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 » Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:56 am


NSW records six new cases of coronavirus, all but one in hotel quarantine
NSW has recorded six new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours and the only case of local transmission was already in isolation.

Five of the new cases are returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

One was a household contact of a previous case who attended Liverpool Hospital and they were already self-isolating.

Just one new locally acquired case in NSW
There have been no cases of coronavirus detected in NSW in the past 24 hours in residents out in the community.

Six new cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in the last 24 hours with five identified as returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine. ... 1471307777
The sixth cases is linked to a known case who attended Liverpool Hospital, bringing the total number of cases linked to the cluster to 21.

The new case has been in isolation during their infectious period.

There is a total of 85 active cases being treated by NSW Health including four currently in ICU.

Today's figures indicate a drop in the number of cases of community transmission, with two recorded yesterday and four on Wednesday.

"While the number of locally acquired cases has been low in the last few days, the virus is still circulating in the community," Dr Jeremy McAnulty said.

"As such, the risk of outbreaks and a resurgence of cases remains and it is vital anyone who has even mild symptoms are tested for the virus."

New South Wales is slowly beginning to ease restrictions as a result of declining case numbers.

The state's Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, yesterday announced the border region between NSW and Victoria would be expanded to include some areas around Pleasant Hills, Lockhart, Benalla, Bright and Mount Beauty.

"Any person with an existing border region permit will be able to take advantage of these changes, which we hope will make day to day life a lot easier for border communities," NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said. ... d=msedgdhp

There are now 21 cases linked to the hospital in Sydney's west.

Almost 17,000 tests were completed in the reporting period, compared to 20,411 the previous day.

NSW has now conducted over 2.5 million tests, according to NSW Health's Jeremy McAnulty.

"Which is great news," he said.

New South Wales has recorded six new COVID-19 cases
New South Wales Health warned the low numbers were no excuse for people to become complacent with the virus.

'While the number of locally acquired cases recorded in the past 24 hours is low, the virus is likely circulating among people in the community with mild symptoms,' the department said.

'As such, the risk of outbreaks and a resurgence of cases remains.

'It’s vital that everyone who does have the virus is tested and diagnosed, in order to stop further spread to others.'

Four people are currently being treated in the intensive care unit with two of them placed on ventilators.

'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,' the department warned.

Five cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the state on Thursday.

One of the cases had attended the Eastern Suburbs Legion Club in Waverley in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

Diners who attended a Thai restaurant in Casula in Sydney's south-west were also urged to get tested immediately.

Consistently low COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks has encouraged the state government to make a number of rollbacks on restrictions.

State premier Gladys Berejiklian has 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. ... d=msedgdhp

Further testing is underway in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District after a resident tested positive initially but returned a negative result in a second test.

"NSW Health is taking a cautious approach and the individual and close contacts will remain in isolation, while further testing is undertaken," a statement said.

Dr McAnulty said while the number of locally acquired cases remained very low in NSW, the virus was likely still silently circulating in the community.

"As such, the risk of outbreaks and a resurgence of cases remains," he said.

The Queensland Government today rejected NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian's claim that talks with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk about reopening the border had ground to a halt.

Queensland Health Minister Stephen Miles sought to reassure the public there was "strong ongoing collaboration" between the states.

"As there needs to be, we share a highly populated border."

He declined to comment on the personal relationship between Ms Berejiklian and Ms Palaszczuk but said communication certainly had not stalled.

"I know that [Queensland Chief Health Officer] Jeannette Young speaks with the NSW Chief Health Officer pretty much every day.

"And I speak with the NSW Health Minister on most days as well."

This morning Queensland announced it would reopen its border to the Australian Capital Territory next Friday but NSW would remain a hotspot. ... d=msedgdhp

NSW records six new cases as 7 in 10 jobs lost during pandemic restored
NSW recorded six new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, with just one case of local transmission.

It comes as NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet says 70 % of jobs lost in the pandemic have been restored, but Sydney had been hit hardest by restrictions.

"Trade is down in certain areas by around 90 %," he told 2GB on Friday morning.

Five of the new cases recorded to 8pm on Thursday in NSW were in returned overseas travellers.

The 1 locally acquired case was linked to a previous case who had attended Liverpool Hospital, and that person had already been self isolating.

Queensland will reopen its border to the ACT from October 2, but people will have to fly from Canberra as the whole of NSW remains a hotspot according to the Queensland government.

NSW fared well in Thursday's unemployment figures, with the rate dropping from 7.2 % to 6.7 % in August, just below the national average of 6.8 %. ... d=msedgdhp

Below is a list of locations linked to NSW coronavirus clusters, and what to do if you have been to one of them.

Immediately self-isolate and get tested
If you have been to the below locations, you must immediately self-isolate and get a coronavirus test. You must remain in quarantine for the full two weeks even if the test returns a negative result.

Ashfield, The Crocodile Farm Hotel: 5:30pm-6:30pm Friday September 4 (Anyone who attended for at least one hour must immediately get tested for COVID-19 and self-isolate for 14 days since they were there, even if a negative test result is received. People who were there for less than an hour at these times must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.)
Ashfield, New Shanghai Night restaurant: 6:30pm-8pm on Friday September 4 (Anyone who attended for at least one hour must immediately get tested for COVID-19 and self-isolate for 14 days since they were there, even if a negative test result is received. People who were there for less than an hour at these times must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.)
Oatlands Golf Club: The Bavarian Night Dinner in the Bistro on Bettington main dining room between 6.30pm and 8.30pm on Friday September 4
Parramatta, Albion Hotel (Beer Garden and Pavillion): 8:15pm-11:15pm on Saturday September 5 (Anyone who attended for at least one hour must immediately get tested for COVID-19 and self-isolate for 14 days since they were there, even if a negative test result is received. People who were there for less than an hour at these times must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.)
Sydney, Hyde Park Medical Centre: Monday August 24 -Saturday September 5 (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 for COVID-19 immediately and self-isolate until a negative result is received. If you are contacted by NSW Health and identified as a close contact you must immediately self-isolate for 14 days and stay isolated for the entire period, even if a negative test result is received. Anyone else who visited should monitor for symptoms and get tested for COVID-19 if they have even the slightest symptoms, and self-isolate until a negative result is received.)
Waverley, Eastern Suburbs Legion Club: Tuesday September 1, Friday September 4, Saturday September 5, Sunday September 6, Monday September 7. (Anyone who attended the Legion Club on these days are considered to be a close contact and must immediately get tested and self-isolate for 14 days regardless of the result. Anyone who attended the Legion Club from 5pm to 6:30pm on Friday 28 August must immediately get tested and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.)
Monitor for symptoms
Casula, Anytime Fitness: 10:15am-12pm on Friday September 11
Casula, Five Stars Thaitanic: 4:20pm-5:20pm on Saturday September 12
Clovelly Hotel: 12.45pm-1.45pm on Saturday September 5
Concord, KFC: 1pm-1:20pm on Sunday September 5
Croydon Park Pharmacy: 1pm-2pm on Thursday September 3
Emerton, KFC: 12pm-9:30pm on Monday September 7 (Customers who attended during this time should monitor for symptoms and, if they develop, immediately get tested and self-isolate. Some staff are close contacts and have been contacted directly to get to get tested and self-isolate for 14 days.)
Hunters Hill Bowling Club: 6:50pm-9pm on Tuesday September 8 (Any person identified as a close contact will be contacted by NSW Health )
Katoomba Sports and Aquatic Centre: 11:30am-1:30pm on Friday September 4
Lawson Oval: 10:30am-12:45pm on Sunday September 13 (Any person identified as a close contact will be contacted by NSW Health)
Lawson Oval: 10:30am-12:45pm on Sunday September 13 (Any person identified as a close contact will be contacted by NSW Health)
Liverpool, The Railway Hotel: 11:30am-1:30pm on Monday August 31
Maroubra, Fitness First: 8am-2pm on Saturday September 5
JB Hi-FI Penrith Plaza: 4pm-4:30pm on Sunday September 13
Putney, Charles St Kitchen: 10:45am-11:30am on Saturday September 5
Rouse Hill Town Centre: Including Rouse Hill Target, 12.30pm-1.30pm on Saturday September 5
Springwood Sports Club: 1pm-2pm on Saturday September 12
Stanhope Gardens, Stanhope Village Shopping Centre (including Kmart): 8:30am-9:30am on Monday September 7
Wahroonga, Missing Spoon Cafe: 4.45pm-5.30pm Saturday September 5
West Ryde, Eastwood Ryde Netball Association: 12.15pm- 1.30pm on Saturday September 5 (Some people who attended were close contacts and have been contacted directly to get tested and self-isolate for 14 days)
Woolloomooloo, China Doll Restaurant: 6:30pm-10pm on Thursday September 3
Sydney bus and train routes: Passengers have been asked to monitor for symptoms if they travelled on a number bus or train routes. See the full list here, or in the table above. ... 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 Sicko
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Sep 18, 2020 9:03 am


Queensland records no new cases of coronavirus overnight as border restrictions set to be eased with ACT
Queensland will reopen its border to Canberrans, who will be able to fly into the Sunshine State from next Friday, Health Minister Steven Miles says.

Following discussions with the ACT's airport and Chief Minister, Mr Miles said restrictions would ease at 1:00am next Friday, to coincide with the territory's school holidays.

"This is great news for the ACT and is recognition for the fact that they have been sometime without any cases," he said.

"We've been saying for some time now that for Queenslanders, Queensland is good to go, well now for Canberrans, Queensland is good to come.

"Now is the time we would urge them [Canberrans] to start thinking about coming up to Queensland for a holiday."

Queensland recorded no new cases overnight after 5,751 tests, with just 25 active cases in the state.

The state's total since the outbreak began remains at 1,150.

Mr Miles said it had now been eight days since they consider an infectious person was out in the community.

"Obviously we would hope to continue to see no new cases or only new cases in quarantine, up to that 14-day period, at which time we can consider lifting restrictions," he said.

He said the progress is in stark contrast to the growing second wave of cases in Europe and increasing deaths in Victoria.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said another day of no new cases was good news but it was still too early to relax.

She said precautions would also be in place to prevent cases travelling to Queensland from New South Wales through the ACT.

"Anyone who goes from New South Wales to Canberra will need to wait for 14 days before they can come to Queensland," she said.

She said travellers will not need to quarantine in the ACT, but would have to show they had not been in a declared hotspot in the previous 14 days.

New South Wales and Victoria are both still declared hot spots.

Dr Young said all travellers to Queensland would have to fly into the state and could not drive from Canberra as they would then enter New South Wales, a COVID hotspot.

She said she was also hopeful, if no more cases were recorded in the community over the next week, restrictions over Brisbane and Ipswich on gatherings and aged care visits could be lifted.

Hervey Bay sewage detection
Mr Miles said sewage testing in the Hervey Bay region had found very low levels of viral fragments of COVID-19 in waste water.

He said the local health service would take the "necessary steps" to identify if there had been any community transmission.

"There is no reason at all to panic," he said.

"We are letting people know we have those results and that there may be some activity from the public health union there."

Dr Young said sewage testing would continue across the state.

"We are picking up virus every so often, we're not sure at this point in time what that really means," she said.

"We're taking, of course, a very cautious approach to that and wherever we're finding virus, we're asking people to come out and get tested so that we make sure we don't have community transmission.

"We know you can shed virus for a long, long time but we don't want to ignore the fact that perhaps, maybe, that virus is there in the sewage due to a recent infection." ... d=msedgdhp

Queensland to allow DIRECT AIR TRAVEL ONLY from ACT in time for school holidays
Queensland will allow travellers from the ACT to enter the state from next Friday as it insists its relationship with NSW has not broken down completely.

Queensland recorded no new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, leaving the state's total at 1150, with 25 remaining active.

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said after a "lot of work" between health officials in Queensland and the ACT, they were comfortable with allowing people to enter from the Canberra region.

Mr Miles said the opening, from 1am on Friday, September 25, was timed to coincide with the ACT school holidays and he encouraged people in the ACT to consider taking a holiday in Queensland.

"We've been saying for some time now that for Queenslanders, Queensland is good to go, well now for Canberrans, Queensland is good to come," he said.

"Now is the time we would urge them [Canberrans] to start thinking about coming up to Queensland for a holiday."

A key part of the move to allow travel from the ACT is that people travelling from the capital territory be able to prove they have not come directly from a coronavirus hotspot.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said NSW was still considered a hotspot, meaning travellers from the ACT would have to fly to Queensland, rather than drive.

"They cannot drive because if they drive, they will be driving through a hotspot," Dr Young said.

"[This] has been sorted because of the work that has been done between Queensland and the ACT, so anyone who goes from NSW to Canberra will need to wait for 14 days before they can come to Queensland."

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the border easing with the ACT was good news that came too late for many who had already tried to enter Queensland.

Ms Frecklington referenced the recent case of Sarah Caisip, who came to Queensland from Canberra to attend her father's funeral but was forced to spend two weeks in quarantine.

"The Palaszczuk Labor government needs to demonstrate a lot more consistency, compassion and common sense when it comes to border controls and exemptions," Ms Frecklington said.

"There hasn't been a coronavirus case in the ACT for months."

Ms Caisip was permitted to privately view her father's body with full PPE and social distancing in force.

Ms Caisip's stepsister Alexandra Prendergast wrote a scathing letter to the Prime Minister, saying he had politicised her father's funeral, after Scott Morrison raised the issue with the Premier before calling in to talk radio station 4BC to highlight the matter.

Mr Miles has played down suggestions NSW and Queensland are "not talking" after their respective leaders traded barbs for weeks.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she had stopped talking to her Queensland counterpart, Annastacia Palaszczuk, after the pair traded barbs through the media on several occasions during the pandemic.

"With Queensland, the door is locked, bolted and no conversations are continuing, unfortunately," Ms Berejiklian said on Thursday.

But Mr Miles played down any ill-feeling on Friday, saying the states had a good working relationship.

"I'm not going to comment on those personal relationships. I do know that our Chief Health Officer speaks with the NSW Chief Health Officer pretty much every day," he said.

"I speak with the NSW Health Minister most days as well, so there is good and strong ongoing collaboration between the two states."

NSW has repeatedly urged Queensland to lift its hard border preventing people from NSW travelling to Queensland.

Queensland is considering a policy change that would require NSW to go just 14 days without community transmission of COVID-19, rather than the current 28 days, to trigger a border reopening.

However national medical professionals have backed the 28-day threshold, saying it is best practice and ensures no unnecessary transmission of the virus. ... d=msedgdhp

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will open Queensland borders to the ACT
Queensland will open its borders to the ACT after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was slammed for denying a Canberra nurse the opportunity to attend her father's funeral in Brisbane.

Residents from the ACT will be allowed to enter Queensland via air from 1am on September 25, the premier announced on Friday.

'I have spoken with Chief Minister Andrew Barr to confirm the ACT will be removed as a hotspot,' Ms Palaszczuk said.

Ms Palaszczuk said Canberrans will only be allowed into the Sunshine State if they haven't visited a declared hotspot in the past 14 days.

'We'll work with ACT authorities to make sure appropriate checks are in place at Canberra Airport for people flying into Queensland,' Ms Palaszczuk said.

'This is another step towards ensuring Queensland's economy rebounds, not the virus.'

Health Minister Steven Miles encouraged ACT residents to choose Queensland for their next holiday.

'Queensland is good to go,' he said.

'This is time to coincide with the school holidays in the ACT. A great chance to come and visit friends and relatives, go to the reef, go to one of our wonderful tourism hotspots.

'This is great news for the ACT and recognition for the fact that they have been sometime without any cases.'

No coronavirus cases were recorded in the Sunshine State overnight and it has been eight days since it had a case of community transmission.

The easing of border controls comes after Sarah Caisip, a 26-year-old Canberra nurse, was denied a permit from the Queensland government to enter the state to see her dying father, even though the ACT has been COVID-19-free since July 10.

Health officials stopped Ms Caisip from leaving her Brisbane hotel quarantine last week to grieve with her 11-year-old sister Isobel Prendergast and her mother Myrna Prendergast.

She was only allowed to view her father's body 20 minutes after the funeral dressed in personal protective equipment.

On Thursday, the ACT marked ten weeks without a new coronavirus infection.

New South Wales and Victoria remain COVID-19 hotspots in the eyes of the Queensland government. ... d=msedgdhp

Prediction Queensland borders to reopen to NSW 'within weeks'
One of the country's leading tourism figures has made a bold prediction that Queensland's borders will open to New South Wales within weeks.

Flight Centre boss Graham Turner says that with the rest of the country opening up, Annastacia Palaszczuk will be left with no other choice but to do the same or be left isolated.

"I'm pretty sure that the borders, the NSW border with Queensland, will open within the next three or four weeks," Mr Turner told Today.

"I don't know that for sure. But it seems logical.

"The only thing that will stop it, I believe, is a serious outbreak in NSW somewhere."

But Ms Palaszczuk is standing firm, saying any border reviews will be done at the end of each month.

The issue is set to be discussed at National Cabinet today, where the Queensland premier will speak despite her recent coronavirus scare.

Ms Palaszczuk tested negative for COVID-19 after complaining of having a croaky voice.

But she has come under fire for ignoring her own health advice by going for that test well and truly after symptoms had presented, and not self-isolating.

On Monday evening the premier complained of having a croaky voice but on Tuesday she attended the funeral of friend and former MP Tim Mulherin.

On Wednesday she was out and about with the public in Bundaberg and eventually had the COVID test that night.

Yesterday the results came back negative. Her office insists Ms Palaszczuk suffers from voice strain. ... d=msedgdhp

Brisbane, Cairns, Gladstone flagged as potential hotel quarantine hubs for international travellers returning to Australia
ueensland has agreed to take in another 500 returning Australian travellers per week after an agreement was reached at National Cabinet.

The Sunshine State has signed on to gradually increase its capacity of international travellers over the next fortnight to a total of 1,000 people per week by early October.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she had been touched by the stories of Queenslanders stranded overseas and struggling to get home.

"This is heartbreaking to hear the stories of people trapped overseas — Queenslanders trapped overseas," she said.

"We know that the virus is spreading in some of these countries.

"I understand the desperation of mums and dads wanting their kids to come home."

The first phase of the increased intake would see another 200 people accepted per week by September 27, with that number increased to 500 people by October 4.

It would bring the total capacity to 1,000 passengers accepted into Queensland each week.

Returning overseas travellers would still be required to hotel quarantine at their own expense for 14 days.

But the Premier said Queensland would have to bear some increased cost through mandatory testing and other required health responses.

Ms Palaszczuk said she would be speaking with hotels in Brisbane, Cairns and Gladstone to see what regions could take in more travellers.

'We have to get this right'
"The next week gives us time to speak to hotel chains out there," the Premier said.

"We know the Cairns economy has been doing it quite tough."

The responsibility for enforcing quarantine restrictions at hotels would be shared between Queensland police and the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Ms Palaszczuk said Prime Minister Scott Morrison had given a commitment to provide additional ADF resources.

"We have to get this right," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"No-one wants to see what's happened in Victoria happen anywhere else.

"We've got a large number of cases happening overseas where COVID is more prevalent, so there is a higher risk." ... d=msedgdhp

Palaszczuk called out after failing to follow own health advice
Medical cannabis companies cleared for London stock market
Jett Kenny is spotted for first time following the death sister Jaimi

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been accused of failing to follow her own health advice after attending a multitude of high-profile events.

The Courier Mail has reported the premier attended the string of events, which included a funeral, even after admitting she had lost her voice.

On Wednesday Ms Palaszczuk underwent a test for COVID-19 which came back negative, while her office assured she was not displaying symptoms when she attended the funeral.

The PR Counsel’s Kristy McSweeney commented, “you have to walk your talk … she is not taking the advice that everybody else has to adhere to.”


Timeline shows Nathan Turner’s family left in isolation even after he tested negative
Nathan Turner was reported as the youngest Australian to die from COVID-19, a claim which turned out to be false after Mr Turner tested negative multiple times after dying.

“(The timeline) shows that the Queensland health department knew this bloke was not COVID positive for days and days and days, yet his family was in isolation and the public were in fear of what had happened,” Mr Murray said.

“I get it, false positive will exist, but the idea that we don’t have technology that can instantly report this, and I understand they want to be doubly sure.

“By Friday they knew, on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday they left that town in fear and that family locked up so they could point fingers and make some comments about a nurse who wasn’t affiliated with the right union.” ... d=msedgdhp

Pauline Hanson takes credit for $23m Coalition grant to build 16,000-seat stadium in Rockhampton
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has personally taken credit for a $23m taxpayer-funded federal grant to build a stadium in Rockhampton, announcing the government’s decision to fund it with a novelty cheque bearing her face.

In a Facebook post showing her delivering the cheque to the Rocky Sports Club on Monday, Hanson cites dinner with prime minister Scott Morrison and finance minister Mathias Cormann last September as evidence her lobbying won the funds.

The decision was announced jointly with the Nationals MP Michelle Landry, who described it as an LNP government commitment and later hit back at “naysayers and trolls who said I had nothing to do with the Rocky Stadium”.

Labor senator Murray Watt has blasted the “jointly arranged announcements” which he said “show the Morrison government is willing to use $23m of taxpayers’ funds to help Hanson and the LNP campaign together for the Queensland state election”.

Both Hanson and Landry have used the federal money to boost their parties’ candidates for the Queensland election on 31 October.

Related: 'Hate is cheap,' Melbourne tower resident says after Pauline Hanson's stubby holder stunt

Rocky Sports Club co-founder, Gavin Shuker, said that Hanson and Landry had both been behind the project since it was proposed three years ago and it “wouldn’t have happened” without them.

“Pauline was lobbying Mathias Cormann and talking to the prime minister and Michelle was doing her thing,” he told Guardian Australia.

“It’s pretty unusual, but they’ve secured the money somehow.”

Shuker said the pair attended a presentation together on Monday, with media advisers organising for Hanson to speak first and Landry second.

Despite the joint announcement, only Hanson had the frivolous idea to print a novelty cheque.

The cheque purports to be from the “Australian Federal Parliament” rather than the federal government.

Landry, by contrast, posted a video and several photos including one showing LNP candidate Tony Hopkins was present at the announcement.

It was a novelty cheque with Liberal candidate for Mayo Georgina Downer’s face on it that sparked an audit office inquiry into the community sport infrastructure grant program, eventually causing then sports minister Bridget McKenzie to resign over a conflict of interest.

A spokesperson for the deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, explained the federal government has committed “up to $23m” towards the Rockhampton stadium, to be delivered through the community development grants program.

The program allows one-off grants that are not open to competitive applications, although they must meet basic guidelines including a requirement to undergo an assessment the project cost is value for money.

Labor has previously complained that vehicles for one-off grants such as the community development grants program have no meaningful checks to prevent partisan distribution of funds.

Watt told Guardian Australia: “If anyone needed further proof that the LNP and One Nation are cut from the same cloth this is it.

“It’s disappointing that Scott Morrison and Pauline Hanson continue to play politics, arm in arm.

“Pauline Hanson votes with the government the overwhelming majority of the time in the Senate. It makes sense that she’d now be making funding announcements with them.

“The government needs to explain what arrangement they have come to with Pauline Hanson regarding the announcement of taxpayers’ funds.”

Both McCormack and Landry’s spokespersons said questions around the novelty cheque should be directed to Hanson.

“I did ask if I can take this down to the National Australia Bank and was told ‘it’ll probably bounce’ – I reckon it will bounce for certain,” Shuker said.

He said the grant has not actually been delivered yet, but funding is guaranteed contingent on local approvals and contracts being signed. The club aims to complete approvals by April to deliver the project by February 2021.

A spokesperson for Cormann said the government had committed to fund “a new iconic landmark for central Queensland” after “representations from a range of local stakeholders”.

“The government receives representations from local MPs and senators in support of potential local infrastructure projects on a regular basis,” she said.

“We always engage constructively with all local members of parliament making representations to the government on behalf of their electorates.”

Hanson has used the stadium grant to promote One Nation’s Keppel candidate, Wade Rothery. In a Facebook video with her chief of staff, James Ashby, Hanson said Rothery had brought the project to her attention about two years ago.

Related: Pauline Hanson charged taxpayers for three-day Perth fundraising spree

Rockhampton – a city of 80,000 people – will get a stadium with the same capacity as some professional league grounds, despite hosting no team in the NRL, AFL, or A-League.

The new Rocky Stadium will have capacity for 16,000, the same as Canberra’s Manuka Oval, which hosts cricket and AFL games.

Hanson said Rockhampton needed a stadium of that size because the city lost the opportunity to host an Elton John concert because they didn’t have a big enough venue.

She also took aim at “this Labor government” – accusing the Palaszczuk government of neglecting central Queensland.

Shuker denied the grant had anything to do with the election.

“[Hanson and Landry] are just fighting for something for the community, it’s not about election promises,” he said

“We’ve got a state election coming up but it’s federal money – it’s got nothing to do with election promises.

“I tip my hat to both of them, for thinking about the community.”

Guardian Australia contacted Hanson and Morrison for comment. ... d=msedgdhp

Tasmania to consider opening borders to some states before the end of October
The Tasmanian Government will consider bringing forward the date for easing coronavirus border restrictions to the end of October.

Premier Peter Gutwein said travellers from WA, SA, QLD the NT, ACT and possibly NSW may be able to enter the state, if approved by the State Controller, earlier than December 1 — the previous date the Tasmanian Government had been sticking to.

"We are not declaring that we will open early [but] I think there is a good chance we would be able to open towards the end of the month [of October]," he said.

"Obviously the circumstances of each of those jurisdictions will be what will inform our decision, as well as our health preparedness, our aged care preparedness as well.

"The national aspiration is for the country to be open by Christmas, we will share that aspiration, but again, we won't put Tasmanians at risk,"

Mr Gutwein said he expected to have advice from the state controller on re-opening the border "over coming weeks."

Mr Gutwein also said Tasmania wasn't in a position to receive flights including Australians returning from overseas because it didn't have an international airport.

He said his Government would make a financial contribution to flights into other states and, if required, would work with the Commonwealth on "bespoke options" such as emergency charter flights into Tasmania.

Mr Gutwein also announced crowd capacity at outdoor venues such as sporting grounds would increase from 500 to 1000 from September 25, as long as COVID-19 safety plans were in place.

From next week, seasonal workers would also be allowed to enter the state under "COVID-safe conditions" to help on the state’s farms.

Tasmanian FIFO workers in low-risk jurisdictions would also be allowed to come home without having to quarantine.

That's welcome news for the Wickham family — since March, Clint Wickham has spent 97 days at work and 57 in quarantine.

The father of two young children works away in South Australia and trips home to Tasmania have meant quarantine.

"He's isolated at work and he's isolated when he comes home, it's no life for anyone," his wife Caitlyn Wickham said.

"It will be nice to have a normal life again, or somewhat of a normal life.

"We've got our fingers and toes crossed that this will go ahead and allow so many to come home and spend time with their family."

Public health chief urges more Tasmanians to get tested
Tasmania's public health department has reported a 10 per cent drop in testing in recent weeks, down from the average of 530 tests a day since May.

"We need to maintain the good levels of testing so we can be absolutely confident that COVID is not circulating in Tasmania," said the State's director of Public Health, Dr Mark Veitch.

"I can't tell you that there's no coronavirus in Tasmania today. I think its fairly unlikely, but I can't tell you for sure.

"But I know that if we keep up our testing and in two weeks time we haven't made any diagnoses, then I'll be confident." ... d=msedgdhp

West Coast proves a drawcard for Tasmanians amid coronavirus border closure
The Pieman River barge at Corinna is "up nearly 20 vehicles a day".
At Corinna on Tasmania's ruggedly beautiful West Coast the only way to get across the Pieman River in a car is to drive on to the bold yellow barge and be ferried to the other side.

The isolated spot has been a drawcard for Tasmanians who have been heading there in larger numbers than normal while the state's borders remain closed until December.

Peter Stewart from Corinna Wilderness Experience said some nights the accommodation was booked out.

"I think on average we're 300-400 per cent up," he said.

"Our cruise is definitely up and our barge traffic up."

September was usually a quiet month for the barge, averaging just two to six passengers a day.

"This September we're up nearly 20 vehicles a day," Mr Stewart said.

"If it's happening around Tassie it's going to stimulate the economy, which is what we badly need at the moment."

Further south, Morrison's Huon Pine Sawmill in Strahan recently reopened after closing when coronavirus restrictions began in March.

Owner Kellie Morrison said it was great to have people coming through.

"We've been really pleased with the Tasmanian visitors here to Strahan," she said.

"It's overwhelming because we didn't expect it to be quite as busy as what it's been."

The West Coast Wilderness Railway will start running between Strahan and Queenstown again on September 22.

The operators had planned to run on their winter timetable of three days a week but increased to six days to meet demand.

Staff member Kristy Bonney said the train would have reduced capacity to allow for social distancing.

"A lot of our passengers normally would be from interstate or overseas," she said.

"Tasmanians have really taken the opportunity to travel and just jumped onboard. It's been amazing."

Gordon River Cruises general manager Geoff Eyers said Tasmanians were taking advantage of being stuck in the state while borders were closed.

"Lots of people would normally be travelling to Queensland or heading overseas," he said.

"Obviously at the moment they can't do that so they're travelling in Tasmania.

"It's been remarkable, it's been so much better than we thought it would."

The border closure was making it difficult for some operators to find staff ahead of the peak season as they usually rely on backpackers.

"At this stage we're just going with our normal winter crew," Mr Eyers said.

"If we get busier then we'll definitely recruit." ... d=msedgdhp

Tasmanian islands flights a 'lifeline' for tourism operators struggling amid COVID-19
There will be three flights a week to Flinders Island, known for its stunning scenery.
The first regular passenger flights between Hobart and King and Flinders Islands will start operating by the end of the month to help businesses struggling with COVID-19 border closures.

A round trip from Hobart and Launceston will cost travellers about $480.

There will be an additional three flights a week from Hobart to King and Flinders Islands, on top of the existing service.

The State Government has reached an agreement with the flight operator Sharp Airlines to underwrite flights at less than 70 per cent capacity.

King Island mayor Julie Arnold said the service would be a "huge lifeline" for struggling tourism operators.

She said 90 per cent of their business came from Victoria as flights from Melbourne were much cheaper.

"[The accommodation numbers have] been dire," Ms Arnold said.

"We have had, once the borders closed, no market.

"If there's no tourists, there's no accommodation and that has been the situation for us."

The 18-seater planes will take off on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and will run on a trial basis from September 30.

Councils will contribute by waiving landing fees.

Tourism Tasmania CEO John Fitzgerald said it would create new travel opportunities for locals.

"The Government is prepared to support the flights, but we want to get to 70 per cent and we think we can because we know Tasmanians on the mainland of the island want to get to our Bass Strait islands," Mr Fitzgerald said.

One of King Island's major attractions, the Cape Wickham golf course, has been open for locals to play throughout the pandemic, but its accommodation and restaurant have been closed since March.

Course superintendent John Geary is hopeful the new flights can be extended beyond the four-month trial period and become permanent.

"We certainly hope this isn't just for the COVID period. There is a lot on offer on King Island and we'd like to see mainland Tassie people over here as much as possible," he said


On ABC Hobart’s Facebook page, social media users reacted enthusiastically.

"Would love to go to Flinders and King Island," one follower wrote.

But others questioned the price.

"Would have [visited] but not at that price," one woman wrote.

"Unless the price of flights come down a bit I doubt we will be going," another echoed.

"Family of five is a bit expensive!" ... d=msedgdhp

Warnings issues as South Australia prepares to open NSW border
South Australians have been warned to take extra health precautions as the state prepares to open its border with New South Wales.

Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier has warned that the open border does not mean COVID-19 health restrictions can be abandoned.

"It's not a matter of everybody just do what they want and dining together and all going out and having a great time on the cricket pitch," she said.

"There are very, very strict rules associated with this."

Premier Steven Marshall has confirmed the borders could open as soon as Tuesday.

NSW has had 10 days without community transmission, and after 14 the criteria for opening the border will be met.

"I do encourage people if they are flying to wear those masks and wear that in a safe manner during the length of that flight," Professor Spurrier said.

The thousands arriving into South Australia from NSW won't have to quarantine, but hosts have also been given a message.

"If (visitors) get sick in South Australia, I want you to tell them that it is really easy to get tested here," Professor Spurrier said.

Among the new arrivals will be eight members of the Australian cricket team, who are set to touch down this evening and head to the Adelaide Oval Hotel. ... d=msedgdhp

Class action could be taken against Victorian and SA governments over COVID-19 border travel restrictions
The Victorian and South Australian governments could face a legal challenge for compensation from hundreds of agribusinesses and farmers affected by border and travel restrictions.

It is understood the potential class action is the first of its type to be flagged in Australia regarding restricted commerce across state borders due to the pandemic.

A regional Victorian legal firm said potentially hundreds of agribusinesses and farmers straddling the Victorian-South Australia border could be part of a potential class action for compensation.

Warrnambool-based firm Maddens Lawyers has called for people to register their interest for a potential class action against the Victorian and South Australian governments.

Class action principal with Maddens Lawyers, Brendan Pendergast, said border closures and travel restrictions were having a significant impact on agribusinesses, farmers and businesses relying on cross-border trade.

"It's an important and significant issue. And we would like to hear from people to register with us so that we can get a better profile picture of the full extent of the impact," Mr Pendergast said.

"It could well be hundreds of people affected."

SA and Vic governments face possible legal action
Mr Pendergast said compensation could potentially come from both the South Australian and Victorian governments.

"The respective governments are obviously in our purview," he said.

He said the call-out for people to come forward with their stories would determine whether a class action for compensation could be taken.

Mr Pendergast said a cluster of businesses had already shown interest since his law firm earlier this week called for people to register their interest.

He said those people included farmers, who could not travel across borders to attend to properties, or contractors who needed to weave across state borders for work.

"If there's a joining of forces and a coordinated approach, it takes the pressure and the stress off of each individual so we would encourage anyone impacted to register online with us and we will work to give them advice and develop a plan of attack," Mr Pendergast said.

Freedom of trade an 'important guarantee in constitution'
While it was "early days" into their investigations, he said the Australian Constitution underpinned trade across state borders.

"One of the very important guarantees in our federal constitution is the freedom of trade and enterprise across state borders, so that's the platform upon which we will commence looking at this," Mr Pendergast said.

"This is an area of litigation and legal practice that we're actively involved in."

Mr Pendergast said his firm had a track record in class action and constitutional matters.

"Although I have been to the High Court of Australia under Section 92 question involving imposition of road tax on transport operator that was many years ago, but it's that same section of the Constitution which seems to be irrelevant and critical in considering what we're what we're looking at now," he said.

Mr Pendergast said his firm would be the first potential class action regarding restricted commerce from border closures in Australia.

Bordertown agribusiness operator, Vaughn Colwill, dealer principal with Wickham Flower and Co, said border travel restrictions were impacting heavily on businesses that operated in cross-border communities.

"The 40km travel bubble into Victoria has made it difficult," Mr Colwill said.

While his company was not planning to join any class action for compensation at this stage, he said the impact on machinery sales due to travel restrictions would not be fully known until some months.

He said some customers could choose to purchase equipment in other towns such as Horsham given the travel restrictions.

"It does also impact our customers' ability to visit our stores to purchase equipment and parts," Mr Colwill said.

He said one of the biggest problems facing the business was travel restrictions facing their technicians in Victoria. ... d=msedgdhp


Clive Palmer has implied a link between WA's border closures and suicides. Here are the facts
CoronaCheck is RMIT ABC Fact Check's weekly email newsletter dedicated to fighting the misinformation infodemic surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

You can read the latest edition below, and to have the next newsletter delivered straight to your inbox.

CoronaCheck #39
With the COVID-19 pandemic responsible for strict lockdowns, rising unemployment and travel bans, many people have raised concerns that Australia could be in the throes of a mental health crisis. This week, we've taken a look at Clive Palmer's claim that hard border closures in WA are contributing to suicides in the state.

We've also looked at how state of emergency powers differ around the country, and check whether a coronavirus vaccine could be made mandatory under current legislation.

Is there a link between suicides and COVID-19?
Billionaire mining magnate, political player and hydroxychloroquine spruiker Clive Palmer is back on our radar this week as he continues his legal battle to force WA to open its borders.

In a number of and , Mr Palmer implied that hard border closures were leading to an increase in the number of suicides.

"Look at the numbers," one reads. "WA has only around five active [COVID-19] cases, yet there has been 400 suicides in the last 12 months, approximately eight people a week tragically taking their own lives."

In fact, the latest available official statistics for deaths by suicide in WA pre-date COVID-19. The Australian Bureau of Statistics' annual dates back to 2018. Those numbers show there were 383 deaths by suicide in WA that year, or roughly seven per week, down from 409 in 2017.

The lag in releasing official statistics stems from the often lengthy process involved in coronial investigations into suspected suicides, and is an issue with real-time reporting from first responders and hospitals.

That's exactly what has been done in Victoria, where up-to-date suicide data is now being published by the Coroner's Court.

Last month, the court that the number of suicides between January 1 and August 26 was consistent with the same period in 2019 despite that COVID-19 and associated lockdowns would lead to an increase in the number of people taking their own lives.

Victorian state coroner John Cain, , said it was "encouraging" that the pandemic had not resulted in an increase in suicides, and that he didn't want debates over lockdowns and mental health to be based on "false assumptions".

"Given the amount of public debate that's been around, some would find that surprising, and that's why we released these numbers," he said.

He added, however, that the numbers remained troubling, and that the lack of any increase on last year's figures did not mitigate the fact that mental health organisations were experiencing in the volume of calls to their services.

Across the ditch, annual figures by New Zealand's chief coroner similarly showed a fall in the number of suicides during the pandemic, prompting the director of the country's Suicide Prevention Office, , to call for an end to speculation regarding suicide numbers.

"Inaccurate, speculative and distressing information about the relationship between suicide risk and the COVID-19 response is unhelpful and has the potential to cause significant harm," Ms na Nagara said through .

"While the COVID-19 response may have significant, long-term effects on people's lives, an increase in suicides is not inevitable."

State-by-state of emergency
Amid a public backlash and fierce political debate, the Andrews Government finally secured the votes needed in the Upper House to extend Victoria's state of emergency for a further six months.

While Liberal MPs had labelled the move a "" and "", and the business community called it "", what seemed to have been overlooked was that Victoria's situation was unique.

In most Australian jurisdictions, public health acts give states and territories base-level powers to manage community health. When a state of emergency is declared, stronger powers are activated for a certain period of time to address major public health threats such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fact Check and found that Victoria was the only jurisdiction to cap that time period — it was six months before the recent legislative change, but is now 12 months.

In NSW, a state of emergency does not even need to be declared in order for the Government to activate the strong powers used to manage a severe public health risk such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Maria O'Sullivan, a senior law lecturer at Monash University, told Fact Check, Victoria's hard limit on the maximum period of a state of emergency provided "accountability and transparency".

"It became a focus of media attention because that required the Parliament to sit and debate it," she said.

"But other jurisdictions, including the Commonwealth, are able to extend their state of emergency declaration without such scrutiny because their legislation allows it."

Could a COVID-19 vaccine be made compulsory in Australia?
Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently sparked outrage when a potential COVID-19 vaccine could be "as mandatory as you can possibly make it", before scaling back his expectation just hours later.

"It's not going to be compulsory to have the vaccine," he said.

But with disparate policies on vaccination existing across states and territories, could a COVID jab be made mandatory?

In a , the director of the Health Law and Ethics Network at Melbourne Law School, Paula O'Brien, told Fact Check that no current law contained a population-wide mandate for enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine.

"There is no such law at a state, territory or federal level," she said in an email.

Fact Check found that although executive powers in some states could compel individuals to be vaccinated, these laws had limited scope and could not be enforced on a population-wide basis as Mr Morrison appeared to be suggesting.

While emergency powers had allowed for the imposition of significant restrictions on people's liberties during the pandemic — including mandated mask wearing and curfews in Victoria — Dr O'Brien said it was likely that governments saw a line in the sand when it came to medical intervention.

"Bodily autonomy is such a fundamental principle to our society," she said.

Dr O'Brien added that executive or delegated legislation, such as the emergency powers, had not been passed through the normal checks and balances of Parliament which would make them unfavourable in the eyes of the courts when it comes to such serious matters of liberty.

"I have little doubt that, if a direction for vaccination by all people in Victoria were made by the Chief Health Officer under section 200 and if it were challenged in the courts, the courts would say it was unlawful for such a requirement to be imposed on the population under delegated legislation," she said.

According to Dr O'Brien, the fact that states had so far been unwilling to mandate COVID-19 testing in hotel quarantine meant it was highly unlikely they would use executive powers to enforce something as intrusive as mandatory vaccination.

From Washington, D.C.
A war of words has erupted between election hopefuls in the US, with President Donald Trump Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris of "undermining science and risking countless lives with reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric".

But the claims that the two Democrats were against a vaccine to be false. Rather, both Mr Biden and Ms Harris have emphasised they are supportive of a safe and effective vaccine, but would not trust Mr Trump to ensure such standards.

"I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump," Ms Harris said when asked if she'd receive a vaccine that was approved and distributed before the November 3 election.

"It would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he's talking about. I will not take his word for it."

The fact checkers also found that Mr Trump had exaggerated the progress of vaccine trials during a recent news conference.

While Mr Trump assured reporters that vaccine trials were progressing "very, very well", and that one trial had met an enrolment target of 30,000 participants, found that no vaccine company had yet reached that goal.

They added that due to the "double-blind" nature of the trials, in which the scientists and participants are kept in the dark through the process, "neither the president nor anyone within the companies or the [Food and Drug Administration] knows how well the vaccine is performing in the phase 3 trials so far".

In other news: Wildfire misinformation spreads like, well, wildfire
In scenes all too familiar to Australians, wildfires along the west coast of the United States have left 27 people dead and forced thousands to flee their homes, with smoke blanketing major cities.

Amid the devastation, false and misleading claims have proliferated with similar intensity.

Fact checkers at , , , the , and have all debunked claims that the fires were started by Antifa activists, with some social media users suggesting the wildfires were lit as part of Black Lives Matter protests in Portland.

"Based on our research, claims that wildfires in Oregon were set by antifascist activists are FALSE," USA Today .

"Multiple police departments have condemned and debunked rumors about arson, and the spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Forestry said there is no indication of 'a mass politically influenced arson campaign'."

Meanwhile, PolitiFact to suggestions that because cloth masks did little to protect against bushfire smoke, they were also useless in protecting against COVID-19.

"The CDC HAVE IN THE PAST STATED cloth masks provide little protection against wildfire smoke because they don't catch microscopic smoke particles that can get into the lungs," the fact checkers explained, adding that the masks do protect against respiratory droplets which spread COVID-19. ... d=msedgdhp

WA to receive an extra 500 international arrivals per week by October 11 amid ADF support pledge
WA Premier Mark McGowan says WA has secured a "more sensible and more workable" solution on accommodating overseas arrivals into the state's quarantine system following the National Cabinet meeting today.

WA will take an extra 200 people per week from September 27, and an extra 500 per week by October 11.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has provided an "express guarantee of support" from the Commonwealth, through the Australian Defence Force.

WA Premier Mark McGowan had been strongly critical of the Federal Government's announcement earlier in the week, when it announced it would lift the limit on international arrivals.

But today he seemed to indicate federal-state relations had thawed.

"This new approach is far more appropriate and far more manageable," he said.

"However, it still does present a risk to Western Australians. WA Health and WA Police will work through this in the coming weeks, so we are fully and totally prepared."
Mr McGowan acknowledged his frustration with the Federal Government earlier in the week, but indicated he was satisfied with the new plan.

"I am glad the Federal Government agreed to provide more Australian Defence Force support and adjust the earlier decision that they made," he said.

"We will do what we can to help bring stranded Australians home safely and at the same time, we will keep doing everything possible to protect West Australians.

"We're back on track, we're working cooperatively."

The Premier signalled at least one more quarantine hotel would need to be set up, but Rottnest Island would not be used for quarantine at this stage.

He said secure quarantine hotels may no longer be needed if COVID-19 numbers continued to fall in Victoria and elsewhere.

Mr McGowan also said it may be necessary to delay some elective surgery, if extra doctors and nurses have to be sent to the new hotel.

Speaking after a meeting of the National Cabinet today, Mr Morrison said he and the premiers had been able to compromise on the highly contentious issue.

"I welcome their support for that today," Mr Morrison said.

"These are Western Australians coming home to Western Australia."

Call for Border Force help
Earlier today, WA Health Minister Roger Cook said each quarantine hotel in WA requires three doctors and nine nurses, as well as welfare staff, working around the clock.

Mr Cook warned WA was already at capacity with seven hotels housing about 2,000 people in quarantine.

He said there would be consequences if more doctors and nurses had to be taken from hospitals to work at new quarantine hotels.

"Ultimately, there's a limitation to what we can do in the hotel area without detracting from our hospital services," Mr Cook said.

Any future potential outbreak of the virus in WA would be the Commonwealth's responsibility, he added.

"If we are forced to stretch our resources, if we're forced to lower the standard of hotel quarantining and ultimately there's some outbreaks, well the Commonwealth is responsible for that because they're the ones that have produced this situation, which is putting the system at breaking point," Mr Cook said.

In a statement, the Australian Border Force hit back at claims its officers were not fully utilised at airports and could do more to help during the COVID-19 pandemic, labelling the statements "patently false".

"While there has obviously been a reduction in international passenger movements, the number of ABF officers required to process international passengers remains high due to the requirements associated with COVID-19 protocols," the statement read.

"Officers have also been surged to other priority areas. They are working tirelessly to provide various functions including customs, vessel clearance and organisational support for dedicated air freight services so that Australians have access to basic essentials."

WA travellers cautiously optimistic on flights
Shelley Connor, 25, who is originally from Perth, has been living in Canada since the end of 2016 and was due to fly home at the end of this month.

But this week she was told her flight home had been cancelled, and the next one was not available until January.

She said she was frustrated at the barriers to citizens returning to Australia.

"I'm devastated. I was so ready to be home. I wanted to do Christmas with my family," Ms Connor said.

"There's nothing I can do about it, but I feel, like, a total lack of control.

"It's really upsetting to have to call my parents and tell them as well, we all kind of feel helpless and a bit upset about the whole thing."

Ms Connor said the increased cap on international arrivals was good news.

"We'll wait and see whether or not there's a tangible difference in how quickly flights can start to happen," she said.

"My concern as well is that flights will remain really expensive."

Green light for music festivals in WA
Meanwhile, the WA Government has announced a further easing of restrictions in WA, music and other festivals will now be allowed if they meet new guidelines.

Organisers of events with more than 500 people will be required to submit a COVID-19 event plan to the Department of Health.

They will still have to respect the two-square-metre rule on socially distancing.

"Music festivals can now be assessed and could be approved pending assessment of plans by the Department of Health," Mr McGowan said.

He said events like the Wave Rock festival, the Spring in the Valley event and suburban and regional shows could now go ahead with COVID-19 event plans.

WA recorded no new cases of COVID-19 overnight, with the state's total remaining at 661.

There are three active cases in WA.

Man fitted with bracelet after alleged quarantine breach
A 35-year-old man from Secret Harbour has also become the second person in WA to be fitted with an electronic monitoring device for allegedly breaching quarantine rules.

WA Police said the man arrived in WA on a flight from Queensland on Tuesday, September 8, and was told to self-quarantine at a hotel in Redcliffe for 14 days.

It will be alleged that between Saturday, September 12, and Monday this week, the man invited a woman into his room on two occasions and also left the hotel to attend a party and mingle with a small group of people.

He has been charged with four counts of failure to comply with a direction and has been transferred to a quarantine hotel with higher security in the Perth CBD.

The man will appear in the Perth Magistrates Court on September 23.

The monitoring device, which was attached to the man's ankle on September 15, will remain in place until the end of his quarantine period

Increased for Australians returning to Perth from overseas, PM reveals
The West Australian government has agreed to take an extra 500 Australians returning from overseas, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced.
Speaking after Friday's national cabinet meeting, Mr Morrison said the increase to WA's cap would see the state incrementally move from taking 525 people a week to 1025 by October 11.

The number would increase by 200 from September 27. On October 11, WA's cap on returning Australians would increase by the full 500 required by the Commonwealth.

"We have to remember these are Australians coming home to Australia. They are West Australians coming home to Western Australia," he said.

The Prime Minister said the Commonwealth would make available more Australian Defence Force staff to help support the increase in hotel quarantining that would be required by the increase in the cap. There are about 110 ADF personnel in WA assisting with hotel quarantining.

He said it was likely the number would again be increased in a safe way.

But the increase was not coming as quickly as Mr Morrison would have liked.

He said there were issues raised by the WA government, and to a lesser degree Queensland's, about how long they would take to get their quarantine system up to the required capability.

This week, Premier Mark McGowan criticised the Commonwealth when Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack revealed the increase in WA's cap.

"From time to time we disagree on this and that, when when we get into the room we sort it out," Mr Morrison said. ... d=msedgdhp
. ... d=msedgdhp

Qantas chairman warns big business 'can't operate' in Perth with hard border up
Qantas chairman Richard Goyder has warned businesses with interstate or international operations "can't operate sensibly" in Perth until Western Australia's hard border comes down.

Speaking at a business function in Perth on Thursday evening, which was also attended by WA Premier Mark McGowan and Treasurer Ben Wyatt, Mr Goyder said he would tell global businesses not to move their head offices to Perth until border restrictions are lifted.

Earlier this week, Mr McGowan urged Rio Tinto to shift its headquarters from London to Perth."I actually agree that they should and, as the Treasurer knows, they take something like 90 per cent of their earnings from Western Australia," Mr Goyder said.

"But if the chairman of that company rang me and said, 'Should we relocate Perth', I would say yes but not now.

"Until we've got free movement of people across borders, then Perth is not the place to to be."

The comments by the former Wesfarmers chief executive, who is the chairman of Woodside as well as Qantas, came as the airline emailed Qantas frequent flyers urging them to support a push for the safe reopening of domestic borders.

"Australians love to travel," the email said.

"With summer holidays and Christmas just around the corner, many of us can't wait to visit loved ones and support our regional communities, local businesses and our tourism industry.

"But that can only happen if our domestic borders are safely opened again."

Mr Goyder told the Perth audience youth unemployment in the state was too high.

"We need to reignite the economy as well as reignite Perth," he said.

"Where I would challenge the Premier and Ben [Wyatt] and policy makers is we at some stage need to bring down our borders and I know there is a commitment to do that, but we need to deal with it sensibly and take appropriate risks," he said.

"I can't see professional services businesses or businesses based in Perth with operations interstate or internationally can continue to operate sensibly out of Perth until we do that." ... d=msedgdhp
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EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:45 am



Fury as AMERICAN university in Sydney is given JobKeeper wage subsides
Higher education staff are furious a top American university is receiving JobKeeper wage subsidies when Australian institutions are missing out.

Public university staff blame thousands of job losses on the Morrison government's decision to exclude them from the JobKeeper scheme.

They are baffled the New York University's Sydney campus qualifies for the payments.

National Tertiary Education Union president Alison Barnes said Australian public universities had already slashed more than 11,000 jobs and more cuts were on the way.

'The Morrison government changed the rules three times to prevent these universities from accessing JobKeeper,' Dr Barnes said on Friday.

'Yet four private universities in Australia and even the Sydney campus of New York University have been able to access JobKeeper.

'How can the government allow this to happen? The higher education sector is being decimated daily. Most of these job losses could have been prevented if universities were able to access JobKeeper.'

Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi accused the federal government of double standards.

'The government should have exactly the same rules for universities and not try to exclude public universities,' she said.

But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Australian universities were being funded by taxpayers in other ways.

'That is not support that is available to foreign universities that may have a domestic campus, so it's a different situation,' he told reporters.

'You are talking about an apple and an orange.'

Labor's education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek described the explanation as insane.

'I would like Scott Morrison to answer to those families that have lost jobs, why is it that their jobs don't matter?' she said.

'Why is it that these Australian jobs don't matter and yet the government has subsidised this very wealthy foreign university?'

The sector is under immense pressure, with the Australian National University and the University of NSW announcing major jobs losses this week.

While around 250 ANU staff have taken voluntary redundancies, a further 215 will go over the next nine months.

UNSW, which has also accepted voluntary redundancies, will axe a further 256 staff.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted New York University for comment. ... d=msedgdhp

Rules around JobSeeker changes to be tightened
More than 1 million Australians relying on the JobSeeker payment will soon need to look for more work while receiving the benefit, according to reports.

From Monday, September 28, recipients will need to actively search for up to eight jobs a month to receive the payment.

The new rules are designed to get more people back into the workforce and are part of the Federal Government's mutual obligation policy, reports New Corp.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told Today that if there was suitable employment available JobSeeker recipients should take it.

"It's only appropriate when you provide government support, that you expect in return mutual obligation and we where there is an appropriate and suitable job on offer somebody takes it."
Mr Frydenberg said he was encouraged by new jobs figures that showed a steady economic recovery was underway.

He also said the JobSeeker changes would not apply to Victorians after the state shed 42,000 jobs last month.Mr Frydenberg said the Federal Government was pouring in billions of dollars to stimulate the Victorian economy.

"We supported Victorians to the tune of more than $28 billion. Already. That's an enormous amount of money.

"And when it comes to JobKeeper, the expectation is that 60 per cent of people who are on JobKeeper in the December and in the March quarters will be from Victoria. So there will be more people on JobKeeper than from all the other states combined."

Figures released yesterday showed Australia's unemployment rate has beaten expectations, falling to 6.8 per cent despite more than 42,000 Victorians losing work in the month of August alone.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that 111,000 residents found work or resumed their duties in the past month.

Just a month prior the unemployment rate was a staggering 7.5 per cent, with almost one million adults out of work.
But Labor Deputy Leader Richard Marles and Victorian MP told Today there needs to be more consideration on the challenges of unemployment for people.

"I think we need to be practical about what people are facing with the job challenges that are out there."

"In Australia right now there are 13 people unemployed for every job that is available. In regional Australia here in Geelong that's much worse, it is 23 people to every job that's available."

"I think there has got to be some sense of practicality about mutual obligation works for people looking for jobs," he said.

Dole recipients will have to apply for eight jobs a month
People on the dole will have to apply for up to eight jobs a month and accept any work on offer to qualify for JobSeeker handouts, Scott Morrison says.

The Morrison government has vowed to tighten JobSeeker eligibility from September 28 in a bid to encourage Australians to go back to work.

People who don't play by the rules face having their payments suspended, while those who are on JobSeeker for a year will have to undertake work to receive dole payments, The Australian reported.

Millions were forced to apply for welfare when lockdown shut down businesses across the nation in March.

While payments were boosted and rules were relaxed as the number of unemployed Australians surged, tougher regulations are now gradually being reintroduced as virus cases continue to fall and the jobs market shows signs of a faint recovery.
New official figures on Thursday showed that the unemployment rate fell from 7.5 per cent to 6.8 per cent as 111,000 were created last month.

In July 2019, 686,156 Australians were on the dole. By the end of July 2020, that figure had jumped to 1.45 million.

Scott Morrison said on Thursday that the government would like to see the rate of unemployment 'come down' further.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said the mutual obligations are designed to ensure jobseekers get jobs in areas of high demand.

'The government is focused on getting Australians off welfare and into work and ensuring they remain connected with the labour market,' Senator Cash said.

Dole recipients were under no obligation to apply for jobs during the height of the pandemic, when benefits payments of JobSeeker and the coronavirus supplement allowed the most hard-up Australians to claim up to $1,340.10 a fortnight from the government.

Most claimants receive about $1,100 a fortnight.
The payments will drop by $300 on September 25, and again by $200 after December 31.

The supplement will be removed entirely by the end of the year, leaving people on JobSeeker on the old Newstart rate of $40 per day.

More than 12 per cent of Queenslanders and South Australians rely on handouts.

Nine per cent of people in New South Wales are dependent on government support, along with ten per cent of Western Australians, 13 per cent of Tasmanians and ten per cent of Victorians. ... d=msedgdhp ... id=msedgdh

Scott Morrison reveals when strict travel caps will be lifted
Scott Morrison has revealed arrival caps preventing Australians from coming home will be increased in stages.

Plan to have more Australians come home slowed by National Cabinet amid coronavirus quarantine concerns
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has given some ground to states in his push to allow more Australians to come home from overseas.

On Thursday, Mr Morrison said "decision has been made" to allow an additional 2,000 people into Australia from next Friday, despite needing states and territories to agree to lift the number of people they can host in hotel quarantine.

But Mr Morrison on Friday said the cap would be raised gradually over the coming weeks, after Queensland and Western Australia asked for more time to boost their capacity.

Under the plan, NSW, WA and Queensland will all be quarantining an additional 500 returned travellers per week by October 12.

But it will take a while for them to get there, with the increases to be phased in gradually from September 28.

"It will be done in a staged way," Mr Morrison said.

"NSW will move to take an additional 500 by Monday week [September 28] … Queensland and Western Australia on that same day will be taking an additional 200 per week.

"We will get there a couple of weeks after I would have liked to have got there, but we'll still get there."

Queensland will then accept 300 extra per week on top of that from October 5, followed by Western Australia doing the same on October 12.

South Australia has already agreed to boost its capacity for international travellers by 360 each week, and discussions are continuing with other jurisdictions.

Hotel quarantine review 'very positive'
The Prime Minister also noted the group had spoken about a draft report by former health secretary Jane Halton into quarantine systems around the country.

While he would not say what specific comments Ms Halton had about quarantine operations, he said "the overall report was good".

"She will now be moving to finalise that report and she's providing that feedback directly to each of the states and territories," Mr Morrison said.

"But her report today was a positive one about the standard of [those] quarantine arrangements that are now in place."

Work ongoing for NZ travel
National Cabinet also discussed the continued work towards creating a "travel bubble" with New Zealand.

Mr Morrison said if the two countries could get to a point where people from areas without outbreaks could travel without needing to quarantine in hotels, it would further free up spaces in the system.

"For example, the whole of the South Island, that's an area where there is no COVID," he said.

"So if we could get to a situation soon where those coming home from New Zealand are able to enter Australia without going into a 14-day quarantine … we see that as another way of enabling more and more Australians to come home."

The Prime Minister said about 15 per cent of people going through quarantine in Australia were people returning from New Zealand.

A travel bubble with Australia's Pacific neighbour was delayed when Victoria's outbreak began.

Testing to be ramped up
Another of National Cabinet's discussion points was testing levels across the country.

Mr Morrison said the rates "need to be improved".

"So, to that end, I welcome the fact that we're advised that Western Australia is actually moving to sewage testing, which is an important other testing method," he said.

Sewage testing is already underway in other jurisdictions, including the ACT and Victoria.

NSW to introduce paid pandemic leave
Following on from Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia, NSW will now also receive the paid pandemic leave disaster payment from the Commonwealth.

"That ensures when someone has a positive COVID test, they can get access to those payments," Mr Morrison said.

The payment means people who have to isolate because of coronavirus could be eligible for $1,500 if they have used up their sick leave entitlements and have to take time off work.

The Prime Minister also said he expected Queensland to "follow shortly" once an agreement was finalised between the two governments. ... d=msedgdhp

From 28 September New South Wales will take an extra 500 people per week and Queensland and Western Australia will take an extra 200 per week.

On 4 October Queensland will take an extra 300 per week and on 12 October WA will accept an extra 300.
The new cap numbers were agreed at a National Cabinet meeting on Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the caps are being increased steadily because the states asked for time to prepare their hotel quarantine systems.

He has offered extra ADF troops to enforce quarantine to help prevent the virus escaping as happened in Melbourne in late May.

'I want to enable as many Australians to get home as soon as possible and I want to do that safely and I want to do that in as constructive a way as we can,' he said.

Some 25,000 Australians are stranded overseas, unable to get a flight home because of the arrival caps which were introduced in July to ease pressure on hotel quarantine.

About 3,500 of them are considered medically or financially vulnerable.

The prime minister also said he was prepared to use a federal facility at Howard Springs near Darwin to quarantine returned travellers if any evacuation flights were required.

'Howard Springs is a facility that we will be able to use to deal with those type of evacuation charters, if they become necessary. Now, at present, we don't have any of those currently planned,' he said.

Tasmania and the ACT, which do not have international flights, have offered to accept charter flights.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said: 'Our expectation is that we would have one chartered flight in every quarantine cycle so approximately every 14 to 18 days.'

He said each flight would contain about 150 people and they would be taken to a dedicated hotel with no other guests.

Labor has been urging Mr Morrison to pay for charter flights to bring vulnerable Aussies home since last week.

Mr Morrison also revealed that he is continuing to work with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on setting up a travel bubble.

About 15 per cent of Aussies in quarantine have come from New Zealand so this would free up a considerable number of places in the quarantine system.

'Another way we'll be able to help more Australians get home is we're working to ensure that New Zealanders can come to Australia, and Australians can return to Australia from New Zealand without the need to go through quarantine if they're not coming from an area where there is an outbreak of Covid-19. For example, the whole of the South Island,' he said.

Caps on overseas arrivals
Sydney – limit of 350 passenger arrivals per day;

Perth – limit of 525 passenger arrivals per week;

Brisbane – limit of 500 passenger arrivals per week;

Adelaide – limit of 500 passenger arrivals per week;

Canberra, Darwin – passenger limits on each flight to be discussed with jurisdictions on a case-by-case basis;

Hobart – REMAIN no international flights

Melbourne - International flights REMAIN suspended

Flight caps fight looms at national cabinet as Morrison pledges pandemic health funding
Scott Morrison will tell the premiers and chief ministers that Canberra will roll over the funding agreement for health services during the pandemic, including telehealth and medical stockpiling, for a further six months, at a national cabinet meeting focused on international flight caps.

The leaders will on Friday discuss what to do about the 27,000 Australians stranded overseas. They will be briefed by the former senior bureaucrat, Jane Halton, who has been conducting a national review of hotel quarantine.

Political pressure has been mounting on the commonwealth because of the large number of Australians unable to get home. Earlier this week, the deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, shifted responsibility for repatriating them back on to the states and territories, demanding their leaders jointly increase arrival caps by 2,000 a week.

New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia have been asked to take 500 additional arrivals a week and South Australia an extra 360.

Ahead of Friday’s discussion, Morrison warned his state and territory counterparts the cap would be lifted and they would need to deal with the consequences. “The planes will land with people on them and they’ll be arriving.”

“It’s a decision,” the prime minister said. “It’s not a proposal.”

Stephen Byron, the managing director of Canberra airport, says he has approached the government proposing relaxing quarantine requirements for those coming from New Zealand.

He said this would be a simple way to allow Australian trapped in New Zealand to come home as well as easing pressure on hotel quarantine allowing more people from other countries to enter.

“We have got to create room in the caps, it doesn’t make any sense for us to take up available hotel quarantine rooms with people who are coming from a country where there is no, or next to no, Covid,” he said.

“What it would do would free up between 15-20% of available capacity. It would be like a 15-20% boost in the numbers.

“If we are saying as a nation that it is safe to travel to Sydney to Brisbane and the border should be open, then it is safe to travel from Auckland and Wellington to Syndey, Canberra, Brisbane and so on.”

Byron said this move could also increase international travel demand for airlines and airports who are financially struggling during the pandemic. “It’s just the logical next step,” he said.

The move could also potentially allow some international arrivals at Melbourne airport – something which has been impossible since the pausing of the state’s hotel quarantine program.

Ahead of Friday’s meeting, the commonwealth has resolved to continue Medicare-subsidised telehealth and pathology services, GP-led respiratory clinics, and home medicines delivery services funded for the pandemic.

Related: Liberal MP Craig Kelly's hydroxychloroquine claims should be removed from social media, regulator says

The government says it will provide $2bn over the next six months to cover an extension of health services, including in private and public hospitals, as well as additional investments in personal protective equipment.

The commonwealth is providing 50% of the cost of activities responding to the pandemic in hospitals, including a private hospital agreement to ensure access to beds.

In a statement ahead of the national cabinet meeting, Morrison said providing telehealth and home delivery medicine services reduced the risk of exposure of Covid-19 in the community “while also supporting people in isolation to get the care they need”.

He said the funding would cover mental health services, delivered over the phone. “As we continue to suppress Covid-19 while continuing to open our economy up, Australians can be reassured that we have the world’s best medical support in place to protect their health,” Morrison said. ... d=msedgdhp ... d=msedgdhp

Unemployment is starting to fall, and with that comes a slew of new job opportunities as some sectors bounce back to life quicker than others.

Online careers website Seek has released a list of the 20 most in-demand jobs in 2020, showing an increase in adverts for jobs for nurses, counsellors, parcel delivery and farm work.

Nursing is the most needed role, followed by warehousing and storage, aged and disability support, and automotive trades.

It comes as more Australians get back into work, with the nation's unemployment rate falling from 7.5 per cent in July to 6.8 per cent in August.
Administration assistants, sales reps, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and rehabilitation are the next most in-demand industries.

Also on Seek's list is childcare, chefs and cooks, retail assistants, labourers and programmers.

Chief Economist at NAB Ivan Colhoun said some frontline workers in hospitals and aged care may be dropping out of the industry because of the strain of the pandemic.

Advertisements for warehouse, storage and distribution jobs have also increased since February due to an increase in online sales.

'There was more online activity with many stores having to close their doors and increase their e-commerce focus,' Mr Colhoun told 7News.

'That has a flow-on effect for logistics as well, as more people are needed for warehousing and then for home delivery.'
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.

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.

20 most in-demand jobs in Australia

1. Nurse

2. Warehousing, storage and distribution

3. Aged and disability support

4. Automotive trades

5. Administration assistants

6. Sales representatives and consultants

7. Physiotherapy, OT and rehabilitation

8. Childcare and outside school hours care

9. Chefs and cooks

10. Retail assistants

11. Developers and programmers

12. Mine engineering and maintenance

13. Labourers

14. Road transport

15. Psychology and counselling work

16. Dental

17. Child welfare, youth and family services

18. Plant and machinery operators

19. Business and systems operators

20. Mining operations ... d=msedgdhp

Deal between big business and Australian unions sparks fury from employer groups
Big business and unions have struck a deal to prioritise union agreements in Australia’s workplace system, provoking an angry reaction from some employer groups.

A coalition of four employer groups will write to the attorney general, Christian Porter, warning him not to accept the deal struck between the Business Council of Australia and Australian Council of Trade Unions, in a major setback for plans to produce a consensus position on reform.

In June, the Morrison government set up five industrial relations roundtables to identify job creating reforms, promising to ditch union-busting legislation as a sign of good faith before the talks.

On Thursday, the Australian Financial Review first reported, and Guardian Australia has confirmed, that this week the BCA and ACTU presented a proposal to the enterprise bargaining group that prompted Master Builders of Australia chief executive, Denita Wawn, to temporarily walk out.Under the proposal, unions would agree to reforms to the “better off overall test” for registering a workplace pay deal whereby any new agreement would not necessarily mean that every employee had to be better off. The test is often strictly interpreted by the Fair Work Commission.

In return, the BCA chief executive, Jennifer Westacott, and ACTU secretary Sally McManus proposed that union-negotiated and approved agreements would be fast-tracked through the commission.

Representatives from the Australian Industry Group, the MBA, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Australian Mines and Metals Association rejected the proposal.

That group of employer groups will write to Porter, arguing the side deal is discriminatory against non-union workers and their employers, infringes on freedom of association and creates pressure on employers to strike union agreements.

Their alternative proposal is for the commission to be required to approve agreements within 14 days if they are supported by a majority of workers, regardless of union involvement.

Porter played down the dispute, saying it was “no surprise to anyone that there would be different points of view on certain issues amongst participants of the working groups – if there wasn’t there’d be no need for this in the first place”.

“Indeed the differences of views are not just between unions and employer groups - they are sometimes inside those organisations,” he told Guardian Australia.

“This process is about finding as much common ground in as many areas as possible, and that is happening through these working groups.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said it was a “a positive development” that employer groups and unions have come together for talks, but would refrain from further comments until after the finalisation of any deals.

Related: Payroll software could protect employers who commit accidental wage theft, ombudsman says

“If we get more flexibility in the labour market, we’ll be able to get more people back into work,” he said.

Despite the intention to keep talks confidential, there have already been multiple leaks.

Some employer participants have privately expressed the view the roundtable process has largely stalled, with the best hope now to develop a set of options for government to choose from, rather than achieving a grand bargain bringing unions into agreement on major reforms.

In July, Guardian Australia revealed KPMG was excluded from the roundtables for publishing a discussion paper proposing wide-ranging changes, including FWC powers to allow employers to cut hours and changes to the better off overall test that could water down protections on pay and conditions.

The small business and family enterprise ombudsman, Kate Carnell, who is not a participant, has revealed the roundtables have considered her call to provide employers who use approved payroll software to be considered “safe harbour” against prosecution and penalties for wage underpayment. ... d=msedgdhp

Australia’s aged care system needs ‘fundamental reset’, Brendan Murphy tells inquiry
he head of the federal health department, Prof Brendan Murphy, has conceded that funding of the country’s aged care system requires a “fundamental reset”.

Appearing at the royal commission into aged care on Friday, Murphy, who was appointed department secretary in July after serving as the country’s chief medical officer, gave evidence on the sector’s funding model. He opened by saying the department was “aligned with the royal commission” in believing the sector “does need a fundamental reset”.

“I think we clearly accept the system does need a significant redesign, including in the costing and funding and transparency of the system,” he told the commission.

In March the senior counsel assisting the commission, Peter Gray QC, made submissions arguing funding for residential and home aged care as well as support services should move to a single, demand-driven eligibility assessment process based on need.

Currently, the number of subsidised aged care places in Australia is controlled by an aged care provision ratio which decides how many places of residential or home aged care support will be funded for people over 70

On Friday, Murphy said the department agreed funding for the sector should move to a demand-driven system underpinned by a “rigorous assessment process”.

“I think we would agree with the contention counsel that it should move to a demand-driven system,” he said.

“A system where people are appropriately assessed for need by a rigorous assessment process and the system is appropriately and transparently funded, but I think we would agree it should move to essentially a demand-driven system

“In fact it is demand-driven in residential care at the moment and we are endeavouring with the frequent releases of home care packages to meet the demand of home care. So generally the government is supporting that general direction.”

Murphy also accused aged care providers of being “creative” in claiming funding from the Aged Care Funding Instrument before changes introduced in the 2016 budget.

“While the population has been ageing and increasing [in] frailty it is inconceivable that the rate of ACFI growth over a short period of time actually reflected an increase in real frailty and need,” he said.

“I used to run a health service which had an aged care facility and there were consultants who were going around offering their services to maximise ACFI funding.

Related: 'She deserved better': Melbourne aged care home continued to charge Covid victim as she lay in hospital

“It was a natural behaviour of the sector when you have a system which is [based on] self assessment and you can claim to maximise revenue. There is no doubt in my mind that there was very creative claiming practices by some providers.”

The royal commission has heard evidence of wide-spread failings in the sector. In August it criticised the Morrison government for failing to establish independent monitoring and reporting of aged care quality outcomes, and earlier in September it heard evidence from the sector regulator that it lacked the resources to fully conduct compliance checks on residential facilities.

The commission has previously heard that an extra $621m per year is needed to lift all aged care homes in Australia up to “basic standards”. On Friday, Gray presented figures which he said showed that indexation on aged care subsidies had been “inadequate” in matching the rate of growth in costs for providing aged care “over a very long period”.

“Certainly the indexation has not matched the rate of growth in wages for example and costs in that period,” Dr Nick Hartland the department’s first assistant secretary said. ... d=msedgdhp

Scott Morrison extends free telehealth services until March
The federal government will extend free telehealth services so patients can consult their doctors online without meeting face to face.

In March the government decided to subsidise telehealth for six months to reduce the movement of people during the coronavirus pandemic.

The services, including FaceTime GP appointments, will remain bulk-billed until 31 March next year at a total cost of $2billion.

The measure takes federal coronavirus health spending to $16.5billion.

Aussies will also be able to access free coronavirus tests, GP-led respiratory clinics, and home medicines delivery.
The telehealth scheme includes services provided by GPs, nursing, midwifery, allied health and allied mental health.

Since March more 10.5million patients have used telehealth for a total of 30million appointments at a cost of $1.5billion.

Three out of every ten GP services are currently provided by telehealth which reduces the unnecessary risk of exposure to coronavirus and allows vulnerable medical providers to continue providing services remotely.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: 'By providing telehealth and home delivery medicine services we are reducing the risk of exposure of Covid-19 in the community while also supporting people in isolation to get the care they need.

'Importantly this also includes mental health services, delivered over the phone, by trained specialists and GPs.

'As we continue to supress COVID-19 while continuing to open our economy up, Australians can be reassured that we have the world's best medical support in place to protect their health.'

Labor has been calling for the extension of telehealth for weeks. ... d=msedgdhp

Australian insurers brace for COVID ruling after UK test case
QBE plans to appeal a judgment in a UK test case on whether business interruption policies should cover losses related to the coronavirus pandemic as local insurers brace for an Australian ruling next month.

The test case was launched in June by the UK's corporate regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, after confusion over whether an infectious disease clause meant certain policyholders could claim for lost revenue resulting from the pandemic-induced lockdowns.

The court's 150-page judgment ruled policies with clauses that reference infectious or notifiable diseases should be paid by insurers, which could have ramifications for Australians hoping to be compensated for the impact of the lockdowns.

Most business interruption policies only cover property damage, but the FCA argued infectious diseases caused proximity issues similar to natural disasters meaning shock events that restrict trade should trigger a payout.

QBE plans to appeal the judgment that would expose the company to about $170 million in additional claims but the FCA's interim chief executive, Christopher Woolard, said the ruling was a "significant step" for policyholders.

"We brought the test case in order to resolve the lack of clarity and certainty that existed for many policyholders making business interruption claims and the wider market," Mr Woolard said.

"Coronavirus is causing substantial loss and distress to businesses and many are under immense financial strain to stay afloat."

QBE is a global insurance giant headquartered in Sydney, but its international operations expand to the UK where it offers insurance products mostly in commercial and domestic property.

The Insurance Council of Australia launched a test case in August to determine if pandemic exclusions in business interruption policies are valid after it was revealed many policies relied on an outdated definition of "quarantinable disease".

ICA spokesman Campbell Fuller said the two test cases were "chalk and cheese" but the industry body for insurers would review the complex decision. The Australian case is due to appear before the NSW Court of Appeal in early October and the ICA is confident the courts will rule in the insurance industry's favour.

However, the British case could have implications for other disputes over business interruption cover including the Star Casino's lawsuit with its main insurer, Chubb. The casino group will argue mandatory closures should trigger compensation under its business interruption policy as the abrupt change in trading conditions was out of its control.

Insurance Australia Group chief executive Peter Harmer said in August there was not enough capital in the insurance industry globally to cover the financial fallout from COVID-19 and it was the government's responsibility to foot the bill for the pandemic.

A research note by Goldman Sachs said it was difficult to determine the impact of the UK test case on the local industry, but predicted QBE's exposure to potential business interruption claims was manageable. ... d=msedgdhp

Some Australians could get a COVID-19 vaccine sooner than others
Some Australians could be forced to wait longer than others when a COVID-19 vaccine does become available, experts have warned.

The Federal Government has locked in a deal to get access to the University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine as early as January.

Australians would receive 3.8million doses of the drug being developed by UK firm AstraZeneca in the first two months of next year.

National Centre of Immunisation Research and Surveillance director Kristine Macartney told ABC the first batch would not be distributed on a first come, first serve basis.

'It's highly likely there will be a limited supply of the vaccine,' she said.

'That reinforces the need to decide on prioritisation.'

The Federal Government has yet to release specific details on how it intends to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine.

Draft advice for the United Kingdom and United States provides a footprint for a possible 'tier' system.

Healthcare workers and vulnerable people are considered to be the top two priority groups.

The US has added a third priority group that includes essential services such as public transport, education and food supply workers.

The country has also suggested it could use a lottery system to decide who receives the vaccine first.

Oxford University's Health Economics Research Centre director Philip Clarke said the US was already using this system in hospitals during the pandemic.

'In the case of COVID-19, this is actually happening in the US where you haven't got enough drugs for the treatment of COVID-19, they are actually randomly allocating them, so it's fair rather than potentially people making arbitrary choices,' he said.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation has been advising the government on future rollout plans.

The group has been regularly meeting to discuss key strategies that include distribution, manufacturing capacity and safety evaluations of the vaccine.

Plunkett Centre of Ethics' postdoctoral research fellow Xavier Symons admitted it was a difficult road ahead.
'In other countries the issue may be, 'How do we convince people to be vaccinated?' but in Australia it's more like, 'How can we ensure that everyone who wants to receive the vaccine and needs to receive the vaccine, can receive it?''

The Federal Government has released a COVID-19 vaccine and treatment strategy document that presents a broad framework of distribution.

'Australian Government agencies are working with states and territories on transportation, storage and distribution plans,' it reads.

The Australian Medical Association has called for more transparency on distribution plans.

President Omar Khorshid argued it was crucial the final details were shared with the public to prevent any confusion.

Daily Mail Australia contacted the Department of Health for comment.


New Zealand National party promises 'significant' tax cuts to aid Covid recovery
New Zealand’s opposition National party has released its plan to restore the economy, a day after the country officially entered a recession.

National said the plan would see the average worker in New Zealand be NZ$50 a week better off, with the party promising “significant tax cuts”.

Since the lockdown in March, tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs, including at the country’s previously best-performing businesses, such as The Warehouse and Air New Zealand.

Many small businesses or those in the tourism sector are on the verge of collapse, and in the last quarter the economy plunged 12.2% – the biggest drop since such records began in 1987.

The opposition finance spokesperson, Paul Goldsmith, said his party would continue increasing investment in infrastructure and core public services, and introduce a short-term package of tax cuts – worth about $4.7bn, or around $50 a week.

Some $31bn would be spent on transport over the next 10 years, $1.1bn on education, $800m on health, $900m on social development and $170m in law and order.

“Throughout history, severe downturns have been a time when generational investments have been made that help set up future growth. National will make these much-needed historic investments,” Goldsmith said.

“But, unlike Labour, we recognise the need to act responsibly for future generations. The best path back to prudent debt levels is through an absolute focus on economic growth and disciplined spending, not higher taxes.”

New Zealanders who are laid off would also be able to access $20,000 of their superannuation to invest in a new business, he said, and be eligible for a $10,000 tax credit.

With National in government, spending would be tightened, Goldsmith said, and schemes such as KiwiBuild and Fees Free scrapped to return the country to surplus by 2028.

Labour’s finance minister, Grant Robertson, expressed scorn at the opposition’s fiscal plan, saying the party had lost their way and were promising the impossible to voters.

“National is a shambles, with multiple leaders, incoherent policy this year and growing factions,” Robertson said. “They both want to increase spending, reduce revenue and dramatically reduce debt. You can’t do all of those things at once credibly and I think their plan is lost somewhere in that triangle.”

Judith Collins took over the National party leadership in July, but political analysts have been surprised by a lack of energy on the election trail, with journalists travelling with her saying she appeared to lack her usual sparkle. “It’s almost like everyone is going through the motions, and their heart’s not really in it,” said an RNZ reporter.

Politicians have their hands tied somewhat by Covid-19 restrictions, with large public meetings banned and leaders having to speak to voters by phone, or at a safe distance.

Rallies or flashy stadium events are banned, making it hard for parties across the board to stoke excitement among voters. ... d=msedgdhp ... 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 Sicko
Posts: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Sep 18, 2020 11:06 am











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 Sicko
Posts: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:36 am


Victoria records 21 new coronavirus cases and 7 deaths
Victoria has recorded 21 new cases of COVID-19 in the lowest daily increase since June, and a further seven deaths.

Metropolitan Melbourne's 14-day average has plummeted and now sits at 39.3 as the state moves to a COVID normal. In regional Victoria, the 14-day average is at just 1.9.

This is the 9th day in a row Victoria has recorded a daily infections increase below 50.

The daily update comes as Melburne based covids(calling themselves "freedom protestors and sovereign citisens") clamed they are planning to take to the streets again in protest of the city's Stage Four lockdown restrictions.

Over the last two weekends protesters have clashed with police at the Shrine Of Remembrance, The Tan track and Queen Victoria Market.

Police arrested 74 people and issued at least 176 infringement notices during last Sunday's protest at the market.

It will be the third weekend protesters have gathered at inner-city landmarks to rally against the state government's Stage Four restrictions in Melbourne.

Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent told 3AW's Neil Mitchell police received a warning email from a protester.

'The organiser of the protest sent an email to us … advising us that if we refuse to allow them we will be jeopardising the safety of others and Victoria Police would be putting all Victorians at risk,' he said.

'Unfortunately, we're just going to have to continue to drag police off other functions and other roles to police these people in the city.'

There are WELL FOUNDED fears the success of Melbourne's decrease in cases could be at risk with a new cluster emerging in the southeast of the city, testing the capacity of COVID-detectives ( if these covidiots are allowed to continue to gather and protest while showing zero regard for the safety of the police and innocent bystanders and millions of fellow Victorians who are doing the right thing at great discomfort and sacrifice to themselves and their families a)..

There are currently 101 active coronavirus cases in the Casey and Dandenong area with 34 infections linked to five households in the Afghan community.

As residents in the city are still under strict Stage Four lockdown which restricts families travelling more than 5km from their homes to visit other households, it's thought the infected group may have breached the stay-at-home orders.

There are currently 101 active coronavirus cases in the Casey and Dandenong area with 34 infections linked to 5 households.

Health authorities are now scrambling to track and trace the new surge in cases and the Victorian government has even began a new recruitment drive that will see retired officers re-enlisted to bolster the state's frontline virus efforts.

'Members of those households visiting other households,' Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 testing commander Jeroen 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.'

The cluster, which has impacted the five households in Hallam, Clyde, Narre Warren South and Cranbourne North, first emerged on September 4.

Cases in the southeast have now spread to Dandenong Police Station and a number of industrial work sites.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday said the actions of the family's involved in the cluster is 'disappointing'.

The cluster which has impacted the five households in Hallam, Clyde, Narre Warren South and Cranbourne North, first emerged on September 4 ( the Friday before Fathers' Day ).

'Five kilometres is one thing and visiting others is the real issue here.' he said.

'The rules are in place for a reason and anyone who undermines this, undermines the entire strategy and it means the rules will be on for longer.'

But the Victorian leader ruled out fines for the group, telling reporters it may discourage others from being completely 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,' Mr Andrews 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.'

Residents in regional Victoria are now enjoying eased coronavirus restrictions after they moved away from Stage Three lockdown at 11.59pm on Wednesday.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants are able to serve people outside with strict density quotas, while outdoor gathering limits will be upped to 10.

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

They will still be able to travel via Melbourne to reach other parts of the state, but can only stop for three reasons including food, care and permitted work and study.

Caravan parks and camping grounds in regional areas were also allowed to reopen from Thursday, but with group booking restrictions.

Melbourne residents who leave the city without a lawful excuse will be fined $4,957.

The new offence is designed to deter Melburnians from entering regional Victoria.

It will be bolstered by beefed-up roadblocks, creating lengthy traffic delays as vehicles pass through.

Melbourne's new case average must stay between 30 to 50 for some of the city's restrictions to be eased as planned on September 28. ... d=msedgdhp

Australia's main COVID-19 hotspot records fewest cases since June
Victoria ( mainly focused in Melbourne) reported on Saturday its lowest daily increase of infections in 3 months, putting it on course to relax a hard lockdown in the capital city by the end of the month.

Victoria, Australia's second-most populous state and home to a quarter of its 25 million people, recorded 21 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 in the prior 24 hours, less than half the previous day's number and its lowest since June 24.

"Those numbers tell a powerful story of what can be achieved when you stay the course, when you don't get sidetracked by some of the loudest voices, who I understand are hurting and want to open up," state Premier Daniel Andrews told a news conference.

"We would all like to open up as quickly as possible, but we won't be open for very long if we don't first get these numbers down to a low level."

New South Wales, the largest state and home to largest city Sydney, reported three new cases. The six other states and territories had not reported daily case numbers on Saturday but in recent weeks they have had single-digit or zero case increases.

Victoria reported 7 new COVID-19 deaths, taking the national total to 844, according to government figures. The state has had 90% of Australia's coronavirus-related deaths.

Australia has reported just under 26,900 infections since the start of the pandemic . The country had largely escaped the high casualty numbers of many others as the virus swept the world, but a second wave in Victoria put the country on high alert and prompted most states to close their state borders.

Melbourne has been under one of the toughest lockdowns, including a nightly curfew, but the state government has said it will let construction sites, manufacturing plants, warehouses and childcare facilities reopen on Sept. 28 if increases in average daily cases stay below 50. ... d=msedgdhp

Casey coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne's south-east 'under control', Sutton apologises to Afghan community
Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton says a COVID-19 outbreak in Melbourne's south-east is coming under control, and has apologised for statements that caused some in the Afghan community to feel targeted this week.

The first positive test in the Casey cluster was recorded just over two weeks ago, on September 4, and it has since grown to 34 cases, including two people being treated in hospital.

Before providing an update on the coronavirus situation at Saturday's press conference, Professor Sutton first apologised for comments he made this week when he .

"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," Professor Sutton said on Monday.

Some local community leaders expressed concern the remarks targeted the Afghan community, and warned the comments may make some community members feel "ashamed".

Afghan community leader, Homaira Mershedi, said her community had been unfairly "singled out" over the Casey outbreak.

"There's a sense of guilt now that is put in them and I think it will stop Afghan people going and getting tests done in case they are positive."

She also said she was concerned about the future when restrictions eventually started to ease, saying she feared Afghan businesses could suffer and children from the community could be bullied at school.

At the press conference, Professor Sutton said he wanted to start with an apology.

"I know that members of the Afghan community might have felt singled out by statements I made recently," he said.

"That was absolutely not my intention, so sorry.

"I have volunteered a couple of times to work in Afghanistan in 1997 and 2003, it's a country I love and respect and its people."

He said it was "inappropriate" of him to have mentioned Afghanistan specifically on Monday, when he was only intending to reflect on the "universal human experience" that everyone had in caring for their families.

"It inadvertently called out Afghanistan, which I think was inappropriate, but I was just reflecting on my experience of working with diverse communities internationally, in humanitarian work and the fact that there really is a universal human experience," he said.

"We all want to look after our families, we all want to protect the broader community. I think that is the case across Melbourne.

"We need to enable people to do the right thing and to support them in doing the right thing."

Outbreak 'under control'
Professor Sutton said the Casey outbreak was "under control" but authorities would be carefully monitoring the situation over the 14-day period when new cases could emerge in close contacts.

"What we do know is people are isolating appropriately and their close contacts are in quarantine, but people have obviously been exposed to the virus and they can develop illness any time up to 14 days after having been exposed," he said.

"But very few close contacts outside of the cluster that's known … that is very reassuring from a control perspective."

On Friday, Victorian health authorities confirmed the cluster was spread across five households in the suburbs of Hallam, Clyde, Narre Warren South and Cranbourne North, which are all within the City of Casey local government area.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said members of the five households had visited houses beyond the 5-kilometre radius laid out in metropolitan Melbourne's stage 4 restrictions.

The chief executive of Monash Health, Andrew Stripp, said local community health care services were working closely with the DHHS and the Casey community to contain the "significant" cluster.

"It's significant in the sense it's 34 people and a number of households and it's gone against the trend," he told ABC Radio Melbourne.

But he said the area's infection prevention team and good local contacts were aiding a quick response to the outbreak.

"The community's responding very well, the families themselves are isolating, so I think it's travelling in the right direction," he said.

"Our community health services have been working with the local community very closely … and were able to respond and be on the ground and visit the houses and have what are sometimes difficult discussions, very personal discussions, in relation to the contact tracing process in a very successful way."

Mr Stripp said Monash Health had been working with all community leaders to ensure they knew the risks posed by COVID-19 and he urged people even with only the mildest of symptoms to get tested.

More than 4,000 people have been tested in the Casey area in the past week, and 11 testing sites are open including drive-though clinics in Dandenong and Cranbourne as well as other testing sites in Clyde, Hallam and Noble Park. ... d=msedgdhp

Inside the country town of Bunyip swept up in stage 4 coronavirus lockdowns
If you hop in your car in Melbourne's CBD and head south-east, you'll slowly wind your way out of the city and onto the freeway.

For the next 40 kilometres, packed suburbs and housing estates will fill your peripheral vision.

In some cases, enormous sound-blocking walls have been erected to dim just a bit of the roar of traffic for the homes that sit mere metres from the road.

Keep driving and it starts to thin out a little. The freeway goes from four lanes to two, and the houses start to recede from the road like a low-tide ocean fading from the beach.

Keep going.

By the time you hit the COVID checkpoint at Nar Nar Goon, 70km from the CBD, it's mostly farmland across your vista.

If you're allowed to pass through that so-called "ring of steel", keep driving for another 10 minutes.

Now, it's grassy plains stretching to the horizon. If you threw an apple core from your window you'd have a fair chance of hitting a cow in a paddock.

Keep an eye out for a blue and white sign on the side of the road that reads, "Welcome to Bunyip".

You've made it: the edge of Melbourne's stage 4 restriction zone.

Only, it doesn't feel very metropolitan here.

'It's tough being on the border'
By any measure, Bunyip is a small country town.

It has a population of about 2,500, made up mostly of families with kids.

People own their homes, which sit on roomy blocks, and almost half of all workers are some form of tradie, labourer or machinery operator.

The town centre has a couple of cafes, a few shops, a chemist, a post office, a pub and a bakery that does a mean vanilla slice.

You could kick a footy from one end of the high street to the other if you got a hold of it.

And that's exactly how the people of Bunyip like it.

"Everybody wants to move to Bunyip for the country lifestyle, not because they want to live in outer Melbourne," says Brad Walker.

"Metropolitan and Bunyip just don't go in the same conversation."

Brad is Bunyip through-and-through.

He's the president of the local footy club, went to the local primary school, and has recently built a new house for his young family.

For him, it doesn't gel that Bunyip has been swept up in the same lockdowns as Melbourne.

Even Geelong, with a population literally 100 times bigger and located closer to Melbourne, is considered regional.

To cap it off, Bunyip has recorded just one coronavirus case during the pandemic. The identity of which is a mystery and the talk of the town.

"We understand the reasons for the restrictions, we just don't understand why we're considered part of metropolitan Melbourne," Brad says.

"If you understood the lay of the land, how we operate out here, you'd clearly see we're regional Victoria.

"The frustration is that we're being pigeonholed into something that we're not."

But that's the thing about drawing a line, someone has to end up on the wrong side of it.

When the second wave of coronavirus cases swept Victoria, authorities carved the state into two categories: metropolitan Melbourne, and regional.

The way they determined that boundary was by local government area.

Bunyip falls within the Cardinia Shire, which includes the major growth suburbs of Pakenham and Officer about 25km back towards the city, and so has been caught in the net.

What's unusual about Bunyip, though, is its small population compared to many other towns that hug this new border.

The metro-regional boundary extends to Werribee in the west (population 40,000) and Craigieburn in the north (50,000).

In the north-east there are other small towns also subject to stage 4 that could have a similar gripe to Bunyip.

Down south, the boundary stretches to the small beachside towns of Portsea and Sorrento, which have populations comparable to Bunyip, but these are also tourist destinations that can become packed in peak times as out-of-towners come to play.

Bunyip has many redeeming features, but a tourist hotspot isn't one of them.

Brad isn't alone in his frustrations.

Speaking to the people of Bunyip, the word "fair" gets a solid run.

Out in the empty paddocks, the farmers like to joke, 'Gee, it's quiet in metropolitan Melbourne today'. A kind of laugh-to-keep-from-crying humour.

And locals will wryly tell you that when they place online orders rather than shop in nearby towns, they cop a surcharge for "regional" deliveries.

(One silver lining is the local independent grocer has started doing free deliveries for people who don't feel comfortable shopping in person.)

If you were to describe the mood in one motion, it would be a quick shrug of the shoulders and an eye roll.

"It's tough being on the border," says one local, who asked not to be named because of her work.

"There is so much space, we can go for a walk within our 5km and not see another person.

"We're so close to being free, and then we're not."

And there's the rub.

The campaign to shift the boundary
To appreciate Bunyip's unique position, you need to understand its relationship with nearby towns.

After all, a lot of people are in stage 4 lockdowns, so it can be tempting to dismiss Bunyip's concerns as simply an expression of the frustration many others are feeling.

But 5km in the city is very different to 5km in the country. And that travel limit won't even get you to the next town over.

With limited services of its own, Bunyip leans on the nearby towns of Warragul and Drouin — nominally separate places, but ones that have grown over the past decade to effectively become a regional hub.

It's where all the high schools are for kids in Bunyip. It's where the big supermarket chains are, where many do their weekly shop. It has the retail, the parks, the restaurants and arts centre.

It's where many people from Bunyip work and socialise.

The problem? Warragul and Drouin sit just over the border in "regional Victoria".

And as of this week, anyone from Bunyip caught crossing that divide without permission will cop a $4,957 fine.

"A lot of people who live here associate and do everything in Drouin and Warragul," says Bunyip local Emma Ramage.

"It's like we've been ostracised purely because of the shire."

And now, with restrictions easing in regional Victoria, it's a bitter pill to swallow.

As of this week, cafes, restaurants and shops in Warragul and Drouin can reopen with customers inside. Intrastate travel is allowed, as well as camping and hotel stays, just in time for school holidays.

You can have dinner round at mum's house (if you're in each other's nominated household bubble) and there are no restrictions on leaving your home.

And, importantly for country towns, outdoor sports will resume, just in time for the cricket season.

There are some exemptions that allow people to travel into the regions for things like work, medical care, or essential services if they are the closest location to your house.

But for Bunyip, the suite of stage 4 restrictions otherwise applies, including curfews and limits on time away from the house.

And under current restrictions, Brad says the kids who live there wouldn't be able to play with their mates in the local cricket league because it's based out of Warragul.

"That's when it becomes the issue, when they are getting the rewards of their efforts," Emma says.

"It's not like we want to butt in on that, but we as a community have done the right thing as well.

"If they look at the statistics, we're within our right to say we should be considered regional because we've done the right thing."

Both Emma's parents and her husband's live in the Warragul-Drouin area, and being so close yet unable to see them is taking a toll.

Emma wants the boundaries redrawn, possibly using postcodes or population as a measure.

There's talk of a petition around town and it's a cause taken up by the local Liberal MP, Gary Blackwood, who has written to Premier Daniel Andrews and chief health officer Brett Sutton asking for the line to be pulled back towards Melbourne.

Professor Sutton replied within minutes and said it would be looked at. But that was weeks ago, and Mr Blackwood said he hasn't heard anything since.

With little signs of change on the horizon, Bunyip is turning inwards to cope.

Keeping the community together
It's been almost two weeks since Mr Andrews unveiled the "roadmap for re-opening", which surprised many with its cautious, go-slow approach for the metropolitan area.

Since then, Bunyip locals have had time to process the news.

For some, the bitterness has only fermented.

But others have come to a sort of peace, resolving to do what they can to boost town morale.

Among those is Joanne Dijkstra, who has a simple goal for every person who comes into her cafe: that they leave feeling a bit happier than when they entered.

She jokes that she's become something of the town counsellor and has inadvertently reduced half of Bunyip to tears simply by asking: "How's your day?"

"Some people just want a bit of a chat and to let it all out," she says.

"After last Sunday, when they extended the lockdown, a lot of people struggled."

Joanne put together little care packages of slices and cakes at the café that people could buy and pass on to someone who was struggling. In the end, they gave them all away for free.

At the other café in town, which has converted to a hole-in-the-wall takeaway service, owner Michelle Pope shares a similar story.

"Some people are using the two hours they're allowed out to come here and get a coffee and take a moment," she said.

"It's their only social time."

As far as the local pub manager Rod Gillette is concerned, these unusual times are less about the almighty dollar for businesses and more about community.

"If you look at most country towns, they're built around sport and pubs. So, key places that people can meet and have a chat and laugh," he said.

"For this to happen to little country towns is a really big shock for a lot of people."

Rod says he doesn't begrudge towns in regional areas opening up again. In fact, he wishes them all the best.

Back home, his pub has started doing home deliveries throughout the week, and can have as many as four cars on the go on a busy night.

Wednesday's parma night is a town favourite, and Tuesday's souvlakis are also gaining a strong following.

It's meant a fair bit of tinkering — a steak keeps cooking in the delivery box, so when do you send it off? — but for the most part it's been a success story.

It's the little things that keep people connected, Rod figures.

And if he is sure of one thing, it's that regardless of how you try to classify Bunyip, the people will make it through this pandemic — together.

"Keep giving back to the community, and the community will give back," he says. ... d=msedgdhp

Eased COVID-19 restrictions no help to farmers dependent on Melbourne trade
The reopening up of regional Victoria has been welcomed by many producers who can begin selling their products again, but not all farmers feel so lucky.

Bendigo's George Bobin is the man behind some of the garnishes you see atop your meal at a restaurant.

Before COVID-19, he sold $50,000 worth of micro herbs a week to restaurants across Australia.

But the pandemic-driven lockdowns have brought his business near the brink of collapse.

Mr Bobin said the reopening of regional Victoria was a good first step in helping him get back on his feet, and many local restaurants had approached him to make sure supply was available.

"So it's looking positive from that angle," Mr Bobin said.

"The problem we have is that the locals are great, but it doesn't give us much income."

'Total dependence'
He is hoping his customers in Melbourne can reopen in the coming weeks.

"We send produce down to the wholesale market in Epping, and the providores would distribute our herbs around Melbourne," he said.

Mr Bobin said it would be difficult to expand into regional Victoria because it was not cost effective to sell to individual restaurants.

"If a restaurant orders say, 10 micro herbs, well that's about $30 and you can't really afford to deliver that," he said.

"In my instance, my business is totally dependent on Melbourne.

"If they can be let go a bit, and people are allowed to go out to restaurants, well then it would be marvellous."

Flying ducks
Greg and Jodi Clarke, who farm free-range Aylesbury ducks on their 16-hectare Great Ocean Road property at Port Campbell, say they are currently running at 50 per cent capacity.

High-end Melbourne restaurants were their main customers, but they have needed to explore other market options.

"We've done what we've had to do to stay in the game," Mr Clarke said.

"We've had some wins — chefs are doing take-home meals.

"Some chefs have ordered more than we thought they would, and we've had another win with a great butcher in South Australia.

"He's been taking 30 or 40 ducks a week and distributing them into South Australian restaurants, which we don't normally do."

Mr Clarke said selling their ducks to high-end restaurants in SA had boosted production, but it had come with difficulties.

"The logistics have been a bit of a nightmare — we were flying [the ducks] there, using Qantas freight, but the depot at Tullamarine got closed down," he said.

"Jodi managed to find a road transport company but there always seems to be issues, whether that is the [SA border] blockade, or whatever."

No coming back for some
Although the situation is not ideal for Great Ocean Ducks and many others, Mr Clarke says his heart goes out to business owners who are still closed.

"At the moment we're selling enough to get by," he said.

"I'm feeling right now for the restaurateurs.

"We all know they're doing it really hard now, and we just want the people who run these restaurants, and the chefs to be able to open up and take the pressure off them.

"While that will hopefully be a win for us down the track, we're not as desperate as we were in the first lockdown, because we've put these plans in place."

The Restaurant and Catering Association estimates up to 20 per cent of Melbourne venues will never open their doors again.

Chief executive Wes Lambert said the COVID-19 lockdowns had devastated the food service industry.

"The restrictions that have been placed on restaurants because of the pandemic have decimated the supply chain," he said.

"We have heard from industry those higher end ingredients and produce have been off the menu, for the most part.

"Certainly it will take some time for those meals to return, as some of the more fine dining restaurants and premium casual dining restaurants are a bit slower to reopen until the patron caps are increased." ... d=msedgdhp

Mornington Peninsular residents urge for ease in restrictions
Mornington Peninsula residents are begging Victoria’s health chiefs to ease restrictions in the state’s coastal communities. ... d=msedgdhp

the Australian social services minister, Anne Ruston, said more than 1.6 million Australians would have to wait until after the October budget to learn if the government would permanently extend its coronavirus supplement to jobseeker.

Ruston on Saturday said the government would not make a call until it could see the impact of a scheduled reduction in payments from next week.

“We will not be making announcements in budget,” she told reporters “We don’t know what Australia is going to look like on the other side of this pandemic. We don’t know when it’s going to end.

“So we will remain agile and we will continue to provide the support that is needed for Australia and Australians.”

About 1.6 million Australians receive unemployment payments, which were boosted in April by $550 a fortnight. From next week, the supplement will be cut to $250 each fortnight.

That reduction alone will plunge many families into hardship, the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) chief executive, Dr Cassandra Goldie, said.

Goldie said Australians would start skipping meals and foregoing fresh fruit and vegetables due to uncertainty around the boosted payments.

“While it might suit some within government to not make decisions yet ... 1.6 million people are worrying today about how they are going to get through Christmas,” she said.

Acoss is calling on the Morrison government to legislate a permanent increase to jobseeker or at least guarantee a level of increased payments beyond this year.

“The government says that it has peoples’ backs – that means delivering adequacy of income support and confidence that is not going to be taken away in just a few months time,” Goldie said.

The social services minister also revealed that although the aged pension would not be indexed as usual due to economic conditions, extra support for older Australians would be announced in the budget. ... d=msedgdhp

Police brace for top secret anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne
Victoria Police is bracing for another round of anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne – the location of which organisers have kept secret through encrypted messages.

Protesters are expected to release the location 30 minutes before in an attempt to catch police off guard.

Police say no matter where protesters pop up, they’ll be waiting to deliver the full force of the law.

Protests are planned for the city's CBD on Saturday and Sunday.

Last week more than 70 people were arrested in a protest at the Queen Victoria Market.

The protest comes as Victoria Police turns to retired officers to bolster their force – recruiting the former cops to enforce compliance with COVID-19 rules.

They will have the power to detain, move on, fine or arrest members of the public.

The recruitment drive, run by the Department of Justice and Community Safety and the Department of Health and Human Services, would be implemented until April 2021. ... d=msedgdhp

Melbourne anti-lockown protesters threaten to cause COVID-19 outbreak
Anti-lockdown protesters in Melbourne are threatening to cause another COVID-19 outbreak as the city teeters on the brink of a third explosion and cases surge in the southeast.

Daniel Andrews urged covidiots on Saturday not to gather at planned protests across the city or 'do anything to undermine' its progress with tackling COVID-19.

It comes as Victoria recorded 21 new cases of COVID-19, the lowest daily increase since June, and a further seven deaths.

Metropolitan Melbourne's 14-day average has plummeted and now sits at 39.3 as the state moves to a COVID normal. In regional Victoria, the 14-day average is at just 1.9.
This is the ninth day in a row Victoria has recorded a daily infections increase below 50.

Metropolitan Melbourne is under strict Stage Four lockdown - limiting Melburnians travelling more than 5km from their homes and enforcing a 9pm to 5am curfew.

The premier did not comment on where Saturday demonstrations would be, with protesters taking caution when sharing information online.

Multiple rallies have taken place in Melbourne the past few weekends.

Victoria Police have responded with a heavy presence - handing out dozens of fines and making arrests.

'Let's not lose sight of the fact that this week we have seen, day after day, not the 725 cases we had five and a half weeks ago - we have made very significant progress,' Mr Andrews said.

'We've got regional Victoria opening up. People should be positive and optimistic this strategy is working, and therefore, let's not any of us do anything to undermine that.'

Mr Andrews' comments also followed trying to dissuade protesters on Friday by saying their intended actions would be selfish and irresponsible.

As residents in the city are still under strict Stage Four lockdown, it is thought the infected group may have breached the stay-at-home orders.

'I know many Victorians, when you see examples of people not following the rules, that's disappointing, it makes you angry,' Mr Andrews said.

With contact tracers 'painstakingly' working around the clock to slow the spread of the virus and bringing the city out of lockdown, the Victorian government is set to introduce a controversial new policy seeing retired cops re-enlisted in the force.

The Department of Justice and Community Safety and the Department of Health and Human Services is behind the push which will see former cops given paid training before being assigned specific COVID-19 roles.

These roles include industry enforcement, testing support, door-knocking and the airport patrol. However, not everybody is in favour of the move to bring back veteran police.

'Police veterans have a real contribution to make to the ongoing safety of the community but their use to issue infringements, detain people and conduct checks on private property is entirely inappropriate,' Opposition Police and Community Safety spokesman David Southwick told the Herald Sun.

Ivan Ray, who served in the Victorian Police Force for more than three decades, said it was a recipe for disaster for the veterans.

'It's effectively a health department police force, and we know the Health Department is no good at enforcement, we saw that in the hotel quarantine operation,' Mr Ray said.

'Veterans can play a part and they can support policing, but it has to be by the police department.'

Health authorities are urging anyone in the southeast of Melbourne to diligently monitor their health and immediately get tested if feeling unwell. ... d=msedgdhp

Melbourne anti-lockdown protesters arrested and chased by police on horseback
Police have arrested 16 anti-lockdown protesters and fined 21 others during “chaotic” scenes in Melbourne’s south-east in which demonstrators were chased by police on horseback.

About 50 to 100 demonstrators began protesting at the State Library but moved to Elsternwick Park where they were pursued by police.

Photographers from Australian Associated Press who were at the scene said the protest was “chaotic”.

There was “a lot of running and not much protesting”, one photographer said.

One arrested man said he was within five kilometres of his house, had “done nothing wrong” and police would have to “answer to the Lord Jesus Christ”.

Some protesters ended up marching along Elwood Beach in a loose formation before they were again dispersed by police, resulting in several arrests on Ormond Esplanade.

Anti-lockdown protesters run during the protest at Elsternwick Park in Melbourne

Throughout the disjointed protest there was shouted criticism of the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, and coronavirus restrictions.

Some protesters continued to scatter through back streets, jumping fences into private property.

One arrested by police was filmed by Nine News telling officers: “Wake up, I know you already know this is wrong.”

Protesters have indicated there will potentially be further demonstrations on Sunday.

Victoria police said the protest was a “blatant breach” of the chief health officer’s directions.

“We are frustrated that these people continue to put the lives of Victorians at risk,” a police statement said on Saturday afternoon.

“While we know the majority of the community are doing the right thing, the behaviour of these selfish few who choose to blatantly ignore the direction will not be tolerated.”

Anti-lockdown protesters have been using encrypted messaging to organise “freedom day” rallies to try and avoid police learning their location.

Andrews urged Victorians not to attend demonstrations when announcing the state’s 21 new coronavirus cases and seven more deaths on Saturday. It was the lowest number of new Covid-19 cases in the state since 24 June.

“Go home,” Andrews said. “Go home and follow the rules. That is a very simple message.

“There is no need to protest about anything … It just doesn’t make any sense. You are potentially putting the strategy at risk. No one should be doing anything to contribute to the spread of this virus.

“Twenty-one cases today – seriously. [The strategy] is working. We’re getting there.

“Victoria police are not mucking about and they will deal with these people because it is a selfish act. It is an irresponsible and unlawful act.”

Protesters arrested as police crack down on anti-lockdown rally
nti-lockdown protests have begun in Melbourne for the third weekend in a row, despite warnings from police and health authorities to stay at home.

The location of the protests had been kept secret until earlier today in an attempt to avoid police and encrypted messages were being used to communicate to hundreds who showed interest in the event in order to protect the identities of organisers.

Police have made multiple arrests

Demonstrators gathered in Elsternwick Park, prompting an immediate police response.

At least two people have been arrested for breaching public health orders.

"Police have made a number of arrests in Elsternwick after a small number of people had gathered in blatant breach of the Chief Health Officer's directions," Victoria Police said in a statement.

"While we know the majority of the community are doing the right thing, the behaviour of these selfish few who choose to blatantly ignore the direction will not be tolerated.

"We will continue to take the same swift and firm action against those who choose to blatantly ignore the directions, and our investigations will continue."

Protesters gathered at Elsternwick Park. ( LOL , so much for the hundreds and thousands who were supposed to show up to protest today ) ... 2997281792
At least three rallies are expected to occur this weekend including two today and another one tomorrow.

Adding to the concern of authorities is claims of an army of volunteers to act as "police for the people".

Police will be keeping a close eye on supermarkets, with a small group planning to carry out a protest in the aisles.

Police have also been door-knocking dozens of homes, asking protesters not to attend.

Premier Daniel Andrews addressed the protests in his daily coronavirus press conference yesterday, saying the rallies were "illegal and irresponsible" and police would "deal" with anyone who failed to heed warnings not to attend.

The protests come after a positive week for Victoria as COVID-19 case numbers continue to decline and restrictions ease for regional areas.

Health authorities are concerned this weekend's protests could set the state back after enduring more than two months of stage four lockdown measures in an attempt to contain the deadly second wave.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp condemned the actions of anti-lockdown protesters earlier in the week after chaotic scenes at Queen Victoria Markets last Sunday.

"Nobody wants to see those scenes. The aggression was really disappointing," she told Today.

"We have seen so many of the good things of the way that Melburnians have responded to this health crisis and we need to keep focused on that.

"I know it's frustrating, I know it can be infuriating but the fact is we need to get those numbers down for us to reopen." ... d=msedgdhp

Anti-lockdown protesters chased by police from Melbourne park

Anti-lockdown protesters swarming a suburban park in Melbourne have been chased off by police on horseback.

Up to 100 people gathering at Elsternwick Park in Brighton dispersed to Elwood when faced with a long line of officers at the site, 11km from Melbourne's CBD.

Protests were announced by rally organisers about 10.30am on Saturday - half an hour before kicking off at the State Library, and a second closely following at 12pm.

Law enforcement teams circling Elsternwick Park included officers from Public Order Response, the Mounted Unit and Highway Patrol.

A helicopter also monitored the situation from above.

Protesters marching along Elwood beach about 1pm were dispersed a third time, and several arrests have been made by officers.

Shouting about Premier Daniel Andrews and coronavirus restrictions was heard throughout the disjointed protests.

The protests were described as 'chaotic', with one photographer saying there was 'a lot of running and not much protesting.'

Some protesters continued to scatter through backstreets, even jumping fences into private property.

One arrested by police was filmed by Nine News telling officers: 'Wake up, I know you already know this is wrong.'

In video captured of the event, protesters can be heard yelling 'disgraceful', 'I've done nothing wrong', 'no violence' and 'peaceful' as officers stand nearby.

A man can be seen being arrested as he questions: 'Officers, why are you doing this. I've never done anything wrong in my life. Please, this is enough. It's only going to get worse. Who is going to fight for you.'

Premier Daniel Andrews said the protest was selfish and irresponsible.

He added it was an unlawful act and told protesters: 'Go home and follow the rules. There is no need to protest about anything. It is not safe'.

'It just doesn't make any sense. You are potentially putting the strategy at risk. No-one should be doing anything to contribute to the spread of this virus, 21 cases today, seriously. This is working. We're getting there,' he said, The Age reported.

Saturday's events follow concern anti-lockdown protesters in Melbourne are threatening to cause another COVID-19 outbreak as the city teeters on the brink of a third explosion and cases surge in the southeast. ... 19cnvc_3|2 ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria's hotel quarantine inquiry reveals a quagmire of blame and lack of responsibility
Victoria's devastating second wave of COVID-19 began (IN PART, RIGHT WING POLIES ARE CONVENIENTLY IGNORING MASS COVIDIOT RALLY OF THE 30th MAY (MELBOURNE , WHERE NO ONE SOCIAL DISTANCED , OR WORE MASKS) with the bungling of the state's hotel quarantine system, but even after senior people have been grilled by an inquiry, it is no clearer who is responsible for the fiasco.

This week saw the cross-examination of Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, and the current and former police commissioners, yet Victorians still do not know who made the ill-fated decision to use private security guards to secure the hotels, instead of police or the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Instead, complex departmental structures and a "massive beast" of bureaucracy has allowed public servants, police and politicians to constantly pass the buck on who is to blame.

Premier Daniel Andrews has staked much on the inquiry, and next Wednesday he will appear as a key witness before former judge Jennifer Coate, the first serving Victorian premier to appear in front of a non-parliamentary probe in living memory.

He has been steadfast in his denials that ADF support was offered when the program was set up.

But emails tendered to the inquiry revealed Victoria's top bureaucrat, Chris Eccles, was offered ADF support for the program by his counterpart in the Prime Minister's department back in April — contradicting a claim by Daniel Andrews in August that it was "fundamentally incorrect to assert that there were hundreds of ADF staff on offer".

Despite this, the Premier continued to tread the well-worn path and swatted away repeated questions in Parliament and from the fourth estate, but it won't be so easy in the inquiry.

Also due up next week in front of the inquiry are three of Mr Andrews' key ministers — Police Minister Lisa Neville, Jobs Minister Martin Pakula and Health Minister Jenny Mikakos.

Crisp, Ashton differ on private security decision
Last week was the biggest week of the inquiry so far with many high-profile witnesses taking the stand.

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp revealed he was alerted to the decision to use private security sometime before a State Control Centre meeting on March 27, two days before the hotel program began.

But his memory failed him and he could not remember exactly who told him and when he came to know.

"I guess it goes back to my state of mind when I went into that meeting and I believed that the DJPR (Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions) had been tasked by the Department of Premier and Cabinet with this operation and had already made those arrangements in relation to private security," he said.

Commissioner Crisp presented text messages to the inquiry revealing then police chief commissioner Graham Ashton told him he wanted private security guards to be used instead of police, during that all-important meeting on March 27.

"I stepped out to speak to Graham Ashton … he made it clear that private security is the first security option at hotel/motels and not police," the text message from Commissioner Crisp to Assistant Police Commissioner Mick Grainger said.

Previous evidence given to the inquiry from several witnesses has stated that private security was Victoria Police and Mr Ashton's "preference".

Some on Spring Street proffer that it would be a good result for the Government to throw Mr Ashton under the bus for the decision to use private security, now that he has retired from Victoria Police.

But Mr Ashton told the inquiry he "absolutely" had no involvement in the decision to use security guards, claiming it was Mr Crisp who first confirmed to him that private firms would be providing the boots on the ground and that he believed it was a "deal set up" by the Premier's department.

"I asked would police be [guarding the hotels] and he [Crisp] said: 'No, that'll be done by private security,'" Mr Ashton said.

Commissioner Crisp revealed he was not opposed to the decision to use private security and even thought it would be a "suitable workforce" to use in the hotels.

Although police brass could not recall key conversations on the matter, both the former chief commissioner, Mr Ashton, and his successor, Chris Patton noted that troops would be on offer, just as the quarantine program was being established.

Recordings from the State Control Centre meeting back in March also revealed ADF troops were offered at the commencement of the program but were not taken up by Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp.

Private security the 'wrong cohort' for hotels
Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has been a popular and public face of the state's pandemic response.

But many Victorians would be surprised to learn he had no oversight over the compliance of the hotel quarantine program, despite being the state's top public health expert.

He did not even know private security guards were being used in the hotels until after the outbreaks at the Rydges and Stamford Plaza hotels occurred.

By that stage, the hotel quarantine programs had been running for more than a month.

The outbreaks were responsible for more than 99 per cent of the state's second wave.

He also said he learnt of the more sordid details of the goings-on inside the hotels via the media.

No-one thought to ask his opinion on the matter, and he told the inquiry albeit with hindsight, that the guards were the "wrong cohort" for the job (primarily because of problems stemming from a casualised workforce).

It's a quagmire of blame and responsibility and may perhaps point to why the system failed so badly.

With the testimony next week of the Premier and some key ministers, hopefully the picture will become clearer. ... 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 Sicko
Posts: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Sep 19, 2020 8:52 am


NSW reported 3 new COVID-19 cases overnight
New South Wales has reported three new COVID-19 cases overnight.

Two cases are from returned travellers currently staying in hotel quarantine.

The other case is a staff member who worked while potentially infectious at Concord Hospital, in Sydney's inner west.

NSW Health said it was investigating how the staff member became infected.

'The case cared for patients with COVID-19 and further investigation is underway to identify how the infection was acquired.

'Contact tracing is underway.'

Four people are currently being treated in intensive care units with two connected to respirators.

NSW had six new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday, with just one acquired locally and linked to a known cluster.

Five of the cases were returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.

The locally acquired case is a household contact of another one who attended Liverpool Hospital and was in isolation while infectious.

There are now 21 cases linked to the Liverpool Hospital dialysis cluster.

As the state continues to record low numbers of COVID-19 cases, premier Gladys Berejiklian has made plans to welcome an extra 500 weekly returned travellers.

The increase will start from September 27, and takes the state's intake to about 3,000 a week.

It followed Ms Berejiklian's declaration she'd be happy to accept the extra travellers if Queensland and Western Australia doubled their intake.

Those states will scale up capacity by 500 returnees per week more slowly than NSW.

Ms Berejiklian has for months been urging the other states to lift their game and share the load. The state premier continues to be at loggerheads with Queensland counterpart Annastacia Palaszczuk over the NSW and QLD border issue.

Queensland announced on Friday ACT residents will be able to fly into the Sunshine State from September 25, but those in NSW cannot as it's still considered a hotspot.

Ms Berejiklian said all border talks with Ms Palaszczuk had ceased again, but Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles denied any communication breakdown.

He said Queensland's chief health officer speaks with her NSW counterpart almost every day and he speaks with his counterpart most days too.

It came as NSW agreed to accept an additional 500 returned travellers each week into its hotel quarantine system. ... d=msedgdhp

Backyard food bowl bountiful enough to feed a family
Biologist James Stanistreet has created a thriving kitchen garden in his 500 square metre back yard in northern New South Wales near Lismore.

In the backyard of his 500-square-metre rental property, biologist James Stanistreet has created a garden capable of feeding his family of four — and many more.

Chicken and ducks fertilise and carry out pest control on neat rows of vegetables and fruit trees while native bees set to work on pollination.

Mr Stanistreet said his northern New South Wales garden produces more than enough for his family, the rest he trades with neighbours or sells at the local farmers' market.

He is completing a Bachelor of Science at Southern Cross University in Lismore, focussing on the symbiotic association between fungi and tomato plants, and how advancing that knowledge can help minimise the use of industrial nitrogen.

When not in the laboratory he works his day job — designing, building, and planting 'agroforests' for private landholders that can incorporate everything from cabinet timbers to commercial-scale food production or native revegetation.

He has devoted years to understanding plants and using this knowledge to create his thriving back yard food bowl.

"A lot of what this garden is about is testing out ideas and seeing what can happen when we change what we do and put different things into practice."

Weeds not the enemy
Mr Stanistreet said he uses cover crops, such as clover and other 'weeds', to fix nitrogen to the soil rather than relying on manufactured chemicals.

"You don't see weeding in nature, yet trees grow very strong and healthy and it is because there is that organic matter and each plant has a role to play," he said.

"What humans see as a weed it's not just something trivial, it is something that the environment requires. It has a place and a role and it's been developed over millions of years.

"Unfortunately we just weren't able to see that in the past. Now we are really focussing on them and saying 'okay, what is their role? What do they do?'"

Mr Stanistreet lets many of his crops go to seed, producing flowers that attract bees and hover flies to pollinate the garden, and wasps to eat pests including aphids.

"You have to remember you are looking after a whole ecosystem here," he said.

It also allows him to collect the seed for the next crop, which he does by hanging the plant upside down over a large bowl and shaking it once the plant is dry.

He rotates his crops to deprive a ready food source for parasitic nematodes — bugs that live in the soil and can destroy a plant's root system.

He keeps his garden beds at 70 centimetres wide because a lot of tools are made at that width, with a 30cm walkway between beds.

Each bed is topped up annually with woodchips that will decompose and add nutrients to the soil.

Between crops in any one bed he will add 100 litres of manure, 200 litres of compost, along with regular additions of fish and seaweed emulsions.

To keep costs down he makes his own compost, collects seaweed from the beach, and has a worm farm to produce castings and tea for the garden.

Fantastic fowl
Ducks and chickens share Mr Stanistreet's backyard coop, but the birds play very different roles in the garden.

When a crop is finished and a bed needs to cleared and fertilised, he fences it off and puts the chickens to work scratching it up.

The ducks are often left to roam the garden, picking off the slugs in the morning and other insects that would otherwise attack the produce.

The chickens are given kitchen scraps and garden trash, while their bedding and manure gets composted and returned to the garden beds.

"It is a closed system in many ways and these animals certainly help with that," he said.

Mr Stanistreet said although his biology degree is helping him with the theory, anyone can use whatever space they have in their yards to grow food.

"Just get a seed of anything and find some soil and just start," he said.

"If you can start with one seed and one plant it will grow from there."

He said he loved everything about gardening.

"It brings you back to nature, it reminds you that you are a part of the Earth with the plants and the animals, and it is a system," he said.

"When you grow your own food you know where it comes from and it just tastes better." ... d=msedgdhp

New Years Eve fireworks could be called off in Sydney
Sydney's iconic New Years Eve fireworks could be cancelled with authorities nervous about the prospect of another pandemic outbreak.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore met with government ministers today to work on getting the city open again

Lures to get people moving again could include free rides on public transport for mask-wearers, and free concerts in town at Cook Park, Phillip Park and Martin Place in the city.

It's hoped the grand plan for the city's comeback could be signed off in a week, though making sure everything remains coronavirus-safe.

To that end, Christmas celebrations seem to be on the cards, but not New Years Eve.

With a million people in the city packing parks and forshores and homes and appartments with a bridge view , and packed pleasure craft and party boats and ferries , Cr Moore said the risks were too great.

"I just think it will be too difficult," she said.

"We could not handle another lockdown in the city of Sydney."

Cr Moore suggested an alternative could be a screening of a repeat of the best fireworks highlights from the past 16 years, and a dance performance at midnight.

But the government has said it's "very, very keen" to hold the fireworks.

The government plan would see the 9pm fireworks scrapped and a shorter midnight show.

Vantage points will be controlled and free – but punters would need a ticket to attend.. ... d=msedgdhp

NSW ministers escalate attacks over Queensland border restrictions
Senior NSW ministers have escalated their attacks on Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, describing her as an uncaring, political opportunist as her government maintains its border restriction.

It comes as a federal review rated NSW as the best hotel quarantine system in Australia, followed by South Australia and then the Northern Territory.

The Queensland government on Friday announced it would soon open its border to the ACT but not NSW, drawing immediate criticism from Macquarie Street.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said Ms Palaszczuk's border decision was motivated by votes and would keep families separated from their dying loved ones.

He said "opening up the ACT, which is smaller than most NSW local government areas, shows that Premier Palaszczuk is a political opportunist who will put people's lives and welfare at risk in order to grab a few lousy extra votes in Queensland," Mr Hazzard said.

"It's actually heartbreaking to think that a fellow politician, albeit a Labor one, could be so uncaring."

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet likened Queensland border policy to that of East Germany in the 1980s. "They're turning the Newell Highway into the Berlin Corridor," he said.

"They've clearly got a problem with the people of NSW, the borders should be open as much as possible, that is one of the biggest impediments for economic growth."

NSW recorded one case of COVID-19 local transmission in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday, and five new cases within hotel quarantine.

Former federal Department of Health boss Jane Halton, who led the review into hotel quarantine arrangements during the pandemic, briefed the national cabinet on Friday, telling them NSW was leading the nation.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Ms Halton's report was "very positive".

"Overall [the] report was good and particularly in places like NSW it was very good where they're doing it at an industrial scale. And so they got a very big tick today," Mr Morrison said.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the review showed NSW had taken the right approach to quarantine.

"The result shows our decision to put the police in charge of hotel quarantine was the right one," Ms Berejiklian said.

"I want to thank the police commissioner and all the police involved, as well as all the other agencies, and Minister Stuart Ayers for his work with the hospitality industry."

NSW also agreed at national cabinet to increase its overseas arrival intake by 500 on September 27, while West Australia and Queensland will also soon increase their load.

NSW's one local case was a household contact of a previously identified case who attended Liverpool Hospital, and that person was already in isolation. In the week to 8pm on Thursday, there were 22 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in NSW.

There have been five locally acquired cases or fewer since September 9, and fewer than 10 cases of local transmission a day since September 2.

While the number of locally acquired cases has been low, NSW Deputy Chief Health Officer Jeremy McAnulty said the virus was still circulating in the community, "particularly in people with mild symptoms".

"As such, the risk of outbreaks and a resurgence of cases remains," he said.

Queensland will reopen its border to the ACT from 1am on September 25, but people will have to fly from Canberra as the whole of NSW remains a hotspot, according to the Queensland government.

The announcement follows South Australia's move to lift the 14-day quarantine period for those entering the state from the ACT, which came into effect at midnight on Tuesday.

However, South Australia Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the state would not change the rules for people coming from NSW, for now. ... d=msedgdhp

Couple charged after 'hiding in ute to cross NSW border'
A Victorian couple have been charged with fraud and drug offences after allegedly hiding in a ute to cross the NSW border without valid permits.

Police were alerted to the 31-year-old man and 35-year-old woman on Tuesday after they entered a jewellery store in Deniliquin and bought items with an allegedly stolen credit card.

Officers from Murray River Police District found the pair in a car park on Moama Street, Mathoura, about 4pm yesterday.

During a search of the couple, officers seized methylamphetamine, heroin, cannabis, a glass pipe and more than $30,000 cash.
They were both arrested and taken to Deniliquin Police Station.

The man was charged with dishonestly obtaining property by deception, dealing with property proceeds of crime, goods in personal custody suspected being stolen, and not complying with noticed direction re: section 7/8/9 – COVID-19.

He was also charged with possession of equipment for administering prohibited drugs.

The woman was also charged with dishonestly obtaining property by deception, dealing with property proceeds of crime, goods in personal custody suspected of being stolen, and not complying with noticed direction re: section 7/8/9 – COVID-19.
She was also charged with supplying prohibited drug (between indictable and commercial quantity), and charges relating to possess a prohibited drug.

Police will allege the pair travelled across the NSW-Victoria border at the Moama-Echuca checkpoint while hiding in the back of a ute without valid permits earlier this month.

They were both refused bail to appear at Wagga Wagga Local Court today. ... d=msedgdhp

House party costs guests $28k for breaching COVID-19 restrictions
olice have issued 28 fines, each worth $1000, after a house party allegedly breached coronavirus restrictions in Sydney's east overnight.

About 1.20am police were called to a home on Oxford Street in Bondi Junction, following noise complaints and reports of a party. ... 0692880384

After speaking with a 26-year-old man, police found he was one of four occupants and there were 24 guests inside, exceeding the 20-person limit for private gatherings in NSW.

Guests were told to leave the premises and each was fined the maximum penalty for the breach.

DETAILS - Twenty-eight people fined $1,000 for house party breaching coronavirus health orders
Police have fined 28 people $1,000 each for attending a house party at Bondi Junction in Sydney's east, after they breached coronavirus orders.

Police were called after noise complaints and reports of a party at a home in Oxford Street, near York Road, at about 1:20am today.

They say a large group in the home exceeded the 20 person limit for private gatherings under COVID-19 health regulations.

Police spoke to a 26-year-old man who was one of four occupants of the home.

They said there were also 24 guests attending the party.

The party-goers were told to leave and given a move-on direction by police.

Because of recent changes to the public health order, all those living in the house and each of those who went to the party will be fined $1,000.

It came as health authorities confirmed three new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in the 24 hours to 8:00pm Friday.

Two cases were returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine, while the locally acquired case worked at Concord Hospital while potentially infectious.

NSW Health said the hospital worker was caring for patients with COVID-19 — the case is being investigated.

Further investigation would be done to find out how the person became infected, and contact tracing was underway.

One case reported in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District on Thursday was a false positive and has now been excluded from the official count.

While the number of cases is low, NSW Health is urging anyone who feels unwell to get tested so cases are discovered as "quickly as possible".

"This is even more important with the upcoming school holidays, when people will travel across the state", NSW Health said in a statement.

In July, NSW Police shut down a number of private parties in Sydney's eastern suburbs due to guests not complying with social-distancing rules.

Footage from parties in the Bondi area emerged on social media, with a number of people seen dancing close together.
No fines were issued but attendees were moved on.

NSW Police were also called to a trial rugby match in July in Bellevue Hill after photos appeared to show supporters breaking social-distancing rules.

Officers were called to Easts Rugby Club where a Shute Shield trial game against Sydney University was being held. ... d=msedgdhp ... 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 Sicko
Posts: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Sep 19, 2020 8:59 am


SA residents to receive travel vouchers
South Australians will be offered free tourism vouchers in a bid to get locals visiting hotels and travelling throughout the state. ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria-SA border clubs welcome relaxing of travel restrictions for organised sport
[quoteWhile regional Victoria finds relief over the easing of restrictions, the smaller towns along the state's western border have something extra to celebrate — they can now return to organised sport with their South Australian team mates.

South Australia Police confirmed on Facebook Tuesday night that Cross-Border Community Permit holders can now cross for the purpose of organised sport, which previously was not considered a reason for travelling.

They said that those heading across must have had a COVID-19 test within the past seven days, and those entering from Victoria cannot travel further than 40 kilometres over the border into South Australia.

Breaking down barriers
Member for McKillop Nick McBride says that the news was welcomed by sportspeople on both sides of the border.

"[This] is a good move in the right direction. I'm sure it will help and will ease some of the tension that this cross border community has had to wear," Mr McBride said.

"I'm hoping that these borders get easier and easier for all the right reasons, rather than get the hard closures that the cross-border communities had to engage so far."

He said that it is a hopeful sign of things to come.

"We know that the mental health and strain on the cross-border communities has been immense," he said.

"I think that there's a pain that's been so huge, and [the way] the closure of the border went and how it came to be.

"Now South Australia has a really big job to try and re-engage the Victorians to say 'we actually do want you, we actually do need you, and we'd like your participation in the South Australian economy'."

Preparing for summer
With winter seasons cancelled, eyes are now turning to summer sports.

Up until now there were doubts about whether Victorian teams that play in South Australia, like the Apsley Cricket Club which plays in the Naracoorte and District Association, would be able to compete.

Secretary and treasurer of the club Kaddie Cother said that while they were hopeful the change would allow them to compete, there were issues about where their home ground might be.

[embed: 14-day average]
"At the moment we're still trying to work out how we're going to make that work for us because all the other teams are based in South Australia," Ms Cother said.

"It would mean that, for a start, I guess until the borders open properly it would just mean that we would have to play all of our games over in South Australia and have no home games ourselves."

Ms Cother said they were not sure if all of their players would be able to cross.

"At this stage we may have players that don't have essential traveller numbers to get over the border as it is. And we do have some that are based closer to Goroke and that are out of that 40 kilometre zone as well," she said.

But she hopes that the news gives the town a boost.

"It's a step in the right direction, letting people over to play sport," Ms Cother said.

"It's been such a hole in our community this year, so hopefully we'll do that in the next couple of days, talk to the league and talk to our players and see how everyone's feeling."][/quote] ... d=msedgdhp


Perth's urban sprawl is already massive, but will it get any bigger?
With a population of two million people living along a 150 kilometre stretch of pristine coastline, Perth has one of the largest urban sprawls in the country.

On a good day, it would take two hours to drive from one end of the metropolis to the other — from Two Rocks in the north to Dawesville in the south.

Perth is also experiencing a huge land sale boom unmatched by any other Australian city.

The quick uptake of tens of thousands of dollars in government COVID-19 economic recovery bonuses for new homebuyers and builders mean an estimated 17,000 extra homes will be built in Perth this financial year.

But where will all these people live? The answer is nowhere near St Georges Terrace in the city's CBD.

Ben Gregory, 23, had been looking to build a home long before he was able to sink $55,000 of government stimulus cash into his first home.

In the manic rush triggered by the announcement of the State Government's Building Bonus grant and the Commonwealth's HomeBuilder grant, he purchased a block at Honeywood estate, about 33 kilometres south of central Perth.

"The websites weren't updating as fast enough as the blocks were selling," he said.

"Nothing was entirely accurate at that point; you just had to guess and then go and see if the sign on the block said sold.

"People were just ringing up and saying 'I'll have that one' not even looking at them.

"It was probably the quickest amount of time I'd spent $300,000."

Mr Gregory said the availability of land was one of the main deciding factors for buying in Honeywood.

"I didn't want to miss out on land because if you don't get the land, you don't have a house and then you don't get your benefit," he said.

"A lot of my life is based around the city and just south of, so I wanted to get down close to this area."

While the new sub-division exists within an otherwise semi-rural setting, Mr Gregory said he was happy with the level of infrastructure available.

"It would be really good if the train station came down a bit closer," he said.

"Typically younger people want to be close to the city.

"But I think (due to the grants) we're going to find in a lot of these areas where younger people wouldn't typically build in, you're now going to be getting younger homeowners mixed in."

Perth's biggest ever land boom
After years of downturn in the property market, more blocks of land were sold in Perth than ever before, with 3,322 lots going in just four weeks.

"Literally within the first two weeks of the stimulus measures coming into play, we saw a dramatic spike up to almost 1,000 lot sales in the first week, which is just absolutely phenomenal," Urban Development Institute of Australia chief executive Tanya Steinbeck said.

The bulk of those sales were concentrated in far-reaching suburbs like Ellenbrook and Alkimos.

Just 19 were located in the central metro region.

Ms Steinbeck said the tight construction turnaround required for people to access the grants meant the development of vacant lots in the inner-city region was all but off the table.

"The house and land products you would get in a greenfields environment is quicker and easier to deliver than what a lot of infill sites are," she said.

"There are more constraints from a land perspective and neighbours and approval processes with local government authorities in an infill context."

Despite that, Ms Steinbeck said she did not think the building bonuses encouraged urban sprawl, rather it simply expedited the sale of new land.

"All they're doing is selling existing stock and then pressing buttons on new stages within a development that perhaps they wouldn't have done for another 12 months," she said.

Has the pandemic triggered 'suburban' sprawl?
Curtin University urban planning lecturer Dr Courtney Babb said he believed a shift towards working from home favoured suburban living.

"Over a long period of time, it might change the dynamics about where people decide to buy a house," he said.

"They might trade off a longer commute for a more affordable home if they can work from home for a couple of days a week."

His university colleague Dr Shane Greive, who specialises in property research, said he believed the pandemic could spook people into reconsidering high-density living.

"People come into their buildings and they're like 'okay, I've got to press a button, the same button that everybody else pressed," he said.

"I've got to walk into in a little box, the elevator, where another 300 people have gone up, and they scratch their heads going 'is this what I wanted?'.

"We've been pushing urban consolidation, but consolidation links with public transport, it links with high density living — and now there's a question mark over that."

Some are predicting a post-pandemic migration from the city to quieter, smaller regional areas.

Dr Babb said the government's fast tracking of several big ticket transport projects in the hope of steering the economy through COVID-19 would encourage sprawl.

"You'll have these longer-term structural changes of people choosing to live a little bit further out because there's a great road network that can get them to where they want quite quickly," he said.

Each of the passenger rail extensions proposed for Perth in the near future also have an adjacent freeway upgrade component.

"If you've got a road that takes 25 minutes to get into the city and a train that takes 25 minutes, a lot of people in Perth will still choose to drive," Dr Babb said.

"So that's going to have longer term effects on where people choose to live."

Why do we have such a huge suburban sprawl?
The simple answer is because the homes in the outer suburbs are cheaper.

"The further out you go, the more affordable it becomes," said Ms Steinbeck.

Dr Greive said that was attractive particularly to first homebuyers.

"If there were affordable apartments in central locations near train stations, together with good quality schools and other family-friendly amenities, would first home buyers prefer these over buying on the outer fringe?" he said.

Ms Steinbeck said the city's linear coastline was a huge drawcard.

"It's the lifestyle, it's the access to the beach," she said.

"It's no surprise that when we look at how Perth has developed over time, there's a concentration of people right along the coastline.

"It's a fascinating conversation to have about if we started from scratch, would we still put the Perth CBD in the same location? Or would it be somewhere else?"

Dr Greive said the design of outer-suburban neighbourhoods left a lot to be desired.

"I see houses without any room for trees, where the back door is just off hitting the back fence," he said.

"I'm unwilling to accept that as anything called sustainability.

"So then I'm asking what is on offer? And I do think it's affordability."

Perth is also lagging far behind on its urban infill target of 47 per cent by 2031.

Ms Steinbeck said a resistance to building up in some of Perth's wealthier established suburbs made inner-city living more expensive and drove people to the outer suburbs.

"You've got people on 800-square-metre lots with massive five, six-bedroom houses," she said.

"You cannot deliver a higher density product with the land value as it is.

"What we need to see is greater diversity in terms of one and two-bedroom products, which would get the price point down to an affordable level for people to be able to live in those infill suburbs."

But wait, is sprawl a bad thing?
Not necessarily.

Ms Steinbeck said the cost of building infrastructure to service those far-reaching areas was enormous.

"When people are looking for a location to buy in, it's all about the surrounding amenity like public transport, access to health facilities, access to retail and cafes — the culture of the place," she said.

"If you're developing greenfield lands, one of the challenges is making that feel like a community when it's going to take a little while for the infrastructure to catch up.

"I think it's a bit of chicken (and) the egg, right? But equally, it can go the other way as well, where you can build a new land estate and you may have to wait ten years before the infrastructure catches up."

Ray Haeran, the planning director of urban planning firm URBIS, said a well-designed city had a balance of quality high to medium-density infill and suburbia.

He said for many families it was a lifestyle choice to live in the suburbs, where blocks are spacious.

"It ultimately will come down to what consumers prefer," he said.

"What you're seeing is that there are people who are prepared to forego that proximity of the city and go out to the 'burbs.

"It's more about making sure that that's not a forced requirement."

URBIS property economics director David Cresp said the further development of major centres outside of the CBD, like Joondalup, Midland and Mandurah would help strike a healthy balance.

"I think for a long time in Perth, we've been quite CBD centric," he said.

"I think if Perth continues to grow, we will start to have other strong regional centres become even stronger.

"A lot of people in Alkimos, for example, not surprisingly don't work in the CBD.

"They work in Joondalup, they work FIFO, they have jobs in that north-west corridor."

So will the sprawl get bigger?
According to current estimates, it would take 33 years to build on all of the vacant land earmarked for development in the Perth metropolitan area.

But Mr Cresp said he doesn't believe COVID-19 will extend the sprawl any further than already planned.

"Yes we're seeing a land boom, we've opened up the door to some people that wouldn't have bought and we've brought a lot of demand forward," he said.

"But has it changed where people are going to live? No.

"There is a higher likelihood that a first-time buyer is going to buy in a suburban area due to affordability reasons anyway.

"The people that wanted to buy in inner city areas still have got that option, they can still buy infill, there is still plenty of availability in apartments.

"It hasn't fundamentally changed the make up of the city, I don't think."

Mr Haeren said he does not think the pandemic has disrupted the need for infill in our cities.

"The reality is there is no evidence or basis to suggest that density and COVID are intrinsically linked within a contemporary Australian society," he said.

"If you're in the slums of Mumbai, yes, it will have an intrinsic impact on how COVID is spread but within our Australian society, it's not going to have any impact.

"I don't think that there's any basis for it being a reason for not continuing quality planning around having good quality density in locations that can support it." ... 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 Sicko
Posts: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:14 am


QLD to be swamped with international arrivals
QLD will soon welcome hundreds of international arrivals as well as Canberra residents, with authorities anticipating a need to ramp up police checks and coronavirus testing.

Expected to be a sentinel monitoring and logistical and law and border control nightmare, ... d=msedgdhp

The pandemic election: Premier puts it on the line over borders
After Labor's trouncing at last year's federal election, which left the party with no Queensland seats north of Brisbane, insiders held little hope that Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk would secure a third term.

But then COVID-19 hit and as with most things in 2020, the rules were changed.

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Australia's longest-serving Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young, Palaszczuk has set out to "smash the curve" of COVID-19 cases.
She remained defiant when challenged to reopen the state's borders by Liberal National Party leaders in Queensland and even after NSW and Canberra condemned her over the economic and personal impacts of border restrictions including on grieving daughter Sarah Caisip, who was stuck in hotel quarantine when her father died.

In a refrain reminiscent of the Joh Bjelke-Petersen and Peter Beattie eras, Palaszczuk is "putting Queenslanders first" as the state contends with the pandemic, and the rhetoric seems to resonate. A recent Newspoll revealed 84 per cent of Queenslanders back locking down borders to arrivals from Victoria and NSW.

Palaszczuk said she would rather lose the election than bow to pressure and reopen the state's borders before Young advised it was safe to do so.

"If it means I have to lose the election, I will risk all that if it means keeping Queenslanders safe," she said. "I will always stand up for what I believe to be right in this state, I am putting myself out there, I am putting myself on the line."

But an election campaign strategy underpinned by handling a pandemic can prove risky, one expert warns.

All eyes will be on Queensland in the coming weeks as 3.3 million residents prepare to decide which major party it trusts more to pull the state out of pandemic-induced recession and keep the virus at bay.

Palaszczuk, who hopes to become the state's longest-serving Labor premier since World War II, will face off against the LNP's Deb Frecklington on October 31. It is the first time in Australia's federal or state political history that two female leaders will vie for the top job.

When the first COVID-19 case was found in Queensland in late January, the Liberal National Party were equal if not outright favourites to win, after Labor's electoral bloodbath at the 2019 federal election helped secure Prime Minister Scott Morrison's "miracle" win.

Labor suffered a 4.31 per cent statewide swing and failed to win a seat outside the state's capital. The Palaszczuk government would be annihilated if those results are repeated at state level.

Labor insiders concede the party was "in big trouble" at the start of the year, particularly in regional parts of the state, but Palaszczuk's steady hand during the crisis has boosted her ratings.

Recent polls suggest the LNP has a slim lead on the two-party-preferred vote but it is within the margin of error. The spectre of a hung parliament has been raised in the senior ranks of the major parties, which could put (Bob) Katter's Australian Party, the Greens, One Nation or independent MPs in the box seat.

The LNP has major hurdles to clear if it wants to govern in its own right. In a parliament with 93 MPs, the LNP must retain all its seats and pick up nine more.

It has suffered a backlash after calling for the state's borders to reopen as a second wave of COVID-19 began to take hold in Victoria. It has also struggled with infighting.

Party president David Hutchinson recently resigned after he was linked to an attempted coup against Frecklington. There was a mass exodus from party headquarters a week ago, with treasurer Stuart Fraser and Young LNP president Nelson Savanh also resigning.

Labor's challenges include three ministers - Kate Jones, Anthony Lynham and Coralee O'Rourke -quitting state politics in the past week. Its track record in office has been harmed by its handling of the Adani Carmichael coal mine and integrity scandals.

Former deputy premier Jackie Trad resigned from the front bench after being referred to the state's corruption watchdog twice in 12 months, despite being cleared on both occasions. Labor's attempts to "walk the tightrope" on Adani were blamed for the party's thumping at last year's federal election.

Labor's former state secretary Anthony Chisholm, who now represents Queensland in the federal Senate, was the architect of Palaszczuk's historic 2015 election win.

He expects Labor's campaign to focus strongly on the government's pandemic management credentials and feature the Premier front and centre in a presidential-style campaign.

"I have got no doubt she will be a pivotal figure," he says.

While a pandemic-focused strategy saw Labor's Michael Gunner retain government in the Northern Territory last month, University of Queensland political expert Chris Salisbury says it was fraught with risk.

"If there is a downturn in Queensland's management of the pandemic and we have more than just these small isolated outbreaks, then that... could turn against them," he says.

"I think the Premier is probably, reasonably, banking on the popularity she enjoys at the moment influencing the way the party campaigns and also the result.

"But the Premier plays a risky game just sitting back and hoping the crisis conditions are going to be enough to see her and the party carried over the line.

"I think people in larger numbers will begin to question just what's going to be done on the other side [of the pandemic]."

The pandemic has not only shaken up what was already expected to be a tight race but also changed the machinery of this election.

Pre-poll locations will be increased and phone voting will be ramped up in the fortnight preceding October 31 and voters will be told to bring their own pencil to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Electoral Commission Queensland has been given the power to move entire electorates to a postal vote if there is an outbreak of COVID-19.

Queensland's March council elections and two state government byelections were held during a surge in COVID-19 cases. Of the 2.5 million votes across the state, more than 1 million were cast at pre-poll booths. Another 570,000 votes were mailed in and 37,000 were cast over the phone.

Candidates were forbidden from handing out how-to-vote cards and other cornerstones of campaigning - handshaking, baby-kissing and sausage sizzles - will also be avoided.

Candidates challenging incumbents have had a difficult time building their profiles during lockdowns and have capitalised on social media.

Labor's candidate for Chatsworth, which covers the south-eastern suburbs of Brisbane, is Lisa O'Donnell. She has been ringing around homes across the electorate to introduce herself.

"I've also found that our more mature-aged volunteers who are in the vulnerable category have taken to online campaigning," she says.

"For example, we've relied heavily on Zoom meetings to keep them up to date on all our campaigning ideas and stories."

Janet Wishart, the LNP's candidate for the marginal south-east Brisbane seat of Mansfield, sent a team of volunteers to conduct welfare checks on vulnerable residents.

"We did things like shopping but also helping the oldies who were feeling vulnerable at home, who needed security lights up," Wishart says.

Griffith Business School's Dr Ferran Martinez i Coma says the local government elections in the state had been a valuable test for election procedures.

"There were calls to postpone but the ECQ defended its decision on the grounds that elections are an essential service for the continuity of democratic representation. In retrospect their health risk assessment was right - there was no spike in new cases following the election," he says.

Martinez i Coma says that while banning how-to-vote cards had been a minor change, "in some key seats where strategic voting really matters, these how-to-vote cards can be critically important''.

"We also saw social distancing guidelines granted under special authority to the ECQ limit candidates to just one election monitor each,'' he says.

"The stakes will be much higher in the state election and any similar measures may become political flashpoints." ... d=msedgdhp

Queensland police defends force following anti-police sentiment sparked by death of Indigenous woman Aunty Sherry
Queensland's Police Commissioner has defended the state's force as being "in no way racist," following a wave of anti-police sentiment sparked by the death of an Indigenous woman in custody last week.

Several hundred protesters marched in Brisbane's streets to Queensland's Police Headquarters on Friday night, demanding an end to Indigenous deaths in custody.

The protest was organised in response to the death of 49-year-old Aunty Sherry Tilberoo, an Indigenous woman who was found unresponsive in a cell at the Brisbane watch house last week.

She had been held in the watch house for several days on drug and theft charges and was awaiting transfer to a correctional centre.

Friday's vigil was held outside Queensland police headquarters where protesters lit candles to remember the 49-year-old woman.

Some protesters blamed deaths in custody on police negligence and "systemic" racism.

Aunty Sherry's death sparked a wave of anti-police sentiment, with protests sparked the week before resulting in police being accused of "aggressive" behaviour as they made multiple arrests.

'We are in no way racist'
While the woman's death remains under investigation by the Ethical Standards Command, police said autopsy results indicated the woman had died of natural causes.

Speaking from the Brisbane suburb of Morningside, Commissioner Katarina Carroll said she was upset to hear some protesters labelling the force as "racist".

"I am really upset about that," Commissioner Carroll told the media.

"We've done the right thing here all along.

"We've been extraordinarily open and transparent about this investigation, like we should be and always are.

"Sadly, she did pass away — sadly, it was of natural causes, but we are in no way racist.

"That does concern me."

There have been calls for police to release CCTV footage from the night Aunty Sherry died, but Commissioner Carroll said that had been referred to the coroner.

The Commissioner acknowledged reports of protestors describing the police service as racist.

"I think there is a select few that might say that, but in some ways ... it's not the right thing to always say that when we are trying to work very hard together," she said.

"So, please, let's settle ... let's make sure that the corner gets to do the hearing or the investigation and we'll go from there."

She said, overall, Queensland police have a good relationship with the majority of the community.

It comes as Queensland's Police Minister Mark Ryan said the Government had invested a record amount of money into the police force across the state.

"Over the last five years our Government's been rebuilding the police service," he said.

"We've been putting on more staff — over 600 new staff — and we've given police a record budget, it's up 20 per cent." ... d=msedgdhp

Dozens of people are yet to pay for their mandatory coronavirus hotel quarantine in Queensland
Dozens of people forced into hotel quarantine as part of the Queensland Government's response to the coronavirus pandemic have not paid their bills since the mandatory payment rule came into effect in July.

The number could soon increase, with Queensland preparing to accept several hundred more overseas arrivals from early next month, all of whom will be placed into quarantine.

The ABC understands that by September 4 about 1,603 invoices have been issued to people for their hotel quarantine.

About 98 per cent of those bills have either been paid in full, are not yet due or are subject to a payment plan or waiver application or approval.

For at least 32 of those invoices, payment remains outstanding.

It comes as Queensland recorded zero new cases of coronavirus overnight, leaving 22 active cases remaining across the state.

Queensland Health did not provide information about whether those debts had been referred to the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER).

Footing the bill for hotel quarantine cost the State Government more than $24 million prior to the new rules requiring people to cover their own costs.

As part of the state's border restrictions, anyone arriving in Queensland must quarantine if they have been overseas, been in a declared COVID-19 hotspot, been in contact with a case, had the virus or had symptoms in the past 14 days.

From the start of July, anyone who had to isolate at a government-arranged hotel had 30 days to pay the cost at the end of their quarantine period.

Queensland Health said the quarantine fees included accommodation and daily meals, which worked out at about $2,800 for one adult, $3,710 for two adults, or $4,620 for two adults and two children.

"Along with stringent border controls, social distancing and robust testing, quarantine is one of the most important tools in the fight to keep Queenslanders safe from COVID-19," a spokesperson said.

"Anyone required to quarantine in government-managed accommodation must do so at their own expense — which is a nationally consistent approach, agreed by National Cabinet.

"We understand this is a challenging time for many people and that's why we've made multiple payment options available."

For those unable to pay their bill within 30 days, plans are available for repayment to be made over a periods of between six and 18 months.

People also have a month to apply to have all or part of their quarantine fees waived on the grounds of vulnerability, financial hardship, or on transitional grounds.

The transitional grounds apply to travellers who had a confirmed international arrival date into Queensland before midnight on June 17, even if they arrived after July 1.

As of Thursday this week, 2,898 hotel rooms were being used for people to quarantine in Queensland.

Queensland to take in more Australians returning from overseas
In yesterday's National Cabinet meeting, Queensland agreed to take in another 500 Australians per week returning from international travel.

That will increase Queensland's share of overseas arrivals to 1,000 a week by October 4.

They will still be required to hotel quarantine at their own expense for 14 days.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the State Government would still have to bear some increased costs.

"My understanding is that they will individually be paying for that but of course we have to provide the health response," she said.

"So that's the testing, any health support that's needed and of course it's a combination of police and ADF."

The move was a result of the Federal Government's decision to increase Australia's international arrivals to 6,000 a week. ... 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 Sicko
Posts: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:33 am



Reducing JobSeeker could cost Australian economy $31 billion
Nicki Hutley, partner at Deliotte Access Economics, says we're headed for a steep drop in Government stumulous if JOBSEEKER is reduced ... d=msedgdhp

Robodebt court documents show government was warned 76 times debts were not legally enforceable
The federal government was warned 76 times by a tribunal that Centrelink robodebts were not legally enforceable, according to court documents.

Gordon Legal claims that the dozens of judgments– which were previously hidden from public view – show the government knew the scheme was unlawful because it declined to appeal on every occasion.

In a fresh statement of claim filed days before a federal court trial, the firm also names government minister Alan Tudge among a handful of insiders said to be aware the program was flawed as early as January 2017.

And it alleged several instances through 2017 and 2018 where top officials were made aware how people caught up in the program were threatening self-harm while on the phone to Centrelink staff.

The class action is set down for trial on Thursday, despite the government’s concession it will pay back $721m to people unlawfully accused of being overpaid benefits.

Gordon Legal is seeking interest payments and damages for the stress and inconvenience experienced by about 600,000 people who received debts, a larger cohort than the 370,000 people the government had agreed to pay back.

The firm is also now asking the court to impose exemplary damages to punish the government for its conduct running the scheme between 2015 and 2019.

It alleges the commonwealth was aware it was issuing unlawful debts, pointing to discussions between officials including Tudge in 2017 about the inaccuracy of its calculations. The commonwealth has roundly rejected the claim in pre-trial hearings.

In another new development, Gordon Legal also points to 76 decisions at the administrative appeals tribunal where robodebts were set aside because the calculations used by Centrelink “could not lawfully support the existence of a debt”.

The firm says in each case the commonwealth elected not to appeal and argues it is further proof that it knew the scheme was not legal. One of the 76 decisions was made in December 2019, after the government had already backed down on the scheme.

While these AAT decisions were never made public, if the government appealed it risked a higher tier of the tribunal ruling against it and publishing its judgement. Guardian Australia previously revealed the existence of five of these earlier decisions from 2017.

The first of the decisions against the government was handed down in February 2017 and the bulk made that year.

Many of the firm’s new claims centre around the knowledge of Tudge, who was responsible for human services in 2016-17, and top department officials from the period.

The firm says that on 1 March 2017 Tudge received a brief that stated “33% of Robodebt-raised debts ‘were changed to $0 on review/reassessment’”.

At the time, the government had staunchly defended the scheme in public, despite increasing warnings from experts and advocates published by the Guardian.

It is also suggested top officials within the Department of Human Services (DHS), now Services Australia, were being regularly notified of threats of self-harm among robodebt recipients.

The court documents reference a 13 July 2017 email in which department officials Malisa Golightly, Craig Storen and Tudge “received an email from within the Commonwealth that stated ‘a DHS recipient took their own life’ following receipt of Robodebt notification”.

In separate events, two mothers have alleged their sons took their own lives after receiving debts in 2017 and it is unclear whether the email relates to either of these cases. Government officials have previously denied the scheme was linked to suicides.

In August 2017, Jason McNamara, a senior manager at DHS, is said to have been informed of a robodebt letter recipient who threatened to self-harm or take their own life.

Gordon Legal claims documents viewed by McNamara state the man told Centrelink he “felt he was being unjustly targeted and had a plan to end his life”.

Among several instances was another case from October 2017 where Centrelink’s escalation team noted a robodebt letter recipient “was ‘distressed’ and ‘commented that he would self-harm and then terminated the call’”, the documents state.

After several government officials including Tudge were named at a case management hearing on Wednesday, lawyers for the Commonwealth said they would now consider whether to call witnesses for the trial.

It remains possible the two parties could reach a settlement.

The government has maintained it believed the scheme was legal until it received advice to the contrary in late 2019 following a legal challenge from Victoria Legal Aid.

Meanwhile, new data confirms the total value of unlawful demands issued through the scheme eventually topped $1.1m.

Figures provided to a Senate committee show the government plans to “zero” $398.3m worth of debts, wiping demands where no money had been repaid.

Added to the $721m in refunds the government has announced, it takes the total value of unlawful debts issued throughout the four-year program to $1.12bn.

It confirms reporting in Guardian Australia from June, which revealed the value would certainly exceed $1bn, though it’s lower than estimates from the time which suggested it could reach $1.5bn.

Overall, about 531,000, or 68%, of the 771,576 debts issued since July 2015 will be either refunded or wiped.

The debts are being wiped because the government has conceded it cannot legally raise debts using the “income averaging” of a person’s annual ATO pay data.

The practice used calculations drawn from yearly pay to allege a person misreported their fortnightly income to Centrelink and been overpaid benefits. ... d=msedgdhp

Australia's JobSeeker towns most affected by coronavirus pandemic
The Australian towns worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic have been laid bare by new data, with Mandurah in Western Australia and Sydney's inner west leading the pack.

Mandurah in WA's southwest is the worst affected area, with unemployment rising from to 18 per cent, according to labour force data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The coastal city - about an hour's drive from Perth - has seen the joblessness rate rise by 11.6 per cent in the last year to July.

It was closely followed by Sydney's inner west which had an unemployment rate of 9.4 per cent.

Its figure was eight percentage points higher than in 2019, The Australian reported.

Other badly affected areas include Coffs Harbour and Grafton in New South Wales, Wide Bay in Queensland and north-west Melbourne.

Hardest hit areas: Early 2020 v July 2020
Mandurah - 11.6 per cent to 18 per cent

Sydney Inner West - 8 to 9.4 per cent

Coffs Harbour-Grafton, NSW - 7.9 per cent to 11.6 per cent

Melbourne North West - 7.3 per cent to 12.6 per cent

Wide Bay - 7 per cent to 17 per cent

Darling Downs-Maranoa, QLD - 6.8 per cent to 8.7 per cent

Brisbane East, QLD - 6.7 per cent to 9.3 per cent

Ballarat - 5.6 per cent to 6.7 per cent

Sydney city and inner south - 5.5 per cent to 9.2 per cent

Moreton Bay-South, QLD - 5.1 per cent to 10.5 per cent

Australia 2.2 per cent to 7.4 per cent

Source: ABS via The Australian

National unemployment actually fell to 6.8 per cent in August after 111,000 new jobs were created.

The surprise figures came after Australia's total unemployment figure hit 7.5 per cent in July - a 22-year high.

But there are fears the rate of unemployment could rise again when the JobKeeper subsidy ends, which is likely to force businesses to let staff go.

National Australia Bank chief economist Alan Oster said the 111,000 new jobs created last month simply reflected a surge in the number of people identifying as self-employed.

'There was a big spike in those that were basically self employed and not employing anybody,' he told Daily Mail Australia on Friday.

The Reserve Bank of Australia said on Thursday that recessions had 'enduring effects on unemployment rates.'

'Regions that experienced larger-than-average downturns had significantly higher unemployment rates for around a decade afterwards,' it stated on its website.

RBA added 'early 1990s recession led to an even wider range of outcomes, with regional unemployment rates changing by between -5 and 13 percentage points.'

'These differences in the "initial exposure" of regions to national recessions can reflect differences in industry composition, demographics and average skill levels, among other factor.'

Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien told The Australian towns within his electorate had 'really serious high unemployment and really serious youth unemployment'. ... d=msedgdhp

Decision on JobSeeker rate to come after Budget, Federal Government says
eople receiving the JobSeeker payment will have to wait until after next month's Federal Budget to find out whether it will be boosted permanently.

A $550-a-fortnight supplement introduced in response to COVID-19 will drop to $250 next week and is due to run out altogether at the end of the year.

The Prime Minister has previously indicated JobSeeker was unlikely to return to the pre-pandemic rate of about $40 a day, however, Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said a decision would not be made as part of the Budget on October 6.

"There's still much that we don't know about where the pandemic's going to end and what Australia is going to look like," she said.

"So we remain very focussed on making sure that the measures that we have in place reflect the conditions at the time, and decisions about anything ongoing will be a matter for the time once the economy has settled and we know what a post-pandemic Australia looks like."

Australian Council of Social Service chief executive Cassandra Goldie criticised the timing of the decision, arguing people need more certainty now.

"It's very important the Government understands that people today are worried and very worried now about what the future holds for them," Ms Goldie said.

"We can't give them all the answers but the Government does have within its control today to provide assurances and certainty for people that they intend, quickly, to deliver a permanent adequate increase."

More support promised for pensioners
The Government has promised the Budget will include more support for people on the aged pension, who will not receive an automatic increase to their payments on Sunday.

Pensions are normally indexed on March 20 and September 20 each year to ensure they keep up with the cost of living, however, the pandemic means the measures used to calculate the increase have gone backwards.

Senator Ruston said pensioners had already received two $750 cash payments as part of the Government's coronavirus response and that more help would be unveiled soon.

"We recognise that pensioners rely and depend very heavily on the increases that they get twice yearly, that's why provisions have been made in the Budget to make sure that we support our pensioners going forward."

Shadow Social Services spokeswoman Linda Burney said an announcement should have been made already.

"Some vague reference that it's going to be looked at in the Budget is just not good enough," Ms Burney said.

"People need to know now, because the freeze comes in as of tomorrow." ... d=msedgdhp

Black dots on this bedroom wall can kill
There are warnings hundreds-of-thousands of tradies could lose their jobs, if the federal government doesn't include money for social housing in the budget.

9News has been given a look at the shocking conditions some residents are forced to live in, and experts say helping them will help the economy.

Ahmed Abdulkarim and his family live in social housing at Riverwood in Sydney's south west in a property where the walls are covered in mould.

"We just keep washing and it's coming back," Mr Abdulkarim told 9News.

"It's not really good for the kids. We worry about that."

They've been told their water-logged walls can't be fixed - but they have to stay put due to an accommodation shortage.

"They told me you have to wait three years, three years to get another house, otherwise you have to keep washing,," he said.

And with the federal budget just weeks away, there are growing calls for the Commonwealth to step in.

Labor argues money for social housing would help solve two major problems at once.

"It would keep tradies working and it would fix homes that desperately need to be fixed," Shadow Housing Minister Jason Clare told 9News.

And during a pandemic-induced recession, others agree.

"Master builders is forecasting a loss of around 400,000 workers in the industry by next year," Master Builders Australia's Denita Wawn told 9News.

Brendan Coates, Household Finances Director for the Grattan Institute said the federal government needs "to commit to spending $10 billion on something like 30,000 new social housing units".

The federal government recently introduced a Homebuilder grants scheme to support the struggling construction industry.

"Homebuilders is too small. It's not enough to keep all tradies working," Mr Clare said.

9News understands the federal budget won't include money for social housing.

The Housing Minister says the government is already making "significant investments" in this area, "despite this being a responsibility of state and territory governments".

"It's the responsibility of the federal government to activate the economy in such difficult times," Ms Wawn said.

"We know that social housing is about the most effective form of fiscal stimulus that we can do", Mr Coates said.

Meanwhile, what will be included in the budget is a boost to the aged pension.

The boost has been confirmed by the social services minister Ann Ruston.

It is not yet clear how that extra support will be delivered, either in a one-off payment or an ongoing increase.

The full details of what's planned will be revealed when the budget is handed down on October 6. ... d=msedgdhp

Calls to mandate staffing ratios to improve aged care
John Hewson, former Liberal Opposition Leader and Professor at the Crawford School of Public Policy at ANU, says the sector lacks transparency and needs to rectify this quickly. ... d=msedgdhp

Coronavirus case drops have raised the trans-Tasman travel bubble again. How far off are we?
They were simpler times.

In April, Australia and New Zealand's coronavirus numbers were once considered low enough that the prospect of a trans-Tasman travel bubble was mooted to keep the twin economies chugging along, albeit at a slower pace.

But the momentum for that idea took a nosedive when the virus slipped out of Melbourne hotels and spread across Victoria.

Later, 'COVID-free' New Zealand celebrations were put on ice when new cases were revealed in Auckland.

So, where exactly are we at with the bubble? And is there any prospect of it taking flight soon?

What's the latest?
At last Friday's meeting of the National Cabinet, Prime Minister Scott Morrison raised the idea again, with significant caveats.

He suggested a potential travel bubble could work between regions that had no known outbreaks, which could allow travellers from New Zealand landing in Australia without having to do quarantine.

"For example, the whole of the South Island, that's an area where there is no COVID," he said.

"So if we could get to a situation soon where those coming home from New Zealand are able to enter Australia without going into a 14-day quarantine … we see that as another way of enabling more and more Australians to come home."

He said about 15 percent of returning Australians had come from New Zealand.

DFAT has estimated that 36,000 Australian citizens live overseas, 27,000 of whom wish to return home.

From September 28, another 2,000 people will be allowed into Australia incrementally, up from the original 4,000-person cap.

The cap is due to last until October 24.

What has been said previously?
Given the spike in Australia's cumulative coronavirus cases, Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern have poured cold water over the idea of a full bubble opening up anytime soon.

New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters .

The bubble was later officially discussed at National Cabinet in May, when virus numbers appeared to be low on either side of the Tasman.

Border disputes between Australian states held up the idea the first time, while Victoria's outbreak shot down the idea the second time.

In early August, Ms Ardern told NZ's AM show that Australia's levels of community transmission were far too high to revive the bubble idea.

"One of the things we said as part of our criteria was that anywhere we have quarantine-free travel, they have to be free of community transmission for a period of time, 28 days," she said.

"That is going to take a long time for Australia to get back to that place."

She added that the idea may be put on the "backburner for several months".

How will the new idea work?
It's unclear at this point.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister told the ABC the finer details were still being worked through, and as such, the Government did not have "any further details to share publicly at this stage".

In the interim, what we can do is look at the standards a new scheme might be held to, such as what an 'outbreak' actually means.

The Australian Health Thesaurus defines it as "a sudden increase in occurrences of a disease in a particular time and place".

Last month, Auckland went back into lockdown after an outbreak was discovered, and presently there is a total of 67 cases on the North Island, according NZ Health Ministry data.

Using the Prime Minister's rough outline, travellers from New Zealand's South Island would currently be able to fly to Australia without having to do quarantine on arrival.

But any future bubble scenario would also depend on how geographically wide an outbreak is defined, which may be at the town, city, or regional level.

What's it like to fly from NZ to Australia now?
Expensive, and sometimes long.

Because of the cap on foreign arrivals in Australia, and the pandemic-induced air travel downturn, airfares have risen significantly.

The pandemic has also led to the demise of Australian budget carrier Tiger, while Virgin Australia has been placed into voluntary administration.

Direct flights between Australian and New Zealand cities have been harder to get onto, presenting some travellers with high fares and long stop-overs.

According to a Google Flights search, getting a seat on the next available one-way flight from Auckland to Sydney in October costs $11,400 with stopovers in Malaysia, and China before landing in Australia.

The average price of the next three available flights was $8,116, at the time of writing.

This contrasts dramatically to prices in February, when Australian carriers and Air New Zealand were locked in a battle to entice people over the Tasman, with some flights from the latter priced as low as $NZ69 ($64).

How are Australians in NZ coping?
Ben, an Australian currently living in New Zealand's North Island, has been in the country since June, while his partner and young children have been in the country since early March.

The Perth local, who asked the ABC only to use his first name, said his family has been staying with relatives since the Australian travel bans were introduced, and said they only anticipated it would last for a month.

"It'd be nice to not be living out of a suitcase for six months," he said.

He is one of many Australians abroad currently trying to keep on top of evolving border restrictions and fluctuating flight schedules.

"It would be quite helpful if the airport's actually had a bit of a register about incoming flights, so people could plan their return flights a bit better," he said.

One flight to Perth from Auckland flies via Singapore, while others route through Brisbane.

If he took the latter, it would amount to four weeks of quarantine all up, with fortnight-long quarantines in Brisbane and Perth respectively.

"For the young kids, it'd just be a nightmare," he said.

"It'd be 16 hours trying to stop a two-year-old from opening the hotel door."

He suggested Australia should be doing more to make things easier when returning home.

"Why would you not have Australian representation at the airport for any flights [to Australia], where passengers get the nose and swab tests," he said.

"That tells you if you're highly transmissible and [authorities] get the results before the flight lands and later can act accordingly."

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and New Zealand's Prime Minister's office were contacted for comment. ... 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 Sicko
Posts: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:51 am








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 Sicko
Posts: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Sun Sep 20, 2020 5:46 am


Victoria records 14 new COVID-19 cases and 5 deaths as Melbourne 14-day average drops , Victoria celebrates their lowest overnight covid19 cases in since June 19.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has said he is "confident" Melbourne's restrictions will be eased in a week, as the state records 14 new infections and five deaths.

'This is a good day,' says Victoria's Daniel Andrews as Covid-19 cases drop to 14
Victoria’s new coronavirus case numbers dropped to 14 on Sunday, and the premier, Daniel Andrews, declared: “This is a good day.”

However, five more Victorians have died, including four people in their 80s and one in their 90s.

Andrews, announcing his state’s lowest daily increase since June, said he was confident of being able to make some “significant announcements” next Sunday about easing restrictions.

Victoria’s chief health officer, Prof Brett Sutton, described 14 new cases as a “very good” number, and said the state was on the “home stretch”.

As of Sunday the rolling 14-day average was 36.2 in metropolitan Melbourne, below the target of 50 set to enter the next step of easing restrictions.

However, Andrews also acknowledged the number of tests being conducted in Victoria had dropped – to levels lower than NSW – and urged everyone with symptoms to get tested.

“Any symptoms, don’t put it off – get tested today,” he said. “It’s the most important thing you can do.

“It’s when things bubble along and get to very big numbers and you don’t know [why] and the proxy for testing becomes the number of people who have been admitted into hospitals needing machines to breathe. That’s when you got a real problem.”

He pointed to a cluster in Melbourne’s south-eastern area of Casey, which has grown to 40 people, when stressing the potential damage that can spread from one individual.

Andrews also responded to anti-lockdown protesters being arrested in Melbourne on Saturday: “It’s unlawful, it’s selfish, and it can achieve but one thing and that is the spread of this virus.”

There are 743 active cases of Covid-19 in Victoria, 20 of which are outside Melbourne and 117 are health workers. There are 94 people in hospital with the virus. ... d=msedgdhp

The deaths of two men and two women in their 80s and one woman in her 90s were all linked to aged care settings.

It is the 10th consecutive day the state has recorded a daily infections number of below 50.

The last time the state recorded fewer than 14 cases was more than three months ago, when 13 infections were announced on June 19.

More than 18,000 Victorians have contracted COVID-19 since that date.

Metropolitan Melbourne's 14-day average for new cases is now 36.2.

Keeping the rolling 14-day average below 50 is key to Melbourne slightly easing restrictions on September 28, as part of the second step of the state's roadmap.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the numbers were "low, but still not low enough" to significantly ease restrictions without the virus spreading again.

"This is a good day, though," he said.

"A day where Victorians can be proud of the work that they've done, their commitment, their resolve to see this off."

He said health officials were "confident" that by next Sunday, the day before restrictions are due to ease, he would be able to make "some significant announcements" about the second step.

Under the second step, Melbourne's curfew and the 5-kilometre limit for travel will remain in place.

More people will return to work while junior and senior students will return to school, but restrictions will still be in place on a significant number of industries.

'Relieved but cautious' Melburnians welcome falling numbers
Melburnians enjoying the sunshine during their daily exercise welcomed the news there had only been 14 new infections.

Alannah Manuk, from Perth, said she had not been home to see her family for a year.

"It's getting really tough, so it's fantastic to see the numbers coming down," she said.

"It's all we talk about."

Her friend, Kyle Jones, said he was "relieved but cautious" to see the numbers trending downward, but he was worried not enough people were getting tested.

On his daily walk, Gee Lim said the restrictions are hard to live with.

"I'm glad it is going in the right direction, but it is too tough, especially for older people who want to leave their house," he said.

He said he wanted to see the Premier expand the 5km limit so people could travel a bit further from home.

Rolling 14-day average drops in Melbourne and regional Victoria
Nine of the new cases were linked to known outbreaks and the remaining five are still under investigation.

The infections were detected from 12,461 tests processed on Saturday.

An outbreak centred around households in the Casey local government area in Melbourne's outer south-east has grown by nine cases to 43.

All of the new infections were detected in metropolitan Melbourne, and there were just 26 active cases across regional Victoria.

Regional Victorians have enjoyed their first weekend of significantly eased restrictions, after moving ahead to step 3 on Thursday.

The rolling 14-day average in regional Victoria now sits at 1.8.

There have been no "mystery" cases with an unknown source recorded outside Melbourne in the fortnight between September 4 and September 17.

In Melbourne, that number sits at 52 for the same period.

For Melbourne to move to the third step of the roadmap out of restrictions on October 26, that number needs to be brought down to five — a target which has been questioned by some epidemiologists.

Mr Andrews said he was "determined" to not spend the next year "bouncing in and out of lockdowns".

"We only have one way to go here, and that's to do it safe, steady and lock it in," he said.

Fewer virus cases keep Melbourne on track
Victoria is on track for the easing of restrictions by the end of the month with the premier saying residents should be optimistic and hopeful.

The state recorded 21 new cases in the 24 hours to Saturday morning, its lowest figure since June 24.

A further seven deaths were reported, taking the Victorian toll to 757 and the national count to 844.

The rolling 14-day average, which needs to be no higher than 50 for Melbourne to progress to the next easing of restrictions, is at 39.3.

"The 14-day average ... at that level, under 40, is something that every Victorian should be positive about, proud about, and very hopeful and optimistic about for the weeks ahead," Mr Andrews said.The next step on Melbourne's roadmap out of lockdown is from September 28 when some on-site work will return, child care will reopen and some school students will be allowed back into the classroom.

People will be able to meet outdoors for up to two hours with members of one other household, though the five-kilometre travel limit will remain.

The state's health chief Brett Sutton said on Saturday the five-household cluster of 34 cases in the city's southeast was "under control", with no new cases linked to the cluster on Saturday.

Contact tracers have acted quickly to contain the outbreak, with government officials speaking with community leaders and members.

On Saturday, about 100 protesters gathered in the beachside suburb of Elwood before being chased and scattered by police.

Police made 16 arrests and handed out 21 fines for breaching health directions.

Footage on Nine News showed protesters telling police they had no right to touch them and they weren't doing anything wrong.

AAP photographers on scene said the demonstration was "chaotic" and involved "a lot of running and not much protesting".

Despite police efforts to persuade anti-lockdown campaigners not to protest in person, the rallies are becoming a weekly occurrence, with more expected on Sunday.

A Victoria Police statement on Saturday showed patience was wearing thin, saying "the behaviour of these selfish few who choose to blatantly ignore the directions will not be tolerated."

Meanwhile, the premier has said retired police officers could be recalled to help conduct household checks.

The Department of Health and Human Services is recruiting more authorised officers to conduct patrols and compliance inspections, and will look to former police to fill the ranks.

The state's inquiry into the hotel quarantine scheme that led to its second wave will be in the spotlight this week as the premier and three of his ministers are due to appear on Wednesday. ... d=msedgdhp

Opposition puts pressure on contact tracing
Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien said while it was "pleasing" to see the lower case numbers, the Government needed to ensure there was "proper contact tracing" so restrictions could be eased as soon as possible.

"Daniel Andrews has been claiming to Victorians for months that our contact tracing is fine. We all know that it's not," Mr O'Brien said.

"As soon as he fixes that up, we should be able to get to New South Wales' position and have a safe reopening with the ability to crack down on outbreaks when they appear."

The Victorian Government announced a contract with US tech giant Salesforce at the start of the month, to create a new case and contact management system.

Local response units will also be set up to allow faster, localised responses to outbreaks as the state begins to reopen.

Victoria's path out of coronavirus lockdown involves us sticking to the plan — even if it isn't perfect
Despite training in infectious diseases, nothing could have prepared me for 2020.

I never thought I would be helping plan and enact a hospital response to a once-in-a-hundred-year pandemic.

I never thought I'd be furloughed in a hotel room for two weeks or separated from my family for six months and counting.

The past two months have pushed us to the limit and beyond. More than 3,000 of my brave colleagues have been infected.

With huge numbers removed from the workforce at the height of the pandemic, we worked double shifts, sweating under gowns, dehydrated, unable to drink for hours on end, our faces bruised and cut from suffocating N95 masks.

The more tired you are, the more likely you are to infect yourself. But, in the face of significant risk, no one has taken a backward step. I couldn't be prouder to be part of this team.

It hasn't been any easier for the community. Depression, anxiety and sometimes despair. But we Victorians are a resilient lot. We can be proud to have contained a second wave spiralling out of control.

Thanks to our collective efforts, we have cut daily case numbers from 700 to double digits. The finish line is in sight. But sometimes, the final climb is the most daunting.

We may be frustrated, but that won't change our situation. Blame and recrimination can come afterwards, once we're on the other side. Any other approach risks undermining our ability to get there.
Howls of protest
The Victorian roadmap, despite following the national strategy of aggressive suppression and opening at thresholds similar to NSW during the first wave, has been met with howls of protest and a national pile on from business leaders, politicians, academics and the media.

But the choice between health and the economy is false. A society cannot function and an economy cannot recover when its people are dying.

Around the world a clear pattern has emerged. Countries that controlled the virus best, have suffered the least economically. We see this here when comparing Western Australia's recovery with states where COVID-19 still circulates.

People will not resume normal activities and spend if they don't feel safe. The public health recovery precedes the economic recovery.

If you play out this false dichotomy between economy and health — you arrive in the United States. A first world country with over 6 million cases and tragically, almost 200,000 deaths. Is this a path we wish to go down?

Elsewhere, countries have curbed transmission only to open prematurely and see second waves engulf them.

Following the world's strictest lockdown, Spain has topped 25,000 daily cases. Israelis (with more than 4,000 daily cases) are again locked down and must not venture more than 500 metres from home.

I would rather a conservative model that under promises and over delivers. If wrong, cases will drop faster than predicted, allowing us to open sooner, as in regional Victoria. The reverse scenario does not bear considering.

We have a common goal
We all agree on the goal — "COVID normal" — but the divisiveness about how we get there risks undermining public confidence necessary for our recovery.

Our first wave was met with a genuine spirit of bipartisanship. Leaders put aside their differences to lead in the national interest. In response, the curve seemingly bended to our collective will.

But this time, with public morale so close to cracking, that unity is harder to find.

Business leaders demand to know why they can't open stores. They point to the absence of outbreaks under their COVIDSafe plans. But this oversimplification misunderstands the nature of "mystery" cases that are most dangerous to our recovery.

If in the days before diagnosis, a person strolled the aisles of Bunnings, and shopped at Chadstone, we may never confidently pinpoint their acquisition. All these outings are possible opportunities to get infected, and to infect others.

Epidemiologists make more sophisticated critiques of the roadmap, questioning the modelling that underpins it, scenarios tested and inputs such as contact tracing capacity.

No model is perfect, nor will one satisfy every academic.

A model with the most optimistic inputs (no mistakes, perfect contact tracing and compliance) could allow you to open earlier. But a more cautious model that factors in inevitable human mistakes and missteps is more realistic. The consequences of getting it wrong are grave.

It is demoralising to see federal leaders putting pressure on their state counterparts to change course and diminishing their leadership.

If that is a political calculation to avoid responsibility for aged care deaths and economic upheaval, it is a dangerous game for the Prime Minister to play.

Victoria is still part of Australia. Our health and economies are intertwined. We succeed or fail together.

The success of any public health strategy relies on the buy-in of the people to comply with public health directions. The exchange of ideas is important, but once a reasonable strategy is selected, we must converge behind it. If public faith is undermined, no strategy will succeed.

No plan is perfect
As community transmission decreases, I see hospital case numbers steadily decline. I am confident this will translate to a sharp drop in cases as we break the last stubborn chains of transmission.

The road map is not perfect, but it will get us there if we pull together and put in the work. Everyone has a role to play.

Victorians: get tested, follow the rules and minimise spread. My colleagues and I will look after you with compassionate care if you get sick.

And our public leaders — politicians, media, epidemiologists and business leaders — must put aside their differences and lead us through this crisis.

Victoria is strong. We are on the home stretch, and we will succeed if we are united.

They will never take the grand final away from us again! ... d=msedgdhp

South-east Melbourne family outbreak now at 40 cases
A coronavirus outbreak connected to families who broke lockdown to visit one another's homes in Melbourne's outer south-east has grown to 40 cases.

That is an additional six family members who have tested positive since yesterday.

The residents mingled with households across Hallam, Clyde, Narre Warren South and Cranbourne North, driving an outbreak in the city's south-east which has seen cases infect Dandenong Police Station and other industrial work sites.

"So it just gives you a sense of one person, just a single person, can infect many, many other people," Premier Daniel Andrews said.

"The contact tracing work that has gone on there has seen us pull that up."

There is still, I'm sure, close contacts and others will be very much monitored to make sure that if they exhibit symptoms, that we can further isolate them – but they're all isolated there.

However, Mr Andrews said he believed the outbreak had now been contained and would not balloon beyond the close contacts who remain in isolation, but "it's always subject to and events as they unfold". ... d=msedgdhp ... d=msedgdhp

Suicide cluster highlights dangerous combination of social isolation and family violence for some migrant women
Sleep doesn't come easily for Priya*.

If it's not the ringing in her damaged ear keeping her awake, it's the terrifying dreams of her abuser.

Two years ago Priya packed up her life in India to be with her new husband in Melbourne.

"In our culture, a husband is like a god and I was treating him like a god," Priya said.

"Whatever he said, that was a truth for me.

"When I came to Australia, I was totally dependent on him. He was the one who was guiding me for everything."

But it wasn't long before she feared for her life.

"He dragged me to the washroom and he was just banging my head on the wall," she said.

"The tap in the washroom got inserted in my ear and it was all bleeding.

"Still today I have issues with tinnitus. I had injuries everywhere."

Priya learnt to dread Friday nights and, at times, she entertained thoughts of suicide.

She'd dawdle on her way home from work knowing the abuse, at the hands of her husband and brother-in-law, with whom they lived, would escalate and she'd be trapped all weekend.

"One night he jumped on my stomach with his knee and he was punching me, punching me," Priya said, describing abuse at the hands of her husband.

Eventually her boss, familiar with Priya's frequent injuries, suggested she speak to the police.

"I was so not aware about the laws over here," Priya said.

Fear for her reputation, and that of her family in India, meant she stayed with her abuser until late last year.

"I really want a peaceful life, no stress," she said.

Suicides linked by isolation
Priya still hasn't found that peace, regularly checking revenge-porn websites fearing she'll see her face. But she's working through her PTSD with the help of a psychiatrist.

Her story is distressingly common.

The plight of immigrant women like her has been thrown into the spotlight with an investigation by Coroner Audrey Jamieson into a cluster of suicides in the Whittlesea and Hume local government areas, in Melbourne's north.

Over six months in 2018 three women from Epping and Thomastown died by suicide.

Another three women died in similar circumstances in 2019.

Chris Howse, the principal solicitor at the Whittlesea Community Legal Service, was instrumental in getting the coroner to investigate the cluster.

"All women were from the South Asian community and there was evidence of isolation with respect to every single one of them," Mr Howse said.

"The implication is that women are newly arrived, they're isolated and have few friends.

"There is the suggestion with respect to some of those deaths that family violence was in the background."

Mr Howse said the issues in the Whittlesea community were not unique to the area.

"Family violence transcends race, despair and isolation transcend race," he said.

"Although [Whittlesea's] not ground zero for any of those problems necessarily, we are very close. We vie with the City of Hume."

Vulnerabilities underpinning suicides 'still playing out'
This month the coroner recommended more targeted support be considered for the Indian and Sri Lankan communities in Melbourne's north to prevent further suffering.

"Whittlesea is disproportionately affected by lack of access to mental health and family violence services, compared with other municipalities," Ms Jamieson wrote in her coronial reports.

She described a combination of family violence, financial control, patriarchal family structures, social isolation, and a lack of understanding of rights as stressors.

"The vulnerabilities that underpin these suicides are still playing out there in that community," Mr Howse said.

Psychiatrist Manjula O'Connor mainly works with South Asian women and domestic violence in her practice.

While family violence is a problem that transcends cultural groups and socio-economic levels, Dr O'Connor said more needed to be done to support newly arrived South Asian women.

Dr O'Connor founded the Australasian Centre for Human Rights and Health, which runs programs using theatre to educate and break down social isolation.

She said the support needed to start before the women left their home countries.

"At the time of the visa, the Government needs to make sure they have the pamphlet in their hand, which gives them all the numbers of the family violence support services and mental health support services," Dr O'Connor said.

She said education about gender relations should be included in settlement programs once they land in Australia.

Local health services also had to be educated in ways to identify and help women of the demographic, Dr O'Connor said.

Women band together online
The coroner instructed Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to review the services that support South Asian women in Whittlesea.

In a statement, the department said it had already made funding available to a raft of services to "deliver essential mental health supports and practical assistance for CALD communities".

"We've already begun working on a coordinated response across the local area health network, Whittlesea Council and local service providers to ensure the community can access the help they need," a department spokesperson said.

In the meantime, and as word of the crisis spread, South Asian women in Whittlesea rallied on social media, organically breaking down the deadly isolation.

"There was an outpouring on behalf of women — woman-to-woman — saying I'm here 24/7, where there's despair, where you're stuck, where you're vulnerable, just ring me, Facebook me, I don't care what time of the day or night, " Mr Howse said.

"That was the tenor of many, many Facebook posts rebounding around that community. That's what we want to tap in to."

*Priya did not want her real name used for privacy reasons. ... d=msedgdhp

Concerns Victoria doesn't have enough N95 masks for medical staff

The Australian Medical Association's Dr Sarah Whitelaw says the Government hasn't been transparent about it's PPE safety guidelines. ... d=msedgdhp

Victorian coronavirus healthcare workers not getting best PPE or more N95 masks amid shortage fears
The N95 mask provides a more secure seal around the face than a surgical mask, to reduce the risk of airborne particles reaching the face.
Victorian COVID-19 health workers are still not being provided with the best protective equipment because the numbers required would "burn through the supplies in one week", the state's Chief Medical Officer has said in private meetings leaked to the ABC.

And despite repeated State Government assurances that personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies were adequate, health experts said "unconscionable" mask shortages and lax guidelines in the critical early stages of Victoria's second wave in June and July contributed to its size and intensity.

'Fit testing' the highest-level N95 masks for doctors and nurses is still being rejected because of shortages, the leaks show, and workers who test or transport COVID-positive patients cannot access them at all.

N95 masks fit snugly on the face and provide a higher level of protection from coronavirus than surgical masks.

Epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws, who advises the World Health Organization on preventing healthcare worker infections, said there was no excuse for not having the right PPE during the second wave.

"More than 3,000 COVID cases [among Victorian healthcare workers] is astronomical, and it tells me that something's gone wrong, terribly gone wrong," Professor McLaws said.

"It's poor leadership, it's unconscionable and it's unethical not to have a continuous uninterrupted supply for our frontline healthcare workers."

Healthcare worker infections are a significant contributor to Victoria's second wave, accounting for around 20 per cent of new COVID cases between in July and August. About one third are in hospital workers.

It remains unclear how much subsequent community transmission can be traced back to healthcare worker infections.

Infectious disease expert Raina Macintyre said she believed the unavailability of PPE was a major contributor to healthcare workers getting infected.

"There's no doubt that with better PPE, fit testing and a precautionary approach, much of this wave in health workers could have been prevented," Professor Macintyre said.

Doctors' union concerned supply, not evidence, drove PPE guidelines
Despite public assurances in April that Victoria had enough PPE, through May and June, as the second wave swelled in Melbourne, there weren't enough surgical masks and N95 masks, leaked meeting notes show.

The briefings between Chief Medical Officer Andrew Wilson, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) staff, unions and WorkSafe Victoria have been provided to the ABC. They suggest DHHS had not "modelled" sufficient supplies.

Unions repeatedly called for simple surgical masks for more workers.

But Professor Wilson told them while the requests were not unreasonable, "… on those scales we'd be going through one million masks a week", a source said.

The peak medical body is also concerned the State Government may have changed guidelines about the safest PPE for workers to wear, based on when supplies finally arrived.

Health workers had been crying out for higher level N95 masks since April, but federal and state authorities said the evidence did not warrant it.

The ABC has determined that it was only when Victoria secured its first onshore manufactured supply of the masks in August, and there was relief in the system, that DHHS changed its guidelines and said the evidence now supported more workers having access.

Australian Medical Association (AMA) board member and emergency physician at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Sarah Whitelaw, said the Government had not been transparent about why the guidelines changed at that time.

"There's certainly been a concern that our PPE guidelines have not been drawn up necessarily just on what is best practice, but that in fact, they have been drawn up based on what we've had available,'' Dr Whitelaw said.

Chief Medical Officer says all decisions based on 'expert advice and evidence'
In response to questions from the ABC, Professor Wilson rejected suggestions that supply dictated guidelines and said they were changed because of observed risks in some health services where patients with COVID-19 were being cohorted in wards.

"All decisions about PPE use in our health services has been guided by expert advice and evidence, with the best possible protection for staff the primary consideration, and thankfully supply has always met that guidance," he said.

Despite the onshore supply, shortages still plague the Government.

Last month, Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters: "We have substantial reserves of those (N95) masks."

But this month, Professor Wilson told a briefing there were not enough N95 masks for all workers in contact with COVID-19 patients because it would "burn through the supplies in one week," meeting attendees said.

A source told the ABC that was why the Government had resisted fit testing — a process that involves each worker trying different makes, models and sizes of masks to find the most protective.

The Government still did not have the supplies to provide healthcare workers with the best fits, the source said.

Government commits to fit-testing trial in all COVID-19 wards
While behind closed doors DHHS staff knew about the shortages, the Premier told a press conference on August 12, when almost 2,000 health care workers had been infected, that most were getting coronavirus in the community, not in the workplace.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos told a parliamentary committee only 10-15 per cent of healthcare worker infections were happening in the workplace — outraging frontline workers.


Two weeks later, a DHHS report conceded at least 69 per cent of workers had acquired the virus at work, for a variety of reasons.

This weekend, the Government committed to a fit-testing trial in all coronavirus wards, following a similar trial at Northern Health.

Professor McLaws said healthcare workers had been taken advantage of.

"You do not want your young healthcare workers, which they usually are, having ill health into their middle age [due to COVID-19] because of a problem with the supply chain," Professor McLaws said.

"The leaders need to think very carefully about what they're expecting. Would they expect this of their family member? I can't imagine they would think that that's okay."

In a statement, Chief Medical Officer Andrew Wilson said Victoria had done an incredible job of securing PPE in the pandemic.

"Victoria's advice on N95 respirators was expanded in August to go above the National Guidelines due to observed risks in some of our health services where patients with COVID-19 were being cohorted in wards," he said.

"Since then a large range of measures have been enacted to further reduce risk and numbers of healthcare worker infections have reduced significantly. Whilst the guidance has naturally led to increased use of respirators, this has been carefully planned for and risks mitigated." ... d=msedgdhp

Victorian live music industry offered coronavirus grants in $13 million support package
The Victorian Government has announced a $13 million package to help the state's live music industry reopen with COVID-safe plans in place once restrictions ease.

Arts Minister Martin Foley acknowledged the sector was "one of the areas first and hardest hit" by the pandemic and said the Government was committed to ensuring it survived.

When the live music industry was forced to shut down in March, several Melbourne businesses told the ABC they feared they would not be able to survive months of closure.

Mr Foley said initial grants totalling $9 million would be offered to 106 live music venues to keep their businesses going and cover overhead costs until they could safely reopen.

The grants will also help offset the costs associated with enforcing caps on patrons at events.

A $3 million fund will also offer grants of between $4,000 and $50,000 to help artists, managers, promoters, bookers, road crews and other industry workers find COVID-safe ways of working.

The final part of the package is a $1.2 million grant to 10 music organisations and peak bodies to deliver business development programs to industry professionals.

Under Victoria's coronavirus roadmap, outdoor entertainment events will be allowed, with approved COVID-safe plans, from the third step pencilled in for October 26.

In the final step of the roadmap, indoor entertainment venues would be able to open subject to density limits and patron caps.

Venue says grant will help them come out the other side
Mathew O'Keefe runs Pride Of Our Footscray Community Bar in Melbourne's inner west, where in pre-pandemic times drag queens hosted punk and rock bands in front of 200 patrons until late into the night.

He said the $80,000 grant his venue had received through the first round of support would keep 17 staff employed, pay the bills and prepare the venue to reopen with plastic screens at tables and other COVID-19 precautions.

"We wanted the chance to reopen and this allows us to get to that and then our destiny is in our own hands," he said.

He said the money would mean Melbourne's live music scene had a chance to come out the other side.

"If you don't have live music at a venue you might have poker machines and what else have you got?" he said.

"It's really important to save these places which are giving paid jobs to musicians before they're famous."

Local councils put on notice to protect live music venues
Mr Foley also announced the Government would amend the state's planning scheme so it better reflected the social, economic and cultural value of live music.

"And we will be strongly encouraging all local government areas to move quickly once that amendment has happened, to protect not just iconic local venues but live music precincts wherever they might be across the state," he said.

"We want to make sure that in this COVID shutdown period, that venues are not at risk and that councils are given the tools to make sure that live music venues can keep pumping out rock and roll and keep pumping out music for many years to come."

The state recorded 14 new infections on Sunday and the deaths of five more people with COVID-19. ... d=msedgdhp

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters plan second day of 'secret' rally
Up to 700 anti-lockdown protesters in Victoria are vowing to take to the streets for a second time this weekend.

Several small rallies are expected to begin from 7am in Melbourne's CBD before the main gathering at 1pm.

Organisers have encouraged demonstrators to stay within 10 minutes of the city centre while the location of the rally remains a secret.

The 'biggest ever' anti-lockdown rally set to take place in Melbourne
yesterday's chaotic disorganized shambolic excuse for a rally
A sophisticated anti-lockdown protest set to hit Melbourne will use encrypted messages, scouts, and rogue police officers to preserve the large-scale operation.

Almost 700 demonstrators have vowed to swarm the city on Sunday for a mass rally against the Victorian government's coronavirus restrictions.

It comes a day after up to 150 protesters descended on Elwood and Elsternwick Park in Brighton, 11km from the city's centre, resulting in 21 fines and 16 arrests.

But organisers claim Sunday will be the 'big one', as co-ordination and planning reaches a level that 'has never been seen at a protest before'.

Protesters have been ordered via encrypted messages to start a series of small rallies within 10 minutes of the CBD kicking off at 7am, according to the Herald Sun.

The location of the main event will be provided at 1pm, when the groups will merge and stream to the area in unison.

In an Instagram poster promoting the event, organisers vowed to 'flow like water' during the main protest.

Scouts and rogue cops will reportedly be feeding information about where police are conducting patrols.

'We are exceptionally thankful to the small number of Victoria Police officers who came forward and are willing to provide information,' an ­organiser said.

A sea of police flocked to the city's Bayside suburbs on Saturday as scores of conspiracy theorists and coronavirus deniers flooded into a park to rebel against Melbourne's lockdown.

Protests were announced by rally organisers about 10.30am on Saturday - half an hour before kicking off at the State Library, and a second closely following at 12pm.

aw enforcement teams circling Elsternwick Park included officers from Public Order Response, the Mounted Unit and Highway Patrol.

A helicopter also monitored the situation from above.

Footage shared online showed mount police chasing dozens of protesters as they fled down a footpath.

'Get ready to run,' the man filming can be heard calling out.

Protesters marching along Elwood beach about 1pm were dispersed a third time, and several arrests have been made by officers.

Shouting about Premier Daniel Andrews and coronavirus restrictions was heard throughout the disjointed protests.

The protests were described as 'chaotic', with one photographer saying there was 'a lot of running and not much protesting.'

Some protesters continued to scatter through backstreets, even jumping fences into private property.

One arrested by police was filmed by Nine News telling officers: 'Wake up, I know you already know this is wrong.'

Melbourne remains in a Stage Four lockdown, meaning residents cannot leave their houses without a valid reason, and restrictions are in place to limit movement more than 5km from a person's home.

The restrictions remain in place, and both a State of Emergency and State of Disaster, have been extended a further four weeks.

Multiple rallies have taken place in Melbourne over the past few weekends, with Victoria police responding with a heavy presence - handing out dozens of fines and making arrests.

Victoria recorded 14 new cases and five deaths on Sunday, the lowest daily increase since June and the tenth day in a row the state has recorded a daily infections increase below 50.

<< yesterday they were outnumbered by reporters and cops >> ... d=msedgdhp ... d=msedgdhp

A handful of Anti-lockdown protesters gather outside Coles to sing John Farnham
A small group of anti-lockdown protesters stormed a Melbourne shopping centre to sing a John Farnham anthem before scattering when riot police arrived.

Almost 700 demonstrators had vowed to swarm Melbourne's CBD on Sunday for a mass rally against the Victorian government's coronavirus restrictions.

The operation was touted as the 'biggest protest yet' by organisers, but kicked off in underwhelming fashion at Chadstone Shopping Centre in the city's southeast.

Footage showed a group of no more than 20 people standing outside a Coles supermarket singing 'You're The Voice'.

One man held a guitar and others waved their phones in the air before the group fled when police arrived.

2 arrested, 6 fined after 'Freedom Day' anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne
A few dozen protesters have come together in song to rally against Victoria's lockdown laws at a demonstration that was moved on by police and saw two people arrested and six fined.


The group today launched into a communal rendition of John Farnham's classic song 'You're the Voice' at Chadstone Shopping Centre, east of Melbourne, to express their concerns with current COVID-19 restrictions.

Dubbed as another "Freedom Day" rally, some protesters said they were taking part to highlight the long-term effects lockdowns will have on the people of Victoria.

Organisers promised the event would be "big" <it wasn't >
and ordered people planning to attend to "go shopping for some essential goods immediately".< they didn't, they mostly immediately scattered as soon as their look outs spotted the police arriving >

"Potentially, there are far more people who will lose their lives due to the lockdown measures," one protester told 9News.

"This is freedom of speech and our human rights have been violated. It is disgusting," another said.

The police Public Order Response squad was soon called to the shopping centre, causing the demonstrators to scatter throughout stores to avoid officers.

Some shoppers at the centre today told 9News, however, that they were not impressed by the showing.

"How about coming to help us out on the COVID wards? Come and help us out," one woman, who said she is a nurse, said.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews today also voiced his frustrations with the crowd.
"Go home, stay home. Follow the rules, then you will be able to do all the protesting like at some point in the future," he said at today's coronavirus press conference update.

Two people were arrested and six people were handed fines for public health order breaches after the rally today, and police have promised to continue cracking down.

"Police will continue to play an important role in enforcing the directions of the Chief Health Officer and contributing to limiting the spread of the coronavirus," a police statement said

"Police acknowledge and appreciate the vast majority of the community who are doing the right thing.

"It is only a very small number of people that still choose to put the rest of the community at risk through their selfish behaviour." ... d=msedgdhp ... 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.
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Sun Sep 20, 2020 7:46 am


NSW coronavirus death toll rises to 55, as man in his 70s dies of the disease
A man in his early 70s has died of coronavirus, Premier Gladys Berejiklian says, bringing the NSW death toll to 55.

His case was traced back to one of the Sydney CBD clusters.

He died on Saturday at Sydney's Royal North Shore hospital.

A total of 55 people have now died of coronavirus in NSW.

Ms Berejiklian confirmed two new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, one in hotel quarantine.

In New South Wales, there were 2 new cases and 1 death, of a man in his 70s, announced on Sunday, amid concerns of a new spread in Sydney.
Latest NSW death a man in his 70s
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed that the latest coronavirus death in the state is a man in his early 70s.

Speaking ahead of a bushfire preparation campaign, Ms Berejiklian said the man caught the virus from one of the clusters that emerged in Sydney's CBD.

"We had over 13,500 tests and we do see a bit of a dip on the weekend, so can I please ask everybody to come forward and get tested even today, don't wait until tomorrow," Ms Berejiklian said.

"Please come forward today.

"But I also want to extend our deepest condolences to a man in his early 70s who unfortunately passed away at Royal North Shore Hospital yesterday." ... d=msedgdhp

NSW health authorities are concerned that coronavirus may have spread to passengers who rode with a Covid-19-positive taxi driver over 11 days across western Sydney, as well as patrons of restaurants and bars the driver visited along the NSW south coast.

Infected taxi driver picked up passengers for a week while infectious
A desperate warning has been issued after a taxi driver drove around Sydney for seven days while potentially infected with coronavirus.

The warning was issued by NSW Health on Saturday night after the infected driver worked on September 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 in the city's western suburbs.

Passengers who caught a taxi in Moorebank, Bankstown, Chipping Norton, Liverpool, Lidcombe, Warwick Farm and Milperra have been warned to watch for symptoms and get tested immediately if they feel ill.

Self isolate and get tested:
Campbelltown Golf Club, - Glen Alpine - September 16 from 2pm-4.30pm in the TAB area

Milton Ulladulla Ex Servos Club - September 12 from 2pm-6.15pm

Carlo’s Italian Restaurante Bar & Seafood, Ulladulla - September 12 from 8pm-9.30pm

Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Bar & Grill, Mollymook – September 13 from 12.30pm-2.15pm

Anyone who attended these venues for a least one hour during the times mentioned is considered to be a close contact and is being directed to get tested and isolate for 14 days. Glen Alpine

'NSW Health is working with the person and 13CABS to identify passengers,' a spokesperson said.

An alert has also been issued for locations in southern and western Sydney after a person with COVID-19 visited a range of venues for at least one hour each.

Anyone who visited Campbelltown Golf Club on September 16 between 2pm and 4.30pm in western Sydney has been asked to get tested and self-isolate.

The patron also visited Carlo’s Italian Restaurante Bar & Seafood and Milton Ulladulla ExServos Club in Ulladulla, on the NSW south coast, on September 12, and nearby Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Bar & Grill in Mollymook on September 13.

Bannisters is home to UK celebrity chef Rick Stein's world-renowned seafood restaurant.
Anyone who visited the venues is considered a casual contact and should monitor for symptoms.

'Early investigations into the source of infection indicate the case may have acquired the virus at Liverpool Hospital,' the spokesperson said.

The COVIDSafe App is being used to help identify contacts.

NSW reported three new COVID-19 cases overnight.

Two cases are from returned travellers currently staying in hotel quarantine.

The other case is a staff member who worked while potentially infectious at Concord Hospital, in Sydney's inner west.

Where Taxi worked:


Chipping Norton



Warwick Farm


Anyone who caught a Taxi in these areas on September 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 is being urged to monitor their health.

Monitor your health:
Picnic Point Bowling Club - September 18, from 3pm-6pm

Campbelltown Golf Club course, Glen Alpine - September 16, from 9.30am-2pm

Anyone who attended these venues at the times mentioned is also considered a casual contact and must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop symptoms.

NSW Health said it was investigating how the staff member became infected.

'The case cared for patients with COVID-19 and further investigation is underway to identify how the infection was acquired.

'Contact tracing is underway.'

The total number of COVID-19 infections has now risen to 4009 in NSW, however only 140 cases are still active.

Four people are currently being treated in intensive care units with two connected to respirators.

The death toll in the state currently stands at 52.

In NSW, a man in his 70s died of Covid-19 at Sydney’s Royal North Shore hospital on Saturday after catching it “recently” from the CBD cluster.

Although testing in NSW is higher than in Victoria, rates have also dropped off recently, and on Sunday the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, urged anyone with symptoms to be tested.

Of the new cases in NSW on Sunday, one is a returned international traveller in hotel quarantine.

Health authorities are, however, focusing their attention on the other case, a taxi driver – who is believed to have contracted Covid from Sydney’s Liverpool hospital cluster – who drove passengers for 11 days while potentially infectious.

NSW Health is urging anyone who caught a taxi on 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 September in the Sydney suburbs of Moorebank, Bankstown, Chipping Norton, Liverpool, Lidcombe, Warwick Farm and Milperra, to monitor for symptoms and get tested if they develop symptoms.

The taxi driver also visited several venues in Sydney and the NSW south coast while believed to be infectious.

Anyone who visited Campbelltown Golf Club on 16 September between 2pm and 4.30pm in the TAB area and Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Bar & Grill in Mollymook on 13 September between 12.30pm and 2.15pm is considered a close contact and required to self isolate for 14 days.

Patrons of Milton Ulladulla Ex Servos Club on 12 September between 2pm and 6.15pm, and Carlo’s Italian Restaurante Bar & Seafood in Ulladulla on 12 September between 8pm and 9.30pm, are also considered close contacts and are required to self isolate for 14 days.

Visitors to ​Picnic Point Bowling Club on 18 September between 3pm and 6pm, Campbelltown Golf Club course on 16 September between 9.30am and 2pm, and Wray St Oyster Shed in Batemans Bay on 12 September between noon and 1pm are considered casual contacts of the case. ... d=msedgdhp

The other was a Sydney taxi driver who tested positive for coronavirus after working eight days while infectious and visiting several venues in Sydney and on the South Coast.

NSW Health said the confirmed coronavirus case drove in western and south-west Sydney on September 8-10 and 14-18.

People who rode in taxis in
Chipping Norton,
Warwick Farm
and Milperra may have been exposed and infected.

He also visited Mama Wok's Yum Cha in Macarthur Square at Campbelltown and Campbelltown Golb Club on September 16.

Public health alerts have been issued for the Milton Ulladulla Ex-Servicemen's Club and Carlo's Italian Restaurant after it was revealed the man had taken a trip to the NSW South Coast on September 12.

Another alert has been handed out for Bannister's Rooftop Bar and Grill at Mollymook for September 13.

Anyone who may have been at those locations on those days for at least an hour have been urged to immediately be tested and self-isolate for a fortnight. ... d=msedgdhp

NSW Health confirmed they were working with 13CABS to contact passengers who were at risk of infection.

Health authorities said anyone who visited a list of six venues including restaurants, golf clubs and service clubs in Sydney's west, south-west and on the South Coast, were also at risk.

People are considered a close contact of the taxi driver, and must seek testing and immediately isolate, if they spent more than an hour at:

Campbelltown Golf Club, Glen Alpine on September 16 from 2:00pm-4:30pm
Milton Ulladulla Ex Servos Club on 12 September 12 from 2:00pm-6:15pm
Carlo's Italian Restaurante Bar & Seafood, Ulladulla on September 12 from 8:00pm-9:30pm
Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Bar & Grill, Mollymook on September 13, 12:30pm-2:15pm
Mama Wok, MacArthur Square Campbelltown on September 9, from 1:30pm-2:30pm
"They must stay isolated for the entire period, even if a negative test result is received," NSW Health's Jeremy McAnulty said.

Anyone who visited the venues for less than an hour is considered a casual contact, which means they need to monitor for symptoms including a fever, dry cough or tiredness.

In addition to the above, people should monitor for symptoms if they visited:

Picnic Point Bowling Club on September 18 from 3:00pm-6:00pm
Campbelltown Golf Club on September 16 from 9:30am-2:00pm
Wray St Oyster Shed Batemans Bay on September 12 from 12:00pm-1:00pm
NSW Health said early investigations into the source of infection indicate the taxi driver may have caught the virus at Liverpool Hospital.

It's the second time this weekend that a case has been linked to hospitals in Sydney.

On Saturday, health authorities confirmed just one coronavirus case from local transmission, a staff member who worked at Concord Hospital while infectious.

"The case cared for patients with COVID-19 and further investigation is underway to identify how the infection was acquired," NSW Health said on Saturday.

About 13,500 coronavirus swabs were completed on Saturday, and Ms Berejiklian acknowledged testing rates dipped on the weekend.

"But it's still a state of high alert for us in NSW," she said.

Ms Berejiklian also announced NSW workers would be eligible for paid pandemic leave to the value of $1,500 if they were forced to take time off work for self-isolation.

"If you're someone who has a job and you don't have any leave left, you will be paid $1,500 for that fortnight you have to isolate," Ms Berejiklian said.

Unions NSW said the decision was "welcome, if overdue".

"No worker should ever have to choose between their health and their livelihood, a point we first made to the Premier months ago," Union NSW's Mark Morey said.

Restaurant with open buffet fined
Meanwhile a Korean BBQ restaurant in Strathfield has become the latest venue to be slugged with a $5,000 fine after inspectors found an open buffet where diners were sharing crockery, cutlery and food.

Inspectors visited Butchers Buffet on September 11 and found the restaurant was not spaced to allow a four-square-metre distance between tables.

They noted that there was no COVID-19 marshal on site, and no limit to the amount of patrons noted on the door.

Diners stood shoulder to shoulder while serving themselves at the buffet, sharing utensils.

SafeWork NSW Director Work Health and Safety Metro, Sarina Wise, said she thought COVID-19 breaches "defied logic".

"Self-serve buffets and pandemics simply don't mix, creating a source of potentially contaminated items," Ms Wise said.

"No self-serve, buffet-style food service areas are allowed including communal bar snacks and communal condiments.

"Sharing items on a buffet is clearly a direct line for COVID transmission."

Inspectors from Liquor & Gaming NSW, SafeWork NSW and NSW Fair Trading this week dished out 23 new fines for restaurants breaking the rules.

Among them,
Albion Hotel in Parramatta,
Ashfield Bowling Club in Ashfield,
Cafe on Monash in Gladesville,
Commercial Hotel in Kingsgrove,
Collector Hotel in Parramatta,
Crown Hotel in Parramatta,
Erciyes Turkish Restaurant in Redfern General Bourke in Parramatta,
Glasgow Arms Hotel in Ultimo,
Indian Leaf in Redfern,
La Famiglia Ristorante & Pizzeria in Jindabyne,
Lotus Barangaroo in Barangaroo,
Maya Da Dhaba in Redfern,
Mohr Fish in St Ives,
Rosehill Hotel in Rosehill,
Oscars Sports Hotel in Bankstown,
Rosehill Hotel in Rosehill,
Royal Hotel in Darlington,
Ship Inn in Sydney,
Southern Cross Hotel in St Peters,
St Jude Café in Redfern,
Thredbo Alpine Hotel
and Zushi Restaurant in Barangaroo.

To date, hospitality businesses have been dealt 150 fines totalling $658,000. ... d=msedgdhp

Restaurant with open buffet fined
Korean BBQ restaurant in Strathfield has become the latest venue to be slugged with a $5,000 fine after inspectors found an open buffet where diners were sharing crockery, cutlery and food.

Butchers Buffet in Strathfield was one of 23 venues fined for COVID-19 breaches
Inspectors visited Butchers Buffet on September 11 and found the restaurant was not spaced to allow a four-square-metre distance between tables.

They noted that there was no COVID-19 marshal on site, and no limit to the amount of patrons noted on the door.

Diners stood shoulder to shoulder while serving themselves at the buffet, sharing utensils.
SafeWork NSW Director Work Health and Safety Metro, Sarina Wise, said she thought COVID-19 breaches "defied logic".

"Self-serve buffets and pandemics simply don't mix, creating a source of potentially contaminated items," Ms Wise said.

"No self-serve, buffet-style food service areas are allowed including communal bar snacks and communal condiments.

"Sharing items on a buffet is clearly a direct line for COVID transmission."
Inspectors from Liquor & Gaming NSW, SafeWork NSW and NSW Fair Trading this week dished out 23 new fines for restaurants breaking the rules. ... s/12682464

Restaurants with open buffets fined
Meanwhile a Korean BBQ restaurant in Strathfield has become the latest venue to be slugged with a $5,000 fine after inspectors found an open buffet where diners were sharing crockery, cutlery and food.

Inspectors visited Butchers Buffet on September 11 and found the restaurant was not spaced to allow a four-square-metre distance between tables.

They noted that there was no COVID-19 marshal on site, and no limit to the amount of patrons noted on the door.

Diners stood shoulder to shoulder while serving themselves at the buffet, sharing utensils.

SafeWork NSW Director Work Health and Safety Metro, Sarina Wise, said she thought COVID-19 breaches "defied logic".

"Self-serve buffets and pandemics simply don't mix, creating a source of potentially contaminated items," Ms Wise said.

"No self-serve, buffet-style food service areas are allowed including communal bar snacks and communal condiments.

"Sharing items on a buffet is clearly a direct line for COVID transmission."

Inspectors from Liquor & Gaming NSW, SafeWork NSW and NSW Fair Trading this week dished out 23 new fines for restaurants breaking the rules.

Among them,
Albion Hotel in Parramatta,
Ashfield Bowling Club in Ashfield,
Cafe on Monash in Gladesville,
Commercial Hotel in Kingsgrove,
Collector Hotel in Parramatta,
Crown Hotel in Parramatta,
Erciyes Turkish Restaurant in Redfern General Bourke in Parramatta,
Glasgow Arms Hotel in Ultimo,
Indian Leaf in Redfern,
La Famiglia Ristorante & Pizzeria in Jindabyne,
Lotus Barangaroo in Barangaroo,
Maya Da Dhaba in Redfern,
Mohr Fish in St Ives,
Rosehill Hotel in Rosehill,
Oscars Sports Hotel in Bankstown,
Rosehill Hotel in Rosehill,
Royal Hotel in Darlington,
Ship Inn in Sydney,
Southern Cross Hotel in St Peters,
St Jude Café in Redfern,
Thredbo Alpine Hotel
and Zushi Restaurant in Barangaroo.

To date, hospitality businesses have been dealt 150 fines totalling $658,000. ... d=msedgdhp

COVID-19 Positive Sydney based taxi driver puts NSW South Coast on high alert
Milton Ulladulla ExServos Club has decided to close for a deep clean

South Coast NSW businesses say a sense of nervousness is building in the community after a Covid-19 alert has been issued for the region just ahead of the school holidays.

Heath authorities have started contact tracing across several venues after a Sydney-based taxi driver visited the region while potentially infectious with the coronavirus — he tested positive yesterday.

During his time in the region, the cab driver stopped for meals at three South Coast venues.

NSW Health says anyone who attended the following venues for a least one hour during the following times is considered to be a close contact and is being directed to get tested and isolate for 14 days.

It says they must stay isolated for the entire period, even if a negative test result is received:

Milton Ulladulla ExServos Club — September 12, 2:00pm to 6:15pm
Carlo’s Italian Ristorante Bar & Seafood, Ulladulla — September 12, 8:00pm to 9:30pm
Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Bar & Grill, Mollymook — September 13, 12:30pm to 2:15pm
Voluntary closure and deep clean
Both Carlo’s Italian Ristorante Bar & Seafood and the Milton Ulladulla ExServos Club have made the decision to close as a voluntary precaution.

The Milton Ulladulla ExServos Club posted on its Facebook page:

"The safety of our patrons and staff is paramount and we have decided to take this preventative action to minimise any risk whilst we complete the deep clean of the Club," it said.

"The COVID-19 exposure and Club closure is disappointing, as we have rigorously followed a comprehensive CovidSAFE plan. This includes strict cleaning regimes and the rostering of CovidSAFE marshals at all times to ensure the implementation of the CovidSAFE plan."

There's been an outpouring of support for the venues on their social media pages.

Meanwhile, Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Bar & Grill says NSW Health has allowed it to stay operational. The venue released the following statement:

"We are working with NSW Health to take the necessary precautions as they undergo contact tracing," it stated.

"The health of our guests, staff and the local community is our top priority. Our venues diligently follow our COVID-19 Safety Plans for the protection of our guests and employees."

Setback difficult for businesses
Shoalhaven Business Chamber president, Jemma Tribe said the situation was concerning.

"Especially as we are heading into school holidays, we are heading into a busy period on the South Coast," Ms Tribe said.

"And I think on Friday afternoon when we see the traffic building up, there are some collective nerves around the place and hearing news like this doesn't ease those nerves."

Ms Tribe said it was another blow for the local businesses who had suffered so much downturn.

"It's heartbreaking for those venues," she said.

"After a really difficult year, just wanted to get back to bit of normal trade, to have this setback is just really quite difficult for everyone involved."

She said it was a reminder to remain vigilant.

"Understandably, community members are nervous and business owners are nervous as well, but there is also really a sense of needing to stay afloat and being quite desperate for some good trading.

"Community transmission is quite low in NSW, so right now it is about every business doing everything they can … to remain safe, and we just need to continue to be as vigilant as possible."

The NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian said as people travelled around the state during the holidays, communities would need to stay alert.

"Enjoy all that summer brings, enjoy all the school holidays brings, but please do it in a COVID-safe way," Ms Berejiklian said. ... d=msedgdhp

Another ‘outrageous case’ of a celebrity skipping hotel quarantine has surfaced

There has been another outrageous case of a celebrity “being able to skip hotel quarantine” upon arrival in Australia.

“We all know how HARDLINE the state governments have been in denying grieving family members the opportunity to say goodbye to dying loved ones or attend their funeral,” Ms Markson said.

Ms Markson spoke of a number of recently submitted exemption requests, which were denied, leading to people having to be stuck in hotel quarantine while missing the funerals of loved ones.

"But making a mockery of these decisions is that state governments are allowing the rich, the wealthy, the famous to skip quarantine”.

“It's one rule of all of us, and one for them”.

Ms Markson said “so far,
Nicole Kidman,
Keith Urban,
Dannii Minogue
and Tom Hanks
along with politicians ...
and businessman Kerry Stokes,
they've all been allowed to isolate in their own homes or places of their choosing that were not designated quarantine hotels”.

“And now there's another case , Ms Markson said it has been reported British billionaire and television host, Lord Alan Sugar, is currently quarantining privately since arriving in Australia.

Lord Sugar is reportedly completing his 14-day quarantine period in private isolation.

ritish billionaire Lord Alan Sugar and his wife Ann Simons were given special treatment upon their arrival in Australia on Thursday.

The couple were granted permission by the New South Wales Government to self-isolate at a private venue instead of a quarantine hotel for two weeks.

Unlike other travellers who are being forced to pay a $2,800 hotel quarantine bill upon their return to Australia, the business magnate, 73, and wife Ann were allowed to head straight to the unknown property.

Inbound travellers are being made to quarantine in hotels at their own expense to limit the spread of COVID-19 as the country faces the threat of a second wave of infection after cases spiked in the state of Victoria.

A NSW Police spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia on Sunday, the British lord and his wife had submitted a proposal to quarantine in a private facility.

'The couple is compliant with the Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order (No 2) 2020 and did not require an exemption from quarantine requirements.'

'The couple submitted a proposal to acquire appropriate, independent locations to be nominated as 'Quarantine Facilities' as allowed under the Public Health Order.'

The spokesperson said: 'The couple is required to abide by the same regulations as any other returned traveller.'

Meanwhile, a Nine spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia: 'Bringing Lord Alan Sugar to Australia has been months in the making, and all the regular processes were followed, with no special treatment being given.'

'Lord Sugar is currently serving the mandatory two week quarantine in a Government-approved facility.'

Daily Mail Australia has also contacted Lord Sugar's office for comment.


The couple's arrival Down Under comes as Lord Sugar prepares to film Channel Nine's Celebrity Apprentice Australia.

The 73-year-old, who has appeared on 15 seasons of the hit show in the UK, will eliminate the celebrities with his signature catchphrase 'you're fired'.

After arriving in Australia on an Emirates flight last week, Lord Sugar tweeted that it was his first trip on a commercial airline in 25 years as he normally travels by private jet.

'I have never experienced service like it in all my life,' he said. 'It was fantastic. Both on the ground and in the air. Amazing. For the sceptics, it was fully paid for, not free.'

He then responded to several people asking whether he would have to quarantine and said he had to have a COVID-19 test to board the plane, wear a mask during the flight, and spend 14 days in isolation.

'Same rules for me and a tosser like you,' he said to one Twitter user.

Lord Sugar has made most of his fortune from his property company Amsprop, which he owns with his son, Daniel Sugar.

In 1968, the businessman also launched consumer electronics company Amstrad but sold his interest in the company in 2007. ... d=msedgdhp ... d=msedgdhp

Flash flooding, record rainfall hits western NSW
Three people were saved from floodwaters just outside Broken Hill, as the wild weather severed roads and cut power.

BOM forcasts a wet summer in SE and QLD and an early monsoon in the far north of QLD, WA , Gulf of Carpentaria & in the North of the NT. ... d=msedgdhp
Last edited by kingofnobbys on Sun Sep 20, 2020 8:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Sicko
Posts: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Sun Sep 20, 2020 8:10 am


Boy, 13, tests positive to coronavirus in Perth hotel quarantine
A teenager has tested positive to coronavirus while in hotel quarantine just days before Western Australia is set to increase the number of overseas arrivals.

The 13-year-old boy is in quarantine in Perth after recently arriving from overseas and is a close contact of previously confirmed case.

The new case comes just a week before WA is due to increase its arrivals by 200 per week on September 27 before adding an extra 300 per week on October 12.

Premier Mark McGowan said on Friday at least one and possibly two extra quarantine hotels would need to be set up to accommodate the extra 500 returnees.

However a revival of the quarantine program on Rottnest Island isn't expected to be required.

WA has enlisted eight hotels to house people returning from overseas and Victoria, as well as airline staff.

Elective surgery may be impacted by the change to ensure medical support isn't compromised for the increased hotel quarantine efforts.

'I don't want to reduce elective surgery capacity but it may be necessary,' Mr McGowan said.

There are currently three active infections in WA and the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic is now 662.

Meanwhile, the state has announced it will start testing wastewater for COVID-19 within the next month.

The analysis aims to identify the existence of the virus to enable more targeted campaigns encouraging people to be tested.

It has been used in other jurisdictions including the ACT and Queensland. ... d=msedgdhp


Two new cases of coronavirus in Queensland
ueensland has recorded two new cases of coronavirus, the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says.

One is a returned traveller in hotel quarantine and the second is a known contact of a case from the corrective services cluster at Wacol.

There are currently 19 active cases in the state.

More than 3,600 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours.

Queensland has now recorded a total of 1,152 cases.

As part of the state's border restrictions, anyone arriving in Queensland must quarantine if they have been overseas, been in a declared COVID-19 hotspot, been in contact with a case, had the virus or had symptoms in the past 14 days.

Queensland is preparing to accept several hundred more overseas arrivals from early next month, all of whom will be placed into quarantine.

By next weekend, people living in the ACT will also be allowed to fly DIRECT into Queensland. ... d=msedgdhp


AFL star Harley Bennell investigated over COVID-19 Bubble breach
Melbourne AFL player Harley Bennell is under investigation for breaching coronavirus rules by going drinking outside the team's hub.

The Demons reported the midfielder's potential breach on Saturday night to the AFL after becoming aware of it.

Melbourne is still investigating but it is believed Bennell hit a pub outside the Twin Waters resort in Maroochydore, where the team is staying.

Bennell, 27, was told to stay outside the hub to avoid any possibility of him infecting other players inside the hotel.

Recruited from Fremantle this offseason, he only played fives games this season and was still in quarantine.

He was left out of the team's 68-49 victory over Essendon on Saturday that kept its finals hopes alive.

The AFL warned players they could be fined $10,000 and sent home from the postseason if they breached league coronavirus rules.

Richmond players Callum Coleman-Jones and Sydney Stack were last month sent home and suspended for 10 weeks after a fight outside a Gold Coast strip club.

Bennell was a solid staring if unspectacular player for the Gold Coast in 2011-15, but played just just two games in four seasons with Fremantle.

He was expected the get a new contract with Melbourne after his one-year deal expired despite barely playing.

Bennell's career was marred by a series of off-field indiscretions including a disorderly conduct charge for drunkenly arguing with security guard outside a Gold Coast nightclub in 2015. ... d=msedgdhp

Historic medieval battle sees swords and shields clash as Toowoomba's fight knights take each other on
Historic Medieval Battle allows combatants to fight with medieval broad swords , shields, maces battle axes ( with no sharp edges )
If cosplay is not real enough and mixed martial arts is not extreme enough for you, then a group of Toowoomba competitors may have the sport for you.

It is known as historic medieval battle (HMB), sometimes referred to as Buhurt, and once the visors go down and the cage is closed you are transported to a very different world.

"We describe it as MMA in armour," Kyle Weblin said.

"It's all full contact, there's no shots pulled. It's all steel and it's all fun."

Far from a mainstream sport, HMB originated in Eastern Europe, and Mr Weblin is the current Australian lightweight champion in the profight category.

"Knees, elbows, punches, headbutts are all legal. You can't manipulate small joints and you can't stab with the weapons. They're basically the rules in a nutshell," Mr Weblin said.

The competitors dress in full sets of armour made from steel and titanium.

"The armour comes from all different time periods, from about the 13th to the 16th century," Mr Weblin said.

"You can use any type of armour as long as it has a historical text."

Once in armour, competitors are inspected by a marshal, then the 90-second round begins.

"It almost feels illegal," laughed 18-year-old Klay Arnold.

"Even holding an axe just feels strange, but once you get used to it and think it's a sport, and the other person knows what they're getting into, it's fine.

"This is much more fun than MMA — 'throw that axe at the person's head!'"

Mr Arnold discovered the sport on YouTube and has almost won over the whole family.

"Dad loves it, mum was sceptical … but grandma hates watching me get hit. She can't come and watch me," he said.

"I've had an axe swing right into my collarbone — and the bruise looked cool, but it didn't feel cool."

Competitors train from three to eight times a week.

The Tyr's Warriors training warehouse is lined with tyres swinging from chains.

"Tyres are a fairly good substitute for a person," Mr Weblin said.

"A lot of us have built makeshift opponents out of tyres and star pickets at home."

The weapons are blunted but can still make a dent in the armour.

"Because it's all metal, when you take a hit it will actually smell like someone's been welding and you see sparks fly off the armour," Mr Weblin said.

The connection to the past is a big part of the appeal to competitors.

"I love history, and my family has a lot of English and Irish and Scandinavian ancestry, so it's cool to think this is what my ancestors were doing hundreds of years ago," Mr Arnold said.

"It's quite a different sport to football," Tyr's Warriors president Jaccob Dawes said.

"Sparks fly off our helmets, swords bend, helmets getting dinted. It's pure adrenaline.

"Kids love it. They're like 'they are real knights!'

The Toowoomba group has continued to meet for friendly monthly competitions during the pandemic.

COVID-19 restrictions meant the Australian Championships were cancelled earlier this year, but these real knights hope they will be able to have some real competitions real soon.

"I think it's going to take off and become the next big thing because in my opinion it's more entertaining than MMA," Mr Arnold said. ... d=msedgdhp

Black Lives Matter protest takes place in Brisbane
Queensland's police commissioner has denied the force is racist, as protesters rallied against the death of an Indigenous woman in custody this month. ... d=msedgdhp

Record surge in postal vote applications for the Queensland election means it could be days before the result is clear
Up to 600,000 postal vote applications could be lodged by election day
A record 92,000 Queenslanders applied for postal votes after the first two days they were made available for the October 31 state poll.

The Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) opened the application process last Monday, in anticipation of higher demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is the first time ever that electors were able to apply for a postal vote before the official start of the election campaign.

Electoral commissioner Pat Vidgen said he expected as many as 600,000 postal vote applications before election day — a 65 per cent increase on the 2017 election.

"If that transpires into votes themselves, that's about 20 percent of the vote," Mr Vidgen said.

The ECQ is also expecting a similar surge in early voting.

In 2012, only 10 per cent of the Queensland electorate lodged their ballot at an early voting station.

At the last election, that figure was 26 per cent and during the local government elections in March the rate went up to 50 per cent.

The ECQ is planning for a similar turnout in next month's state election because of concerns about coronavirus.

"We're looking at an election period as opposed to an election day," Mr Vidgen said.

"The period will be an 11-day early voting period so the community can vote across Queensland in any early voting centre — there will be 200 across the state."

Early voting will be available every day from October 19 (except for Sunday October 25) with some polling places offering extended hours.

The ECQ expects only about 30 per cent of the total electorate will actually cast their vote on October 31, and this has implications for the way Labor and LNP will campaign.

"Political parties are almost going to have to have two peaks — one in the first week and one in the last week to pick up the tail-enders who mightn't be so engaged with politics," Griffith University political commentator Paul Williams said.

"So there's going to be a lot of sweeteners at the beginning and end of the campaign."

Changing voting patterns could also mean delays in counting.

The ECQ has to wait 10 days after the official polling day to receive all postal votes — and in closely fought seats these votes and their preference flows could make all the difference.

"Counting is impacted with postal voting," Mr Vidgen explained.

"In 2017, we had 11 per cent of the vote, or around 300,000 votes which were done through post, yet the final declaration after election day took 13 days."

"In fact, on day 12, half the seats were declared … so typically if we double that figures you can anticipate we can have similar time frames or even longer time frames this time."

This has the potential to complicate negotiations if neither the Labor nor LNP win a clear majority of at least 47 seats in the legislative assembly.

The LNP has to win nine more seats to secure a majority, while Labor can only afford to lose one seat before it is forced to rely on the cross benches to form government.

There are presently seven crossbenchers in the Queensland Parliament — three from Katter's Australian Party; one each from the Greens, North Queensland First and Pauline Hanson's One Nation; and one independent.

In the last election, minor parties attracted more than 30 per cent of the primary vote and their preferences could be crucial.

"Of course, it does depend on the closeness of the results, but certainly the commission is required by law to be mathematically sure of the result," Mr Vidgen said.

The electoral commissioner has advice for people who are impatient to find out who won.

"If they apply for a postal vote, when they receive their ballot, fill it in straight away and send it back straight away," he said.

"Or if you really want a quick result, show up at an early voting centre or on polling day and cast your vote on that day because those votes will be counted on election night."

This election will also be Queensland's first ever fixed term, increasing the next term of Parliament from three to a mandatory four years. ... d=msedgdhp


Adelaide Marathon today ... ted_videos
The race went ahead but with strict COVID-19 protocols in place. Sarah Tomevska reports. ... d=msedgdhp


Country Women's Association keeping remote Tasmanians connected online
As Selina Ross reports, video conferencing is connecting people during a physically isolating time. ... d=msedgdhp

No covid news from other states today or NZ , or PNG.


Australia heads for lowest virus count in three months
Australia looked set to record its lowest daily increase in new coronavirus cases in three months on Sunday as a hard lockdown in the city of Melbourne brought the country's virus epicentre down sharply.

The second-most populous state Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, reported 14 new infections in the 24 hours to Sunday morning, down from 21 new cases the day prior and its lowest since June 19.

That put Victoria, which has spent months under lockdown to slow a second wave of infections, on track to meet a target of keeping average daily increases below 50 by Sept. 28 when the authorities have said they may lift restrictions.

Australia's biggest state New South Wales, which has Sydney as the capital, reported two new cases, while the Queensland state also reported two, bringing the national total to 18, the lowest national tally since June 23. The five other states and territories had not reported daily case numbers by Sunday morning, but have reported no increases most days for weeks.

There will of course always be debates about timing and whether we're on schedule, ahead of schedule, all of those things, (but) ultimately these numbers are cause for great optimism and positivity," Victorian state Premier Daniel Andrews told a televised news conference.

Andrews, who has faced political pressure domestically for his hard-line approach to enforcing restrictions of movement, invoked recent spikes in infection rates in Europe as a warning about the possible effect of exiting the lockdown too soon.

"It's heartbreaking to see, all that those communities have given, all the sacrifice that they've made, and now they've got cases running perhaps more wildly than their first wave," he said. "You've got to see it off."

Melbourne has been under one of the toughest lockdowns in the world, including a nightly curfew, after a second outbreak in that state saw daily infection rates over 700 and prompted other states to close internal borders.

Victoria also recorded five additional deaths associated with the virus and NSW reported one new death in the prior 24 hours, taking the national death toll to 850, according to government data.

The country has reported just under 26,900 infections.


'Flights to nowhere' and other ways travel junkies are getting their fix during coronavirus lockdowns
Whether it's signing up for "flights to nowhere", buying in-flight meals to eat at home or even just pretending to be on a plane for social media, travel junkies are going to extreme lengths to get their fix.

Turns out one of the big things that people miss while not being able to travel during the pandemic is actually flying on planes.

When tickets costing between $787 and $3,787 went on sale this week for a Qantas sightseeing joy flight, on a 787 Dreamliner taking off and landing back at Sydney airport, they sold out in minutes.

Passengers on the "Great Southern Land" flight will get to board a Boeing 787 normally used for international long-haul routes and fly at low altitudes over Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney Harbour.

Flying without 'all the bad bits'
Curtin University aviation expert Michael Baird, himself an aviation enthusiast, said he was a big fan of the idea.

"I'd like to do one of these flights just because I enjoy the experience of being in a plane and the 787 is a great aircraft," he said.

Dr Baird said Qantas had "essentially taken out all the bad bits of flying" like checking in and going through customs.

It meant people who liked the experience of flying could "just enjoy getting up in the air".

"It's been six months minimum since most people have been able to get on a passenger jet," he said.

"That experience, the thrill of flying in a big passenger plane, is something that people just miss."

'Flights to nowhere'
Qantas's sightseeing flight is part of a growing trend among airlines in the Asia Pacific region of "flights to nowhere" that take off and land at the same airport.

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines said there had been a 97.5 per cent fall in international travel in the region, which has led a number of airlines to look for ways to get people up in the air without taking them anywhere.

Taiwan's EVA Airways last month used one of its iconic "Hello Kitty" planes for a special two-hour-and-45-minute Father's Day flight (code BR5288 which sounds like "I love you dad" in Mandarin) that took off and landed at Taipei's Taoyuan Airport.

Meanwhile, Japan's ANA used an Airbus SE A380 that usually flies to Honolulu for a 90-minute flight with a Hawaiian experience on board.

The flights in Asia have proven just as popular as the one being offered by Qantas.

Tickets costing around $228 for a Tigerair Taiwan flight from Taipei that will circle over South Korea's Jeju Island reportedly sold out in four minutes.

The price included a one-year voucher for round-trip tickets from Taiwan to Korea, which can be used after COVID-19 travel bans are lifted.

Chen Shu Tze, an engineer from Taipei who bought tickets on the flight, said the voucher made it a good deal and she missed being able to travel — especially to South Korea.

"The pandemic has a devasting impact on the tourism and airline industry, so I want to help boost the economy, and I miss flying," she told Reuters.

Carbon emissions criticisms
Not everyone is a fan of these "flights to nowhere" though.

Reports in Singapore's Straits Times on Sunday that Singapore Airlines was considering putting on scenic flights from next month prompted fierce criticism.

"First, it encourages carbon-intensive travel for no good reason and second, it is merely a stop-gap measure that distracts from the policy and value shifts necessary to mitigate the climate crisis," said environment group SG Climate Rally.

Singapore Airlines said it was considering several initiatives but no final decision had been made on whether to offer sightseeing flights.

Qantas said it would pay to offset the carbon emissions on its scenic flight from Sydney, though some noted that would not actually reduce emissions.

A taste of flying while still on the ground
Meanwhile, some other services for frequent flyers craving a hit don't even involve planes leaving the ground.

In July, Taiwan's Songshan Airport had finished a big upgrade after the pandemic hit and wanted to show off the results.

Sixty "passengers" got boarding passes, and were taken through security and immigration before boarding an Airbus A330 of Taiwan’s largest carrier, China Airlines, where flight attendants chatted to them.

Then they they got off the plane and were given a meal in the airport's food court.

On the topic of airline food, Thai Airways this month opened a pop-up restaurant at their headquarters in Bangkok, offering in-flight meals served to would-be travellers in airline seats.

Back here in Australia, airline caterers Gate Gourmet earlier this year started selling frozen meals and snack packs direct to the public from Brisbane Airport and Mascot in Sydney.

On the menu are dishes like "Grilled chicken chipolatas with creamy mash peas and onion gravy" and "Hokkien vegetable noodles with soy chilli and garlic" that just need to be heated in a microwave before serving.

In Japan, First Airlines — which offers travel experiences using virtual reality technology — is not a new service but it's experiencing a surge in demand.

Grounded travellers sit in first or business class seats in a mock airline cabin where they are served in-flight meals and drinks, with flat panel screens displaying aircraft exterior views including passing clouds. They even get a pre-flight safety demonstration with a life vest and oxygen mask.

Once they "arrive", virtual reality goggles provide immersive tours at destinations including Paris, New York, Rome and Hawaii.

Faking it for the 'gram
People have been expressing their frustration in not being able to take holidays in other ways too.

Earlier this year, TikTok users started posting videos of themselves pretending to be on planes or going through the familiar airport rituals, often using the #travelathome hastag.

Meanwhile, many of those yearning for simpler times when borders were less of a barrier took to recreating some of their favourite travel snaps for Instagram and Facebook for the #quarantinetravelerchallenge.

But while all this is an amusing distraction, it's just not the same.

Hopefully, it won't be too long before we can start crossing borders again without coronavirus restrictions. ... d=msedgdhp

Australia's cheese industry benefiting from coronavirus restrictions
After struggling to match the price of European imports for decades, transport limitations have suddenly turned the market upside down. ... d=msedgdhp

How unemployment is much worse than the official statistics say
Australia's surprise unemployment drop doesn't necessarily mean the worst coronavirus recession is over - with experts fearing the economic crisis will escalate.

The federal government has already spent $164billion on emergency stimulus programs to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, from doubling unemployment benefits to funding $1,500 a fortnight JobKeeper wage subsidies.

Gross government debt is forecast by Treasury to reach $852billion by the end of this financial year - making up 45 per cent of Australia's economy for the first time since World War II.

Amid this gloom, the official jobless rate last month fell from a 22-year high of 7.5 per cent to 6.8 per cent.

The gradual withdraw of JobKeeper from the end of September, however, is set to spark a raft of business closures throwing hundreds of thousands into early retirement or if too young onto the dole. ... d=msedgdhp
Last edited by kingofnobbys on Sun Sep 20, 2020 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Sicko
Posts: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Sun Sep 20, 2020 8:40 am







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 Sicko
Posts: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:14 am


Victoria records 11 new coronavirus cases and 2 COVID-19 deaths
Premier Daniel Andrews says lifting coronavirus restrictions in Melbourne ahead of schedule is a "difficult" call that will not be made unless it is safe to do so.

Victoria has recorded 11 new coronavirus cases overnight, the state's lowest daily increase in more than three months, and 2 deaths.

It is the 11th consecutive day the state has recorded a daily infections number below 50.

For weeks authorities have hinted that the later steps in the "reopening roadmap" could potentially be shifted forward if cases continued improving faster than anticipated.

At today's coronavirus press conference, Mr Andrews said the dropping cases showed the "strategy was working" but warned numbers were still too high to open up.

"Everyone wants to be open yesterday, but if we do it too fast, then we simply run an unacceptable risk of losing control," he said.

The rolling 14-day average of daily cases has dropped to 34.4 in metropolitan Melbourne, from 36.2 yesterday.

Regional Victoria's rolling case average is now 1.6, down from 1.8 yesterday.

One of the coronavirus deaths reported today was linked to an aged care outbreak.
The OTHER people who died were one woman in her 80s and one woman in her 100s.

Victoria's coronavirus death toll is now 763.

Today's number of new infections is the state's lowest since nine new infections were reported on June 16.

About 7,160 coronavirus test results were processed overnight.

There are now a total of 657 active cases across Victoria, down from 743 yesterday.

Of those active cases there are 332 in aged care settings, and just 23 are in regional Victoria.

"Those numbers are low and are getting lower and that is a credit to everyone in regional Australia for the mighty job they have done and the seriousness with which they take these rules," Mr Andrews said.

Bringing reopening dates forward 'won't be an easy judgement', Premier says
Metropolitan Melbourne is scheduled to have restrictions eased slightly on September 28, as long as its 14-day average stays below 50.

The next step in Melbourne's reopening "roadmap" is scheduled for October 26, and requires meeting trigger points of recording a statewide 14-day daily new case average below five and fewer than five "mystery" cases over a two-week period.

When asked today whether some steps could be brought forward, Mr Andrews said "common sense" would guide decisions if trigger points were met early.

"We will look at what sits behind the numbers and then we will have to make a judgement and it won't be an easy judgement," he said.

"Has enough time passed for us to be confident that the numbers we are seeing are a true reflection of how much virus is out there?

"They are very difficult judgements to make."

He said modelling would be updated regularly to take data into account.

"Not only are case numbers important, but the story that sits behind those case numbers is important and the passage of time, frustratingly, is important also," he said.

"That is why this Sunday and indeed all of our dates, has been case numbers or the date, whichever is later.

"Just to be clear though — circumstances can change, advice can change, models will be rerun and we will then have more to say about what we believe is safe."

Regional driving tests resume
In regional Victoria, VicRoads will start working its way through the backlog of 30,000 driver licence and learner permit tests from today.

Its first priority will be re-booking the approximately 5,000 regional Victorians whose appointments were postponed earlier in the year due to coronavirus restrictions.

Regional Victoria will also be allowed to have school camps in term four.

The state's regions have been living under slightly relaxed restrictions for a week now, after moving to step three of the state's reopening roadmap last Monday.

Caravan park operators say their phones "have been ringing real hard" since, with travelling and overnight stays in regional Victoria permitted again.

Mr Andrews said on Sunday he was "confident" that he would be able to make "significant announcements" this Sunday. ... d=msedgdhp

Victorian compliance at 'very, very high levels': Andrews
The Victorian premier says he is confident in the high level of compliance with coronavirus restrictions among state residents.

"I think compliance is at a very, very high level and I am very grateful for that,” Daniel Andrews said.

"You have small numbers of people who aren't.

“You have a larger group of people who understand the only way to beat this is to stay the course and be as stubborn as this virus and not let your frustration get the better of you."

He said while it was too early to tell what the virus situation would be like in a fortnight, Victoria was on the brink of taking "significant" steps to freedom. ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria records 11 new cases, Deputy CMO says single digits would 'provoke some thought' about restrictions roadmap
Australia's Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth saying a trend into single digits would likely prompt the Victorian Government to re-examine the state's restrictions roadmap. ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria reports record low of 11 cases overnight
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has urged the Andrews government to reopen ahead of schedule.

According to the roadmap, Victoria is set to lift significant restrictions on October 26 if the city records five cases or less over a two-week period.

Top epidemiologists are predicting Melbourne will reach the target before the scheduled date, allowing the state to reopen before the AFL grand final on October 24. ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria's virus cases drop with just 11 new infections and two deaths
Premier Daniel Andrews calling it "a great day" and hinting at a revised roadmap.

The drop in new infections follows yesterday total of 14 cases, and has raised the prospect of Victoria possibly ending its lockdown sooner than thought.


Updated modelling could mean Melbourne has some restrictions eased earlier than planned, however Mr Andrews did not make any promises today.

He said the modelling underpinning Melbourne's roadmap out of lockdown would soon be replaced by "actual experience" data.

Testing dropped as low as 7000 in the past 24 hours.

Mr Andrews urged vigilance and a willingness to hang tough, but the mood among his team of advisors appears optimistic.

"This is not just a good day, this is a great day," he said, reflecting on two consecutive days of very low case numbers.

"We are seeing these numbers come down. This strategy is working. All of us have to stay the course.

"If we do not stay the course, if we let our frustrations get the better of us, then there is an underlying fragility to this and that is just the nature of this virus."

The rolling 14-day average in Melbourne has dropped to 34.4 and just 1.6 in regional Victoria.

There are no new cases in Casey area where a family cluster now totals 43. ... d=msedgdhp

Regional Victoria border bans to remain in place
Premier Daniel Andrews says he has not raised the issue of lifting border restrictions with South Australia or New South Wales because he knows the answer to the question.

“I have not had that conversation because I know what the answer would be,” he said.

When probed about whether border restrictions with NSW and regional Victoria should be eased, the premier said it was essential that the state-wide caseload be reduced first.

“The time will come when those border restrictions can be eased and, indeed, lifted.

"That will be great thing for border towns and a great thing for the whole of our state,” Mr Andrews said.

“The key point there, I think, is getting our state-wide numbers down to a low enough level where people have got confidence that we don't pose a risk.” ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria's coronavirus case numbers are declining, but are testing numbers sufficient to be confident about the numbers?
Victoria's coronavirus numbers are dropping, and Premier Daniel Andrews says it's "a great day" in Victoria after just 11 new cases were detected.

But testing numbers are also down with 7,164 test results received yesterday, raising questions about whether that could prevent Victoria from opening up.

The Premier said while he was keeping a close eye on testing numbers, he was not worried — yet.

"That is a little bit down on the recent weekend trend of about 8,000, but there is a whole range of different factors that play a part in that," Mr Andrews said.

"These [test numbers] are still in the acceptable range."

Mr Andrews said the "best measure" of whether Victoria was testing widely enough was the number of positive cases as a percentage of the total number of tests.

"That number remains within a band that does not cause us any great concern," he said.

Mr Andrews also said there was "adequate" testing in regional areas.

Could a lack of testing hold Victoria back from opening up?
Deakin University epidemiologist Catherine Bennett said the proportion of tests coming back positive had been declining for more than two weeks and was now sitting between 0.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent.

When positive cases linked to known outbreaks were removed, that number dropped below 0.1 per cent, Professor Bennett said.

"I don't think there's a lot of virus out there and I think these very low test rates are affirming that," she said.

Professor Bennett said the Government would have a good idea of what proportion of symptomatic people were getting tested through the information gathered in their contact tracing process.

"I do think these are very reassuring numbers," she said.

"Unless the pattern changes in what they're seeing when they go out to contact tracing, or unless the proportion of the positives starts to go up, then I think this is a good enough indication that our testing numbers are following the proportion of people with symptoms.

"They're not just coming down because people are refraining from testing."

Mr Andrews urged anyone with even the mildest symptoms to get a coronavirus test as soon as they noticed symptoms.

He said any fear about what more positive results would do to Victoria's reopening plan should take a back seat, because the greater risk to the "safe and steady" roadmap was not having sufficient data.

"Please go and get a test today. You will get your result tomorrow," he said.

"Coming forward and getting tested won't mean we don't take a next step.

"If test numbers were not to be maintained at a robust level, at a level we thought was a good proxy for how much virus is out there, that's what will hold us back from taking future steps."

How many tests is Victoria aiming to conduct each day?
The Premier said there was no magic number and the figure of 20,000, which had been mentioned previously, was not actually a target.

"I don't think anyone ever said 20,000 was the magic number. Or 15,000, or 25,000 or 35,000," he said.

"The key point here is we want everyone who is symptomatic to go and get tested and that number will vary from day to day."

Mr Andrews said while NSW's weekend testing numbers were usually around 10,000, and NSW was also testing more people than Victoria on weekdays, that "makes sense" because of the greater level of movement within the community.

"There is, I think, perhaps a link between freedom of movement and people, whether it be at a retail site or wherever it might be, going and getting tested," he said.

Is mass testing becoming a more attractive option?
Mr Andrews said mass asymptomatic testing "did not deliver good rewards".

But he said there could be merit in doing more sentinel testing — focusing in on one cohort of people to determine if there was an underlying presence of the virus.

He said this could help identify cases in areas where there had been outbreaks.

"Even one case matters. We are going to get to a point, and we are very close now, where ones and twos absolutely matter," he said.

"Ones and twos can become 43 as they did in Hallam very recently."

Mr Andrews was asked why people who tested positive in the Hallam cluster — previously referred to as the Casey cluster — had not been fined, despite some admitting they breached restrictions to travel outside their five-kilometre radius and visit people in their homes.

The Premier said effective contact tracing relied on getting truthful answers.

"On the point of what is more valuable: a $1,652 fine for someone who went to visit someone or the true fortune that comes from them telling us when they went there, who they spent time with, who we should be going and tracing, testing and locking down — this is not thousands of dollars, that is billions of dollars because that is the key to getting us opened up," he said.

"If you have a situation where any of those 43 people are not full, frank and honest, then you don't stop it at 43. It becomes much, much bigger."

So could Victoria open up earlier than expected?
Melbourne is on track to move to the second step in the roadmap from Monday, September 28.

Its 14-day case average is 34.4 — well within the 30 to 50 range outlined in the roadmap.

[embed: 14-day average]
But the state is also heading in the right direction to achieve the next target of fewer than five new cases on average each day.

The roadmap says the third step will occur when the target is met, or on October 26, whichever is later.

Today, Mr Andrews said dates were as important as case numbers because of the time it took for the virus to be passed on, cause symptoms and prompt a person to get tested.

"Not only are case numbers important but the story that sits behind those case numbers is important and the passage of time, frustratingly, is important also," he said.

"That is why this Sunday, and indeed all of our dates, has been case numbers or the date, whichever is later."

But the Premier also said that modelling would be rerun using actual data from recent weeks, which could prompt the Government's health experts to change their recommendations.

"Circumstances can change, advice can change, models will be rerun and we will then have more to say about what we believe is safe," Mr Andrews said. ... d=msedgdhp

Daniel Andrews is urged (by Nat-Lib state opposition & federal government) to end Victoria's lockdown NOW.
Daniel Andrews is being urged to relax lockdown restrictions ahead of schedule after Victoria recorded only 11 new cases of coronavirus on Monday.

It's the lowest number of new daily cases since mid-June - but the premier's road map plans to keep Melbourne shut down until at least 26 October.

Asked if the timeline would be brought forward, Mr Andrews said he would be 'guided by common sense' but insisted that 'it is too early for us to open up.'

Opposition MPs want restrictions relaxed faster as the lockdown threatens to put up to 400,000 Victorians out of work by Christmas, according to federal treasury estimates.

Melbourne residents have been confined to their homes since 8 July in a lockdown due to last four weeks longer than then shutdown of Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus was identified.

Liberal MP James Newbury said Mr Andrews should make plans to relax restrictions sooner to boost jobs and save businesses.

'Daniel Andrews refuses to offer Victorians hope,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'Instead of rewarding Melburnians for low case numbers, he is keeping the community locked up and under curfew.

'His restrictions are smashing up businesses, jobs, and livelihoods.'

Mr Newbury said Victoria should follow the example New South Wales which has kept the economy open with up to 20 cases per day in recent weeks.

'( A very small vocal minority of )Victorians are furious ( egged on by ultrarightwing commercial media networks' talking heads ( NINE, SEVEN , & SKYE ) . Every day, we look over the border into New South Wales, like a convict looking over the jail yard wall, to see a state with similar figures that manages to stay open,' he said.
<< most Victorians understand and support the restrictions and want community transmission to be reduced to similar levels seen in NZ , QLD, Tas , WA , SA & NT >>

Mr Andrews on Monday said Victoria's scientists have not advised him to relax restrictions faster than planned.

'I appreciate why everybody wakes up today, sees a low number, and everyone is hopeful and positive and that is a good thing but we have to stay the course on this,' he said.

'While we would all like to bring forward things a month, that is not the advice, not what the data and science says.

'Even with these low numbers and the great work we're doing, it is too early for us to open up.

'We need to take these steps, safe and steady and if they are not steady, it will not be safe.

'If we rush this, it will not be safe and everything that has been given and done and sacrificed will not be worth much.'

Asked if opening up could be brought forward at all, Mr Andrews added: 'If circumstances change, if we find ourselves ahead of schedule, not for one day, but in a manifest sense, common sense always guides us.

'We will look at what sits behind the numbers and then we will have to make a judgment. It won't be an easy judgment.

'Has enough time passed for us to be confident that the numbers we are seeing are a true reflection of how much virus is out there? They are very difficult judgments to make.'

Victoria recorded just 11 new cases on Monday, along with two deaths.

'This is not just a good day, this is a great day,' Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.

'We are seeing these numbers come down, the strategy is working.'

Victoria's 11 new cases were detected from 7,164 tests. In July test numbers peaked at about 30,000.

Mr Andrews encouraged anyone with a scratchy throat, runny nose or headache to get tested for the virus.

'It is a simple but profoundly important thing you can do for your family and every single Victorian family,' he said.

NSW has recorded four new cases of coronavirus including three returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine and one person linked to a known cluster.

The results were drawn from 7,765 tests, which was almost half the number conducted the day before.

NSW Health said while it was not unusual for testing numbers to drop over the weekend, it would like to see levels above 20,000, particularly in southwest Sydney. ... d=msedgdhp

“If we rush this, it will not be safe”: Melbourne to stay the course on October roadmap
Businesses in metropolitan Melbourne are preparing for a further easing of restrictions in the coming weeks as lower numbers of coronavirus infections buoy confidence in Victoria’s reopening roadmap.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews flagged “significant announcements” on how businesses will progress through the second step of eased restrictions next Sunday, as Melbourne’s 14-day case average fell to 34.4 on Monday.

That’s within the target threshold a further easing of restrictions that will allow larger public gatherings and outdoor recreation activities to resume, with the gateway date of September 28 coming up next week.

“We’re confident that come Sunday, we’ll be able to make some significant announcements, because we’ll be in that 30-50 band,” Andrews told reporters on Sunday.

There have been calls to fast-track the roadmap so retail and hospitality businesses can emerge from current trading restrictions before the end of October, as is currently planned.

Andrews has not ruled out making changes to the roadmap, but said on Sunday he would not be moved by calls from business groups for eased restrictions in the wake of falling case numbers.

“If I was to say, ‘I will open up these 10 different settings because we are ahead of schedule’, we would not see the results of that for two to three weeks, and if it was the wrong call, you

have a very significant problem,” Andrews said on Monday.

Under existing plans, most businesses won’t see significant relief until the 14-day average case numbers fall below five, and there are less than five cases with an unknown source.

After this threshold is reached, authorities will consider allowing retail businesses to reopen and hospitality to host outdoor diners in groups of up to 10.

“I appreciate why everybody wakes up today, sees a low number, and everyone is hopeful and positive and that is a good thing, but we have to

stay the course on this,” Andrews said.

“Circumstances can change, advice can change, models will be rerun, and we will have more to say about what we believe is safe.

“But ultimately, safety has to guide us, and while we would all like to bring forward things a month, that is not the advice, not what the data and science says.

“If we rush this, it will not be safe.”

The post “If we rush this, it will not be safe”: Melbourne to stay the course on October roadmap appeared first on SmartCompany. ... d=msedgdhp


Premier Dan Andrews' right hand man knows nothing about hotel debacle
A countdown to the deadly decision that saw Victoria choose private security over Australian Defence Force personnel to run hotel quarantine has been revealed.

An inquiry into the bungled decision heard Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced private security guards would guard returning travellers - without advice from his top bureaucrat.

On Monday, Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Chris Eccles told the inquiry he did not advise the premier to use private security.

It's claimed Mr Andrews went public with the scheme during a 3.20 pm press conference on March 27 - just hours after Victoria Police's chief commissioner had been advised by someone from within the Department of Premier and Cabinet that police would play second fiddle to private security guards.

It comes as the inquiry revealed Victoria's Police Minister Lisa Neville questioned the use of Australian Defence Force personnel at Victorian hotels.

'The use of the army in hotels? That was not agreed at CCc (crisis cabinet) yesterday but is that what we will be doing? And what will they be doing,’ she asked the state’s Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp on June 25.

In a day of drama, Mr Eccles, who was appointed secretary of the DPC in December 2014 and leads the Victorian public service in advising the premier and the entire government of Victoria, told the inquiry he had 'no recollection' of advising Mr Andrews to use private security at the hotels.

Nor did he believe anyone else from within the DPC had provided any such advice.

Quarantine breaches involving private security guards seeded 99 per cent of Victoria's deadly second wave of COVID infections, which in turn has led to more than 700 deaths of the elderly.

More than 30 security guards ended up catching coronavirus from quarantined returned travellers while working in the hotels.

After more than three weeks of sitting, the inquiry has heard not a single person can identify who made the decision to hire the private security guards, including Mr Eccles, who claimed on Monday he still doesn't know.

Mr Eccles came under fire from counsel assisting the inquiry Rachel Ellyard.

'You are probably aware in a more general sense of evidence that's been given before the board from a number of other people who were also not aware of where the decision was made and when and by whom,' she said.

'The decision to engage private security ended up employing thousands of people and costing tens of millions of dollars. Shouldn't we be able to say who made it, as a matter of proper governance?'

Mr Eccles suggested the decision was likely made by a 'collective' of government officials.

At the press conference, Mr Andrews said that police, private security and the government's health team would be working together at the hotels.

'We've been working on this for quite some time,' Mr Andrews said.

He further revealed 500 police working on coronavirus enforcement would be freed up by the private security guard plan.

Mr Eccles claimed he had no knowledge of the plan and could not speculate on what the premier meant during the press conference.

'It's really interesting and important question because ... it seizes at the issue of individual and collective decision-making,' Mr Eccles said.

The inquiry heard that a meeting of the National Cabinet was held just hours before Mr Andrews announced the plan to use private security.

The meeting, which included Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the nation's premiers, was held to discuss the COVID-19 crisis.

It concluded about about 1pm where a briefing was held with various department heads within Victoria.

Victoria Police chief commissioner Graham Ashton texted Mr Eccles about 16 minutes later.

'Chris I am getting word from Canberra for a plan whereby arrivals from overseas are to be subjected to enforced isolation from tomorrow,' Mr Ashton wrote.

'The suggestion is Victorian arrivals are conveyed to a hotel Somewhere where they are guarded by police for 14 days. Are you aware of anything in this regard?? Graham.'

Mr Eccles said although it was his practice to respond to the chief directly, he could not remember doing so.

Six minutes after contacting Mr Eccles, Mr Ashton texted Australian Federal Police Reece Kershaw telling him the DPC had advised police would not be running security at Melbourne hotels.

Mr Ashton told the inquiry last week he can't recall who it was who told him.

Under cross examination by a barrister representing Victoria Police, Mr Eccles said it was possible he had delegated an underling to respond to Mr Ashton, but could not be sure.

Both Mr Ashton and Mr Eccles' phone records fail to show the pair spoke or texted after Mr Ashton's initial text message.

However, Mr Eccles confirmed he had failed to ask if he did in fact ask someone else to pass on information to Mr Ashton.

The inquiry heard at a meeting held after Mr Andrews' press conference that day, the decision to use private security firms over police and Australian Defence Force personnel appeared to be well a truly decided.

In notes of the meeting, which Mr Eccles cannot remember attending, Mr Eccles is noted as stating that he assumes private security had got the job.

At the same meeting, Mr Ashton is noted asking what role Victoria Police would have.

'ADF will be assisting in spot-checking processes from what the PM and the Premier confirmed ... we're trying to keep the ADF presence back of house – to prevent the ADF presence obvious to the community etc,' he is noted as asking.

'Police wont [sic] guard but will be doing the checks?'.

The inquiry has heard repeatedly that ADF personnel would be available to guard Victorian quarantine hotels if required.

On Monday, the inquiry heard that Mr Eccles was directly offered ADF support, but he cannot recall whether he acted upon the offer or forwarded it up the chain of command.

Instead, the Victorian Government appeared more interested in obtaining cash from the Commonwealth to support it's army of bungling rent-a-cops.

'In about early April 2020, I contacted (Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Phil Gaetjens) and asked him whether the Commonwealth could provide any financial assistance to Victoria for security in the Hotel Quarantine Program,' Mr Eccles told the inquiry.

'Mr Gaetjens responded by email on 8 April 2020 saying, in effect, that the Commonwealth would only provide in-kind assistance of ADF personnel.'

Last week, Mr Andrews continued to stand by his earlier claims that Victoria was not offered ADF assistance with hotel quarantine.

He is set to be grilled at the inquiry on Wednesday. ... d=msedgdhp

Victorian coronavirus hotel quarantine inquiry hears Premier's department boss is unsure if he passed on ADF offer
The head of Victoria's premier's department says he is "not aware" whether he passed on a Commonwealth offer in early April of ADF support for the state's flawed hotel quarantine program.

An inquiry into the botched scheme has heard the secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Chris Eccles, contacted his federal counterpart Phillip Gaetjens about financial support for security.

In an email on April 8, Mr Gaetjens replied the Commonwealth could potentially provide ADF support for the program.

"The only deal with NSW was in-kind provision of ADF personnel," Mr Gaetjens wrote.

"I am sure the Commonwealth would be willing to assist Victoria in a similar way if you wanted to reconsider your operating model."

The Victorian Government was paying private security guards to oversee returned travellers.

Mr Eccles said he did not know whether he passed on Mr Gaetjens' reply to those running hotel quarantine.

"My records don't reveal that I forwarded the email," he said.

"I'm not aware that I did or didn't."

Counsel assisting the COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry Rachel Ellyard suggested it would be "odd" if Mr Eccles had not passed on the information.

"I don't want to be in a position of having to describe my, whatever I did as being odd or not at the moment," Mr Eccles replied.

"I simply don't know."

The inquiry has previously been told it was Victoria Police's preference to use private security guards.

Former police commissioner Graham Ashton believed the decision was made by the Premier's department.

'Collective decision-making' behind hotel security plan
Ms Ellyard said the decision to engage private security led to the employment of thousands of people and cost tens of millions of dollars.

"Shouldn't we be able to say who made it [the decision], as a matter of proper governance," she asked Mr Eccles.

Mr Eccles responded that as head of the Victorian public service, he strongly believed in collective decision-making.

"There are a number of core contributors in the emergency management firmament for the issue of procuring the hotels," he said.

"That being the Emergency Management Commissioner as the coordinator, DHHS [Department of Health and Human Services] as the controller, and Victoria Police as the security experts."

Ms Ellyard asked, "Surely in the case of collective decision-making, those involved in the decision know that they were involved it?"

Speaking theoretically, Mr Eccles said a lack of accountability would suggest a flaw in a decision-making process.

"If there's been a failure of an acknowledgement, jointly and severally, around the decision of the collective then I think that's a fault or flaw in the design," Mr Eccles said.

"But I'm not speaking specifically about, you've encouraged me to go into a slightly academic proposition, so this shouldn't be seen as being reference back to decisions that were or were not taken in relation to the procuring of private security."

Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien said Victorians were seeing "more cases of amnesia today than the Alan Bond trials" at the inquiry hearings.

"We have senior public servants who can never remember who made the decision. Can never remember what was said at a meeting. Can never remember who made the call to keep out the ADF," he said.

"Well Victorians are smarter than that. These people are either monumentally incompetent, or monumentally dishonest."

Last week, the inquiry heard Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton believed he should have been given the senior management role of state controller, so he could oversee how health directives he was legally responsible for were being rolled out.

Professor Sutton and Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen told the inquiry they were concerned there had not been enough oversight of the hotel quarantine program by people with backgrounds in health. ... d=msedgdhp

COVID fines an impediment to honest contact tracing answers
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says “you don’t need to be a Rhodes scholar” to work out people will not answer contact tracing questions truthfully if they are going to be fined as a consequence.

“Even if they were prepared to pay the fine, they won't want to get other people into trouble,” he said.

Reports indicate while Victorian police have issued over 23,000 fines since the beginning of the coronavirus, less than one third have been paid.

“Maybe we would all feel better if those people got a fine, but I think we will feel better again, better still, when we control these outbreaks," Mr Andrews said.

“On the point of what’s more valuable, a $1652 fine for someone who went to visit someone, or the true fortune that comes from them telling us when they went there, who they spent time with, who we should be going and tracing, testing and locking down, this is not thousands of dollars, that is billions of dollars." ... d=msedgdhp

Doctor slams government for LYING about number of COVID-19 masks
[img]A prominent doctor has accused both the state and federal governments of trying to cover up a potential major shortage of face masks for medical staff.

Dr Yvom Sharma claims it has been widely known for months that the number of face masks available was less than that required to keep front line workers safe.

This is despite both the federal and state governments insisting stocks are adequate.

Dr Sharma said the lack of transparency on mask numbers from government officials has denied workers any opportunity to source other options for personal protection.

'Certainly on behalf of medical staff who are working on COVID wards and in aged care, we've always known there is a shortage of N95 masks,' Dr Sharma told Today.

'It's something that governments have constantly denied. If they'd owned up to it earlier, we could have been talking about other solutions.'

Dr Sharma said while there is a shortage of key materials all over the world, we must ensure our medical professionals are using the best quality protective equipment when dealing with coronavirus patients.

'We know we need N95 masks for medical staff facing COVID, we know we need fit testing and I'm glad we've finally arrived at the truth,' he said.

'Hopefully we can drive up production and acquisition of these masks so were ready for heaven forbid the third wave if it ever comes.'

The Melbourne GP said while dropping COVID-19 case numbers in Victoria were encouraging and showed progress, there was still a long way to go in the pandemic.

'We don't need to do everything perfectly, we just need to do lots of things good enough,' he said.

Dr Sharma's comments were disputed by Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth, who claimed there was no critical shortage of PPE in Australia.

'We have millions of N95 masks in the national stockpile and equally Victoria does as well,' he told the program.

'Provided the guidelines are followed then we have more than enough PPE to protect the healthcare workers who are our most valuable resource.'

Dr Coatsworth believes issues had risen as experts were trying to expand the range of patients for whom medical staff should wear N95 masks.

'There is a view within the medical and nursing community that the use of N-95 respirators should be expanded,' he said.

'If you use N95 respirators for every healthcare interaction then you start running into problems.

'Whilst there is no shortage at the moment - nobody is in a position to supply infinite number of N-95 respirators to the healthcare system.

'It's important we follow the guidelines which we are formulating with the best interests of protecting healthcare and aged care workers.'

Dr Sharma's calls come after Victorian Chief Medical Officer Andrew Wilson claimed Victorian health workers are being forced to use second rate face masks to deal with coronavirus patients due to a shortage in the state.

Professor Wilson said the state would burn through the supplies of the best quality personal protective equipment in one week in private meetings leaked to the ABC.

The leak found doctors and nurses have not been fit tested for N95 masks, while staff who work directly with COVID-19 patients have been unable to access them.

Health authorities believe the lack of adequate personal protective equipment for medical staff played a vital role in the size of the deadly second wave of the disease in Victoria.

WHO advisor and epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws said not having the proper protective equipment for COVID workers wasn't good enough.

'It's poor leadership, it's unconscionable and it's unethical not to have a continuous uninterrupted supply for our frontline healthcare workers,' she said.

Health workers and unions have been crying out for N95 masks since April, with Premier Daniel Andrews claiming in August there were 'substantial reserves' of the masks available.

After being questioned about a shortage of available N95 masks, Professor Wilson said there had always been enough available for medical staff.

'All decisions about PPE use in our health services has been guided by expert advice and evidence, with the best possible protection for staff the primary consideration, and thankfully supply has always met that guidance,' he said.

Around 20 per cent of Victoria's coronavirus cases in July and August came from medical staff.

Infectious disease expert Raina Macintyre believes a shortage in available masks lead to a large number of health care workers being struck down by COVID-19.

'There's no doubt that with better PPE, fit testing and a precautionary approach, much of this wave in health workers could have been prevented,' she said. [/img] ... d=msedgdhp

Victorian coronavirus PPE guidelines for healthcare workers stronger than WHO, Chief Medical Officer says
Victoria's Chief Medical Officer, Andrew Wilson, has defended the state's personal protective equipment (PPE) guidelines for healthcare workers but says authorities are also "very careful" about ensuring the long-term supply is sustainable.

Infections in healthcare and aged care workers have featured heavily in Victoria's second wave of the pandemic, raising concerns not enough PPE is being provided to protect workers from infection.

Attendees at a recent coronavirus briefing with Professor Wilson told the ABC he said there were not enough N95 masks for all workers in contact with COVID-19 patients because it would "burn through the supplies in one week".

N95 masks fit snugly on the face and provide a higher level of protection from coronavirus than surgical masks.

Today, Professor Wilson refuted the suggestion by the Australian Medical Association that the state's PPE policy was being developed in response to supply shortages rather than the best available evidence.

He said since the state had expanded the number of healthcare workers able to access N95 masks at the start of August, N95 mask use had increased to around 900,000 each week.

"We have never made any guideline that's been impacted on by the supply. We obviously keep an eye on the supply, we want to understand the impact of changes we've made," he said.

"I hope people can imagine, if you're increasing from using 50,000-100,000 masks a week up to 900,000, you have to be very careful about what that means for your supply in the longer term and we've always been really careful about that."

Professor Wilson acknowledged there were some workers who had requested N95 masks but were denied them because the expert advice was that they were not needed in that particular setting.

But he said the guidelines were being reviewed "every week" and there were 3.2 million N95 masks in the state's warehouse as of Friday.

"We work with lots of people from the sector … to develop those guidance documents and our guidance in Victoria was increased at the start of August," he said.

"It's stronger than the national guidance, it's stronger than the World Health Organization guidance, it's stronger than the guidance in the UK."

He said aged care workers and nurses continued to make up a significant proportion of healthcare worker coronavirus cases in the state, but the overall number of infections was falling.

"That's why we put our N95s into that environment and as far as I know we're one of the only places on Earth that actually did that … numbers have really dropped off since then," he said. ... d=msedgdhp

Melbourne aged care home defends 'special high tea' despite coronavirus concerns
The head of a Melbourne aged care home has defended a party where residents and staff were filmed partying together without masks, saying it helped to lift spirits.

A video shared on social media platform TikTok shows aged care staff from AdventCare Whitehorse in Nunawading dancing together without wearing any personal protective equipment (PPE).

According to comments on the post, the party was held for a manager.

Under Melbourne's stage 4 restrictions, everyone must wear a face covering when they leave home.

Face masks and face shields or eye goggles must be worn by all staff and workers in aged care homes.

Aged care residents are allowed to nominate one visitor to provide emotional and social support who can visit once a day for an hour. Visitors must wear a mask and maintain physical distancing.

Of the 763 deaths from COVID-19 in Victoria, 596 have been linked to aged care facilities.

In a statement, chief executive of AdventCare David Reece said residents "were treated to a special High Tea in their home by the staff" last Wednesday.

"This was a source of great enjoyment for the residents and helped to lift their spirits at this time," he said.

"As part of the afternoon activity, a few of the staff put on a brief dance routine for the residents, who were seated at their tables.

"AdventCare maintains appropriate use of PPE at all times and all staff wore masks at the afternoon tea. During the brief dance routine the dancers did not wear masks, but they put them back on as soon as they had finished."

Mr Reece said the home provided "a comprehensive program of activities organised and run by the staff, which are designed to support the physical and mental wellbeing of our residents who are living safely in their home".

A Victoria Police spokesperson said police were made aware of the incident on Monday morning and "proactively attended the facility and spoke with management".

"As per standard process, the matter has been referred to the Department for Health and Human Services for investigation, as it is a workplace incident that took place last week," the spokesperson said.

Premier Daniel Andrews said he was not in a position to "quarrel with the CEO" of the facility.

"I have seen comments from him talking about the fact that it was a closed event and only people who lived there and work there were involved," Mr Andrews said.

"Frankly staff do not live there, they live in the community and we have community transmission so I do not know that is the best rebuttal or defence.

"We all have to be vigilant and aged care is, and will remain for the foreseeable future, a high-risk environment."

Chief Medical Officer Andrew Wilson said staff becoming fatigued from wearing PPE on long shifts was a "really complicated issue".

"People have to really keep their guard up and that's hard and we're working with behavioural insight groups and other groups trying to develop plans to try and help people," he said.

"When I'm wearing PPE, I'm often reminding myself not to touch my face. It's really hard to keep your guard up all the time."

He said authorities were aware of cases where PPE fatigue or lapses had contributed to outbreaks. ... d=msedgdhp

Premier criticises dance party with no PPE at Melbourne aged care
Premier Daniel Andrews has criticised an aged care facility in Melbourne's east for allowing staff to remove their PPE during a centre party.

Video has emerged of the event, inside AdventCare Whitehorse in Nunawading, where staff and residents were seen dancing and mingling closely together.

Staff were not wearing masks during a musical performance, which was believed to be held in honour of an employee.

AdventCare CEO David Reece (an accountant) earlier defended the party inside the facility, telling Today no outsiders were involved, just those who lived or worked at the aged care home.

Mr Reece told Today he was comfortable with how the event played out.

He claimed staff put their PPE back on immediately after the performance ended.

But Mr Andrews made it clear he did not think the removal of personal protective equipment was appropriate.

"I am not here to quarrel with the CEO of that facility, but I have seen comments from him talking about the fact that it was a closed event and only people who lived there and work there were involved but, frankly, staff do not live there, they live in the community and we have community transmission so I do not know that is the best rebuttal," he said today.

"We all have to be vigilant and aged care is and will remain for the foreseeable future a high-risk environment."

Police told Today they had not received any formal complaints about the event inside the aged care facility.

Mr Andrews warned aged care facilities were "very risky places" with majority of the state's COVID-19 deaths linked to outbreaks in aged care.

He said there were "underlying risks" in private aged care, but its operation was outside the Victorian government's jurisdiction.

"We do not run those places. I do not pay the staff, they are not accountable to me, but we will be checking and monitoring and making sure every aged care facility is as safe as possible," he said.

"When the second wave is over, the virus will still be there, bubbling away and even one case in aged care facilities can be tragic." ... d=msedgdhp

COVIDSafe school camps to resume in regional Victoria
Victorian Deputy Premier James Merlino has announced school camps in regional Victoria will resume during term four.

“This is a significant step forward for regional Victoria, but it also gives families and schools in Melbourne hope about what the future could look like,” he said.

The Deputy Premier said there were 190 school camps across the state creating approximately $134 million in regional communities.

“This is not only significant for the kids and the schools but also for many, many people working in regional communities,” he said.

School camps will be conducted in a COVIDSafe manner with regular and enhanced cleaning pro cedures and only one school allowed at camp locations at a time. ... d=msedgdhp

Lobbying for Victorian regional dance schools to be redesignated under COVID-19 roadmap unite
Regional Victorian dance schools have launched a campaign to get the State Government to reclassify them so they can reopen for kids' classes.

Previously, the Victorian Government told peak body AusDance that dance studios were in the 'Creative Industry' category, meaning they could reopen under step 3 of the roadmap.

However, yesterday they backflipped and said dance studios would now be classed as 'Community Sports' and only permitted to hold classes outside.

Sharon Saunders, owner of Sharon Saunders Dancers, a dance school in Kangaroo Flat south of Bendigo, said that was not even an option.

"It's not practical or safe. I'd have to build a sprung floor, we've got pre-schoolers that need to be in a safe enclosed room — we don't want them running off into the road," she said.

"We are teaching, the majority is children, and it is smaller classes, socially distanced, sanitised studios. It's always been that way.

"I really cant understand how it's okay for those same kids to be at school together, not socially distanced.

"If you can play football why penalise the kids who choose the arts?"

'Dance school gave her confidence'
Bendigo mother Stacey Boswood's four-year-old daughter Alexandra has been attending Sharon Saunders' dance school for the past two years.

Ms Boswood said her daughter's confidence had grown immensely in that time.

"We also had issues with social skills for Alex originally. She was very attached to me and she really struggled with that separation anxiety," she said.

"So the school offered this chance for her to be able to develop her own identity outside of me.

"The girls just gave her so much confidence and she was so happy to go and she brought home so much of it as well."

'It makes no sense'
When the dance school was able to open, after the first lockdown, they introduced new safety measures.

"There was no high touch contact, the kids were all assigned their own area to put their bag and their drink bottle so it wasn't a group environment and they were all very spaced out," Ms Boswood said.

The Dance Arts Alliance has been formed to call on the Victorian Government to allow schools with students under 18 to reopen.


Its chair, Mike Harrison-Lamond, said it was disgraceful to treat dance schools this way.

"Dance schools provide incredibly important social, physical and mental development in the lives of young Victorians," he said.

"In June the Victorian Government acknowledged us as a low-risk activity and we went back in line with schools.

"Now they think we are the same as gyms, it makes no sense."

In a statement the Victorian Government said: "Decisions on the operation of indoor facilities including gymnastics and dance studios for amateur participants will continue to be based on public health advice." ... d=msedgdhp

Victorian grandmother exempted to visit dying dad now stuck in Wales as COVID-19 cases climb
earl Findlay-James, a grandmother of 10, flew to Wales from Melbourne to be with her dying father. Now, she can't get home.

When Ms Findlay-James was granted an overseas travel exemption to the UK for compassionate reasons in July she didn't realise she wouldn't see her family back in Paynesville, Victoria for months, becoming trapped overseas with no return date.

"The UK is heading into its second wave and I'm worried this will make it even harder to get home," she said.

Ms Findlay-James' flights back to Australia keep getting cancelled.

"Last week I logged on to another cancellation. I had a terrible day, I was really down," she said.

The Federal Government has extended a ban on overseas travel out of Australia, meaning Australians have to apply online to Border Force and meet strict exemption criteria.

One of the exemption criteria is travelling on compassionate grounds, which Ms Findlay-James qualified for when her father was hospitalised in Wales.

"He rang me and was quite upset. Dad said, 'Pearl, when are you coming? I'm dying.' I said, 'Dad I'll do my best.' The hospital said he was OK, but I've always trusted my Dad," said Ms Findlay-James.

Her father, Patrick James, died in his 90th year, four days after his daughter arrived in Wales.

Ms Findlay-James wasn't able to visit him in hospital because of COVID-19 restrictions, but she organised palliative care at her father's house in Pembroke Dock, enabling him to die in his own home.

She left Australia with 24 hours' notice, not realising when she packed that it would be for an indefinite period of time.

"I've joked to my daughters — you better get ready to cook the Christmas turkey, because I don't know if I'm going to be there," she said.

"My whole family are in Australia. My husband, my children and my 10 grandchildren. It's time to go home."

Limited flights into Australia
No international flights are currently coming into Melbourne and limited numbers are accepted into Australia at all.

The ABC has heard from dozens of Australians separated from loved ones due to international travel restrictions.

"I'm on a waitlist to try and get into Sydney," Ms Findlay-James said.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester helped Ms Findlay-James get to Wales on compassionate grounds in July.

Mr Chester said he was working to get Ms Findlay-James back to Victoria.

"We are doing everything possible to help Pearl return as soon as possible. She travelled for legitimate compassionate reasons," he said.

Meanwhile Ms Findlay-James is stuck.

"I'm in no-man's-land. The UK is now getting ready for its second wave, so I'm literally not going anywhere," she said.

She said some people had questioned her trip to Wales in the first place, knowing the global COVID-19 situation, but she did not regret her decision.

"I can take to my grave that I sat and held my dad while he went to God," she said.

"Nobody can ever take that away from me, no matter what my journey is now." ... d=msedgdhp

Covid-19 has terminally ill in Victoria fearing dying alone if they go into palliative care
People who are dying from terminal illnesses in Victoria are scared they will die alone if they go into a palliative care unit or hospice care, the Cancer Council says.

The latest data available from the council’s national support line showed that in the second last week of August, 24% of the 217 calls and emails from Victoria were related to concerns about the impact of Covid-19. This compares with 8% in the last week of July.

Cancer Council Victoria’s head of strategy and support, Danielle Spence, said many people were upset about the impact of stage four restrictions. People who were at the end of their lives reported feeling isolated, afraid and lonely, unable to spend their final days with the people they loved and doing things they treasured.

Related: Victoria battles to contain coronavirus in 35 aged care homes

One woman wrote about how her husband, who has terminal cancer, enjoyed sitting in the car by the beach, about 10km from their home. But lockdown restrictions mean Victorians are only allowed to travel 5km from their home, and only for essential reasons such as grocery shopping and medical care.

Spence said the council was hearing stories “every day” from carers distressed at not being able to advocate for their sick relatives in hospital due to limits on visits, and people with terminal illnesses were opting not to attend hospital because they wanted to be with their families at the end of their life. But this often meant palliative care at home in less-than-ideal circumstances and without the right supports in place for their families.

“I’m really worried that when we come out of Covid we will only then listen to and hear so much of this distress, and we will be overwhelmed with sadness about their experiences,” Spence said.

“You only get one chance at dying, and dying well is important.”

Kelly Rogerson is chief executive of Palliative Care South East, a free service in the south-east metropolitan region of Melbourne. Rogerson said since the pandemic began, demand had increased by 61%. Support to help people to die at home was essential, she said, but for some people, they and their carers are better supported at a palliative care hospital.

We need to consider that end of life isn’t just the acute, final hours or days

Kelly Rogerson
“We are getting more and more requests to have people taken out of aged care and hospital and brought home, and my team is trying to do that and to go above and beyond what we are funded for,” Rogerson said.

“But we need to consider that end of life isn’t just the acute, final hours or days. When someone has a life-limiting illness every minute counts and we have to be careful not to judge what’s important for people when there’s a limit on how long they’ve got left.

“But with all the restrictions in place there is a lot of confusion and restriction about what is appropriate.”

Usually families might gather to support people in their grief caring for a terminally ill family member, she said, or may frequently visit. This support had dropped off during the pandemic. She described how one woman just wanted to sit by her dying father’s bedside, but thought she would get into trouble for breaking the rules because he no longer needed caregiving, and she just wanted to keep him company.

In another case, a man told the Cancer Council he was caring for his terminally ill wife, along with their two teenage children. His wife began to develop significant symptoms as she reached the end of her life, with the cancer causing seizures meaning she could not be left alone. At night she required at least two-hourly repositioning and wound care.

Related: The staff in my father's aged care home made sure he died with dignity | Amanda Miha

Her husband had to keep working while caring for and homeschooling their children and caring for his wife. While he looked at options to transfer his wife to an in-patient palliative care unit, a direct admission was not possible due to the pandemic.

She would need to stay in a Covid-19 screening ward for at least 24 hours until she was cleared of Covid, and her family would not be able to be with her or visit frequently. The family was distressed that she might die at any time and did not want to risk being unable to visit when she was so close to death.

They decided not to admit her to hospital. While a community palliative care nurse came daily, the family could not afford additional respite or general nursing. She died in August at home with her children and husband by her side, but the family is experiencing ongoing trauma, the council said.

We all understand the need for rules but we need more compassion and empathy

Danielle Spence
“Anecdotally we have stories of people putting off going to hospital longer as they are fearful of being separated for family members,” Spence said.

In another case, siblings aged nine and 13 caring for their dad with Hodgkin’s lymphoma have been unable to visit him during the times he has been rushed to intensive care. At first during stage four lockdown the hospital would not allow children to visit, and now the hospital has banned all visitors. If their father receives a planned stem-cell transplant, they will not be allowed to see him for months.

Spence said hospital policies were inconsistent. There was no centralised department for people to call for an exemption to visit family. Instead people were dealing with different ward managers or security guards.

Spence said it was important to note many hospitals were going above and beyond to accommodate visitors for those in palliative care.

“But we have heard of people being turned away at the door when they visit dying relatives by security guards simply enacting visitor rules, but it causes so much distress,” Spence said.

“We all understand the need for rules but we need more compassion and empathy. Compassion must be given to every family equally, not just to those in the know or who are health literate and who have the confidence to call the nursing manager.” ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
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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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