department who was in isolation while infectious. There are 21 cases linked to this cluster.

Another new case attended the Eastern Suburbs Legion Club and they were also in isolation while infectious. There are now nine cases in this cluster.

The third locally acquired case is in a person from the border region of Murrumbidgee. They tested positive in Victoria, but a second test in NSW returned a negative result.

"Whilst we're continuing to treat the case as a positive case we are working through that diagnosis," Dr Kerry Chant said today.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/sydney/n ... d=msedgdhp

New South Wales records 5 new coronavirus cases
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New South Wales has recorded another 5 new coronavirus cases as fear around a Sydney pub cluster grow.

2 of the new infections are from hotel quarantine while another 2 are linked to known clusters.

The other new case recorded on Thursday is still under investigation and has not been linked to any known infections.

One of the cases had attended the Eastern Suburbs Legion Club in Waverley in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

The cluster at the pub has now grown to 9.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the fifth case is likely to be a false-positive.

Diners who attended a Thai restaurant in Casula in Sydney's south-west have also been urged to get tested immediately.

'Anyone who attended the Five Stars Thaitanic, Casula on Saturday 12 September from 4.20pm-5.20pm is considered a casual contact and must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop,' NSW Health said.

'After testing, they must remain in isolation until a negative test result is received.'

Another case identified on Thursday is from a healthcare worker from the Concord Emergency Department.

The staff member had been in isolation while infectious as the cluster in the Liverpool and Concord Emergency Department grows to 21 infections.

8 staff members have contracted the virus from these hospitals.

'NSW Health is again urging anyone feeling unwell – even with the mildest of symptoms such as a runny nose or scratchy throat – to come forward and get tested, so cases in the community are identified as quickly as possible,' health authorities said.

'This is even more important with the upcoming school holidays, when people will travel across the state.'

There are currently 86 patients being treated for COVID-19 with 4 in intensive care and 3 on ventilation.

It comes as Ms Berejiklian announced stadium capacity in the state would increase to 50 per cent.

Currently major venues are limited to 25 per cent capacity with a maximum of 10,000 guests.

Patrons will still have to adhere to the four square metre rule and will be required to wear a mask while moving to their seats.

NSW will also move to relax restrictions around its border with Victoria.

The NSW border region will now be expanded to Pleasant Hills, Lockhart, Benalla, Bright and Mount Beauty.

Anyone in the areas with existing border region permits will be able to move freely.

Since midnight on Wednesday those in regional Victoria have been permitted to leave their homes without any restrictions following a large drop in cases.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

NSW Covid-19 hotspots: list of Sydney and regional outbreak locations
List of outbreaks in NSW
If you were at the following venues on these dates you must get tested and self-isolate for 14 days, even if your test is negative.

The Crocodile Farm Hotel, Ashfield: 5.30pm to 6.30pm on Friday 4 September for at least an hour. Patrons who were there for less than an hour are considered casual contacts and must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop.
The New Shanghai Night restaurant, Ashfield: 6.30pm to 8pm on Friday 4 September for at least an hour. Patrons who were there for less than an hour are considered casual contacts and must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop.
Oatlands Golf Glub, Oatlands: 6.30pm to 8.45pm Friday 4 September
Albion Hotel, Parramatta: 8.15pm to 11.15pm on Saturday 5 September, guests who attended the beer garden and pavilion for at least an hour.
Fitness First, Randwick: Anyone who attended between Sunday 23 August and Tuesday 1 September should monitor for symptoms and if they develop, get tested right away and self-isolate.
Hyde Park Medical Centre, Sydney: Monday 24 August to Saturday 5 September. Anyone who worked at Hyde Park Medical Centre (including physiotherapy, pathology, dermatology and dental practices and pharmacy on the ground floor of the building) should get tested immediately and self-isolate until a negative result is received.
Eastern Suburbs Legion Club, Waverley: Tuesday 1 September from 6pm, Friday 4 September from 4.30pm, Saturday 5 September from 4.15pm, Sunday 6 September from 5pm, Monday 7 September from 3pm
With the growing number of cases in the area, NSW Health is asking all people who live in, or have visited, the following areas in the past two weeks to get tested if they have any symptoms of Covid-19 at all, even the mildest of symptoms such as a runny nose or scratchy throat.

Bankstown (suburb)
Blue Mountains
Cumberland local government area (LGA)
City of Sydney (East) LGA (includes central Sydney and the suburbs Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Woolloomooloo, Potts Point, Rushcutters Bay, Elizabeth Bay, Centennial Park)
Fairfield LGA
Hunters Hill LGA
Liverpool LGA
Mt Druitt (suburb)
Parramatta LGA
Randwick LGA
Waverley LGA
Woollahra LGA
If you were at any of the following locations on these dates, monitor yourself for symptoms and self-isolate and get tested if symptoms occur.

Anytime Fitness, Casula: 10.15am to 12pm on Friday 11 September
Five Stars Thaitanic, Casula: 4.20pm to 5.20pm on Saturday 12 September
Clovelly Hotel, Clovelly: 12.45pm to 1.45pm on Saturday 5 September
KFC, Concord: 1pm to 1.20pm on 6 September
Croydon Park Pharmacy, Croydon Park: 1pm to 2pm on Thursday 3 September
KFC, Emerton: 12pm to 9.30pm on Monday 7 September
Hunters Hill Bowling Club, Hunters Hill: 6.50pm to 9pm on Tuesday 8 September
Katoomba Sports and Aquatic Centre, Katoomba: 11.30pm to 1.40pm on Friday 4 September
Lawson oval, Lawson: 10.30am to 12.45 pm on Sunday 13 September
The Railway Hotel, Liverpool: 10.00pm to 11.30pm on Friday 4 September
Fitness First, Maroubra: 8am to 12pm on Saturday 5 September
Aldi, North Strathfield: 10am to 10.30am on Tuesday 1 September
JB HIFI Penrith Plaza, Penrith: 4pm to 4.30pm on Sunday 13 September
Charles St Kitchen, Putney: 10.45am to 11.30am on Saturday 5 September
Rouse Hill Town Centre, Rouse Hill: 12.30pm to 1.30pm on Saturday 5 September
Stanhope Village Shopping Centre (including Kmart), Stanhope Gardens: 8.30am to 9.30am on Monday 7 September
Springwood Sports Club, Springwood: 1pm to 2pm on Saturday 12 September
Coles St Ives Shopping Centre, St Ives: 1pm to 2pm on Friday 28 August
Missing Spoon Cafe, Wahroonga: 4.45pm to 5.30pm on Saturday 5 September
Eastwood Netball Association, West Ryde: 12.15pm to 1.30pm on Saturday 5 September
China Doll Restaurant, Woolloomooloo: 6.30pm to 10pm on Thursday 3 September
If you travelled on any of the following public transport routes on these dates, monitor yourself for symptoms and self-isolate and get tested if symptoms occur.

Tuesday 8 September:

Bus route 316 Avoca St Randwick – Bondi Junction station, 8 September, 10.44am to 11.05am
Monday 7 September:

T1/T9 North Shore Line, between 9.17 to 9.29am from Milson’s Point to St Leonards
T1/T9 North Shore Line, between 9.53 to 10.14am from St Leonard’s to Milsons Point
Bus route 379 Bronte Beach – 11.08am to 11.24am Bondi Junction station
Bus route 316 Randwick – 10.44am to 11.05am Avoca Street, Randwick, to Bondi Junction Station

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/sydney/n ... d=msedgdhp


AGED CARE ISSUES
Tenison Residential Aged Care Swansea rejects claims of neglect after resident dies from infected feet
The son of a man who died from infected foot wounds has said he believed his father was neglected and abused, a claim denied by the nursing home where he lived.

After several knee operations, George Osgood lacked the lower leg strength needed to keep his feet on the footplates of the wheelchair he used in the Tenison Residential Aged Care Swansea facility, south of Newcastle.

It is run by Southern Cross Care NSW and ACT.

His son Steve Osgood said his father was in a lopsided chair and his feet were left to drag on the ground.

"This wheelchair was a relic that existed in the Tenison residence, the chair would be cantered over to one side," he said.

"The front of his feet were overlapping the front of the wheelchair … and they persisted in running over the ends of his feet wherever they went … across bitumen and tiles and carpet."

George Osgood died on November 2 last year, two days shy of his 89th birthday and after just 51 days in care.

The ABC obtained a copy of his death certificate that states he died from staphylococcus.

Audit showed wheelchairs unsafe
About seven weeks after George Osgood died, the aged care facility failed every industry standard when it underwent a routine audit by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC).

The nursing home met just six of 42 requirements, and because it had failings in every standard it was deemed non-compliant.

The home was one of less than a dozen in Australia to have failed all industry standards at the time it was audited in 2019.

Non-complying equipment included wheelchairs.

"Equipment at the service is not safe, suitable, clean or well maintained," the audit found.

"Several wheelchairs do not have footplates and some wheelchairs do not fit the consumer comfortably.

"It was unclear whether broken equipment … may have contributed to injuries to consumers."

The ABC has obtained diary entries included in the Osgood family submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, highlighting a series of concerns about the chair.

Southern Cross Care NSW and ACT said no complaints were ever made about Mr Osgood's chair.

"SCC is not aware of this issue and has no record of any complaints in relation to Mr Osgood's wheelchair," it said in a statement.

But the operator did acknowledge some chairs were unsafe.

"This matter was addressed with the purchase of new equipment, and improved maintenance and cleaning processes were put in place," the statement said.

Lawyer alleges lax staff training to blame
The Osgood family is being represented in a civil claim suit by Newcastle aged care lawyer Catherine Henry.

She said she was worried Mr Osgood's wounds were not given proper treatment.

"It is a horrible scenario that has been told by his son, who is advocating really strongly in the [aged care] royal commission," Ms Henry said.

Southern Cross Care NSW and ACT said it was not aware about specific issues relating to Mr Osgood's wound care.

But it noted it had increased training for staff and purchased additional equipment which has resulted in improved wound healing rates at Tenison Swansea.

"SCC has addressed all issues identified by the Commission relating to wound care … this includes improvements in wound consultancy, increased training for staff," the home said.

Whistleblower speaks, workers stood down
A former staffer at the home turned-whistleblower also spoke to the ABC on the condition of anonymity.

She worked there for several years prior to George's death and described a challenging workplace.

"They only had one cleaner, one cleaner to a 32-bed facility, and that cleaner had to do rooms and all the general areas," she said.

She also said incontinence pads were often not disposed of properly.

"They weren't wrapping or packaging them properly and so therefore the maggots were coming in from the outside into the kitchen," the former staffer said.

The home said it recognised there were previous issues with cleanliness at Tenison Swansea which it said had been addressed.

The ABC has confirmed there were two reports to Belmont police station about Mr Osgood's care on September 13 and October 25 last year.

The complaints related to alleged elder abuse, the first made about a staffer by the nursing home's manager.

The second was made by a social worker, and Mr Osgood's wife, while Mr Osgood was in hospital getting treatment for his foot wounds — a week before he died.

Southern Cross Care NSW and ACT said NSW Police did not consider that any further investigation was needed, but the home took its own action.

"The staff member involved in one of the reports [the first report] was stood down, investigated, and performance managed, and resigned from SCC in October 2019," the home said.

"The facility manager who was at the facility at the time of Mr Osgood's stay is no longer with SCC."

The home said over the past nine months it had implemented long-term improvements and would welcome a meeting with the family.

"SCC welcomes the chance to meet with Mr Osgood’s wider family in person to offer our apologies for the distress we now know they have experienced, and to discuss Mr Osgood's care at SCC Tenison Swansea in more detail," the home said.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

QUARANTINE BREACH

How a 53 yo mum , sneaked into RAAF airman's hotel quarantine room
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A 53-year-old woman admits it was a 'mistake' to sneak into an airman's quarantine hotel room after he gave her his number through the window.

The divorcee was caught in the 26-year-old RAAF member's room at the luxury Pier One hotel in Sydney at about 12.45am on Tuesday.

Daily Mail Australia understands the pair had been kissing in his room before the sound of a woman's voice aroused the suspicion of Defence Force guards.

'It was such a mistake, I didn't need to be there,' the woman told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday afternoon.

The tryst saw them both fined $1,000 for breaching coronavirus rules as the airman was in 14-day quarantine after returning from overseas deployment.

Witnesses said the woman, who was staying on the ground floor of the hotel - reserved for non-quarantined guests - was enjoying drinks with friends at Bar One, on the ground floor, on Monday night.

After knocking back five espresso martinis and two glasses of wine, she spotted the airman who was sipping a beer in his third-floor room.

She was seen 'dancing flirtatiously' to get his attention, and the airman held up a paper sign saying he was in quarantine.

He followed up with another sign with his phone number scrawled on it and after she texted him, told her how to get to his hotel floor.

ADF personnel in charge of security at the hotel failed to initially see the woman when she went to level three to enter the officer's room.

Police were called and both were issued fines, with the woman immediately kicked out of the hotel and sent back to her home in Hornsby, in Sydney's north.

On Tuesday, police said the airman had 'entertained' the woman in his room and she was told to get a coronavirus test then self-isolate.

However, the 53-year-old claimed she was not told she had to self-isolate and was awaiting written directions.

She said the airman tested negative and police would keep her informed of whether he developed any coronavirus symptoms.

The woman was not at her Hornsby home for much of the day on Wednesday, according to neighbours, and was driving her flash black car when Daily Mail Australia contacted her by phone.

'I am cooperating with the police and they're trying to keep me as safe as possible and what I should do. I'm going to do what I'm told,' she said.

The self-employed businesswoman said she was at Pier One, overlooking the Harbour Bridge, to unwind after working hard to organise a charity event.

She said the cancer charity fundraiser featured recipes by former My Kitchen Rules chef Manu Feidel.

'I had a big weekend cooking and preparing for the guests, so I was taking a break in a hotel room to rest after a three-week effort,' she said.

'My mother recently passed away from cancer and I'm always looking for compassionate ways to deal with my grief.

'Raising money for this cause gives me a reason to go on without her.'

Despite the airman's sign that he was in quarantine, the woman claimed she didn't know she was doing anything wrong by meeting him.

'I'm surprised that I was able to stay in a hotel that was being used for quarantine. It wasn't strictly defined as to what the restrictions were on other guests,' she said.

ADF personnel guarding quarantine hotels across Australia have been held in far greater regard than private security firms blamed for Victoria's outbreak.

However, questions are now being raised about their performance after failing to guard their own troops.

There was little visible ADF security seen at the hotel on Tuesday, but this was significantly beefed up on Wednesday after the news broke.

NSW Police statement in full
Two Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) have been issued after a serving member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) entertained a guest while undertaking mandatory quarantine in a Sydney hotel overnight.

ADF officers were conducting security at the hotel on Hickson Road, Sydney, about 12.45am (Tuesday 15 September 2020), when they heard a female voice in the room of a man, who is a serving member of the ADF undertaking mandatory hotel quarantine after recently returning from overseas deployment.

After the ADF officers conducted inquiries, the woman was escorted from the hotel’s quarantine area and police were contacted.

Officers from Sydney City Police Area Command attended the hotel, which is managed by the ADF, before speaking with the pair.

Following extensive inquiries, the 26-year-old man and 53-year-old woman, who was a guest staying at the hotel, were each issued $1000 PINs for fail to comply with noticed direction in relation to Section 7/8/9 - COVID19.

The woman was directed to check-out immediately and attend a COVID testing facility before self-isolating at her Hornsby home.

The man remains in hotel quarantine and the ADF are conducting further investigations.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

ILLEGAL PROTEST
Police shut down protest at Sydney University
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Police have shut down a protest at Sydney University yesterday as groups gathered in small numbers to protest education cutbacks and increased fees.

Protesters remained in small groups below 19 and were socially distanced.

A 34-year-old man was issued a $1000 fine for unlawful gathering after he was given several warnings to leave the area but did not comply.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

REPATRIATION QUOTA TO INCREASE 2X IN NSW (SYDNEY)
Berejiklian flags potentially increasing returned travellers cap by 500 pd
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has flagged the possibility of increasing the uptake of returned overseas travellers by 500 pd, which would see the state receive about 3000 repatriated Australians a week.

The federal government faced pressure to lift the 4000 person cap per week on returned travellers after it was revealed about 26,000 of 35,000 Australians currently overseas had expressed they wanted to return home.

The premier consulted with NSW Police – who were charged with running the state’s quarantine programs – and was given the green light to increase capacity.

Ms Berejiklian, however, said she would only go ahead with the move if the other states agreed to double their intake.

Queensland received about 500 returned travellers a week, while Western Australia received 525.

The issue will likely be on the agenda when national cabinet meets tomorrow,

The premier also announced the state was hotspot free and there was no longer any reason for state borders to be closed to NSW.

She welcomed the news that Queensland was revising down its border requirements with NSW from 28 days to 14 days of zero community transmission but said an issue as big as borders which affected so many people should not depend on a couple of cases.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

NOT ALL WELL IN UPPER HOUSE - BUT THE MUTINOUS DEPUTY PREMIER HAS SURVIVED HIS PARTY MEETING
'He has broken his promise': Barilaro survives, but faces new internal threats
Deputy Premier John Barilaro will face further attacks on his leadership from within his own government after refusing in Parliament to commit to keeping the Coalition intact.

Mr Barilaro reignited anger within the Liberals after he was repeatedly asked by Labor during question time on Wednesday to rule out further destabilising the Berejiklian government.

Tensions between the Liberals and the Nationals appeared to have eased on Tuesday following a week of infighting after Mr Barilaro withdrew his threat to move his MPs to the crossbench over a contested koala planning policy.

But in Parliament on Wednesday, Mr Barilaro refused to rule out threatening to quit the government again and also attacked Liberal Planning Minister Rob Stokes, accusing him of leaking against him.

"My guarantee is that I'll keep working each and every day for the people of rural and regional NSW, including the issues around the koala SEPP [State Environmental Planning Policy]," he said.

Mr Barilaro's comments came ahead of Labor's no-confidence motion against him. He survived the motion but no Liberals spoke in support of him, which a senior Liberal minister, who talked to the Herald on the condition of anonymity, said was a deliberate tactic to "send a message" to the Deputy Premier that they were still furious with his actions last week.

Several Nationals ministers, including Water Minister Melinda Pavey, Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall and deputy leader Paul Toole, backed Mr Barilaro.

"He's got an interesting style but he delivers for our communities," Ms Pavey said.

Mr Barilaro released a statement following the failed no-confidence motion saying the "government is strong", the Parliament has confidence in him and is he is "proud to have 100 per cent support".

But one Liberal minister, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, slammed Mr Barilaro, saying he was again threatening the government.

"On the day when all the Liberals supported him, he refused to rule out leaving the Coalition," the minister said.

Another senior Liberal minister, who also spoke on the condition they not be named, said: "A week ago he had his tail between his legs, promising he would never turn on the government again.

"Less than a week later, he has broken his promise. He never changes his spots."

A furious Mr Barilaro also attacked Mr Stokes, accusing him of leaking against him with correspondence from a major NSW property developer.

The Herald revealed on Wednesday that concerns raised by developer and former Newcastle mayor Jeff McCloy were the only stakeholder correspondence Mr Stokes received from Mr Barilaro.

Mr McCloy sent his concerns about the policy to Mr Barilaro's Monaro electorate office, which was then forwarded to his ministerial office and then on to Mr Stokes' office.

Mr Stokes' office confirmed it had not received any similar correspondence about an "individual farmer, timber company or peak industry body regarding the Koala SEPP" from Mr Barilaro.

Mr Barilaro's office did not provide a response to written questions about the correspondence, but in Parliament the Deputy Premier said Mr McCloy's letter was forwarded by a receptionist.

He said passing on the email did not constitute "representation" on behalf of Mr McCloy.

"That is actually my office doing the job because guess what, unfortunately for me, and maybe because I have reputation for delivery, people come to my office," Mr Barilaro said.

The Nationals say the policy aimed at protecting koala habitat in NSW would severely limit the way property owners could manage their land.

Before question time, Mr Barilaro and Ms Pavey met prominent Sydney property developer Harry Triguboff. Mr Barilaro said it was to discuss housing stock, not the koala policy.

"Have I talked to other property developers about the koala SEPP? Who knows, I don't think so," Mr Barilaro told Parliament.

Mr Barilaro backed down from his threat after Premier Gladys Berejiklian gave the Nationals an ultimatum, saying they could stay in government or give up their cabinet positions.

The pair later issued a joint statement last Friday saying the Coalition "remains in place".

The koala planning policy will likely be debated by cabinet at the next meeting on October 6.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

NORTH BORDER ISSUES
Berejiklian not impressed with new Queensland border criteria
Gladys Berejiklian has taken a jab at her Queensland counterpart after the state slightly relaxed targets New South Wales needs to hit before border restrictions are relaxed.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would reconsider a hard border closure with her southern neighbour if there were 14 days with no community transmission of coronavirus.

But Ms Berejiklian felt the reduction from 28 days was still unattainable after recording 10 new coronavirus cases in the state today.

"I'm relieved she has put the impossible benchmark down to a highly unlikely benchmark," the NSW premier said.

Ms Berejiklian said six of the ten cases were in hotel quarantine, with the remaining linked to known clusters.

A mystery case reported on yesterday has now also been linked to a source.

She also said there were nearly 20,000 tests done and asked people not to delay seeking a test if they are sick or if it is the weekend.
https://twitter.com/NSWHealth/status/13 ... 1998741504
"Thank you to everybody coming forward to get tested," she said.

Of the four locally acquired cases, three are linked to a staff member at Concord Hospital's emergency department, Dr Kerry Chant said.

These three cases are a student from the Blue Mountains Grammar School, a household contact who also goes to the school, and a close contact not at school.

Years 10, 11, and 12 are doing online learning until after the school holidays, Dr Chant said.

The fourth local case from today is a close contact of a previously confirmed case linked to the CBD cluster.

The person completed self-isolation prior to developing symptoms and had previously tested negative. Contact tracing is underway.

The state is seeking to expand crowd limits at sporting events ahead of the NRL finals.

9News understands the push is for stadiums to double their capacity from 25 per cent to 50 per cent full, meaning a crowd of 40,000 at ANZ Stadium.

The changes are set to kick in on October 1.

NSW will also take on an extra 500 returned travellers in hotel quarantine a week, on the condition that other states double their intake, Ms Berejiklian said.

The premier spoke with the prime minister this morning before consulting ministers and relevant authorities and agreed that the daily cap would be raised from 350 to 420 people.

"If the other states to agree to up their numbers then we will then also of course also accommodate that," she said.

"We don't want to see any Australians undertaking unnecessary heartache."

Ms Berejiklian has also confirmed restrictions in regional NSW will be relaxed later this week to fall in line with Victoria easing some of the rules.

"Because restrictions have been eased in regional Victoria, we are similarly doing that for our border communities to have consistency," Ms Berejiklian said.

NSW is increasing the number of towns included in the border community and has provided hundreds of permits for agriculture workers to move more freely.

"I understand the health minister is looking at these today and we should have those signed today or tomorrow," the premier said.

Ms Berejiklian again called on her Queensland counterpart to open the border given the low levels of community transmission in the state.

"If you look at any proposed definition of hotspot, technically there aren't any hotspots in NSW," she said.

"I'd be arguing there's no reason to keep the border closed today."

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

SOUTH BORDER CHANGES
Restrictions eased for border residents, hazard reduction burns postponed
NSW eases restrictions on border
Restrictions on the NSW/Victorian border will be eased from today to allow residents to move freely within the border region.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the changes follow the easing of restrictions in regional Victoria today.

Mr Hazzard said under the changes, the border region will be expanded to include some areas around Pleasant Hills, Lockhart, Benalla, Bright and Mount Beauty.

Residents of regional Victoria will no longer be obliged to comply with the stay-at-home directions while in NSW or be restricted to entering NSW for a "permitted purpose".

Too dangerous for hazard reduction burns
Hot and gusty conditions are expected across Sydney today prompting the Rural Fire Service (RFS) to postpone some planned hazard reduction burns across parts of the city.

Temperatures are likely to climb 10 degrees above the monthly average to around 30 degrees, and there will be strong north-westerly winds ahead of a southerly buster later in the day.

Ben Shepherd from the RFS says crews will monitor conditions and will finish yesterday's hazard reduction burns in the city's north west if it's safe to do so.

"There are some burns that were conducted in the Hills and Hornsby area which will continue to emit smoke, so people are still going to see smoke rising from those burns but ones over in the northern beaches have been postponed," he told the ABC.


Fires deliberately lit on South Coast
Police are investigating two fires which were deliberately lit in the Nowra area in the last two days.

On Tuesday RFS crews were called to Depot Road, West Nowra, to extinguish three grass fires.

On Wednesday another fire was extinguished behind the treatment works on Filter Road, West Nowra.

Initial inquiries suggest the fires were deliberately lit.

Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers.

Business lacking female leaders, report finds
The number of women running the country's top 200 publicly listed companies has dropped over the last four years, a new report has found.

The Chief Executive Women (CEW) ASX200 census looks at the number of women in senior leadership roles in the nation's top businesses.

It found there are only 10 ASX200 companies with a female CEO.

This is the lowest number since the census began in 2017, CEW president Sue Morphet says.

"Any movement in the positive direction throughout the census has shown a glacial change, but generally speaking it's flatlined, and in the key jobs of CEO and line roles it's gone backwards," she said.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

BORDER BREACH
COVID-19 border breach
A man has been charged after allegedly trying to illegally enter NSW from Victoria for the second time in only a few days.

The 26-year-old man was given a penalty infringement notice on the weekend for entering NSW without a permit.

He allegedly tried to cross again on Tuesday night in the back of a taxi, but was stopped by police at a border checkpoint on the Hume Highway at South Albury.

He was arrested and taken to Albury Police Station.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

NSW TO ALLOW 50% OF SEATS IN MEGA STADIUMS TO BE FILLED BUT EVERYONE MUST WARE A MASK WHILE THERE.
NSW Government allowing stadiums to host crowds up to 50% capacity from October 1
The NSW Government has announced that stadiums will be able to hold a crowd capacity of 50% from October 1, providing a major boost for the NRL Finals and Wallabies.

It was revealed by the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday that Premier Gladys Berejiklian was set to ease restrictions on live events, softening the 25% capacity limit which would ensure that up to 40,000 fans will be allowed into ANZ Stadium for the NRL Grand Final and the Rugby Championship.

This was confirmed by the Premier on Thursday, who stressed that the four-person per square metre rule will continue to be enforced, with fans expected to wear masks on their way to the stadium.

<< NOT GOOD ENOUGH - THEY SHOULD ALSO BE MADE MANDATORY WHILE AT THE STADIUM TOO a>>
“In many ways, a large venue, so long as it has tickets and seats and zones and very specific caveat is able to be a large and controlled event … especially if it is outdoors,” Berejiklian said.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for all people across NSW as we move into the Spring and Summer periods,” Minister for Jobs, Investment and Tourism Stuart Ayres added.

“Today’s announcement about allowing venues to go from 25% to 50% capacity is a reflection on the fantastic work that’s been done by the people of NSW in following the consistent recommendations that have come out.”

Ayres confirmed that the new cap on crowds would allow Bankwest Stadium to host 15,000 fans, the SCG 23,000 and ANZ Stadium up to 40,000 people.

He also reinforced the importance of social distancing whilst entering and exiting events, urging people to abide by the guidelines set out by the Government.

"It's absolutely important that people when they purchase a ticket, understand what the requirements are for entering the venue, the timeframes in which they arrive and how they would leave the venue, all of that information will be provided to them," he said.

"When a ticket sold the expectation is that you will meet the conditions of entry.

"If you're moving around the stadium and you don't have a mask on, you should expect the venue management will ask you to leave."

It comes after the NRL confirmed its venues and dates for this year's post-season State of Origin series, revealing that a decision on crowd numbers would be made by the end of this month.

New South Wales venues to increase to 50 per cent capacity
Image
New South Wales venues will see attendees double as their capacity is increased from 25 per cent to 50 per cent.

Jobs, Investment and Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres announced the change today, saying it was a “reflection of the fantastic work that has been done by the people of NSW in following consistently the health recommendations that have come out”.

He said data collected from smaller events held under COVID restrictions in previous months guided the government’s decision.

Under the new rules, Bankwest Stadium would be allowed 15,000 attendees, the SCG would be allowed to house 23,000, and ANZ Stadium would be allowed up to 40,000 attendees.

Mr Ayres said the one person per four square metre rule would still apply in indoor venues and attendees would be required to wear a face upon entry and as they made their way to their seats.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

Three major stadiums can now fill to 50 per cent of capacity
Image
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed large stadiums and venues across the state will soon be allowed to fill to 50 per cent capacity for one-off events.

People will be required to wear masks while moving in and out of the venue but not while they are seated.

"A large venue, so long as it has tickets and seats and zones, and very specific caveats, is able to be a managed and controlled event and especially given it's outdoors it also reduces the further risk," Ms Berejiklian said.

This means
Bankwest Stadium will be able to have 15,000 people,
the SCG can have up to 23,000
and ANZ Stadium – the likely host of the NRL Grand Final -- can have up to 40,000.

As part of their COVID-safe plans stadiums have set out "checkboard"' seating plans, Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said.

People who live together will be able to sit together, and sports fans will be seated in small groups.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the stadiums will be broken into zones and people cannot cross between them.

NSW Health is still in discussion with the operators of
Penrith Stadium,
McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle,
Olympic Park,
and WIN Stadium in Wollongong about how they can operate.

"Today's announcement starts on the 1st of October and we'll be working on those smaller venues between now and then," Mr Ayres said.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp


https://www.msn.com/en-au/sport/news/ns ... d=msedgdhp

HOTELS ARE EMPTY
Coronavirus has seen hotel occupancy rates plummet, and the solution may be close to home
The Hyatt Regency in Sydney is Australia's biggest hotel, but you wouldn't know it from the vacant foyer.

With travel bans causing business travel to plummet, most of its 892 rooms, as well as its large function rooms, have remained dormant since March.

"We had some events that were ready to happen in March and April, so yes we saw immediate impact when those borders closed," says the hotel's general manager, Jane Lyons.

Although the pandemic has transformed the way many people work, Lyons is optimistic that corporate travellers will return when they can.

"I don't think you can replace that emotional connection of getting together and we're definitely getting that feedback from our corporate clients."

Luring a new kind of guest
In the meantime, the hotel has had to innovate and target a new market.

"It's all about staycation," Lyons says. "We're used to going abroad and spending our holidays overseas, but I think we sometimes need to be reminded of how much Sydney has to offer.

"We've been targeting families, the bed and breakfast packages that traditionally hotels might have steered away from."

The Hyatt is not the only capital city hotel that is much quieter than usual.

Hotel occupancy data supplied to the ABC by industry analytics company STR shows that outside of Victoria, where accommodation remains heavily restricted, Sydney hotels are at the bottom of the pack.

At the start of September, hotel bookings in Sydney were down 64 per cent on the same time last year.

A two-speed recovery
Matthew Burke, STR's Australian manager, said when the pandemic first hit, the hotel industry saw occupancy rates decline by as much as 90 per cent.

"The capital cities and Sydney in particular, like other global gateway cities, have struggled," he says.

While leisure travel has resumed within the borders of most states, the decimation of business travel has upended usual accommodation patterns.

"Prior to COVID-19, capital cities were much busier than their regional peers," Burke says. "The opposite is being seen now."

And some regions are doing better than others.

Regional WA and Queensland see strongest demand
Southern and south-west Western Australia — including the Margaret River wine region and Albany on the south coast — have seen the biggest rebound so far.

In fact, hotels in the region are nearly 37 per cent busier on average than they were in 2019.

"You are seeing people want to get out and explore, and particularly as the weather starts to warm up [and] as people get confidence you will see an uplift, firstly to the regions," Burke says.

Western Australia and Queensland, both states that have held a tough border stance through the pandemic, dominate the top regions.

Albany hotel director Martin North says he was initially nervous about the Western Australian Government's hard border restrictions.

But he said when internal travel bans within the state lifted, business took off.

"Our July this year was certainly busier than the previous January … we weren't expecting it, we're a very seasonal town," he said.

"Normally July is one of our quieter months."

Like hotels in Sydney, Mr North's clientele has also changed.

"We're finding that the leisure market that is coming to the region at the moment are more families and more younger people.

"September is wildflower season in this part of the world, we're normally very, very busy with interstate and international tourists.

"Obviously we've got none of those at the moment, but the local market has certainly supported the region and we're finding that we're tracking almost where we were last year."

The Bundaberg, Capricorn, Fraser Coast and Gladstone regions in Queensland have all reported more hotel bookings than normal, as have the Goldfields-Esperance and Kimberley and Pilbara regions of Western Australia.

The pattern of increased travel to regional areas can also be seen in Australia's flight traffic data, supplied to the ABC by FlightAware.

The air corridor between Sydney and Melbourne is usually the busiest domestic route in the country, but now less than 7 per cent of the usual number of planes are traversing the cities.

In the first four weeks of August, the busiest route in the country was between Brisbane and Cairns.

But one group of travellers is yet to return
Hotels catering largely to corporate travellers might struggle for a while yet.

"Come the end of November, largely corporate travel starts to subside, so it may be into 2021 when we have the borders open that you'll start to see the impact of corporate travellers starting to come back," Burke says.

Australia's domestic borders will likely reopen well before international ports are again allowing entry to visitors.

That could cause problems for the upper end of the hotel market, targeting a market that no longer exists.

"Australia is building and opening a lot of new hotels which were geared to attracting that [international] market," he said.

"There have been a number of new hotels that have opened over the past two years and the peak of that construction boom happens this year and next year. There are a lot of luxury international [hotels] opening up in Sydney and Melbourne in particular."

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

TRYING TO CONVINCE AUSTRALIANS ITS SAFE TO FLY ( LONG DURATION FLIGHTS )
Qantas launches lockdown-busting $787 'boomerang flight' that takes in some of Australia's most stunning scenery in eye-opening low-level passes
Qantas' Great Southern Land flight will leave and return to Sydney on October 10
The flight will go over Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Byron Bay and Sydney Harbour
Qantas say the low-flying scenic flight will promote key Australian tourist zones
No passport or quarantine required, though Qantas recommend wearing masks

Qantas have planned a scenic joyride flight over several popular Australian tourists sites in a unique way to avoid lockdown border controls.

The Australian airline launched The Great Southern Land flight which is scheduled to leave from and return to Sydney Domestic Airport on October 10.

The boomerang flight will include low-level flybys over tourist destinations including the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Byron Bay and Sydney Harbour.

Up to 150 travellers can fit on the flight, with an economy seat costing $787.
Customers wishing to fly premium economy will pay $1,787 a ticket,
while those flying business class will be charged $3,787.

<< NOT GOING BE TO A CHEAP EXPERIENCE FOR ONE DAY OF SITESEEING >>
The airline said the trip is in response to strong demand from frequent flyers who miss the flying experience and to promote key Australian tourist attractions.

'While we may not be able to take you overseas right now, we can certainly provide inspiration for future trips to some of Australia's most beautiful destinations,' Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said.

Take off will be at 10.30am, with the flight heading north over New South Wales into Queensland before turning west to the Northern Territory then returning for sunset over Bondi Beach.

The seven hour journey will be on a Boeing 787-9 painted with Indigenous livery, which has the biggest windows on any passenger aircraft.


Qantas launches lockdown-busting $787 'boomerang flight' that takes in some of Australia's most stunning scenery in eye-opening low-level passes
Qantas' Great Southern Land flight will leave and return to Sydney on October 10
The flight will go over Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Byron Bay and Sydney Harbour
Qantas say the low-flying scenic flight will promote key Australian tourist zones
No passport or quarantine required, though Qantas recommend wearing masks


Qantas have planned a scenic joyride flight over several popular Australian tourists sites in a unique way to avoid lockdown border controls.

The Australian airline launched The Great Southern Land flight which is scheduled to leave from and return to Sydney Domestic Airport on October 10.

The boomerang flight will include low-level flybys over tourist destinations including the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Byron Bay and Sydney Harbour.

Up to 150 travellers can fit on the flight, with an economy seat costing $787.

Customers wishing to fly premium economy will pay $1,787 a ticket, while those flying business class will be charged $3,787.

The airline said the trip is in response to strong demand from frequent flyers who miss the flying experience and to promote key Australian tourist attractions.

'While we may not be able to take you overseas right now, we can certainly provide inspiration for future trips to some of Australia's most beautiful destinations,' Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said.


Take off will be at 10.30am, with the flight heading north over New South Wales into Queensland before turning west to the Northern Territory then returning for sunset over Bondi Beach.

The seven hour journey will be on a Boeing 787-9 painted with Indigenous livery, which has the biggest windows on any passenger aircraft.



Qantas recommend passengers wear a face mask for the journey, though passengers will not be able to exit the flight to sample the tourist attractions in person. Pictured: a swimmer on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland +5
Qantas recommend passengers wear a face mask for the journey, though passengers will not be able to exit the flight to sample the tourist attractions in person. Pictured: a swimmer on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland

Passengers will eat from a food menu designed by Neil Perry with live entertainment from a celebrity MC and be given Qantas pyjamas, a gift bag and the chance to buy Boeing 747 memorabilia after the aircraft was recently retired from Qantas' fleet.

No passport or quarantine is required for the journey, though Qantas strongly recommend all passengers wear a face mask while onboard the flight.

'Australia is a great land and home to unique wonders like Uluru and the Whitsundays, so we know that it will be truly special to experience this beautiful country from the comfort and freedom of the sky,' Mr Joyce said.

'This flight, and possibly more like it, means work for our people, who are more enthusiastic than anyone to see aircraft back in the sky.'

The Great Southern Land flight went on sale at midday on Thursday and sold out in just ten minutes.

'It’s probably the fastest selling flight in Qantas history,' a Qantas spokesperson said.

'People clearly miss travel and the experience of flying. If the demand is there, we’ll definitely look at doing more of these scenic flights while we all wait for borders to open.'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... enery.html
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Sep 17, 2020 9:22 am

17 SEPT QLD

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk cleared of coronavirus after losing voice as the state records one new case of COVID-19 overnight
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been cleared of COVID-19 after losing her voice, as her second-in-charge calls out the Prime Minister for trying to tear down her Government ahead of the election.

Premier gets tested for COVID-19 after her voice turns hoarse
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has tested negative for COVID-19 after her office denied she was being tested in the first place.

Questions about the Premier's health were raised after she complained of a croaky voice during an online debate on Monday night.

Ms Palaszczuk then travelled to Mackay to attend a funeral on Tuesday before visiting Bundaberg on Wednesday.


Her voice was hoarse on Wednesday and she did not front the media on Thursday morning.
When questioned on Wednesday and on Thursday morning if the Premier would be, or had been, swabbed for COVID-19, her office told Brisbane Times on Thursday morning that she had not.

A spokesman for the Premier said she had strained her voice after a full sitting of Parliament last week and a number of engagements, but it was not a sore throat.

Treasurer Cameron Dick later confirmed she had been tested.

Ms Palaszczuk was tested for the virus on Wednesday night, but her staff were not informed until later on Thursday, after they had already spoken with Brisbane Times.

"The Premier lost her voice, I can advise you that she had a COVID test, that came back negative," Mr Dick said.

"So she has done the right thing, she has listened to the health advice, she has obeyed the science and the science that informs the health advice and that is the appropriate thing for Queenslanders to do."

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/brisbane ... d=msedgdhp

Ms Palaszczuk had a noticeably croaky voice when she spoke to media yesterday and did not make any public appearances today.

While her Deputy Premier refused to comment on her health this morning, Treasurer Cameron Dick confirmed this afternoon that Ms Palaszczuk was in fact tested for COVID-19, and the result had come back negative.

"She's done the right thing, she's listened to the health advice, she's obeyed the science and the science that informs the health advice," Mr Dick said.

It comes as the state recorded one new coronavirus case in the past 24 hours — a male health care worker in his 60s, linked to the cluster at Ipswich Hospital, west of Brisbane.

"There is no risk of community transmission from that particular case, and that's precisely what we want to see here on in," Health Minister Steven Miles said.

He said a drop in testing rates had since rebounded with more than 11,000 tests conducted state-wide in the last 24 hours.

Mr Miles came to the defence of Ms Palaszczuk this morning after the Prime Minister made another dig at Queensland's border restrictions, this time over whether he would be allowed into the state to watch the AFL Grand Final.

Mr Miles said Mr Morrison was ignoring health advice to deliberately and unfairly criticise Queensland's border restrictions.

"There's very similar restrictions in place in pretty much every state," he said.

"Why Scott Morrison is so fixated on Queensland, so determined to tear down our Premier — you'd have to ask him that.

"But I understand that from the reports, that it was deliberate strategy concocted by the Prime Minister's office, a strategy developed by him and by them, and one that was then directed to Deb Frecklington and one that she has been carrying out along with Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton."

Mr Miles said the Prime Minister would not be getting any special treatment if he wanted to watch the AFL.

"Scott Morrison has been pretty clear that nobody should get special treatment," Mr Miles said.

"He said that over and over again.

"So I'm very sure that he'd understand — he would not himself ask for special treatment.

'I'm the same as everyone else'
Speaking on Nova this morning, Mr Morrison was asked if he would be required to pay $2,800 to quarantine for a fortnight if he wanted to watch the Grand Final in Brisbane.

"Well I'm the same as anyone else, that's what everyone has to do when they go to Queensland," he said.

"No you're not, you're the Prime Minister!" radio presenter Wippa replied.

"Well I don't think there should be double standards," Mr Morrison said.

"I mean it's not like I'm a Hollywood movie star or run the AFL or anything."

The comment comes after the Australian Border Force granted US actor Tom Hanks a quarantine exemption earlier this month.

Hans and his wife tested positive for coronavirus in March.

Mr Morrison said he hoped borders would be open in all states and territories by Christmas.

"I mean there's a lot of talk in Queensland at the moment with the election on so I sort of take that for what it is, but I think we will make progress toward that," he said.

PM 'rejects' expert advice
Mr Miles said the criteria used by Queensland authorities in deciding hotspots and restricted locations was that of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).

He said the Government was considering health advice on whether to allow those living in the ACT to enter Queensland.

Mr Miles said they would be looking for 28 days of no community transmission outside of quarantine.

"We will look at the feasibility of the ACT given their long period of no transmission, but that's challenging given they're enveloped by New South Wales.

"Each day there are cases in New South Wales that aren't in quarantine."

Mr Miles said the Government was monitoring the daily outbreaks in other states closely.

"We want to see those borders open up just as soon as it's safe to do so," he said.

He accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of rejecting the AHPPC's advice in attempting to design a separate definition of a hotspot.

"If you're going to have experts, then you have to at least consider their advice," Mr Miles said.

"You can't reject their advice before it even gets considered by national cabinet, which appears to be what Scott Morrison has done here."

Twenty-seven active cases remain across Queensland.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/brisbane ... d=msedgdhp

Queensland Covid-19 hotspots: list of Brisbane and south-east Qld outbreak locations
Hotspot locations
All passengers sitting in rows 25 to 29 on flight VA962 from Brisbane to Sydney on 17 August must isolate immediately for 14 days. If they develop symptoms they must get tested.

All other passengers on board the flight should monitor for symptoms.

Public health officials will be also contacting all those who dined at the Jam Pantry cafe in Greenslopes on 16 August between 9.45am and 11am.

Those who attended the cafe outside those hours should monitor for symptoms.

Potential hotspot locations
According to the Queensland government, everyone who attended these locations during the listed time should monitor for Covid symptoms and immediately get tested if they develop.

8 September

Hungry Jack’s Town Square Redbank Plains Shopping Centre, Redbank Plains: 8pm to 1am
7 September

St Edmund’s College, Ipswich: morning to afternoon
4 September

Super IGA Supermarket, Russell Island: 8.00am-8.30am
Coles, Karalee: 9.30am-10.15am
Ipswich Garden Centre, Raceview: 12.30pm-1.30pm
Westfield Garden City - Pandora, Mount Gravatt: 11.20am to 11.31am
Westfield Garden City - Taylormade Memorabilia, Mount Gravatt: 11.45am to 11.59am
Advertisement
3 September

Super IGA Supermarket, Russell Island: 12.00pm-2.00pm
2 September

Russell Island Pharmacy, Russell Island: morning
Orion Springfield Central shopping centre – Big W, Springfield Central: 12.33pm to 12.42pm
Orion Springfield Central shopping centre – City Beach, Springfield Central: 12.42pm to 12.59pm
Orion Springfield Central shopping centre – Woolworths, Springfield Central: 1:02pm to 1.13pm
Orion Springfield Central shopping centre – Stacks Discount Variety, Springfield Central: 1.14pm to 1.19pm
Orion Springfield Central shopping centre – Peter McMahon’s Swim Factory, Springfield Central: 4pm to 4.30pm
1 September

Canaipa Nursery & Tea Centre, Russell Island: 12.00pm-12.30pm
Super IGA Supermarket, Russell Island: 12.40pm-12.50pm
Passenger Ferry: Russell Island to Redland Bay: 1.30pm-2.10pm
Passenger Ferry: Redland Bay to Russell Island: 4.00pm-4.30pm
31 August

Woolworths, Yamanto: 11am to 11.15am
Country Market, Yamanto: 11.20am to 11.40am
Priceline, Yamanto: 11.40am to 11.45am

Image
QLD HOTSPOTS 17 SEPT

Image
SE QLD HOTSPOTS 17 SEPT


https://www.theguardian.com/australia-n ... -locations
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Sep 17, 2020 9:55 am

17 SEPT QLD PART2 ( GETTING ACCESS DENIED AGAIN )

NO ONE FEELS SAFE ON TRAINS IN QLD
Queensland commuters stay away from trains despite low coronavirus case numbers
New statistics show people in South-East Queensland are still avoiding public transport, despite the state recording low coronavirus cases in recent weeks.

Numbers released by Transport Minister Mark Bailey show train lines were up to 90 per cent empty in August, even at peak daily travel times.

He said 105 extra train services were added to support essential workers and promote social distancing on trains, contributing to the spare capacity.

The busiest service, the Springfield line, still had 38 per cent of its seats empty during peak travel hours.

The estimated spare seated capacity during peak and off-peak times was:
Image
'People think it's responsible for them not to use public transport'
However, University of Queensland psychology professor Alex Haslam, who studies human behaviour in a social context, said many people were avoiding public transport out of a sense of social responsibility.

"People think it's responsible for them not to use public transport," Professor Haslam said.

"They don't want to be responsible for transmitting [coronavirus] and they don't want to be creating risk for other members of their family if they were to contract the virus on the way to work.

"People recognise it's generally safe, but they have a sense that, 'If I don't need to do it, I won't'."

Professor Haslam said people were out of the habit of the daily commute as many were working from home.

"In the pandemic a lot of those habits were broken, and people have formed alternative habits."

He said people had turned to other modes of transport, such as cycling or driving, and could retain those even in a post-pandemic world.

"There's a constellation of factors that have made it a perfect storm for people's reluctance to use public transport," he said.

'Community leadership' needed to get people back on public transport
Professor Haslam warned the declining demand for public transport could mean the service takes a cut.

"The situation at the moment must be a bit of a nightmare, because it's costing a fortune to run trains and with nobody on them, you're not raising any revenue," he said.

"Public transport is a critical part of Brisbane's infrastructure and it would be tragic if we lost it through lack of use."

He said it would take leadership from within the community to encourage people back onto trains.

"[Humans] are group-based animals, so our behaviour is very much structured by what is perceived to be appropriate for the groups that we're members of.

"We look to members of our group to tell us what is the right thing to do in this situation."

Professor Haslam said more information about the safety of public transport during the pandemic could reassure people into riding trains again.


https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/brisbane ... d=msedgdhp

Gathering restrictions eased in parts of Queensland
Queensland residents living on the Gold Coast or in Darling Downs are allowed to gather in groups of up to 30 this morning as the state eases some restrictions.

Hospitals and aged care facilities will also see a return of visitors, while the state government indicated there could be movement around the border by the end of the month.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed she was eager to discuss possibly opening up the borders to ACT residents.

Her primary concern, however, was finding a way for Canberrans to prove they had not visited New South Wales recently.

The Prime Minister will also not be joining Queensland’s Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington on the campaign trail ahead of the October 31 election unless he was prepared to quarantine for 14 days


QLD Premier defends spending taxpayer money for opinion on COVID-19 response
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has defended spending half a million dollars of taxpayer money to test public reaction to the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms Palaszczuk said critics needed to "take a cold shower", claiming that every other state and the federal government engaged in the same practice.

Health Minister Steven Miles said it was a "relatively small investment" to make sure the government was doing right by the people of Queensland.

But the LNP slammed the revelation, targeting Ms Palaszczuk as well over the border restrictions.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington claimed that as premier she would listen to health advice, but ultimately the decision would rest with her as leader.

Failed Billionaire businessman & politican & person party leader Clive Palmer has paid for full-page advertisements attacking Ms Palaszczuk and chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young – who recently required police protection following death threats.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/brisbane ... d=msedgdhp

Man charged with making death threats to Queensland Premier and Chief Health Officer
A Gold Coast man has been charged over threats to kill Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young.

Police searched a home at Nerang on Wednesday night and arrested and charged a 43-year-old man.

He has been charged with one count of using a carriage service to make a threat to kill.

The man has not been held in custody, but has been issued with a Notice To Appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on October 7.

On Monday, Queensland police confirmed they had been concerned for the Chief Health Officer's safety.

"Where there is information that gives us concern for the wellbeing of anyone we will take action — either they will come to us or we will go to them and give them advice on their safety," Detective Superintendent Tony Fleming said.

"My understanding is police have engaged with the CHO and given her some advice."

Dr Young compared the threats to the hardships people had suffered during the pandemic.

"It has taken an enormous toll on me but then, this has taken an enormous toll on nearly every single person in our community.

"Of course it is tough, but as I say, this is tough for an enormous number of people."

Dr Young said she appreciated having the support off the Government and police.

"[It] has made me feel much, much safer doing what I need to do," she said.

Dr Young has been under sustained pressure from the Opposition and Federal Government over the state's restrictions to allow people into Queensland on compassionate grounds.

On Monday, Ms Palaszczuk backed her CHO, saying she was prepared to risk losing the election if it meant following the advice of Dr Young.

She described Dr Young as one of the most professional women she had ever worked with.

"Her advice has kept Queenslanders safe," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"Now if it means I have to lose the election, I will risk all that if it means keeping Queenslanders safe.

"For some reason, Queensland seems to be singled out when Tasmania and Western Australia have similar restrictions.

"I think it is not right that a public servant of her high standing — and she is regarded as one of the best in the nation — be attacked for giving her clear advice."

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/brisbane ... d=msedgdhp

PM prepared to quarantine for Qld election
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is prepared to go into 14-day hotel quarantine if he travels to Queensland during the state election campaign.

All travellers from NSW, the ACT and Victoria must go into quarantine upon arrival in the state under the government's strict COVID-19 rules.

This means federal politicians, including the prime minister and opposition leader, will have to comply if they decide to campaign in Queensland ahead of the October 31 election.

While Mr Morrison might not have time to get on the hustings, with the federal budget due on October 6 and a parliamentary sitting, he's prepared to undergo quarantine.

"Whether I was ever going to get to Queensland anyway was a sort of secondary issue. I have a federal responsibility," the prime minister told Seven's Sunrise program on Thursday.

"But I should be subject to the same rules like everybody else. I don't think there should be double standards about these things. I think the same rules should apply."

But the prime minister may not need to quarantine after the Queensland government indicated on Wednesday border restrictions with the ACT and NSW could be eased at the end of this month.

Mr Morrison again called on the Queensland government to implement a fairer quarantine exemption system.

"We have to deal with the virus, not let the virus destroy the way we live," he said.

Compassionate quarantine exemptions have become a potent issue in the run-up to the state election.

The LNP has branded Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk "heartless", while the government has accused the opposition of using family tragedies for political gain.

Last week, a case involving a quarantining Canberra woman who was denied permission to attend her father's funeral rose to national prominence after Mr Morrison tried to intervene.

The woman was eventually allowed to view her father's body in private after the funeral, while dressed in full personal protective equipment.

The woman's step-sister later wrote an open letter criticising Mr Morrison's involvement, saying he had whipped up a "media storm" to further his "political agenda".

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

LACK OF SERVICES IN BUSH MADE WORSE BY COVID RESTRICTIONS

Rural town left cashless after only ATM vandalised
A rural town in Queensland west has been left cashless after their only ATM was vandalised and the money stolen.

Located 1406km from Brisbane and with a population of just 350 people, Alpha relies on small businesses and markets, many of which need cash to function.

The town has limited digital connectivity and no NBN, making hard cash an even more important resource.
"When there's a community event of a Saturday market it's going to prove challenging," Mayor of Barcaldine Sean Dillan told 4BC.

"We were looking to make sure that the town had access to cash so that small businesses weren't carrying too much cash.

"We also operate the town's only bank … the post office also has regular banking services available but it's also nine to five so to expect our little private postal service to carry the cash is a big ask for a small business."


The few shops in the town, like the local post office and service station, offer EFTPOS but most stores only operate between 9am – 5pm.

"We have to wait for a police investigations to finish so we can remove the damaged ATM and install a new one," Mr Dillan said.

Mr Dillan said Alpha's ATM is the second to be stolen in the area in the last month.

"There's obviously a pattern emerging of criminal behaviour in our area," he said.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/brisbane ... d=msedgdhp

FIFO doctors relocate to Mount Isa, outback Queensland for remote lifestyle amid COVID-19 restrictions
Border closures have brought an unexpected bonus for remote areas of Queensland with fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) medics opting for a permanent outback escape.

After years of struggling to attract doctors to settle in regional communities, COVID-19 restrictions have convinced some professionals to embrace country practice.

The acting chief executive of North West Hospital and Health Service (NWHHS), Karen Murphy, said before the pandemic hit a third of the health service's 87-strong clinical workforce flew in from interstate or overseas.

Since then, eight doctors have relocated to Queensland including two to Mount Isa.

"We have been so fortunate though that some of our doctors have moved permanently, or long-term stay, to Queensland," Dr Murphy said.

Making the move from NZ
Paediatrician Viliame Sotutu now calls Mount Isa home after travelling back and forth from New Zealand for the past two years.

"I came out earlier this year [in January] , but didn't get to go back to New Zealand because of COVID," he said.

"COVID has helped solidify the need to stick here."

Dr Sotutu, who relocated with his wife, said the pandemic forced him to make a tough decision.

"We miss our family and that is the big difficulty, but apart from that this is a great place," he said.

"I have actually been confessing to people that this is the best job I could have as a paediatrician.

"The work is interesting, it's very important, and there is an opportunity to make a difference here."

Border closure headache
Regional and remote centres have long struggled to attract healthcare professionals.

Dr Murphy said Queensland's tough border restrictions to control COVID-19 outbreaks initially heightened concerns that positions would be left unfilled in the health service.

"Every hospital in Queensland is struggling to attract and source doctors from out of state," she said.

"[During the pandemic] the biggest challenge has been getting enough clinical staff and it mainly has been doctors and some nurses."

Dr Murphy hoped the forced changes to staffing arrangements would be a silver lining to the pandemic, with less reliance on a FIFO workforce.

"We will always need that type of staff member when it comes to the very, very remote areas of the north-west," she said.

"But I think it gives us an opportunity for us to start showcasing who we really are up here and what there is to do.

"As hard as it is to get a positive [outcome] out of the past seven months, things like this give you hope."

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys
BD.org Sicko
 
Posts: 12449
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:18 am

17 SEPT SA

South Australia marks worst unemployment in the country
South Australia has recorded the worst unemployment rate in the country, holding steady at 7.9 % for August.

That's as the national unemployment rate dropped, even amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Premier Steven Marshall sought to emphasise the positives today.

"We're only just below where we were at the beginning of the year, so in many ways South Australia is doing extraordinarily well," he said.

The Labor opposition said more needed to be done, claiming the government had the smallest stimulus in terms of percentage of the economy of any state in the country.

"We've already announced $2 billion worth of stimulus and support, 90 per cent will be expended by the end of this current financial year," Mr Marshall said.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

South Australian pubs push for stand-up drinking as border rules ease
Pubs and bars in South Australia are pushing for restrictions to be lifted after the state's border controls were eased again – but they may be fighting a losing battle.

With punters still only allowed to attend sit-down drinks, many venues can only fill to half their capacity under COVID-19 regulations.

The Highway Hotel in Plympton is one place the rules are slowing business down.

"Just isn't quite the right feel," manager Darren told 9News.

"People come, have dinner, and they're off home."

South Australia opened its borders to the ACT today, and the state only remains restricted to those from Victoria and NSW.

SA has gone five months since its last locally acquired case without a known source.

And the hotels association is warning things could get even tougher when JobKeeper payments change at the end of the month.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens has made it clear the rules aren't going anywhere.

"That's still identified as a high-risk activity by our health experts and it's hopeful that by eliminating some of those high-risk activities we can allow other things to occur," he said.

Premier Steven Marshall said he believed the federal government had got the "balance right" on JobKeeper.

But industry fears remain.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp


17 SEPT WA
WA Premier Mark McGowan wants Canberra to stop bossing him around on international arrivals
The WA Premier and the Prime Minister remain at loggerheads over plans to increase international arrivals to the state, with Mark McGowan saying state and territory leaders "are not children for [Canberra] to boss around".

The Federal Government has written to the leaders of states and territories, asking them to boost hotel quarantine capacity, to allow more Australians stuck overseas to return home.

Despite not yet having an agreement from states including WA, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stated the number of people allowed into Australia each week will increase by 2,000 next Friday.

Speaking on Channel Nine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said WA would be well supported by the ADF personnel already in WA to allow for an additional 500 arrivals per week.

"In Western Australia there will be about one ADF officer for every ten people who come in and that's just with the ADF they have got now," he said.

"I think that decision has been made, that starts Friday week."

He said under the Federal Government's plan, people would go through normal hotel quarantine arrangements.

"This is going to let West Australians come home to Western Australia, Queenslanders come home to Queensland," he said.

[CHART WA cases AND recoveries] (CHECK IT HAS BEEN UPDATED)
Stop bossing us around: McGowan
But Mr McGowan said he felt "ambushed" by the Commonwealth's request after finding out about it through a journalist at a media conference on Wednesday.

He said any additional intake into WA would require significantly increased Commonwealth support.

"The ADF should be helping us, the Australian Border Force should be helping us, the Australian Federal Police should be helping us to manage all of these things," he said.

"It is actually the Commonwealth's responsibility so, you know, they seem to be ignoring the law.

"The Constitution, Section 51 , says quarantine is a responsibility of the Commonwealth, immigration and foreign affairs the Commonwealth. I have not interfered in foreign affairs. I mean they need to take responsibility for the things that are their responsibility."

A Defence spokesperson said there were 160 Defence personnel currently in WA undertaking "planning support and quarantine assistance" including compliance at six hotels.

"Since early September, the ADF has agreed to provide up to 90 personnel to support WA health with hotel quarantine compliance," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"There has been no request from WA authorities for additional personnel to assist with hotel quarantine compliance at this time.

"Defence continues to work closely with the Western Australian State Health Incident Control Centre in its quarantine compliance measures and stands ready to provide further assistance, as required."

Mr McGowan was unhappy that the discussion about international arrivals was playing out in the media ahead of the National Cabinet meeting on Friday.

"Bossing people around, basically saying they are just going to fly people in and dump them on our doorstep is not the way to conduct these matters," Mr McGowan said.

"I have been in Parliament the longest of any of the Premiers and the Prime Minister by a long way and I have not seen the Commonwealth act this way.

"All I would say to the Commonwealth Government is they have to work with us on what the solution is here."

WA Health Minister Roger Cook on Wednesday said the requested increase would stretch the state's hotel quarantine system dramatically.

"It would mean that the standard that we required at our hotels to ensure we keep Western Australians safe will struggle to be met, so this is a really dangerous act by the Commonwealth," he said.

Mr McGowan said he would consider lifting WA's cap of 525 people per week if the Commonwealth allowed the arrivals to be quarantined in federally-run army bases or detention centres, something the Federal Government quickly rejected.

Mr McGowan has also flagged the possibility of reopening Rottnest Island as a quarantine facility.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

17 SEPT NT
GROWING JOBS IN THE NT COVID RECOVERY
Project Sea Dragon managers confident major prawn farm will go ahead despite coronavirus delays
Image
Yes folks , those are NT prawns , not lobsters ! Ordinarily you only see them in expensive restraunts and 5* resort hotels in the southern and eastern states , as they go on jets straight to Singapore, Japan and China.

The future of a planned $2 billion mega-prawn farm in northern Australia looks set to be decided by the end of the year, with its directors counting the cost of "tough" coronavirus and financial setbacks.

The ambitious aquaculture development, Project Sea Dragon, has been touted by government leaders as a game-changing booster for the Northern Territory's ailing economy, but works have all but stalled.

Stuck in lockdown in Melbourne, the managing director of Seafarms Group, Chris Mitchell, said despite the delays he was "very optimistic" the project could still go ahead.

"We wouldn't still be pursuing the project if we didn't have every expectation of success," Mr Mitchell said.

"We're aiming to be able to reach an investment decision this year.

"We're very clear about what the project requires, how it will need to roll out, and it needs to have all of that in place to go."

Mr Mitchell had previously said he expected the finances to be locked in by the end of 2017.

Taxpayers spend $50 million on roads for project
Nearly $50 million in Territory taxpayer funds has already been spent on the cross-state prawn farm plan, figures show, before proof the project will come to fruition.

Much of that has been spent on sealing two roads for the project — Gunn Point Road in rural Darwin and Keep River Plains Road, near the Territory's northern border to WA.

NT Infrastructure Minister Eva Lawler defended the expenditure, despite the roads leading to areas with very little existing industry or residential developments.

"It isn't around just Seafarms or one project, it is about rolling out roads across the Territory," Ms Lawler said.

The WA Government has also taken a leap of faith with the project, announcing earlier this month it will spend more than $18 million to connect an unsealed stretch of road in the East Kimberley to the NT.

The WA Government said sealing the road would have "benefits for the Project Sea Dragon black tiger prawn aquaculture project" among other uses.

Contractors yet to see tenders honoured
Construction on Project Sea Dragon, which would span across four sites in the NT and Western Australia, was meant to be well underway by 2020, but tender-winning contractors told the ABC they were still waiting for the company to give them a green light work could proceed.

Some preparatory work was done at Bynoe Harbour last year, but since then contractors said it had all dried up.

Allan King of NT construction firm Allan King and Sons said his business had been granted an earthworks contract with Project Sea Dragon which remained up in the air.

"We won the tender last year, now we're just waiting for them to come through," Mr King said.

Seafarms' Mr Mitchell said the company was trying to deliver "more confidence to contractors" around the promised work.

He said the project had been hit by delays caused by coronavirus-related border restrictions.

Seafarms move on from NAIF loan hopes
In June, NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner revealed Seafarms had failed to secure a loan from the federal government-funded North Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), which he described as "very frustrating".

When asked if losing the NAIF pathway for finances was a blow to the project, Mr Mitchell said: "There's no use thinking about what could've been otherwise."

"Our company's objective is to build Project Sea Dragon, so we will pursue all ways to do that and to bring the financing together," he said.

"It's been tough … not just the financing — it's the project development as a whole."

Despite the project's setbacks, share prices for the ASX-listed company have this month reached their highest point since a record peak in 2018.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/money/markets ... d=msedgdhp

The NT Government says 'coronavirus refugees' are heading to the Territory. Will they fix its shrinking population?
When coronavirus was first taking hold in Australia, two paths unfolded before Melbourne-based artist Anna McDermott.

The looming pandemic had begun to play havoc with everyday life; her workplace — an inner-city bar — would soon be shuttered, and she had just moved back in with her parents, so a long period of confinement with them seemed increasingly certain.

The other path would deliver her to a sunny but much less certain future.

"Uni was going online and I had a little meltdown about it all to one of my teachers," Ms McDermott said as she watched the sun set on Darwin's leafy Nightcliff foreshore.

"I mentioned that a friend of mine had just moved up to Darwin and she said, 'Go to Darwin.'"

"Then I was here four days later — pretty impulsively — on the last flight before borders closed.

"I got in just in the nick of time."

Ms McDermott is what Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner has called a "coronavirus refugee": someone who has crossed the gulf in Australia's COVID-19 freedoms, swapping life in locked-down southern cities for the coronavirus-free NT.

Sporting organisations, nightclubs and high-risk businesses such as beauty salons reopened their doors in the NT in early June. There have been just four new diagnoses — for a total caseload of 34 — in the months since.

The jurisdiction has now reached a key milestone for a second time: the eradication of coronavirus in clinical terms.

There is no hard data to support the theory that people are fleeing north.

But a government spokeswoman said more than 220 people had listed relocation as their purpose of travel to the NT on border declaration forms since late August.

"We are the safest place in Australia, and the rest of Australia knows it," a spokesman for Mr Gunner said.

'We have great weather, great people and no coronavirus.

"It's publicity you can't buy."

An unlikely solution to a shrinking population?
Demographers are already asking whether coronavirus freedoms will become a significant driver of population growth.

The NT's main revenue source, its share of the GST, is relative to its population.

But the territory is also Australia's only jurisdiction where the population is going declining. It has shrunk year-on-year every quarter since June 2018.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the largest driver of that change is net interstate migration loss — in other words, more people are relocating interstate than are coming in.

Last year, in a bid to better understand why, Charles Darwin University (CDU) demographers Fiona Shalley and Sigurd Dyrting polled more than 5,000 past and current NT residents in the largest survey of the NT's population.

The survey found, among other things, that career opportunities lured people both in and out of the NT, but people's intention to stay increased with age and key life events such as home ownership. Retention also increased after two years.

Then the pandemic hit.

"All of the things that we knew in the past were turned upside down as people were locked down," Ms Shalley said.

"They couldn't migrate, they were stuck in place.

"Other things start to influence people's decisions, like where they're at in their life, what they value, what amenities are going to be available to them, whether they really are going to move back to be part of their family.

"And people are weighing up: Will my situation at the place I'm going to make me better off than where I am at the moment? It's complex."

Ms Shalley is also aware of the growing interstate perception the NT is a coronavirus safe haven.

But she said whether that perception was boosting the jurisdiction's stagnant population remained to be seen.

"Those perceptions are driven by anecdotes, but it's amazing how perceptions can influence changing behaviours," she said.

"Whether those people are actually going to stay here, we don't know. That's our issue."

'They're unable to return'
One thing that is certain is overseas migration — which demographers say traditionally stabilises the NT's volatile population — has dried up amid the international travel ban.

Stories of prospective migrants being blocked by the international travel ban have been filtering through Darwin's migrant networks and landing on the desk of Edwin Joseph, who offers support and referrals as president of the Multicultural Association of the NT.

People who were approved for visas had been unable to migrate to Australia, he said, while existing holders who were overseas when the ban came in had been left in limbo.

"They have jobs, they have visas, but they're unable to return because of this pandemic," Dr Joseph said.

"They're not granted exemptions.

"What they see as compassionate grounds is not seen by the Government as a compassionate ground."

The CDU research found attachment to the NT was much stronger among migrants, who were more likely to stay across all stages of their lives.

Dr Joseph said the local economy had lost one of its engines and he was pushing for visa-holders stranded overseas to be given a path back to the NT.

"Migration is a very important population and economic driver, and to retain the population in very regional areas like this, I think temporary visa-holders are very important," he said.

"If they've got work, they should be allowed to return and to work here."

More opportunities in sunny NT capital
Ms Shalley and her colleagues have this week set out to test whether the "coronavirus refugee" theory is upheld by hard data, launching a follow-up survey focused on how the NT's reputation may have changed during the pandemic.

When the results begin to roll in over coming months, one focus will be whether people intend to stay.

Ms McDermott said she could see the appeal.

"There's just a lot more opportunities here," she said.

"I work in hospitality and I do art. All of that has completely crashed at the moment in Melbourne."

Her short trip north has stretched on for five-and-a-half months now and — despite moving with next to no possessions — she has no short-term intention to return to Victoria.

"There's a slower pace here, there's a greater sense of community," she said.

"Everyone's generous and friendly — not that I don't get that in Melbourne — but it's a lot stronger here.

"So if I can make it work, I'd love to stay."

<< if we didn't have the son in Sydney and grandson in Raymond Terrace , or my wife's mum in a local nursing home , and my wife siblings weren't spread all over Newcastle & the lower hunter , I'd be joining this flood of "refugees" to move to Darwin too , it's a great place to live , loved it when we visited.
https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys
BD.org Sicko
 
Posts: 12449
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:36 am

17 SEPT FEDERAL

JOBKEEPER ISSUES
ATO crackdown on JobKeeper fraudsters claws back $75MILLION
The tax office has clawed back $75million in a crackdown on JobKeeper fraudsters.

More than 9,000 tip-offs were received by the Australian Tax Office about businesses that took the government handouts when they were not entitled to them, a parliamentary committee hearing heard on Thursday.

To be eligible for their slice of the $54billion scheme, employers needed to prove their profit fell during coronavirus lockdown against a comparable period.

The flat payment for businesses amount to $1,500 per fortnight, per employee until September 28.

According to Jeremy Hirschhorn, the ATO Second Commissioner, the tax body is now attempting to recoup millions of dollars from false claims.
He said about $60million was paid back 'voluntarily', while a further $15million was 'forced' back.

'We have a smaller number of matters that are going to the police and via the serious financial crimes task force,' he said, according to The West Australian.

Mr Hirschhorn also explained the tax body has also paused 75,000 JobKeeper applications for some that were thought to be ineligible for compliance reasons.

While 55,000 applications were stopped in the system before the application was made, about 15,000 were found to be ineligible.

Some of the compliance issues involved employers trying to make multiple claims in the hopes they would win multiple payments.

No fines have been issued for offending employers, but Mr Hirschhorn said penalties would likely be imposed.

'We have a smaller number of matters that are going to the police and via the serious financial crimes task force,' he said.

The hearing also revealed that, of the half-a-million people who drained their superannuation funds to survive the pandemic, 12,000 tried to claim tax deductions.

'We have written to them advising them that there's the potential application of anti-avoidance rules and that they might want to consider their position in their next tax return in terms of claiming a deduction in terms of that contribution.'

Of the people who made use of the early access scheme, about 60 per cent used the money to pay for everyday expenses.

From September 28, JobKeeper payments will fall to $1,200 a fortnight for full-time workers.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

FUNDING RESIDENTIAL AGED CARE
Income and assets tests for aged care need to be simplified, former federal treasurer Peter Costello tells royal commission
The Royal Commission into Aged Care must address the complexity of income and assets tests for older Australians, former federal treasurer Peter Costello says.

The commission is looking at how to fund the future of aged care as demand swells due to increasing longevity and an ageing population.

Mr Costello told the inquiry that income and assets tests should be part of future funding arrangements, but need to be simplified.

He said he had trouble filling out aged care forms for his family.

"You all ought to do them you know, I think there are over 120 questions and 27 pages — I had a lot of trouble filling it in," he said.

"I don't how a person going into a nursing home would ever be able to fill it in.

"I'm not being disparaging of the public servants on the other side of the equation, they're not financial advisors.

"We're having trouble filling it in, [and] they're having trouble reading and understanding it, I can tell you."

Echoing his sentiments, former Treasury secretary, Ken Henry, has told the inquiry people entering the aged care system were "bewildered" by its complexity.

Mr Henry said he was concerned in 2009 when he delivered his landmark tax review, and remained concerned.

"The system overall is horribly complex and it contains a very high level of uncertainty for people who are elderly, people who are vulnerable, people who are suffering emotional and psychological stress ... and they're bewildered."

"I also thought this system is unsustainable, it's underfunded, it's under resourced, and it will not be tolerated by the baby boomers themselves, when they find themselves in this system."

Mr Henry said there was a good case for a special levy earmarked to pay for the baby boomer bulge in aged care, expected to peak in 2030.

Mr Costello was asked whether the $160 billion Future Fund should be used to get over the bulge.

He said the fund, which matures this year, was Australia's biggest and best performing asset in difficult financial times.

"It actually is very good financial sense to keep it running on," he said.

"Because the Commonwealth is doing much better if it's borrowing at 1 per cent and getting income returns at 4 per cent — so it wouldn't be the time to do it now".

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

WHAT EXACTLY IS A COVID19 HOTSPOT - EVERY STATE HAS IT'S OWN DEFINITION
Medical panel working with national cabinet to define COVID-19 hotspot
More clarity will be given on the definition of a "COVID hotspot" ahead of tomorrow's National Cabinet meeting as an expert medical panel develops three categories to assist with the process.
One of three categories presented to National Cabinet focused on how to identify a COVID-free zone.

The panel guiding National Cabinet ahead of its Friday meeting identified a coronavirus safe zone was established after 28 days of no locally acquired cases.

A border reopening plan is expected to be decided on during talks tomorrow.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES DECEPTIVELY "GOOD"
Unemployment rate is down to 6.8% after 100,000 jobs created in August (but most these were parttime and gig style jobs and lots of people have given up looking for work because of covid restrictions and the rarity of actual bonefide job openings)
Women are leading Australia out of the coronavirus recession with unemployment falling in August for the first time since the health pandemic began - creating 111,000 new jobs.

The jobless rate fell from a 22-year high of 7.5 per cent in July to 6.8 per cent last month, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed.

Unemployment is still higher than March's 5.2 per cent level, with that data compiled before the World Health Organisation declared a coronavirus pandemic.

Nonetheless, joblessness has fallen for the first time since February when the Australian share market peaked despite Melbourne recording the first case of COVID-19 in January.

The number of Australians officially without work rose above the one million mark in July for the first time ever but in August, the ranks of the unemployed fell by 86,500 to 921,800 people.

Jobs recovery at a glance
Unemployment rate fell from a 22-year high of 7.5 per cent in July to 6.8 per cent in August

Participation rate rose from 64.7 per cent to 64.8 per cent

Number employed rose by 111,000 to 12,583,400

Jobless ranks fell by 86,500 with women making up 55,000 or 64 per cent of those

Almost two-thirds, or 55,000 of those leaving the unemployment queues, were women.

National unemployment also fell in August despite Melbourne, Australia's second biggest city, being placed into a strict, Stage Four lockdown with an 8pm to 5am curfew.

Victoria's unemployment rate of 7.1 per cent was above the national average, as the number of people employed fell by 42,400 as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions.

Of the big states, New South Wales had the lowest unemployment rate of 6.7 per cent.

Tasmania, however, had the lowest unemployment rate among all the states of 6.3 per cent with only the Northern Territory (4.2 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (4.2 per cent) having lower jobless figures.

The states that have closed their borders to some states also experienced a fall in unemployment, with Queensland's jobless figure declining from 8.8 per cent to 7.5 per cent.

Western Australia's equivalent jobless rate dropped from 8.3 per cent to seven per cent.

South Australia's unemployment level remained at 7.9 per cent.

Australia's youth unemployment also fell from 16.3 per cent to 14.3 per cent.

The good news was announced a fortnight after official figures revealed Australia had sunk into recession for the first time in 29 years with gross domestic product diving by seven per cent in the June quarter.

CommSec chief economist Craig James said the federal government's $1,500 a fortnight JobKeeper wage subsidies and the $550 a fortnight coronavirus boost to JobSeeker unemployment benefits had boosted spending, which in turn created jobs.

'These are extraordinary times and the job programs are similarly remarkable,' he said.

'There is no doubt that this is a stunning set of job figures.

'More people were looking for jobs in August, more people found jobs, and more employees reconnected to their workplaces.'

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

FAT CATS WANT A HANDOUT AGAIN
Qantas seeks 'corporate welfare' with its HQ auction, Birmingham says
Federal Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has blasted Qantas' move to start a bidding war between state governments over the location of its headquarters as a blatant appeal for corporate welfare.

Qantas on Tuesday said it would look for state government financial support to help it decide whether to move its headquarters from Sydney's Mascot and relocate Jetstar's office from Melbourne and its heavy aircraft maintenance base from Brisbane Airport.

Senator Birmingham told ABC Radio Adelaide on Wednesday that Qantas trying to auction off its head office jobs to the highest bidder was a "blatant attempt to extract taxpayer dollars from the states and territories".

"I'd have to urge caution from the states," he said. "This bidding war won't create one extra job in Australia; it just shuffles jobs around Australia and certainly our focus federally is how we save jobs across the country and try to start to grow those numbers again."

The Morrison government frontbencher said he understood why state governments wanted to attract jobs into their jurisdictions, but warned it could spark a wave of businesses looking for government handouts.

"This has the potential to represent the worst of federalism and to spark a wave of corporate welfare-seeking by big business if we sort of have big companies around the country just auctioning off their head offices to states and territories," Mr Birmingham said. "In the end, it's taxpayers picking up the bill."

Qantas said it will consider merging the Qantas and Jetstar headquarters, where 5000 and 1000 people work, respectively, in either Mascot, Melbourne, Brisbane or at the new Western Sydney Airport.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said his government would make a "very attractive" offer to Qantas to keep Jetstar where it is and attract Qantas' head office and heavy maintenance work to the state, which is economically reeling from the effect of its ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet for his part said his state would offer "every assistance" to Qantas to keep as many jobs in the state as possible and combine the Qantas and Jetstar offices either in Mascot or at Western Sydney Airport. The Queensland government also pledged to fight to keep the 750 engineering jobs in Brisbane.

Qantas said on Tuesday it was looking for savings from its $40 million annual spending on leased office space as part of a cost-cutting drive brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and in recognition that it will be a smaller company for several years.

The airline has announced around 8000 redundancies - close to a third of its workforce - since the start of the pandemic, which has forced it to ground most of its planes since March and cancel all international flying until the middle of next year.

The group reported a $1.9 billion loss last financial year and is undergoing a $15 billion three-year cost cutting drive to help it through to the other side of the crisis.

Qantas declined to respond to Mr Birmingham's comments.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/money/markets ... d=msedgdhp

ON THE MATTER OF REPATRIATING AUSTRALIANS "STUCK" OVERSEAS WHO NOW WANT TO COME HOME (WITH COVID RAGING EVERYWHERE ELSE)

This is why it is so difficult for Australians to get home during the coronavirus pandemic
There are about 27,000 Australians living overseas who want to come back home, but current rules limiting arrivals to just 4,000 per week are making that extremely difficult.

Since mid-March, more than 600,000 residents have returned, according to the latest data compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

With some airlines cutting routes and jacking up prices, the Federal Government is considering further commercial options to bring stranded Australians home.

There are discussions about opening more quarantine facilities, but there is still no real indication of when — or how — more Australians will be able to come home.

Here is what we know about returning to Australia during the coronavirus pandemic.

What is the current situation on the number of arrivals?
Australia's National Cabinet, which is made up of the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and premiers and chief ministers from every state and territory, agreed that caps on international passenger arrivals would be put in place to manage and maintain quarantine arrangements across jurisdictions.

Until October 24, the following limits are in place based on hotel quarantine capacity:

Sydney: 350 passenger arrivals per day
Perth: 525 passenger arrivals per week
Brisbane: 500 passenger arrivals per week
Adelaide: 500 passenger arrivals per week
Canberra, Darwin: passenger limits on each flight discussed on a case-by-case basis
Hobart, Melbourne: no international flights
These arrangements will continue to be reviewed by National Cabinet.

Australian citizens and permanent residents are banned from going overseas unless they have compassionate reasons or need to travel for work.

Could we let more Australians back into the country?
There's definitely some debate happening on that topic.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says there are about 36,000 Australian residents living overseas, and more than 27,000 of them say they want to come home.

This week, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said he had written to state and territory leaders .

The Federal Government believes Australia's coronavirus case load has now eased enough to allow more people into the country.

In particular, the Government wants Western Australia to take an extra 500 people per week.

However, on Wednesday, WA Premier Mark McGowan said he hadn't received Mr McCormack's letter, so he hadn't been able to consider it.

Which airlines are flying in to Australia and where are they coming from?
Some of the world's biggest names in air travel are still landing at Australian airports, arriving from countries including the United States, Japan, China and Indonesia.

Below is a snapshot of the flights which have landed, or are scheduled to, this week, and their ports of origin.

United Airlines - Los Angeles, San Francisco

China Airlines - Taipei, Taiwan

Xiamen Airlines - Xiamen, China

Qatar Airways - Doha, Qatar

Etihad Airways - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Emirates - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Japan Airlines - Tokyo, Japan

Delta Airlines - Los Angeles

Air India - Delhi, India

China Eastern Airlines - Shanghai, Hangzhou, China

Singapore Airlines - Singapore

Aircalin - Noumea

All Nippon Airways - Tokyo, Japan

Garuda Indonesia - Denpasar, Jakarta, Indonesia

Cathay Pacific Airways - Hong Kong

Air New Zealand - Auckland

Sri Lankan Airlines - Colombo, Sri Lanka

Emirates - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Singapore Airlines - Singapore

Singapore Airlines - Singapore

Qatar Airways - Doha, Qatar

China Airlines - Taipei, Taiwan

Qatar Airways - Doha, Qatar

Air New Zealand - Auckland

Nauru Airlines - Nauru

Air Niugini - Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Emirates - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Do returned travellers have to quarantine in a hotel?
Not according to Australia's Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth.

He said while the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee set the policy for supervised quarantine, "where that specifically occurs does not necessarily need to be a hotel".

"It could be any one of a number of settings. But the principles under which that supervised quarantine would need to take place would be universal regardless of whether it was a hotel, whether it was a detention centre, whether it was Howard Springs in the Northern Territory, which as you might recall [housed] Australians who were on the Diamond Princess during the first wave," he said.

"Infection-control procedures need to be excellent. The supervision needs to be excellent from people who are experienced and educated in being able to understand infection control.

"But where it's enacted will be a matter for the state and territory governments."

The WA Premier has flagged reopening Rottnest Island as a quarantine facility. In non-COVID times it is an internationally renowned holiday destination.

Should Scott Morrison use the RAAF to get everyone home?
Labor is calling on the Government to use VIP Royal Australian Air Force jets to ferry stranded Australians home, but the Coalition has branded the idea a "stunt".

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said RAAF jets which are used to transport officials including the Prime Minister should be used to bring more Australians home each week.

But it's not that easy and everything hinges on how many people the states can put up in quarantine, according to the Government.

Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram said he expected if the number of beds available in hotel quarantine increased, the availability of commercial flights would also increase.

He said the current cap on hotel quarantine, which was set by agreement of National Cabinet, meant about 12,000 beds were available at any one time.

There are lots of reasons why some Australians haven't returned home sooner
Family ties, stable employment or just the sheer time it takes to pack up a life overseas are among the reasons why some Aussies haven't made it home yet.

The ABC has spoken to a number of Australians over the past few months who all have various reasons as to why they are still living outside their home country.

Some of them have had flights repeatedly cancelled and have been told they will have to pay for business class tickets to ensure a seat on a plane.

In one example, the Roe family headed to Amsterdam in January for a year-long stint, and a month later, baby Jackson was born.

An application for a birth certificate was lodged on April 9.

His parents only received the certificate on July 20, and as of late July he didn't have a passport, so the family couldn't travel.

"We knew he’d be stateless before he was born, but obviously we couldn’t plan for COVID-19 and know that we would need to travel with him so soon," mum Jennifer said.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

PM insists Australia's arrivals cap will rise as states consider whether to boost coronavirus quarantine
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the number of people allowed into Australia each week will increase by 2,000 next Friday, even though the Government is yet to get agreement from states that will have to house the extra people in hotel quarantine.

The Federal Government has written to the leaders of states and territories, asking them to boost hotel quarantine capacity, in order to allow more Australians stuck overseas to return home.

Currently, about 4,000 people a week are allowed in to Australia, which Mr Morrison wants raised to 6,000.

There are currently about 27,000 Australians overseas who have registered their intent to come home.

Mr Morrison told Channel Nine he was confident the states would agree to carry a greater hotel quarantine load.

"That decision has been made, that starts Friday week," he said.

"We will get 2,000 more people in, coming through normal commercial flights.

"They will go through the normal hotel quarantine arrangements. There is plenty of hotel rooms in all those cities."

He said states would effectively be forced into accepting the arrivals into their quarantine systems, as the decision was set in stone.

"The planes will land with people on them, and they'll be arriving," he said.

"The Commonwealth Government has made a decision that those caps will be moved to those levels, and planes will be able to fly to those ports carrying that many passengers a week."

Yesterday the West Australian Premier Mark McGowan complained the Government had blindsided states and territories by announcing its desire to lift the cap without consultation.

"No phone call, no contact, no nothing," Mr McGowan said.

"Ambushes like [this] should not be part of this … and they make me very, very, very angry."

It comes as the Government faces growing pressure to bring more Australians home, with Amnesty International claiming Australia could be breaching international human rights laws that guarantee people's ability to return to their home country.

"To get Australians home, the Federal Government needs to raise the caps they have in place that are preventing people from coming home," Amnesty International Australia's Joel Clark said.

"By raising it above the current arbitrary cap of 6,000 people returning per week, the government could have these people home in no time."

The Government wants to see WA, Queensland and NSW each accept an additional 500 travellers a week, while South Australia has already agreed to lift its weekly capacity for international travellers by 360.

The ACT, NT and Tasmania have all been asked to assess their capacity for hosting returned travellers.

Mr Morrison said states and territories would be able to deal with the added demand for quarantine, particularly with Commonwealth supports on offer.

"They were all taking more than this before caps were put in place, than what we are asking them to do now," he said.

"We have got ADF supporting all of those arrangements."

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the Government should take charge of the quarantine system and ensure the capacity to house returned travellers is met.

"They didn't actually sit down and talk to the state premiers, they made this announcement and that was news to many of the state premiers," he said.

"They are in charge of quarantine, it shouldn't be beyond the capacity of our national Government to make sure these Australians can be brought home."

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp



No need to charter evacuation flights: PM
Scott Morrison has rejected calls to bring thousands of Australians stranded overseas home on air force planes.

More than 27,000 Australians are waiting to return but with a weekly cap of 4000 incoming passengers, it could take well into next year.

The prime minister wants to increase the number of people who can come back into Australia by about 2000 a week.

His deputy has written to the states and territories to seek their support, as they will need to take the extra passengers into hotel quarantine.

Several premiers have signalled their support for lifting the weekly cap, albeit with caveats.

NSW, Western Australia and Queensland are each expected to take an extra 500 people each week.

Labor has urged the prime minister to use government jets to bring people back.

"Our advice is there is no need for that," Mr Morrison told the Seven Network on Thursday.

"There are plenty of commercial planes ... it's the caps that were stopping the planes."

The prime minister wants to lift the incoming passenger cap at the end of next week.

The Commonwealth cap was introduced in July when Victoria suffered a second wave of coronavirus and NSW struggled to cope with the extra demand.

"Now is the time we've got to start taking those caps off again," Mr Morrison said.

Qantas boss Alan Joyce says he won't be rethinking his decision to scrap all international flights, even to rescue Australians stuck overseas.

"The economics don't work," he told ABC radio.

Mr Joyce is pleading with the states to reopen domestic borders and the airline has taken out full-page newspaper ads on Thursday to push its case.

"Europeans have been fighting themselves for thousands of years but they have somehow managed to agree to keep borders open," he said.

Australia's national panel of medical experts has proposed new definitions for coronavirus zones and hotspots in a bid to reopen state borders.

Mr Morrison is expected to discuss the proposals with premiers and chief ministers at a national cabinet meeting on Friday.

"The Commonwealth has its hotspot definition - I think that's a sensible definition," he said

"If other states want to have more extreme definitions then that's ultimately up to them. That obviously has implications for how they run their show and what it means for people's jobs and all of those sorts of things.

"I'm sure they will keep working on that."

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp





STATES ARE IN CONTROL OF BORDERS NOT THE PM
Queensland accuses PM of 'rejecting health advice' on 28-day border rule
Queensland's Health Minister Steven Miles says Prime Minister Scott Morrison "rejected health advice" which supports the northern state's 28-day trigger point for reopening the border to New South Wales.

Mr Miles said Mr Morrison was presented a paper by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) which informed Queensland's stance on when the border could reopen.

"We continue to use the criteria provided by the national health experts, that's the AHPPC and that is 28 days, two full incubation periods of no community transmission," Mr Miles said.

"I was disappointed to learn that the Federal Government, Scott Morrison, had rejected a paper from the AHPPC that said precisely that.

"If you're going to have experts then you have to at least consider their advice.

"You can't reject their advice before it gets considered by national cabinet which appears to be what Scott Morrison has done here."

The AHPPC is the peak decision-making committee for public health emergency management and disease control in Australia.

Mr Miles accused the LNP, backed by Mr Morrison, of displaying an "unwillingness to listen to the health experts".

PM calls out at 'double standards'
Meanwhile, Mr Morrison has hit out at Queensland's "double standards" around border entry exemptions, saying the situation needed to be "managed sensibly" and "compassionately".

The prime minister faces mandatory 14-day quarantine if he chooses to visit Queensland ahead of the state election on October 31.

But he won't be asking the premier for preferential treatment.

"I've never said the Queensland border should be taken down, what I've said is that it should be managed sensibly," Mr Morrison said.

"What I've said is that it should be managed compassionately."

He pointed to the case of an ACT woman who was denied permission to attend her father's funeral in Brisbane, with medical authorities pointing to the 28-day rule of states having no community transmission.

"Well, there'd been more than 60 (days) in the ACT, so I think those issues raise questions… issues of double standards regarding how others have been dealt with favourably in this process.

"That's for them to explain."

Queensland could halve 28-day rule
The war of words comes amid reports the state government is considering halving the 28-day rule.

Tourism Queensland says the government is exploring a 14-day rule instead, the Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday.

"The 28 day rule of no untraced community transmission, we are hoping our Chief Health Officer will revisit this," CEO Daniel Gschwind said.

"We believe such a high bar is going to be very hard to achieve, it is almost aiming for elimination which appears to be a far off objective."

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has previously called the 28-day requirement a "tall order".

NSW last achieved 14 days of no community transmission in mid-June.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

Morrison back on the offensive with his News Corp attack dogs
As Morrison pivots from his Team Australia moment to politics as usual — at least where state Labor premiers are concerned — the early media enthusiasm for tough public health measures seems to have swivelled with him.

This is partly the crumbling of media resistance to the thud-thud-thud of News Corp campaigning, partly a follow-the-leader response to Morrison, and partly a parochial defensiveness about the ACT, where so many opinion-makers live.

News Corp’s tabloid noise machines have been thundering away for months now at Victoria’s “Dictator Dan” Andrews and Queensland’s Annastacia Palaszczuk over lockdowns and border closures. In Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph, Victoria has been held up as a “there but for the grace of God” morality tale.

The Australian has been providing the intellectual rigour through economics editor Adam Creighton — the pandemic’s own Friedrich Hayek — retweeting the threat of “permanent lockdown” and warning of “lockdown lunacy”.

It’s not where the company started back in March but the Australian arm has aligned itself with the talking points of the US right as mediated through Fox News.

For any government — and for Liberal governments in particular — News Corp requires careful stakeholder management. Morrison has seemed happy to pay lip service to the reopening rhetoric while keeping the political benefits of the intergovernmental unity of the national cabinet (and leaving the hard decisions to the states).

All the non-News Corp media have been treading carefully. In the early “flattening the curve” months, the ABC gave journalists such as Dr Norman Swan their head while cautiously providing space for voices pushing back against lockdown.

This month Morrison and many opinion-makers in the traditional media shifted. Morrison sacrificed the national cabinet’s consensus with his on-the-bus-off-the-bus circumlocution, publicly criticising Andrews after the Victorian lockdown extension and then Palaszczuk over her lack of “compassion”.The political circus distracts from what the public needs to know
Read more >
Why the shift? As zoomer argot would have it, Morrison is “based” — someone loyal to their principles, grounded solidly in their political base. As The Guardian’s Katharine Murphy writes in her Quarterly Essay out this month, Morrison is a creature of the party machine. It shapes how he thinks.

News Corp is an important part of that base. So are his party branches in Victoria and — with an election coming on — in Queensland. It’s no surprise that he’s ended up returning to the more partisan, more transactional, politics that Murphy says defines him.

The weight of his interventions coupled with the power of the News Corp voice has shifted the running of the public health story. By the time ABC’s Insiders on Sunday morning, “compassion” was over-riding state governance, legally delegated authority and public health advice.

News Corp’s “enemies of the state” rhetoric has helped manufacture a sense of uneasiness, a conflation of the disease with a moral failing. Calling the ACT a hotspot was read (and expressed) by some Canberra-based opinionistas as an attack on “us”, on the ACT’s provincial amour propre.

State and territory loyalty cuts both ways. A media that is increasingly focused on the national picture can often miss that the same story will be read one way in Canberra and another in Brisbane.

Journalists remain responsible for holding governments accountable for the extreme policy measures deemed necessary: excessive policing, aged care, disadvantaged communities. Last weekend The Saturday Paper‘s report on the Victoria contact tracing imbroglio demonstrated how important a critical leaning to accountability is.

A look over the Pacific to the United States tells us where politicisation of public health measures ends up: attitudes become polarised as people take their thinking from the politicians they vote for.

There’s some early evidence that’s happening in Australia with (admittedly still small) anti-lockdown rallies, fake news about the pandemic on social media and more polarised support for state leaders.

Thoughtful journalists (who’ve kept their jobs) recognise that they are having a very different pandemic to many other Australians. That can encourage confidence about what public policy should do. But journalists need to report the community’s pandemic, not their own.


https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:10 am

17 SEPT NZ

Hopes grow for fresh NZ COVID elimination
For the third straight day, New Zealand has recorded no new cases of COVID-19 in the community, raising hopes its recent cluster in Auckland has been contained.

On Thursday, health authorities announced they'd found seven new cases of the virus, all picked up within the border regime.

Four recent arrivals from India and one each from the USA, Indonesia and Uzbekistan have tested positive for coronavirus while quarantining, as is compulsory in New Zealand.

The South Pacific country enjoyed 102 days without a community case of COVID-19 until the virus returned in Auckland last month.

Jacinda Ardern's government responded by locking down Auckland's 1.6 million residents for 16 days, and for the rest of New Zealand, returning restrictions such as social distancing and caps on gathering.

Ms Ardern has promised to remove all restrictions from outside Auckland from Monday if the run without cases continues.

"That is what we were looking for," she said.

"It does say look we are on track. Our plan once again is working. It's doing what we intend."

While Ms Ardern has broad community support for her health-first approach, the government's coalition partners New Zealand First dissented from a cabinet decision last Monday to wait for a reduction in cases before relaxing restrictions.

Winston Peters, the NZ First leader and deputy PM, said Kiwis should have seen the return of freedoms earlier this month.

Ms Ardern says she will continue to be risk averse and rely on advice from director-general of health, Ashley Bloomfield.

"We always need to just be a bit cautious," she said.

"Because we are a country which has adopted a strategy of eliminating and then going to full freedoms so you have to be careful that when you go to those full freedoms you're ready.

"For those decisions we'll be making, that confirmation about our plan, we'll be making on Monday on the final advice of the director-general."

New Zealand, with a population of five million, has had 25 deaths due to COVID-19.

Australia, roughly five times the size, has had 832 deaths or 33 times as many.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/world/ho ... d=msedgdhp


Jacinda Ardern's lockdown caused an even WORSE recession than feared
New Zealand's strict COVID-19 lockdown has plunged the nation into recession for the first time in a decade.

The country, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, saw its economy shrink by a record 12.2 per cent in the June quarter.

The eye-watering figures, released on Thursday by Statistics New Zealand, are significantly more severe than Australia's record seven per cent plummet during the same period.

The figures are also far worse the Westpac bank's prediction of an 11.5 per cent decline and marked New Zealand's first technical recession since the Global Financial Crisis in 2009.

The second-quarter plunge followed a revised 1.4 per cent contraction during the first three months of 2020.
The second quarter reporting period, from April to June, happened in the middle of the country's first lockdown when thousands of businesses were forced to close.

New Zealand went into a strict lockdown on March 25 and emerged from them on June 8 as part of an elimination strategy.

Residents were ordered to stay home to prevent the deadly virus from spreading.

Figures showed construction activity was down 26 per cent, manufacturing fell by 13 per cent, and household spending was down by 12 per cent when compared with the previous quarter.

Stats NZ spokesman Paul Pascoe said the closure of New Zealand's borders since March 19 had also had a huge effect of some sectors of the economy.

'Industries like retail, accommodation and restaurants, and transport saw significant declines in production because they were most directly affected by the international travel ban and strict nationwide lockdown,' he said.

'Other industries, like food and beverage manufacturing, were essential services and fell much less.'

The 12.2 per cent quarterly plunge in economic activity, however, was less serious than the 16 per cent plummet predicted by the government this week and fell well short of the 23.5 per cent forecast in the May budget.

Kiwibank Chief Economist Jarrod Kerr said there were few surprises in the numbers.

'You lock up the economy, activity falls,' he said.

'The focus must now turn to the recovery. And the current quarter looks pretty good. It' the path we take over the next three years that needs attention.'

Mr Kerr predicted GDP would jump by 10 per cent in the third quarter, but said more needs to be done over the medium term to return the nation to full employment.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the lockdown was necessary to save thousands of lives and get on top of the virus so the economy could bounce back faster.

New Zealand has recorded 25 coronavirus deaths in a population of five million and cases have been largely contained since late May, aside from a flare-up in Auckland last month.

But the opposition National Party said Ardern's centre-left government had failed New Zealanders by failing to keep the economy moving.

National's finance spokesman Paul Goldsmith compared the response to Australia, which recorded an economic contraction of seven percent in the June quarter after adopting a more flexible approach to lockdowns and border controls.

'The lack of pragmatism and a clear plan from (Ardern's) Labour has made the economic hole deeper and the impact harder than it needed to be,' he said.

'This economic damage was recorded in three months but will last for decades to come - this is the deepest recession in living memory.'

New Zealand most recent recession was in 2008-09 and until the first three months of this year it had recorded non-stop quarterly growth since 2010.

During the first half of 2020, Australia's states and territories implemented more moderate Stage Three restrictions, which closed non-essential businesses like cinemas, nightclubs, gyms and restaurants.

Unlike New Zealand, Australia allowed restaurants to offer takeaway meals as customers were banned from dining in from the end of March.

Only Victoria has resorted to Kiwi-style restrictions but even under Labor's Stage Four lockdowns, Premier Daniel Andrews' government is still allowing restaurants to offer takeaway food.

During the June quarter, the UK's economy contracted by 20.4 per cent as French GDP shrunk by 13.8 per cent while Canada's economy plunged by 11.5 per cent.

Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party is the favourite to be re-elected on October 17 despite the recession.

During New Zealand's last recession, Labour's last prime minister Helen Clark lost the November 2008 election - but she had already been in power for nine years.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/world/ja ... d=msedgdhp

NZ unemployment to peak at 7.8 per cent
New Zealand continues to ride out the COVID-19 recession in better shape than other advanced economies but will still rack up eye-watering debt and deficits.

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Grant Robertson revealed a new unemployment peak of just 7.8 per cent, far below previous joblessness predictions.

However the release of Treasury's Pre-Election Fiscal and Economic Update (PREFU) confirmed a dire outlook for the government's books and overall health of the economy.

New Zealand, which enjoyed better growth than Australia, the UK, Europe, Canada and Japan in 2019, will see its GDP contract 7.2 per cent in 2020 according to the PREFU forecast.

Australia will contract by 3.8 per cent by contrast.

However the GDP forecast sees New Zealand rebound stronger in 2021 and 2022, rising by 4.9 per cent and 3.6 per cent.

Mr Robertson's beloved surplus is also a thing of the past, with PREFU showing a 2019/20 deficit of $NZ23.4 billion ($A21.5 billion).

The deficit is forecast to peak next year at $NZ31.7 billion, with no surplus in sight.

Government debt will balloon in the next four years, peaking at $NZ201 billion in 2024 or 55.3 per cent of GDP.

"The global pandemic is having an unprecedented impact, not just on New Zealand, but the whole world," Mr Robertson said.

"The good news is that we as a country are looking better right now than most others.

"I do note in these numbers our unemployment is forecast to be lower than where Australia is.

"I do note that our debt for this year will be lower than Australia's is and I do note that our growth going out to 2021/22 will be better than Australia is."

A further dash of bad news will be confirmed on Thursday, when Stats NZ will reveal the GDP drop for the June quarter.

Treasury estimated this would be around 16 per cent and would "far exceed previous records" for a quarter.

This would also fufill the technical definition of recession.

In total, Jacinda Ardern's government has allocated $NZ58 billion specifically towards responding to COVID-19, leaving $NZ14 billion in a rainy day fund.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/world/nz ... d=msedgdhp

Air New Zealand plans to cut up to 385 more cabin crew jobs
Air New Zealand Ltd said on Wednesday it aims to cut up to 385 more cabin crew jobs due to the lack of long-haul international flying, which would take its COVID-19 related job losses to around 37% of its workforce. The percentage figure is higher than the cuts to nearly 30% of jobs at Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd and around 20% at Singapore Airlines Ltd .
Air New Zealand said in a statement it would need fewer cabin crew due to the decline in demand on North American routes, which had led it to reduce return flights to Los Angeles to three a week from daily and convert San Francisco flights to cargo only.

"In the foreseeable future, we have around 385 more widebody cabin crew in the business than we have work for," an airline spokeswoman said. "Any decision we make will be made in consultation with our people and the unions, with redundancies as the last resort."

E tū, the union representing flight attendants, said in a statement the latest job cuts are proposed to be carried out by December. It called on Air New Zealand to stop outsourcing work to a cabin crew hire company in Shanghai.

Air New Zealand declined to comment on the timing of the planned cuts. The airline had announced 4,000 job losses before the latest proposal to cut cabin crew.

The airline said last week it would extend the grounding of its Boeing Co 777 fleet until at least Sept. 2021 due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic, though it has a fleet of 787-9s it can use for long-haul flying.
Its prospects in the domestic market were boosted this week by the end of a requirement for physical distancing on flights that will allow it to sell all of the seats.

Air New Zealand said on Tuesday it would fly a domestic schedule of around 70-75% of normal levels, while Qantas-owned low-cost rival Jetstar Airways said it would resume domestic services from Sept. 17 at around 60% of normal levels.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/other/ai ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys
BD.org Sicko
 
Posts: 12449
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:25 am

17 SEPTEMBER DATA

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CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys
BD.org Sicko
 
Posts: 12449
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Sep 18, 2020 7:57 am

18 SEPT VIC

ABC 24HR NEWS
There are fears the 90 strong combined Dandelong - Casey Cluster could blow out and undo much of the gains in the last month .

Victoria records 45 new coronavirus cases and 5 deaths as Melbourne's 14-day average falls
Key points:
Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng says many of the new cases reported overnight are linked to aged care settings
Authorities say visits between households is the main driver of a community cluster in Melbourne's outer south-east
The number of Victorians in hospital with coronavirus has dropped from 97 to 90 overnight

Victoria has recorded 45 new cases of COVID-19 and five more fatalities overnight, taking the state's coronavirus death toll to 750.

A man in his 50s was among those who died. The others were a man in his 70s, a man in his 80s, and two women in their 90s.

All of the deaths were linked to aged care settings.

It is the eighth consecutive day the state has recorded a daily infections increase below 50, but an increase on yesterday's tally of 28.

Metropolitan Melbourne's 14-day case average is now sitting at 42.7, and regional Victoria's rolling average is 2.3.

Premier Daniel Andrews said there were now 920 active cases in Victoria, including 30 in regional Victoria.

Only one new case was recorded in regional Victoria overnight, Mr Andrews said.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said while the number of new cases today looked high, 19 were reported in the Brimbank area, in Melbourne's west, and many were linked to aged care homes.

"We are relatively confident that this is in a closed setting and we do know who the contacts are and we are able to get on top of that quickly," he said.

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32 of the 45 new infections are linked to known outbreaks, and the other 13 are still being investigated.

There are now 90 Victorians with coronavirus in hospital — down on yesterday's total of 97.

Authorities trying to 'get a ring around' Casey community cluster
Health officials are working to tackle a coronavirus outbreak in the outer south-east of Melbourne they say is driven by members of different households visiting each other.
An outbreak referred to as the Casey community cluster has 34 cases spread across five households in Hallam, Clyde, Narre Warren South and Cranbourne North.

No new infections were linked to the Casey community cluster today.

Jeroen Weimar from the Department of Health and Human Services said household transmission was the main driver of the outbreak's spread.

"We've seen in this particular cluster visiting of houses beyond the 5-kilometre radius, so these five houses in this particular cluster have had, unfortunately, some members of those households visiting other households," Mr Weimar said.

"It is that limited amount of contact, relatively infrequent contact, between these five households that has now meant that we have 34 people in five houses experiencing or living with a very real threat of the coronavirus."

Professor Cheng said local health services, communities and DHHS were working together to respond to the outbreak.

"I think that is a very encouraging start but we clearly need to make sure that we get a ring around these cases to stop onward transmission," he said.

Mr Weimar said there were a total of 90 active cases across the Dandenong and Casey local government areas.

Aged care still a challenge for health officials
Mr Andrews said there were 474 active cases linked to aged care, an increase of 10 from yesterday's reported total of 464.

The number of active cases among healthcare workers has fallen slightly, from 143 yesterday to 140 today.

Yesterday's daily infections tally of 28 was the state's lowest in about three months.

Metropolitan Melbourne is scheduled to have some restrictions eased on September 28 if its 14-day average remains in the 30 to 50 range.

Many businesses across regional Victoria have started reopening after stepping out of stage 3 restrictions yesterday.

In order for Melbourne to progress to the next stage of its restrictions "roadmap" on October 26, Victoria needs to record fewer than five "mystery" cases over a 14-day period.



Casey coronavirus cluster centres on five Melbourne households that broke the 5km limit and home-visit rules


Regional Victoria will progress to the fourth step of its roadmap, scheduled for November 23, when there are no new cases at all across the state for 14 days.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-18/ ... s/12676886


Victoria records new milestone as virus cases spike
Victoria has recorded a spike in coronavirus cases with 45 new infections as the state hits a grim new milestone of over 20,000 cases.

A further five people have died of COVID-19 overnight.

The Department of Health and Human Services released its daily figures a short time ago.

A total of 20,015 coronavirus cases have now been recorded in Victoria.

https://twitter.com/VicGovDHHS/status/1 ... 4073400321
The rise in case numbers comes as 28 cases and eight deaths were recorded in the state yesterday.

Victoria's COVID-19 death toll has risen to 750 fatalities.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria's largest coronavirus cluster outside of aged care is centred around 5 households whose residents broke the stay-at-home rules to travel outside their 5km radius and visit each other, Victorian health authorities say.
The first positive test in the Casey cluster was recorded two weeks ago, on September 4, and it has since grown to 34 cases.

Jeroen Weimar, head of community engagement and testing at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), said the cluster in Melbourne's south-east was spread across five households.

"We have had to undertake a significant and painstaking contact-tracing exercise to actually get to the bottom of which other households were involved and how those households are connected," he said.

"What we've seen is obviously some normal travel that we would expect people to conduct in order to get the necessary things for life … but we've also seen in this particular cluster visiting of houses beyond the 5km radius."

He said the households were located in the suburbs of Hallam, Clyde, Narre Warren South and Cranbourne North, which are all within the City of Casey local government area.

"In this particular cluster we have had, unfortunately, some members of those households visiting other households," Mr Weimar said.

"It is that limited amount of contact, relatively infrequent contact, between these five households that has now meant that we have 34 people in five houses experiencing or living with a very real threat of the coronavirus."

Family at the centre of major virus outbreak
A family cluster is at the centre of a coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne's south-east, with 34 cases across five households detected.

The households are across Hallam, Clyde, Narre Warren South and Cranbourne North, where people have allegedly breached COVID-19 restrictions by visiting family, some of which were beyond their 5km radius.

"The five houses in this particular cluster have had, unfortunately, some members of those households visiting other households," Jeroen Weimar, a former departmental secretary now responsible for the state's COVID-19 testing strategy said.

"And it is that limited amount of contact, relatively infrequent contact between these five households that has now meant that we have 34 people in five houses experiencing or living with a very real threat of the coronavirus."

The first cases linked to the family cluster were identified on September 4, with a "significant and painstaking" contract-tracing exercise underway.

An incident management team has been set up, with Monash Health and councils City of Dandenong and City of Casey working on the ground to build a "clear picture" on the spread of the virus.

"We have had a series of deep and ongoing conversations with community members and leaders across that wider Casey and Dandenong area," Mr Weimar said.

"We have been talking to youth groups around the Casey and Dandenong area and talking to the entire community to ensure we get the clear message other people.

"Number one, you cannot and should not mix across different households."

"It is not about what gender you are. It fundamentally highlights the fact that this virus knows no boundaries.

"This virus respects no differences between people. It ultimately thrives on close, human contact. And even indirect human contact. And that is exactly what we've seen playing out here."

Family at centre of cluster won't be fined
The coronavirus cluster stemming from the families who breached restrictions will not be fined, Mr Andrews said.

The premier said he did not want the possibility of a fine to deter people from being honest with contact tracers.

"I know many Victorians, when you see examples of people not following the rules, that's disappointing, it makes you angry," he said.

"You need to look at the bigger picture here. We don't want a situation where people don't have a sense of confidence and indeed, you know, the sense they're obliged to tell us the full story as quickly as possible. That's what we need."

Mr Andrews stressed public health was more important than the enforcement of a fine.

"No amount of money would ever be anywhere near how valuable the information that person gives to us, because that means we can get the health problem fixed and then we can get the economic rebuild and repair.

"That's not in the thousands of dollars, it's billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs."

More pop-up testing in Casey and Dandenon
An additional four pop-up testing sites have been set up in the Casey and Dandenong area, with anyone with the mildest of symptoms urged to get tested.

Three of the new testing sites were established on Tuesday, with the fourth centre launched today at the Dandenong market.

A total of 4228 people were tested last week in the area, following the premier's plea to contain the spread of the virus in the city's outer south-east.

"If you feel remote symptoms, in the Casey and Dandenong area, we really want you to come forward and get tested," Mr Weimar said.

"It is the most important thing you can do for yourself. It's the most important thing you can do for your family. It's the most important thing you can do for your community.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp

DHHS is now encouraging anyone in the Casey and Dandenong areas to get tested for coronavirus, even if their symptoms are extremely mild.

More cases could be linked to Casey cluster in coming days
Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said there was a particular focus on testing people who had been to Fountain Gate Shopping Centre.

"We think that most of the cases are linked to contact between these households but there have been visits to Fountain Gate," he said.

"We are not aware of any links at the moment of transmissions in that setting … but it's really more out of caution than genuine concern."

Professor Cheng said 4,228 people had been tested in the Dandenong and Casey areas over the past week.

New testing sites have been opened at the Clyde Recreation Reserve Footy Pavilion, Hallam Secondary College and the Noble Park Rapid Testing Site.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the outbreak had been "challenging" for contact tracers because not all the links were immediately obvious.

He said the outbreak had been "very well handled" but there could still be more cases in coming days.

"It is disappointing but hopefully this is a really, really strong reminder that nobody gets a pass from this, everybody has to follow the rules," Mr Andrews said.

"The rules are in place for a reason, and anyone who undermines these rules undermines entire strategy — and it just means the rules will be on for longer."

Victoria recorded 45 new coronavirus cases and five deaths on Friday.

No new infections were linked to the Casey cluster.

Metropolitan Melbourne's 14-day case average is now sitting at 42.7, which remains within the 30 to 50 range required to move to the next step on September 28.


Casey GP Amena Azizi is worried some people are not getting tested for coronavirus, despite having symptoms or being advised to do so by their GP.

While none of her patients are in that position, she said she had spoken to community members and other GPs who shared her fears.

"People are telling me that some people are actually not going to do the test," she told ABC Radio Melbourne.

"They are sick and they are really sick some of them.

"A few of the GPs actually said we have told them to do COVID-19 [testing] but they are not doing it."

Dr Azizi said one of her patients had a friend who was so sick she was having trouble breathing and was unable to talk on the phone, but still refused to do a test, preferring instead to self-isolate in her room.

Dr Azizi believes some of the concern around testing stems from a fear that a diagnosis would put tougher restrictions on everyone in the household. She thinks GPs should have the ability to involve the police if a patient refuses a test.

"I think some sort of enforcement would be much better but that is my idea, I don't know," she said.

Dr Azizi — who is fluent in Pashto, Persian and Dari and often treats patients from migrant backgrounds — believes a lack of education on the disease could be the problem, rather than language barriers.

"Most of them they can speak [English] very well … but I'm not sure, maybe they don't get what is coronavirus and what is involved," she said.

There's also a fear that teenagers aren't taking the virus seriously and continue to meet up with friends, she said.

Homaira Mershedi is an Afghan community leader in Melbourne and said her community had been unfairly "singled out" over the outbreak.

She said it created a sense of shame that might stop people from getting tested.

"One good thing about the Afghan community is they obey rules, they love rules, because they came from a country that literally had no law," she told ABC Radio Melbourne on Friday morning.

"The majority of the people are obeying the rules. They don’t want to get COVID-19. They care about their elders and the house. A lot of the Afghan community, they live together with their parents."

Earlier this week, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said there was evidence of some community transmission and offered to speak to multicultural groups in the area.

"I have made an offer to personally speak to that community," Professor Sutton said.

"Having been to Afghanistan a couple of times over the years, I want to be able to reflect on my cultural experiences and the fact I know that there are universal motivations that every family has: to do the right thing, to protect their families."

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/other/ca ... d=msedgdhp

Vic homelessness strategy 'poorly planned'
A $45 million plan to reduce homelessness in Victoria is poorly planned and there's no way to measure if it's actually working.

That's the finding of Victoria's Auditor-General Andrew Greaves. He says the Department of Health and Human Services never figured out a way to measure whether the state government's much-touted "action plan" was working as intended.

"Poor planning, a lack of agreed goals and limited performance monitoring mean that some people who could have been housed may still be sleeping rough," Mr Greaves said in a report published on Thursday.

Each year, about 8600 Victorians sleep rough. Victoria spends $92 per person on social housing, well below the national average of $159 per person.

In January 2018, the Andrews Labor government launched a $45 million initiative lauded as a "critical turning point" in tackling homelessness.

It included an more than 100 extra accommodation units and $19 million for additional outreach services.

Mr Greaves report said there had been some successes. But the state's human services department did not have a clear plan about how to implement the program.

It also didn't have the data to figure out how many people were sleeping rough in different areas.

"This means even if it can collect data on rough sleeping now, it cannot make a performance assessment," the auditor-general's office report said.

"(The department) could have worked with homelessness services and local government to find out the numbers of rough sleepers in each location, through development of a 'by name' list'."

The report also flagged governance problems. Bureaucrats did not have to report to the department's board or the public about the program's progress.

"The diminished oversight and accountability for the delivery of (the plan) is concerning given it is described as 'the foundation' of the government's strategy to reduce and prevent homelessness," the auditor-general's report said.

The department has accepted 13 recommendations to fix the problems identified.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/melbourn ... d=msedgdhp

JOB LOSSES
Nestle is slashing jobs at its cereal factory in northern Victoria, but insists the factory has a 'strong future'
Key points:
Nestle will slash 32 jobs at its factory in Wahgunyah in northern Victoria
The company says closing production of its granola cereals and relocating Vita Brits production will ensure the future health of the brands
The town's mayor has called the decision "appalling"

Multinational food giant Nestle insists there is a "strong future" for its breakfast cereal factory in north-eastern Victoria, despite slashing dozens of jobs overnight in what the local mayor calls an act of "utter bastardry".
The company is closing down its production of the Uncle Tobys O&G granola cereals and will relocate the production of Vita Brits to an unknown location.

This means 32 jobs from a workforce of 400 at its Wahgunyah factory will go from the end of this year.

Nestle head of corporate affairs Margaret Stuart said workers would be offered redundancies or outplacements.

"While it's never good news, we've tried to make sure we have a path forward for those who need it," she said.

Job losses a 'massive hit' for small community
But the mayor of the Indigo Shire Jenny O'Connor denounced the move, and called it "appalling" at a time when the local economy was suffering.

The small town on the NSW-Victorian border has been crippled economically since the devastating bushfires earlier this year, throughout COVID-19, and more recently with the state border closures.

Councillor O'Connor said the removal of 32 jobs from the community served a massive hit.

"I don't think Nestle is under any direct threat right now," she said.

"This just shows a complete lack of understanding and care for the communities they are in and the impact that this is going to have.

"To take jobs out of this economy at this time is, I'm sorry to say, [is] an act of utter bastardry."

Nestle insists factory has 'strong future'
The company said the decision was part of a wider, long-term overhaul for the brands, and was not a direct result of pressure from the pandemic.

Ms Stuart said to ensure the health of the company moving forward they needed to focus on its core strengths of oats and ready-to-eat cereal.

"The need for our granola products is very small," she said.

"There's almost none of it in major retailers anymore.

"We're talking to other manufacturers now regarding Vita Brits but until we've got that in place we can't talk about a location."

It is hoped affected staff will be offered redundancy packages and access to outplacement services.

"The important thing to know is if anyone wants to stay there will be a job for them," Ms Stuart said.

"We'll redeploy them elsewhere in the factory — 370 people will still be working there so this factory has a strong future."

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-18/ ... h/12677054

Japan's Inpex, Chevron cut jobs in Australia
Inpex Corp <1605.T> said on Friday it expects to shed jobs at its Ichthys liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Australia due to the slump in oil prices, but did not say how many would go.

The cuts by Japan's biggest oil and gas company mark the latest in a swathe of job cuts across the industry in Australia and worldwide in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has decimated fuel demand and battered prices.

"The low oil price environment has accelerated Inpex Australia undertaking a review of its Operations division to support the future Ichthys LNG operating model. The review will impact various roles across the Operations division," Inpex said in emailed comments.

Inpex operates the $45 billion Ichthys project in Darwin, which shipped its first LNG cargo in 2018. The plant has a capacity of 8.9 million tonnes a year.

"The project continues to maintain smooth and stable production," the company said.

The cuts were first reported by trade publication Energy News Bulletin.

At the same time, Chevron Corp confirmed on Friday it will be cutting jobs in Australia, part of a worldwide cull of up to 15% of its 45,000 employees, which it flagged in May.
Australia will be hit harder than other locations, with around 20% to 30% of its staff to go, a person familiar with the situation said. Upcoming cuts involve 410 workers.

Chevron's operations in Australia have been hit this year by an outage at its giant Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, with the plant facing phased shutdowns of each of its three processing units for weld repairs.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/money/news/in ... d=msedgdhp

LOCKDOWN ELECTION
Melbourne goes postal as it readies for council elections, lockdown-style
<< NO SILLYNESS ABOUT POSTAL VOTING HERE , AND VOTING IS MANDATORY IN COUNCIL, STATE AND FEDERAL ELECTIONS AND UNIVERSIAL ( A RITE OF PASSAGE TO ADULTHOOD ) AND WE REARLY SEE LESS THAN 96% ELIGIBLE CASTING VOTES (ON A SATURDAY = OUR TRADITIONAL POLLING DAY IN AUSTRALIA ) AND IT'S AN ENTIRELY PAPER AND PEN BASED SYSTEM .

Nominations for Victoria’s 76 statewide local government elections opened yesterday and with Melbourne in hard lockdown until at least September 28 it’s going to be a unique fully postal election with campaigning severely limited.

Candidates have until midday Tuesday to nominate ahead of a postal voting period from October 6 to October 24. In the City of Melbourne, Australia’s hardest-hit local government area by COVID-19, we have the bizarre situation of independent Lord Mayor Sally Capp being so focused on the pandemic that she is yet to announce who will be running on her ticket.

Capp is being challenged by Arron Wood, the deputy lord mayor she inherited from her disgraced predecessor Robert Doyle. Wood has shrugged off his association with Doyle and is pitching to the business community, which has a unique gerrymander in that each non-residential ratepayer or commercial renter is given two votes.

Burning questions: why has the pandemic hit so much harder in Victoria?
Read more >
Wood is also enjoying support coming from Team Doyle’s most reliable media backers, News Corp’s Herald Sun and 3AW’s Neil Mitchell, the Melbourne powerbroker who persuaded Doyle to first run for lord mayor in 2008.

The Greens are usually good for more than 20% of the City of Melbourne vote but Labor is running its first official City of Melbourne ticket in decades, led by Slater and Gordon lobbyist Phil Reed.

Labor aims to get at least one and possibly two of the nine councillor positions and then support Capp’s reelection, provided she does indeed have Labor heavyweight and current planning committee chair Nicholas Reece as her deputy.

Reece, a former Victorian Labor state secretary and Julia Gillard prime ministerial staffer well known for his Sky News appearances, was sponsored into town hall by Doyle but quickly pivoted to backing Capp’s run at the top job once Doyle fell over.

Capp is a former Liberal Party member but pitches herself as “sensible Sally in the centre” as she is also the niece of Keating-era federal minister Ros Kelly. She got her major break when sponsored by Eddie McGuire as the first female director of the Collingwood Football Club, and was later appointed by then premier John Brumby as Victoria’s first female agent-general in London.

Wood is a full-throated environmentalist who hates coal, backs the climate emergency campaign and pushes hard for renewables. Bob Brown even wrote the forward to his book, Billabong Boy.

However, he senses that Capp — a former CEO of both the Property Council and the Committee for Melbourne — is vulnerable on her right flank courtesy of the association with Reece and her collaboration with the two City of Melbourne Greens councillors on a range of policy fronts such as inclusionary zoning and prioritising bikes over cars.

There have been a number of bizarre News Corp claims (including this one from Robert Gottliebsen in The Australian) that anger over the lockdown will wipe out a generation of Labor councillors.

The only problem with this is that, unlike in New South Wales, Labor doesn’t have a big history of formally endorsing candidates in Victorian local government elections and the Liberals/Nationals haven’t done so in many decades, leaving supporters with no guidance on who to vote for and no alternative to the often unbranded Labor candidates.

The biggest worry in these elections is actually that candidate numbers will be down due to the pandemic and we will be left with more blokey, low-calibre councils.

Contributing to this phenomenon of reduced candidate numbers is the new requirement — effectively a barrier to entry — for candidates to conduct “online training”. (I’m having a run in suburban Manningham and the training took about half an hour to complete before generating this completion certificate.)

Even incumbent councillors, right up to the lord mayor, cannot nominate unless they complete the online training. Imagine if state and federal MPs were forced to do this.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australi ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys
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Posts: 12449
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