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 » Tue Sep 29, 2020 8:09 am

Queensland records another day of zero coronavirus cases as state strives for 'massive stockpile' of PPE equipment
Queensland has recorded another day of zero new coronavirus cases, leaving eight cases active across the state.

It has now been 19 days since Queensland last recorded a case that posed a risk of community transmission.

Health Minister Steven Miles said having no new cases registered was "exactly what we hope to see".

"Of course we would continue to encourage anyone with any symptoms to go and get tested," Mr Miles said.

Speaking in Rockhampton, he announced central Queensland would soon be home to a new "distribution hub" to house essential supplies and equipment for hospitals.

"It is a part of our critical supplies stockpile," he said.

"We want to make sure that we have a massive stockpile of all of the equipment that we need right throughout the state and the logistics that will ensure we can distribute that stock into our health services as we need them."

Mr Miles said ideally medical stock would be made in Queensland.

"We can't be reliant on other countries for all of our medical supplies - COVID has proven that," he said.

"We want to create jobs in manufacturing health equipment here in Queensland."

A new 2,175 square metre warehouse to be built in Rockhampton will be able to hold 730 pallets of personal protection equipment (PPE).

"We never want a Queensland Health nurse to ever have to worry ever again if they will have the mask that they want," he said.

"It won't just serve us well during pandemics, it will also serve us well in disasters.

"By having these strategic reserves in important parts of the state ... we can make sure our health services here have sufficient supply without having to rely on getting trucks up from Brisbane."

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service executive director of medical services Julianne Graham said the new hub was welcome news.

"Our transport lines have been disrupted during COVID ... so the stocks of our PPE have been a concern to staff," Dr Graham said.

She said the region currently only had a three-month supply of "top of the range" masks.

"But that's on normal use and we know that if we get an outbreak like they've had in Victoria that 95 days worth of supply might shrink down considerably," she said.

"So having a warehouse that can stock four times that many masks and four times as many stock of everything we need gives our staff confidence."

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said while Queensland has never run out of PPE, it "came close".

"We did have a stockpile, but it wasn't a stockpile we expected to see during this coronavirus pandemic," Dr Young said.

"Knowing that we have this amount of PPE available throughout the state as we go forward is absolutely essential." ... d=msedgdhp

Coronavirus and social distancing means more postal votes in the Queensland election on October 31
Up to 600,000 people are expected to apply for a postal vote at the upcoming state election after a similar number opted to do so at the local government elections in March.

Electoral Commission of Queensland's (ECQ) assistant electoral commissioner, Wade Lewis, said more than 300,000 people had already submitted postal vote applications since they opened on September 14.

"Very strong demand at the moment — people obviously are thinking about it as a convenient form of voting, particularly in this COVID context that we're delivering the election in," he said.

How do you lodge a postal vote?
The simplest way is to go to the ECQ website and submit an application there, Mr Lewis said.

"That's sent directly to us then and we process that immediately," he said.

Another option is to call the ECQ on 1300 881 665 or print and send a form from the website via email or post.

After you submit an application, a ballot will then be sent to you, which you must then post back to the ECQ.

Applications for postal votes are open until October 16, but voting forms will only be sent out after the closing of candidate nominations in mid-October.

Mr Lewis said if people had issues with accessing the forms, there was help available to assist them.

"If there's any language services that people require, they can request that when they call that number — we have a wonderful provider of translation and interpretative services."

What about political party postal vote sites?
Some people have received emails from their local member with links to request a postal ballot, which might take you to a page owned by that party rather than the ECQ website.

Mr Lewis said these are legitimate and it's a common practice by all the major parties and usually comes along with that party's 'how to vote' material.

"We work very closely with those political parties who then might lodge a form on behalf of electors who choose to provide those details to them, and they then provide that information to us as well," he said.

"If anybody is concerned about that, they can go to our website and apply online directly themselves — they don't need to provide that information to the political parties if they don't want to."

He said applications sent via political parties or candidates could be delayed and that the fastest way to lodge postal votes was directly through the ECQ.

Are there any dodgy sites to avoid?
The ECQ said they had not heard of any scams relating to email registrations or postal voting.

Mr Lewis said they would be closely monitoring all election material, including how-to-vote cards, to ensure nothing was misleading.

Mr Lewis said all election materials must include who authorised it.

"Stop and consider the source of the information that you've received," he said.

It's important to make sure it has been authorised by the political participants in the election.

"If there are any concerns about material floating around in the election that they don't think is properly authorised or that does concern people then certainly people again can contact us."

How could postal votes affect the election?
The ECQ said a high volume of postal votes would slow down the final vote count.

Mr Lewis said people must have completed the ballot by 6pm on October 31 and postal votes would be accepted by the ECQ until November 10.

"We really encourage people to apply as soon as possible, and get it back to us absolutely as soon as possible," he said.

"Given these large numbers of postal votes as well, it does potentially slow down the ability to declare results quickly."

In the 2017 state election, 300,000 votes were cast through the post.

ECQ commissioner Pat Vidgen told the ABC it was 13 days after the 2017 election that the final result was declared.

What about pre-poll voting?
Mr Lewis urged people to remember about voting in person, either on the day or earlier at pre-poll centres.

"If you're able to vote in person that's probably a better option — we're going to have more early voting centres around than ever before and we'll be open for longer as well," he said.

"It'll be fast, it'll be quick, it'll be safe to vote in person." ... d=msedgdhp

Bar visited by COVID-19 'quarantine-dodgers' lost $100,000 in sales
The owner of a bar attended by one of Queensland's accused quarantine dodgers claims she has cost his business $100,000.

Olivia Muranga attended Cowch Bar in Brisbane's Southbank the day after having a coronavirus test in June when she fell sick following her trip to Melbourne.

The 20-year-old along with Diana Lasu, 21, and Haja Timbo, 21, are accused of lying to authorities about where they had been on return to Queensland.

'That month of August, sales probably got affected, probably about $100,000 down,' Cowch Bar owner Arif Mendes told A Current Affair. 'It was very, very tough.'

Mr Mendes said he was forced to send five staff to isolate for two weeks after working on the day of Ms Muranga's visit, while another 15 required tests.

'So that was pretty tough for all of them trying to support them during that period - not only financially but with their mental health,' he said.

Mr Mendes said furious patrons hurled abuse at him following Ms Muranga's visit to his bar.

'We had customers calling, mad at us, saying "hey, why didn't you tell us?" And there were people around us saying "were you there Arif? Don't come near us, don't go your local gym",' he said.

Both Ms Muranga and Ms Lasu were diagnosed with COVID-19 after allegedly ignoring isolation orders and spending eight days in the public while infected.

Ms Timbo tested negative for coronavirus, while the 22-year-old sister of one of the infected pair turned in a positive test result.

Authorities believed a man contracted the virus when he ate at a Sunnybank restaurant, also attended by one woman two days after her arrival in Brisbane.

His wife - who worked in a nursing home - later also tested positive.

Genomic testing was done in August to determine whether there was a link between the cluster sparked by the women from Logan, south of Brisbane, and one involving people connected to a Brisbane youth detention centre staff member who also tested positive.

Queensland's chief health officer Jeannette Young said last month the clusters were of the same virus strain although there was a 'missing link' between the two.

Health Minister Steven Miles later said the testing hadn't proved a solid link between the two.The travelling trio appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday charged with one count of fraud and one of providing false or misleading documents.

They are facing up to five years in prison and a $13,000 fine if convicted.

The three women allegedly gave an emergency officer a Queensland border pass that contained false information stating they had not been in a COVID-19 hotspot in the previous 14 days, according to court documents.

They are also charged with fraud for allegedly dishonestly gaining a benefit of avoiding the mandatory 14 day self-quarantine at their own expense.

Lasu and Muranga's matters have been adjourned to October 28.

Timbo's case is listed again for October 21.

The three will not be required to appear in court if represented by their solicitors. ... d=msedgdhp


Charles Darwin University to cut 77 jobs, cancel 19 courses in merger of vocational and higher education
Charles Darwin University has revealed plans to cut 77 jobs — 5 per cent of its workforce — in a merger of vocational and higher education (VET) that could save the institution $10 million.

Staff at CDU were told about the proposed change on Tuesday afternoon, including a plan to cut 19 VET courses.

The scrapped courses include certificates in community night patrol, hospitality, hairdressing and business administration.

The university's deputy vice-chancellor Meredith Parry said two independent reports had found the VET structure was "financially unsustainable".

"This will be a difficult time for many at CDU," Ms Parry said in a statement.

"I am acutely aware that losing a position in a national market that could see up to 21,000 university sector jobs go by the end of the year is confronting, and comprehensive staff support measures have been put in place for staff and their families."

Ms Parry said some of the VET courses being cut have no current enrolments, but ongoing students would have an option to abandon or continue their studies.

A drop in funding and VET enrolments along with challenges in delivering VET courses remotely were also to blame, Ms Parry said.

In July last year, CDU's vice-chancellor Simon Maddocks said a university restructure would result in close to 100 job losses.

Professor Maddocks said the university was facing an unprecedent financial challenge and flagged potential changes to higher education and vocational education course offerings.

The university had already shifted its focus to growing international student numbers.

On Monday, the NT Government confirmed an agreement with the Federal Government and CDU was in place to bring 70 international students to Darwin in late October.

Ms Parry said the proposal for the merger of VET would go through a staff consultation process until October 18. ... d=msedgdhp

70 int. students to be flown to Darwin next month
Given the Territory's low record of COVID-19 cases, the Territory's Chief Health Officer has signed off on the plan ... d=msedgdhp


WA eases rules for Victoria, NSW arrivals
Western Australia will ease restrictions for people arriving from Victoria and NSW as the nation's COVID-19 case numbers continue to fall.

From next Monday, Victorian arrivals - who remain subject to tight exemption criteria - will no longer be required to enter hotel quarantine at their own expense.
They will instead be allowed to self-isolate at a suitable premise for 14 days.

People in NSW will also no longer be subject to tighter exemption criteria than those in other states.
"This is a positive step forward for our nation," Premier Mark McGowan said on Tuesday.
"We can make these adjustments to our border controls because of the positive results we have recently seen over east."

Victoria recorded 10 new cases and seven deaths on Tuesday, while two new cases were recorded in NSW.
Entry to WA from Victoria will remain limited to transport or freight and logistics workers, some politicians and military personnel and health workers.
They will continue to be tested upon arrival and on day 11 of their quarantine period.

Mr McGowan says he is still not prepared to set a date for reopening the hard interstate borders despite the continued decline in cases.
"We're not going to do so until we're completely sure we get the health advice that is completely safe," he said.

He confirmed the health advice remained that the hard borders should not reopen until the eastern states recorded 28 days of zero community transmission.

There has been no community spread in WA for almost six months.

The government has also launched a new G2G Now app allowing people in quarantine to check in and provide police with their location.

Mr McGowan says it will reduce the need for physical police checks and deliver certainty as a greater number of people enter self-quarantine. ... d=msedgdhp


Party hosts in police sights in Perth
Perth revellers have been issued a warning ahead of the festive season after police had to deal with allegedly out-of-control parties on the weekend.

Police video appeared to show vandalism and violence taking place in the city last weekend.

"I've just never experienced anything like it in my life, it was just out of control," one witness said.One gathering at the North Perth Town Hall claimed it booked space for an art exhibition, but the riot squad was called in when things grew ugly.

Police also broke up a 16th birthday party last night after multiple complaints.

Ahead of the Christmas season, police have warned that party hosts or their parents can be held liable for the actions of their guests – including gatecrashers.

That includes any injuries, property damage or excessive alcohol consumption.

Police have the power to issue move-on notices and to charge those who refuse.

A party host charged with organising an out-of-control gathering could face fines of up to $12,000 and could also be billed for the cost of the police call-out. ... d=msedgdhp

Defence troops sent to Port Hedland as COVID-19 outbreak worsens
The Australian Defence Force is sending troops to Port Hedland in Western Australia's north to manage the outbreak of COVID-19 that arrived in the Pilbara on board iron ore bulk carrier Patricia Oldendorff.

On Monday eight more crew of the Patricia Oldendorff, the vessel sitting off the Pilbara in Western Australia, tested positive to COVID-19.

This meant Western Australia recorded more than Victoria's five new cases on Monday.

The eight new cases are in hotel quarantine in Port Hedland. The total confirmed cases associated with the vessel is now 17. Seven of these are still on the ship as part of the essential crew, while 10 are in hotel quarantine.

Daily cleaning of the vessel continues.

All crew members are in good spirits and have been able to contact family at home, a health department spokesperson said.

Crew had been provided access to culturally appropriate food by a Filipino chef.

Australian Medical Association WA president Dr Andrew Miller warned the state's regional health services could not cope with a bigger outbreak.

He said it was not the first ship the state government had dealt with, but this was the first time sick people had been outside the metropolitan area where the major hospitals were nearby.

"We are into new territory here," he said.

If any of the crew became critically unwell this would pose more challenges. He said regional areas were very vulnerable.

Some of the doctors in the town were not confident the health facilities there would be able to cope with critically ill patients with the highly contagious illness.

Dr Miller said the regional hospitals were tiny and had limited capacity to provide proper intensive care.

"It will be a disaster if COVID spreads into regional communities because that's what's happening all around the world," Dr Miller said.

"More and more and more of the ships that turn up in Western Australia will have COVID on them."

Australian defence personnel are being deployed to Port Hedland, one of the world's largest iron ore loading ports, to help contain a coronavirus outbreak on a bulk carrier that last changed crews in the major seafaring city of Manila.

Seventeen of the 21-crew members of the carrier have tested positive for the virus, ship owner Oldendorff Carriers said in a statement.

Ten of the infected crew have been moved to hotel quarantine while seven infected workers remain on board as part of an 11-person crew, authorities said.

Oldendorff said that the Manila crew change on Sept. 5 complied with all protocols.

"All crew members tested negative for the virus before leaving the Philippines," Oldendorff said.The ship, which was scheduled to collect manganese ore which is used in steel production, is anchored off Port Hedland on Australia's northwest coast.

Western Australia state contained the virus early in the pandemic by closing its international and domestic borders. It now bars cruise ship arrivals but allows export carriers and limited international air arrivals. All international arrivals in Australia face mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine.

Up to 10 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel were expected to be deployed to Port Hedland after a request for assistance from the state government, an ADF spokesman said in a statement. ... d=msedgdhp

12 of the 17 cases linked to a bulk carrier off Port Hedland are in hotel quarantine ... 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 » Tue Sep 29, 2020 8:54 am


Scott Morrison reveals first places Aussies will be able to travel to
New Zealand, South Korea, Japan and Pacific islands such as Fiji may be among the first countries that Australians will be allowed to travel to, Scott Morrison has said.

The Prime Minister revealed on Tuesday that he is considering a 'traffic light system' that would allow people entering Australia from Covid-safe countries to avoid hotel quarantine.

Overseas travel has been banned since March and it remains unclear when it will resume but Mr Morrison said the first step will be to open to 'safe locations'.
'Our borders will open up at some point to safe locations whether it be New Zealand or parts of the Pacific or places like South Korea or Japan or countries that have had a much higher rate of success,' he told reporters.

Mr Morrison said other countries including Denmark and Greece have similar models where returned travellers only have to go into quarantine if they have come from places with high levels of coronavirus.

He said he was considering letting people quarantine at home instead of in hotels if they fly in from a low-risk country.

'Home quarantine can play a role in the future and it's something that is being considered by the AHPPC (Australian Health Protection Principal Committee).

'We will need a more flexible approach that gives us more options for managing this, so that is something that is under active consideration,' he said.

Mr Morrison said home quarantine worked well in February and March when many Chinese Australians were returning from China.

Since March 17 only Australian citizens and permanent residents are allowed to enter Australia. They must complete two weeks of hotel quarantine at their own cost.

Overseas travel is banned until 17 December and that period may be extended.

A travel bubble with New Zealand which will allow holidays without quarantine has long been under discussion but still has not happened.

Under revised plans drawn up by Australia's tourism restart task force, Kiwis would be able to freely enter Australia in November and Aussies would go the other way by January or February.

The plan, obtained by the The Australian, calls for all states to open their borders by December 1.

All state and territory leaders want their borders open by Christmas except WA's Mark McGowan and Queensland's Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Queensland faces an election on October 31 and WA on March 31 and border closures are popular in both states. ... d=msedgdhp

Brendan Murphy admits earlier federal action could have prevented some aged care deaths in Australia
Prof Brendan Murphy has conceded some deaths could have potentially been avoided in aged care homes during the second wave of Covid-19 infections in Victoria if the commonwealth had set up its aged care response centre in the state earlier.

Murphy is Australia’s former chief medical officer who is now the secretary of the federal health department. He told a Senate hearing on Tuesday “if the public health response had been more prompt we might have avoided some of the scale of the outbreaks in Victoria”.

“Obviously we’re looking at, for example, if we had stood up the Victorian aged care response centre early on,” Murphy said. If the Morrison government “had been aware, if we’d had prior warning the public health response may have been compromised, that’s something that might have prevented some of the spread amongst facilities by responding more quickly”.

The health department secretary said it was not possible to say what proportion of deaths could have been prevented. “As we’ve said on many occasions, once you have widespread community outbreaks, aged care outbreaks … unfortunately deaths, particularly for people who are very frail and close to end of life, are inevitable,” Murphy said.

“But largely with the benefit of hindsight and in responding with a response centre … we may have been able to prevent some of some of the spread.”

More than 600 people have died in aged care facilities during the pandemic. The commonwealth funds and regulates Australia’s aged care sector.

But the Morrison government has argued the Victorian government bears responsibility for the outbreak because the second wave saw high rates of community transmission that resulted in infections entering aged care facilities.

After Murphy’s comments were shared on social media by the Labor senator Katy Gallagher, who was chairing Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate committee examining the government’s response to Covid-19, Murphy sought to clarify his earlier answer

663 people have died from #COVID19 in aged care facilities in Australia.

My direct question to Health Secretary: Were any of these deaths avoidable?

The short answer we got: Yes - if the Federal Gov had acted quicker in Victoria.

“Potentially, maybe, there could have been some avoided deaths, but we were not in a position to act earlier,” Murphy said. “I wouldn’t want it to be implied that we were slow in reacting. We reacted as soon as we were aware that the public health response in Victoria was failing.”

Murphy said: “Potentially yes, some deaths could have been avoidable, potentially yes, if we’d set up [the commonwealth intervention] earlier but we weren’t in a position to know that the need was there until the time we did.”

Gallagher accepted the clarification but told Murphy they had a difference of opinion.

Related: Until there's a Covid vaccine, we need to focus on treating longer-term health consequences | Elizabeth Hartland

“I disagree with you,” she said. The Labor senator said Murphy acknowledged he was aware of escalating community transmission in Victoria by 18 June but “the aged care response centre didn’t open up until 25 July”.

“I would argue that the response was too slow,” Gallagher said.

Murphy said the commonwealth had been relying on a “prompt and aggressive public health response” in Victoria that wasn’t delivered. He said the public health response was a “partnership” with the states and territories and that strategy had worked with outbreaks in other states.

Gallagher said 670 people had died during the crisis and “it is legitimate for me to put a different point of view to you – that things should have happened earlier”.

Officials from the health department separately told the committee on Tuesday that more than 30,000 elderly Australians had died before receiving home care packages for aged care in the past three years, despite being assessed as eligible. Officials said 102,000 people remained on the home care waiting list..

Image ... d=msedgdhp

PM spruiks national contact-tracing task force, says NSW is the ‘gold standard’
A national task force designed to “connect the contact-tracing systems between the states and the territories” is being set up by the federal government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.

The prime minister said the task force is “drawing from a range of different disciplines and it's already started the work of pulling together that digital overlay to connect the contact-tracing systems between the states and territories”.

When the second wave first hit Mr Morrison said, “in large part there were paper-based systems in Victoria”.

He commended Premier Daniel Andrews for the “radically transformed” system now being used across the state but said “New South Wales was the gold standard” for contact-tracing.

“The key to being able to open up your economy as NSW has demonstrated … has been about the capacity of your contact tracing system and your testing regime," he said.

“That's how you keep your economy open. That's how you live with the virus, not have the virus tell you how to live.” ... d=msedgdhp

International arrivals from 'safe' coronavirus countries could avoid hotel quarantine, PM says
People entering Australia from some countries could be allowed to quarantine at home, rather than forcibly confined in hotels, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

Since late March people entering Australia have been required to spend two weeks in hotel quarantine at their port of entry, before being allowed out into the community.

But Mr Morrison said the Government's health advisory body, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), was considering whether people coming from "safe" countries could undergo quarantine at home.

"I think home quarantine can play a role in the future and it's something that is being considered by the AHPPC, particularly as we move beyond the phase we're in now," he said.

"[As] we do look to have … our borders open up at some point to safe locations, whether it be New Zealand or parts of the Pacific, or places like South Korea or Japan, or countries that have had a much higher rate of success, then there are opportunities to look at those alternative methods."

The Prime Minister referenced countries like Denmark, which has a list of allowed countries — including Australia — that dictates who is allowed to enter freely.

The Government has already flagged travel bubble arrangements with New Zealand that could see people enter Australia without any form of quarantine.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday said there was a chance an arrangement could be in place before Christmas, however details on any proposal are still vague.

Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer Alison McMillan said the AHPPC would continue to work through home quarantine issues over the coming weeks.

"AHPPC considered yesterday and will continue to consider what we know about the current evidence around those returning, what our testing rates are telling us about people returning and what might be a range of options for people as we move into the new year," she said.

"Obviously it needs to be proportionate to the risk and that work over the next few weeks will ultimately result in a recommendation made to the National Cabinet."

Mr Morrison said as borders were opened to more countries, a "triaging" of locations based on COVID-19 risk could be implemented in the quarantine system.

"As time goes on, we will need a more flexible approach that gives us more options for managing this," he said.

"When it comes in, that will obviously be determined principally by the health advice … but I'm hopeful it's something we can move to."

For several weeks before hotel quarantine was enforced, returning travellers were required to self-isolate at home for two weeks.

Mr Morrison said that had largely been successful.

"If we recall back in February and March of this year, that's how it was working," he said.

"Particularly among the Chinese Australian community, where the risk was greatest, where people were returning from mainland China and even Wuhan at one point, that home quarantine was followed incredibly assiduously.

"That, as I've said on many occasions, proved absolutely vital in Australia's success in managing the impact of that first wave."

Mr Morrison's enthusiasm for home quarantine comes as failures in the hotel quarantine system in Victoria continue to be laid bare.

An inquiry into the administration of the state's quarantine system heard further submissions on Monday that the system failed to protect the community from COVID-19, leading to hundreds of deaths.

Counsel assisting the inquiry Ben Ihle also told the inquiry a "hybrid model" between hotel quarantine and other measures might be a better way forward.

"The option of mandatory home quarantine or a hybrid model involving initial reception into a quarantine hotel for triage, taking into account all relevant factors for each returned traveller with increased compliance mechanisms, would have proven to be less of an imposition, not only on the lives and basic freedoms of those returned travellers but also on the program itself," he said.

"Such a model may also be at least as effective [at] achieving the objective of containing the virus."

A home quarantine system is being considered by the Federal Government as the coronavirus pandemic moves into a new phase.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in the early days of the virus, home quarantine had worked in Australia particularly among returning Chinese and European residents.

That, he said, "proved absolutely vital in Australia's success in managing the impact of that first wave".

Now, home quarantine is being explored as another way of managing returning residents and even tourists.

"I think home quarantine can play a role in the future and it's something that is being considered by the AHPPC and particularly as we move beyond the phase we're in now," Mr Morrison said.

It could be used to welcome back visitors from countries who had managed to take control of the virus, including New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and parts of the Pacific.

"There are opportunities to look at those alternative methods, a triaging if you like. And many countries do this."

He pointed to Denmark which operates via a "traffic light system" and Greece.

"They have an algorithm which triages people based on where they've come from and where they've been and that quantifies the risk," Mr Morrison said.

"I think as time goes on, we will need a more flexible approach that gives us more options for managing this,.

"So, I think that is something that is under active consideration and when it comes in, that will obviously be determined principally by the health advice that can provide a green light to those sorts of options once again, but I'm hopeful it's something we can move to." ... d=msedgdhp


Coronavirus outbreak on Patricia Oldendorff off Port Hedland sparks fears over cargo ship rules
Stricter rules around international ship crews entering Australian waters are needed following the serious outbreak on board the Patricia Oldendorff manganese carrier off the Pilbara coast, the WA Government says.

A total of 17 out of 21 crew members from the Patricia Oldendorff have tested positive for COVID-19, with nine of them remaining on the vessel and the other 12 in a hastily assembled hotel quarantine arrangement in Port Hedland.

The eight cases of the virus confirmed from the ship on Monday meant WA had more new COVID-19 cases on the day than Victoria, the first day any state had reached that unwanted milestone in nearly four months.

Officials said none of those with the virus were seriously unwell and several were asymptomatic.

They have also repeatedly insisted there was no threat to the wider community, saying the outbreak had been contained to the ship and hotel quarantine.

But Health Minister Roger Cook said the incident raised serious concerns about the handling of ship crews entering Australia, calling for greater oversight.

"We need to continue to work with the shipping agencies, with other governments and with the Commonwealth to ensure these international protocols are a bit tighter," he told ABC Radio Perth.

"I am worried that these crew [members] got on the vessel from the Philippines and one or more were unwell."

Maritime industry defends 'robust' controls
But the Government's call for tighter controls comes amid pleas from the industry for more help to assist seafarers who have been stuck on vessels for months on end because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Industry body Maritime Industry Australia said the sector was already going to significant lengths to prevent outbreaks on freight ships.

"There are very very strict controls in place and the COVID management plans vessels have in place [are] incredibly robust," the group's chief executive Teresa Lloyd said.

"We are seeing very few cases on board vessels."

Ms Lloyd said the industry was working to limit "gaps in the system" when crew changes took place, with protocols already including 14-day quarantine before departure and two rounds of testing.

The Patricia Oldendorff outbreak is not the first of its kind in WA, with the spread of coronavirus on the Al Kuwait live export vessel eventually leading to more than 20 confirmed cases.

The majority of those crew members were evacuated from the vessel and taken into quarantine in Perth.

Unclear when Patricia Oldendorff will sail
The Government is yet to decide what will happen to the Patricia Oldendorff, with logistical challenges thwarting plans to bring in a new crew.

The vessel needs at least nine crew members just to sit at anchor and requires 13 to sail, but only five replacement crew members have been found so far.

Even if a full crew is found, the ship would need to undergo a deep clean before they could board.

"My preference would be that we could switch the crew out, but there are limitations," Mr Cook said.

"This is a really tricky situation."

Mr Cook said the freighter had been moved one nautical mile closer to shore to be within mobile phone reception, with health staff boarding daily to conduct a physical assessment of the remaining crew.

If a new crew cannot be found, officials have indicated they could wait until enough of the infected personnel recover for the ship to set sail again. ... d=msedgdhp

Health Minister urged to weigh in on industrial dispute
There have been warnings that supplies of medical products could be held up if it's not resolved soon ... d=msedgdhp

JobKeeper changes came into effect this week. What do they mean for sole traders impacted by COVID-19?
Big changes are happening to the Federal Government coronavirus support payment JobKeeper from this week.

The payment rates have been reduced, and it will work on a two-tiered system instead of a flat rate.

Sole traders are particularly worried about whether they'll still be eligible for any payments.

You asked us how it will impact sole traders. Here's what we found.

So, what's changed this week?
The biggest change is do to with the payment rate — it has been reduced from a flat $1,500 per fortnight rate to $1,200 only for full-time workers.

Full-time means people who worked more than 20 hours per week during the reference periods of either February and/or June of this year.

The payment rate will be further reduced to $1,000 per fortnight from January.

A new two-tiered system also came into effect this week for part-time workers.

Those who worked fewer than 20 hours per week during the reference period will receive half of what they're currently receiving, or just $750 per fortnight.

As a sole trader, am I still eligible for JobKeeper?
Yep, you and your employees may still be eligible, as long as you meet all the conditions.

From this week, the payments will be targeted to sole traders who have been most significantly impacted by COVID-19.

Firstly, you must prove you're a sole trader (you own your business and are not an employee of your business) and meet all these requirements:

• On March 1, 2020, you carried on a business in Australia

• You had an ABN on March 12, 2020 and lodged either a 2018-19 income tax return or a recent activity statement or GST return

• You are actively engaged in your business (as at March 1, 2020 and for the fortnight you're claiming)

• You were a sole trader at March 1, 2020 and for the fortnight you are claiming

• You are at least 18 years old and an Australian resident (or a resident for income tax purposes)

• You are not receiving Government parental leave

• You are not receiving workers' compensation

• You are not an employee of another entity

• You have given the ATO a JobKeeper nomination notice through myGov

Secondly, from this week, you will have to demonstrate you've suffered a decline in turnover using actual GST turnover rather than projected turnover.

"The sole trader must have had a 30 per cent revenue drop in the September quarter compared to last year," said small business accountant with Newmarket Accounts, Sally Xia.

She says sole traders will be able to show this through their Business Activity Statements (BAS).

Will my staff be eligible?
It depends.

Your employees should still be eligible, as long as the business meets all the conditions.

However, any new staff won't be.

Only staff that were actively employed before July 1 will be now be eligible for payments.

What if I didn't work full-time in February — is there an alternative test?
There's a lot of talk this week about proving you were working — or 'actively engaged' in government-speak.

That just means you were doing these sorts of activities — providing services or selling goods, managing record keeping and accounts, drawing up business plans, or negotiating contracts with suppliers.

So, to get the higher rate, you must have been working 20 hours or more per week during the reference period (which is February or June 2020 for most businesses).

You will also have to notify the ATO through your business monthly declaration.

If you don't meet both those requirements, you will be entitled to the lower payment.

But, if you were sick or fighting fires, or for some reason February or June is not a fair comparison period with other months, you can potentially use an alternative period.

The alternative period is the most recent 29-day period which ended before March 1, 2020 (so January for instance).

It also has to be representative of a typical month for your business.

The Commission of Taxation also has discretion to set out alternative tests.

Is it too late for me to enrol?

The Government has extended the JobKeeper scheme for a further six months until March 28, 2021.

Obviously, you'll still need to prove your turnover is down 30 per cent for the relevant quarters and that you meet the other eligibility conditions.

What other help is available?
If you're having trouble with cash flow, you might be able to access working capital under the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme.

A temporary Government guarantee of 50 per cent is being provided to lenders willing to give credit to sole traders. ... d=msedgdhp

Australian banks are preparing for more than $7 billion worth of deferred loans to turn bad
*Australia's largest banks have put aside more than $7 billion in bad loan provisions related to COVID-19.
* With Australia holding some of the highest household debt in the world, a sudden and sharp recession is expected to diminish borrowers' ability to repay their debts.
* So far, banks have frozen more than $240 billion in debts and are in the process of trying to get customers to recommence repayments.

Australia's lenders are battening down the hatches as they approach one of the biggest challenges facing the national economy.

This month, more than 780,000 customers that took out six-month loan deferrals have faced the prospect of letting them expire or extend them into January next year.

Called the "largest ever customer contact process in the industry’s history" by Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh, banks have had to hire or redeploy an additional 5000 staff to contact borrowers.

Those that have answered their banks' calls – and that's only four out of five of them – have been encouraged to restart their repayments or rejig their arrangements, including going interest-only or even selling their property. Some will even suggest Australians dip into their super.

But while banks are putting on a brave public face, the unprecedented program of simply freezing loans as the economy stumbles is enough to raise anxiety levels. No less when there's $240 billion of debt to be paid and most customers are expected to need more time.

Each is now in discussions with customers and figuring out what the risks may be that some customers simply cannot service their loans.

On Tuesday, the Bank of Queensland (BoQ) became the latest to quantify its projections. The bank put aside $175 million to offset its own set of deferrals. The latest APRA figures show it is holding some $5.5 billion in frozen debt, making up around one in eight loans.

It's bigger rivals are sitting on even larger provisions. The Commonwealth Bank, Australia's largest, put aside $1.5 billion in May. It holds $62 billion in deferrals, with around one in seven of mortgage holders receiving at least one JobSeeker payment.

Westpac the country's second-largest has put aside $1.6 billion, followed by ANZ with $1.67 billion.

Interestingly, NAB put aside just half that of its peers, with $807 million. That's despite the bank holding $15 billion more in frozen debt than Westpac and ANZ, on what's already a smaller loan book.

It also holds the most deferred business debt, considered a riskier proposition than home loans.

For comparison, even Macquarie Bank is holding $1 billion, despite only having deferred loans roughly one-tenth that of NAB.

That may say just as much about Macquarie though. Bendigo, which has comparable deferments, has $127 million in its rainy day fund. Suncorp meanwhile has put aside $172 million.

Between them, those lenders hold $222 billion of the $240 billion deferred and have collectively prepared for more than $7 billion of that to sour.

Evidently, those figures are subject to change, with next month's APRA figures to show how the transition from deferment to repayment has fared between them.

Even so, it's clear there's a group of Australians the banks think are in over their head.

Treasurer urged not to overlook pensioners
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is being urged not to forget pensioners as he puts the final touches on next week's budget.

Peak lobby group National Seniors Australia wants a lift in the pension, changes to how self-funded retirees are assessed, and lower interest rates for people using their home as an asset to draw money against.

"If you want to stimulate the economy one of the best places to do it is by giving pensioners more money," chief advocate Ian Henschke said on Tuesday.

"The government needs to look at the seniors sector and make sure they don't forget them in the budget."

Pensions usually increase twice a year in line with inflation.

But because the coronavirus pandemic has plunged inflation into negative territory, that did not happen this month.

Pensioners have received two $750 cash payments during the pandemic and the treasurer has indicated there will be more support on October 6.

Mr Henschke said increasing the pension would be a start, as would allowing more people on to the pension by adjusting the assets test.

He believes self-funded retirees need a break, having lost income with dividends not being paid from shares they hold, and because bank interest is very low.

"It's important that the government recognises that older Australians have paid their taxes and they shouldn't be prevented from getting a pension or part pension."

Mr Henschke also wants to lower the interest rate for people drawing down on the equity of their home to supplement their income.

And he said the pension loan scheme rate of 4.5 per cent was way too high.

"I would prefer to see the interest rate for the pension loan scheme set by the Reserve Bank," he said.

He is also calling for more money for home care packages for those people who want to stay in their own home and not go to an aged care home, more so after the impact COVID-19 has had on these facilities. ... d=msedgdhp

Huge thunderstorms and torrential rain to batter parts of Australia
Torrential rain is set to batter huge swathes of Australia in the coming days, before temperatures soar during an unexpected heatwave over the public holiday long weekend.

Thunderstorms are brewing across most of the country with a low pressure trough triggering windy weather and showers throughout Australia's east coast from Tuesday.

Weatherzone meteorologist Sam Brown warned the 'severe' storms would bring 'damaging wind gusts' from Tuesday onwards.

'There is a low pressure system and associated trough moving through South Australia at the moment and that's causing storms in the northern parts.

'That same system is moving further east into tomorrow and there will be storms for central north New South Wales from about tomorrow morning,' he explained.

Mr Brown said the storms would progress over Victoria, NSW and south Queensland until Friday.

'There will be thunderstorms for much of eastern New South Wales and there'll be showers associated with all those storms and some gusty winds,' he said.

He explained there was 'storm potential' across most of the country thanks to the 'unstable atmosphere and temperatures coming down from the tropics.'

Mr Brown said parts of Western Australia would also experience the wet weather.

'They'll get a few storms in the far south west and far east near the South Australian border.

'There's potential for storms everyday in the north of Western Australia in the Kimberley region and western parts of the top end,' he explained.

The Bureau of Meteorology's Diana Eadie told Daily Mail Australia the system would bring 'wide-spread shower and storm activity.'

'The low pressure trough will move through eastern parts of Western Australia, southern parts of the northern territory and South Australia,' she said.

Ms Eadie explained South Australia would see 'the most significant rainfall totals' on Tuesday.

'We're expecting 5 to 15 millimetres but we could see as high at 40 to 60 millimetres in far north western parts of South Australia.'

She said the system and its 'shower, storm and rain activity' would progress eastwards on Wednesday.

'We will see an increase in shower and storm activity over southern Queensland, much of New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

'That will all subside on Friday and we're likely to see a pretty much sunny day across most of the country and warm conditions,' she said.

Ms Eadie said east coast residents would 'be enjoying sunny weather' over the weekend and Labour Day public holiday on Monday.

'Saturday will be the warmest day for the southeast and we'll see temperatures up to ten to 12 degrees above average for this time of year.'

'It's pretty unusual, Melbourne will be 28C on Saturday and Sydney will be 26C on Saturday and 28C on Sunday,' she explained.

Mr Brown added 'central and southern parts of NSW' would be dry and regional parts of the state would see temperatures into he low thirties over the weekend.


TUESDAY: Min 12. Max 20. Partly cloudy.

WEDNESDAY: Min 12. Max 23. Possible shower.

THURSDAY: Min 14. Max 24. Possible shower.

FIRDAY: Min 11. Max 24. Sunny.

SATURDAY: Min 13. Max 26. Sunny.


TUESDAY: Min 11. Max 24. Partly cloudy.

WEDNESDAY: Min 13. max 25. Partly cloudy.

THURSDAY: Min 15. max 28. Partly cloudy.

FRIDAY: Min 15. Max 29. Sunny.

SATURDAY: Min 17. Max 28. Partly cloudy.


TUESDAY: Min 12. Max 21. Showers developing.

WEDNESDAY: Min 12. Max 19. Shower or two.

THURSDAY: Min 11. Max 21. Clouds clearing.

FRIDAY: Min 14. Max 29. Sunny.

SATURDAY: Min 21. Max 28. Possible shower.


TUESDAY: Min 9. Max 19. Mostly sunny.

WEDNESDAY: Min 9. Max 21. Cloudy.

THURSDAY: Min 8. Max 18. Possible shower.

FRIDAY: Min 11. Max 21. Possible shower. Windy.

SATURDAY: Min 13. Max 24. Showers.


TUESDAY: Min 11. Max 21. Partly cloudy.

WEDNESDAY: Min 13. Max 20. Showers

THURSDAY: Min 11. Max 20. Partly cloudy.

FRIDAY: Min 12. Max 26. Sunny.

SATURDAY: Min 17. Max 28. Cloudy.


TUESDAY: Min 12. Max 21. Showers

WEDNESDAY: Min 13. Max 22. Partly cloudy.

THURSDAY: Min 13. Max 22. Cloudy.

FRIDAY: Min 13. Max 18. Shower or two.

SATURDAY: Min 6. Max 19. Partly cloudy.


TUESDAY: Min 6. Max 18. Partly cloudy.

WEDNESDAY: Min 6. Max 14. Showers.

THURSDAY: Min 9. Max 20. Partly cloudy.

FRIDAY: Min 4. Max 23. Sunny.

SATURDAY: Min 5. Max 24. Sunny.


TUESDAY: Min 25. Max 34. Mostly sunny.

WEDNESDAY: Min 25. Max 34. Partly cloudy.

THURSDAY: Min 24. Max 35. Sunny.

FRIDAY: Min 25. Max 35. Sunny.

SATURDAY: Min 25. Max 34. Sunny. ... 19w9lz_1|1

BOM declares a La Nina, signalling wet spring and summer likely for northern, eastern Australia
The Bureau of Meteorology has declared a La Nina is officially underway, signalling we could be in for a wet spring and summer.

La Nina is a phase of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which describes ocean and atmospheric circulations over the Pacific Ocean.

During a La Nina phase, Australia's northern waters are warm with increased convection.

This allows more moisture to be lifted into the air than normal, typically resulting in increased rain for eastern and northern Australia — but, historically, the south-east misses out.

That moisture can lead to cooler daytime temperatures according to Andrew Watkins, the BOM's head of climate operations.

"We tend to have more cloud and a bit more moisture around to evaporate to keep the air a bit cooler," he said.

"Conversely at night, when you've got the cloud acting like a lid trapping in that heat, it can be a bit warmer."

But every La Nina is different.

Will we get a repeat of 2011?
The last major La Nina events were in the summers of 2010-11 and 2011-12. They resulted in 2010 to 2012 being Australia's wettest two-year period on record.

Flooding was widespread and devastating.

In early 2011, large parts of South-East Queensland were under water; the Lockyer Valley was hit by a cascade of water coming off the Toowoomba range and Brisbane saw its worst flooding since 1974.

But Dr Watkins said this year's event was looking weaker than 2010-11 based on the current forecast.

"Also the fact that by this time in 2010, we were already well into a La Nina event and had been pretty much since mid July."

So 2010-11 was well ahead of where we are now. In fact, it was one of the four strongest La Ninas ever observed, according to Dr Watkins.

What does this mean for cyclone season?
The warm waters and increased convection also lead to La Ninas being associated with increased numbers of cyclones.

In a normal year we see roughly between nine and 11 tropical cyclones in Australian waters.

But according to Dr Watkins, we could be in the upper end or even above that range this year.

"That also increases the risk of tropical cyclones crossing the coast, so lots of impacts of La Nina, particularly as we get into summer."

Will farmers be able to get crops out?
After the past few years of drought on the east coast, recent months of good rains for the south-east have been welcome.

The forecast of more rain will be welcome for those who have so far missed out in 2020.

But during late spring and summer, farmers generally need dry conditions to get a crop out — too much rain in late spring and early summer can be a disaster.

Dr Watkins said the odds were easing back on a wet harvest, but it was still on the above-average-rainfall side of things.

"Hopefully nice finishing rains but that it won't be too wet for the actual harvest," he said.

Fire outlook better than recent years
Meanwhile, the fire risk is at least looking better than this time last year.

"Last year we went into the spring and summer period with a really strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole event; that was keeping things very dry, particularly in eastern Australia and it also had been very hot."

Dr Watkins said he hoped the La Nina would mean there was a bit more rain before summer that would help to keep the bushfire risk lower than the past couple of years.

"But we can never forget southern Australia will always get dry and hot over summer," he said.

"There always will be some bushfires, but hopefully this year we have the conditions in place that we won't see those widespread, long-campaign fires that we did see unfortunately last year." ... d=msedgdhp



Man escapes hotel quarantine by tying bedsheets together
An Australian deportee has been caught trying to escape hotel quarantine after using bed sheets as a rope to climb out of a window and abseil down the building.

The man was staying at a Ramada Hotel in Auckland, New Zealand when he decided to make a break for it on Monday, despite being due for release in two days.

He tied bed sheets together to create a rope and managed to scale down four storeys.

But he was caught by on-site security as he made his way out of the front gate.

He was taken into custody by police.

'So far, we have been unable to establish what time the man absconded the facility,' Darryn Webb, head of managed isolation and quarantine, said.

CCTV footage will be reviewed to establish he man's movements, he said.

'This person has put themselves and others at potential risk and their actions were unacceptable. Wilfully leaving our facilities will not be tolerated, and the appropriate action will be taken.'

Mr Webb said the COVID-19 risk to the public was low.

Security at the facility has been increased since the escape attempt.

New Zealand has a 14-day mandatory hotel quarantine scheme for anyone entering the country.

About 55,000 people have gone through the hotel quarantine scheme and 13 breaches have been reported.

'These incidents are rare, and we treat them extremely seriously,' Mr Webb said. ... d=msedgdhp
Last edited by kingofnobbys on Tue Sep 29, 2020 10:06 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: 12625
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Tue Sep 29, 2020 9:11 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: 12625
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:15 am


Victoria records 13 new coronavirus cases, 4 deaths as Melbourne's 14-day average continues falling
The Victorian Government will aim to test a quarter of workers in high-risk industries for coronavirus each week, as Premier Daniel Andrews defends the pace of the state's roadmap out of restrictions.

Victoria maintained its steady downward trend in new infections on Wednesday as states began easing internal border closures, fuelling optimism about a return to normal.

Victoria's quick containment of a second wave of the outbreak prompted Western Australia to PARTIALLY relax its travel restrictions, allowing travelers from the southeastern state to quarantine at home rather than in a hotel from Monday.

Australia's iconic Sydney Opera House said it would work to reopen its venues from November after the New South Wales state government raised the seating capacity in theatres to 50% from Thursday. ... d=msedgdhp
There are 44 Victorians in hospital, including six patients in intensive care.

There are 46 active cases among healthcare workers in the state.

Regional Victoria recorded no new cases today.

Premier Daniel Andrews today said the strategy was "absolutely working".

"It's important to focus on that 14-day trend," he said. ... d=msedgdhp

A statement from the Department of Health and Human Services said Victoria was continuing to 'move toward COVID Normal'.

'The 14 day rolling average and number of cases with unknown source are down from yesterday,' the statement read.

There has been mounting pressure on Mr Andrews to completely remove coronavirus lockdown restrictions amid the consistently low figures.

A string of strict stage four lockdown restrictions were relaxed in Melbourne on Monday, including the 9pm to 5am curfew.

An estimated 127,000 workers returned to their jobs and childcare centres were able to reopen.

The majority of these workers are in manufacturing, construction, distribution centres, warehouses and abattoirs.

Outdoor gatherings of up to five people from two households are allowed.

Non-essential businesses are still banned from reopening, with restaurants only available for takeaway.
Melbourne's two-hour exercise limit and 5km travel restrictions remain.

Primary school students are expected to return to their classrooms on October 12.

Mr Andrews foreshadowed full freedom of movement could come on October 19 ahead of AFL grand final weekend.

'We are so close to being able to take a really big step - big step towards that COVID normal,' Mr Andrews told reporters on Monday.
The state will move to the last step of eased restrictions when there are no new COVID-19 cases for 14 days in Victoria.

Melbourne's eased restrictions
Evening curfew was lifted from 5am Monday

New massive $5,000 fine comes in for breaching gathering limits

Five people can exercise together 5km from home, but not visit each other

Solo hospital and nursing home visits allowed for two hours a day

Primary schools reopen on October 12, as do universities for final year students

Childcare reopens on Monday

Workers can exercise near workplaces, not just their homes

Outdoor pools reopen, fishing and hiking allowed (still 5km from home) but golf, tennis, etc still banned

Sole trader gardening and pet grooming allowed to operate

Elective surgery slowly returns to 75 per cent capacity

Meat processing plants back to 80 per cent capacity, factories to 90 per cent

Weddings allowed with five people, same limit for religious services held outside ... d=msedgdhp

As part of the "surveillance testing" program workers in the meat, poultry, seafood processing and supermarket and refrigerated distribution industries will be targeted first.

Jeroen Weimar from the Department of Health and Human Services said the program would cover about 28,000 workers from 95 businesses in those industries.

"These industries on their own are not dangerous," he said.

"But we know that if coronavirus enters these environments, there is a higher risk of spread."

Mr Andrews said the Government had not decided which industries to target next but said health "would be logical".

Asymptomatic workers who are not connected to existing outbreaks will not have to self-isolate while waiting for their results.

Private sector aged care staff will be also tested by a private provider, through the Federal Government.

'Not safe' to reopen Melbourne yet, as case average continues to fall
Victoria has recorded 13 new coronavirus infections and four deaths overnight, with the 14-day rolling infection averages in Melbourne and regional areas falling again.

Two of the four deaths are linked to aged care settings.

Metropolitan Melbourne's 14-day average dropped from 18.2 on Tuesday to 16.4 today, while regional Victoria's rolling average is now 0.3, down from 0.6 yesterday.


Mr Andrews said while active cases were falling, infection rates were still not low enough to significantly lift restrictions yet.

"The notion of opening up with 16.4 cases per day, in metropolitan Melbourne, is not safe, it is not steady, and it will not last," he said.

But he said modelling confirmed Victoria was "on track" to take a "significant step" in about three weeks.

Just four of the 13 new cases are linked to existing outbreaks. Public health officials are still investigating the other 9.

The cases that were still under investigation in yesterday's numbers had since been linked to other outbreaks, Mr Andrews said.

The 13 new infections were detected among close to 18,000 coronavirus tests processed overnight.

"That is a very strong number [of tests]," Mr Andrews said.

Not 'fair' to compare Victoria to NSW, Premier says
In recent weeks, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has drawn comparison between Victoria's position now and the position New South Wales was in when it began to ease restrictions.

The Premier defended the pace of Victoria's roadmap, and said it could not be compared to other states.

"If you could pick a moment in time that another state, say New South Wales, was at about 300 or 350 active cases, that's not really a fair comparison at a point in time to when we have 300 or 350 active cases," he said.

"You've got to look at that 14-day trend that got you to that number."

On Tuesday, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg called on Victoria to allow all students to return to school for term four, citing concerns about the mental health of some students.

Students across years 7-10 are not yet guaranteed to return to classroom learning before the end of this school year under the state's current roadmap.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he was "aware of those significant pressures".

He said the likelihood of coronavirus transmission increased from the age of about 12-15, but the Education Department was working closely with health authorities to put in place plans that could see all students back in the classroom as soon as possible.

"These are really tricky choices, we know what we're balancing here. What we don't want is a situation where we're stepping in too early and the modelling tells us that we have to constrain ourselves again," Professor Sutton said.

"We don't want to go back to any restrictions."

New 'surveillance testing' as coronavirus fragments detected at Anglesea
Mr Weimar said viral fragments of coronavirus had been detected at Anglesea, in Victoria's Surf Coast Shire, yesterday.

Traces of coronavirus are found in a tiny Australian town
Fragments of COVID-19 have been found in a tiny seaside town with no confirmed positive cases.

The virus was detected in sewage in Anglesea, 110km south of Melbourne.

An active testing site has now been set up in the Anglesea town hall in a bid to find the source of the virus. 'It's been a while since there has been a known positive cases in that area so it is a cause of concern for us,' Department of Health and Human Services testing commander Jeroen Weimar said.

'This is either somebody who has COVID-19 in that area or someone who has passed through or someone who is not yet aware they have COVID-19.'

A person with COVID-19 can shed the virus in their body waste even if they no longer test positive or have any symptoms.

Sewage testing sites have been set up across the country to detect unknown cases within the community.

All sewerage treatment water laboratories in Australia are now routinely testing treated sewage streams for covid19 proteins routinely now in their laboratories.

It's been a while since there has been a known positive cases in that area so it is a cause of concern for us,' Department of Health and Human Services testing commander Jeroen Weimar said.

'This is either somebody who has COVID-19 in that area or someone who has passed through or someone who is not yet aware they have COVID-19.'

A person with COVID-19 can shed the virus in their body waste even if they no longer test positive or have any symptoms.

Sewage testing sites have been set up across the country to detect unknown cases within the community.

Traces of Covid-19 were detected in sewage in two of Sydney's most popular beachside suburbs, Bondi and Malabar, earlier this month.

The positive samples were detected despite no cases of COVID-19 from an unknown source or any new clusters reported across the state in the past seven days.

The samples were taken from an area serving a population of more than two million Sydneysiders, including the CBD and quarantine hotels.

The NSW Sewage Surveillance Program has tested untreated sewerage at 42 sites across the state since July to track infection rates and provide health authorities early warning of a possible spike in infections.

Virus fragments have also been detected in previous samples across the state including metropolitan Sydney, Perisher in the Snowy Mountains, Newcastle, Byron Bay on the far north coast and the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.
Traces of Covid-19 were detected in sewage in two of Sydney's most popular beachside suburbs, Bondi and Malabar, earlier this month.

The positive samples were detected despite no cases of COVID-19 from an unknown source or any new clusters reported across the state in the past seven days.

The samples were taken from an area serving a population of more than two million Sydneysiders, including the CBD and quarantine hotels.

The NSW Sewage Surveillance Program has tested untreated sewerage at 42 sites across the state since July to track infection rates and provide health authorities early warning of a possible spike in infections.

Virus fragments have also been detected in previous samples across the state including metropolitan Sydney, Perisher in the Snowy Mountains, Newcastle, Byron Bay on the far north coast and the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. ... d=msedgdhp

The town on the Great Ocean Road is where one of 31 wastewater sampling sites are currently in operation.

"It's been a while since we've had any known positive cases in that area so finding some positive fragments in the wastewater is a cause of concern for us," Mr Weimar said.

A testing centre has been set up at Anglesea Town Hall on McMillan Street.

14-day 'mystery case' total keeps dropping
Victoria's 14-day rolling average is one of the measures public health officials will use to determine when further restrictions can be lifted.

The total number of "mystery" cases with an unknown source recorded in a recent two-week period is also being watched by authorities.

Melbourne's two-week total of cases with an unknown source is 21, down from 27 yesterday.

Yesterday, Mr Andrews said the state was poised to take a "substantial step" towards "COVID-normal" on or about October 18 or 19.

"The strategy is delivering us the lower numbers and I think an increased sense of confidence that we are going to be able to continue to take those safe and steady steps," he said.

Public health officials will review whether Melbourne can move to step three of the restrictions roadmap when there is a statewide rolling case average of five, and fewer than five "mystery" cases over 14 days.

Earlier this week the Victorian Government jacked the fine for unlawful gatherings up to $4,957, in order to deter people socialising as restrictions got eased.

But community legal services representing vulnerable people have described large fines as "crippling" for young people.

Some community services have said fines were not being waived on appeal, despite their clients having legitimate excuses. ... d=msedgdhp

Chadstone shopping centre added to high-risk locations
Chadstone Shopping Centre added to high-risk locations
Victoria's four cases linked to known outbreaks today include two connected to aged care and two household contacts linked to The Butcher Club in Chadstone.

A positive staff member who worked at the store attended a number of locations inside Chadstone Shopping Centre.

DHHS has added the shopping centre to its high-risk locations – including the Fresh Food Precinct from September 23-26 6am-6pm, The Butcher Club and Coles Chadstone on September 27. ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria Covid hotspots: list of Melbourne and regional case locations
List of case locations in Victoria
If you were at the following venues on these dates, you should watch for coronavirus symptoms and, if symptoms occur, immediately get tested and stay at home while you wait for your results.

Woolworths, 551-557 Warrigal Road, Ashwood: 29 September
Burwood One Shopping Centre, Burwood East: 13-14 September
Carrum Foreshore SLSC, Carrum: 18 September
The Butcher Club, Chadstone Shopping Centre, Chadstone: 23-26 September
Chadstone Shopping Centre Fresh Food Precinct, Chadstone: 23-26 September
Coles, Chadstone Shopping Centre, Chadstone, 27 September
Sarawan Spices, Clayton: 19 September
Coles, Clayton: 20 September
Clayton Supa Wash Coin Laundrette, Clayton: 20 September
DH Corrosion, Dandenong South: 17 September
FacadeX, Dandenong South: 17-18 September
Dan Murphy, Doveton: 12.30pm-3pm, 27 September
Pacific Shopping Centre Werribee, Hoppers Crossing: 17 September
Woolworths, Hoppers Crossing: 19 September
Lilydale train, Lilydale: 12.15pm 23 September
Victorian Market Communications, Queen Victoria Market F Shed, Melbourne: 16-17 September
Primary Medical and Dental Centre, Melton: 16-17 September
Woolworths, Coburns Central Shopping Centre, Melton: 16-17 September
907 bus, Mitcham: 3pm-3.30pm 19 September
Coles, Victoria Avenue, Mitcham: 3.15pm 19 September, 2pm 23 September
Flinders Street Train, Mitcham, 2pm 23 September
Woolworths Central Shopping Centre, Niddrie: 18 September
Woolworths, Oakleigh South: 14 September and 16 September
Continental Mart, 219 Springvale Road, Springvale: 12.30-3pm 27 September
Woolworths, 302 Springvale Road, Springvale: 12.30-3pm, 27 September
Sunbury train, between Ginifer and Footscray stations: 4-6pm 22 September
Baby Mode, Sunshine: 13 September
Dan Murphy’s, Sunshine North: 14 September
Coles Tarneit West, Tarneit: 20 September
KFC, Westgate, Port Melbourne: 11 September and 12 September
Shearwater Village Park, Tundra Esplanade, Werribee: 4.30-5.30pm 20 September
Werribee train, between Footscray and Werribee stations: 4-6pm 22 September ... d=msedgdhp

Rogue GP blasts Dan Andrews for not fully easing Melbourne's COVID-19 rules
A doctor inundated with patients suffering from mental health conditions during Melbourne's crippling Stage Four lockdown has hit out at Premier Daniel Andrews for only partially easing social distancing restrictions in the city.

Dr Stacey Harris wrote in a letter to the Victorian leader she had not seen 'such devastation with patient's mental health' in her 15 years of general practice.

The GP noted she was dealing with between 15 and 20 cases each day related to mental health compared to only five a day during the same period last year.

Dr Harris said suicidal children were presenting to her clinic in Camberwell in Melbourne's east, some as young as 12.

Mr Andrews ended Melbourne's curfew on Monday but has still banned the city's residents from going 5km away from their homes for exercise.

Dr Harris said the gradual restriction easing - which comes despite only ten COVID-19 infections being confirmed in Victoria on Tuesday - was not enough to help those struggling with their mental health.

'Five people can meet in a park, and (some school children) go back,' she told The Australian.

'Those two things do not address the major mental health issues faced by many more - it's huge. We could be safely fully open, like in New South Wales.'

Dr Harris' open letter, which was co-signed by nine other doctors, said the onslaught of mental health cases during the lockdown meant there were not enough psychiatrists and psychologists to go around.

'Seeing children as young as 12 years describe their darkest thoughts, some suicidal, is very disturbing,' she wrote.

'They cry how much they are missing school and friends. I am doing many telehealth phone calls to distressed mothers alone with their newborns crying out for help.

'Patients are afraid to leave their house, even to seek vital medical care.'

She called on Mr Andrews to revise Victoria's road map out of the lockdown enforced to stem the state's COVID-19 second wave.

'If we follow the data from overseas, as well as interstate experience which shows we can safely open up with more robust contact tracing, we can in your words, "learn to live with this virus safely".'

Victoria on Tuesday recorded 10 new coronavirus cases and seven more deaths as Melburnians enjoyed their first curfew-free evening in eight weeks.

The latest figures come a day after the state recorded its lowest number of daily new infections since June 12.

Mystery surrounds 27 cases which came from an unknown source, which are all in Melbourne.

GPs' plea to Daniel Andrews to fully ease COVID-19 restrictions
Dear Premier Andrews, I am a GP working in a large clinic in Melbourne and I have never in my 15 years of general practice seen such devastation with patients' mental health.

Due to the continuing harsh lockdown, the children, young adults and new mothers I mainly treat are in anguish, despair and have no hope.

The purpose of this letter is to plead with you to look at what we can reopen safely. We will still protect the vulnerable and elderly and continue important public health measures of social distancing, mask wearing and hand sanitisation.

Your government's efforts have achieved a large reduction with the initial lockdown. As we see a lower daily case rate, now should be a time to work to reduce the unhealthy social isolation that has contributed to other adverse health outcomes. I see approximately 180-200 patients per week and it is disturbing what the effect lockdown is causing.

I am doing 15-20 mental health care consultations daily, in comparison to 3-5 this time last year. I have many 12-15 year olds so depressed that I have no other option but to put them on antidepressants. As this lockdown moves into months not weeks, access to psychiatrists and psychologists is now almost impossible and/or the wait is too long. Seeing children as young as 12 years describe their darkest thoughts, some suicidal, is very disturbing. They cry how much they are missing school and friends.

I am doing many telehealth phone calls to distressed mothers alone with their newborns crying out for help. Postnatal depression is a huge concern. Other health concerns I have are people not coming in to the clinic to have their routine checks, blood tests and immunisations.

Patients are afraid to leave their house, even to seek vital medical care. We are not diagnosing other important health conditions like cancer and heart disease, which take many Australian lives every year.

Premier Andrews, please consider revising the current Victorian roadmap to COVID normal. If we follow the data from overseas, as well as interstate experience which shows we can safely open up with more robust contact tracing, we can in your words, 'learn to live with this virus safely'.

Striving for elimination comes at huge cost and may not even be achievable. Children need to return to school in term 4 and new mothers need social connectivity as does the whole community.

There are also many industries which have not shown to contribute to the spread of COVID-19, which should reopen, as financial strain is also contributing to this mental health crisis.

This is my experience but there are many other concerned GPs and specialists who have witnessed a similar trend and agree and endorse these sentiments. We have a huge health crisis on our hands which is much more than COVID-19.

The World Health Organisation states that health is 'a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity'

Harsh lockdowns like here in Victoria are doing more harm than good. I implore you to review this urgently to provide hope for us all.

Yours Sincerely, Dr Stacey Harris MBBS FRACGP

Dr Lesley Hoy MBC HB Dip Obst FRACGP

Dr Julie Doswell BSc MBBS

Dr Paul E Gassin MBBS

Dr David Anderson MBBS FRACGP MPH


Dr Lucia Murnane MBBS FRACGP DCH GradDipBioethics FCP NFPMC


Dr James Quinn MBBS FRACGP

Professor John Murtagh Emeritus Professor AO Academic General Practitioner

*The signatories do not represent the opinions of their employers ... d=msedgdhp

Victorian coronavirus fines not being SET ASIDE ON review , Melbourne community legal centres say
Community legal services representing vulnerable people who have been fined by police for breaching Victoria's stage 4 coronavirus restrictions say the fines are not being waived on appeal despite their clients having legitimate excuses.

In Victoria, people can be fined $200 for not wearing a face covering in public, and up to $1,652 for most stay-at-home order breaches.

Fines of up to $4,957 apply for unlawful gatherings, as well as COVID-positive people or close contacts who fail to self-isolate.

Ariel Couchman, chief executive of free legal service Youthlaw, said the "huge" fines issued to her 26 clients were "crippling".

She said examples of fines issued to young people included:
* A 16-year-old refugee who was walking with a friend in the early morning when he was approached by a stranger asking for directions. Police fined the boy and his friend $1,652 each for breaking restrictions on gatherings
* A young man with mental health issues, including schizophrenia, whose finances are managed by state trustees, was fined for being outside his house while riding a bike
* A young woman with a developmental delay was fined for shopping more than 5 kilometres from her home, despite the fact that the shopping centre was the closest to her home. She said police did not attempt to find out why she was there

The legal service said police had not overturned any of the fines it had appealed, although some cases were still pending a decision.

"Victoria Police said they would review all COVID fines but not one young person we represent has been contacted to explain the context of their fine," Ms Couchman said.

She said it raised concerns about Victoria Police's review process, the number of young people under the age of 18 being fined and the ability of these young people to pay such a large fine.

Victoria Police said anyone who had received an infringement notice could apply for a review.

It said the review could take up to 90 days and would involve police considering the circumstances involved.

Young men being fined the most
Data released last week by Crime Statistics Agency Victoria shows between March and June this year police recorded more than 6,000 breaches of COVID-19 restrictions.

Nearly 1,000 of those fines were given to people under the age of 20.

Victoria Police said it had a policy of not fining children under the age of 14.

Three quarters of alleged offenders were male and the average age of an offender was 29.

The City of Melbourne recorded the highest number of COVID-19 breaches by far with 661 offences.

The City of Yarra local government area (LGA) recorded 314 offences, Frankston recorded 306 offences and Greater Dandenong 343.

The outer-suburban LGAs of Casey, Mornington Peninsula, Brimbank, Wyndham, Hume and Melton were next, with more than 140 offences recorded in each area.

In regional Victoria, Greater Geelong recorded 212 breaches of health directions, followed by Latrobe with 120 offences and Greater Bendigo with 109.

The chief executive of the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, Nerita Waight, said policing the pandemic through fines and arrests had "disproportionately impacted on marginalised communities, including Aboriginal people".

"Police should prioritise providing public health messaging and supporting people to comply with the current restrictions and should take into account the many legitimate reasons why individuals may be forced to breach COVID-19 restrictions," Ms Waight said.

Clients receiving computer-generated responses to fine review requests
Fitzroy Legal Service managing lawyer Karen Fletcher said almost 100 people had contacted the centre after being fined for breaching coronavirus restrictions.

Ms Fletcher said many of them had evidence they had not breached the Chief Health Officer's directions, such as having a letter from their employer confirming they were driving to work.

"When we ask for reasons the review has been denied and we get another computer-generated letter repeating the same form of words," Ms Fletcher said.

She said the letters to her clients were being sent from the state's Traffic Camera Office (TCO).

But Ms Fletcher said in her experience, the process was not working.

"Everyone gets the same computer-generated letter from the Victoria Police Traffic Camera Office essentially saying 'no'. No reasons. No details. Just 'no'.

In a statement, Victoria Police said the Traffic Camera Office had responsibility for handling all requests for exemptions regardless of the type of fine.

"The TCO specialises in reviewing public requests for exemption, so is best placed to perform this function," a spokesperson wrote.

Premier says fines will be reviewed carefully
Premier Daniel Andrews said there was a proper process in place to review fines.

"The facts of the matter will be looked at, the circumstances of the matter, and a proper, impartial judgement will be made about whether the issuance of that fine was fair," he said.

"That's a process that's well at arm's length from the Government, is independent in nature and is based in facts, and nothing else." ... d=msedgdhp

COVIDOT PROVOCATEUR / ORGANISER Sam Newman spotted 12km from his house having a picnic in a park
Anti-lockdown activist Sam Newman has been spotted having a picnic with AFL legend Don Scott and two mates while out and about in locked-down Melbourne.

The controversial commentator was photographed more than 12km from his home in Docklands eating with the trio in Brighton, in the city's south, on Tuesday.

Newman had just two days earlier taken another swipe at Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews for banning golf during the Stage Four lockdown.

The ex-AFL Footy Show host claimed he had a 'perfectly legitimate reason' for meeting three people for lunch across town from his house, but refused to say what it was.

Under current lockdown restrictions, Melburnians can only meet in groups of five, from up to two households, for two hours of exercise.

He was seen grabbing sushi from The Pantry on Church Street before driving in a vintage 1960s Ford Mustang GT convertible to a nearby park with former Footy Show producer Ralph Horowitz.

At the park they met with two others including AFL legend Don Scott, with whom he hosts the weekly You Cannot Be Serious podcast, and his son Doug Scott.

Newman was not wearing a mask, instead pulling his turtleneck skivvy over his mouth, but leaving his nose uncovered. Don Scott wasn't wearing a mask at all.

New health directives in effect across Victoria from Monday banned scarves, bandannas, and other clothing being used instead of a proper fitted mask.

Newman also wore cotton gloves with the fingertips cut off, along with shorts and sneakers, while his other two pals donned somewhat more formal attire and standard surgical masks.

The group stretched out on the grass as they ate heir sushi and chatted in the sun.

Melburnians must all be within 5km from their homes - or workplaces if their job is on the a very short list of businesses allowed to operate during Stage Four.

Newman angrily defended his actions in a long tirade when contacted by Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday morning, but refused to say what exemptions he was utilising.

'I had a perfectly legitimate reason to be there and I don't have to explain myself to you or anyone else,' he said.

Newman did not take the only slight loosening of restrictions on Sunday very well as they still banned his beloved sport of golf but allowed outdoor swimming pools to open.

'Andrews has become Victoria's dopey Joe Biden. To say communal swimming is ok (because it doesn't require a facility), but golf is not, shows the IQ required of an elected official,' he wrote on Twitter.

'Unwittingly, he has given consent for sedition.'

Two weeks earlier he called for manslaughter charges to be laid against Mr Andrews over his handling of the pandemic, and the hotel quarantine bungle blamed for 18,000 infections and 768 deaths.

Newman was visited by police in August and warned over comments that could be interpreted as incitement, a crime for which half a dozen protest organisers were charged with that week.

'Of all the protests that we have put up with, how about 1/4 million of us gather in the CBD to take the City/State back, before EVERY previous march will have been pointless. And hopefully a State day of coordination. Any takers,' he wrote.

Newman later walked back his comments, claiming he wasn't advocating for mass protest but merely partaking in a bit of hyperbole to draw attention to the issue.

'I didn't encourage a quarter of a million people to march through the street,' he told Sunrise.

'I said wouldn't it be great to have 250,000 people wandering through the city - I don't encourage people to do that but it was just a sign that this government should cautiously reopen business enterprises in the city before it rusts over.

'I am not asking people to come from all over Victoria to protest. I'm not trying to get the police involved in this.'

'If they want to arrest me and put me in jail for this, that is fine. But I am not suggesting it. I never did in the first place.'

Newman later addressed his tweet on his weekly You Cannot Be Serious podcast, where he came under fire from co-hosts who labelled him 'irresponsible'.

'All I was trying to do was get enough people to get attention… I'm not advocating for people to come from all over Victoria to march up the city,' he said.

'I'm not advocating a rally as such. I just said wouldn't it be great that 250,000 people would march in the city. That is hyperbole, that is designed to get the attention of the government cautiously reopening business.'

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 » Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:46 am


NSW records fifth day without any locally acquired COVID-19 cases
New South Wales has recorded just four new cases of coronavirus overnight.

This marks the fifth day in a row NSW has not reported a single locally acquired case of COVID-19.

A total of 55 people have died from the virus in the state and just three remain in ICU. ... wsrc%5Etfw
READ MORE: Follow our live blog for live updates and breaking news on COVID-19

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said after today's numbers, she would consider easing hospitality restrictions if health authorities permitted it.

She said the hospitality industry had done a good job of adapting to restrictions on group bookings and venue capacity by introducing additional, shorter seatings and changing operations.

"We have to be very open to the idea that every time we ease restrictions, we want it to be in place until there's a vaccine," she said.

"We don't want to go backwards because the most important thing for businesses is knowing that they can keep their staff, keep their operations and they can push their innovation."

NSW will also look to ease further restrictions in coming days.

From tomorrow, public venues including sporting arenas and music halls will increase their capacity - in time for the October long weekend.

Earlier on Today, Ms Berejiklian said she would love for NSW to be the first Australian state to take New Zealand up on their trans-Tasman travel bubble offer.

"I'd be happy to be the first state that welcomes Kiwis," she told Today.

"NSW is saying to every part of Australia, except for Victoria, and understandably, to WA, to Queensland, South Australia, 'you are welcome to NSW'.

Yesterday, NSW recorded just two new cases, both returned travellers in hotel quarantine. ... d=msedgdhp

NSW Premier looks to return workers to Sydney's CBDs
Working from home in NSW could be on the out, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian saying she wants to support businesses to return to Sydney's multiple CBDs.

"We do want people to get back to those CBDs and we want people to support those economies and those businesses that have essentially been inactive for seven to eight months," she told Ben Fordham on 2GB on Wednesday morning.

Asked for her views on a trans-Tasman bubble, the Premier said she was still very keen for an arrangement with New Zealand to go forward, but she hoped it would be reciprocal from the outset.

"I'm more than happy to be the first state that welcomes Kiwis, but I also hope they are willing to welcome us back," she said, adding that she "couldn't feel prouder" of her state for following health advice and suppressing the virus.

"If there are opportunities for us to boost jobs, to increase opportunities for international travel ... we will happily be the first state to do that."

Meanwhile, the Premier said states with closed borders were "living in a false sense of security", and would need to learn to live in a more COVID-safe way once the country opens up.

Asked if NSW would consider moving from its four-square-metre rule for hospitality venue capacity to a two-square-metre rule following an industry push, the Premier told Sunrise states which had those more relaxed rules had stricter border controls in place.

"Some other states have adopted [the rule] because they have the borders up," she said. "They are living in a false sense of security because they are not welcoming people from other states.

"We have said if you want to keep the economy going, get rid of the borders, allow people to move freely, get the tourism industry going and of course, we can look at the opportunities into allowing more people into hospitality venues but we need to make sure we are ready for that."

The two-square-metre rule is in place for venues in Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. ... d=msedgdhp

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

Campbelltown Golf Club, Glen Alpine: 2pm to 4.30pm on Wednesday 16 September for a least one hour
Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Bar & Grill, Mollymook: 12.30pm to 2.15pm on Sunday 13 September for a least one hour
Carlo’s Italian Ristorante Bar & Seafood, Ulladulla: 8pm to 9:30pm on Saturday 12 September
Milton Ulladulla Ex Servos Club, Ulladulla: 2pm to 6:15pm on Saturday 12 September
With the growing number of cases in the area, NSW Health is asking all people who live in, or have visited, the following areas in the past two weeks to get tested if they have any symptoms of Covid-19 at all, even the mildest of symptoms such as a runny nose or scratchy throat.

Bankstown (suburb)
Blue Mountains
Cumberland local government area (LGA)
Fairfield LGA
Hunters Hill LGA
Liverpool LGA
Parramatta LGA
If you were at any of the following locations or travelled by taxi or rideshare during the time and date indicated, monitor yourself for symptoms and self-isolate and get tested if symptoms occur.

Wray St Oyster Shed, Batemans Bay: 12pm to 1pm on Saturday 12 September
Woolworths, Campbelltown Mall: 1.30pm to 2pm on Thursday 17 September
Anytime Fitness, Casula: 10.15am to 12pm on Friday 11 September
Five Stars Thaitanic, Casula: 4.20pm to 5.20pm on Saturday 12 September
Campbelltown Golf Club course, Glen Alpine: 9.30am to 2pm on Wednesday 16 September
Moorebank Sports Club, Hammondville: Evening of Monday 14 September
Lawson oval, Lawson: 10.30am to 12.45 pm on Sunday 13 September
Picnic Point Bowling Club, Panania: 3pm to 6pm on Friday 18 September
JB HIFI Penrith Plaza, Penrith: 4pm to 4.30pm on Sunday 13 September
Springwood Sports Club, Springwood: 1pm to 2pm on Saturday 12 September
Taxis and rideshare

Thursday 10 September – Silver Service taxi: Chipping Norton, Burwood, Casula, Liverpool

2:38pm from Liverpool to Graham Avenue Casula, arriving 2:44pm
7:15pm from Haddenham Street Chipping Norton to George Street Burwood, arriving 7:48pm
Monday 14 September – Silver Service taxi: Chipping North to Milperra

3:50pm from Riverside Road Chipping Norton to The Mill Hotel Milperra, arriving 4:04pm
Tuesday 15 September – Silver Service taxi: Chipping Norton, Lidcombe, Milperra

8:31am from Riverside Road Chipping Norton to Birnie Avenue Lidcombe, arriving 9:11am
10:14am from Milperra to Riverside Road Chipping Norton, arriving 10:25am
3:22pm from Birnie Avenue Lidcombe to Riverside Road Chipping Norton, arriving 4:07pm ... d=msedgdhp

Coronavirus strain increases for JobKeeper recipients in Sydney's outer suburbs as rents increase
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the JobKeeper payment was all that kept Ally Selby and her husband Colin afloat.

But on Monday the JobKeeper payment was reduced by $300 a fortnight, and the couple's rent is about to increase.

Ms Selby runs a nail salon in the front room of their Gledswood Hills house, while Mr Selby runs a tech and multimedia business from the garage — and both are receiving JobKeeper.

"I went from having a regular weekly income to next to nothing, so that actually kept the roof over our heads, kept the bills paid," Ms Selby said.

"We were behind in the rent by about four to six weeks so we had to use our super to catch up on the rent."

Mr Selby said he and his wife were "a little terrified" but "I've always believed we'll get by".

While the rental market around inner Sydney has softened — by as much as 9 per cent for a house in parts of the eastern suburbs — the pandemic has had the opposite effect on the city's outer suburbs.

In the Blue Mountains, house rental prices have gone up by 3.3 per cent, putting pressure on people like Karen Trompp.

Ms Trompp has been on Newstart, now called JobSeeker, for seven years, after a serious illness left her unable to work.

She said the fortnightly COVID supplement of $550 meant she could put decent food on the table every night for the first time since she'd been on Newstart.

"When we were only getting $500 a fortnight we couldn't really afford to have meat and vegetables every single night — you'd have to have your nights on noodles, and skip a few meals here and there," she said.

"But since the COVID money we're eating a lot better and we're a lot healthier than we were."

That payment has also been reduced by $300 per fortnight and Ms Trompp said she was feeling anxious about the prospect of going back to what she calls "Struggle Street".

Recently she received a letter from her real estate agent saying her rent was increasing by $20 per week.

"Twenty dollars extra, it's just going to make things so much harder," she said.

Jaime Mack is the co-ordinator of Thrive Services, a family support service operating in the Blue Mountains.

She said there have been more families moving to the Blue Mountains because they can work from home and it's more affordable than Sydney.

Consequently, there are very few affordable properties on the market in the area.

"Last week there may have been two in the Mountains that were affordable and we find that there's 30 people looking at that property."

That's backed up by real estate agent Amanda Rasmussen who manages properties in Western and north-western Sydney.

"It's actually been probably one of the busiest times that I've experienced ... anything that was listed was leased within the first open home, the first weekend," she said.

Jaydean Comer and Chantelle Tattersall from St Marys inspected a three-bedroom home in Quakers Hill on Friday, looking for a home for their young family.

The agent said they received 10 applications and the successful tenant offered more than the asking price of $595 per week.

Ms Comer is currently on JobSeeker and said they had looked at 10 properties.

"You look at a normal four-bedroom home and some of them are going for $700 ... before you'd go for a four bedroom and it's between 450-550," she said.

She said she was really worried about what the next six months will look like for them.

"I feel like I need to find a job, like right now," she said. ... s/12714042

Ruby Princess passengers on Qantas flight infected at least eight others
Just hours after NSW Health gave the green light for the Ruby Princess to disembark despite awaiting the results of several COVID-19 tests, 13 passengers unknowingly took the deadly virus on a flight to Perth - where it spread to at least eight others.

Western Australian researchers have used genomic sequencing to identify how 29 of the passengers on the five-hour Qantas flight, who would later test positive for COVID-19, contracted the virus.

Their findings, to be published in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal in December, show at least eight cases - possibly up to 11 - were contracted on board the flight carrying at least 60 cruise passengers, most from the Ruby Princess and Ovation of the Seas.

Of 28 Ruby Princess passengers who boarded the flight just hours after disembarking the ship, the researchers found 13 were carrying the virus and 11 were infectious.

Out of 30 Ovation of the Seas passengers, who had arrived in Sydney the previous day, four had the virus and one was infectious.

Of the 11 people found to have contracted the virus on the flight, four had commenced their journeys from different US cities and had taken an overnight flight from Los Angeles, which landed at Sydney Airport on the morning of March 19.

All had viruses that matched the cruise ship strain, which was not circulating in the US at the time of the flight, the researchers wrote in their early-release report.

Qantas medical director Ian Hosegood said the findings were the only confirmed cases of transmission on board a Qantas flight - and expressed frustration that Qantas was unaware at the time that cruise passengers who posed a potential COVID-19 risk would be on the flight.

"We had no idea that at least 60 passengers had come off the Ruby Princess and other ships where COVID was already spreading. Had we known, they would have been stopped from travelling," Dr Hosegood said in a statement.

"As has been established by the special inquiry, the moment Qantas became aware that Ruby Princess passengers had been released and were travelling by air, we asked repeatedly for the manifest in a bid to stop these same passengers boarding any of our domestic or international flights," he said. "But we were told by the Department of Health that the manifest could not be provided for privacy reasons.

"These passengers should have been in self-isolation at home or in a hotel."

Dr Hosegood noted Qantas had a month earlier operated a repatriation flight for Australians stranded off Japan on the Diamond Princess, and that there was no transmission on that flight with strict infection control protocols in place.

He said Qantas and Jetstar provide masks for passengers flying in and out of known hotspots, and masks are encouraged on all other flights.

"It's fair to say a lot of lessons have been learnt and community confidence in flying shouldn't be diminished because of what was an exceptional and preventable set of circumstances early in the pandemic." ... d=msedgdhp

Lord Howe Island reopens to tourists after six-month coronavirus lockdown
Lord Howe Island, off the coast of Port Macquarie, will be welcoming tourists back from Friday — six months after first going into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The current Public Health Order, which was due to expire on November 28, has been repealed.

Lord Howe Island Tourism Association executive officer Trina Shepherd said the reopening was welcome news for tourist operators.

"A lot of the businesses have been waiting for this date. They're very excited that they can start operating again because the island is completely reliant on tourism," Ms Shepherd said.

"They've been closed for six months, which is a very long time when you can't operate your business on any level at all."

Although not able to put an exact figure on the economic impact of COVID-19 closures, Ms Shepherd said tourism brought almost $30 million to the island every year.

"It's not a small amount that's gone missing that's for sure," she said.

Getting ready for the next season
Ms Shepherd said some staff had already returned to the island ahead of what was typically the island's peak season.

"There had been whispers that we might be opening and so some of the staff are already back and then the other ones will fly in very soon," she said.

"A lot of them have got very faithful staff that they have used. Not all of the people who work on the island change over every year — a lot of them do stay with the different business operators."

Ms Shepherd said there were already some bookings in place for October that had not been cancelled.

"Hopefully all those people will still be able to travel and I know Qantas is now putting on daily flights throughout October as well," she said.

No travel permit needed
A push by the Lord Howe Island Board that required holidaymakers to have travel permits to visit the island were not required at this stage.

"The Department of Health doesn't feel that that's necessary," Ms Shepherd said.

"It's basically exactly what happens here if you've got any type of symptoms, you should get tested before you go and then of course prove that you haven't got COVID.

"Aside from that, there are just the normal responsibilities of travellers anywhere within Australia.

"Back to normal and business as usual, and we're really excited about it."

Local cafe owner, postmaster, and editor of the local newspaper Stephen Sia said local businesses pushed for the opening date to be brought forward.

"They feel the cases on the mainland did not justify closing the island, especially now that we've got the new Lord Howe Island Recovery Plan," he said.

Mr Sia was part of a group that looked after elderly people on the island.

"We try to assure them and tell them what are the necessary things to try to calm their fear and anxiety," he said.

"We try to get them to understand that the economy needs to open and there are certain things they can do to stop the infections if the tourists come back."

Mr Sia said businesses were "cautiously recruiting staff".

"There are still some backpackers around the country, so they may be a good source of staff, but there are also a lot of other people who are out of jobs who may like to come to a much nicer and safer place like Lord Howe Island," he said.

"We do not anticipate a rush the first two weeks of opening, but I think from November onwards the island should be quite busy." ... d=msedgdhp

Wharfie pay dispute before the Fair Work Commission
The wharfies union is offering a peace deal to end its industrial action at Sydney’s Port Botany ... d=msedgdhp

Port Botany wharf dispute threatens farmers, Fletcher International Exports boss says
A leading Australian meat exporter says the Port Botany wharf dispute is causing delays that threaten to disrupt the entire supply chain.

Fletcher International Exports director Roger Fletcher said ships had bypassed Sydney during union-led work bans at the port, hindering the exporter's ability to get orders delivered on time.

Frequent work stoppages have slowed shipping processes at the port while unions negotiate a pay rise for dock workers.

Mr Fletcher fears buyers will cancel contracts, which would impact supply chains and cause a ripple effect in regional farming communities.

"We're fighting for the farmers," he said.

"A farmer grows an animal … then it gets carted to the abattoirs, to the containers, then the containers go to the wharf.

"There's thousands of people involved in that, and one little link where they've got to pick up the container and put it on the ship is inefficient.

"The disruption is terrible."

Chain reaction
Mr Fletcher said the situation for exporters worsened as pay negotiations between the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and terminal operator Patrick disintegrated.

"It's just got tougher and tougher, because the ships that were coming into Sydney are now bypassing," he said.

"What do I tell my customer when he doesn't get the product? Or the ship that was coming in has gone away from Port Botany because they couldn't get a berth?"

Mr Fletcher said as products have expiry dates, they face being rejected in markets, downgraded or frozen.

"I lose clients, the farmer's losing clients, because they say, 'Well, we don't want your chilled meat anymore, you're too unreliable,'" he said.

Union rejects claims
In a statement, the MUA denied the strike had any impact on fresh produce and refrigerated containers.

"Our industrial action has included an exception from the very start for all refrigerated containers and fresh produce," it said.

A 24-hour strike at Patrick's Brisbane and Port Botany terminals planned by the MUA for this Friday is in front of the Fair Work Commission today.

The union said it would put forward what it called a "peace deal", lowering their demands for yearly pay increases from 6 per cent to 2.5 per cent.

National secretary Paddy Crumlin said agreeing to the deal would immediately end all industrial action at Patrick container terminals.

"It would provide certainty for farmers, exporters, and the general community," he said.

"And allow Patrick and the union to refocus our efforts on the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID crisis." ... 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 » Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:54 am


Queensland records zero new coronavirus cases, announces plans for massive PPE stockpile
The Queensland Government says the expansion of the state's medical stockpile makes it "one of the biggest in the world" as the state records another day of zero coronavirus cases.

Speaking at a distribution centre in Townsville, Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said a $12.6 million warehouse was set to be built, more than doubling the capacity of the existing facility.

"We would go from storing 880 pallets to a massive 6,798 pallets of protective equipment and critical supplies that would be right here in Townsville," he said.

"The goal is to have six to 12 months' supply of all equipment."

The latest announcement follows Tuesday's commitment to build a new distribution hub in Rockhampton to house 730 pallets of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Warehouses would also be set up in Cairns and Brisbane.

"The strategy overall represents a $357 million investment, which includes bringing forward [future] expenses." Mr Miles said.

The move comes as Queensland recorded another day of zero new cases, marking 20 days since the state last recorded a case that posed a risk of community transmission.

Five active cases now remain across the state.

The state's testing rate has increased, with more than 6,000 tests conducted in the past 24 hours.

It comes as Queensland prepares to reopen its border to New South Wales local governments areas at 1:00am tomorrow, including Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Glen Innes.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she remained very concerned about the number of cases in both Victoria and New South Wales.

"The really key point here is what is going to happen in Victoria when they come out of lockdown and start moving around," Ms Palaszczuk said.

The Premier said while she was pleased to see the low number of cases in NSW, there would be no further changes to the border ahead of October 1.

Asked when the border would be reopened to all NSW residents, Ms Palaszczuk said that state needed 28 consecutive days of no community transmission, as per the Chief Health Officer's directions.

"Let's keep our fingers crossed," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"[NSW] health advice is saying very clearly that they are concerned about the mass movement of people during school holidays."

Ms Palaszczuk said she had contacted Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan about their newly eased border restrictions.

She said WA would be allowing exemptions for people to travel there from Victoria without being placed in hotel quarantine.

"People can apply already for exemptions to Queensland, and that has not been the case in Western Australia before," she said.

"[WA] are launching an app, and I'm very keen to know more about that.

"I texted Mark McGowan last night and asked for more information ... and we'll be watching very carefully what they do in Western Australia with that app."

Rapid COVID-19 test could detect virus 'virtually instantly'
Meanwhile, Queensland scientists who are developing a rapid COVID-19 test, likened to pregnancy testing kits, said the test could eventually be used at home and have a result "virtually instantly".

The technology, dubbed XavTrap, uses bio-engineering yeast molecules to test for a disease caused by an infection and was originally created to quickly detect viruses such as Dengue in less developed countries.

Head of Brisbane-based development company Xing Technologies, Tom Esplin, said the test was currently being trialled in the US and worked similar to a pregnancy dipstick.

"You don't pee on it — but you take saliva or nasal fluid and put it on the test strip," he said.

"That will show a visible, 'yes you've got live virus', or 'no you don't'."

The test can currently detect the virus in under 10 minutes and would need to be administered by a health professional but researchers expect it could provide a rapid result at home.

"Brilliant scientists are working on a virtually instant test … so we can process a lot of people very quickly," Mr Esplin said.

"We've certainly positioned our development so that it can be a home test you can do yourself and very, very low cost."

The research has drawn funding from the US Government and recently received $1.5 million from a State Government grant in a bid to fast-track the technology.

In a statement, Innovation Minister Kate Jones said the company was chosen for the Industry Tech Fund funding from among more than 2,500 applicants.

"This technology has potential to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19. It could be a real game changer," she said.

"Even if we manage to overcome COVID-19 within the next year, this technology will lay the all-important groundwork in helping us prepare for future pandemics."

The company is also investigating whether the technology can be used to design a product like a spray or coating for face masks that would minimise the transmission of COVID-19.

Mr Esplin said it was hoped the tests could be ready for mass production and roll out in the next 12 months.

"We would love to say three months, but science is science and we need to give it a bit of space rather than putting pressure on it," he said.

"We'd like to think we could get the test out very quickly … we can produce these tests at 10 million a month." ... d=msedgdhp

Queensland Covid hotspots: list of Brisbane and south-east Qld case locations
Hotspots and case locations
Anyone who has been to these suburbs in the last 14 days should monitor their health and if they develop any Covid-19 symptoms, even mild, get tested and isolate until they receive their test result.

Redbank Plains ... d=msedgdhp

Home loan deferral hotspots concentrated in Queensland, new data shows
Key points:
Queensland holds nine out of the top 10 areas for mortgage deferrals with the major banks, with tourist areas hardest hit
Areas around Melbourne's suburban fringe also had high rates of mortgage arrears
A UBS survey shows one-in-five people on deferrals intend to ask for an extension, and many of them lied on their loan applications

It sounds like an idyllic tour of Queensland: The Whitsundays, Noosa, Surfers Paradise, Coolangatta, Broadbeach. Instead it is a grim list of the top mortgage deferral hotspots.

In March, six-month repayment deferrals — also known as mortgage holidays or pausing — were taken up by more than one in 10 people with a home loan. Now most need to start repaying, and new data paints a murky picture of what will happen next.

The Sunshine State holds nine positions in the top 10 regions putting mortgage payments on hold, based on credit and repayment data crunched by analysis company Equifax.

The company's general manager, advisory and solutions, Kevin James said Australia is about to dive into the unknown.

"We're heading into this unknown puddle. How deep is it? What's going to happen?"

The analysis was conducted this month on customers of the big four banks, which have written most of the $1.8 trillion in home loans Australians currently have outstanding.

Mortgage deferrals have been highest in some of Queensland's main tourist centres.

"The impact of the downturn on tourist trade is acute for Australians living in tourism-dependent Queensland regions," Mr James explained.

"Some of the deferrals could be people who are underemployed rather than unemployed … people trying to take the nervousness out of their situation."

With flights largely stopped, international tourists effectively locked out and state borders closed for months, tourist hotspots felt the hit early, hard and for a long time.

Suburban pain
The only other entry in the top ten of areas most affected is the economically disadvantaged area of Broadmeadows-Tullamarine in Melbourne.

It matches the profile of areas in states beyond Queensland most affected, with low-wage workers, high unemployment and rocketing household indebtedness. And it is likely to get worse.

Image ... t/12699028

"People tend to increase indebtedness over Christmas," Mr James observed.

"Spending that disposable income in December combined with the excitement of [areas like Victoria] coming out of lockdown might prompt people to spend a bit more money.

"So will there be a bubble in Q1 [the first three months of the year]? That could be a real problem."

Most areas on Melbourne's fringe had heightened mortgage stress during May 2020, according to the analysis. Wyndham, Casey-South, Whittlesea-Wallan, Melton-Bacchus Marsh and Boroondara had a high number of mortgage deferrals compared to the national average.

Now mortgage customers in these areas are being contacted and asked to restart paying what is usually the largest single expense for households. There are no simple solutions.

"From a credit risk point of view … less risky people are coming out of the bucket," Mr James explained.

"Those coming out leave those with a higher risk staying in … how are we going to get them out of there?"

NAB's group executive for personal banking Rachel Slade is one of the people working that out.
"The big thing we're hearing from our customers is still this overwhelming sense of uncertainty," she said.

"We've already seen some customers start to make payments.

"The first thing I would say is that for any customer that can be restarting repayments they absolutely should. Second thing, if they're concerned, they can definitely contact the bank."

An extension of mortgage deferrals — another four months — is available, but banks are urging customers to only use the offer in rare situations.

"While there is that option, to extend the deferral, our perspective on that is that it should be the absolute last choice," she said. "The first and other choices are to restructure the loan, to potentially move to interest-only payments, or lower levels of repayments for a period."

'Extend and pretend'
The good news is that almost half of customers who deferred mortgages intend to revert to normal payments, according to new data from banking analysts at UBS.

An anonymous survey of almost 1,000 people with a mortgage found a further third intend to switch to interest-only payments, meaning they will be "servicing" the loan but will not be reducing the capital amount they owe.

But one-in-five intend to extend the deferral. And it gets worse from there.

"The credit quality of customers intending to ask their bank to extend their deferral is concerning," the report noted.

"Of these customers we found: 40 per cent overstated their income in their mortgage application; 15 per cent understated other debts; 67 per cent are on [wage subsidy] JobKeeper; 25 per cent are on [unemployment benefit] JobSeeker."

Both JobSeeker and JobKeeper are about to be trimmed back.
For those on JobSeeker, it means their income will drop from $558 to $408 a week.

The full-time JobKeeper rate falls from $1,500 to $1,200 a fortnight and a part-time rate is being introduced that will halve payments for those working less than 20 hours a week..

That is a big issue, because incomes have already been smashed by the coronavirus crisis and the recession.

Customers who deferred mortgages were already much more likely to have lost income. That means customers who overstated their income on their original application are now in a much worse position than their bank potentially understands.

JobKeeper changes are now set in stone
"An overstatement of income by around 20 per cent would suggest that their income is around 40 per cent lower than the banks had expected since the mortgage had been taken out," the report warned.

UBS is suggesting a practice called "extend-and-pretend" could be the best option, essentially kicking the problem further down the road and hoping things improve.

It is urging banks to do "significant due diligence" before extending deferrals or moving people to interest-only loans.

That is because many borrowers are "likely to be under more stress than the banks perceive" and many "should be considered delinquent, in our view."

In banking "delinquent" means someone who has missed at least one repayment, but not so many that the bank is yet calling in the loan and defaulting the customer.

What to do?
The chief executive of the Financial Rights Legal Centre, Karen Cox, knows what people should not do: avoid the problem.

"People should be talking to their credit provider as soon as possible," she said.

"Most credit providers — banks and other types of lenders — will be in the process right now of contacting as many of their customers as they can.

"I know it's really natural to want to avoid those calls, it's very stressful having to speak about money — particularly if you don't have an answer about when you're going to be able to pay.

"But the sooner you speak to your credit provider and give them as much information as possible, the sooner that some sort of arrangement can be put in place."

With hundreds of thousands of home loan customers currently deferred, and banks trying to get them back to paying again, the process will not be easy or quick. Services like the National Debt Helpline, which Ms Cox helps run, are assisting people to make decisions.

"At the moment I don't think they've ever been nicer than they are in the 'hardship departments' of those banks," she added, "and they are very well resourced at the moment to deal with this particular crisis." ... s/12717866

58 ADF soldiers to be replaced with extra police at Queensland borders
Army troops are spending their last day guarding Queensland's border, with soldiers to be removed right before the state loosens entry rules for parts of New South Wales. ... d=msedgdhp


'virgin' state WA waiting to explode with coronavirus
WA went 171 days without any community transmission prior to the ship's outbreak, sparking fears in epidemiologists that eased restrictions and complacency could lead to a second wave.

Melbourne University epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely claimed WA was a 'tinderbox' that could be in trouble if the coronavirus spread into the community.

'They have a virgin population, a completely susceptible population and they are at the maximum allowed in terms of opening up,' he said. 'If the virus gets in it will very easily take off,' he told

ABC health expert Dr Norman Swan warned 'the fuel is on the ground ready for the fire in WA, Queensland and other states'.

'They have been lulled into a false sense of security. Testing rates are low, and that's the problem,' he said.

Western Australia has the lowest levels of coronavirus testing in Australia, with an average of just 1,790 residents are getting tested per day.

Curtin University modelling expert Associate Professor Nick Golding warned WA could suffer a similar fate to New Zealand, who saw an unexpected surge in cases after 101 days of no community transmission.

'The rate at which people are coming into contact with other people — who they are seeing each day — is high enough that if there was disease transmission then it would spread very quickly,' he said.

AMA president Omar Khorshid said a virus outbreak in Port Hedland would have a 'catastrophic outcome' and prove to be a 'death sentence' for vulnerable Indigenous communities.

'If the virus gets out into the Port Hedland community, particularly into the Indigenous community in Port Hedland, we would expect a catastrophic outcome that would be worse than what we have seen in Melbourne with severe illness and death resulting in an outbreak,' Dr Khorshid told the West Australian.

But Western Australian Health Minister Roger Cook is confident the cargo ship's outbreak will soon be resolved and says there is no risk to the local community.

He will travel to Port Hedland on Wednesday and will attend a community forum for concerned residents.

The response is being handled by the West Australian Medical Assistance Team, which successfully managed COVID-19 outbreaks aboard the Artania cruise ship and the Al-Kuwait livestock vessel earlier this year.

'While there are some unknowns, the WAMAT team has done this before on a much larger scale with the Artania and with the Al-Kuwait,' Mr Cook said.

'We are prepared and we are ready based upon clear protocols and planning.'

The ship, carrying 20 Filipino nationals and the captain, is anchored eight nautical miles off WA's northwest coast.

It arrived from Manila on September 16.

Australian Defence Force personnel will arrive on Thursday to help police and security guards oversee the hotel quarantine.

Nine crew are needed to maintain the ship while it is anchored, and maritime laws require 13 people to be aboard when it departs for international waters.

'My preference is that we take the crew off. We can care for them better there, we can do the deep clean of the vessel and we can get it under sail,' Mr Cook said.

'The limitation we have is we've only identified about five crew that we can actually put back onto that ship.'

Once some of the hotel occupants have exceeded their incubation period and are no longer infectious, they could form part of a 'clean' replacement crew.

'We're anticipating that this scenario will resolve itself within a fortnight,' Mr Cook said.

No new cases were reported on Tuesday, leaving the state with 22 active cases, including five unrelated to the Patricia Oldendorff. ... d=msedgdhp

Coronavirus outbreak among Patricia Oldendorff crew in Port Hedland prompts call for new 'green lane' system
The WA Government will push for tighter crew restrictions in the Philippines, after it was revealed officers from the ill-fated Patricia Oldendorff were allowed to quarantine at home in Manila before boarding the Australia-bound vessel.

The manganese bulk carrier remains anchored eight nautical miles off Port Hedland, in WA's Pilbara region, with seven of nine active crew on board testing positive for COVID-19.

In a surprise development, serology tests on the two COVID-free crew on board have returned negative results, meaning they have not previously had the disease and have managed to escape infection so far.

"I was surprised to hear that they did produce a negative result," Health Minister Roger Cook said.

"We will continue to monitor their health while they stay on the vessel, maintaining good social distance from the other crew members."

Authorities are still awaiting similar results for two COVID-free crew in hotel quarantine with 10 infected colleagues in Port Hedland.

There was a noticeable ramping-up of security at the Hedland Hotel, with Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel now patrolling the site, along with police and private security guards trained in infection control.

Officers allowed to quarantine at home
The mystery of how the seafarers came to be infected with the virus is yet to be solved.

Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the Philippines, where the 21 crew boarded, has a "two-tier" quarantine system, with seafarers under hotel quarantine but officers allowed to quarantine at home before boarding the vessel.

"Now that we have been alerted to the fact that they have this two-tiered quarantine system and the obvious risks that that can impose, we will certainly now be giving some attention to it," she said.

"This I think is a very risky proposition and that is one that we are obviously going to be working with our federal counterparts to take up with the Philippines Government who run their protocol.

"But we are also looking at whether we will now be demanding … something higher than the official standard that is in play in the Philippines.

"Now that we understand what is going on with that protocol we may need to take a stronger stance."

Earlier, the International Transport Federation (ITF) said the crew must have brought the virus on board when a crew change happened in the Philippines earlier this month.

National coordinator Dean Summers lambasted the Federal Government saying it needed to step up to help sort out the situation and engage all states and Australia's international neighbours to ensure seafarers entering the country's waters had already isolated.

"It's not up to the State Government to work out what went wrong and deal with the government of the Philippines," he said.

Ministers address community meeting
Mr Cook and Ms MacTiernan addressed a community forum in South Hedland on Wednesday night to help allay community concern over the crisis.

Ms MacTiernan differentiated the vessel from the regular iron ore shipments, and said most of the crews which docked in Port Hedland were not Filipino.

"We are very confident that the system that we have put in place has protected West Australians," she said.

"What we now want to do is to see if there can be stronger proposals put in place at the other end to stop these threats coming into our boundaries."

She said the ship's owners would be liable for the cost of most of the cleaning and quarantine operation underway.

"I think this is going to be a wake-up call," Minister MacTiernan said.

Consolidated Minerals — which chartered the Patricia Oldendorff to pick up its manganese and transport it to China — has already charted a sister vessel for the shipment.

Ms MacTiernan said the state would be watching the new vessel closely.

"I would imagine there has been enormous attention to ensuring that this vessel is COVID free, we'll be watching very, very closely," she said.

We need more oversight: Cook
Millions of tonnes of iron ore exports to China travel through the port of Port Hedland each week.

Mr Cook said he wanted to reassure the Port Hedland community that everything possible was being done to contain the virus, with security guards trained in infection control stationed outside the Hedland Hotel where the men were isolating.

He also met with the Pilbara Ports Authority today to get a better understanding of the protocols in place for international crews.

"Clearly those arrangements haven't delivered the outcomes that we expected in this particular instance," he said.

He said it would be better to for the State Government to have more oversight and more controls in relation to foreign crews.

"We need to look beyond just the arrangement in place for our harbours," he said.

"We also need to look into what's in place for those vessels which are coming into Western Australian waters to ensure we don't have these sort of outbreaks in the future."

Call for creation of 'green lanes'
Mr Summers said the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) had recommended the creation of so-called green lanes to facilitate crew changes.

"There's a safe lane so that seafarers are quarantined before they leave," he said.

"They're on charter flights to Australia … Port Hedland International Airport is the perfect location for Pilbara Ports, and they are quarantined all the way through that lane."

Mr Summers said a quarantine hotel and quarantine buses should be established in Port Hedland to ensure crew members had no contact with the community at any time.

"There's a mining camp across the road from the airport which is ideal for a quarantine hotel," he said.

"The industry itself should pay, so that's BHP, Rio Tinto, all the industry including the ship owners should pay to have it refurbished to about a 4-star hotel style rating. Then it's a very short walk or a bus ride to the airport."

Mr Summers said if the green lane concept was not implemented, it would put the resource industry and Australia's economy at risk.

Minister for Infrastructure Michael McCormack has been contacted for comment.

AMA backs quarantine facility
Australian Medical Association (AMA) president Dr Omar Khorshid predicted COVID-19 outbreaks among shipping crews would become an ongoing problem.

"If in time we see bigger numbers, which we will because this disease isn't going away and it's only affected a very small proportion of the population overseas at the moment, but more and more ships will turn up with COVID," he said.

There have been calls for the creation of a permanent quarantine facility in Port Hedland, with the vacant former immigration detention centre at Cooke Point cited as a potential location.

But Mr Cook said that was a Commonwealth facility, and the hotel was a safe option for now.

"The current arrangements are safe and they are appropriate given the scale of the outbreak," he said.

"They are Commonwealth facilities and the Commonwealth has been very firm in its rejection of using those sort of facilities for COVID-19 quarantining purposes."

But the AMA's Dr Khorshid said it was worth consideration.

"It needs to be looked at given the vital nature of Port Hedland to the entire country, we need to keep it as safe as possible," he said. ... d=msedgdhp

AFL star charged over self-quarantine breach
Fremantle Dockers footballer Jesse Hogan has been forced into hotel quarantine after being charged for breaching self-quarantine requirements in Western Australia.

The 25-year-old AFL star forward told police he had a female visitor at his home last Tuesday.

"Jesse Hogan has confirmed to police that he had a female visitor attend his home last Tuesday and enter the premises, in breach of the WA Government's Quarantine Directions Order," Fremantle Dockers tweeted today.

Hogan, from Attadale, returned to Western Australia on September 21 and was required to self-quarantine at his home for 14 days.

"It is alleged on 22 September 2020, he breached those requirements when he allowed a woman to enter his home on two occasions. He was conveyed to a Perth hotel for the remainder of his quarantine period," police said in a statement. ... d=msedgdhp


Health bureaucrat urges surgeons to 'say no' to older, sicker patients
Key points:
An SA Health program manager emailed surgeons about GP patient referrals
She asked them to "say no" to older or very sick patients when it's "not sensible" to accept them
The doctors' union said only qualified clinicians should be making patient referral decisions

Public hospital surgeons are being encouraged to "say no" to "old" patients and those with multiple medical conditions, emails leaked to the ABC reveal.

A senior SA Health program manager, Mandy Nolan, emailed surgeons on Saturday, arguing that health services needed to "tighten up our processes with regards to incoming referrals".

The CALHN acting surgery program delivery manager suggested surgeons "say no" to general practitioners referring patients who are elderly or have comorbidities (multiple health conditions).

"We also expect that where the person is old or has many comorbidities, you might suggest to the GP that is [sic] not necessarily in their best interests," the email reads.

"Please use your wealth of consultant experience and start to say 'no' when clearly not sensible and high value care."

The email has prompted outrage from the doctors' union, SASMOA, which stresses that only qualified doctors should make decisions about whether a patient's referral should be accepted.

SASMOA President Dr David Pope told ABC News it was "unethical" for a person in an administrative management position to be making suggestions about clinical care.

Australian Medical Association Vice President Dr Chris Moy, who is a GP, said it was legitimate to consider a patient's age and general health in deciding whether they should have surgery, but said Ms Nolan's email was "clumsy".

Ms Nolan's email also warned that some GPs were sending patient referrals that were not filled in completely enough.

"We expect that many referrals might need to be returned to GPs as they will be insufficiently complete for safe and accurate triage," it reads.

"This is fine, when we accept rubbish, we will get more of it.

Hospitals 'don't have enough resources' to care for current patient numbers
In a later email, sent on Sunday, Ms Nolan stressed that she did not wish to cause offence and that the surgical leadership team was "extremely patient centric".

"The 'we' is the surgical leadership team who are extremely patient centric, and by no means was offense [sic] intended," it reads.

She warned that Adelaide's central public health network did not have the resources it needs and that patients are "deteriorating" because they are not getting the care they need.

"Our network is significantly and overwhelmingly over CAP which means we [sic] caring for more patients than we have the resources to treat," the Sunday email says.

"Due to this, a great proportion of our wait lists are long and the patients are deteriorating and they potentially could have been somewhere else, sooner.

"I agree that all referrals have a patient suffering in some way at the end and we are trying to get patients that need us the most, quickly and providing other options for those while they are waiting."

She added that returning referrals to GPs was to ensure the patient goes to the right service and takes the "fastest route to care".

A clinician's reply to Ms Nolan's Saturday email prompted her Sunday email. The ABC has not seen the clinician's email.

Health services collaborating to reduce wait times
SA Health provided no response when asked whether it is appropriate for administrative staff to be making suggestions about referral management and patient care.

But in a statement to ABC News on behalf of SA Health, CALHN Medical Lead for Surgery Professor Jane Andrews said hospitals and GPs were collaborating to improve services for patients.

"We are implementing a number of solutions to improve wait times, and through collaborative working with our GP colleagues," Professor Andrews said.

"Referrals from GPs, who know their patients best, need to include sufficient information so our specialists can accurately triage consumers to ensure no-one is left without advice or care.

"Our recently appointed GP Liaison doctor is working with us and her GP colleagues to improve two-way communication to ensure our community can access the best and fastest route to care." ... s/12717132

Waikerie community driven to host Australia Day event despite pandemic
A regional South Australian community has pledged to press ahead with plans to hold a 1,000-person Australia Day event in 2021, despite changing and challenging COVID-19 rules.

Volunteer organisers have been running the Waikerie event for more than 20 years and it usually attracts between 3,000 and 4,000 people to the Riverland town that has a population of just over 2,500.

Some of the common features of the event include the official Australia Day awards, food stalls, fireworks, live entertainment, and show rides.

Waikerie Australia Day Committee chair Brenton Kay said the celebration had gained much support from locals and from people outside the region over the years, and organisers wanted to ensure the legacy continued.

"It's my understanding that the holiday park is booked out already and that was from flow-on bookings from last year's event and the year before that," he said.

"We did a postcode census the year before last and more than 50 per cent of the people who come to the show are from outside of Waikerie.

"But it is still about the generations of Waikerie people who have been to the event in the past.

"It is fabulous to see the grandparents there with their grandkids with their siblings all on the same table and enjoying the night, and that's really what we want to do."

Seating and capped numbers for 2021
At this stage, the 2021 event will be completely seated and capped at 1,000 guests.

Mr Kay said, while food stalls and some other parts of the day were unlikely to go ahead if current restrictions remained in place, there were still plans to make the celebrations a hit.

"We're going to try and turn it into a little bit of an acoustic Australia Day where we'll use local acts and one Adelaide acoustic act that we'll bring in," he said.

"We'll still do the fireworks and still do our citizen of the year awards with our council."

Mr Kay said, while the committee was motivated to deliver a celebration, it recognised the need to be flexible and not lock in plans too early.

He said Riverland suppliers and businesses, who will be involved in 2021, had been understanding and that was helpful.

"We've been really, really lucky that our fireworks provider and our insurance companies have really met the challenge of allowing us to do things without deposits being paid," he said. ... 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: 12625
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:26 am


Building approvals plunge despite $25,000 home construction grants
Building approval numbers have plummeted even though the federal government is giving out $25,000 subsidies to home owners who want a new house.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's HomeBuilder program is, until December 31, providing owner-occupiers, and not just first-home buyers, $25,000 grants to build a new home or renovate an existing one.

The $688million program was announced in June but despite that, building approvals in New South Wales, Australia's most populated state, plunged by 14.2 per cent in August.

This however followed a 32 per cent increase in July as coronavirus lockdown delays caused a short-lived spike in approvals.

National building approvals last month fell by 1.6 per cent, unpleasantly surprising financial markets which had expected a flat result.

Labor's housing spokesman Jason Clare said the sharp fall in building approvals highlighted the failure of the HomeBuilder scheme.

Australian building approvals
New South Wales: down 14.2 per cent

Victoria: up 1.8 per cent

Queensland: up 8.1 per cent

South Australia: down 4.8 per cent

Western Australia: up 33.8 per cent

Tasmania: down 26.2 per cent

Northern Territory: up 22.6 per cent

Australian Capital Territory: down 32 per cent

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics building approvals for August 2020

'Despite the government telling us how successful HomeBuilder is, almost four months after its launch, this data shows it's just not true,' he said.

'There will be less work for tradies and jobs will be lost unless the government tries to fix its bungled HomeBuilder Scheme in next week's budget.'

Westpac senior economist Matthew Hassan said 'volatility in NSW' caused the national drop in council building approvals in August.

'The July result represented a catch-up, as approvals delayed by the initial nation wide lock-down were eventually processed by city councils,' he said.

'This raised the risk of an unwinding leading into August results.'

Not all states struggled with building projects approved by local councils surging by 33.8 per cent in Western Australia and by 8.1 per cent in Queensland.

Even Victoria enjoyed an 1.8 per cent increase despite Melbourne's five million residents being placed into a strict, Stage Four lockdown with an 8pm to 5am curfew.

Nationally, apartment approvals dived by 11 per cent last month, partially offsetting a 23 per cent rise in July.

House approvals fell 4.8 per cent in August, even though Australians earning up to $125,000 a year and couples on combined incomes of $200,000 are eligible for $25,000 grants.

The HomeBuilder subsidy is available for new houses with a market value of up to $750,000 while the renovation grant is there for homes with a market value of up to $1.5million.


Australian universities to cut hundreds of courses as funding crisis deepens
Hundreds of courses and majors, some more than 50 years old, will be cut from multiple universities across Australia as lost revenue and funding cuts devastate higher education.

At Macquarie University in Sydney, entire degrees in maths and science are slated to be cut, as well as more than half the current majors offered in arts.

The bachelor of mathematical sciences will no longer be taught in 2021, as well as the bachelor of advanced science, bachelor of advanced information technology, and masters in mechanical engineering, according to a document sent to staff and obtained by Guardian Australia.

In total, 31 degrees or combined degrees in the faculty of science and engineering will potentially be cut, while in the faculty of arts, 30 out of the current 56 offered majors could also be removed.

Related: To really defend freedom at Australian universities, we must fight for workplace security | Jeff Sparrow

The university’s gender studies major, which was first established in 1984, is now set to be abolished.

At Monash University in Melbourne, 103 subjects will be cut, including its musicology subject, which was first taught in 1965.

The university will also close its theatre degree, known as the Centre for Theatre and Performance, which was first offered in 1995 (as a bachelor of performing arts).

At Macquarie University, proposed course cuts are still waiting for the vice-chancellor’s approval and some degrees have applied for exemptions to continue.

But one academic in the science faculty, who chose to remain anonymous for fear of losing their job, said it was ridiculous that an important mathematics degrees would even be on the chopping block.

“Why would the VC even decide on this?” they said. “It should be in the constitution of the university. No one should cut this.

“Why should I even have to justify why we should have maths or statistics? It’s like why should we have freedom of speech? It’s a stupid question.”

The president of the Monash branch of the National Tertiary Education Union, Ben Eltham, said that business, economics, religious studies, some engineering subjects and some management subjects were also slated for cuts and redundancies.

A spokeswoman for Monash University said the theatre degree and the musicology subjects were being closed “due to consistently low unit enrolments”.

But Eltham said musicology and other subjects had healthy enrolments that were above the cut-off that management had imposed.

“Some of them were healthy, above the threshold and they are still killing them off,” he said. “Musicology was above the threshold.”

At Macquarie University, Dr Rebecca Sheehan, a lecturer in gender studies, said it was a shame a major with such a long history, rooted in the Australian feminist movement, was now being abolished due to the university funding crisis.

She said the major was first officially established in 1984, but women’s studies units were taught from the 1970s, and from the 1950s, the university enrolled a large number of mature-age women who studied while raising children and formed student organisations.

“The original point of Macquarie University was it was a breakaway uni,” she told Guardian Australia.

Course cuts at Macquarie are being targeted towards courses or degrees with fewer than 50 students being enrolled, but Sheehan said hundreds of students took gender studies subjects without majoring in the course, and had high enrolment throughout its history.

“The first-year gender studies unit, when I started in 2017, there were over 400 people in it,” she said.

The academic in the science faculty agreed, saying: “As far as I now, not many students choose to start with statistics. The only transfer after they are exposed to it in their first year unit. We will never have 50 starting students ever.”

Guardian Australia has also been told by academics that other degrees have been marked for cuts that have more than 100 students enrolled.

The president of the Macquarie branch of the National Tertiary Education Union, Nikola Balnave, said removing the 46-year-old gender studies major, as well as other arts majors was “worryingly short-sighted”.

“What exactly is Macquarie management’s vision for the future of the university, and indeed society?” she said.

A spokeswoman for Macquarie University said that gender studies subjects would be preserved within other “broader domains” and degrees.

She said the degree changes would result in “a suite of courses for students that is easier to navigate with a keener focus on employability outcomes”.

A spokeswoman for Monash University said the federal government’s funding fell short of the revenue that universities were losing.

Public universities are not eligible for jobkeeper and in June the education minister, Dan Tehan, announced sweeping changes that would cut the overall government funding for degrees.

Related: Coalition gives universities $326m for new places but Labor warns tens of thousands will miss out

“The Australian government has not provided financial support to universities to redress this downturn and so Monash, along with other Australian universities, has had to reduce its overall expenditure and make difficult decisions,” the Monash spokeswoman said.

“Other Australian universities have announced in recent months, similar or greater required workforce reductions.”

She said Monash offered 5,344 subjects a year, meaning the 103 to be cut represented less than 2% of its subjects.

“The majority of the units proposed to be no longer be offered had an enrolment of less than 5 EFTSL [equivalent full time student load] in 2019.

“Musicology and ethnomusicology subjects concerned are currently only offered as elective subjects at second- and third-year levels and are not required by any students for the completion of degrees, majors or specialisations. These units have had consistently very low enrolments. Contrary to assertions made, these are the only music units being proposed to cease.”

Earlier this year, more than 20 government and international relations subjects were slated to be cut at the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales merged its art and design faculty with its arts and social sciences faculty. ... d=msedgdhp

Farmers warn of need for thousands more workers
FRUIT , BERRY AND MARKET GARDENER GRPS calling on the Federal Government for help before the summer harvest ... d=msedgdhp

Backpackers and seasonal workers can STAY
Unemployed Australians are about to come under increasing 'heat and pressure' to take farm jobs instead of relying on welfare payments as a reduced supply of workers pushes up the prices of fruit and vegetables.

The federal government is set to announce a range of measures in next week's budget to get the huge numbers of people thrown out of work by coronavirus lockdowns to take up employment in rural and regional areas.

Among the measures, workers on JobSeeker will to earn $300 per fortnight before it affects their payment levels.

That will push up the amount of money a JobSeeker recipient can receive to $1,160 a fortnight, or $30,000 per year (BEFORE THEY ARE NO LONGER ELIGIBLE FOR JOBSEEKER).

The government is also considering ways to push the unemployed to take the jobs.

'We need some more teeth,' federal Liberal MP John Alexander told a parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday.

'While we can't probably go to conscription, can we apply a little more heat and pressure and do it urgently? Because the crops won't wait.'

Efforts to get workers to accept regional jobs have largely failed, with primary sector employees able to offer low wages to foreign backpackers and imported temporary workers.

'The question should be asked, "if not, why not?" If somebody is saying "Oh no, I don't want to do that" because they're just happy sitting on the couch and taking the dole,' Mr Alexander said.

'What more pressure could be applied to somebody who's a little bit marginal?

'It needs to be done as if we're in a war situation. It needs to be mobilised very quickly.'

As well as trying to entice Australians into taking the jobs, the government is also looking to allow backpackers and seasonal workers to extend their visas to pick fruit amid critical labour shortages.

Backpackers working on farms will be able to stay with one employer for more than six months and stay in Australia an extra year

The primary industry sector has been pushing for such measures because international and state border closures have restricted availability of workers, with an estimated shortfall of about 26,000 harvesters.

They say the cost of wasted produce, and higher wages, will drive up the cost of fresh produce by Christmas and put financial strain on families struggling amid the COVID-19 economic downturn.

The age limit for working holidaymakers will be temporarily lifted, allowing people above the age of 31 to work as fruit pickers.

Backpackers working on farms will be able to stay with one employer for more than six months and stay in Australia an extra year.

Programs aimed at bringing in Pacific and Timorese workers to fill rural and regional job shortages will also reopen.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has already announced a range of changes aimed at plugging the gaps.

'Farmers don't have the luxury of sitting around waiting for workers to turn up and we don't want fruit rotting on the vine or crops left in the field,' he said on Wednesday.

He also explained the federal government will work closely with farmers on additional measures ahead of next week's federal budget.

According to a report by consultancy firm Ernst & Young, the demand for pickers will peak in March next year.

'Current scenario projections indicate that the casual labour gap will increase from November 20 and reach a peak in March 21 likely to represent a gap ranging between ­20,000 and 26,000 roles,' the analysis read, according to The Australian.

'This would represent a 36 to 59 per cent labour supply shortage over Nov 20 to June 21.'

Areas that would suffer the most are Tasmania and Victoria due to their strict border closures and the intensive effort it takes to harvest grapes and berries.

Cairns and Wide Bay in Queensland, north-west Victoria, Grafton and Murray in NSW, and the south-east coast of the nation would also be hit hard by the workforce shortages.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack told the ABC on Wednesday that cherry farmers in Young, in the south west New South Wales, are short 3,500 pickers.

'That's just one area,' he said.

'What we want to make sure [farmers] can get that fruit picked so that it doesn't rot on the trees.'

He urged unemployed Australians consider fruit harvesting to fill the workforce gaps.

'We're backing regional Australia. I'm very confident about the future of regional Australia and very confident about the harvest that we are going to have this summer, but we need workers. We need those people to come to regional Australia.' ... d=msedgdhp

These are the Australian suburbs under the most mortgage stress — and nearly all of them have one thing in common
* New analysis by credit rating agency Equifax has revealed which suburbs are facing the most mortgage stress.
* In terms of proportion made by a suburb, Queensland dominates the list with nine of its tourist destinations in the top ten.
* In way of the sheer number of mortgage deferrals, Victorian suburbs on the fringes of Melbourne are over-represented.

More than 413,000 Australians have frozen their mortgages across the country but many call the same suburbs home.

Looking at the first wave of deferrals from May, Equifax analysis shows that nearly all of the ten suburbs under the most mortgage stress are one key thing in common.

"The impact of the downturn on tourist trade is acute for Australians living in tourism-dependent Queensland regions," Kevin James, Equifax advisory general manager, said.

Having shut up its borders during the pandemic, the Sunshine State has seen tourism take a hard fall, with the disappearance of visitor dollars having major repercussions for the state economy and for nearby homeowners.

They naturally weren't alone in sharing in the pain. As Airbnb and other short-term bookings dried up, investors have seen their own incomes dry up.

As a result, it's no shock that Queensland biggest, and most beautiful, holiday destinations occupy the top eight spots.

Whitsunday, home to those white sand beaches, takes out the number one spot with more than 10% of mortgages deferred, and closely followed by Noosa on the Sunshine Coast.

The Gold Coast then dominates the list with Surfers Paradise, Coolangatta, Mudgeeraba-Tallebudgera, Southport and the Hinterland all coming in hot. Throw in North Cairns and it's clearly Queenslanders that are the most worried about their loans.

"Tourism is a major industry for Queensland, and with international and domestic visitors curtailed during the pandemic, tourist hotspots have faced reduced occupancy rates, lower incomes and higher levels of unemployment leaving mortgage holders feeling the pinch," James said.

"With the Queensland border beginning to reopen to parts of NSW and SA this week, we expect to see a bounce back as tourism dollars start to flow back into the


In fact, despite all that's been made of Victoria's lockdown and the economic carnage associated with it, the southern state claims just one entrant in the top ten, with the airport adjacent Tullamarine-Broadmeadows.

However, that doesn't erase the financial pain being felt by Melbournians. Looking at the actual number of deferrals, several fringe suburbs including Wyndham, Casey-South, Whittlesea-Wallan, Melton-Bacchus Marsh and Boroondara are all feeling the heat. According to Equifax's figures, that handful alone represents around 24,000 deferrals alone.

While hardly tourist hotspots, Equifax puts the financial pressure down to the higher proportion of lower-income households and young people.

"For those without significant savings, it isn’t easy to service a home loan when cash flow dries up. We know Melbourne’s second lockdown will have further exacerbated the difficulties we’ve seen in our initial analysis," James said.

Interestingly, they were joined by the Northern Perth suburbs of Wanneroo, Stirling and Joondalup, as well as inner Sydney – no doubt hurt by sky-high vacancy rates and a lapse in international students and migrants.

While the young might be licking their wounds, it looks like it's been those aged 36 to 45 years who were the quickest to choose to halt repayments.

"This group is likely to have relatively high outstanding mortgage balances and may have been harder hit with business lay-offs or lower-income from JobKeeper payments," James said, noting the 26 to 35 age bracket wasn't far behind.

Australian borrowers are now stuck trying to figure out how they're going to make their repayments again. Hundreds of thousands are expected to simply defer again until January, as far as the banks are currently permitting.

What comes after that, however, is a $7 billion concern. ... d=msedgdhp

Rex signs deals to lease six 737 planes for planned Sydney - Melbourne route
Regional Express Ltd (Rex) said on Wednesday it had signed provisional deals with two lessors for six Boeing Co 737 planes as part of its plan to expand beyond regional flights to launch jet services between major Australian cities. The flights would compete against those offered by the country's dominant airlines, Qantas Airways Ltd and Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd , from March 1, 2021 at a time when they are struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rex Deputy Chairman John Sharp said in a statement the airline planned for three of the jets to be deployed on the Sydney-Melbourne route from March, with another two entering service by Easter.

"From there, Rex will continue to grow the domestic fleet in line with the return of passenger demand and hopes to see its fleet of 737-800 NGs to reach 10 by year end," he said.

Rex last week said it was in advanced talks with Asian investment firm PAG Asia Capital for up to A$150 million ($106.71 million) of funding for the jet services.

It would be a major expansion for Rex, which currently operates on less competitive regional routes like Sydney to Wagga Wagga and Adelaide to Port Lincoln using a fleet of ageing Saab 340 turboprops with 30 to 36 seats. ... d=msedgdhp

Australia considers home isolation with electronic surveillance for returned travelers
Australians returning from overseas could soon be able to isolate at home, as the government considers alternatives to hotel quarantine as the policy comes under increased scrutiny over the legality of detaining people arriving in Australia.

As the number of active cases of Covid-19 steadily declines in Australia, with Victoria edging close to under 300 active cases, focus is now turning to how to reopen domestic and international borders without forcing everyone arriving into mandatory hotel quarantine for two weeks.

On Tuesday, the prime minister, Scott Morrison, indicated the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), which advises national cabinet, was considering whether requiring returning Australians to isolate at home was an option.

He said visitors from countries that have managed to get Covid-19 under control, such as New Zealand, South Korea and Japan, could be “triaged” as is done in Greece, based on the risk profile of the country.

Related: Australians stranded overseas willing to wear ankle bracelets while quarantining to return home

“I think as time goes on, we will need a more flexible approach that gives us more options for managing this, so I think that is something that is under active consideration,” he said.

Aside from the expense and impracticality of running hotel quarantine long term, other issues with the program have been raised in recent weeks. The cap on international arrivals is largely due to not wanting to overwhelm the program, and had led to a backlog of at least 27,000 Australians stranded overseas.

State and territory governments are also facing questions about the legality of detaining people in hotels for 14 days.

The Victorian inquiry into the state’s botched program – responsible for Victoria’s second wave of Covid-19 – heard in closing submissions from counsel assisting, Ben Ihle, on Monday that questions arise as to whether the human rights of returned travellers was considered when they were placed into hotel quarantine.

Ihle said it was for the courts to determine “whether the detention and/or review of the returned passengers was unlawful or what flows from that legally” because it was beyond the scope of the inquiry.

The counsel assisting made these submissions off the back of evidence given to the inquiry by the Human Rights Law Centre executive director, Hugh de Kretser, who stayed at one of the outbreak hotels, the Rydges, in late June.

De Kretser noted that under the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Act, it is a requirement to check daily on those being detained to ensure it is still reasonably necessary for public health to detain the person. De Kretser told the inquiry that in his discussions with authorised officers at the hotels, he did not believe this was being done.

He told Guardian Australia on Wednesday he was pleased it was now the focus of attention.

“It is good that there is a more nuanced public debate around these issues, learning from the mistakes that have been made in Victoria to try and get this right.”

Any new model in the future, even home quarantine, would need those daily checks, de Kretser said.

“The guiding principle from human rights is that the restrictions should be no wider than needed to achieve the public health goal.

“And so that means looking at the period of detention, the place of detention, the conditions of detention, and whether things like electronic or other monitoring can be used in a way which achieves a less restrictive approach to detention.”

Australia’s chief midwifery and nursing officer, Alison McMillan, said any recommendation to national cabinet for a change to the quarantine program would need to be in proportion to the risk. Electronic surveillance could play a role in home quarantine, McMillan said.

On Tuesday, the Western Australian government announced people with exemptions arriving into Western Australia from Victoria would no longer have to isolate in a hotel, and could isolate at home.

As part of the monitoring of people isolating, the WA premier, Mark McGowan, said people would be given the option of downloading an app that allows police to check on the location of those required to be isolating to ensure they are still at home.

It is something already used for positive Covid-19 cases in Victoria. As part of Operation Sentinel, to monitor those who have tested positive for Covid-19, Victoria police have asked people to click a link on their smartphone that sends their GPS location back to police to ensure they are where they say they are.

McMillan said the quarantine model would be assessed by the AHPPC over the coming weeks. ... d=msedgdhp

Bunnings is bringing back sausage sizzles in NSW and ACT after a 6-month break in fundraisers
* Bunnings is bringing back its sausage sizzles in NSW and the ACT.
* It comes after Bunnings suspended the iconic fundraiser in March due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
* The sausage sizzles resume in ACT on October 3 and in NSW on October 10.

Bunnings is bringing its sausage sizzles back to New South Wales and the ACT.

The iconic community fundraiser will be returning to the ACT on October 3 and New South Wales on October 10.

Usually, more than 40,000 sausage sizzles happen each year but Bunnings suspended them in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The home and hardware retailer also donated $500 gift cards to organisations that had booked sausage sizzles for the following month to help with their fundraising efforts.

Community organisations that had pre-booked their sausage sizzles during lockdowns have been prioritised when they resume in October. These include the 130 groups booked across New South Wales during the first weekend back and around 10 in the ACT.

"We know community groups and customers in NSW and the ACT are keen to see community sausage sizzles return and we’re really excited to be bringing them back in a way that will keep everyone safe," Bunnings Chief Operating Officer Deb Poole said in a statement.

"We’ve had phenomenal customer feedback in states where we’ve brought the fundraisers back and community groups have done an incredible job prioritising customer safety with the new physically distanced layouts and additional hygiene measures."

In addition to the extra hygiene measures, customers in NSW can use the Service NSW app to check-in.

The decision to resume sausage sizzles in NSW and ACT comes after Bunnings restarted the fundraiser at stores in Tasmania and the Northern Territory in July. ... d=msedgdhp

Coalition hides conflicts of interest of staff involved in $30m land purchase near Western Sydney airport
The government is hiding the self-declared conflicts of interest of six departmental and contracted staff who worked in the unit responsible for the $30m Leppington Triangle purchase scandal, including one adviser with links to the business that sold the land at a vastly inflated price.The explosive audit into the infrastructure department’s 2018 purchase of a dairy farm next to the site of the new Western Sydney airport last week revealed that six staff working in the Western Sydney Unit responsible for the deal had declared conflicts of interest.

One of the staff, a contracted adviser, had declared a conflict with the seller of the land, Leppington Pastoral Company, a firm owned by Tony and Ron Perich, who are billionaire dairy farmers, property developers and Liberal party donors.

That adviser was allowed to continue working on a key project related to the land acquisition – the realignment of a road that would have affected part of the vast property holdings owned by the Leppington Pastoral Company near the proposed airport.

The Guardian has made repeated requests to the department for details of the six staff who had declared conflicts, including for the release of the conflict of interest declaration forms completed by the employees.

But the infrastructure department has refused, saying it would be “inappropriate” for it to preempt an independent investigation and audit now under way. The department has also refused to answer questions about its own investigation, including details about the independent auditor appointed to investigate the deal.

“It would be inappropriate for the department to preempt these processes by commenting further at this time,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by those staff who correctly declared conflicts of interest but the lack of transparency by the government has prompted criticism from both anti-corruption experts and the Labor opposition.

Related: $30m payment for land worth $3m near Western Sydney airport a ‘bargain’, Michael McCormack says

Han Aulby, the executive director of the Centre for Public Integrity, said it should be “compulsory” for government staff to publicly disclose conflicts of interest.

“Taxpayers are funding public officials and contractors to work on their behalf in the public interest – and we have a right to know if other conflicting interests are at play,” Aulby said.

“The refusal of the department to release these details shows again the need for a national integrity commission. Only an independent agency with coercive powers can get to the bottom of these allegations.”

Labor’s shadow infrastructure minister, Catherine King, echoed the need for a national integrity commission to “ensure that dodgy deals like this can never occur again” and accused the Morrison government of downplaying the scandal.

“This scandal is serious, but nobody in the government is taking it seriously,” she said.

“With dodgy deals like this it is hard to have any faith in the Morrison government’s infrastructure program, particularly when the deputy prime minister ticks it off as a bargain and the prime minister only blames ‘process’.

“It is not good enough for the department to hold another investigation into itself. It is integral that there is an independent, transparent investigation to get to the bottom of what happened and why.”

The auditor general last week found shortcomings and ethical failings in Western Sydney Unit’s purchase of the $30m Leppington Triangle, land the government needs for a planned second runway at the Western Sydney airport after 2050.

The audit found taxpayers spent $26.7m too much for the land, which was owned by the Perich family, whose company donated $58,800 to the Liberals in 2018-19.

As part of the audit, the auditor general requested conflict-of-interest declaration forms from 13 officers who were past or present staff of the Western Sydney Unit, two contracted advisers who had provided advice on the Leppington Triangle acquisition and another contracted adviser who had declared a conflict relevant to the land purchase.

It found numerous problems with the interest declarations.

In one case a senior departmental official had not completed a declaration, while a second senior official identified a potential conflict but did not include any further details about it on the declaration form.

In another, a contractor declared a conflict but failed to respond to a request for more information from a probity adviser. The department did not follow up for seven months, by which time the contractor had left.

In a fourth case, a contractor had declared a conflict of interest with the Leppington Pastoral Company. The contractor did not work on the acquisition but was allowed to work on the realignment of a road which would have affected the LPC’s property, a significant concession to the Perich family.

“In the circumstances, the ANAO considers a more prudent course would have been to avoid the conflict by not having the contracted adviser involved in any of the work,” the auditor general found.

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: 12625
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:40 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: 12625
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Oct 01, 2020 7:16 am


Victoria's COVID death toll hits grim milestone
Victoria has recorded 15 new cases and two deaths in the state's latest coronavirus figures.

The new deaths have brought the state's death toll to 800.

The numbers are up for the third day in a row with 13 cases reported yesterday and 10 cases reported on Tuesday. ... 7407905795

Melbourne's rolling average is down to 15.6 and regional Victoria remains at 0.3.

Premier Daniel Andrews said yesterday's 16.4 average was still too high to "take big steps" in the state's roadmap to recovery however the strategy was "absolutely working".

"We are on track and all things being equal, we will be able to take a significant step in just three weeks' time."

The Victorian Government has launched an urgent intervention at a quarantine hotel, yesterday standing down security guards amid concerns about disease control, according to reports.

Staff were hastily pulled from the floor of the Novotel in Southbank and replaced by police after the government was alerted about concerns over infection control.

The news comes just three days after the Victoria's COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry ended, revealing the state's system caused 768 deaths and more than 18,000 infections.

"This was a program which failed to meet its primary objective — to keep us safe from the virus," counsel assisting the inquiry Ben Ihle said.

Mr Andrews is expected to be grilled over why private security were still being used in quarantine hotels in a press conference later today. ... d=msedgdhp

Low COVID-19 case numbers have regional businesses straining against Victoria's restrictions
Business owners in regional Victoria say the rules for a further easing of coronavirus restrictions are too tough and should be relaxed sooner after the number of active cases in country areas dropped to three.

Regional Victoria moved to step three in the State Government's reopening plan at midnight on September 16, which eliminated a need to stay home, except for four permitted reasons, and allowed a limited return of customers to restaurants and cafes.

But country areas will not move to the last step in the reopening plan until the entire state has gone 14 days without recording a new case of COVID-19.

Then restaurants and cafes will be allowed up to 50 patrons indoors and gyms and indoor sporting facilities will be able to open.

Many regional business owners say the further reopening of country areas should not be tied to Melbourne's situation.

On Thursday, there were 218 active cases in Melbourne, 19 of them from unknown sources, for an average 15.6 new cases a day over the previous 14 days. The 14-day average in regional Victoria was 0.3.

Melbourne is at step two of the recovery plan and needs to average fewer than five cases a day and no mystery cases for two weeks before joining regional Victoria at step three.

'What more do we have to do?'
Ford Swim Centre owner Brian Ford said his indoor pool in Traralgon, 160 kilometres east of Melbourne, could safely open with regional Victoria's case numbers at their current level.

"Regional (Victoria has had) virtually no new cases in two weeks," he said.

"What more do we have to do to prove that we are ready to open for the next stage?

"Everything is ready for the indoor pools in country Victoria to open to get those hundreds, thousands of kids ready for their summer period when they're going to be near the water."

Mr Ford employs 20 people, half of whom receive the JobKeeper payment, and said the shutdown was hurting his employees.

"The bulk of our employees are younger people, they've got another job, or they're going to go to university," he said.

"So obviously, they're not supplementing their income and it's hurting them big time."

He said regional Victoria's advancing to the final step would be a test case for how the last phase of restrictions could work in Melbourne.

Risk from metro area low
Deakin University epidemiologist Catherine Bennett said keeping regional Victoria at its existing restriction level would minimise the impact if someone from Melbourne brought the virus into a country area.

But she said the risk of someone spreading the virus into regional Victoria was low because Melbourne's case numbers were dropping and many were linked to outbreaks in aged care or among medical workers.

Dr Bennett said the dramatic improvement in Melbourne case numbers meant all Victoria could soon be at the same restriction level.

"So hopefully this is a short phase to go through before we're all benefiting from having zero cases in Victoria as a whole," Dr Bennett said.

"If it doesn't work that quickly in Melbourne, then I'm sure there'll be more push from the regions (to reopen)."

'Turning away customers'
Regional cafes, restaurants and pubs have raised concerns about the current restrictions.

Matt O'Donnell, who runs cafe and catering business Albert & Co at Lakes Entrance, eastern Victoria, said he had to turn away customers when conditions didn't suit outside dining.

"On Saturday ... we literally turned away between 150 and 200 customers," he said.

"It rained most of the day so we couldn't use our outdoor seating. Being a tourist town we had lots of Latrobe Valley residents down here, and we just couldn't accommodate them.

"That next step would at least help us receive a better income, and we could seat customers a lot easier and we could employ local staff."

The Birralee Tavern in border town Wodonga is currently operating at about 15 per cent capacity with a licence to cater for more than 600 patrons at a time.

'So far from Melbourne'
Manager Lisa Ryan said it was frustrating that regional Victoria was reliant on numbers falling in the capital.

"We are so far away from Melbourne," she said.

"I do feel for Melbourne businesses being totally closed because we have been there and we understand, but our cases up here are just non-existent."

Looser restrictions on venues in NSW and changes to permits to allow border residents to cross state lines for everyday life, is also making things more difficult for the business.

"It is very frustrating. They are worlds apart and there is only a river in between," she said.

"However, our direct competitors have been open with much fewer restrictions and gaming machines open.

"We haven’t had ours opened for six months, so every day we’re losing people [across] the border.". ... hp#image=1

DAILY MAIL (Murdock) CLAIMS : Majority of Victorians want coronavirus restrictions ditched
Victorians may have finally had enough.

Less than two weeks after a poll found the majority supported Daniel Andrews' lockdown measures, most now say it's time to ditch three key restrictions the premier continues to impose.

The latest Roy Morgan survey results released on Thursday found 61 per cent believe they should be allowed to travel more than 5km from their homes.

Some 56 per cent want Melbourne’s restaurants, pubs, cafes and clubs to open inside dining with social distancing - up 19 per cent from a survey three weeks ago.

Nearly 60 per cent want to be able to visit their families - a rise of 4 per cent from three weeks prior.

The Roy Morgan survey results also found approval ratings for Premier Andrews had dropped nine points to 61 per cent.

He still has high approval ratings among Labor supporters with 89 per cent approval, and the Greens, with 80 per cent.

<< this is not reported elsewhere or the raw data shown that supports the claims made - so I'll call it = BS, just more Murdock press white-anting / attempted undermining of the anticovid measures in place in Victoria , ie attempted public health sabotage & political white-anting ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria hotel quarantine inquiry to examine 9 new cases
Victoria's hotel quarantine inquiry is set to look into the COVID-19 cases of nine workers infected following the revamp of the program in late July.

The nine include staff from the Department of Health and Human Services, a Victoria Police member, two Alfred Health employees, and five employees of catering and cleaning company Spotless.

Victoria's Shadow Attorney-General Ed O'Donohue wrote to the inquiry urging an investigation after media reports about the nine cases. ... d=msedgdhp

Hotel quarantine staff attended work while infectious
The main entrance of The Novotel South Wharf where management have removed security workers after complaints are raised by Health Workers
The department said the pair, who were among nine workers on the program to have become infected with COVID-19, were asymptomatic when they attended work.

As Victoria recorded 15 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, and another two lives lost to the virus, the political row over the hotels was reignited after workers on the program were sent home mid-shift and replaced by police in one of the program's "hot hotels" on Wednesday amid infection control fears.

Premier Daniel Andrews told his daily media briefing on Thursday that Victoria Police and not private security contractors were in charge of the remaining quarantine hotels and that Wednesday's changes at the Novotel in Southbank were part of the "transition" of the quarantine hotels as the number of travellers in isolation dwindled.

Private security guards in hotels containing people who tested positive to COVID-19 were found to have seeded Victoria's disastrous second wave of coronavirus. The program was subsequently overhauled and an inquiry was set up by the government to examine its failings.

Alfred Health has been running the quarantine program for the government since July and has hired services giant Spotless to provide workers to the Melbourne hotels where returned travellers and health workers are isolating.

The health service said in a statement on Thursday that Spotless had provided "floor monitoring" but not security workers.

"They have provided specialised cleaning and, until Wednesday 30 September, customer service and floor monitor roles," Alfred Health's statement read.

"Spotless staff were not employed in security roles in hotel quarantine. As part of their induction process, Spotless staff undertake extensive [personal protective equipment] training prior to commencement of duties."

But the state opposition dismissed the health service and the Premier's positions, with Victorian Liberal leader Michael O'Brien attacking the Premier for "failing to learn the lessons" of the ill-fated first phase of the quarantine program.

Victoria Police published a statement on Thursday saying its officers had been working at the Novotel since Monday as it received guests from another hotel, the Brady on Little Latrobe Street, which was being decommissioned as a "hot hotel".

Mr Andrews said that Victoria Police were in charge of security at the quarantine hotels and that Wednesday's changes at the Novotel were part of a planned transition of the program.

He said the return of international flights into Victoria was very unlikely until the official inquiry into the hotel quarantine program, headed by retired judge Jennifer Coate, delivered its findings in early November.

Documents tendered to the hotel quarantine inquiry by Alfred Health show duties formerly undertaken by security guards, such as accompanying guests on fresh-air breaks, supervisory roles and bag checks, were being provided by Spotless staff in the revamped hotel quarantine set-up.

A Justice Department spokeswoman told The Age on Wednesday those staff had now been removed and the only remaining Spotless staff were in cleaning roles.

Of the nine hotel quarantine staff to become infected with coronavirus, the department claimed three were exposed to known outbreaks, five had contact with known cases in their households and one was likely to have been acquired through community transmission.

The Opposition Leader said the Premier had failed to learn the lessons of previous bungles with hotel quarantine.

"To think that he has still got private security guards in hotels, still not got proper infection control, still putting the community at risk," Mr O'Brien said.

"This is a government that just won't listen and just won't learn."

Jenny Mikakos resigned as health minister on Saturday after the Premier told the hotel quarantine inquiry that he believed she was the minister responsible for the program.

Reporting on the daily infection figures earlier in the day, Deputy Chief Health Officer Allan Cheng said the all-important rates of "mystery cases", or diagnoses with an unknown source, was halving week on week.

But Professor Cheng said the unknown-source infections were occurring far and wide throughout Melbourne and urged people to continue to get tested if they had symptoms.

"It's important to note that these mystery cases are in 14 different [local government areas] so they are very widely distributed, and they do suggest that, obviously, a mystery case has got it from someone.

"So, it just reinforces the need for people with symptoms to come in for testing." ... d=msedgdhp

'It's about time': Private security removed from Victoria's hotel quarantine program
Private security guards have been hurriedly removed by the Victorian government after concerns were raised about the quality of infection control amid the state’s remodelled hotel quarantine program.

The Age has reported private security guards employed by Spotless were removed mid-shift from the Novotel in Southbank on Wednesday afternoon.

Sky News contributor Caleb Bond commented, “it’s about bloody time, they knew there were problems with private security guards - they’ve known for ages.”

“There’s an inquiry into it for heavens sake, it’s not ground-breaking stuff … the fact it took them this long to actually do something about it is staggering.” ... d=msedgdhp

Coronavirus infections in healthcare workers soared past 100 at two hospitals during second wave of the pandemic
New data released by Victoria's health department has shown more than 100 healthcare workers were infected with coronavirus at two Melbourne hospitals since the start of the pandemic.

There have been 1,020 confirmed cases in healthcare workers in Melbourne and an additional 61 cases in regional Victoria in people who listed their primary workplace as a hospital.

The numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) show the Royal Melbourne Hospital had 139 cases and St Vincent's Hospital had 115 cases.

Another four hospitals had between 50 and 100 cases.

They include the Northern Hospital with 95 cases, Sunshine Hospital with 88, the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Royal Park on 81 and Footscray Hospital with 66 cases.

There are currently 11 active cases of COVID-19 in hospital workers, all of them in Melbourne, and 46 cases in healthcare workers in total.

The health department said the hospital was not necessarily where the individual had contracted the illness.

Ten workers did not specify where they worked and the figures released do not include healthcare staff who work in aged care or other healthcare settings.

Hospital cases reflect aged care outbreaks
Lisa Fitzpatrick, the state secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, Victoria branch, said the figures came as no surprise to her.

She said the numbers reflect the hospitals that cared for elderly patients taken to public hospitals during the peak of the aged care outbreak, at facilities such as St Basil's and Epping Gardens.

"If you look at the facilities that had the most severe outbreak I think you would find that there's a correlation between those facilities and the health services like the Northern Hospital, the Western Hospital and Melbourne Health," she said.

"Not only did some of these hospitals receive patients, but they sent their own staff out to work in the aged care facilities."

She said public health nurses who work in hospitals had filled almost 5,000 shifts in private aged are facilities in the second wave.

"It's been an extraordinary effort and impost," she said.

Access to personal protective equipment a key concern for healthcare workers
The Victorian Government has said about 70-80 per cent of healthcare workers who were infected caught it at work.

Throughout the second wave, healthcare workers have continually expressed concerns about not having enough personal protective equipment (PPE) and the right kind of PPE.

There were concerns within the medical community that hospital infection controls were simply inadequate.

Doctors on the coronavirus frontline at the Alfred Hospital wanted special N95 masks when they assessed patients who were ill with the virus but were refused.

There were concerns that hospitals would burn through existing supplies before more could be made available.

The Government has since committed to a fit-testing trial of N95 masks, which provide a higher level of protection than surgical masks in all coronavirus wards.

As the debate over PPE raged on, hospitals had to deal with sick patients in the community while dealing with outbreaks in their own staff.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital was forced to close four wards and moved some patients off site in August during an outbreak involving staff and patients.

Peninsula Health said 618 of its staff were furloughed last month during an outbreak at Frankston Hospital.

Chief Medical Officer Andrew Wilson said the once-in-a-lifetime pandemic represented the biggest challenge the health system had ever seen.

"Our falling case numbers are a testament to work they do in extremely difficult conditions to limit the spread of this wildly infectious virus," he said.

Ms Fitzpatrick said she was relieved there had been no deaths in healthcare workers in the second wave.

She is urging nurses and other healthcare workers who became sick to put in a WorkCover claim.

"Because of course the long-term effects of COVID-19 are unknown," she said.

"We want to see people protected into the future."

Healthcare cases breakdown
Royal Melbourne Hospital 139
St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne 115
Northern Health — The Northern Hospital 95
Western Health — Sunshine Hospital 88
Royal Melbourne Hospital — Royal Park Campus 81
Western Health — Footscray Hospital 66
Peninsula Health — Frankston Hospital 47
Alfred Health — The Alfred Hospital 30
Austin Health -Austin Hospital 27
Eastern Health — Box Hill Hospital 20
Monash Health -Monash Medical Centre (Clayton) 20
Monash Health — Dandenong Hospital 19
The Royal Children's Hospital, 19
St Vincent's Private Hospital 19
Ramsay Health Care — Peninsula Private Hospital 16
Alfred Health — not specified 15
Brunswick Private Hospital 15
Epworth Healthcare — Epworth Richmond 14
Royal Women's Hospital 13
Eastern Health — Maroondah Hospital 12
Healthscope — Knox Private Hospital 8
Peninsula Health — not specified 7
Healthscope — North Park Private Hospital 6
Monash Health -Casey Hospital 6
Northern Health — Broadmeadows Health Service 6
Wantirna Health 6
Western Health — Williamstown Hospital 6
Alfred Health — Caulfield Hospital 5
Cabrini Health — Malvern 5
Healthscope — La Trobe Private Hospital 5
Healthscope — Melbourne Private Hospital 5
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre 5
Ramsay Health Care — The Avenue Hospital 5
Ramsay Health Care — Warringal Private Hospital 5 0
St Vincent's Hospital — St George's Health Service 5 ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria only testing aged care workers nine months into pandemic is 'unbelievable'
The Victorian government announced on Wednesday it will roll out a mass asymptomatic testing program which will see 100 per cent of public aged care workers tested every two weeks moving forward.

The Commonwealth government will also conduct the same testing regime on private aged care workers.

“It’s unbelievable and it gets to the catastrophic failure and ineptitude of the Andrew’s government in the handling of the coronavirus," Mr Wilde told Sky News host Andrew Bolt.

“This comes on top of, of course, the failed hotel quarantine, on top of the failure to accept assistance and help from Australian Defence Force, it comes on top of a potentially unlawful decision of Victoria police not to enforce the lockdown measures on Black Lives Matter protestors.


“It comes on top of the potentially unlawful arrest of mother of two, Zoe Buhler, and it comes on top of the 700,000 jobs that are likely to be destroyed in Victoria by the lockdown measures, which is some 20 per cent of Victoria’s workforce.” ... d=msedgdhp

Calls to make bushfire warnings easier to access for Victorians who don't speak English at home
The Victorian Government is being urged to make bushfire information more accessible for non-English-speaking people before the summer fire season begins.

Amina Khatun, 25, is the go-to translator for her Rohingya community in the Latrobe Valley.

On a daily basis, her exasperated friends and family will call in at home, sometimes unannounced, pass her a phone and ask her to bridge the gap between English and Rohingya.

Usually it is correspondence from lawyers, utility retailers and government agencies that need to be translated.

But it is during emergencies, like the COVID-19 pandemic and bushfires, that her community has come to rely on her most.

"Certainly last year when the bushfires happened, most of them here, they didn't understand how to keep themselves safe from the smoke and what to do in that situation," Ms Khatun said.

She said recorded video and audio translations of emergency information by a community leader or interpreter worked best for her community because theirs was primarily a spoken language.

"My community don't read and write, so they are illiterate; our language is only verbal, so I think for my community we just need a recorded message into Rohingya language.

"It's important, because as a wider Australian we have a right to understand the message and then we will know what to do, what to expect."

Get the message right
The LOTE Agency in Melbourne has been conducting research with multicultural communities for the past 10 years.

Its most recent study, commissioned by the Victorian Government, identified key failings in the way bushfire information was delivered to people who did not speak or understand English well.

"Whether it's a pandemic, a bushfire, a flood or any kind of natural disaster or critical health message that needs to come out from the government, it needs to go out in a number of considered ways," general manager David Bartlett said.

"It's not a one-size-fits-all solution for multicultural communities."

Mr Bartlett said improving emergency communications for multicultural Victorians was not as simple as translating information in multiple languages, because some languages were more spoken than written.

"Every single community has nuances in how they trust and consume information with English-speaking comms," he said.

"It's very easy to put things on multiple websites on paid media, but at a multicultural level there also needs to be actual grassroots engagement with communities."

Mr Bartlett said the State Government's failure communicating with culturally and linguistically diverse communities was highlighted during the pandemic when a poster about using face masks failed to differentiate between two different languages — Farsi and Arabic — which share a similar alphabet.

"It did shine a spotlight on the gaps between the Government and how they message multicultural communities."

He said timely emergency advice during bushfires was even more important.

"You might have minutes to act before you can get out of your home, and what we saw during the pandemic is that it took days or even weeks to get information to communities, and unfortunately that's just not acceptable during a bushfire season.

"I just call on the Andrews Government to invest more heavily to provide 1.5 million Victorians with access to the information they need to go into a bushfire season feeling safe at home, and knowing that they can get information in their language, when they need it, to keep their family safe."

Confusion for new Victorians
Victorians have come to rely on the Vic Emergency phone app in times of distress, but it is only in English.

"This is a perfect opportunity to develop that app and make it available to all Victorians regardless of language or location," Mr Bartlett said.

Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria chair Eddie Micallef said the state's new and emerging communities were most at risk of missing vital bushfire information this summer unless improvements were made.

"Some of the Africans, Sudanese, Somalians and some of the Asian communities certainly need special attention and increased support," he said.

"The authorities have been aware of these challenges for quite a long time; it's getting a response to these challenges that has been a bit slow."

Until that happens, multicultural community leaders like Ms Khatun continue to voluntarily fill the gap.

Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) conceded the Vic Emergency app was currently only offered in English.

But in a statement EMV Commissioner Andrew Crisp said anyone who called the Vic Emergency telephone hotline in need of translation support was put through to the Commonwealth Translating and Interpreting Service.

"We also utilise a wide range of media channels, including local community radio and social media, to promote targeted, in-language warnings, emergency information and advertising," he said. ... d=msedgdhp

Commercial laundry discovers it has 25 migrant workers with 31 untapped degrees
Despite holding a double masters degree in information technology, Manu Kaur was finding it impossible to secure work in the sector.

Ms Kaur felt her student visa conditions, limiting her to 40 hours of work a fortnight, were to blame for the dozen rejected job applications.

"It was frustrating, sometimes I felt depressed," she said.

After graduating from Melbourne's La Trobe University, the struggle to find work eventually led her to secure a job on the factory floor at Blueline Laundry in Hobart.

The commercial laundries operate in Hobart and Launceston, washing up to 50,000 laundry items a day from the state's hotels, hospitals and nursing homes.

"It was good to have a job but sometimes I thought 'what am I doing as a factory worker?'" Ms Kaur, who is originally from India, said.

Two months ago, a lunchtime chat with her boss opened new doors when he heard about her qualifications.

"I'm working now as the systems coordinator, to maintain the systems, data protection and I'm maintaining all documentation for them," she said.

"I'm also setting up computers and providing technical support.

"I'm enjoying that, it's really good now."

Ms Kaur's skills were uncovered as part of the not-for-profit business's attempts to survive the huge downturn it was facing during the coronavirus pandemic.

More than a third of Blueline Laundry's workforce are people living with a disability and another 20 per cent are people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

CEO Michael Sylvester said the senior leadership team recently set out to uncover any untapped potential among its casual factory workers.

"One of the wastes in business is unused creativity and post-COVID we were really looking for every possible opportunity that we could to maintain our business and really keep our doors open and be sustainable," he said.

"We lost 83 per cent of our customer base and we were really hurting."

Managers reached out to staff to better understand what their qualifications were.

"We really looked to our migrant pool of staff," Mr Sylvester said.

"Across 25 people in Hobart, we had 31 bachelors degrees or higher, some staff with multiple masters degrees.

"And they were in core areas of work that we'd been really struggling to fill the roles from the local employment sector."

Pramila KC Maharjan started as a laundry hand in November and pushed to put her pharmacy degree from Nepal and IT masters from the University of Tasmania to use, despite having no previous professional experience.

Ms Maharjan obtained an internship last month, helping Blueline's operations manager on a quality assurance project.

"It's really satisfying work," she said.

"I can get to know administrative things here, I can get to know Australian work culture, I'm getting new experience."

Malis Yunn went from being a laundry hand to taking on the role of team leader of the sewing section, drawing on the seamstress skills she developed in her home country of Cambodia.

Ms Yunn said she loved leading the sewing team, made up of supported workers.

"The first time I was a little bit nervous, but when I went there I liked them and they liked me," she said.

"They helped me and they listen to me."

The sewing team has been making special bags for hotels, nursing homes and hospitals to use during the pandemic, to contain potentially contaminated laundry.

The bags are designed to fall open and release the dirty laundry once they are in the washing machine, to avoid staff having to touch it.

"You just chuck everything in there and it breaks by itself," Ms Yunn said.

Mr Sylvester said the business had given the staff an opportunity to grow. ... d=msedgdhp
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Oct 01, 2020 7:42 am


NSW records zero locally acquired coronavirus cases for sixth day in a row
The discovery of a new COVID-19 infection in NSW from July proves the virus is still "lurking within the community", Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said.

NSW has recorded zero locally acquired COVID-19 cases for the sixth consecutive day.

Two new cases were reported among returned travellers in hotel quarantine and an older case has also been reported.

Epidemiological and laboratory investigations indicate the historical infection likely occurred two months ago.

It is believed the man in his 50s from south western Sydney contracted the virus when it was circulating at low levels in his area in July.

"This person was tested as a pre-work test requirement and was found to have old remnants of the disease," Ms Berejiklian said.

As the case was not previously diagnosed, it is included in today's numbers.

Ms Berejiklian said this case was proof the virus is silently living among us.

"It demonstrates our suspicions about the disease lurking within the community without us getting every single case," she said.

Ms Berejiklian said she didn't know whether Queensland would now restart their 28-day count of zero community transmission in NSW — the condition set for the border to reopen.

"That's a matter for the Queensland Government," she said.

"But I've said from the outset … we can't expect to have zero cases indefinitely."

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to open the border.

"Politics is playing too great a part in the decision making on the Queensland border with New South Wales," Mr Hazzard said.

"I would say to Premier Palaszczuk with the zero transmission in the last five days, clearly you should actually be opening those borders."

The Premier said before travel arrangements with New Zealand or Singapore can be made with Australia "we need to get our own house in order".

This morning travel company Flight Centre announced the closure of 91 stores across the country which Ms Berejiklian said was another consequence of needless border closures.

"This is what happens when states put borders up they don't need to have up."

There were 13,072 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, only a slight dip from the previous period.

NSW Health is treating 50 COVID-19 cases, including three in intensive care, none of whom are being ventilated.

New South Wales has gone almost a week without any new cases of coronavirus being detected in the community.

The state recorded three new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday, two of whom were returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.

The third case is a man in his 50s from south-western Sydney, but it's believed to be an old case who was found to have some traces still in their system.

He has returned repeated negative test swabs with serology results showing he had developed immunity to the virus.

Health authorities believe the man contracted COVID-19 when it was circulating at low levels in south-western Sydney in July.

As the case was not previously diagnosed, it has been added to the total coronavirus tally for the state.

However, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the case demonstrated that cases of coronavirus in the community were being missed as she urged vigilance and for anyone with symptoms to get tested.

"It's really important that we don't let down our guard, that we keep our distance, that we have hand hygiene and that importantly we have our masks in some settings," she said.

Today's figures come after four new cases were reported yesterday and just two on Tuesday - all returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

It comes as restrictions on public venues such as music halls and sporting venues ease in time for the October long weekend.

From today, cinemas will be allowed to take bookings for 50 per cent of their capacity up to 1000 people. ... d=msedgdhp

NSW records old local COVID-19 case as Queensland urged to open border
An older case of community transmission has been uncovered as NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged the Queensland Premier to rethink the border closure.

NSW recorded no recently acquired cases of local transmission to 8pm on Wednesday. The state recorded three new cases of COVID-19, two in returned travellers and one older case of local transmission.

It comes as the Queensland government confirmed on Thursday the border would remain shut to most of NSW until after the Queensland election on October 31.

Mr Hazzard said the state was doing "extremely well" in managing transmission of the virus, but cautioned it was still in the community.

"It may well still be floating along in its secretive way just below the surface," he said on Thursday morning.

The local case was in a man in his 50s from south-west Sydney. While it is included in Wednesday's case numbers, NSW Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Jeremy McAnulty said testing showed the man most likely acquired the virus when it was circulating in the south-west Sydney area in July.

"The epidemiological and laboratory investigations indicate the infection likely occurred about two months ago," he said on Thursday morning.

The man returned repeat negative swab tests, but a positive serology test showed he had an immune response to the virus.

Mr Hazzard said he remained cautious about reopening the border with Victoria soon as well, and the border communities were "fairly happy" with the current regulations.SW recorded no recently acquired cases of local transmission to 8pm on Wednesday. The state recorded three new cases of COVID-19, two in returned travellers and one older case of local transmission.

It comes as the Queensland government confirmed on Thursday the border would remain shut to most of NSW until after the Queensland election on October 31.

Mr Hazzard said the state was doing "extremely well" in managing transmission of the virus, but cautioned it was still in the community.

"It may well still be floating along in its secretive way just below the surface," he said on Thursday morning.

The local case was in a man in his 50s from south-west Sydney. While it is included in Wednesday's case numbers, NSW Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Jeremy McAnulty said testing showed the man most likely acquired the virus when it was circulating in the south-west Sydney area in July.

"The epidemiological and laboratory investigations indicate the infection likely occurred about two months ago," he said on Thursday morning.

The man returned repeat negative swab tests, but a positive serology test showed he had an immune response to the virus.

Mr Hazzard said he remained cautious about reopening the border with Victoria soon as well, and the border communities were "fairly happy" with the current regulations.

"From my point of view as Health Minister, I'd certainly want to see a more stable situation in Victoria before we move forward," he said.

"If we move to further ease restrictions and then have to go backwards, it's not something the community would want."

But Mr Hazzard said the northern border was an "entirely different issue", and politics were playing too great a part.

"With the zero [community] transmission in the last five days .... clearly you should actually be opening those borders," he said of the Queensland government.

However, the earliest Queensland would actually open the border would be on November 1, the day after the Queensland state election, the state's Deputy Premier Steven Miles confirmed.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has stood firm on health advice that 28 days would need to pass without mystery community transmission before it could include all of the southern state.

"We want to see a position where all of Australia can open up - but we will not be doing that until it is safe to do so," Ms Palaszczuk said.

Queensland's travel zone into northern NSW has been extended further, and Ms Palaszczuk said police were now "ironing out" IT issues that led to some NSW areas added to the border zone overnight not recognised by the online application form.

Mr Miles said discussions about border restrictions normally happen about a week before the end of each month.

"It is only today that we have expanded that border zone. Let's see how that goes; clearly there are still active cases in Sydney," he said.

The Queensland Premier also expressed disappointment that Australian Defence Force troops were removed from checkpoints.

"It's disappointing to see the ADF pulling out - that was very disappointing - but I am absolutely confident that our police will step up and they will continue to keep our borders safe for Queensland," Ms Palaszczuk said. ... hp#image=1 ... d=msedgdhp

Why easing NSW's coronavirus social-distancing restrictions is 'not that simple'
Life in NSW could be about to become a little less sanitised if the state's flatlining coronavirus infections and a hint from Premier Gladys Berejiklian are anything to go by.

Yesterday, as her state recorded a fifth consecutive day with no locally acquired COVID cases, Ms Berejiklian confirmed her Government was reviewing "all the restrictions we have in place".

Exactly what will come of that wide-ranging pledge remains to be seen — and the path out could be complicated, according to academics and industry leaders.

"I'm sure at this point of time there is a lot of pressure on the Government to relax restrictions, but it's not that simple," Abrar Chughtai, an epidemiologist from the University of NSW, said.

Here's what NSW's road to fewer restrictions could look like.

NSW in 'good position' to relax restrictions
While NSW can take inspiration from smaller states, replicating their social-distancing exit strategy at scale could be difficult, according to Dr Chughtai.

Roughly one in three Australians live in NSW, so the stakes are higher.

"NSW is in a good position to relax some restrictions, but you have to consider a few things," Dr Chughtai said.

"You also have to gradually open, otherwise you will end up like Europe, where there is a big second wave of infections, and we don't want to be in that situation."

Dr Chughtai said easing restrictions in larger states like NSW could be complicated.

"If you're looking only from a public-health perspective, they [the restrictions] need to continue, but the big issue is the economy," he said.

He also said health authorities would need a "mitigation strategy" before any rules were eased — more on that later.

What could change first?
It's hard to say what restrictions would be lifted first, but a logical place to start is restaurants, as people in NSW have been there before.

As the state emerged from its social-distancing lockdown, people were permitted — at one point — to make bookings for up to 20 people at eateries, before that was reduced to 10 from July 25 as several COVID-19 clusters sprung up around Sydney.

Wes Lambert, the chief executive of Australia's Restaurant and Catering Association, said his organisation had been "working closely" with the NSW Government to wind back restrictions.

"We welcome the Premier's comments [yesterday] that she also understands the seriousness and urgency in the hospitality, functions and events industry as we move into the spring and summer," he said.

Hospitality businesses in NSW and Queensland are still adhering to a four-square-metre rule — where capacity is determined based on one person per four-square metres of floorspace.

In Tasmania and South Australia, the number of patrons permitted in these venues is calculated on a two-square-metre rule, and in WA people can be served even if they don't have a seat.

Mr Lambert said his organisation was lobbying to have more people able to book and attend hospitality venues.

What about other restrictions?
Potential economic benefits will be a major consideration as to whatever restrictions are eased.

Rosalie Viney, a Professor of Health Economics at the University of Technology Sydney, said getting social-distancing changes right could be a balancing act.

"Things that allow for more economic activity make for a bigger economic benefit," she said.

That means: Going to a restaurant or cafe is likely to have a bigger impact on the economy than hosting an event in a private residence.

"Sometimes that's a challenge when it comes to behavioural interplay," Professor Viney said.

"While the economic benefit might be different, the messaging from governments needs to be consistent.

"People will say, 'well if I can have 40 people in a restaurant, why can't I have that many in my home?'."

For example, the NSW Government on September 17 announced the capacity at stadiums for major events would be increased from 25 per cent to 50 per cent.

Eight days later, it was revealed that theatres, cinemas and concert venues, could increase their capacity, too.

'Mitigation strategy' crucial
The changes to stadium capacities came with a caveat: crowds will be spaced in the stands using a chequerboard pattern, and patrons will be expected to wear masks when travelling to and from their seats.

According to Dr Chughtai, people in NSW should expect these sorts of "mitigation strategies" as restrictions are eased.

"If you were going to allow large gatherings, then you could consider making masks mandatory for people who attended," he said.

"Another example is overseas travel.

"We know international students are not coming in and that's hurting our economy, particularly the university sector is badly affected.

"So maybe we could consider allowing international students from countries with low local transmission of COVID-19 in to the country, as long as they could complete 14 days of quarantine." ... d=msedgdhp

Computer glitch causes congestion at Queensland border hours after reopening to northern NSW
Armenia says ready to engage with OSCE to re-establish…
Saverio Zirilli, drug trafficker fighting conviction over Nicola Gobbo Lawyer X scandal, fails to win bail
ABC Health logoComputer glitch causes congestion at Queensland border hours after reopening to northern NSW

Queensland police say the online border declaration pass is malfunctioning for some border zone residents attempting to enter the state.

It comes just hours after Queensland eased border restrictions to allow residents in areas of northern New South Wales to enter the state without undergoing quarantine.

Gold Coast Police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler confirmed locals in some of the newly added northern New South Wales areas were not being recognised by the system.

He said the glitch was due to an overload of information in the system and was impacting up to seven suburbs.

"Unfortunately there's been a couple of IT issues around some suburbs, the relevant government department is working through that now as we speak," Chief Superintendent Wheeler said.

"It's been a mammoth task by housing and public works.

"All Queensland postcodes for the entire state have had to be loaded into the system so understandably there's a lot of stress on the system but they're working through it."

Police said Queensland residents intending on travelling within the New South Wales border zone and re-entering Queensland, would need to apply for the updated X pass, also known as "Border Zone Resident Declaration Pass".

Chief Superintendent Wheeler said efforts were being made to fix the glitch.

Police said anyone affected could show proof of their address at the border and would be able to apply for a pass in person.

Speaking in Cairns, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk acknowledged there had been problems at the border.

"I understand that police have addressed that issue, and we did say there were going to be some delays," she said.

"Police have done a remarkable job and it's disappointing to see the Australian Defence Force pulling out.

"But I am absolutely confident that police will step up, and continue to keep our borders safe for Queensland."

'It should have been ironed out'
Ballina Councillor Eoin Johnston was booked in for a surgical procedure at a Gold Coast hospital but the glitch in the online system told him his address was outside the border zone.

He drove to the border not knowing if he would get to his appointment.

"I got up early, before 5:00am. I was on the computer, I went through the procedure, I went through the standard border pass which is open to people in the bubble and I'm in the bubble.

"That was rejected with the recommendation that I go for the health pass.

"I went to the health pass, I got right to the bottom of that and was told to go back and do the standard pass.

"The standard pass did not work because the town that I live in was not acceptable.

"I found out at the border when I did it manually that the village very close to Alstonville where I live, which is called Rous Mill, would have been acceptable.

"So it was just a computer glitch, it should have been ironed out.

"Some people it will cause them a lot of concern."

Long delays expected
Commuters heading into Queensland were experiencing congestion this morning, with expanded border bubble residents queuing to get into the state from 1:00am.

Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said people were lined up on the M1 before 1:00am when the border bubble officially expanded to include another 41 postcodes.

"These were obviously people who were coming from the expanded border zone," he said.

"We've seen quite a lot of congestion this morning, peak delays of up to 30 minutes."

Around 30 people have been turned around at the border and several hundred vehicles have crossed into Queensland.

"It's a bit of a perfect storm," Chief Superintendent Wheeler said.

"We've got school holidays on the Queensland side, school holidays on the NSW side, a long weekend and we've got a greater cohort of people who are eligible to come into Queensland.

"I expect this to be a bumpy road for the next few days."

It comes as police reinforcements were called in to cope with the delays.

Roughly 152,000 people who live in those areas can now "freely" pop across the border for a break.

Travellers will still need a border pass to get into the Sunshine State and a lot of patience after the withdrawal of Australian Defence Force personnel who had been helping with border checks.

Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan pleaded for families to remain tolerant and calm as police check each car one by one.

"You can have a hundred police on the border and it won't necessarily speed things up," he said.

"Because what we do is get the traffic flow down to one lane.

"So there is a certain capacity of cars you can process at any one time.

"The thing that causes the delays is the volume of traffic coming through and as the border bubble expands there will be more and more people."

He said there was good reason for people to be patient as "patience is keeping COVID out of Queensland".

Anyone from Northern NSW who has not been to a COVID-19 hot spot in the last 14 days can enter without going into quarantine.

Can Queenslanders head to NSW and get back in easily?
If Byron Bay has been on your holiday wish list since the pandemic began, you can now head south without any hassles.

Five more council areas have been added to the border bubble including;

Byron Shire
Ballina Shire
City of Lismore
Richmond Valley Council
Glen Innes Shire
Plus the following border postcodes: 2880, 2840, 2839, 2838, 2834, 2833, 2406, 2405, 2409, 2410, 2361, 2372, 2476, 2474, 2484, 2489, 2488, 2484, 2486
The rest of NSW is still listed as a hot spot.

Queenslanders also need to fill out a Border Declaration Pass to get back home.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was a good day for local economies on both sides of the border.

She hoped the long delays would be "smoothed out" soon and "we will see freer movement of people".

How sewerage testing helped open border
Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said Northern NSW had been spared an outbreak for many weeks.

But authorities been vigilantly keeping an eye on what's been flushed down toilets in a bid to track the virus.

"We know that one person in 10,000 in the community can be picked up through sewerage testing, so it is very sensitive," she said.

"Tests along the border have not found any trace since a Byron Bay outbreak [more than a month ago] so there is no virus in sewerage there.

"So there are a whole lot of reasons we can now safely open up to Northern NSW."

Jail threat for those who breach border rules
Police Minister Mark Ryan warned there were big fines and a six-month jail term for anyone caught lying on their border declaration.

The biggest fear he said was people lying about being in hot spots.

"We do a lot of intelligence gathering of people coming through to make sure that the right cars are coming through with the right people in them," he said.

"There is also follow up activity too, so if people think they can lie on a border pass and get away with it that is not the case."

Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said there was also a growing number of people "dobbing" in others in for doing the wrong thing.

A boost for tourism
Tourism operators have been slowly clawing back the millions of dollars lost during the pandemic with Queensland's "Good to Go" campaign.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind said today's border opening was an important part of the COVID-19 recovery.

"We do know from major online distributors and travel agencies online, they have reported spikes in increases in destinations from NSW people," he said.

"Inquiries have doubled or even trebled for some places around Queensland, so that expresses the mood of consumers that they are really ready to travel again.

"And it is a good reminder that the Sunshine State is open for business."

He said with the good work authorities from both states had both done to control the virus outbreak and the robust measures now in place to track any possible infections, it was time to open to the Queensland border to all of New South Wales "without further delay".

A review of border restrictions is conducted at the end of every month. ... d=msedgdhp

Port Botany negotiations to continue today
he company was understood to be considering going ahead with a Fair Work Commission application – which was backed by the government – to terminate the industrial action, which caused delays and disruptions to important shipments.

The MUA offered a peace deal to end the standoff, which included putting off the wharf workers' demands for 12 months, extending the current enterprise agreement and a 2.5 per cent pay rise. ... d=msedgdhp

Maritime Union suspends GO SLOW at Patrick Terminals
The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has announced it will immediately suspend industrial action that saw wharf workers refuse to work unless shipping company Patrick Terminals agreed to a pay rise.

Following almost two days of talks between the MUA and Patrick at the Fair Work Commission, the union said work will go ahead at Patrick terminals in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle.

Today Patrick offered the union a 1.5 per cent annual pay increase for members over four years, an offer the MUA rejected.

The MUA was fighting for a 2.5 per cent pay rise for workers and an extension of the existing workplace agreement for another 12 months. ... d=msedgdhp

Ex-NSW MP stood to earn $690,000 for helping to 'grease the wheels' in land sale, Icac hears
The former New South Wales Liberal MP Daryl Maguire would have earned more than $690,000 for helping to “grease the wheels” in a lucrative sale of land near the Western Sydney airport, a corruption inquiry has heard.

Telephone intercepts also reveal that Maguire encouraged a property investor, William Luong, to attend a Liberal fundraiser featuring the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, despite Luong’s concerns that he was classified as a property developer and was not allowed to attend.

“[Maguire said] ‘Oh don’t worry about it’ – I think the invitation was for raising funds, you’ve got to pay – and I said ‘look I can’t pay this sort of thing’,” Luong told the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (Icac) on Thursday.

Icac is currently exploring a proposed major land sale worth $330m involving racing heir Louise Raedler Waterhouse and a large plot near the proposed Western Sydney airport. Luong stood to make more than $6m for his work in assisting Waterhouse with the sale, the inquiry heard.

Icac heard that in 2017, while in parliament, Maguire was helping to “grease the wheels” to make the land deal happen. That work included helping with road and zoning issues and introducing Waterhouse and Luong.

“It’s nice to try and help people. I like to help people,” Maguire said in a recorded phone call with Luong. “And I’ve got some good friends, I’m very lucky.”

For his services, Maguire was entitled to a 10% fee. That equated to roughly $690,000. But Luong said Maguire likely would have been paid more, given his services. “It really depends on the day on what I was instructed to do,” Luong said.

The counsel assisting the inquiry, Scott Robertson, asked: “Are you saying that if Ms Waterhouse had said ‘look give him a little bit more’, you would have agreed with that request? But at the very least, Mr Maguire gets $690,000 if the $330m deal comes off, is that right?”

Luong agreed. It was suggested to Luong that Maguire’s fee could have amounted to as much as $1m. He agreed that was possible, depending on whether a good sale price could be achieved.

The commission heard a series of wiretaps of conversations between Luong and Maguire from September 2017.

In one of the recorded conversations, the pair discussed an upcoming fundraising event featuring the NSW premier. The fundraiser was held in the president’s dining room in parliament for Maguire.

Related: Revealed: asbestos-contaminated waste found in landscaping material at new Sydney housing estate site

Luong said he had expressed concern about his attendance.

“You probably have intercepted one of the calls, I think I have told [Maguire] that I may classify as a developer, or to do with the developments, I’m not coming, I cannot pay the fees.

“Then he said ‘don’t worry, just come’. So I came. I think that was that dinner.”

Luong said he met Berejiklian and was able to share part of the meal next to her. He said he only had a general discussion with the premier and did not raise business matters.

Maguire, the former member for Wagga Wagga, resigned from the NSW parliament in 2018 after a separate Icac inquiry heard he sought payment to help broker deals for some property developers. ... d=msedgdhp

Narrabri gas project: former judge questions independence of NSW planning commission
A former New South Wales judge has called for “independent” to be dropped from the name of the state’s planning commission after it approved the controversial Narrabri coal seam gas development, arguing the body is effectively controlled by the government.

The commission on Wednesday gave what it described as “phased approval” of the $3.6bn project in the state’s north. The decision, which included 134 conditions, was welcomed by the proponent, oil and gas company Santos, and the federal and state governments, but criticised by local farmers, conservationists and Indigenous traditional owners.

Paul Stein QC, a retired court of appeal judge now speaking as a committee member of the Centre for Public Integrity, said he was “deeply concerned” that the NSW Independent Planning Commission had been diminished by changes introduced by the government in March following complaints by mining and resources interests.

They included allowing the planning minister, Rob Stokes, to impose a tight timeframe in which a decision had to be reached and appointing new members to the commission.

Related: Narrabri gas project: do we need it and what's at stake for Australia's environment?

“We believe the IPC shouldn’t have the word independent in the title anymore because they’re essentially under the control and direction of the minister,” Stein told Guardian Australia.

“This was a massive inquiry, highly technical, and it was ordered to be finished in 90 days, and that was only extended to 120 days because [Santos] put in further submissions. It is very hard for a tribunal or commission to withstand such intense political pressure.”

Stein said he did not want to comment on the development itself, but believed the process had been compromised.

He said a decision of the complexity of the Narrabri development could need up to six months to properly consider under normal circumstances, and feared that future applications for mining and resources developments that came before the commission “might be seen as a bit of a foregone conclusion”.

The centre’s concerns follow the environment group Lock the Gate attempting in mid-September to raise evidence suggesting the development would have a greater impact on groundwater in the region than previously believed but being told it was too close to the decision deadline.

Both Stein and Lock the Gate said the political pressure for the project to be approved had been heightened by the prime minister, Scott Morrison, saying developments such as Narrabri needed to be accelerated to help drive a “gas-fired recovery” from the coronavirus recession and listing it as a development that would have its assessment fast-tracked under national environment laws.

Stokes’ review of the commission, and changes to its operation, followed a backlash from mining groups to recent decisions, including the rejection of a coalmine in the Bylong Valley.

The minister did not respond directly to Stein’s concerns. He said the state government welcomed the decision, which followed “extensive consultation and expert analysis” by both the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and the commission. He said the commission was granted an extension of time “to ensure all submissions from the community were properly considered”.

If developed in full, the development would involve up to 850 coal seam gas wells being drilled on 1,000 hectares of a 95,000-hectare site that includes Pilliga forest and nearby grazing land. Santos says it could provide up to 200 terajoules of gas a day for domestic use for 20 years, equivalent to 50% of NSW demand, and create 200 ongoing and 1,300 construction jobs.

The planning commission heard evidence from hundreds of people and groups, most of them opposed. Objections included that it could damage groundwater relied on for agriculture, affect biodiversity in the Pilliga forest and release substantial greenhouse gas emissions at odds with Australia’s commitment to the Paris climate agreement.

The panel of three commissioners assessing the proposal – Stephen O’Connor, John Hann and Prof Snow Barlow – found the project was likely to provide “a net economic benefit” and said it was satisfied potential impacts, including to groundwater, could be effectively managed.

Related: NSW planning commission approves $3.6bn Narrabri gas project in state's north

Stuart Khan, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of NSW, said he was concerned that the commission suggested the project could produce 840,000 tonnes of salt waste, nearly twice as much as Santos had estimated would be produced in its environmental impact statement. Salt could contaminate ground and surface water if not disposed of properly.

Khan said he believed the commission may have “called Santos’s bluff” by requiring the company to seriously pursue ways to beneficially reuse the salt. “If that pursuit is successful that will be very good outcome, but there are certainly some major challenges ahead,” Khan said.

Elaine Johnson, the principal lawyer with the Environment Defenders Office, representing the north-west alliance of landholders, traditional owners and community members, said the organisation was disappointed by the decision and looking closely to ensure it complied with the law.

But she said there were a number of legal and regulatory approvals required before the gas field could be developed. They included an assessment under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and Santos providing groundwater modelling and satisfying the department it had a plan in place to deal with salt waste.

Santos’s chief executive, Kevin Gallagher, welcomed the decision. He said once all approvals were in place the company would start a 12 to 18-month “appraisal drilling program”, including expanding its water monitoring, to inform its final plans.

“[The] approval is a significant step forward for the Narrabri community, a majority of whom support the project and the jobs, business opportunities, infrastructure and community investment that will come with it,” he said. ... d=msedgdhp
Last edited by kingofnobbys on Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:25 am, edited 2 times 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: 12625
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Oct 01, 2020 7:45 am


Coronavirus detected in Whitsunday sewage as Queensland records another day of zero new cases
Queensland has recorded zero new cases overnight as coronavirus was again detected in the Whitsundays' sewerage system.

Speaking from Townsville, Deputy Premier Steven Miles said traces of the virus had been found at Cannonvale in the Whitsundays.

"It's nothing to be particularly concerned about, it could be related to that positive result we saw last month," he said.

"As a precaution and to ensure that we maintain high testing rates there, the fever clinic at Airlie Beach will be stood up once again."

Queensland has now reached 21 days without community transmission, with just four active cases remain across the state.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was great to see Queensland families out and about, enjoying the school holidays.

"This is the Queensland I want to see into the future," she said.

"We have been able to do this because of our strong health response.

"We have had to make tough decisions, I had to make tough decisions, to keep Queenslanders safe.

"Now we can focus on our economic recovery because of the decisions that we have made in relation to our health."

Ms Palaszczuk said there were also plans to increase the hotel quarantine capacity in Cairns.

There is currently one hotel operating as a quarantine facility, and Ms Palaszczuk called on any other hotels that were interested to contact the Government.

"We are in discussions with a second hotel, and we're hoping to be able to take around 150 returned Australians into Cairns per week," Ms Palaszczuk said.

The Premier said it was "tragic" to see a second wave happening across Europe, where some 7,000 cases were recorded in the UK overnight.

"I don't want to see that for Queensland at all so I want to thank Queenslanders for the great work and keep it up," she said.

She said it was a priority to get Australians home.

"As we see that second wave sweeping Europe, you can understand why Australians want to come home and a lot of them are Queenslanders," she said.

Ms Palaszczuk said while most international flights to the state arrived in Brisbane, the Government was working on re-directing some flights to regional centres.

More cases 'inevitable'
Queensland's Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said there had not been an infectious case of COVID-19 in the community since September 10.

"That means it is time to remove some of the restrictions that have been in place and for all of Queensland to get outside and really enjoy our beautiful weather, our beautiful climate.

"We are going to get more cases, that's inevitable ... but we know how to manage them.

"We can very rapidly respond but not have to close everything down as we had to do in March."

Queensland's Deputy Premier Steven Miles said more cases of coronavirus would likely be recorded in coming weeks.

"Of course with an increase in overseas arrivals we would expect to see some cases over coming weeks," he said.

"But they should, if all goes well, be in hotel quarantine."

When asked if the 30 person limit on private gatherings could ease before Christmas, Dr Young said "we will see further changes as we move toward the latter part of the year".

"It really depends on what we see happening with those numbers.

"The big issue I think is it's unlikely that we will go backwards."

More than 5,700 people were tested for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. ... d=msedgdhp

Lengthy delays at New South Wales-Queensland border as bubble is expanded, ADF withdrawn
5 new shires in northern New South Wales have been added to the Queensland border bubble allowing more than 152,000 residents to travel freely through the state provided they have a Border Declaration Pass.
Major delays are expected at the NSW-Qld border as authorities check every vehicle for the updated pass, with traffic exacerbated further by the overnight withdrawal of ADF support from the region.

The shires added to the border bubble are; Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Glen Innes. ... d=msedgdhp

Queensland borders now open to parts of NSW
Queensland has reopened its borders to residents on the NSW Far North Coast after coronavirus restrictions were lifted overnight.

Five NSW local government areas are now allowed back into Queensland, meaning an extra 150,000 residents from those regions can enter the state without needing to quarantine.

The changes came into effect just after 1am and includes areas including Ballina, Lismore, Byron Bay and Glen Innes.
This also means Queenslanders will now be permitted to enter those NSW locations and return north without having to quarantine.

The changes are expected to benefit people who need to cross the border every day for work, while tourism will also see a slight return to normalcy.

It will also mean important health services in border towns will be able to be accessed for those who need them.

The new border declaration form is now available on the Queensland Government's website and asks those filling it out to declare if they have visited any coronavirus hotspots in NSW.

Changes were made to this form so any that were downloaded before 1am today will not be valid. ... wsrc%5Etfw

Police Minister Mark Ryan said yesterday people would still need to comply with border crossing rules, and would be caught out if they lied on a border pass.

"The five minutes you might take getting through the border checkpoint is five minutes well-spent," Mr Ryan said.

"It means the car in front of you and behind is being checked to ensure they're able to come into Queensland, so we can keep COVID-19 out of Queensland."

Overnight, the Australian Defence Force were pulled from Queensland border checkpoints, so this will mean more pressure on state police.

Extra officers have been positioned at border checkpoints this morning to help, but the big test will come later today as families head out for school holiday, long-weekend trips.
Local businesses eager to see the new order
"No amount of government support, state or federal, can substitute the trade that normally takes place across borders," Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind said.

And hotels and holiday parks are at last seeing vacancies fill up — on both sides of the border.

"The Queensland tourism for our park in particular is 30 to 40 per —cent," David Faiers of Reflections Holiday Parks in Byron Bay said.

"It's been great, the phones have rung hot since the border announcement." ... d=msedgdhp

Queensland police cracks down on 'unapproved' uniform patches linked to far-right groups
The Queensland police service has cracked down on officers wearing “unapproved” patches, including the “thin blue line” and other pro-law enforcement symbols that have been co-opted by far right and extremist groups.
Guardian Australia understands some officers were advised last week not to display such patches or other symbols that are not an approved part of the police uniform.
The edict came after images were circulated of an officer at a Black Lives Matter protest wearing an American flag “thin blue line” patch this month.

It is understood there has been no change to formal police policy, but that rules regarding “morale” patches have previously not been strictly enforced by some local supervising officers.

“The Queensland Police Service (QPS) was made aware of an officer wearing a patch which is not part of the standard QPS uniform earlier this month,” a police spokeswoman said in a statement.
“In certain situations, officers can seek approval to wear a uniform which varies from the standard uniform policy.

“The QPS has made further enquiries with the officer involved and the matter is now finalised. The patch is not an approved part of uniform and has since been removed.”

A version of the “thin blue line” symbol featuring an Australian flag is commonly used by police officers as a Facebook profile picture. A private Facebook group with 15,000 members – restricted to law enforcement, military and emergency services personnel – sells the patches and other paraphernalia.

The “thin blue line” is historically a pro-police symbol. It is criticised as being “divisive” and “disrespectful” and has in recent years been connected to white supremacist movements.

Some police officers in Queensland and other states display the Australian flag version on their social media pages.

Posts from the private police Facebook page – Thin Blue Line Australia – mostly defend the use of the symbol as being “pro police” and not to signal support for far-right or extremist groups.

The Thin Blue Line Australia group also sells patches displaying the “Punisher” symbol, inspired by the Marvel comic book character. The symbol also has links to the far right.

Posts sent to Guardian Australia show Queensland police officers complaining about the banning of the “thin blue line” symbol. One central Queensland-based officer compared it to approved patches to show support for the LGBTI community.

Guardian Australia asked whether QPS had concerns about the proliferation of thin blue line and Punisher images among officers online, but did not receive a response to specific questions by deadline on Wednesday. ... 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: 12625
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:49 am

AFL fans use Northern Territory loophole for chance to see grand final at The Gabba ( Brisbane )
The AFL fans were happy to spend big on getting the chance to enjoy some games first-hand.
A trio of footy-mad Victorians have spent thousands, travelled halfway across Australia, and are enduring two weeks in mandatory quarantine in the tropical heat, so they can have the chance of making the footy finals in Queensland.

Queensland is hosting the AFL grand final for the first time in history at The Gabba in Brisbane on October 24.

But the state's borders remain closed to Victoria, meaning those from the sport's traditional homeland are locked out, unless they travel and quarantine for two weeks in the Northern Territory to get there.

Student Laurence Melon said Melbourne's second coronavirus wave was the catalyst to head north.

"When they reimposed the restrictions, it was rather a spontaneous decision, and we said 'let's just go'," Mr Melon said.

The trio made the decision in spite of the financial cost of mandatory quarantine, $2,500 per person.

But as the students are on low incomes, they were granted a 50 per cent concession for their stays, or $1,250 each, at the former workers village at Howard Springs, outside Darwin.

To fellow student Dylan Wolters, that is a "small price to pay".

"It's 100 per cent worth it. I'd say to mates, would you pay one thousand dollars to be out of lockdown?" he said.

"It's not a question you have to think about too much. Finals footy, there's not much like it, not much that compares to it."

Even after journey, finals not a certainty
Once in Queensland, the trio said they were planning to look for work, and were keeping their fingers crossed they would be successful in scoring grand final tickets.

If they do not get a ticket, Mr Melon said the trio would be content to go to a bar or casino and watch the match.

"We haven't had any of it for six months down in Victoria, so it would be just fun to be around that atmosphere," Mr Melon said.

The Howard Springs quarantine facility runs at a loss, with the shortfall picked up by the NT taxpayer.

But the three travellers said they weren't taking their stint in the NT for granted, and were planning to spend a couple of days in Darwin before flying south to the Gold Coast.

"We're going to hit the town and spend up a bit of cash, just to see what Darwin's about," said Nathan Boucher.

The three said they were also keen to check out some of the local Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) footy matches while in town. ... d=msedgdhp

ACT leaders trade barbs on COVID-19 'undermining' and 'fearmongering' in otherwise clean election debate
Canberrans tuning in to the only official leaders' debate for the ACT election were probably grateful that it had little in common with the far more high-profile US presidential debate running the same day.

Labor leader Andrew Barr and Liberal leader Alistair Coe may not have held a debate made for entertainment television, but it had its moments.

Though, if you were seeking answers to some of the campaign's most pressing issues you may have left disappointed.

The debate predictably gave the leaders a chance to plug their policies and utter their catchphrases again (and again), but there were a few things that set the night apart from the campaign.

Here are the key takeaways from ACT leaders' debate.

1. This was not Trump vs Biden
Neither Andrew Barr or Alistair Coe were ever likely to call their opponent a "clown", "racist" or any of the other insults traded on the US debate stage.

In the ACT, the contenders addressed each other as Andrew and Alistair, and the temperature of the debate never rose above a warm bath.

While the politicians may not have always answered questions directly (or sometimes at all) the leaders traded barbs on policy details, not personality.

Both Mr Coe and the debate's moderator — ABC Canberra's Adam Shirley — opted to go without ties, setting the scene for a largely relaxed discussion.

There was even a rare moment of humility, unthinkable in the fight for the US presidency, when Andrew Barr accepted his government had failed to reduce Indigenous incarceration rates.

"It's a challenge, and it's one that we acknowledge," Mr Barr said.

2. Coe accused Barr of COVID-19 'fearmongering'
The topic of COVID-19 was predictably a large part of the debate.

The leaders each had a chance to ask each other one question, and Mr Barr's to the Liberal leader was blunt:

"Alistair, you suggested in May the pandemic was over, you have both publicly and privately undermined our public health officials … why do you continue to undermine our public health officials and our efforts to contain the coronavirus?"

Mr Coe did not make much effort to distance himself from that attack, as he returned fire and accused the Chief Minister of "fearmongering" and being negative.

"We will do what you didn't do, and that is consult, and make sure the chief health officer had all the information at her at her disposal from on the ground, because if you were on the ground and you were hearing what I was hearing, you would know there are some improvements that could be made to those restrictions," he said.

Barr snipped back: "I take it that you're going to continue your campaign to undermine our public health response."

3. We still don't know how the Canberra Liberals will pay for their promises
Since the campaign began, Mr Coe has continually been challenged on how his party planned to pay for a raft of spending measures — especially given the Canberra Liberals have also promised significant tax cuts and no cuts to public services.

Mr Coe previously argued that the Liberals' election promises would be paid for by lowering the cost of living and bringing back "Canberra refugees" from across the NSW border.

On Wednesday night Mr Coe pointed to $400 million in "foregone" revenue lost over the border.

"In the last census period, 3,500 Canberrans moved over the border into NSW, into surrounding regions … 3,500 people who were seeking cheaper housing," Mr Coe said.

"There's no doubt, if you go to the Googong display office … you'll see a lot of Canberra number plates there on a Saturday."

But Mr Barr said it was a "fallacy" that people were leaving Canberra, saying the ACT's population and economy were both growing faster than the Queanbeyan region's.

"When you look at the data you see what a fallacy he is purporting, it is just not true," Mr Barr said.

"It doesn't add up, people know it doesn't add up, and the fact he so wilfully avoids the question every time it is asked demonstrates he does not have the answer."

An ABC analysis previously found, over the five years to 2016, the Queanbeyan region gained a net migration of 83 people from Canberra.

4. This isn't a light rail election
The ACT's past two elections were firmly fought on the battleground of building a light rail through Canberra.

But this election was unlikely to ever become another brawl on the tramline — despite ACT Labor hoping it might be.

The Canberra Liberals some time ago accepted that light rail had become a popular transport option for commuters, but Labor jumped earlier this month when a junior Liberal politician cast doubt over the party's commitment to building light rail from the city to Woden.

Mr Coe was quick to put to rest any lingering doubt and offered to release the full business case for stage two of light rail if elected.

He said the Liberals were committed to stage two of light rail to Woden but left the door open to changing its design and construction.

"We can't make a blind commitment on the basis of Andrew's secret negotiations," he said.

5. There weren't really any surprises — and all the same lines were repeated
The clearest takeaway from the evening was probably that both leaders played it pretty safe.

Mr Barr and Mr Coe stuck close to their central campaign messages: those of economic recovery and cost of living, respectively.

Mr Coe's catchcry of a "making Canberra a better place to live, work and raise a family" through reduced taxation and improved services had plenty of airing.

And Mr Barr drew it all back to "creating new jobs" and protecting existing ones through Labor's "significant infrastructure" plans.

Few people who have been watching the leaders closely since campaigning began were likely to hear anything that changed their minds.

But it was a night that ended in good humour, as both Mr Coe and Mr Barr shared a chuckle that, unlike a certain shouting match, this could at least be a "vigorous but respectful" debate. ... d=msedgdhp


Coronavirus restrictions to ease in South Australia for pubs, clubs and dancing at weddings
Key points:
People will be able to drink while standing up in outdoor areas in licensed venues
The eased restrictions mean dancing will also be permitted at private events
Restrictions have been put in place for accommodation bookings ahead of schoolies festivities

South Australia will ease coronavirus restrictions on people drinking in bars, pubs and clubs, and at private events such as weddings in licensed venues.

People will be able to drink while standing up in outdoor areas in licensed venues from midnight tomorrow night.

A cap of 150 guests remains on private functions such as weddings, but guests will now be able to dance, as well as drink while standing up — an activity the SA Government has referred to as "vertical consumption".

"For licensed premises, we will now allow vertical consumption outdoors … previously we've only allowed for seated consumption," Premier Steven Marshall said.

"We'll be easing the restrictions on private functions in licensed premises — up to 150 people where we do allow vertical consumption and also dancing.

"This is going to be a big relief to many licensed premises who have not been able to have those functions on their premises. It's going to be a big relief to event organisers."

Dancing will remain off limits outside of private functions.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said restrictions remain in place for standing and drinking indoors at public gatherings, but said it was "a good step forward" for private events.

"Dancing and vertical consumption on licensed premises can only occur in a private function with a defined guest list," Mr Stevens said.

"Vertical consumption is allowed in outdoor areas of licensed premises, but that will not include dancing."

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the eased restrictions came after the state's transition committee this morning discussed health and economic risks.

"I'm also aware that the JobKeeper is winding down, and there are going to be people in South Australia unfortunately coming off JobKeeper," Dr Spurrier said.

"So when you weigh up the health risks and the economic risks, I felt exactly what the commissioner had proposed was sensible.

"We are allowing vertical drinking in certain circumstances. One is outdoors, and we know that the enhanced ventilation does reduce the risk of transmission.

"The second situation is when you've got a private function of 150 people … from my perspective in health, that means we can do the contact tracing."

But the SA Government will also introduce new restrictions, designed to target schoolies events, because of concerns large groups are planning to gather at short stay accommodation and caravan parks.

From midnight on Friday night, the number of people allowed in short stay accommodation will be equal to the number of beds, with six additional people.

Six people over the age of 16 will be allowed per camp or caravan site, with no restrictions on the number of children under 16.

"This is obviously designed to make sure that we don't have large groups of young people in condensed arrangements on small caravan park sites," Mr Stevens said.

He said police have received information suggesting the absence of the major, traditional weekend schoolies event is leading to schoolies activities being "spread out over several weekends".

The restrictions on accommodation bookings will come into effect at midnight on Friday, October 2.

Bride-to-be delighted
Until now, bride-to-be Natalie Evreniadis said it had been difficult to get excited about her wedding day.

"We just didn't know where things were going to land," Ms Evreniadis said.

"It feels like we've planned three weddings in the one year."

But the situation is looking a whole lot brighter for the 33-year-old's big day, now that her wedding guests will be allowed to drink and dance at the venue.

"I come from a Greek and Italian culture, and my fiance is Lebanese. So for us, drinking, dancing and food is such a massive part of our culture," she said.

Although the couple has had to reduce their guest list number from around 350 to 150, which includes the bridal party, Ms Evreniadis said she could finally look forward to her special day.

"Now honestly it's just a massive relief," she said.

"We know we can drink and dance, and bring all of those cultural elements that we are so looking forward to having altogether in the one room." ... s/12720756


WA Agriculture Minister calls for national illegal worker amnesty to ease farm labour shortage
Western Australia's seasonal worker shortage is at a boiling point as states face off with the Commonwealth over the best way to address the crisis.

WA's Agriculture Minister is calling on the Federal Government to introduce an undocumented worker amnesty system to address the looming national agricultural labour shortage.

Alannah MacTiernan met with heavyweights from the WA fruit and vegetable industry late last week and committed to lobby her Federal counterparts to accept the proposal.

The Commonwealth estimates about 86,000 illegal workers are operating in Australia, although it is unclear how many are based in WA.

With thousands of workers needed within just a few weeks, Ms MacTiernan said all options had to be considered.

"What we do know is that in the industry there has been … largely Malaysian and Vietnamese workers that have come out here on various visa classes and have stayed on," she said.

"What the Federal Government has said is that their concern is these people are now in one sense here illegally in Australia and this would give them a reward [for overstaying].

"Our view is that these are exceptional circumstances, the people that are here, we know that they have been doing this work.

"This is an appropriate time, I would've thought, to have that amnesty, and get all this out in the open so … we can ensure that they are being properly treated."

Victoria supports proposal
Ms MacTiernan said the idea had also been raised with the Commonwealth by Victorian Regional Development and Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes.

Ms MacTiernan said the proposal had been knocked back by Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, but there were now plans to put the idea to Immigration Minister Alan Tudge.

"We've got virtually no immigration happening in Australia, this is the one time we can get this all sorted," she said.

"It's going to help us get the harvest in, and will help set the industry on a more sustainable trajectory."

WA growers have told ABC Rural that while an amnesty would not increase the available workforce, it would help clarify questions about how many workers were available in the state.

Town takes to the streets
Farmers in the South West town of Manjimup, meanwhile, have taken to the streets to voice their concerns ahead of harvest.

The town typically attracts hundreds of backpackers to help clear trees and vines of avocadoes, passionfruit, cherries, apples and other fruits and vegetables at peak times every year.

But with many backpackers locked out of WA due to the state's hard border closure, Shire of Manjimup president Paul Omodei said there were genuine concerns fruit would be left unpicked.

"November through to February is a very busy period here," he said.

"We are in need of a sizable workforce.

"We can't afford to wait until the season is right upon us to look for solutions."

Fair Work 'doesn't know they're there'
One producer, who wished to remain anonymous because of the controversy surrounding the proposal, said an amnesty would enable industry to meet requirements set out by the major supermarkets.

"To supply the major supermarkets we must pass an audit and responsible sourcing guidelines," he said.

"An amnesty would enable us to remain compliant while protecting the workforce.

"Fair Work doesn't cover illegal workers because it doesn't know they're there."

WAFarmers chief executive Trevor Whittington said any measure that would increase the number of available workers was welcome.

"If its an opportunity for people to clear the decks we'd urge farmers to take it if offered," Mr Whittington said.

"It's no different to the Federal Government extending visas for existing working holidaymakers but the reality is that at best it's only relevant for maybe a few hundred people, whereas we need thousands."

In a statement, Mr Littleproud said the WA Government's decision was disappointing.

"It is disappointing that Alannah MacTiernan would prioritise jobs for illegal workers over signing up to a National Ag Workers Code, which would give WA growers more certainty," Mr Littleproud said.

"Any decision to give an amnesty for illegal workers must be done with a national security lens in mind with appropriate agencies' input." ... d=msedgdhp

Mark McGowan claims there is 'no benefit' to opening WA's borders
With other states and territories beginning to reopen their borders, WA remains isolated in its refusal to subscribe to a targeted COVID-19 'hotspots' regime.

WA's borders have been closed to anyone except designated workers and people exempted on compassionate grounds for almost six months.

The state has not recorded a case of coronavirus in the community for 175 days, but still refuses to open up - even to other safe states such as the NT and SA.

Like WA, SA and the NT have managed to stamp out community transmission and have had low coronavirus case numbers for several months.

But Mr McGowan says there is no point in pursuing a travel bubble - as it would only encourage Western Australians to leave the state and bring few tourists in.

'There is no benefit,' he said on Thursday.

'All we'll do is lose jobs were we to open to those [jurisdictions].

'The other states want us to open the border so that West Australian tourists will flood east, not so that people from the east will come here.

'They're only saying all this for very self-interested reasons because we have higher incomes, we have people that are more used to travelling and therefore we'll have more tourists go from Western Australia to the east.'

The comments are likely to frustrate industry groups that have called on the McGowan government to provide certainty on the easing of border restrictions.

Mr McGowan remains adamant the borders won't come down until the eastern states go 28 days with no community spread.

He highlighted reports that passengers from the Ruby Princess cruise ship may have infected up to 11 people on a flight from Sydney to Perth.

'When we get calls from other governments around Australia, particularly NSW, to bring down our border, all I'd say is they have had significant policy failures in the east that caused the spread of the virus into Western Australia in the early days,' Mr McGowan said.

'We're always very careful about our borders to protect our people. If only they'd been more careful, we would't have had some of those cases come to our state.'

Mary-Louise McLaws, an epidemiologist at the University of NSW and an advisor to the World Health Organisation said the measures were 'beyond cautious'.

'I am a very cautious outbreak epidemiologist, and I think that the 28 days is beyond caution,' Professor McLaws told the ABC on Wednesday.

'It's admirable, but it's looking for total eradication, or close to [it]. And I don't that think we can get to that.'

She said a more realistic approach would be using a two-week rolling average of five cases or less.

The premier was speaking at the launch of WA's new container deposit scheme, which he said would create more than 600 local jobs.

He praised mining giant BHP's promise to hire an additional 2500 apprentices and trainees across academies in WA and Queensland.

'Obviously that will be of lasting benefit to the state,' he said.

'We do want to see companies employ more West Australians. If there are shortages in industry, they need to get cracking on getting people into those jobs.' ... 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 » Fri Oct 02, 2020 1:27 am


Aged care coronavirus preparation 'insufficient', royal commission finds
The Federal Government's actions were "insufficient" to ensure the aged care sector was fully prepared for the coronavirus pandemic, the aged care royal commission has found in a special report.

The report calls for a comprehensive plan for the sector to be developed, for urgent funding to be delivered and for infection control experts to be deployed to all aged care homes.

It says a national aged care advisory body should be created, along with a plan that maximises contact between aged care residents and their families and ensures all outbreaks of COVID-19 are investigated independently.

During at-times testy hearings last month, officials maintained the Federal Government had developed a plan for managing coronavirus in the aged care sector, despite allegations to the contrary by counsel assisting.

The commission found that while efforts had been made based on advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), they did not go far enough.

"It is now clear that the measures implemented by the Australian Government on advice from the AHPPC were in some respects insufficient to ensure preparedness of the aged care sector," the report said.

"Confused and inconsistent messaging from providers, the Australian Government, and state and territory governments emerged as themes in the submissions we have received on COVID-19."

The Government has accepted all of the report's recommendations, which also raise concern for the mental wellbeing of people in residential aged care.

The report says the Government should immediately provide funding for adequate staff to allow for residents to be visited by their families and friends, and add items to the Medicare Benefits Schedule to allow for increased provision of allied health services, including mental health support.

"Levels of depression, anxiety, confusion, loneliness and suicide risk among aged care residents have increased since March 2020," the report said.

"Some of this can be attributed to missing family, changed routines, concern about catching the virus or fear of being isolated in their rooms."

The commissioners labelled the coronavirus pandemic as the greatest challenge the aged care sector has faced.

As of Wednesday, 665 people in residential aged care had died of COVID-19 in Australia.

Government agrees to all recommendations
Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck said the Government accepted all the report's recommendations and had already worked to progress four of them.

"We're not shirking any of this. We're fronting up, we're looking ahead to the future management of this terrible virus and we will continue to develop our plan," he said.

"The Government maintains its position that it has a plan in place.

"All the way through this pandemic, we have operated on the medical and health advice of the AHPPC."

He also announced $29.8 million in new funding for serious incident responses and $10.8 million to enhance the skills of aged care nurses, in response to the recommendation about boosting infection control officers in aged care homes.

Labor's aged care spokeswoman Julie Collins said the Government had caused a "national tragedy".

"The Royal Commission's special report on COVID-19 confirms the Morrison Government had no plan for COVID-19 in aged care," she said.

"The result of the Morrison Government's catastrophic failure is a national tragedy."

Report 'let the Government off the hook': expert
Specialist practitioner in geriatric medicine Joseph Ibrahim, who condemned the Government's response in evidence to the commission, said the Government had been let off lightly.

"The royal commission's report is constructive, it's predominantly descriptive about what has happened, there's been little analysis about what could have been done better early on," he said.

"I think it's really let the Government off the hook here.

"The recommendations put forward will go some ways towards improving the response in Australia, I think when people look at it they'll be asking the question of why wasn't this done earlier?"

The royal commission's recommendations were welcomed by seniors' advocates including Aged and Community Services Australia and National Seniors Australia. ... d=msedgdhp

Mental health experts say it would be 'advisable' to keep JobKeeper and JobSeeker long term
A positive case of COVID-19 on Luke Holliday's worksite cost the 22-year-old his job earlier this year, leaving him feeling isolated and depressed.

Like many Australians, the New South Wales tradie struggled to cope after his employment ended through no fault of his own.

His relationship broke down and he had to find somewhere new to live but said he considered himself "lucky" when he was approved for JobSeeker.

"It gave me a lifeline basically, it was definitely great for my mental health … knowing that you've got that money," he said.

But it wasn't just financial support that Mr Holliday needed and he looked to the Men's Shed in Newcastle for assistance.

"It made me feel like I had value and that I had somewhere to go and talk to other men and learn new skills," he said.

The 22-year-old said without JobSeeker and community support, his depression would have spiralled.

The importance of welfare and community support
The Black Dog Institute has called on the Federal Government to learn from the global financial crisis about what help is needed to support Australians in 2020.

Director Helen Christensen said when the unemployment rate rose after the global financial crisis, suicide rates spiked by 22 per cent for unemployed men and 12 per cent for unemployed women in Australia.

"After pandemics and other big traumatic incidences within the community, suicide rates can rise not just immediately but afterwards and continue along," she said.

Professor Christensen said that was why community safe havens like the Men's Shed program were so crucial.

"Some people find that there is nowhere to go when they are feeling suicidal and I hear stories about people who have gone to casinos and places like that because its open 24/7," she said.

The importance of community safe havens is outlined in a report by the Black Dog Institute that has looked at how to decrease suicidal behaviour.

It stated that setups like Men's Shed were a valuable tool in suicide prevention and helped keep people out of hospital.

The report also highlighted the importance of financial assistance and Associate Professor Fiona Shand said this must remain a priority for the Federal Government.

"When we see significant increases in unemployment, we also tend to see increases in overall suicide rates," she said.

"There is a response that governments can make, and that is to have more generous welfare payments and active labour market programs to support people to get back to work.

"Countries that have more generous welfare schemes see lower increases in suicide in response to unemployment than countries that have less generous welfare schemes."

The JobKeeper wage subsidy is in place until March next year, while the Government will review the JobSeeker rate in the next few months.

Associate Professor Shand said the welfare support should be extended past the current timeline.

"It would be advisable to maintain those programs for longer because we are hearing from people that it's been the thing that's helped to protect them in this situation," she said.

Changes to alcohol laws
The report has also suggested that governments should tackle Australia's alcohol laws to reduce the number of people taking their own life.

Associate Professor Fiona Shand said there was a connection between the availability and cost of liquor with suicide rates.

"There is quite a bit of alcohol involvement in suicide, and the research internationally shows a link between alcohol being readily available and cheap with greater rates of suicide," she said.

"When you change that you can reduce suicide."

Helen Christensen said increasing taxes on certain drinks, raising the drinking age and restricting opening hours of bottle shops should be considered.

"They haven't always proved to be popular in the past but I think they would make a difference to the mental health of our community," she said.

The institute said it was in favour of a wider conversation about potential changes that needed to be weighed up against a person's rights to buy alcohol where and when they want.

2020 is looking up for Luke
After a rough start to the year, Mr Holliday has now secured a carpentry apprenticeship and is delighted to be back in the workforce.

"I got offered a job through a friend working with some carpenters who offered me an apprenticeship," he said.

"It's pretty great."

He has encouraged people that have struggled to cope this year to find a community organisation to join.

"A shout out to the Men's Shed … they are a great organisation to join," he said.

"Even if you go down and the shed is full of old blokes they can be really helpful.

"It's a great thing to be a part of." ... d=msedgdhp

Morrison rebukes NSW environment minister for calling Narrabri gas project a 'gamble'
Scott Morrison has rebuked the New South Wales energy and environment minister Matt Kean for describing the controversial Narrabri coal seam gas development as a “gamble”, declaring Kean is out of step with the premier and the state’s own policy.

The prime minister on Thursday used an interview on the Sydney radio station 2GB to tell Kean, the NSW Liberal frontbencher and a vocal advocate for renewable energy, to pull his head in, declaring “if you are not for gas, you are not for manufacturing jobs”.

“I’m afraid the minister is a bit out of step with his own government, their own policy, the premier and indeed the deal he struck with the federal government,” Morrison said. “You’ve got to stick to your deals and stick to your word.”

Morrison is referring to a $2bn deal his government struck with the Berejiklian government earlier this year to increase gas supply and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector.

Under that agreement the NSW government committed to facilitating investment opportunities to inject an additional 70 petajoules of gas a year into the east coast market.

At the time the deal was struck Berejiklian told reporters the Narrabri gas project “may very well be” the source of extra gas and “will meet” the requirement.

But at that time the NSW government already had two projects in development – the Port Kembla and the port of Newcastle gas import terminals – that were forecast to deliver more than 200 petajoules between them.

The NSW Independent Planning Commission this week gave what it described as “phased approval” of the $3.6bn Narrabri gas project in the state’s north. The project remains highly contentious with local farmers, conservationists and Indigenous traditional owners.

Earlier this week Kean reportedly told the launch of the conservative youth wing of the Coalition for Conservation that the business case for gas was “on the clock”.

Kean told the group gas “may be useful in the short term” but he said the economics were questionable because “gas is a hugely expensive way of generating electricity”. The NSW minister said it would be sensible to move towards cheaper ways of delivering energy.

These arguments from Kean are unexceptionable based on the current evidence. The Australian Energy Market Operator says new gas-fired power is likely to be more expensive than alternatives like farmed renewable energy and pumped hydro, or demand response programs.

While gas is said to have about half the emissions of coal, studies have suggested its impact may be greater due to leakage of methane, which is a particularly potent greenhouse gas.

While the Coalition in Canberra is championing a “gas-led” recovery from the coronavirus, the Coalition also remains a signatory to the Paris agreement, which includes a commitment to keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2C above pre-industrial levels, and also pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5C.

Gas creates pollution both in extraction and use.

Morrison said on Thursday Gladys Berejiklian understood that gas was “an essential part of the energy mix” and was “absolutely critical” to supporting the manufacturing industry. But fewer than 1% of Australian manufacturing jobs are in gas-intensive industries that would materially benefit from a massive gas industry expansion, according to an upcoming analysis from the Grattan Institute.

“I spoke to the premier, I didn’t talk to [Kean] and the premier agrees with the government strongly, and the policy that the NSW government has is gas is an essential part of the energy mix, and [the Narrabri project] is 1,300 jobs and it’s $12bn worth of investment,” the prime minister said on Thursday.

The prime minister is due later on Thursday to unveil more taxpayer support for manufacturing in six priority sectors ahead of the budget on 6 October. ... d=msedgdhp

Government wants to boost Australian manufacturing after learning lessons of COVID-19
The Federal Government will pump close to $1.5 billion into Australia's manufacturing sector, outlining plans to shore up local production and strengthen supply chains in the wake of COVID-19.

Under the manufacturing strategy unveiled on Wednesday, $107 million will be dedicated to strengthening supply lines for essential goods.

That money will prioritise medicines and medical products, with the goal of boosting Australia's ability to provide critical supplies for itself during surges in demand.

A separate $1.3 billion will spent over the next four years, starting in the first half of 2021, to help manufacturers upscale their businesses, with additional focus on turning concepts into finished products, and integrating into global supply chains.

The money will be distributed to businesses willing to co-invest with the Government in six priority areas:

Resources technology and critical minerals
Food and beverages
Medical products
Recycling and clean energy
$52 million more will be spent on a second round of the Government's manufacturing modernisation fund.

PM says manufacturing jobs changing
Recent research from the The Australia Institute's Centre for Future Work ranked Australia lowest among OECD countries in terms of manufacturing self-sufficiency.

Industry Minister Karen Andrews said the Government and industry had learned lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our manufacturers have risen to the challenge to deliver during COVID-19 and now, we're unlocking their potential to deliver for our future," she said.

"By playing to our strengths, strategically investing and boosting the role of science and technology in industry, we can open up new markets and take more of our quality products to the world."

Ms Andrews said science and technology would play a vital role in helping reduce costs and make domestic industry competitive with ones overseas.

"We have quite high input costs at the moment, with energy and also with our labour costs," she said.

"If we're going to make our businesses more productive and more efficient, we actually need to look at the part in the middle and that's where science and technology will be used."


Speaking on Sydney radio station 2GB on Thursday morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the strategy focused on established and emerging manufacturing sectors in Australia.

"We've got a lot of capacity here, we've got to focus on areas of strength," he said.

"Many jobs in this, a lot of investment in this and it's a key part of our economic recovery plan."

But Labor's industry spokesman Brendan O'Connor accused the Government of neglecting Australian manufacturing for years.

"Today's $1.5 billion is less than what this Government is cutting from the Research and Development Tax Incentive — an initiative crucial to our advanced manufacturing future," he said in a statement with shadow assistant minister for manufacturing Louise Pratt.

"The Morrison Government's bill before Parliament will rip nearly $2 billion out of research and development, which will directly hurt Australian manufacturing.

"The six priority areas announced today were all identified in Labor's 2012 PM's Manufacturing Taskforce Report and announced in the 2013 Plan for Australian Jobs, raising the question — where has this Government been for last seven years?" ... d=msedgdhp

Morrison to announce $1.5bn pandemic recovery investment in manufacturing sector
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is preparing to spend $1.5 billion to revitalise Australia's manufacturing sector and boost large-scale production during the pandemic recovery.

A major pre-budget speech will include a 1.3 billion modern manufacturing initiative with government co-investment in six areas where Australia has a competitive advantage.

Manufacturers in resource technology, food and beverage, medical products, recycling and clean energy, defence and space fields stand to benefit under the new framework.

Mr Morrison will also today tell the National Press Club this year's budget will be different in scale to "any we have seen for generations".

“We make things in Australia. We do it well. We need to keep making things in Australia. And under our plan we will,” the PM is expected to say.

“Manufacturing employs around 860,000 Australians, and prior to the pandemic it generated more than $100 billion in value for our economy each year and over $50 billion in exports." ... d=msedgdhp

'We make things in Australia': PM's plan to boost manufacturing
Industry will be promised $1.5 billion to sustain local manufacturing as part of a budget plan that aims to secure a "sovereign capability" in six priority areas ranging from food to medicine and clean energy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will name the target industries in a major speech on Thursday that sets out ambitions to build global scale in each sector, with the promise of public funding to lure big investors.

"We make things in Australia. We do it well. We need to keep making things in Australia. And with this strategy, we will," Mr Morrison says in a draft of the speech.

Five days out from the federal budget, the Prime Minister will use the speech to signal flagship measures to cut tax, build new infrastructure, fund more skills development and "rebuild the economy" from the recession.

Mining giant BHP Billiton will back the government message by announcing an $800 million outlay on skills, engineering and technology on Thursday, saying this would include at least 2500 more apprentices and trainees.

The government estimates its manufacturing plan could create 80,000 direct jobs and about 300,000 more indirect jobs by helping companies modernise their factories and ramp up exports.

The six priority sectors to receive the new funding will be resources technology and critical minerals processing; food and beverage manufacturing; medical products; clean energy and recycling; defence; and space.

"The reality is we cannot and should not seek to reach global scale in a large number of sectors," Mr Morrison says in a draft of the speech to the National Press Club.

"Don't try to do everything. It's all about alignment, across different levels of government, with industry and with the research and education sectors."

Industry Minister Karen Andrews has talked of expanding food exports, for instance, so Australia adds value to its farm produce, and to produce batteries that add value to the country's rare earths and other raw materials.

The $1.5 billion is new money to be spent over four years on three components including a Manufacturing Modernisation Fund, which will offer $52.8 million in grants to local companies within three months.

The grants will only be offered to companies in the six priority areas and will be conditional on industry committing $3 for every $1 in public funds, with the new money adding to an initial round of funding last April.

The government estimated the last funding round would create 2600 jobs and the next round could do the same. Companies can apply for amounts between $100,000 and $1 million.

The second component will be a $107.2 million Supply Chain Resilience Initiative to identify areas where Australia needs a domestic capability for emergencies, a problem exposed in medical products during the pandemic.

The third and largest component will be a $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative, which will open in the first half of next year to offer grants for major projects.

In the same way the government allocated $150 million last year to support Australian space companies work with NASA, the new fund is meant to attract big investors from overseas and build "economies of scale" in local production.

Labor industry spokesman Brendan O'Connor has dismissed the government's talk so far of a new plan for manufacturing, pointing to the closure of car-making as one of the failures of the Coalition's time in power since 2013.

"They've spent seven years attacking and undermining Australian manufacturing and now they want Australians to believe they support manufacturing - what a waste of years of economic growth and taxpayers' money," Mr O'Connor said on Monday.

The government estimates manufacturing employed 860,000 workers and generated about $50 billion in exports before the pandemic.

One day after Labor leader Anthony Albanese accused the Prime Minister of dodging responsibility for the "Morrison recession" and being too slow to help those in need, Mr Morrison will promise a budget that can "cushion the blow" of the pandemic.

The government's argument is that other countries have been hit much harder and that 700,000 more jobs would have been lost in Australia were it not for federal stimulus measures.

In a signal that income tax cuts are likely to be brought forward in the budget, Mr Morrison will point to the governmnent's record in reducing taxes.

"Australians are keeping more of what they earn, as promised. And there will be more," he says.

Under the BHP plan to be announced on Thursday, the mining giant will spend $300 million over five years on 2,500 new apprenticeships, and $450 million to source more local products and services in Australian mining and technology businesses.

"Providing apprenticeships, skills and training opportunities for Australians of all ages and all walks of life, particularly in our regional communities, is a commitment we can make to help Australia bounce back," BHP chief executive Mike Henry said. ... d=msedgdhp

Australia to offer manufacturing sector $925 million in grants, PM to say
Australia will offer manufacturers up to A$1.3 billion ($924.8 million) in grants to expand, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will say on Thursday, as Canberra outlines its plan to revive an economy ravaged by COVID-19.
Australia is in the midst of its first recession in three decades after shutting large swathes of its economy to slow the spread of COVID-19.

While the measures have seen Australia emerge as one of the world's most successful in combating COVID-19, Canberra has been forced into a series of stimulus packages.

In the latest round, Morrison will say Canberra will co-invest in projects in six industries such as space, defence, and resources.
"We make things in Australia. We do it well. We need to keep making things in Australia. And under our plan we will," Morrison will say in a speech in Canberra, extracts of which were given to the media.

Morrison will say businesses will be eligible for grants of between A$100,000 and A$1 million. Businesses will be required to match the government funds by a ratio of three to one.

The funding will be allocated over the next four years, details of the plan seen by Reuters show.

Morrison will say that the six industries that also include food; medical products; recycling and clean energy have been identified using a range of evidence that draws on data from the World Bank and OECD.

The funding package is expected to be a key pillar of Australia's budget to be delivered next week, which Morrison has described as the most important since World War II.

Manufacturing has already been identified as a central pillar of Morrison's plan, and earlier this month Canberra unveiled a plan to boost gas supplies and drive down energy prices to fuel production.

($1 = 1.4057 Australian dollars) ... d=msedgdhp

Infrastructure spending must be core to Federal Budget's recession recovery plan: economists
Deep beneath Sydney's streets and famed harbour, work on Australia's biggest public transport project is slowly reaching its final destination.

The New South Wales Government's massive City and Southwest Metro rail project will ultimately add another 66 kilometres to Sydney's rail network and 31 more stations.

Tunnelling for the line — which connects Sydney's north, under the harbour, to the CBD and then passes through the inner-south on its way to the existing Bankstown line — was finished earlier this year.

The NSW Government has said the project is ultimately expected to cost $11.5-12.5 billion, making it the largest public transport project currently underway in Australia.

It is the kind of large-scale infrastructure project the Federal Government is under pressure to fast track or announce in next week's Budget.

Last year the Morrison Government revealed its $100 billion infrastructure fund to be rolled out over the next decade.

Back then, it had its eye on bringing the Budget "back in black".

COVID-19 has laid those surplus aspirations to rest and the focus now is on job creation and pulling Australia out of its sharpest recession since the Great Depression.

Many are expecting Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to announce a massive upgrade to infrastructure spending next week, including the Reserve Bank of Australia.

RBA FOI reveals infrastructure 'scepticism'
Secret internal documents obtained through Freedom of Information (FOI) reveal internal discussion that disparages the low amount of money the Commonwealth and state governments are spending on job-creating projects such as tunnels, roads, bridges and buildings.

"The spending announced to date adds a relatively small amount to the pipeline of public infrastructure work yet-to-be done," economist Matthew Larkin wrote in an internal RBA report.

After the COVID-19 outbreak, the federal and state governments announced about $3 billion in infrastructure investment in three categories: 'shovel ready', road safety and local roads.

The Federal Government's contribution included money already announced in last year's $100 billion spending list.

The aim has been to fund projects to "commence quickly, support jobs and stimulate the economy," wrote Mr Larkin, with money spent in 2020 and next year.

Every month the Reserve Bank meets about 80 contacts called 'liaisons' in different industries to find out how the economy is really travelling.

Mr Larkin wrote that many of them questioned the so-called "new projects" saying they were simply re-announcements of earlier mooted deals.

"While the three programs represent an intention to support infrastructure activity in the near term," Mr Larkin wrote in a report titled Shovel Ready, Set, Go?, "liaison contacts and industry experts are sceptical that shovel ready projects are as new as governments and the media have portrayed them."

Digging our way out
The Federal Government has already started drip feeding its new spending list ahead of the Budget on Tuesday.

Last week, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher announced a $3.5 billion upgrade to the National Broadband Network.

The upgrade expands the Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN) system, enabling another 6 million customers, should they choose, to connect to higher speed internet. It also aims to dramatically improve maximum speeds for those on the HFC network.

The Government says it will create or maintain 25,000 jobs during the next two years.

It is the kind of work Deloitte Access Economics Partner Nicki Hutley wants to see more of.

"It would be incredibly welcome, incredibly meaningful, it will lift productivity and it will create jobs," she told The Business.

"It's not clear to me, though, how much of that will be paid for by the Government and how much by households themselves.

"We need to make sure it is at commercial rates for people to take up."

As with all promises, the devil will be in the detail.

The NBN announcement was made after the secret RBA documents obtained by The Business through the FOI process were written.

Those documents reveal the internal view of staff at the bank — in a paper marked "highly restricted" — that many "announcements" were simply old news, and not related to any kind of COVID-based spending or decision-making.

In dot points to support a presentation to National Cabinet, an unnamed staff member wrote:

"Announced additional spending by the states to date has been more modest in [dollar] terms.

"Federal Government financing much of the 'shovel-ready' infrastructure announcements in response to COVID — but so far small relative to the existing pipeline of work."

Size does not always matter
But fast-tracking existing projects is not such a bad idea in itself, according to some economists.

After all, timing is everything when you want to kickstart the economic engine.

While mega projects inject big dollars, lots of little projects — that are quicker and easier to get going — when introduced en masse, can have a major impact.

"We don't want projects that are going to take years and years and years to plan," said BIS Oxford Economics chief economist Sarah Hunter.

"The jobs need to be created immediately — so smaller projects that can roll out very quickly are going to be an important part of this."

Despite last month's surprisingly upbeat official jobs numbers, many expect the unemployment rate will still rise to about 9 per cent by the end of the year.

A key reason — the winding back of worker support measures.

Just a few days ago, JobKeeper took its first hit — falling from $1,500 to $1,200 for full-time workers and an even bigger whack for people working less than 20 hours a week before the pandemic, who are now receiving $750 a fortnight.

There will be another cut in January before the program is abolished in March.

People on JobSeeker have also had their support slashed.

Modelling by Deloitte shows removing the coronavirus supplement by Christmas could lead to another 145,000 people out of work and a $31 billion hit to the economy.

"We're going to need some very significant spending if we're going to see all of that impact offset," Ms Hutley said.

"I don't think that's what we're going to see."

So what should the Government spend our money on?
Economist Stephen Koukoulas, who advised Julia Gillard while she was PM, agrees that smaller is not necessary inferior.

"Rolling out small scale projects in every local council, for example, where things like painting the town hall and fixing gutters, fixing footpaths — they don't sound much but over all of the council areas in Australia, if there's an amount of money allocated there, then people in that area will be employed fixing those things," he said.

He added the Federal Government also has a rare opportunity to enhance Australia's green energy output.

"If the Government can fast track some of that electricity generation storage, battery storage, it would be useful," he told The Business.

"And then, of course, encouraging people to use that renewable energy — so things like rolling out power recharging stations on the freeway — that encourages people to use electric cars."

Ms Hutley wants the Federal Government to help the states build more social housing.

"It deals with keeping people, particularly tradies, in jobs where they use their skills, but it also has a long-term social benefit as well as that short-term economic hit," she argued.

For Ms Hunter, critical to any project announcement is rapidly helping to fill the massive jobs void Australia now faces, while also boosting productivity.

"The most important thing is the immediacy of it," she said.

"We don't want a whole list of mega projects announced which are already in train and are really hard to accelerate, it's getting that immediacy because, with the tapering of JobKeeper, that's what's needed.

"We need to replace that activity now, in the next six months. It's no good it materialising in two or three years' time."

The clock is ticking, with the Federal Budget on Tuesday. ... d=msedgdhp

Senator says politicians should accept wage-freeze amid COVID-19 recession
Australian Senator Jacqui Lambie has called for politicians to "lead by example" by accepting wage freezes during the COVID-19 recession.

"It is very difficult times and everyone needs to do the heavy lifting," she told Today.

Ms Lambie said politicians received a pay rise this year during the height of the pandemic and instead of criticising other workers, should "lead by example".

"I believe that we got a pay rise as politicians in the middle of the year as well, so maybe while we are talking about that it's about time that politicians' pays were put on freeze as well."

When asked whether she would accept a wage freeze, Ms Lambie responded, "Absolutely I would."

"I give my pay rises to charity ... Everyone needs to do the heavy lifting. It's got to start from those in charge, leadership needs to start there."

Her comments come amid controversy surrounding the ABC this morning after it was revealed 80 per cent of staff voted for a pay rise despite other public sector workers having their wages frozen during the COVID-19 recession.

Talks between the Maritime Union of Australia and the Federal Government will also resume this morning in a bid to end the industrial dispute over the union's demand for increased pay.

The union has offered to take a 2.5 per cent pay increase for pork workers instead of the six per cent they initially wanted.

Up to 90,000 containers at Port Botany in Sydney are stuck in limbo as the union attempts to negotiate a pay rise.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison has accused the union of "effectively engaged in a campaign of extortion".

"We cannot have the militant end of the union movement effectively engaging in a campaign of extortion against the Australian people in the middle of a COVID-19 recession," Mr Morrison said.

"This is just extraordinary, appalling behavior ... That is reprehensible." ... d=msedgdhp

Government to announce $61m environment and heritage package in Federal Budget
Marine life, recreational fishers and eco-tourism operators are the focus of a $61.7 million environment and heritage package to be announced in next week's Federal Budget.

The money comes from the $1 billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund, and also targets communities affected by the bushfires.

A third of the money will be spent building 11 oyster and shellfish reefs around Australia, creating vital habitat for fish and other marine life.

Shellfish reefs were nearly fished to extinction a century ago, and building them up artificially is the only way to effectively restore them.

The program will be run by the Nature Conservancy, which has already overseen 10 other shellfish reef reconstructions.

"Reef Builder is a $20 million partnership between the Federal Government and the Nature Conservancy to recover an underwater ecosystem from the brink of extinction whilst also helping our coastal communities bounce back from COVID-19, with a bit of a jobs boost," Dr Chris Gilles, The Nature Conservancy's head of oceans programs, said.

The reefs will be built up using dead oysters, and then seeded with oysters bred in hatcheries.

Dr Gillies said the reefs would act as nurseries for coastal estuaries while also helping to filter large amounts of water.

"A single oyster can filter up to 150 litres of water a day," he said.

"Once we set the seed, once we set that first reef, we hope that these ecosystems will then be able to thrive and grow in size and scale on their own."

It is welcome news for Stan Konstantaras, president of the Recreational Fishing Alliance of New South Wales.

He has been fishing waters around Botany Bay for about 45 years and has seen the catch deteriorate.

"We've seen port expansions. We've seen runways go in [and] a lot of development around it, so it's definitely changed," Mr Konstantaras said.

But he thinks the shellfish reef could transform the ecosystem.

"In two to seven years, I'd expect to see more fish stocks, definitely boosted tourism out here; so we'll see some divers getting out there," Mr Konstantaras said.

"We'll see it become a fishing hotspot, really. People don't want to travel and not catch fish. So having a habitat in Botany Bay would be great."

Walking tracks, huts, national park facilities to get upgrades
The rest of the package will include $33.5 million for upgrades to facilities at national parks and world heritage sites, including the redevelopment of huts along the Overland Track in Tasmania, a new culture and tourism hub in the Wet Tropics in Queensland, and improvements to walking tracks and visitor centres in the Gondwana Rainforests in New South Wales.

As part of the package, $3.2 million will be spent getting tourism operators along the Great Barrier Reef to carry out reef monitoring, and $5 million will be set aside to upgrade Townsville's Reef HQ aquarium.

"Tourism operators in the Great Barrier Reef are passionate about its preservation and tapping into their capacity at this time to get operators back out on the water monitoring coral condition, controlling native pest outbreaks and restoring local reef sites is a real opportunity for the reef," Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said.

The Government hopes the money will boost domestic tourism and help communities financially recover from COVID-19 and the summer bushfires.

"There's certainly some job stimulus aspect to this announcement and that's vital in regional Australia", Ms Ley said.

"One of the things, when I talk to people coming out of COVID, is that they value nature, they value the natural environment, they want those experiences. And more importantly, domestic tourism is starting to flourish.

"At a time when domestic tourism is in everyone's mind, we are sprucing up our national and world heritage backyard, restoring native shellfish reefs lost decades ago and creating jobs in the process."

Conservation groups have been pressuring the Government to direct some of the money it is spending on economic stimulus to the environment.

Amid the global financial crisis, the Rudd government poured more than $4 billion into green stimulus, including the ill-fated "pink batts" home insulation subsidy.

This money, coming from the COVID-19 recovery funds, is a nod in that direction — although much less than conservation groups were asking for.

"I'm aware of the proposals from environment groups and I'm very supportive of everything that provides a stimulus around rural and regional Australia," Ms Ley said.

Last year, the Australian Conservation Foundation calculated environmental spending had been cut by 40 per cent since the Coalition came to power in 2013.

It also criticised the Government for subsidising polluting industries.

Ms Ley said the Government had not been cutting environment spending.

"I disagree with the premise of that question about cutting spending, it's certainly not what we have been doing," she said.

"In fact, our National Environment Science Programme, which is at the heart of research and science when it comes to the environment and climate adaptation, has recently received a boost of $149 million.

"We are 100 per cent responding to what we see in the environment around us and what is required."

The Federal Budget will be handed down on October 6 after being delayed due to the pandemic. ... d=msedgdhp

Data breach: Dfat reveals email addresses of vulnerable Australians stranded overseas
The addresses were included in an email sent to multiple recipients before midday on Wednesday by the Covid-19 consular operations section of Dfat.

The message notified recipients that interest-free loans were available for “the most vulnerable Australian citizens whose return to Australia has been impacted by the restrictions arising from Covid-19”.

About 200 private email addresses were visible in the header of the email, which the department instantly attempted to recall. But that was not before many recipients had downloaded it.

More than three hours after sending the original email, Dfat sent another email admitting the error and asking those who had received the earlier message to delete it and not forward it on to others.

Related: Australia considers home isolation with electronic surveillance for returned travellers

The subsequent email stated: “I want to assure you that the department takes privacy and the handling of personal information very seriously. We have reviewed our internal processes and have taken measures to ensure such mistakes do not happen again.”

Recipients were told they could contact Dfat’s privacy section if they were concerned about the handling of their personal information.

Social media searches suggest some of the people whose addresses were shared are travelling in China. An Australian businessman living in Shanghai said he at first thought the email was spam because of the long list of addresses in the header.

When he realised what had happened he said he was angry. “It’s obviously a major cock-up to reveal the email addresses of close to 200 Australians who are deemed at risk,” he said. “It’s gobsmacking incompetence.”

The businessman said the email was the first contact he had had from Dfat since he registered with the department two weeks ago following advice that Australians in China could be subjected to arbitrary detention.

“I registered with Dfat as someone who would like to return to Australia … and this is their response.”

Related: Australians stranded overseas willing to wear ankle bracelets while quarantining to return home

The current travel advice on the Smartraveller website is that Australians already in China should return as soon as possible. “Authorities have detained foreigners because they’re ‘endangering national security’. Australians may also be at risk of arbitrary detention,” the advice states.

The original email that disclosed the addresses detailed two kinds of interest-free loans available to vulnerable Australian travellers – a one-off loan to cover emergency living costs and another to cover the cost of a flight home. The amounts available vary depending on the country and range from $2,500 for Central and South America to $750 for those in south-east Asia. Dfat has been contacted for comment.

Federal politicians were berated last week for “abandoning” Australian citizens overseas during the coronavirus pandemic. Witnesses told a Senate inquiry government ministers had “shamefully washed their hands” of those unable to return due to flight caps.

Despite federal and state leaders agreeing to increase arrival caps at the most recent national cabinet from 4,000 to 6,000 weekly arrivals, the inquiry heard Australians were still facing cancelled flights that had been rescheduled into 2021. ... d=msedgdhp

Banks are struggling to get borrowers to start paying their loans again, with as much as $200 billion in frozen debt to be kicked into the new year
* The latest APRA figures show most banks are struggling to get customers to restart repayments.
* In August, just $10 billion worth of loans were thawed, leaving $229 billion frozen – including $160 billion in mortgages.
* It leaves around 230,000 loans withering, as Australians struggle to service their debts.

If the latest figures are any indication, lenders have their work cut out for them convincing Australians to embrace their repayments.

While they've been hitting the phones for weeks, APRA data published on Wednesday shows progress is slow going. In the month of August, $24 billion worth of deferrals ended but another $14 billion was either approved or extended.

Put another way, the net result is that around 10,000 Australians actually exited the deferral program in sum, leaving $229 billion – $160 billion of it mortgages – frozen on the books. While it's encouraging that the mountain is slowly being chipped away, it's less progress than was made back
in July.

It also suggests that Australian banks are facing an uphill battle in getting customers out of the hardship program as thousands of staff hit the phones throughout the month of September. More importantly, it indicates that there are still plenty of Australians who are struggling to make ends meet on some 230,000 loans.


With one in five customers not even picking up the phone, unemployment predicted to rise, and government support scheduled to fall, that's unlikely to have changed much in the past four weeks.

In total, it's 9% of all mortgages and 16.2% of all small and medium business loans that aren't being paid. Many of those homeowners under pressure are concentrated in Queensland tourist destinations and on Melbourne's fringes.


So far, the largest of Australia's banks anticipate just $7 billion of loans will go bad. But it's clear from APRA's breakdown some are more than exposed than others. More than 10% of all Bank of Queensland, NAB, AMP, and ME Bank borrowers have deferred their repayments for example.

But some are making greater progress. NAB, the Commonwealth Bank, Bendigo Bank, and Bank of Queensland all managed to exit many more customers than entered their hardship program.

Overall, however, the outlook isn't great. At the current rate, many of those will need be deferred into January, when there is no additional extension scheduled.

Without one, borrowers may have few alternatives but to bite the bullet and sell. ... 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: 12625
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Oct 02, 2020 1:33 am

30 SEPT & 1 OCT NZ
Ardern to 'press the case' for NZ citizens in Australia to receive welfare support
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has told Sky News she will continue to press the case for New Zealand citizens living in Australia who are unable to access support services such as welfare payments, the national disability insurance scheme and student loans.
With the New Zealand federal election less than three weeks away and advance voting beginning on Saturday, a record number of early votes are expected.

Ms Ardern also flagged a possible Trans-Tasman travel bubble before Christmas. ... d=msedgdhp

What needs to happen before Australians can travel to New Zealand
New Zealand's prime minister Jacinda Ardern has finally revealed the two steps that need to be taken before a trans-Tasman travel bubble can go ahead.

Leaders in both Australia and New Zealand have been working hard to carve out a plan to allow residents to travel between both nations without having to quarantine.

The aim is to have the bubble up and running by early next year.

But Ms Ardern says her government needs assurance there will be minimal risk of the virus being brought into New Zealand from Australia.
Speaking to the Today show on Wednesday, she said Australia needs to define what it means by a 'coronavirus hotspot'.

Jacinda Ardern needs Australia to define what a 'coronavirus hotspot' is.

She also needs Australia to establish plans of containment should another outbreak occur across states.

The nation would also need to establish plans of containment should another outbreak occur across states, she said.

'What you can see is that we do want to make it work, we want it to be safe, we want everyone to be comfortable with it and know that we are safeguarding our own strategies as we do it,' she said.

'What we will need to work through is what the definition of a hot spot really means? At what point will Australia say, ''That's an area we will put up a bit of a border around and won't have travel to''.

'That will determine whether or not in our minds that will be sufficient just to keep everybody safe.'

She said the government is open to making separate agreements with states with low or no cases to help boost the tourism industry.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she would be happy to be the first state to welcome Kiwis back.

She said she felt comfortable to be looking at these opportunities as it would be a boost to the hospitality and tourism industries.

Australia and New Zealand have discussed the possibility of a 'trans-Tasman bubble'.

The bubble would allow residents from both countries to travel across the ditch without having to endure a mandatory 14-day isolation period.

The idea has been raised as both countries have been successful in controlling the outbreak of the coronavirus.

'New Zealand has very low cases, I don't mean it in a disrespectful way, but they're like another state of Australia when you look at the number of cases,' she said.

Karl Stefanovic then jumped in suggesting Ms Berejiklian should be the premier of New Zealand as well.

'There are so many Kiwis living in NSW, in Bondi in particular I almost feel like you are the premier of New Zealand.'

On Tuesday, Mr Morrison said people flying into Australia from overseas could soon be allowed to quarantine at home, asking officials to look into the proposal.

Ms Ardern said New Zealand was unlikely to follow suit, saying 'quarantine-free travel is our version of that'.

'I do think there's something to be said at looking at the other end, thinking about whether or not for high-risk countries we need to have, an additional element of extra self-isolation,' she said.

Ms Ardern said opening up to Pacific nations - beginning with the Cook Islands - was 'absolutely' still part of New Zealand's re-engagement with the world.

'The threshold that we'll set will meet the Cooks' expectations,' she said. ... 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: 12625
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Oct 02, 2020 3:46 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: 12625
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm
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