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Melinda Gates recalls decision to leave Bill as her ‘lowest moment in life

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Melinda and Bill Gates during happier times

Melinda French Gates says the decision to leave her ex-husband Bill Gates was the “lowest moment” in her life.

French Gates, 57, discussed the personal toll of ending her marriage to the Microsoft founder last year in a new interview with USA Today, which named her among its ‘Women of the Year’.

The $167 billion divorce was one of the most expensive in history.

“We all have low moments. I would say probably, though, for sure, my lowest moment in life was when I finally reached the decision that I knew I needed to leave my marriage,” she said.

Bill and Melinda Gates divorce
Bill and Melinda Gates announced their divorce in 2021. (Getty)

“That wasn’t something I ever thought would happen to me. It certainly wasn’t what I thought on the day I got married, but I realised for myself, I needed to make a healthier choice.

“That was just a very, very sad day.”

The couple shocked the world in May 2021 when they announced the end of their 27-year marriage, with the divorce finalised in August.

French Gates said surrounding herself with the right people has helped her heal from the end of her marriage.

READ MORE: Justin Bieber ‘probably more traumatised’ than wife Hailey Bieber following blood clot in her brain

Melinda Gates virtual interview
“That was just a very, very sad day,” Melinda French Gates says of her decision to end the marriage. (Getty)

“I surround myself with people who have good values and are like-minded in the sense of caring about others,” she told USA Today.

“They’re there on my saddest days and my most joyful days and vice versa. I’m there for them.

“Without that group of people around me, friends and a few colleagues, I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through some of my toughest days, particularly in the last couple of years.”

During an earlier interview with CBS, French Gates admitted the trust in her marriage had been broken and while healing has been a process, she felt she was through the worst of it.

Melinda Gates New York
“I’m actually really excited about what’s to come and life ahead for me.” (GC Images)

“I feel like I’m starting to get to the other side. And I do feel like I’m turning a page in the chapter now,” she told interviewer Gayle King.

“I mean, it’s 2022, and I’m actually really excited about what’s to come and life ahead for me.”

While their marriage has ended, the former couple plans to continue to collaborate on their philanthropic work through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

French Gates is now focused on helping to advance social progress for women and families through her investment company, Pivotal Ventures.

He referenced his divorce from wife of 27 years, Melinda.
The former couple were married for 27 years. (Instagram)

“The goal really is to create societal change for women and people of colour. I really feel like we need to accelerate their power and their influence,” she told USA Today.

She explains the pandemic has set women back a step in the United States, with many unable to return to work.

“A lot of that has to do with the burden they have of caregiving. And so I feel like this is a moment to say, ‘Look, how do we fix that system? And how do we make sure that women and people of color can take the jobs they want in society?'”

–Honey

Abbie Chatfield ‘to replace Carrie Bickmore on her radio show with Tommy Little’ – but will their secret ‘fling’ make things awkward?

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Abbie Chatfield is quickly moving up the ranks at Southern Cross Austereo, if industry rumours are to be believed.   

The 26-year-old Bachelor star, who has been hosting Hit FM’s night show since January, is reportedly tipped to replace Carrie Bickmore on the Carrie and Tommy drive show while The Project host goes on extended leave with her family. 

Carrie, 41, announced on Tuesday’s episode of The Project she will be taking several months off to live in England with her partner Chris Walker and their three children. Moving up in the world! The Bachelor's Abbie Chatfield, 26, (left) is reportedly set to replace Carrie Bickmore, 41, (right) on the Carrie and Tommy drive show while The Project host goes on leave with her familyPictured: Carrie Bickmore, 41

Moving up in the world! The Bachelor’s Abbie Chatfield, 26, (left) is reportedly set to replace Carrie Bickmore, 41, (right) on the Carrie and Tommy drive show while The Project host goes on leave with her family

She did not disclose what would become of the Hit FM radio show she co-hosts with comedian Tommy Little.

If Abbie does take the helm alongside Tommy, 37, she may be faced with a rather awkward situation given the pair’s rumoured former fling.Time off: Carrie, 41, announced on Tuesday's episode of The Project she will be taking several months off to live in England with her partner Chris Walker and their three children

Time off: Carrie, 41, announced on Tuesday’s episode of The Project she will be taking several months off to live in England with her partner Chris Walker and their three childrenReplacement needed: She however failed to disclose what would become of the Hit FM radio show she co-hosts with comedian Tommy Little (right)

Replacement needed: She however failed to disclose what would become of the Hit FM radio show she co-hosts with comedian Tommy Little (right) 

The pair are said to have briefly dated prior to Abbie finding fame on The Bachelor. 

‘Abbie made the first move and privately messaged The Project host,’ Marie Claire magazine reported. 

Tommy previously hinted at his fling with Abbie on The Project in 2019. Awkward! If Abbie does take the helm alongside Tommy, 37, (pictured) she may be faced with a rather awkward situation given the pair's rumoured former flingPast: The couple are said to have briefly dated prior to Abbie finding fame on The Bachelor

Awkward! If Abbie (right) does take the helm alongside Tommy, 37, (left) she may be faced with a rather awkward situation given the pair’s rumoured former fling

The episode aired just before Abbie made her on-screen debut on Matt Agnew’s season of The Bachelor.

Carrie said: ‘Tommy has been telling us he’s been linked to two of the girls in the Bachelor house tonight!’

Matt Agnew, who was being interviewed by the panel, laughed off the coincidence.Bombshell: Tommy's history with Abbie was exposed on The Project in 2019, during an episode which aired just before The Bachelor premiere. Carrie (left) said, 'Tommy has been telling us he's been linked to two of the girls in the Bachelor house tonight!'

Bombshell: Tommy’s history with Abbie was exposed on The Project in 2019, during an episode which aired just before The Bachelor premiere. Carrie (left) said, ‘Tommy has been telling us he’s been linked to two of the girls in the Bachelor house tonight!’

‘Yes, as a prolific dater, Tommy, it would have been weirder if you weren’t linked to one of them,’ the astrophysicist responded. 

It comes amid rumours Abbie could also take over the helm at Love Island Australia, replacing its current host Sophie Monk.

‘An interesting rumour was rumbling last week – that if the show returns Abbie Chatfield might be in the hosting hot seat rather than Australia’s resident TV bombshell Sophie Monk,’ the Herald Sun claimed on Tuesday.  Host with the most? It comes amid rumours Abbie could also take over the helm at Love Island Australia - replacing its current host Sophie Monk

Host with the most? It comes amid rumours Abbie could also take over the helm at Love Island Australia – replacing its current host Sophie Monk

However, a fourth season of the reality series has not yet been confirmed by Nine.    

Abbie is arguably one of Australia’s most in-demand celebrities, with a hit podcast, reality shows, endorsement deals, and her very own radio program, Hot Nights with Abbie Chatfield.  

The reality star broke into the broadcasting industry with her podcast, It’s a Lot, which she launched shortly after appearing on The Bachelor.

The podcast eventually got picked up by Listnr, which is owned by Southern Cross Austereo, which then led to her own separate radio show. 

In 2021, she also won I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! Australia and was crowned Queen of the Jungle. In with the new? 'An interesting rumour was rumbling last week – that if the show returns Abbie Chatfield might be in the hosting hot seat rather than Australia's resident TV bombshell Sophie Monk,' the Herald Sun claimed on Tuesday. Sophie is pictured on Love Island Australia

In with the new? ‘An interesting rumour was rumbling last week – that if the show returns Abbie Chatfield might be in the hosting hot seat rather than Australia’s resident TV bombshell Sophie Monk,’ the Herald Sun claimed on Tuesday. Sophie is pictured on Love Island Australia Rising up the ranks: Abbie is arguably one of Australia's most in-demand celebrities, with a hit podcast, reality shows, endorsement deals, and her very own radio program, Hot Nights with Abbie Chatfield

Rising up the ranks: Abbie is arguably one of Australia’s most in-demand celebrities, with a hit podcast, reality shows, endorsement deals, and her very own radio program, Hot Nights with Abbie Chatfield 

–Daily Mail

Professor Paul Griffin explains why vaccinated people are ending up in hospital with COVID-19

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Dr Paul Griffin

Since the Omicron and BA.2 subvariants of COVID-19 began to emerge in November 2021, cases of the virus and hospitalisations have increased exponentially.

On the face of it, the numbers seem to suggest that vaccinated people are over-represented among those with severe disease requiring hospital treatment.

But looking at the presentation numbers alone does not always show the accurate story.

ACM spoke to infectious diseases physician and microbiologist from the University of Queensland, Associate Professor Paul Griffin, to understand how best to interpret the data in its context.

At the time of publication, Australia sat just shy of having vaccinated 95 per cent of its eligible population.

That now means that just four per cent are unvaccinated or not yet full vaccinated.

In light of the fact that an overwhelming majority of people are vaccinated against COVID-19, Professor Griffin said, it is not surprising to see the data indicating that a lot of people in hospital have had two doses of a vaccine.

“The reason why we see vaccinated people still admitted to hospital, we need to remember that the majority of the population is now vaccinated,” Professor Griffin said.

“So it may appear that the bulk of the people that are in hospital are actually fully vaccinated, but the key thing is that the consequences of each of those infections is still far less because those people are vaccinated.”

Put simply, vaccinated people may make up higher numbers in hospital beds because they also vastly outnumber unvaccinated people in the general population. There are more vaccinated people generally.

At the time of publication, there were just over 1700 people in hospital with COVID-19 across Australia, and a little over 100 in intensive care units.

After a jump in hospitalisations yesterday, NSW is now making up the vast majority of active hospital cases.

A thousand of the nation’s hospitalised cases, and 38 of its ICU presentations are in NSW.

The vaccination status of each of these cases is not publically known, but in January the NSW Health Department did release its raw data, dividing hospital presentations via their vaccination statuses.

According to that data, in NSW between November 26 and January 8, when the Omicron wave was just starting, up to 1 per cent of hospital presentations had had two doses of a vaccine.

A further 0.1 per cent of ICU cases had also had two doses.

Meanwhile people with one course of a vaccine made up 3.1 per cent of hospital presentations and 0.5 per cent of ICU cases.

Unvaccinated people made up 8.9 per cent of hospitalised cases and 1.5 per cent of ICU cases.

Based on those numbers, in January at least, you had a 1 in 1000 chance of being admitted to ICU if you were double vaccinated.

But you had a 15 in 1000 chance of ending up in ICU if you were unvaccinated.

Similarly, in January the Northern Territory government revealed that unvaccinated people made up half of the ICU numbers, despite not nearly coming close to representing half of the general population.

In Queensland over the same timeframe, unvaccinated people were making up 30 per cent of the total deaths with COVID-19, yet unvaccinated people only made up about 8 per cent of the population.

Again, in Victoria in January, unvaccinated people made up 22.8 per cent of all people in hospital, and 35.8 per cent of the ICU. This despite unvaccinated people only making up 6 per cent of the population in Victoria at the time.

So, when those numbers are put into their context against the general population, it gives a clearer picture of how over-represented unvaccinated people are in hospital beds.

“We know our case numbers fluctuate on a day to day basis, on a week to week basis for many reasons,” said Professor Griffin.

“Some of that will be how much testing is being done. Some are going to be changes in people’s behaviour, the relaxation of of mask rules and social distancing, and even the seasons might play a bit of a part in that.”

SEVERE CASES: Why are so many vaccinated people still ending up in hospital with severe COVID-19? Picture: FILE

 SEVERE CASES: Why are so many vaccinated people still ending up in hospital with severe COVID-19? Picture: FILE

The jump in hospital presentations yesterday has led experts to warn that a further strain to the health system could occur as the nation heads into winter.

“As we move into winter, we might see an increase in cases,” said Professor Griffin.

“The increasing numbers of BA.2, that subvariant of Omicron, has highlighted once again what this virus is going to keep doing. It’s going to keep changing, adapting, evolving.

“It is clear that BA.2 is more infectious than BA.1 (Omicron) somewhere in the vicinity of 30, maybe even up to 50 per cent more infectious. Nothing like the change we saw from Delta to Omicron, of course, but it is more infectious.”

The incoming flu season may merge with the rise in new variants of the COVID-19 virus, including the Omicron and BA.2 subvariant.

“Prior to COVID, our winter flu surge put a significant demand on the health care systems and we’re not expecting flu to be huge this year necessarily,” Professor Griffin said.

“But we do have perhaps one of the most vulnerable populations for flu that we’ve had in some time, given our rates of infection over the last few years was so low as our measures to combat COVID were very effective against flu and also because our vaccine focused so much on COVID, vaccination rates for flu are down.

“So if we don’t address that, if we don’t get a high rate of protection in the community against flu from vaccination, it could be quite significant and even modest numbers of flu with the rate of COVID we have now together it is going to put a big demand on our health care system.

“So once again, highlighting the importance of vaccination for both viruses so that we can keep the impact of both to a minimum when they’re circulating together.”

This story Why are vaccinated people ending up in hospital with COVID-19? first appeared on Newcastle Herald.

Free live boxing as fists fly at a Melbourne high school

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Two men caught on camera exchanging blows in the middle of a busy road in Melbourne
  • A brawl has between two men erupted outside a western Melbourne high school
  • Footage shows the pair trading blows in the street in a heated road rage dispute 
  • A 21-year-old man has been arrested after allegedly causing a four-car crash 

A wild street brawl has erupted outside a school in a heated road rage dispute, with one man allegedly pelting a massive metal pole through a ute’s window. 

Parents were picking their children up from a high school in Melton, in Melbourne‘s West, on yesterday when two motorists began throwing punches at each other in the middle of the road. 

Footage of the altercation shows a shirtless man approaching a ute before allegedly attacking the vehicle with a pole.

The driver of the car under siege jumps out and charges towards the younger man, with the pair trading blows as the scuffle spills out onto the street in front of passing cars. Shirtless man attacks driver with metal pole in road rage incident

A heated road rage dispute unfolded outside a western Melbourne high school on Tuesday after a motorist allegedly sparked a four-car crash The two men traded blows in the middle of a busy street in front of shocked parents and children

The two men traded blows in the middle of a busy street in front of shocked parents and children

Shocked bystanders could be seen clearing out the way as the fracas swirled towards them, while other onlookers pulled out their phones to film. 

It is understood the incident unfolded after the shirtless man allegedly caused a four-car collision. 

The 21-year-old Melton man has been arrested following the incident. 

‘Police have been told a man stepped out onto Coburns Road near High Street just before 3.30pm,’ Victoria Police said.

‘It is believed the man smashed the windscreen of a car causing three other cars to collide nose to tail.’

‘The driver of the damaged car got out of the vehicle and was involved in a physical altercation with the offender.’

No one was seriously injured during the incident.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.Victoria police said a 21-year-old man from Melton, with the distinctive tattoo on his stomach,  had been charged over the incident

Victoria police said a 21-year-old man from Melton, with the distinctive tattoo on his stomach,  had been charged over the incident.

-Daily Mail

Zelenskyy predicts victory in Ukraine, offers Russian soldiers ‘a chance to survive’

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Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

On an address early Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy predicted victory over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces in Ukraine and offered Russian troops a “chance to survive by surrendering.

He noted that “the enemy is confused” and did not expect stiff resistance. “Their soldiers know this. Their officers are aware of this. They flee the battlefield. They abandon equipment.

“We take trophies and use them to protect Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said. “Today, Russian troops are, in fact, one of the suppliers of equipment to our army. They could not imagine such a thing in a nightmare.”

He then addressed the Russian soldiers, urging them to surrender.

“Russian conscripts! Listen to me very carefully,” Zelenskyy warned. “Russian officers! You’ve already understood everything. You will not take anything from Ukraine. You will take lives. There are a lot of you. But your life will also be taken. But why should you die? What for? I know that you want to survive.”

“Therefore, I offer you a choice,” the president said. “On behalf of the Ukrainian people, I give you a chance. Chance to survive.”

“If you surrender to our forces, we will treat you the way people are supposed to be treated. As people, decently. In a way you were not treated in your army. And in a way your army does not treat ours,” Zelenskyy added. “Choose!”

He also praised the Russians “who do not stop trying to convey the truth” despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on protests and journalists who buck his government narrative. Zelenskyy specifically mentioned the woman who disrupted the Russian state television broadcaster Channel One.

He said he is “grateful … personally to the woman who entered the studio of Channel One with a poster against the war. To those who are not afraid to protest. As long as your country has not completely closed itself off from the whole world, turning into a very large North Korea, you must fight. You must not lose your chance.”© Provided by FOX NewsMembers of the Ukrainian military arrive to reinforce a forward position on the eastern frontline near Kalynivka village on March 08, 2022, in Kyiv, Ukraine.

The president also warned that Russian military leaders will be held responsible for war crimes.

“Responsibility for war crimes of the Russian military is inevitable,” he said. “Responsibility for a deliberate humanitarian catastrophe in Ukrainian cities is inevitable. The whole world sees what is happening in Mariupol. Kharkiv. Chernihiv. Sumy. Okhtyrka. Hostomel. Irpin. In all our cities.”

Zelenskyy briefly addressed the peace talks with Russian negotiators, saying they appear to be “pretty good.”

“Our delegation also worked on this in negotiations with the Russian party. Pretty good, as I was told,” he said. “But let’s see. They will continue tomorrow.”

–Fox News

Rabbit invasion in Canberra threatening native species

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They may be cute, but Canberra’s widespread rabbit population is threatening native species and conservation efforts, and they’re popping up literally everywhere.

Rabbits are a common sight in many urban areas, like the City Hill roundabout, but they’ve recently hopped into precious conservation territory, including the Jerrabomberra Wetlands.

In 2017, the ACT Government implemented a Rabbit Control Program which aimed to reduce numbers by releasing a strain of calicivirus into two populations of pest rabbits.

The virus-infected populations were living in an area of Namadgi National Park and land adjacent to Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve. Although the program was initially successful, populations have continued increasing.

ACT community organisation, Friends of Grasslands, have been tirelessly fighting to conserve Canberra’s natural environment since 1994, and the volunteer-led group are “very concerned” over the increase in rabbit numbers.

President of Friends of Grasslands, Jamie Pittock, says rabbits are a major threat to the flora and fauna in our bushland.

“The first key concern is they eat particular plants to extinction, so we need to control the number of rabbits so key wildflower species can survive. The second concern is they support the high population of predator cats and foxes which then also prey on native wildlife,” says Mr Pittock.

“We appreciate the ACT Government does undertake rabbit control, and we understand it’s difficult to scale up the control during the wet season. But we’re concerned with the limited number of contractors undertaking these control efforts.”

Mr Pittock says he would like to see the ACT Government put more effort in training and accrediting more contractors who can assist in rabbit population control efforts.

“Every control measure has its pluses and minuses. With the virus program, the danger is that it’s initially successful, but the surviving rabbits then develop a degree of immunity making it less successful, especially in the good seasons,” he says.

He explains that complementary efforts are necessary to control the rabbit population and relying solely on the virus isn’t enough.

But Mr Pittock, the self-titled ‘King of the Grass’, isn’t the only conservationist in Canberra concerned by the growing rabbit numbers.

Project Coordinator at the Molonglo Conservation Group, Jed Pearson, has always loved the bushlands surrounding Canberra and says it’s a “one-of-a-kind landscape”.

After studying conservation land management, Mr Pearson spends his days looking after the grasslands in the ACT and says rabbits are “definitely a problem” in Canberra.

“They definitely cause erosion issues by burrowing and they tend to be pretty hard on native plants. They eat the whole plant, not just the root or leaf, so it dies and then leaves the ground exposed,” he says.

“I’m not sure what they [the ACT Government] are doing around Canberra to bring them into check. I’ve seen a lot of them lately around Weston Creek and the wetlands, and there’s a lot around the Jerrabomberra Wetlands and Narrabundah Wetlands.”

He says during the push to try and control the feral cat numbers, the focus was shifted off the rabbit population. Now that the cat numbers are contained, he hopes the ACT Government will put more effort into reducing the rabbit population.

The Manager for Invasive Species and Overabundant Wildlife at the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) for the ACT Government, Mark Sweaney, said rabbits are the most significant environmental pest Canberra has.

“Controlling the rabbits is one of our top priorities. It’s always more challenging in seasons like this with the combination of really good food available to them, together with a probable decline in the effectiveness of bio controls,” says Mr Sweaney.

“We monitor the rabbits across all of our conservation and parklands through spotlight monitoring, and wherever rabbits exceed an environmental threshold, they’re treated with well-established techniques.”

Mr Sweaney says although the rabbit population is one of the EPSDD’s main priorities, many of the groups don’t reach the threshold level to implement higher control methods.

“If the rabbit population gets above a certain density, then they can have an impact on the environment. We have a threshold so we can control rabbits before they have those impacts but few reserves at the moment have too many rabbits,” he says.

“Although control programs are still happening right now, as autumn is a good time to treat rabbits, we’re still in a situation where the majority of reserves are below the threshold. Nowhere is so high that we’re concerned about serious damage before we can control them.”

He explains the EPSDD focus their efforts on controlling rabbits in certain areas across Canberra where they’ll have the best advantage in reducing the population.

“If there’s a lot of rabbits but they’re not causing a huge amount of damage, we don’t put resources there.”

According to Mr Sweaney, the control methods currently being used are continuing to have “really good” success in reducing the rancid rabbit population.

–Canberra Weekly

Red Cross to provide $500 and $20,000 cash payments to flood victims

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Scenes in Lismore, NSW, after the devastating floods Friday, March 11, 2022. NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet says organising housing for people displaced in flood-ravaged northern NSW is one of his top priorities. (AAP Image/Jason O'Brien) NO ARCHIVING

The charity has revealed exactly how it will spend the whopping amount donated by generous Aussies during the telethon.

Australians dug deep to donate a staggering $25 million for flooding victims during Saturday night’s live telethon.

Now the Australian Red Cross has revealed exactly where the huge mountain of money will be going.

The charity’s spokesperson Garry Page told Sunrise on Monday the funds will be paid out to eligible victims in northern NSW and Queensland via two cash grants.

Watch Sunrise on Channel 7 and stream it for free on Sunrise >>

“The first one will be $500 in immediate assistance to those people whose primary place of residence has been impacted, they’ve suffered flood damage and they’re in immediate financial hardship,” he explained.

“The other is a $20,000 payment for people who unfortunately have had a loved one, a family member, who has passed away in these flood events.”

James Warburton, Amanda Keller, Beverley McGarvey, Ben Fordham, Natalie Barr and Michael Healy at the Telethon.
James Warburton, Amanda Keller, Beverley McGarvey, Ben Fordham, Natalie Barr and Michael Healy at the Telethon. Credit: YIANNIPHOTOGRAPHY.COM.AU/Supplied

Applications for the grants can be made online from Friday, with first payments expected to be made on Monday.

Mr Page said “100 per cent of that $25 million will go to people impacted by this flood event” amid concerns by some that the funds could be held onto by the charity or spent on administration.

This is because corporate partners had agreed to cover those costs.

“There has been so much generosity by those corporates and philanthropic organisations that we are 100 per cent guaranteeing every cent that was raised through the appeal will be distributed in immediate assistance to those who were impacted,” Mr Page said.Double-Breasted Trench CoatLattelier|SponsoredShop Now

Eligible flood victims can apply for the cash grants from Friday.
Eligible flood victims can apply for the cash grants from Friday. Credit: Sunrise

Red Cross will also list how many grants have been paid out on its website, in order to be as transparent as possible about where the donations are going.

“We want to be fully accountable for these funds that have been so generously donated,” Mr Page said.

“And we will demonstrate on an ongoing basis absolutely clearly how much of those funds have been distributed and how many applications we have received.”

The Red Cross Flood Appeal, broadcast on the Seven Network, Nine and Network 10 on Saturday night, saw music stars, celebrities and popular news and entertainment personalities from across all three networks band together.

More than 92,000 people across the country donated a total of $25.2 million.

Watch the latest news on Channel 7 or stream it for free on 7plus >>

World’s best sniper lands in UKraine to stop Russia from capturing Kyiv

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As Russia continues its bombardment of Ukraine, one of the world’s best snipers has made a vow as he takes on Russian troops.

One of the world’s most fearsome snipers has vowed that he “won’t hesitate to squeeze the trigger” as he takes on Russian troops in Ukraine.

The trained killer, nicknamed Wali, arrived in the war-torn nation last week after answering President Volodymyr Zelenskyy‘s call for foreign volunteers,The Sun reports.

Top sniper Wali has said he won't hesitate to 'pull the trigger' in Ukraine’s fight against Russia. Picture: Supplied

Top sniper Wali has said he won’t hesitate to ‘pull the trigger’ in Ukraine’s fight against Russia. Picture: Supplied

The top marksman is said to be on the front line of the besieged capital Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

The top marksman is said to be on the front line of the besieged capital Kyiv. Picture: Reuters

Wail had previously travelled to Iraq on his own to fight against ISIS in 2015.

And this week he vowed that he won‘t be deterred to take his shot at invading Russian troops.

“I don‘t like the idea of shooting anyone. But when the time comes to squeeze the trigger I won’t hesitate,” he told the Daily Mail.

“If Putin really wants Kyiv, he is going to have to pay a huge price. Nobody wants the Russians here and everyone will resist. The damage we can do to them will be crazy. They will lose so many lives, it will become another Stalingrad.”

At present, Russian troops are inching closer to the capital Kyiv and are believed to be just 15 miles from the city as terrified civilians continue to flee their homes.

However, Wali said that he and his team will have the upper hand once Mr Putin’s men pour into the streets and advance into his line of sight.

“This is a huge, built-up city, not some village. Looking out from where I am now I can see so many structures and buildings to shoot from, so many places to hide weapons and launch ambushes from,” he said.


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“They won‘t know what has hit them.

“The Russians have already failed to take Kharkiv and Mariupol, which are smaller cities. There is no way they can hold on to Kyiv. It will be better for everyone if they decide not to attack.”

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko (right) and brother Wladimir are among those to have stayed to defend the city. Picture: AFP

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko (right) and brother Wladimir are among those to have stayed to defend the city. Picture: AFP

The 40-year-old was previously deployed twice to Afghanistan as a sniper with the Canadian Armed Forces between 2009 and 2011.

So far he says he has not encountered the level of violence and destruction he experienced on his previous campaigns.

But, equipped with a £5000 military-grade .338 sniper rifle, the feared marksman claims he can kill at a range of 1400 meters (1531 yards).

“It’s a high quality rifle. It will do the job but I’ll be sad when I have to use it,” he said.

“Every time I shoot it’s a failure for everyone involved.

“A lot of these Russian soldiers are just boys themselves. I can’t help thinking that not too long ago they were babies like my son. But I’ll do what’s necessary.”

The sniper, who goes by the nickname given to him in Afghanistan of ‘Wali’, previously revealed that he was contacted by a friend on March 4 who had been organising “neutral convoys” of humanitarian aid for several months to bring food to the occupied Donbas region.

Wali told French-Canadian publication La Presse: “He told me they needed a sniper. It‘s like a firefighter who hears the alarm ringing. I had to go.”

He left behind his wife and baby son, who celebrated his first birthday without him.

It comes as …

“I know, it‘s just awful,” he said at the time. “But me, in my head, when I see the images of destruction in Ukraine, it is my son that I see, in danger and who is suffering.

“When I see a destroyed building, it is the person who owns it, who sees his pension fund go up in smoke, that I see.

“I go there for humanitarian reasons,” he added.

His wife, who asked to have her identity kept secret for security reasons, said she reluctantly allowed him to go.

“I knew that if I didn‘t let him go, I would have broken him,” she said.

“It would have been like putting him in jail.”

Wali said he had decided to travel to Ukraine after seeing the scale of the human tragedy. Picture: Reuters

Wali said he had decided to travel to Ukraine after seeing the scale of the human tragedy. Picture: Reuters

Wali told CBC that he and three other former Canadian soldiers who made the journey with him were greeted with hugs, handshakes, flags and photos by Ukrainians after they crossed the border.

“They were so happy to have us,” he said. “It’s like we were friends right away.”

He said he crossed over from Poland, travelling against the tide of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees fleeing in the opposite direction.

Wali, who fought alongside the Kurds against ISIS in Syria several years ago, said he had travelled to Ukraine because “I want to help them. It‘s as simple as that.”

He went on: “I have to help because there are people here being bombarded just because they want to be European and not Russian.”

Wali fought in the Royal Canadian 22nd Regiment, making tours of Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq.

In June 2017, one of his comrades reportedly shot dead an Islamic State terrorist from an incredible distance of 3450m – more than two miles away.

Millions have already fled the damage wrought by Russian shelling. Picture: Reuters

Millions have already fled the damage wrought by Russian shelling. Picture: Reuters

A military source told Toronto’s The Globe and Mail at the time there was “hard data on this. It isn‘t an opinion. It isn’t an approximation”.

“There is a second location with eyes on with all the right equipment to capture exactly what the shot was.”

The unnamed sharpshooter used a McMillan Tac-50 firing a .50“ Browning Machine Gun round.

Later, Wali became a computer scientist in Canada.

Even for an experienced combat veteran like Wali, the speed at which his life has changed in recent days is still shocking.

–The Sun

Canberra Liberals leader internationally recognised

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Canberra Liberals leader Elizabeth Lee

Canberra Liberals leader Elizabeth Lee has received a prestigious American award for her work last year making the ACT the first Australian jurisdiction to criminalise stealthing (the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex).

The Women’s Association of Law Students at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law, Pace University, New York, presented Ms Lee with their annual Pioneer of Justice Award.

Ms Lee was given the award at a ceremony at the Australian National University’s College of Law on Wednesday.

Ms Lee said she was “incredibly humbled” to be recognised internationally for the stealthing legislation.

“This award is dedicated to the brave women and men who told me about their experiences with stealthing that was the inspiration for my bill,” she said.

Presenting the award, ANU’s Associate Professor Dr Heather Roberts said Ms Lee’s bill was “at the forefront” of the ACT’s project of reforming consent laws in relation to sexual intercourse. (A policy led by ACT Labor MLA and fellow former ANU academic Dr Marisa Paterson.) It sent “a clear message to the Territory that stealthing is not OK, and that it is assault”.

“There is significant research as to the physical and psychological harm of stealthing and the fact that the practice has a disproportionate impact on women,” Dr Roberts said.

Labor and the Greens supported Ms Lee’s stealthing bill.

Ms Lee thanked Dr Roberts and WALS president Amy Azzopardi for their support and for giving her this honour.

Elizabeth Lee MLA receives the Pioneer of Justice Award, presented by ANU’s Associate Professor Dr Heather Roberts. Photo provided.

“[Ms Lee] is a trailblazer both as a woman and Asian-Australian in Parliament, who strives to use her position to make it easier for those who come after her, and to make lives better for those who do not have a voice,” Dr Roberts said.

Ms Lee is the first Asian-Australian woman to become Opposition Leader in any Australian state or territory parliament. A graduate of ANU, Ms Lee showed her “passion for justice and using the power and privilege of a legal education for social justice”, Dr Roberts said.

Ms Lee was “a leading voice for improving local schools, protecting the environment [she went to COP26 in Glasgow last year], and providing better support for Canberrans living with a disability, and Canberrans from a culturally and linguistically diverse background. She also spoke out about her own #metoo moment as a young lawyer who was sexually harassed by a prominent male Judge.

–Canberra Weekely

Heavy smoke hits Melbourne

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Residents advised to close windows

It’s been a smokey start to the week for Melbourne residents, with a thick haze blanketing the city on Monday morning.

Melbourne residents woke to a hazy Monday morning, with suburbs in the city’s east experiencing particularly unhealthy levels of smoke following a planned burn-off over the weekend.

The smell of smoke has wafted across the city for the past day with parts of the CBD – as well as the northern and eastern suburbs – covered in haze from a hazard reduction burn in the Yarra Ranges.

Various Country Fire Authority organisations on Sunday night moved to reassure residents that the smoke was to be expected, while VicEmergency at 9.37pm also advised residents there was no immediate threat.

“In case you were wondering where all the smoke has suddenly come from (because it was perfectly clear outside at 1830) it’s from the planned Burns in Montrose / Mt Evelyn Area,” Lilydale SES wrote on social media.

A planned burn-off in the Yarra ranges blanketed Melbourne's CBD in smoke over the weekend.

A planned burn-off in the Yarra ranges blanketed Melbourne’s CBD in smoke over the weekend.

Melbourne's eastern suburbs continued to experience an unhealthy level of air quality on Monday morning. Picture via Air Quality Index

Melbourne’s eastern suburbs continued to experience an unhealthy level of air quality on Monday morning. Picture via Air Quality Index

The burn-off to the city’s east comes after Forest Fire Management Victoria announced last week that it planned to ramp up its prevention activities.

The burn-off to the city’s east comes after Forest Fire Management Victoria announced last week that it planned to ramp up its prevention activities.

“Please take care of yourself, consider closing windows and having your reliever medications handy if you need them.

“Planned burns are important to keep fuel loads low, and it would seem the lower temperatures and change of wind direction has started moving the smoke Lilydale and Mooroolbark bound.

The burn-off to the city’s east comes after Forest Fire Management Victoria announced last week that it planned to ramp up its prevention activities.

FFMVic and the Bureau of Meteorology co-ordinate the timing and location of controlled burns to ensure they are carried out when conditions are right.

Melbourne is expected to hit a high of 27 degrees on Monday with a shower or two developing.

Showers are also tipped for the rest of the week with a high of 29 degrees on Thursday.

–News.com

Uber and DiDi introduce new petrol surcharge as oil prices skyrocket

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Uber and DiDi customers will now spend extra across all services with the introduction of a fuel surcharge to assist drivers impacted by record high petrol prices.

If torrential rain and train disruptions weren’t enough, rideshare trips are about to get even more expensive.

From Wednesday March 16, Uber will introduce a temporary fuel surcharge for both rideshare and Uber Eats in response to record-high petrol prices.

Uber has introduced a fuel surcharge in response to rising petrol prices. Photo by Josh Edelson / AFP

Uber has introduced a fuel surcharge in response to rising petrol prices. Photo by Josh Edelson / AFP

This move is designed to benefit Uber’s drivers who have been impacted by the petrol spike. In a statement, Uber Australia’s head of driver operations and marketplace, Emma Foley, said the surcharge would be per-kilometre based with 100 per cent going to drivers.

Passengers will likely pay around 50 cents extra on an average trip with the surcharge lasting for an initial 60 days.

“We’ve heard from driver-partner feedback that the recent sudden spike in petrol prices is having an impact … The goal of this is to reduce the burden of the unprecedented nature of recent fuel increases while keeping the Uber platform working well for everyone,” Ms Foley said.

Uber is not the only rideshare company hiking prices, with DiDi also implementing a fuel surcharge across Australia. Starting from March 21, DiDi trips will cost an extra six cents per kilometre, with the surcharge also lasting for 60 days.

“We’re aware of the challenge faced by drivers with the recent surge in fuel prices, which has a direct impact on their operating cost,” DiDi spokesperson Dan Jordan told news.com.au, adding the company hoped the new charges would help alleviate some of the pressure drivers are facing at the fuel pump.

Receipt shows ‘ridiculous’ servo problem. How much extra you’ll pay for petrol?

Petrol prices are at a record high across Australia, up over 2 dollars a litre. Photo: David Swift

Petrol prices are at a record high across Australia, up over 2 dollars a litre. Photo: David Swift

Petrol prices have soared past $2 a litre across Australia, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine put added pressure on the oil market. With the US and parts of Europe banning Russian oil and gas, consumers have been paying the price.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both major suppliers of oil, have been reluctant to increase their own oil exports in order to reduce the price.

–ABC News

First Australian flight to Bali in two years takes off from Melbourne as hundreds flock to island paradise

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Jetstar taking to the skies

For the first time in almost two years Aussies can fly direct to Bali – but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some teething problems along the way.

Hundreds of Aussies today stepped up to be guinea pigs as Jetstar restarted direct flights to Bali, a service that the coronavirus pandemic put on hold for almost two years.

More than 300 passengers were booked on the first flight to Denpasar International Airport with passengers flocking to Melbourne with their stack of documents in hand.

While the check-in desks were filled with helpful and knowledgeable Jetstar staff, there’s no denying the travel process is very different to what it was pre-pandemic.

Lines move slowly as documents need to be checked, PCR results need to be verified and staff ensure vaccination certificates are legitimate.

Passengers waiting to check in, 45 minutes before boarding. Picture: news.com.au

Passengers waiting to check in, 45 minutes before boarding. Picture: news.com.au

Jetstar informed passengers of all their requirements prior to arriving at the airport but a large portion of customers appeared to forget to fill out their customs declaration form and download the Bali Covid app and create a health card – two vital parts of the check-in process.

Considering the current conditions of the pandemic, how are you feeling about travelling right now?

It doesn’t bother me at all, I’ll still travel. I’m planning or about to travel internationally. I’m focused on traveling around Australia right now. I’m not planning or doing any travel until things get better.

Passengers stood at the check-in desks frantically trying to download and complete these forms but there was no denying this added to the overall wait time and sluggish queues experienced by some customers.

The queues at Melbourne Airport today for the first flight to Bali. Picture: news.com.au

The queues at Melbourne Airport today for the first flight to Bali. Picture: news.com.au

Some passengers forgot some of the requirements. Picture: news.com.au

Some passengers forgot some of the requirements. Picture: news.com.au

Speaking at Melbourne International Airport before the flight, Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans said his main message to passengers was to “be prepared”.

Mr Evans said of course there would be plenty of staff ready to assist if necessary.

Travel restrictions were dramatically eased by Indonesia this week, with Australians only requiring two doses of a coronavirus vaccine, a negative PCR test, proof of a hotel booking for at least three nights and Covid insurance.

The close to sold out flight today, on one of Jetstar’s Boeing 787 aircrafts marked the first time the airline flew to Bali since March 26, 2020.

The airline’s recent “Un-Bali-Vable” sale, that offered passengers one-way fares for $99, saw Jetstar sell more than 40,000 fares in a single day – the highest number of seats sold to Bali in a single day in more than five years.

Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans hopes to see more restrictions ease in Bali that will attract more Aussies to travel to the island. Picture: Istock

Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans hopes to see more restrictions ease in Bali that will attract more Aussies to travel to the island. Picture: Istock

Mr Evans said Bali had always been the most popular international destination in Jetstar’s network, and that he was looking forward to further restrictions dropping in Bali which would not only help the airport process, but also encourage more Aussies to travel overseas.

“Obviously, any restrictions are a sort of inhibitor and we’ve definitely seen that,” he said.

“As restrictions ease, more demand comes on.

“We’ve not flown to Bali to date because the restrictions have been too great … but we now think we’re at a point where restrictions are at such a level that people are prepared to fly and I think our sale and what we’re seeing today as is an example of that.

“We’ve also seen that in other markets, through restrictions being eased further and demand comes on even more.”

Mr Evans said the airline was in a position to “flexibly add capacity” when they started to see demand pick up again.

“And I think we are going to see that demand come on as people get increasingly comfortable with traveling internationally,” he said.

A large crowd of tourists at a beach bar on Kuta beach in Seminyak, Bali. Picture: iStock

A large crowd of tourists at a beach bar on Kuta beach in Seminyak, Bali. Picture: iStock

Jetstar sold 40,000 fares in one day with its latest Bali sale. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Jono Searle

Jetstar sold 40,000 fares in one day with its latest Bali sale. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Jono Searle

Before Covid, the airline was operating 85 return flights a week between Australia and the Indonesian island – equating to two million passengers each year.

“We are very excited to return to Bali today after two long years, and we are confident that Bali will quickly regain its position as our most popular international tourist destination now that borders are open,” he said.

Australians contributed more than two billion dollars a year to the Balinese economy and Mr Evans said he hoped to see the tourism industry bounce back.

“Today is an important milestone for us at Jetstar, and also for the local businesses in Bali who have been heavily impacted by the lack of tourism during the pandemic,” he said.

“We extend our thanks to the Indonesian Government for their support and look forward to continuing to work together to help the Balinese tourism industry bounce back as quickly as possible.

Bali’s big change for incoming AussiesJetstar drops $99 fares to Bali

Jetstar’s flights from Melbourne will initially operate three times weekly, with plans to ramp up as demand increases.

Bali flights from Sydney and Perth are scheduled to recommence in early April, with flights from Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns and Darwin scheduled for May.

–ABC

Morrison faces heat on $20.8 billion fuel excise

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison

A political row over the cost of living is building pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to cut some of the federal government’s $20.8 billion in petrol and diesel excise while the war in Ukraine drives up global oil prices and reshapes the federal election debate on household budgets.

A change to the excise is on the agenda in the internal debate over the March 29 budget alongside a tax plan designed to win back voters at the election due in May, with cabinet ministers canvassing measures to claim workers will be better off under the Coalition.

With petrol now costing about $2.20 per litre and tipped to rise to $2.50, the government faces calls for a temporary cut to the excise.
With petrol now costing about $2.20 per litre and tipped to rise to $2.50, the government faces calls for a temporary cut to the excise.CREDIT:GETTY

But with petrol now costing about $2.20 per litre and tipped to rise to $2.50, the government faced calls from South Australian Premier Steven Marshall for a temporary cut to the excise after a “robust” argument in national cabinet last Friday over budget spending.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Queensland counterpart Annastacia Palaszczuk backed a proposal from NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet to discuss health costs to help fund more elective surgery and prepare for the next variant in the coronavirus.

The moves pit several premiers against Mr Morrison but are increasing the frustration inside the federal government over state demands for tax breaks or spending increases when the federal budget is forecast to reach a deficit of $99.2 billion this financial year and $98.9 billion next year.

With United States President Joe Biden telling Americans that “Putin’s price hike” is driving up the cost of oil around the world, Mr Morrison also blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin and his invasion of Ukraine for the cost pressures felt by Australians.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the budget will provide the answers.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the budget will provide the answers.CREDIT:RHETT WYMAN

“I think Australians know that what’s happening with petrol prices at the moment is being caused by what’s happening with the war in Europe – I think Australians understand those issues,” the Prime Minister said on Sunday.

“So we’re working with other countries around the world at the moment in terms of releasing fuel reserves to try to alleviate the pressure on fuel prices.”

Asked whether he would change the fuel excise – worth about 44 cents in every litre – to ease some of that price pressure as petrol heads toward $2.50 per litre, Mr Morrison did not dismiss the idea but avoided any commitment.

“The budget is coming up at the end of this month,” he said.

Mr Morrison noted, however, that the petrol price had risen from $1.70 to $2.20 per litre in recent months and that the changes were greater than the excise itself.

Others in the government believe that the next increase in the excise, likely to be about 1 cent under rules that index the excise to inflation, would be swamped by changes to global oil prices if the budget included any temporary pause.

Mr Marshall, who is facing a state election against Labor opponent Peter Malinauskas this Saturday, said his government would do more to cut the cost of living but needed federal intervention as well.

“What we really need is some relief at the federal level with regards to excise,” he said.

“It doesn’t need to be permanent but while we’re in this elevated fuel price situation we’d really like to see some relief coming from the federal government.”

Fuel excise was frozen at 38.143 cents per litre in 2001 when the prime minister, John Howard, stopped indexation during a furore over the impact of the GST on fuel and other costs. The indexation was restored under treasurer Joe Hockey in 2014 in a move that added $4.1 billion to federal revenue over four years.

Revenue from the excise is due to increase from $19.2 billion this financial year to $20.8 billion next year, with the proceeds from diesel worth more than twice as much as the revenue from petrol. While the adoption of electric vehicles will erode this over time, the last budget update forecast excise revenue would rise to $23 billion by 2025.

The Sydney Morning Herald

Putin taking his war closer to NATO territory

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As residents in the Lviv region woke to air raid sirens, flashes of red across the sky and booming explosions, Vladimir Putin was making a move west and striking at the heart of Ukraine’s military.

Ukraine officials say 35 people have died and 134 are being treated for serious injuries after Russian missiles struck the Yavoriv International Center for Peacekeeping and Security (ICPS) just 25 kilometres from the Polish border.

Head of emergency medicine for the region Andri Vasko told the ABC the injuries were severe and at a scale he had not experienced before.

“There was a strike on one of the buildings and some soldiers are at this time under the building, we are trying to pull them out. And they are alive,” Dr Vasko said on Sunday night.

Russia had warned convoys of Western arms shipments to Ukraine could be considered legitimate targets and then, when claiming yesterday’s attack, said the site was housing foreign weapons and fighters and that 180 of the alleged “mercenaries” were killed.

Foreign fighters were known to be at the military base, but Ukraine’s National Army Academy said none were killed in the strike.

Despite Ukraine’s desire to join NATO, until now the country has acted as a buffer zone between Russia and the alliance.

But Sunday’s attack brought Russia’s war to the NATO border, any incursion on which would see the alliance move to protect its territory. 

Locally, these missiles tore through the living quarters of a highly guarded military asset of a nation under attack. 

Among the people who live here, the strikes prompted both anger at having to fight Russia alone, and fear at the realisation their part of Ukraine is no longer a safe haven.

The 360-square-kilometre Yavoriv facility is one of Ukraine’s biggest military training arenas and is the largest in the western part of the country.

The base has hosted NATO exercises and centres around a small community where soldiers live on-site. Dr Vasko said some of them were bombed while they slept on Sunday morning.

“They are from different points of Ukraine, they are soldiers and also some of them are recruits. They were preparing to get into the war,” he said. 

“It was early in the morning, some of them tried to escape after the air alarm and some of them were sleeping.”

Regional governor Maksym Kozytskyy said Russian planes fired about 30 missiles at the facility, adding some were intercepted by Ukraine’s aerial defence system. 

Waking up to the shaking and the sounds of sirens

Bogdan, who did not want to give his last name, is a local man whose brother works as a medic on the tightly guarded base. 

He opened his phone to scroll through the countless outgoing calls he tried to place to his brother when he first heard the explosions. 

“I didn’t even hear the sirens. I woke up [because] a building was shaking. So I got up, went down, and saw the light. I also heard an explosion,” he said.

“Suddenly I got a call. I was told to come and help the wounded. When we got there, we saw that only one part of the barracks remained. Everything else was completely destroyed.”

He and his brother helped the wounded until a convoy of 40 ambulances arrived.

“We are not protected and we are not safe,” Bogdan said. 

“Many people came here to the western part of the country to escape the war, but as I see it, even here it is not safe now.”

Life next to the military base

On one of the many dusty roads towards the centre, at the last stop before a checkpoint where most cars get turned around, is the small village of Shklo. 

Eugene Koval lives there, along one side of the tall white wall that fences the military base. 

“At about 5:30 in the morning I saw a red sky on the other side, we heard an explosion, we immediately woke up [my] Dad and we quickly went to the basement,” he said.

“We gathered all the people who were in a panic. This is the first time we have heard about the bombing in Lviv region.”

Eugene and his family live next to a strategic asset, on the edge of the war itself, and in the corridor through which aid and refugees are moving every day.

“Absolutely not, I don’t feel safe,” he said.

“That is why we are praying that Europe and the whole world will give us an air dome so that they can close the sky for our security.

“For our part, we will fight the enemy at the front and beat him. We fight fearlessly if we know that the sky is protected and we do not worry about our kids, parents and all Ukrainians.” 

Ukrainians have been applauded around the world for their willingness to train, take up arms, and fight to defend their country, but here there are direct appeals for the international community to do more to help, in particular installing a no-fly zone over the country.

Vladimir Putin has said he would see any move by NATO to impose a no-fly zone as participation in the war, and Joe Biden and other NATO leaders have repeatedly ruled it out, saying it would risk starting World War III.

After yesterday’s strike, the anger in Shklo spilled over.

Eugene’s neighbour Lyubov said she counted 13 explosions.  

“No-one will help us. It does not get better,” she said.

“In two weeks, they will kill us all, or if they use their chemical weapons, there will be nothing left. Coronavirus and war brought many sufferings. Why do we need NATO if it doesn’t work?”

Before the invasion the Yavoriv base was the main facility hosting NATO troops during drills with Ukraine’s forces. Ukraine’s desire to join NATO has been a major irritant for Vladimir Putin.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has not yet responded to questions about whether Australians were on the site or injured in the attack.

–Sky News Australia

China turns down Russia’s request for aircraft parts supply

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Amid a ban by Western companies on supplying aircraft parts to Russia, China has decided not to do so as well.

After Boeing and Airbus refused to supply parts to Russia as part of the worldwide sanctions hitting the country in multiple ways in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine, China decided not to buck the world and help out its neighbor, according to Reuters.

Russia’s foreign ministry has said that the safety of Russia’s passenger flights is at risk as it needs parts. According to Reuters, the country has more than 300 Boeing passenger jets and another 300 Airbus jets as part of its passenger fleet.

It is now seeking parts from Turkey and India.

Russia “will have to create a full-fledged maintenance system for some types of aircraft. But before that … it will need to cannibalize some aircraft for use as spare parts,” said Oleg Panteleev, head of Russian AviaPort analytical agency, according to Reuters.

“Cannibalization will be possible because the need for the planes will fall,” Panteleev said.

Companies that leased jets to Russian airlines also might want them back.Advertisement – story continues below

“With Western lessors also looking to repossess jets that are operated by Russian carriers, the Russian aviation sector is now on a footing that is similar to North Korea and Iran — and similar to where it was under Soviet rule,” Vertical Research Partners analyst Rob Stallard said, according to Reuters.

But asking is not the same as getting, the outlet noted. Russia might forbid airlines to give back the planes if leases are canceled.

Western nations have taken a variety of avenues to punish Russia for the invasion of Ukraine.

For example, Britain has now made it a criminal offense for a Russian aircraft to enter British airspace.

The Dutch brewer Heineken has said it won’t make or sell its beer in Russia, according to CNN.

Heineken said it is “assessing strategic options for the future of our Russian operations. We see a clear distinction between the actions of the government and our employees in Russia. For more than 20 years, our local employees have been valued members of our Heineken business. Supporting our employees and their families is a clear principle as we define the path forward.”

But Western condemnation and Ukrainian resistance are not likely to dissuade Russian leader Vladimir Putin from escalating the war, CIA Director William Burns told the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, according to CNN.Advertisement – story continues below

“This is a matter of deep personal conviction for him,” Burns said. “He’s been stewing in a combustible combination of grievance and ambition for many years.”

Putin began the war “determined to dominate and control Ukraine” assuming his enemies were weak and that he had “sanctions-proofed” Russia.

“He’s been proven wrong on every count,” Burns said.

He said there will be an “ugly next few weeks” with “scant regard for civilian casualties” as Russia continues to destroy what it cannot tame.

“The Ukrainians are going to continue to resist fiercely and effectively,” Burns said.

COVID isolation rules for close contact might be scrapped soon

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison

The Prime Minister believes isolation rules for close contacts of COVID-19 cases are now redundant, as the nation moves to the next phase of living with the virus.

Key points:

  • National cabinet has asked AHPPC to consider exactly when isolation rules for close contacts can be scrapped
  • Mr Morrison said the current rules were starving businesses and hospitals of staff
  • He questioned how workable they would be with the winter virus season approaching

National Cabinet met on Friday to discuss the ongoing threat posed by the Omicron variant, as well as plans for the standard winter virus season.

Scott Morrison, premiers and chief ministers asked the nation’s top medical taskforce, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), to consider exactly when isolation rules for close contacts could be scrapped.

“It’s starving businesses of staff, of hospitals of staff, and all of these things — although for the health sector, there have been some exemptions,” Mr Morrison told reporters today in Sydney.

“That rule is becoming, we believe as leaders, redundant.

“So we’ve tasked the medical expert panel to say we want your urgent advice on this as soon as possible, because we’d like to say goodbye to that rule as quickly as we can.”

Isolation requirements have gone through a number of iterations over the past couple of months, as workforce demands required more exemptions for essential staff to be allowed to work.

Mr Morrison said with the winter virus season approaching, maintaining the status quo was unsustainable.

“Particularly with the kids back at school — I mean, we all know what it’s like with kids and flus and other things that, you know, they bring it home and then the whole family has to stay home and can’t go to work,” he said.

National cabinet is not due to meet again until June 2022, after the federal election.

While discussing the further relaxation of restrictions, Mr Morrison was asked whether he could ever see a set of circumstances where rules snapped back into force – particularly with national cabinet’s decision to also wind back the use of PCR testing.

“I certainly hope not,” he replied.

“You can never know what the next variant may be, and I know we discussed the mutations of the existing variant with Omicron yesterday,” he said.

“What we’ve seen with these latest permutations of this variant is it doesn’t need to change our settings, we can keep doing what we’re doing.”

The federal opposition said it backed the health advice, but warned against complacency.

“We have seen big problems over Christmas and problems in aged care,” Shadow Finance Minister Katy Gallagher told Channel Nine.

“We want to make sure that that doesn’t happen again.

“Cases are starting to surge again and we have been warned by experts that winter will bring on another wave of Omicron.”

Mr Morrison conceded there would be a “challenge going in to winter” as COVID-19 and influenza start to mix.

“We’ve had, obviously, COVID the last few years, but the fact that we have had so many of the social restrictions means that we haven’t had bad flu seasons the last couple of years,” he said.

“In fact, we’ve had very few fatalities from flu, they dropped dramatically during that period.”

He noted that PCR tests that pick up COVID-19 and also flu strains would be in use in coming months.

–ABC

Australia, on the list of Russia’s list of hostile country

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Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russia’s deputy prime minister warns of catastrophic consequences for sanctioning its oil

Australia is among another of nations that Russia has deemed “unfriendly states”, as the country’s deputy prime minister warned of “catastrophic consequences” if oil from the nation is banned as Western allies consider further sanctions.

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak has warned that a ban on Russian oil imports would have “catastrophic” consequences. Source: Getty / Sergei Pyatakov/TASSThe Russian government led by President Vladimir Putin has approved a list of “unfriendly states” that includes all European Union countries, the United States and Australia among others amid the war in Ukraine, the Interfax news agency reports.

Apart from countries, the hostile list also includes foreign territories that, according to officials in Moscow, have committed hostile actions against Russia, its companies and citizens.

According to Interfax, the list was signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and is part of the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation issued on 5 March on the temporary procedure for fulfilling obligations with certain foreign creditors.

The list includes the 27 member states of the EU that have approved strong sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.
Other countries to figure in the list are: Australia, Albania, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Micronesia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom, South Korea, San Marino, North Macedonia, Singapore, Taiwan, Montenegro, Switzerland, Japan and Ukraine.

Until now, the list only included the US and the Czech Republic.

In practical terms, being on the list simply means that Russian citizens, companies, or the government itself can only pay debts to any individual or company in roubles.

The Russian rouble has been recording big losses for days and on Monday it also fell significantly against the US dollar and the euro.

Moscow warns ban on Russian oil will have ‘catastrophic consequences’

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak warned on Monday (local time) that a ban on Russian oil imports would have “catastrophic” consequences, as Western allies consider further sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine.

“A ban on Russian oil will lead to catastrophic consequences for the global market. The surge in prices will be unpredictable — more than $300 per barrel, if not more,” Novak said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies.

Mr Novak added that it would be “impossible” to quickly replace Russian oil on the European market.

“It will take more than one year and it will be much more expensive for European consumers,” he said.

“European politicians should then honestly warn their citizens, consumers what awaits them and that prices at gas stations, for electricity, for heating will skyrocket,” he said.
Mr Novak said talks of an embargo on Russian oil creates “instability and leads to significant harm for consumers”.

He added that in retaliation for the halt on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, Russia could stop supplies via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

“So far we have not made this decision. Nobody will benefit from this,” Mr Novak said.

“Although European politicians are pushing us to this with their statements and accusations against Russia,” he added.

–SBS News

Scott Morrison’s visit to Lismore reflects slow government response to flood emergency

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Scott Morrison speaks at a lectern.
There was a lot of anticipation before Scott Morrison’s press conference in Lismore. (AAP: Dave Hunt)

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Scott Morrison was late to his first public appearance in Lismore.

Very late.

In a way it was reflective of how people in northern New South Wales feel about the official response to the flooding crisis that has ravaged their region — they’ve had to wait, and wait, and wait.

There was plenty of anticipation surrounding the Prime Minister’s visit to the Lismore City Council Chambers on Wednesday.

Outside the council chambers about 100 protesters chanted loudly, while a large media contingent waited for more than 90 minutes inside.

Scott Morrison had been delayed by private meetings with flood victims and official briefings.

A local volunteer seized the moment to be heard.

Rich Latimer introduced himself to the media and said the community had a message.

Play Video. Duration: 1 minute 20 seconds
Local volunteer calls for unification in wake of NSW floods

He went on to speak for six minutes.

“We need a lot less resistance between us and the agencies,” he said.

“Drop the narrative and message of the us-and-them and the polarisation, which is hard with what we’ve been through.

That Mr Latimer filled the vacuum left by Mr Morrison’s delay added an exclamation point to what many in NSW’s Northern Rivers region say has been happening since the devastating floods — community members have stepped in when the government and other agencies are nowhere to be seen.

It’s been well documented that as the water rose in towns around NSW’s north, it was locals in their private boats who saved the majority of people, not the emergency services.

Desperate calls to triple-0 and the State Emergency Service (SES) either went unanswered or were placed in a queue.

Then, when the water began to subside, the government response was chaotic and fell far short of what was needed.

There have been food and fuel supply issues in the area, and, initially, very little help when it came to the clean-up.

Play Video. Duration: 51 seconds
A woman is winched to safety by an army helicopter crew near Woodburn in northern NSW(ABC News.)

The PM declared the floods in NSW and Queensland a “national emergency” while speaking in Lismore on Wednesday, nine days after the town was submerged.

The state government seemed to take charge last Saturday – five days after the floods struck – when NSW Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke visited the area and said her administration had asked for the Australian Defence Force to assist.

“We asked for everything they could give us,” she said.

“Today they’ve increased that offer to 5,000 [personnel] and we’ve said we’ll take every one of those as well.”

But on Monday there were only 275 ADF personnel on the ground in Lismore.

Almost 3,000 have since joined the efforts.

Resources were ‘being assembled’

The Commonwealth and NSW governments have spent a lot of time and money over the past two years to be better ready for what unfolded in the Northern Rivers.

After the Black Summer bushfires in the summer of 2019-20, there was a state inquiry that handed down 76 recommendations, some of which were directly relevant to planning, preparing and responding to other disasters.

The Commonwealth’s probe went further and the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements eventually handed down 80 recommendations.

One, which was adopted, was to create a law so that the federal government could declare a “national emergency” and then cut through red tape to get resources on the ground more quickly.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister defended the speed of deployment.

“We don’t have those resources which has ADF waiting around the corner,” Mr Morrison said.

“We were assembling those resources.”

Play Video. Duration: 1 minute 28 seconds
‘Don’t blame the ADF’ Scott Morrison on the defence force’s role in floods

While in the Northern Rivers, the Prime Minister announced that residents in the Richmond Valley, Lismore and Clarence Valley local government areas (LGAs) would be eligible to access extra payments of $2,000 for adults and $800 for children under an extension of the Commonwealth’s Disaster Recovery Payment scheme.

It enraged people in neighbouring shires of Tweed, Ballina and Byron, who claimed they were forgotten about, despite hundreds of homes in their areas being damaged or destroyed in the disaster.

Yesterday, amid the criticisms, Mr Morrison said his government was considering what support it could offer people in those LGAs.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said yesterday that 2,800 homes had been deemed uninhabitable and 5,500 were declared “damaged” by flooding in northern NSW, numbers he described as “just the beginning”.

Ten days on from the floods, he also announced a housing package that included 16 weeks of rental support for those who had lost their homes.

He will split the cost with the Prime Minister.

People stand in a line holding signs referring to a climate crisis and government inaction.
Climate protesters gathered ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit to Lismore.(ABC News: Bruce Mackenzie)

Since the bushfire inquiries, the federal and state governments have set up their own “resilience” agencies to oversee the recovery from major disasters.

Resilience NSW, with its annual budget of almost $800 million, has had a rough start in Lismore.

Many locals in the Northern Rivers say the agency confused the chain of command in the days after the flood struck, while some NSW government MPs privately claimed it added an unwelcome layer of bureaucracy.

It is run by the well-known former head of the Rural Fire Service, Shane Fitzsimmons, a former NSW Australian of the Year who was praised for his handling of the Black Summer.

However, based on the response in Lismore and its surrounds, Resilience NSW has, so far, failed to live up to its promise to drive “world-leading disaster preparedness and recovery”.

The word “unprecedented” has been used repeatedly to describe these floods, which broke records in many towns.

Mr Perrottet claimed it was a “one-in-1,000-year event” and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce even it called it a “one-in-3,500-year event”.

Despite that, there is a general acceptance that these disasters will become more frequent.

What’s become clear is that New South Wales still isn’t prepared.

All levels of government should have learnt more from the past two weeks than any Royal Commission or special inquiry can tell them.

Action is needed now, because there may not always be a Lismore local in a tinnie to come to the rescue.

–ABC News

Southern NSW new COVID cases drop to 12, Queanbeyan records 4

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The Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) has recorded 12 new COVID cases in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, with four in the Queanbeyan area.

All four cases in the Queanbeyan-Palerang region are linked. Three cases are in Karabar with the other in Bungendore.

The Snowy Monaro area has recorded another seven cases with four of those linked. They are all in Jindabyne.

Goulburn recorded one new case which is linked.

There have now been 302 total cases in the SNSWLHD since the start of the outbreak in June.

The areas within the SNSWLHD that have active cases are Queanbeyan-Palerang (113), Goulburn (54), Eurobodalla (34), Yass (13), Bega Valley (3) and the Snowy Monaro region (49).

There are currently eight people in hospital with the virus.

ANU appoints Brittany Higgins to key women’s leadership role

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Advocate Brittany Higgins

Former political staffer and women’s safety and equality advocate Brittany Higgins has been appointed as the inaugural Visiting Fellow at The Australian National University’s Global Institute for Women’s Leadership (GIWL).

As part of GIWL, Ms Higgins will help advance work on a proposed code of conduct to prevent and respond to abuse, harassment and sexual misconduct in Parliament House and parliamentary workplaces.

Ms Higgins will also collaborate with GIWL on other key issues, including the implementation of the Respect@Work report, advancing the outcomes of the Independent Inquiry into the Commonwealth’s Parliamentary Workplaces expected next month and highlighting the importance of young women’s leadership.

GIWL at ANU is a non-partisan organisation that undertakes cutting-edge research and advocacy driven by evidence to support women’s leadership and improve workplace gender equality.

ANU is the first university in the world to partner with the original GIWL at King’s College London, established and led by former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Ms Gillard said Ms Higgins was “a powerful force for change who had already greatly advanced the national conversation and push for reform in one of the most confronting and urgent issues Australia faces”.

“In Brittany, Australia has an incredible leader who is already having a profound impact,” Ms Gillard said.

“I applaud her courage in coming forward with her experiences, and her determination to make sure other women do not ever have to go through what she has.

“Her bravery should and must lead to meaningful change, not only in our workplaces, but across all our society.

“Brittany will be a wonderful advocate and I am delighted she has joined GIWL and ANU. I look forward to working with her and other members of the global GIWL team on these vital issues.”

Ms Higgins said she was looking forward to working as a conduit between government, academics and those in the field to ensure best practice models are adopted to bring about systemic change in Australia.

“I am dedicated to driving meaningful change in Parliament House, and all Australian workplaces, so that our systems work better to prevent and respond to inappropriate workplace conduct,” she said.

“All women have the right to feel safe and respected at work and in society more broadly.

“The 2021 Women’s Safety Summit was a great first step to addressing these challenges. Now more than ever in the midst of growing inequality as a result of COVID-19, it’s important to ensure words are translated into action.

“I am committed to ensuring that we are able to harness the momentum kickstarted this year to enact real change for Australian women so they can be better served by our major institutions.”

Director of GIWL at ANU, Professor Michele Ryan, said young voices like Ms Higgins’ were fundamental to driving real change.

“Sexual harassment, sexual assault, inequality, abuse: these are issues women have been confronting in the workplace and society for too long,” Professor Ryan said.

“But Brittany is a voice for change who will not only help advance the case for reform in Australia but who will inspire a new generation of women to keep demanding nothing less than what they are all owed: respect.

“We shouldn’t have to demand it. But we are fortunate to have young leaders like Brittany while we still do.

“GIWL at ANU undertakes research, advocacy and practice to improve workplace gender equality and accelerate women’s leadership. We have a world-class research team building the evidence base and finding out what works.

“As our inaugural Visiting Fellow, Brittany Higgins will help us in our advocacy to ensure the evidence and research we produce reaches a broader audience and is able to be transformed into policy change and better workplace practice.”

One COVID-19 death in ACT as a baby tests positive while new 28 cases were recorded

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COVID-19 has claimed the live of a woman in her 70s who was receiving end-of life care bringing ACT’s death toll in the current outbreak to six.

All six COVID-related deaths in the ACT from the current outbreak had been receiving end-of-life care.

A total of 28 new cases were recorded and a baby also tested positive at Canberra’s Centenary Hospital.

Nineteen of the new cases were linked to previous cases, while nine are still under investigation by health authorities.

There were 11 cases that were in quarantine the whole time, with five being infectious in the community.

The number of COVID patients in Canberra hospitals now stands at 16, seven of those being in intensive care and four being on a ventilator.

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the baby had been in a special care nursery for some time and had been moved to a COVID ward.

“This situation is being expertly handled and Canberrans can feel safe to attend hospitals if they require care,” she said.

“Canberra Health Services’ COVID exposure team is conducting a full risk assessment.”

It is not yet known how the baby acquired COVID, but first symptoms were first reported overnight.

Close contacts, which included family, other patients and staff have been contacted by health authorities and have been told to isolate.

Other sections of the special care nursery have not been affected by the outbreak.

The special care nursery is one of the few places in the hospital where visitor restrictions are not enforced, due to parents needing to come in.

It comes as the ACT is set to mandate vaccines for frontline healthcare workers.

However, Ms Stephen-Smith said the ACT was looking at whether to include disability workers as part of the mandate, noting that the federal government had refused to make vaccines mandatory for the group.

“We’re actively considering what we should do and how to do it,” she said.

“It’s disappointing it hasn’t been prioritised as a national cabinet item.”

More than 95 per cent of Canberrans aged 12 and up have now received one dose of a COVID vaccine while over 66 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Ms Stephen-Smith said she expected the ACT to reach 70 per cent of the eligible population being fully vaccinated in coming days.

With health authorities expecting virus numbers to increase as restrictions ease, the health minister said it was critical for children not eligible for the vaccine to be surrounded by as many vaccinated people as possible.

“Being vaccinated doesn’t completely remove the risk of getting the virus – it does reduce that risk of being less unwell and transmitting to another person, and that’s an important protection,” she said.

The total number of cases of the ACT’s current outbreak is now 1,066 with 663 recovered cases.

There are currently 395 active cases in the ACT.

Facebook down: Zuckerberg apologises for six-hour outage

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Facebook down: Zuckerberg apologises for six-hour outage

Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has apologised for the “disruption” caused after its social media services went down for almost six hours – impacting more than 3.5bn users worldwide.

The billionaire said sorry after an internal technical issue took Facebook, Messenger, Whatsapp and Instagram offline at about 16:00 GMT on Monday.

The scramble to bring it back online eventually succeeded at around 22:00.

But it is likely to increase scrutiny of the social media giant’s reach.

For hours, potentially billions of people found themselves without the social media tools they relied upon to keep in touch with friends and family. Others reportedly found they could not access services which required a Facebook login.

Meanwhile, businesses around the world, which use social media to connect with customers, were faced with the prospect of an unexpected financial hit.

Mr Zuckerberg himself was thought to have lost an estimated $6bn (£4.4bn) from his personal fortune at one point as Facebook shares plummeted, according to the business website Fortune’s tracking software.

Downdetector, which tracks outages, said some 10.6 million problems were reported around the world – the largest number it had ever recorded.

Facebook later said it had been brought offline by a faulty configuration change which not only impacted the websites and apps, but also affected the company’s internal tools.

Those tools included Facebook’s internal email and even employee work passes.

Some reports suggest that Facebook headquarters was in “meltdown”. Even “the people trying to figure out what this problem was” couldn’t access the building, New York Times technology reporter Sheera Frenkel told the BBC.

The New York Times reports that the problem was eventually resolved after a group managed to get into a California data centre and reset the servers. The company has not confirmed this.

Facebook has said it is working to understand what happened so it can “make our infrastructure more resilient”. Tech experts have described the issue as being akin to the social media giant falling off the internet’s map, so it could not be found.

The company said there was “no evidence that user data was compromised”.

The outage comes at a particularly difficult time for the company, which is finding itself increasingly under pressure over its reach and impact on society.

On Sunday, former Facebook employee Frances Haugen told CBS news the company had prioritised “growth over safety”.

On Tuesday she will testify before a Senate subcommittee in a hearing titled “Protecting Kids Online”, about the company’s research into Instagram’s effect on the mental health of young users.

-BBC

14 hospitalised as ACT records 33 new Covid-19 cases

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ACT Health Minister Rachel Steven-Smith

The ACT has recorded 33 new COVID-19 cases overnight with 28 linked to existing exposure sites or are identified close contacts.

Of the ACT’s 33 new cases, six were in quarantine for their entire infectious period, with at least 14 spending some time in the community while infectious.

13 of those who spent time in the community have been assessed as posing a “minimal risk of transmission” according to Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerryn Coleman.

Dr Coleman said reporting will be adapted in the future to focus on the cases who pose a higher risk to the community.

Fourteen people are hospitalised with or due to COVID-19. Five are in intensive care with three requiring ventilation.

The youngest patient is in their 20s, the oldest in their 60s.

Ten of the hospitalised patients are unvaccinated and four have had one dose.

95 people have been admitted to hospital throughout the outbreak, nine per cent of all cases. Sixteen have required ICU care, 17 per cent of hospitalisations; a further eight have required ventilatory support.

68 of the 95 hospital admissions have been unvaccinated, 16 partially vaccinated, and five fully vaccinated, with the vaccination status still unknown for a further six patients.

The ACT has now recorded 1038 cases in this outbreak with 649 having recovered, leaving 384 active cases.

Dr Coleman said she expects to see larger case numbers and “a degree of transmission” across the ACT.

She said it is “inevitable” due to the “highly contagious nature” of the delta strain combined with more freedom of movement as public health measures ease.

Following record high daily case numbers set in the last week, the overall average case numbers per week has pushed up to 132 from 123.5 previously.

The proportion of tests who come back positive has also increased in the past week from 0.7 per cent of tests to almost two per cent.

Approximately 70 per cent of the cases recorded in the past week presented for testing due to being a close or household contact.

For the entire outbreak, more than half the cases are male, and the median age is 28 years.

53 per cent of cases are aged between 18-44 years.


More than 2,500 tests were conducted yesterday, a figure Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said was “strong for a public holiday”.

106 in-person compliance checks were conducted yesterday by ACT Policing of homes, hotels and businesses.

1310 road stops were conducted with 22 people directed to leave the ACT. Three infringement notices were issued and no cautions.

On the vaccination front, 94 per cent of Canberrans aged 12 and over have now received at least one jab with over 65 per cent fully vaccinated.

The increase in supply of Pfizer and Moderna coming online have led to an escalation of available appointments via the ACT Government-led mass vaccination clinics, GPs and pharmacies, with bookings available today.

“If you’ve got an appointment that is some distance off and you want to bring it forward, now is your opportunity to get vaccinated as quickly as possible,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

Vaccine mandate for frontline healthcare workers

The health minister this morning also announced being vaccinated against COVID-19 will be mandatory for healthcare workers in the ACT across certain settings.

It will be focused on staff at the highest risk of coming into contact with COVID-19, which includes frontline staff in hospitals, any healthcare facility operated by Canberra Health Services, day hospitals, in Hospice, and ambulance services.

The current proposal is that workers must have at least one dose of vaccine by no later than 29 October and a second dose by no later than 1 December.

The mandatory vaccination requirements will be implemented through a new public health direction signed by the chief health officer.

“Vaccinating healthcare workers is the most effective way to protect them against the virus while also reducing the transmission to patients, other staff, and the wider community,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

Consultation commenced this morning with the healthcare workforce and other key stakeholders to finalise the details of the public health direction.

Ms Stephen-Smith said a phased approach to other healthcare settings will be considered in the “coming weeks and months”.

ACT’s largest chunk of the budget goes to infrastructure program

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Margaret Hendry School will be expanded.

In an effort to boost an ailing economy being distabilised by Covid-19, the ACT government gave the biggest budget allocation to infrastructure development.

This is the biggest infrastructure program in the public sector’s history of ACT.

ACT government has pumped $5 billion to will support more than 15,300 construction jobs. The government plans to create more than 250,000 jobs in the local economy by 2025. Meanwhile 250 projects and 14 programs have already taken off the ground.

The capital investment priorities continue to be health, education, public transport, public housing, climate action, and urban renewal, said ACT Chief Minister and Treasurer Andrew Barr.

“Interest rates are the lowest since Federation, providing a once-in-a-century opportunity for the Government to build sustainable, productivity-improving, and growth-enabling infrastructure to prepare our city for the future,” Mr Barr said.

Master Builders ACT welcomed the ACT Government’s announcement, but also called on the government to invest more in apprenticeships.


Health

$877 million will be spent on ACT health and wellbeing infrastructure over the next five years, to 2025-26. This will include a Cancer Research Centre at the Canberra Hospital, infrastructure upgrades at Calvary Public Hospital, planning for a new carpark at the Canberra Hospital, and planning and design for a future hospital in Canberra’s north.


Schools and TAFE

Over the next five years, $950 million will be spent on CIT and education infrastructure. Margaret Hendry School will be expanded, and a new high school built in Taylor. The funding also covers nine new modular learning centres, design works for a new primary school at Strathnairn, a modernised Narrabundah College, road infrastructure for East Gungahlin High School, and modernising Garran Primary School.


Housing

$935 million will be spent on housing and community support and safety, including more than $580 million to grow and renew public housing stock.


Transport

$1.4 billion will be spent to upgrade Canberra’s sustainable and connected transport system, roads and paths, and improve active travel routes. Projects include the first light rail stop for stage two of light rail to Woden, detailed design and construction of the Sulwood Drive shared path, and the duplication of William Hovell Drive.


Suburban infrastructure

$8.5 million will be allocated in 2021-22 to upgrade and improve major sporting and other venues. This includes consultation and planning works to expand Exhibition Park in Canberra, a new video replay board and upgrades to GIO Stadium, a new video score board and upgrades to Manuka Oval, and a feasibility study for a second sealed access road for the National Arboretum Canberra.

$2.9 million over two years will also be allocated to design carpark upgrades at Stromlo Forest Park.


Emergency Services

Emergency services will receive more than $12 million to upgrade their facilities, including refurbishing the Gungahlin Joint Emergency Services Centre. A new fire-fighting tanker has been purchased costing $550,000 and fitted out with safety equipment ready for the summer bushfire season.


Community facilities, parks and playgrounds 

Planning and upgrades for new community facilities across Canberra include:

  • $18.7 million to upgrade local shopping centres
  • $9 million to progress the Throsby Home of Football
  • $300,000 over two yearsfor a feasibility and design study for community facilities in Gungahlin
  • $1.65 million over three years to design the Southern Memorial Park
  • $15 million over three years to build a facility for Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation at its Wanniassa location
  • $5 million to continue the Healthy Waterways Project
  • $3 million over four years for a new community recreation park in Casey
  • $600,000 for improved and new amenities at Yerrabi Pond District Park
  • $2.8 million over two years for design and consultation to transform the Acton Waterfront into a place for people in the heart of the city
  • $5.3 million for new or upgraded play spaces in Kaleen, Ngunnawal, Chisholm, Gordon, Lyons, and Aranda.

Public Trading Enterprises

Public Trading Enterprises will invest $1.4 billion over the next five years, on top of a $5 billion investment by the General Government Sector. This will result in a record $1.3 billion in 2021-22 and $6.4 billion over the five years to 2025-26.


Master Builders

Using the infrastructure pipeline to boost the economic recovery was a strategic and sensible investment, said Master Builders ACT CEO Michael Hopkins; every $1 invested in building and construction would generate $3 of economic benefit.

“The Chief Minister is positioning the construction industry to lead the ACT’s economic recovery like it did in 2020 after the initial COVID lockdown,” he said.   

“To ensure the full economic benefits of this announcement are reached at a local level, the ACT Government should prioritise local companies to deliver these projects, and make a significant investment in local skills.

“The ACT Government provides the lowest funding for many construction industry trade apprenticeships. Infrastructure projects present an opportunity to leave a legacy of a more skilled local workforce; however, without an adequate investment in trade careers, this opportunity will likely be taken up by other states.”

Two succumb to COVID 19 in ACT as 28 new cases are recorded

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Two people died of COVID 19 in ACT while 28 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours stretching to 8pm last night.

ACT’s death toll is now standing at five.

Both fatalities were old women in their 80s.

One of the woman was a resident of the Cavalry Haydon Aged Care facility who was receiving end of life care. She was double vaccinated.

The second victim was admitted to Canberra Hospital on Friday night where she received palliative care for COVID-19 and other health issues.

Of the 28 new COVID-19 cases overnight, 14 are linked to existing cases or ongoing clusters and the remaining 14 are under investigation.

Just eight were in quarantine for their entire infectious period with at least 16 spending some time in the community while infectious.

The new case numbers mean the ACT has recorded more than 1000 infections since its latest COVID-19 outbreak began on August 12.

There are 16 patients with the virus in Canberra hospitals, with five of those in intensive care and one on a ventilator.

The youngest patient is in their 20s and the oldest is in their 80s.

Ten are unvaccinated, four are partially vaccinated with one dose, and the vaccination status of two is unknown.

Health authorities have urged ACT residents to keep on vaccinating.

Minor COVID-19 restrictions were pulled back in Canberra on Friday ahead of the ACT’s lockdown easing on October 15.

The new measures allow for up to two people to visit another household.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian to resign after ICAC confirms it is investigating her

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The NSW Premier has resigned after a corruption watchdog announced it was looking into her conduct.

Gladys Berejiklian told stunned reporters on Friday it went against “every instinct” in her being to resign, especially at such a critical time as the state begins to reopen.

But, she was ultimately left with “no option”.

Her decision to resign came after the Independent Commission Against Corruption confirmed in a bombshell statement it would investigate whether she’d breached the public’s trust in the course of her secret relationship with a former parliamentary colleague.

WHY GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN HAD TO RESIGN

The shock announcement came almost exactly a year after she revealed in a live-streamed ICAC hearing that she’d been in a secret “close personal relationship” with Daryl Maguire for several years.

The relationship between Ms Berejiklian and the former Wagga Wagga MP ended in August last year, the same month she was first drawn into the ICAC investigation, by way of giving private evidence to the commission.

Her public admission in October 2020 that she secretly dated Mr Maguire – who is under investigation by the ICAC for allegedly misusing his position as MP to enrich himself – led to a firestorm of criticism from other MPs.

Gladys Berejiklian resigned as NSW Premier on Friday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper

Daryl Maguire and Gladys Berejiklian were in a “close personal relationship”.

Daryl Maguire and Gladys Berejiklian were in a “close personal relationship”.

But Ms Berejiklian survived two votes of no confidence in the days after her public testimony and has stayed in high regard with voters, who have mostly rated favourably her handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

For the last 12 months the Premier’s go-to answer whenever she’s faced criticism for her connections to Mr Maguire has been to say that her personal conduct is not a focus of the ICAC.

FROM NEWS.COM.AU


The commission’s Friday announcement demolished that argument.

“I love my job and I love serving the community, but I have been given no option,” Ms Berejiklian said on Friday, during a six-minute statement.

The other reason she felt she had no choice was the standard she’d set for colleagues who had faced various allegations of their own.

“As the leader of the NSW government, I have expected the highest of standards of myself and my colleagues,” she said on Friday.

“I have made it clear on numerous occasions that if any of my ministers were the subject of allegations being investigated by an integrity agency or law-enforcement, then he or she should stand aside during the course of the investigation until their name was cleared … that same standard must apply to me as Premier.”

Colleagues including her former sports and family ministers have resigned from the cabinet over allegations made to them by the ICAC and NSW Police, respectively.

Daryl Maguire is also under investigation by the ICAC. Picture: Dylan Robinson

Daryl Maguire is also under investigation by the ICAC. Picture: Dylan Robinson

In fact, while Ms Berejiklian was giving her 1pm resignation speech at her department offices at Sydney’s Martin Place, the ICAC was holding a public hearing into allegations against the former sports minister, John Sidoti, just a kilometre south of where she stood.

Ms Berejiklian was largely stoic when announcing her resignation, but her voice showed signs of emotion towards the end when she addressed the residents of the state to say “thank you”.

“I want to thank you, the people of NSW – when the chips were down in the past few years, particularly during the drought, the bushfires and now Covid – we stood alongside each other,” she said.

Gladys Berejiklian remained largely stoic while announcing her resignation.

“I hope you know you’ll remain foremost in my thoughts.”

Her voice then momentarily broke when she told people it would be the final time she would address them as Premier.

“So as I address you for the final time as your Premier, please stay the course and stay safe. We will be shortly out of this lockdown and be able to get on with our lives,” she said.

She earlier said she regretted “not to be able to finish the job to ensure the people of NSW can transition to living with Covid”.

Ms Berejiklian will also resign from her role as MP for Willoughby, which will trigger a by-election.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

It wasn’t immediately clear who will take over as Premier. The Liberal Party will have a meeting on Tuesday where MPs would have a vote on the matter.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has long been seen as a favourite to succeed Ms Berejiklian.

The ICAC said in its announcement it will begin holding new public hearings from October 18.

The watchdog will investigate if she breached public trust in relation to her personal relationship with Mr Maguire.

Gladys Berejiklian has been Premier since 2017.

Gladys Berejiklian has been Premier since 2017.

ICAC said on Friday it would investigate whether Ms Berejiklian‘s relationship with Mr Maguire created a conflict of interest that resulted in her breaching the public’s trust by awarding grants to a clay target association and a music conservatorium in Wagga Wagga.

It would also investigate whether the Premier breached the public trust by allegedly failing to report conduct by Mr Maguire that may have been corrupt.

The ICAC also said it would investigate whether she was “liable to allow or encourage the occurrence of corrupt conduct by Mr Maguire”.

The investigation will be a continuation of an ongoing probe into Mr Maguire‘s conduct as an MP.

Ms Berejiklian said on Friday she had “always acted with the highest level of integrity”.

“In all decisions I’ve ever made as a minister or as Premier of NSW, my first consideration has always been the wellbeing and welfare of the people of the state,” she said.

“I state categorically, I’ve always acted with the highest level of integrity.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters she always acted with the highest level of integrity. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper

“History will demonstrate that I’ve always executed my duties, again with the highest level of integrity, for the benefit of the people of NSW.”

It was during public hearings into that matter that it was revealed that Ms Berejiklian had been in a secret five-year relationship with Mr Maguire.

Ms Berejiklian has been an MP since 2003 and Premier since 2017.

She is the third NSW Premier to resign as a result of an ICAC investigation since the corruption watchdog’s creation in 1988.

Businesses urge government to continue financial support

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John-Paul Romano, chairman of the Inner-South Canberra Business Council.

Canberra businesses say they will need more support beyond mid-October, when government COVID-19 financial support measures for business and disaster payments will end.

“Business owners are worried that when they are only allowed to open at 25 per cent capacity, or in some instances for nightclubs, not open at all, they will have the tap turned off,” stated John-Paul Romano, chairman of the Inner-South Canberra Business Council.

“This is plainly the Government spitting in the face of predominantly small and medium businesses who have been hurting for over two years.”

The COVID-19 Business Support Grants will be extended by a fortnight to mid-October, it was announced today, taking the baseline payment to $40,000 for employing businesses and to $15,000 for non-employing businesses. Medium and larger businesses will receive a top-up payment of $10,000 to $30,000, scaled based on their turnover.

In line with the Federal Government’s National Plan for Reopening, these grants will end when 80 per cent of the ACT’s population has been fully vaccinated.

Mr Romano urged Federal and ACT politicians to continue the Business Grants until 12 December. This, he said, would allow businesses to get back on their feet and reemploy staff who were laid off. Another option was a support for reopened businesses.

“Many businesses are concerned they will be left without any government support for them or their employees, recalling that JobKeeper continued for several months after the end of lockdown in 2020,” Mr Romano wrote.

Tom Adam, president of the Phillip Business Community, agreed.

“You cannot reduce people’s ability to earn a living, and then expect them to wear losses – just because it’s politically opportunistic,” he said. “This is the ‘investment’ that ACT businesses need to have the confidence to trade until more normal times come back.”

The ACT Greens also condemned the Federal Government’s withdrawal of disaster funding.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said that the ACT Government would continue support for certain industry sectors until the end of the year, and some schemes (as announced on Tuesday) would continue into the first quarter or first half of 2022.

Mr Barr also announced that ACT fitness and sport industries – such as gyms, personal trainers, and dance teachers – could now apply for the COVID-19 Tourism, Accommodation Provider, Arts, Events, Hospitality and Fitness Grants.

Mr Adam was jubilant. “Yes!” he exclaimed. “Finally, we have had our industries recognised as important to the Canberra community.”

Gym and fitness studios have worried how they will survive given restrictions on numbers.

Liberal Senator Zed Seselja said the two-week extension of the Business Grants would protect Canberra jobs and the economy. The Morrison Government, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said, had already provided more than $2 billion in direct economic support to ACT households and businesses since the pandemic began last year.

As of today, almost 5,400 applications will have been approved, to the value of $85 million. More than 1,400 have undergone partial assessment and will move into the next phase of assessment, while further information is still needed for 1,750.

Mr Barr called the Business Grants “an important lifeline to businesses impacted by significantly reduced turnover”, in a joint media release with Federal colleagues – but at today’s press conference, lambasted the process as inefficient.

The ACT Government had to establish new protocols and arrangements, Mr Barr said, because the Commonwealth refused to let the ACT use its payment mechanism – despite allowing it for JobKeeper last year, and having the necessary information about bank accounts and ABNs.

Those who have waited longest and those who have not received any payment yet will be prioritised.

“I said from the outset that the Commonwealth pathway to `deliver assistance by state and territory governments administering grants schemes was amongst the least efficient ways [to deliver the program],” Mr Barr said.

“I share the frustration, but I said all through last year that a grant scheme was going to be cumbersome, take time, and be administratively difficult – and that’s absolutely right.”

ACT records 31 new cases as easing of restrictions kick in

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The ACT has recorded 31 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 ahead of easing restrictions at midnight.

Key points:

  • At least 17 of today’s cases were infectious in the community 
  • Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations are now available for more Canberrans aged over 60
  • Additional cases have been linked to the Calvary Haydon aged care facility in Canberra’s north

At least 17 of the new cases spent some time infectious in the community and 14 are currently unable to be linked to other known infections.

10 people are in hospital with the virus. Three patients are in intensive care requiring ventilation.

Though ACT Deputy Chief Health Officer Vanessa Johnston said an additional positive case had been placed into ICU overnight and would be included in tomorrow’s numbers.

There are currently 246 active COVID-19 cases in the territory.

From tonight, some ACT lockdown measures will ease which will see recreation time outdoors extended, national parks reopen and additional allowances made for some retail businesses. 

There were 3,485 tests conducted yesterday.

A man on a bike rides by pedestrians on a sunny day
Restrictions are set to ease in the ACT from midnight, including a doubling of permitted outdoor recreation time.(ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

Warning not to mix vaccines as Pfizer and Moderna available for over 60s

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said it was crucial that Canberrans took advantage of earlier vaccination appointments, as Pfizer and Moderna bookings become available for more people over 60. 

“Over the next few weeks our absolute priority is to ensure that everyone who wants a vaccine has the opportunity to get one,” Mr Barr said.

“We have earlier Pfizer appointments available at ACT government mass vaccination clinics, 7,000 text messages were sent out yesterday to people who already had a booking in the system at an ACT government clinic, inviting them to bring their appointment forward.”

Healthcare worker with pfizer vaccine
More Canberrans over 60 can now book in for a Pfizer or Moderna vaccination appointment.(AAP: Daniel Pockett)

Mr Barr said although people over 60 were now eligible to book a Pfizer appointment at a government-run mass vaccination hub or a Moderna appointment through a GP, Canberrans must not mix vaccines. 

“It is not possible to get an mRNA vaccine — a Pfizer or Moderna second shot — if you have received AstraZeneca as your first dose,” he said.

“If you have received a first dose of AstraZeneca, you must receive a second dose of AstraZeneca.

“What I can say is that based on the Commonwealth government’s forward vaccine orders, for those who have had two doses of AstraZeneca, mRNA booster shots are what the government are proposing for everyone next year.”

The ACT government will also close its Calvary AstraZeneca mass vaccination clinic from October 8, with the clinic only having 30 first-dose appointments currently registered.

Mr Barr said, when the territory began to open up in mid-October, there would be about 80,000 children under 12 who would not have had access to a vaccination, but added that data showed hospitalisation rates for the cohort was low.

“The disease is much milder in children and all of the evidence supports that,” Mr Barr said.

“The analysis of the Delta strain so far indicates for kids it’s about a two per cent hospitalisation rate, for adults it’s about a 10 per cent hospitalisation rate.

“You just do the numbers then based on the ACT’s population and that gives you a sense of what it will be like over a six-month period.”

More cases linked to Calvary Haydon aged care

An aged care facility seen through a garden with a wattle tree.
Health authorities have announced further COVID-19 cases linked to the Calvary Haydon aged care facility in Bruce.(ABC News: Andrew Kennedy)

Dr Johnston said three of the new cases were linked to the Calvary Haydon aged care facility.

“There are additional cases linked to the Calvary Hayden aged care facility cluster in today’s numbers, which include two residents and one staff member,” Dr Johnston said.

“Our numbers are now at 17 cases for this cluster — four staff members, 12 residents and one household contact.

“Calvary has advised that at this stage none of the current cases are hospitalised due to COVID-19.”

Dr Johnston said due to ongoing transmission in the home, the facility would be added to the ACT’s list of public exposure sites.

“Following the addition of the Calvary Haydon aged care facility and the London Circuit construction site to our exposure list this week, and after our ongoing investigations, we’re now adding these to our active public sites of transmission,” Dr Johnston said.

“That brings these public sites of transmission to three. Calvary Haydon aged care facility has a total of 17 cases, London Circuit construction site has a total of 17 cases and Ainslie Village with a total of 13 cases.

“So, again, please check the website, check it regularly. If you’ve been to any of the locations listed, please follow the public health advice.”

A hospital building seen from across a busy road.
Health authorities say 47 Canberra Hospital staff are in quarantine after a potential exposure to a positive case of COVID-19. (ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

Hospital staff test negative, business grants extended

Health authorities said additional “day five” testing had also been conducted on staff and patients exposed to positive COVID-19 cases at Canberra Hospital over the weekend.

“As we all know already three patients have tested positive for COVID-19 in total, the initial two patients announced over the weekend, and a third case announced on September, 28,” Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said.

“Two positive cases are being cared for in the COVID-19 ward at the Canberra Hospital while one patient has been discharged. All other patients in the hospital in Ward 10A have returned negative results.

“No healthcare workers have tested positive in relation to the exposure at this time.”

Ms Stephen-Smith said 47 staff remained off work in quarantine as a result of their potential exposure.

“The fact that all of these tests have come back negative is such a good sign of the effectiveness of Canberra Hospital’s infection prevention and control and use of personal protective equipment,” she said.

The Chief Minister today also announced extensions to grant payments for struggling ACT businesses.

“Under the agreement with the Commonwealth government, there will be an additional business grant extension payment of a further $10,000 for all employing businesses and a further $3,750 for non-employing businesses,” Mr Barr said.

“This takes the baseline payment to $40,000 for employing businesses and $15,000 for non-employing businesses. In addition to these baseline amounts, another top up payment will also be made for medium and larger businesses in the ACT.”

Mr Barr also said the fitness industry had been added for the COVID-19 tourism and arts grants.

“Businesses in the fitness and sports industries such as gyms, personal trainers, dance teachers and instructors will now be included and be able to apply in our COVID-19 tourism, accommodation provider, arts, events, hospitality and now fitness grants scheme,” he said.

Earlier today, organisers of the annual car festival Summernats said they saw “no reason” why the event could not go ahead in Canberra next year.

The festival is slated to begin in January at EPIC, which has been used as a testing facility throughout the pandemic.

Mr Barr did not confirm whether the event would go ahead but said arrangements could be made if was permitted to do so.

“We’ll do what we need to, to accommodate events at Exhibition Park and that may mean either temporarily or permanently shifting testing sites next year,” he said.

From today, Canberrans can have two visitors under eased COVID-19 lockdown restrictions

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While Canberrans eagerly await the planned end of lockdown on October 15, some changes to restrictions come into effect from today.

Key points:

  • From today, Canberrans can have visitors again — two people in a home at any one time
  • ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr is urging Canberrans to be sensible about the eased restrictions
  • National parks are open, dental services can resume and more shops can operate click-and-collect services

Two visitors are now allowed in another household, up to five people can gather outside for up to four hours, and all non-essential retail will be allowed to operate click-and-collect or delivery services.

National parks have reopened, dental services can resume, and personal training and outdoor boot camps can recommence, with no more than two people — excluding instructors. 

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said yesterday, while many Canberrans were excited by the prospect of visiting another household, people should not schedule visits to all of their friends just yet.

He said the eased restrictions were not an excuse to “bring 10 people into a household, or four people into a household”.

He reminded Canberrans to “be sensible”.

Four women wearing masks walk outdoors on a sunny day
Canberrans can now exercise or meet outside for recreational activities for up to four hours.(ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

For example, if you live in a share house and multiple members of your household have an intimate partner, those partners can all visit the home at once, but households should “apply judgment”, remembering Canberra is still in lockdown.

Mr Barr yesterday confirmed that very young children also did not count in the two-person limit, and said parents could take their child to visit another household.

“If there’s a caring responsibility that would mean that that young child would be left without any supervision, then it is appropriate,” he said. 

“The age of the child is a factor in that, so the public health directions do allow for those sorts of circumstances.” 

But if parents have multiple young kids, Mr Barr suggested getting a carer to visit the home, like a grandparent, to look after the children before visiting other friends.

A bushwalker stands with their foot on a rock looking at a vast view, clouds in the distance.
National parks are allowed to reopen under eased restrictions.(ABC News: Tahlia Roy)

From today, non-essential retail stores will also be able to begin click-and-collect services for the first time since this lockdown began, but with only five people allowed in the store — larger businesses may not realistically be able to resume trading.

At IKEA in Canberra, for example, click-and-collect will not be operating.

Instead, a spokeswoman said the Canberra branch would continue assisting their distribution centre to make deliveries.

The ACT’s lockdown is due to end on 15 October.

ACT records 22 news cases out of 3710 tests

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The ACT has recorded 22 new cases overnight, 12 linked to existing cases and the remainder under investigation.

Seven of the ACT’s 22 new cases were in quarantine for their entire infectious period.

Ten are in hospital with or due to COVID-19. Three are in intensive care all requiring ventilation.

3710 tests were conducted yesterday.

“If you delay getting tested, every day has a big impact,” Chief Minister Andrew Barr said, both in terms of the number of people potentially being infected and on the possible treatment you may require.

“There are some COVID-19 treatments that need to be administered within five days of an individual experiencing symptoms in order for them to be fully effective.”

About 45,000 first doses still to go and about 145,000 second doses still to go.

Mr Barr advised those eager to get a jab to monitor the online booking systems as earlier appointments do “often” open up in ACT Government clinics, pharmacists and GPs.

“I’ve seen posts on social media from particular pharmacists in the ACT saying they have seven or eight appointments available in the next few hours if people want to come forward,” he said.

The Chief Minister also noted he has reached an “in principal agreement” with Commonwealth Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on an extension of the co-funded COVID-19 business support payments.

The detail of the agreement will be finalised today with a joint statement expected tomorrow.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Wednesday outlined a plan to phase out billions of dollars in federal cash assistance once 70 and 80 per cent of over-16s have been vaccinated.

The COVID disaster payment provides $750 a week for people who have lost more than 20 hours of work and $450 for those under that threshold.

People on income support who lose eight hours can access $200 a week.

But once a state reaches 70 per cent two-dose vaccination coverage, workers will have to reapply each week for the payments to prove they are eligible.

At 80 per cent, there will be a two-week transition to support being cut off.

Mr Barr said the “gradual tapering” of the disaster payments aligns with the ACT’s ‘pathway forward’ roadmap document released earlier in the week.

More to come.

COVID-19 death in Batemans Bay, 18 cases in Southern NSW

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The Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) has recorded 18 new COVID-19 cases with one death in Batemans Bay.

NSW Health reported the death of a woman in her 70s at her home. She had received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the second shot being administered shortly before passing away. The woman had underlying health issues and was only diagnosed with the virus after her death. It is the first COVID-19 related death in the SNSWLHD since the beginning of the current outbreak in June.

Batemans Bay also recorded two new cases of the virus which have both been linked.

Queanbeyan recorded nine new coronavirus cases with five linked to known cases and the remaining four are still under investigation.

There is also one new case in Googong which is also under investigation.

Goulburn has recorded two new cases and they both are under investigation.

Cooma, Jindabyne, Narooma and Dalmeny recorded one new case each, all of which are under investigation.

The total cases in the SNSWLHD during the current outbreak is now 150.

There are 134 active cases in the region with 16 having recovered.

The areas with the most active cases are Queanbeyan (46), Goulburn (36) and Batemans Bay (25).

Venues of concern in NSW can be found here.

Click here to find a NSW testing site.

Barr promises government financial support to businesses after lockdown

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Acting Chief ACT Minister Andrew Barr

The ACT Government will continue financial assistance to Canberra businesses until the end of the year, Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced today, acknowledging that some measures revealed this week were not viable for some businesses.

“It is recognised that some industry sectors will require ongoing financial support beyond the time that the lockdown ends,” Mr Barr said today.

“This includes businesses in hospitality, tourism, the arts, events, and personal services. It may include other niche industry sectors as well.”

The ACT Government’s COVID-19 Small Business Hardship Scheme, Commercial Tenancy Support Scheme, Accommodation and Tourism Venue Operator Support Scheme, and Small Tourism Operator Covid Recovery Payment will be extended beyond the projected end of lockdown on 15 October.

Similarly, the Food Business Registration Fee will be waived, and the annual liquor licence fee halved until 31 March 2022, and outdoor dining permit fees waived until 30 June.

Payroll tax will be waived or deferred for the 10 per cent of ACT businesses not already exempt; the ACT has the highest payroll tax-free threshold in the nation as a permanent standing concession to small and medium-sized businesses, Mr Barr said.

Mr Barr and Commonwealth Treasurer Josh Frydenberg were negotiating a further package of jointly funded grants for impacted ACT businesses. Mr Barr hoped to finish negotiations today.

He also wants the Federal Government to continue the COVID-19 Disaster Payment for people who have lost hours of work beyond 15 October; some people would still have their hours of work restricted because of the gradual transition out of lockdown.

Reaction from business community

Canberra’s beleaguered business community had called for financial support to continue after Mr Barr revealed the roadmap out of lockdown yesterday.

Graham Catt, president of the Canberra Business Chamber, said Monday’s roadmap provided clarity and detail desperately needed by businesses left disappointed and despondent by the pathway launched a few weeks ago.

But, Mr Catt said: “For some sectors, that long-awaited clarity is not good news at all.”

Many restaurants, clubs, and licensed venues could not operate viably under a one in four square metre rule, Mr Catt said; and retailers could only operate delivery for click-and-collect until 29 October and would be subject to density restrictions after that.

“For many businesses, operating under this level of restrictions for so many weeks means they’ll need ongoing financial support,” Mr Catt said.

For many, he said, their greatest fear was that with lockdown ending on 15 October, they could not operate, but government support would end, leaving them with nothing.

“The sad reality is that some Canberra business owners have been eating into their life savings to make ends meet, and debts are mounting,” Mr Catt explained.

“Businesses are going to need a survival strategy, and that means access to the right level of financial support to see them through until December.

 “It’s tough for Canberra businesses in this situation, as their counterparts in NSW and other Australian states were provided with more support to keep operations going during lockdown.

“Our businesses do appreciate the government support given to date, but they also know their counterparts in NSW have received up to 40 per cent of their salary bill through the JobSaver program. For a $10 million business, that might be $40,000 a week. Their ACT equivalent has been receiving $4,000 a week.”

“The middle ground is the worst time for businesses,” agreed John-Paul Romano, Chairman of the Inner-South Business Council.

Many businesses would remain closed after 15 October, Mr Romano predicted; without JobKeeper to pay wages, the one person per four square metres or 25 maximum capacity was “incredibly difficult” for businesses to work around. While small shops, like his Manuka business, or other small venues could manage, it was not worthwhile for big pubs and many other businesses to open. “They would lose money.”

“If we want a nightlife to go back to, we need to support the businesses till we’re back to normal,” he said.

Without business support from government, he reflected, a huge number of businesses would fall into debt, and be gone by February.

“If a business is running at a reduced rate because of government restrictions, there has to be some kind of support for that business; otherwise, it’s just not viable.”

Hospitality businesses run on a hairline margin on a good day, Mr Romano said, let alone with only 20 per cent capacity. At the moment, many food businesses rely on takeaway to survive – but it was widely feared in the business community that fewer people would order takeaway when they could eat out at a restaurant.

“It’ll be a busy time for some businesses; other businesses will have a really rough time, and they might even have a reduced turnover to what they have now.” In his view, the ACT needed the Queensland model: full reopening, or nothing.

Mr Barr said it was well understood that one person per four square metres was not viable for some parts of the hospitality sector – hence why economic support would continue – but the industry ranged from high-risk venues (night clubs, which will not open until December) to low risk (smaller, outdoor venues with lower numbers).

“The effective choice was: Do we keep everything shut until December, or do we allow some of the safer end of the hospitality industry to open up?” Mr Barr said. “Continuing to limit activity in the highest risk areas (nightclubs and the like) allow other parts of the economy that had been under lockdown restrictions to gradually open up as well.”

Gyms and fitness studios would also struggle, the Chamber’s Mr Catt feared.

Tom Adam, president of the Phillip Business Community, runs Canberra Martial Arts and Fitness. He states that under post-lockdown restrictions, contact fitness / martial arts businesses like his would not be able to trade properly until December, one of the two quietest months of the year for business.

“The biggest issue with number restrictions is that we cannot generate new revenue,” he said. New memberships, sales of uniforms, seminars, and the like provide 20 per cent of income; without them, he would have to focus on existing membership, his extant pool of revenue. “We’ll basically have our hands tied behind our backs.”

Mr Barr said he hoped businesses would not close.

“I know some will just be treading water, and will be breaking even, and some may need additional financial support, be that through fee waivers or deferral of certain payments.

“No politician can guarantee even in normal circumstances that every single business will survive for the rest of time, but we recognise that there will be a need for ongoing financial support,” he said.

CCA flowers are blooming in Crace

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Flowers blooming in Crace

By Sibanengi Dube

On 5 June members of Crace Community Association (CCA) planted flowers at Crace shopping Centre in observation of the government sponsored Floriade campaign.

Scores of CCA activists braved the chilly weather to make beds of 3000 tulip bubs and 3000 annuil and pansies flowers at the intersection of Abena Avenue and Hillcrest Street. Three months down the line this is how the flowers have bloomed.

CCA Chairman, David Pollard, told Canberra Live by then that the Floriade campaign marked the beginning of a busy programme for his Association which had been inactivated by Covid 19.

Why would you experience worse side effects after your second Pfizer shot?

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I was delighted when I felt fit as a fiddle after receiving my first Pfizer shot to guard against Covid-19.

Then I started hearing about people who’d gone for their second Pfizer jab. Some felt  hundreds afterwards, but others felt awful and said they’d experienced worse side effects the second time round — sometimes feeling flat for up to two days.

Why might some people experience stronger side effects after their second dose? We asked a series of health experts.

Before seeing what they have to say, it’s important to note that Pfizer is a mRNA vaccine. This type of vaccine contains a molecule (mRNA) that teaches your body’s cells how to make the proteins needed to trigger an immune response.

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY

PROFESSOR VERONICA UECKERMANN

Head of the Infectious Diseases department at the University of Pretoria

The immune system is already primed by the first jab. When you get the second one, your immune system recognises the proteins [produced by the cells that have taken up the vaccine] and mounts an immune response to it.

The side effects that people commonly experience are flu-like symptoms such as body aches, fever, headache — like one would with a viral illness. This is because the immune system is responding as it would to a viral infection.

PROFESSORS HANNELIE MEYER AND ROSE BURNETT

Meyer is the head of the SA Vaccination and Immunisation Centre (Savic) at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University. Burnett is a scientific adviser at Savic

When you get the first dose of the vaccine, your immune system is activated and your immune cells are basically “primed” or trained to identify and get rid of SARS-CoV-2 [the virus that causes Covid-19] without actually exposing you to this virus.

This immune response includes an inflammatory response, which is responsible for the side effects. Though not experienced by everybody, these side effects are normal and usually mildtomoderate. They signify that your body is building protection against SARS-CoV-2.

However, such protection is not optimal after the first dose, hence the need for a second.

When you get the second dose of the vaccine, you already have ready-made antibodies and primed T-cells that respond robustly to the spike proteins produced by the cells that have taken up the vaccine, which explains why some people experience a strong reaction.

Similar to the first dose, these side effects should subside within two to three days and should not discourage you from going for the second dose.

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While the first dose provides only partial immunity, two weeks after the second dose you will have high protection against severe disease, hospitalisation and death.

Don’t worry though if you don’t have side effects at all. This doesn’t mean that you haven’t mounted an immune response, since many people produce good immunity without experiencing these side effects.

PROFESSOR SHABIR MADHI

Professor of vaccinology, director of the Vaccines & Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit at Wits University and co-director of African Leadership in Vaccinology Expertise

It is well recognised that reactogenicity [the capability of a vaccine to cause a reaction] is higher after the second dose of mRNA vaccines than after the first.

This might be because the immune system has been “sensitised” and mounts a more intense response with the second dose. However, the converse is seen for the AstraZeneca vaccine

–TimesLive

Extensive testing exercise underway in Canberra after two patients tested positive to COVID 19

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The new home of Canberra Hospital 'Sexual Health Centre

A Massive testing exercise is underway at Canberra Hospital way after two patients in a shared room returned positives for COVID-19.

ACT Health Services chief executive Dave Peffer watered down concerns by describing the incident as common.

“..this sort of incident” is not new, said Peffer.

Continued Peffer: “It has occurred more than 20 times in our healthcare facilities and we are prepared for it.”

The duration of the patients’ infectious condition is not known which is affecting the quality of contact tracing. Efforts are underway to find anyone outside the hospital who may have visited or interacted with them.

The patients were moved to COVID-19 designated ward on Friday.

ACT recorded 32 locally acquired infections on Saturday while 25 more tested positive on Sunday.

About 24 were infectious in the community, while seven were in quarantine.  about 26 were linked to previous cases.

As of Saturday, the territory had 233 active cases with 492 patients having recovered. Ten remained in Canberra hospitals, four of them in intensive care and three requiring ventilation.

Authorities said more than 2600 tests were conducted in the 24 hours to Friday evening, while almost 85 per cent of ACT residents had received a first vaccine dose and 58 per cent had been administered with two shots.

Nine patient cases also emerged at a Canberra aged care home on Saturday after two fully-vaccinated workers tested positive.

“What we know is that of the staff at the Calvary Haydon Retirement Community, 100 per cent have received their first dose and 53 per cent are fully vaccinated,” Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said.

“In this way, we are very assured that the progress of this outbreak will be very different to what we saw last year when we were all very nervous about aged care facilities.” 

The initial infection of the workers happened despite them being double-dosed and wearing appropriate protective equipment. 

Across the ACT’s aged care sector, about 87 per cent of staff are fully vaccinated while more than 99 per cent have received at least one dose.

ACT COVID-19 Update – 26 September 2021

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They are 25 news cases that have been reported in Canberra today 26 September 202.1

There have been 32 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in the ACT in the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday, 25 September 2021.

Of these cases, 26 are linked to known cases or ongoing clusters. Seven (7) cases were in quarantine during their infectious period, 24 spent varying degrees of time in the community while infectious and one (1) remain under early investigation as to their time spent in the community.

There are now 492 cases who have recovered with 16 in the past 24 hours. This means there are now 233 active cases associated with this outbreak.

As of 9am this morning ACT Health continues to work with over 950 people who have self-identified as close contacts of ACT outbreaks.

There are currently 10 patients in ACT hospitals, including four (4) in intensive care and three (3) of these require ventilation.

More than 2,900 tests were collected across the ACT yesterday, from both Government and private providers. There were 2,624 negative test results in the 24 hours to 9am today.

Our vaccination efforts continue across the ACT with total vaccine doses administered at ACT Government Clinics now at 294,880.

We have around 500 current exposure locations listed for the ACT. Canberrans are asked to keep up to date on new locations on the ACT COVID-19 website.

Stay COVID-19 safe

We continue to remind Canberrans that we are still in lockdown and that now is not the time to become complacent.

This means minimising your time in the community and only leaving your home for the approved reasons.

Where possible, you should also continue to undertake essential activities within your local region.

When out in the community, make sure you are:

  • wearing a mask and wearing it properly
  • maintaining good hand hygiene
  • physical distancing from people outside of your household – at least 1.5 metres, and
  • check in everywhere you go with the Check In CBR app.

Woman with COVID-19 told infection isn’t a good enough reason to get bail

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Jennifer Hanson had to prove there were special circumstances for her to be released from custody on bail. Photo: File.

A COVID-19-positive woman has been told that having the virus is not a good enough reason to be granted bail.

Jennifer Hanson, 27, appeared over phone in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday (23 September), charged with conspiring to commit an aggravated robbery on 26 August 2021. Her Aboriginal Legal Service lawyer Lauren Skinner said she would plead not guilty.

As she had pleaded guilty to a separate charge, she had to prove there were special circumstances for her to be released from custody on bail.

Ms Skinner said her client had tested positive for coronavirus while in police custody and argued that having the virus was a special circumstance.

She said if Hanson was taken into the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC), there was the possibility that she could spread the virus to inmates and staff, as opposed to the more minimal risk of exposure to her housemates if she quarantined in her home


Ms Skinner said she would be “extraordinarily isolated” if she was taken to the jail because of her diagnosis.

She noted a significant difference between being isolated at home and being isolated in a cell in the AMC.

But prosecutor Sam Bargwanna said the AMC was equipped to deal with COVID-positive patients, and the risk of transmission was far less there than in the community.

“She would just as easily spread the COVID virus to others in the community,” he said.

“Being isolated in these times is something many


Magistrate James Lawton sided with the prosecution, saying the AMC was taking particular care with people identified as being at risk of having the coronavirus.

Hanson, from Moncrieff, was remanded in custody for her matter to be heard again on 4 November.

Rapid antigen screening on the cards as Australia intensifies fight against COVID-19

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Acting Chief ACT Minister Andrew Barr

A rapid screening to pick up fully vaccinated coronavirus carriers that could be spreading the virus unknowingly is on the cards in ACT.

This was revealed by the ACT Chief Minister today in Canberra.

Barr said there was need for a rapid antigen swabs with capacity to return results within 20 minutes to catch asymptomatic infections.

“One of the worries moving forward is that fully vaccinated people, a lot of them will be asymptomatic,” said Barr.

Adds Barr:“They’ll be carriers of the virus and they’ll infect other people, but they won’t even know they’ve got it.”

Canberra recorded 17 new local infections on Wednesday, with the ACT’s active cases rising to 222.

Barr however said rapid antigen testing were less accurate but quicker than nose and throat swabs, to weed cases out.

Fully vaccinated people with the virus will be quarantined.

Fully vaccinated people are much less likely to die or become seriously ill, but can still contract and transmit the virus. 

“The obligations around protecting other members of the community, other members of your own family, don’t end when you’re fully vaccinated,” the chief minister said.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt is keen for Australia to use home rapid antigen tests when the Therapeutic Goods Administration makes them more widely available.

There are 28 tests approved for use, but they carry conditions around supervision so are largely limited to workplaces.

Home testing is being widely used is the US, Europe and UK. 

The TGA earlier this month expressed caution about people giving themselves rapid antigen tests without training.

The ACT is concerned about a drop in the number of people heading to its testing clinics, with just 1988 processed on Tuesday.

Barr is however confident that its full vaccination coverage will exceed 95 per cent.

Close to 56 per cent of the eligible population is double-dosed in ACT while the rate for first shots has passed 80 per cent. 

Canberra shall be in lockdown until October 15.

Just one of the 17 latest cases was in quarantine for their entire infectious period and at least 11 were in the community for some of the time.

There are 12 people in hospital, including two in intensive care requiring ventilation.

ACT records 17 new cases, 12 now in hospital

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The ACT has recorded 17 new cases overnight, with nine linked to existing clusters – all are household contacts. The remaining eight new cases are under early investigation.

Only one was in quarantine for their entire infectious period, and at least 11 were infectious in the community.

“It’s important to remember that we’re still interviewing the remaining five,” ACT Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Vanessa Johnston said.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the potential risk given the high percentage of the ACT’s 17 new cases who had spent time in the community while infectious was “of concern”.

Twelve people are now in hospital with or due to COVID-19. Two are in ICU, both requiring ventilation. Neither of the cases requiring ventilation are fully vaccinated.

Of the total 12, seven are unvaccinated, two have received one dose, one is fully vaccinated and the status of two are unknown.

The youngest patient is under 12 and the oldest is in their 90s.

The total cases for this outbreak now stands at 658. There are 232 active cases and the total number of recovered cases is 426, 22 more than yesterday.

There are now only three active sites of transmission: Busy Bee’s childcare, Bidfood Canberra and Ainslie Village.

KFC Dickson, Priceline Pharmacy Woden, Mirchi Indian restaurant and Bright Bee’s early learning centre have all been removed as there has been no ongoing transmission at these sites for over 14 days.

A total of 1,988 people came forward for testing yesterday, a number the Chief Minister said is “too low”.

“We’ve had too many people waiting days and days with symptoms before coming forward,” Mr Barr said.

A little over 81 per cent of the ACT’s eligible population have now received at least one dose.

Based on the forward bookings for people under 40, Mr Barr said the numbers are now on track to exceed 95 per cent of the ACT’s population.

Around 56 per cent of the ACT population are fully vaccinated.

The Chief Minister reported that business compliance remains good, but is consistently struggling in respect to mask wearing by employees at business sites.

“Our compliance teams will continue that focus,” he said.

“Those who have already been reminded will not be shown the courtesy of further reminders on this point.

Earthquake rattles Melbourne, damaging buildings

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Some of the building that were damaged by an earthquake in Melbourne

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake has rattled southeast Australia, damaging buildings in the city of Melbourne.

The earthquake happened about 09:15 local time (23:15 GMT) on Wednesday at Mansfield, not far from the Victorian state capital.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “we have had no reports of serious injuries and that is very good news”.

The earthquake was also felt in neighbouring South Australia and New South Wales (NSW).

It was followed by two aftershocks of 4.0 and 3.1 magnitude.

While this is one of Australia’s largest earthquakes in recent years, it has not caused significant damage.

Speaking from the US, Mr Morrison noted earthquakes were uncommon in Australia and they “can be a very, very disturbing event”.

A cordoned-off street in Melbourne after the earthquake
image captionMelbourne is home to about five million people
Rubble on a street next to bystanders

Victoria’s State Emergency Service warned residents to be alert for possible aftershocks.

“If you are located in Victoria, you are in danger. Expect aftershocks, stay away from damaged buildings and other hazards. Avoid driving, except for emergencies,” the authority said.

Quake hit during heart operation

Surgeon Sameer Thakur said he had been performing a heart bypass operation in Geelong, near Melbourne, when the quake hit.

“We’re sort of in the crux of the operation and we just felt the whole operating table move,” he told BBC Newsday.

“Looking around the room, all the IV poles were moving and some of the clamps that we have, they were all shaking.”

He said “fortunately we were at a stage where we could come to a halt” until the shaking stopped, allowing them to complete the surgery.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation shared a clip of its breakfast TV presenters reacting in the studio as the earthquake hit.https://emp.bbc.com/emp/SMPj/2.43.9/iframe.htmlmedia captionWatch the moment an earthquake shakes Australian TV studio

“Is it an earthquake or a structural thing?” presenter Michael Rowland was later shown asking producers. “Let’s go… that was a big one.”

Several high-rise towers and a city hospital were also briefly evacuated, residents reported. Some city tram lines had been suspended due to damage.

South Australia Premier Stephen Marshall said his state had felt aftershocks.

One federal MP, Michael McCormack, said the “ground [was] shaking violently” in Wagga Wagga, NSW.

Large earthquakes are uncommon in Australia because the continent lies centrally on a tectonic plate.

This quake struck at a shallow depth of 10km (6.5 miles), according to Geosciences Australia. It was initially measured at 6.0 magnitude before being revised to 5.9.

The geoscience agency says Australia experiences a potentially damaging earthquake – defined as above 6.0 magnitude – about every 10 years.

Melbourne, the country’s second largest city, is home to about five million people.

The city is currently in lockdown due to a recent wave of coronavirus cases.

–BBC

Monaro Highway closed after fuel tanker catches fire

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The burnt-out b-double on the Monaro Highway. Photo: Live Traffic.

By Sibanengi Dube

Panic gripped motorists in Canberra as a fuel tanker cathes fire on the Monaro Highway, south of Williamsdale, early on Monday morning.

An on transit B-double fuel tanker went up in smoke while carrying a combination of diesel and petroleum. No injuries were reported except for the driver who was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

The fire has now been extinguished and firefighters are conduction clean-up operations. The crews safely monitored the 48, 000 litre fuel tanker, filled to capacity burning. Sections of the surrounding Monaro Highway were still engulfed in smoke when Canberra Live news team arrived at the inferno scene

The cause of the fire is unknown but has not been deemed suspicious.

One lane of the Monaro Highway has now reopened.

Stop/slow restrictions are still in place on that one lane, but motorists are now able to travel between Bredbo in NSW and Tuggeranong in the ACT, although they are advised to factor in extra time.

Emergency services responded to the incident, including: ACT Fire & Rescue, ACT Ambulance Service, ACT Rural Fire Service, Fire & Rescue NSW, NSW Rural Fire Service, ACT & NSW Policing and Environmental Protection Authority.

All the emergency services promised to issue a statement after normalcy returns to Monaro Highway.

Here is an updated list of ACT Covid-19 exposure sites

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The IBS Budget Hotell Canberra in Watson has been identified as a casual exposure site from 27 August to 7 September. Photo: Denholm Samaras

As the ACT continues in lockdown, the number of COVID-19 exposure sites across Canberra is changing daily as new sites are added, and previous sites from the earlier days of the outbreak are archived.

The ACT exposure sites list was updated on 19 September at 12.12pm.

Below is a comprehensive list of all close contact and casual contact exposure sites, as well as ‘monitor for symptoms’ exposure sites across Canberra known to authorities at this time. Please note that sites are listed as “new” for 24 hours.


CLICKABLE MAP OF ACT EXPOSURE SITES

Note: Map does not display Public Transport routes that have been named as exposure sites, they are on the lists down below.

Close contact COVID-19 exposure sites in the ACT

If you have been to any of the following locations at the dates and times specified, you must: complete the ACT Contact Declaration Form; immediately quarantine; get tested for COVID-19 as advised by ACT Health; and remain in quarantine until advised further by ACT Health, even if you get a negative test result.

SATURDAY 11 SEPTEMBER

  • Fyshwick: Lucky’s Speed Shop, 4/9 Yallourn Street on 11 September from 12pm to 2.30pm

WEDNESDAY 8 SEPTEMBER

  • Garran: Malkara Specialist School, 53 Wisdom Street on 8 September from 8.30am to 3.30pm

TUESDAY 7 SEPTEMBER

  • Garran: Malkara Specialist School, 53 Wisdom Street on 7 September from 8.30am to 3.30pm
  • Watson: Nipperville Early Learning Centre, 6 Gwynne Street on 7 September 8.45am to 6.10pm

MONDAY 6 SEPTEMBER

  • Watson: Nipperville Early Learning Centre, 6 Gwynne Street on 6 September 8.45am to 6.10pm

THURSDAY 2 SEPTEMBER

  • Canberra Airport: Busy Bees at the Park, 37 Brindabella Circuit on 2 September from 7.40am to 5.30pm

Casual contact COVID-19 exposure sites in the ACT

If you have been to any of the following locations at the dates and times specified, you must: complete the ACT Contact Declaration Form; immediately quarantine; get tested for COVID-19 as advised by ACT Health; and remain in quarantine until advised further by ACT Health, even if you get a negative test result.

FRIDAY 17 SEPTEMBER

  • NEW – City: City Family Practice, 161 London Circuit on 17 September from 11am to 12.30pm

THURSDAY 16 SEPTEMBER

  • NEW – Red Hill: Yarra Rossa Construction Site, 51 Hicks Street on 16 September from 7am to 10.30am
  • Wanniassa: Coles, 12 Sangster Place on 16 September from 2.10pm to 2.35pm

WEDNESDAY 15 SEPTEMBER

  • NEW – Red Hill: Yarra Rossa Construction Site, 51 Hicks Street on 15 September from 7am to 4pm
  • NEW – Crace: Busy Bees at Crace, 44 Hillcrest Street on 15 September from 8.45am to 2.30pm
  • Campbell: Hindmarsh Campbell – Seventy One, 71 Constitution Avenue on 15 September from 6.40am to 5pm
  • Gungahlin: Woolworths, 30/33 Hibberson Street on 15 September from 6.25pm to 7.15pm

TUESDAY 14 SEPTEMBER

  • NEW – Red Hill: Yarra Rossa Construction Site, 51 Hicks Street on 14 September from 7am to 4pm
  • Campbell: Hindmarsh Campbell – Seventy One, 71 Constitution Avenue on 14 September from 6.40am to 5pm
  • Acton: Oliphant Building ANU, 60 Mills Road on 14 September from 8.50am to 1.15pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 51, O’Connor to Lyneham BUS456 on 14 September from 7.15am to 7.17am

MONDAY 13 SEPTEMBER

  • UPDATED – Belconnen: Coles Westfield Belconnen, Benjamin Way on 13 September from 5.50pm to 7.30pm
  • NEW – Dickson: Woolworths, 1 Dickson Place on 13 September from 4.30pm to 5.20pm
  • NEW – Wanniassa: Coles Wanniassa, 12 Sangster Place on 13 September from 1.35pm to 2.15pm
  • NEW – Weston: ALDI Weston Creek, Brierly Street on 13 September from 2.50pm to 4pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 42, Melba to Belconnen Interchange BUS710 on 13 September from 7.19pm to 7.32pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 3, Belconnen Interchange to City Interchange BUS419 on 13 September from 7.39pm to 7.55pm
  • Public Transport: Light Rail Route 1, Alinga Street to Macarthur Avenue LRV006 on 13 September from 8pm to 8.04pm
  • City: Coles Canberra Centre, 148 Bunda Street on 13 September from 8pm to 8.30pm
  • Phillip: Popes Electrical and Data Supplies, 68-70 Dundas Court on 13 September from 8am to 9am
  • Acton: Computer Science and Information Technology Building #108 – Level 1 (Ground floor) only, 108 North Road on 13 September from 12.15pm to 3.30pm
  • Acton: Birch Building #35 (Facilities Maintenance Workshop only) ANU, 35 Science Road on 13 September from 7.50am to 9.20am
  • Acton: Birch Building #35 (Facilities Maintenance Workshop only) ANU, 35 Science Road on 13 September from 10.30am to 1.30pm
  • Acton: Birch Building #35 (Facilities Maintenance Workshop only) ANU, 35 Science Road on 13 September from 3pm to 4.30pm
  • Wanniassa: Woolworths Erindale, 50-68 Comrie Street on 13 September from 2.10pm to 3pm
  • Macquarie: Optimal Pharmacy Plus Jamison Plaza, Bowman Street on 13 September from 12.10pm to 1.10pm
  • Belconnen: Amcal+ Pharmacy Westfield Belconnen, Benjamin Way on 13 September from 12.40pm to 5.30pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 51, O’Connor to Dickson BUS707 on 13 September from 12.44pm to 1.02pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 51, City to O’Connor BUS499 on 13 September from 2.34pm to 2.40pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 51, Dickson to O’Connor BUS641 on 13 September from 4.12pm to 4.29pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 50, Dickson to Watson BUS391 on 13 September from 8.38pm to 8.43pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 9, Watson to Dickson BUS391 on 13 September from 9.08pm to 9.13pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 50, Dickson to O’Connor BUS707 on 13 September from 9.16pm to 9.23pm
  • Public Transport: Light Rail Route 1, Dickson Interchange to Alinga Street LRV009 on 13 September from 1.27pm to 1.33pm
  • Public Transport: Light Rail Route 1, Dickson Interchange to Ipima Street LRV014 on 13 September from 4.54pm to 4.57pm
  • Public Transport: Light Rail Route 1, Ipima Street to Dickson Interchange LRV001 on 13 September from 7.33pm to 7.36pm
  • Gungahlin: ALDI, Hibberson Street on 13 September from 12.30pm to 1.25pm

SUNDAY 12 SEPTEMBER

  • Public Transport: Bus Route 4, Woden Interchange to City Interchange BUS446 on 12 September from 12.28am to 12.42am
  • Canberra Airport: Jim Murphy’s Airport Cellars, 7 Mustang Avenue on 12 September from 3.15pm to 4.15pm
  • Canberra Airport: Woolworths Majura Park Shopping Centre, 18/16 Spitfire Avenue on 12 September from 2.45pm to 3.50pm
  • Canberra Airport: Costco, 39-41 Mustang Avenue on 12 September from 1.45pm to 3.15pm
  • City: Coles Canberra Centre, 148 Bunda Street on 12 September from 8.40pm to 9pm
  • Kaleen: Coles, 1 Maribyrnong Avenue on 12 September from 5.30pm to 6.15pm
  • Wanniassa: Woolworths Erindale, 50-68 Comrie Street on 12 September from 9.05am to 10.10am
  • Narrabundah: Friendly Grocer, 6 Iluka Street on 12 September from 6pm to 6.45pm
  • Narrabundah: Friendly Grocer, 6 Iluka Street on 12 September from 7.45pm to 8.30pm
  • Kaleen: SupaExpress, 8 Gwydir Square, 1 Maribyrnong Avenue on 12 September from 1.30pm to 2.30pm
  • Charnwood: Woolworths, 25-30 Charnwood Place on 12 September from 12.30pm to 1.20pm
  • Public Transport: Light Rail Route 1, Alinga Street to Phillip Avenue LRV004 on 12 September from 5.30pm to 5.39pm
  • Public Transport: Light Rail Route 1, Phillip Avenue to Elouera Street LRV003 on 12 September from 6.44pm to 6.52pm
  • City: Liquorland Canberra Centre, 148 Bunda Street on 12 September from 8.40pm to 9.30pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 2, Westfield Belconnen to City Interchange BUS656 on 12 September from 7.27am to 7.42am
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 8, Belconnen (Cohen St) to Gungahlin Interchange BUS569 on 12 September from 3.27pm to 3.53pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 28, Gungahlin to Casey Market Town BUS569 on 12 September from 4.12pm to 4.33pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 32, City Interchange to Belconnen (Cohen St) BUS569 on 12 September from 5.12pm to 5.51pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 9, Belconnen (Cohen St) to Watson BUS569 on 12 September from 6.03pm to 6.37pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 9, Watson to Belconnen (Cohen St) BUS569 on 12 September from 6.45pm to 7.19pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 31, Belconnen (Cohen St) to City Interchange BUS569 on 12 September from 8.11pm to 8.51pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 53, Dickson Shops to City Interchange BUS569 on 12 September from 9.18pm to 9.46pm
  • Mawson: Woolworths, 15 Mawson Place on 12 September from 1.40pm to 2.40pm

SATURDAY 11 SEPTEMBER

  • NEW – Manuka: Renaissance Manuka Worksite, Light Street on 11 September from 7.20am to 1pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 4, City Interchange to Woden Interchange BUS671 on 11 September from 10.27am to 10.41am
  • Casey: Supabarn, 15 Kingsland Parade on 11 September from 5.45pm to 7pm
  • Narrabundah: Friendly Grocer, 6 Iluka Street on 11 September from 3.10pm to 4pm
  • Narrabundah: Friendly Grocer, 6 Iluka Street on 11 September from 6pm to 6.45pm
  • Conder: Woolworths Lanyon Marketplace, 4 Sidney Nolan Street on 11 September from 2.20pm to 3.10pm
  • Belconnen: Sea Harvest, 10 Lathlain Street on 11 September from 1.50pm to 2.50pm
  • Belconnen: Market Meats Belconnen Fresh Food Markets, Lathlain Street on 11 September from 2.10pm to 3.10pm
  • Belconnen: ALDI Westfield Belconnen, Benjamin Way on 11 September from 3pm to 3.55pm
  • City: Coles Canberra Centre, 148 Bunda Street on 11 September from 4.30pm to 5.50pm
  • Belconnen: Grill’d, Westfield Belconnen, Benjamin Way on 11 September from 5.20pm to 6.15pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 6, Woden Interchange to City West BUS561 on 11 September from 4.23pm to 5.07pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 10, City West to Denman Prospect BUS561 on 11 September from 5.23pm to 5.53pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 10, Denman Prospect to City West BUS561 on 11 September from 6.03pm to 6.28pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 10, City West to Denman Prospect BUS561 on 11 September from 6.53pm to 7.23pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 10, Denman Prospect to City West BUS561 on 11 September from 7.33pm to 7.58pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 7, City West to Weston Creek BUS561 on 11 September from 8.07pm to 8.35pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 63, Woden Interchange to Cooleman Court BUS561 on 11 September from 9.35pm to 9.59pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 66, Cooleman Court to Woden Interchange BUS561 on 11 September from 10.04pm to 10.47pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 5, City West to Lanyon Marketplace BUS561 on 11 September from 11.07pm to 11.54pm
  • Mawson: 7-Eleven, 1 Mawson Place on 11 September from 12.25pm to 1.30pm
  • Woden: Woolworths Westfield Woden, Keltie Street on 11 September from 3.30pm to 5pm
  • Mawson: Capital Chemist Southlands Shopping Centre, Mawson Place on 11 September from 12.35pm to 1.45pm
  • Mawson: Woolworths, 15 Mawson Place on 11 September from 5.15pm to 6.15pm
  • Amaroo: ALDI, 12 Pioneer Street on 11 September from 10.30am to 11am

FRIDAY 10 SEPTEMBER

  • NEW – Gungahlin: Pacifik Halal Meats, 54/56/141 Ernest Cavanagh Street on 10 September from 5.05pm to 6.15pm
  • NEW – Belconnen: Moon Restaurant, 41 Chandler Street on 10 September from 12pm to 12.50pm
  • City: Department of Education, Skills and Employment, Level 7, 140-180 City Walk, Garema Court on 10 September from 8.40am to 4.45pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 20, Bonner to Gungahlin Interchange BUS403 on 10 September from 6.59am to 7.10am
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 19, Gungahlin Interchange to Bonner BUS598 on 10 September from 4.75pm to 5.11pm
  • Public Transport: Light Rail Route 1, Gungahlin Place to Alinga Street LRV007 on 10 September from 7.15am to 7.39am
  • Public Transport: Light Rail Route 1, Alinga Street to Gungahlin Place LRV013 on 10 September from 4.18pm to 4.43pm
  • Belconnen: Coles Express, Lathlain Street and Wignall Place on 10 September from 8.05pm to 9pm
  • City: ACT Law Courts – Ground level Foyer, 4-6 Knowles Place on 10 September from 2.10pm to 2.45pm
  • City: ACT Law Courts – Magistrates Court 9Level 1 Foyer outside rooms 1 and 2 only), 4-6 Knowles Place on 10 September from 2.10pm to 3.30pm
  • City: ACT Law Courts – Magistrates Court (Room 2 only), 4-6 Knowles Place on 10 September from 2.55pm to 4.10pm
  • City: ACT Law Courts – Bail Office, 4-6 Knowles Place on 10 September from 3.35pm to 4.25pm
  • Woden: Woolworths Westfield Woden, Keltie Street on 10 September from 2.45pm to 3.45pm
  • Mawson: Woolworths, 15 Mawson Place on 10 September from 3.15pm to 4pm
  • Coombs: Molonglo Dental Surgery, 5/110 Woodberry Avenue on 10 September from 9.50am to 10.45am
  • Narrabundah: Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service – Main Reception in the new building, 63 Boolimba Crescent on 10 September, 8.30 to 4pm

THURSDAY 9 SEPTEMBER

  • NEW – Conder: Wooworths Lanyon Market Place, 4 Sidney Nolan Street on 9 September from 2.30pm to 3.20pm
  • Gungahlin: Boss Projects Group, Gungahlin Village Site, Gungahlin Place and Hibberson Street on 9 September from 9.15am to 4pm
  • Manuka: Coles, Franklin Street and Flinders Way on 9 September from 5.22pm to 6.10pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 3, City Interchange to Westfield Belconnen BUS702 on 9 September from 8.24am to 8.40am
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 45, Westfield Belconnen to Hawker BUS506 on 9 September from 8.53am to 9.01am
  • Mawson: Woolworths, 15 Mawson Place on 9 September from 6.15pm to 7.20pm
  • Coombs: Molonglo Dental Surgery, 5/110 Woodberry Avenue on 9 September from 9.20am to 4pm

WEDNESDAY 8 SEPTEMBER

  • NEW – Conder: Lanyon Post Office Lanyon Market Place, 4 Sidney Nolan Street on 8 September from 3.45pm to 4.40pm
  • Gungahlin: Boss Projects Group, Gungahlin Village Site, Gungahlin Place and Hibberson Street on 8 September from 7am to 4pm
  • City: Coles Canberra Centre, 148 Bunda Street on 8 September from 1.35pm to 2.30pm
  • City: Coles Canberra Centre, 148 Bunda Street on 8 September from 1.35pm to 2.30pm
  • Belconnen: Amcal+ Pharmacy Westfield Belconnen on 8 September from 9.10am to 10.25am
  • Coombs: Molonglo Dental Surgery, 5/110 Woodberry Avenue on 8 September from 9.50am to 3.30pm
  • Narrabundah: Narrabundah Friendly Grocer, 6 Iluka Street on 8 September from 1.40pm to 2.30pm
  • Conder: Woolworths Lanyon Marketplace, 4 Sidney Nolan Street on 8 September from 3.50pm to 5pm
  • Mawson: Cedars of Lebanon, Southlands Centre, Mawson Place on 8 September from 2pm to 3.10pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 5, Lanyon Shops to City Interchange BUS538 on 8 September from 8.19am to 9.20am
  • Canberra Airport: Costco, 39-41 Mustang Avenue on 8 September from 4pm to 5.10pm
  • Kambah: Woolworths Kambah, 2 Primmer Court on 8 September from 3.30pm to 5pm
  • Holt: ALDI Kippax Fair Shopping Centre, Hardwick Crescent on 8 September from 5.20pm to 6.20pm

TUESDAY 7 SEPTEMBER

  • NEW – Charnwood: Shell Coles Express Charnwood, Lhotsky Street and Charnwood Place on 7 September, 10am to 11am
  • Watson: IBIS Budget Hotel Canberra, 15 Tay Street on 7 September from 12am to 4pm

MONDAY 6 SEPTEMBER

  • Greenway: Woolworths South.Point Shopping Centre, Anketell Street on 6 September from 1.30pm to 3pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 81, Gordon (Knoke Ave) to Tuggeranong Interchange BUS478 on 6 September from 10.38am to 11.05am
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 4, Tuggeranong Interchange to Woden (Launceston St) BUS629 on 6 September from 11.06am to 11.25am
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 66, Woden (Launceston St) to Coombs (Fred Daly Ave) BUS504 on 6 September from 11.37am to 11.57am
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 66, Coombs (Annabelle View) to Woden (Launceston St) BUS47504 on 6 September from 12.55pm to 1.07pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 4, Woden (Launceston St) to Tuggeranong Interchange BUS620 on 6 September from 1.14pm to 1.32pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 81, Tuggeranong Interchange to Gordon (Knoke Ave) BUS709 on 6 September from 2.10pm to 2.30m
  • Watson: IBIS Budget Hotel Canberra, 15 Tay Street on 6 September from 12am to 11.59pm
  • Belconnen: ABS Census Campus (Level 1), 40 Cameron Avenue on 6 September from 8.40am to 5.30pm

SUNDAY 5 SEPTEMBER

  • Watson: IBIS Budget Hotel Canberra, 15 Tay Street on 5 September from 12am to 11.59pm
  • Holt: 7-Eleven, 88 Hardwick Crescent on 5 September from 8.30pm to 10pm
  • Curtin: Coles Curtin, 51 Curtin Place on 5 September from 10.30am to 12pm
  • Gungahlin: Woolworths Gungahlin, 30 Hibberson Street on 5 September from 12.50pm to 2pm

SATURDAY 4 SEPTEMBER

  • NEW – Conder: ALDI, 9 Sidney Nolan Street on 4 September from 8.25am to 9.30am
  • Franklin: Woolworths Metro Franklin, 51 Nullabor Ave, Corner Flemington Rd on 4 September from 2.20pm to 3.20pm
  • Watson: IBIS Budget Hotel Canberra, 15 Tay Street on 4 September from 12am to 11.59pm
  • Gungahlin: Woolworths Gungahlin, 30-33 Hibberson Street on 4 September from 3.45pm to 4.35pm
  • Phillip: Cash Converters Woden, Shop 2/7 Neptune Street on 4 September from 11.45am to 12.45pm
  • Belconnen: ALDI Westfield Belconnen, Benjamin Way on 4 September from 10.20am to 11.40am

FRIDAY 3 SEPTEMBER

  • Watson: IBIS Budget Hotel Canberra, 15 Tay Street on 3 September from 12am to 11.59pm
  • Hawker: Woolworths Metro Hawker, Springvale Drive on 3 September from 1.10pm to 2pm
  • Holt: Urban Cellars Kippax, 48 Hardwick Crescent on 3 September from 1.15pm to 2pm
  • Macquarie: Motion Wellness, 70/27 Wiseman Street on 3 September from 1.52pm to 2.30pm
  • Acton: ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering (Construction site), Mills Road on 3 September from 7am to 4pm
  • Gungahlin: The Reject Shop, Shop 2, 46 Hibberson Street on 3 September from 8.30am to 5pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 23, Kaleen to Gungahlin Interchange BUS463 on 3 September from 6.04am to 6.23am
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 23, Grace Shops to Kaleen BUS719 on 3 September from 5.15pm to 5.23pm
  • Dickson: Woolworths Dickson, 1 Dickson Place on 3 September from 11.30am to 1pm
  • Campbell: Australian War Memorial (Construction Site), Treloar Crescent on 3 September from 11.20am to 12.30pm
  • Phillip: Hip Pocket Workwear & Safety, Shop 1, The Paul’s Centre, Hindmarsh Drive on 3 September from 10.40am to 11.30am

THURSDAY 2 SEPTEMBER

  • Watson: IBIS Budget Hotel Canberra, 15 Tay Street on 2 September from 12am to 11.59pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 9, Bruce to Belconnen BUS322 on 2 September from 3.28pm to 3.38pm
  • Belconnen: The Reject Shop Westfield Belconnen, Benjamin Way on 2 September from 11.30am to 12.30pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 9, Belconnen to Bruce BUS596 on 2 September from 2.29pm to 2.39pm
  • Macquarie: ALDI Jamison Plaza, Bowman Street on 2 September from 12.25pm to 1.15pm
  • Hawker: KFC Hawker, 103 Hawker Place on 2 September from 1.10pm to 2pm
  • Macquarie: Australia Post, 8 Jamison Centre on 2 September from 3.50pm to 4.40pm
  • Macquarie: Coles Jamison Plaza, Bowman Street on 2 September from 4.15pm to 5.15pm
  • Belconnen: Transtate Tyres and Suspension Services, 2 Egan Court on 2 September from 2.10pm to 3.15pm
  • Fyshwick: Bidfood Canberra, 16 Mildura Street on 2 September from 5.30am to 12.30pm
  • Gungahlin: The Reject Shop, Shop 2, 46 Hibberson Street on 2 September from 8.30am to 3.30pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 23, Kaleen to Gungahlin Interchange BUS440 on 2 September from 6.04am to 6.22am
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 23, Grace Shops to Kaleen BUS933 on 2 September from 3.07pm to 3.28pm
  • Gungahlin: ALDI Gungahlin, Hibberson Street on 2 September from 10.30am to 11.30am
  • Woden: Australia Post Woden, Shop 4/15 Bowes Place on 2 September from 4.40pm to 5pm
  • Dickson: Woolworths Dickson, 1 Dickson Place on 2 September from 8am to 9.30am

WEDNESDAY 1 SEPTEMBER

  • Watson: IBIS Budget Hotel Canberra, 15 Tay Street on 1 September from 12am to 11.59pm
  • Macquarie: ALDI Jamison Plaza, Bowman Street on 1 September from 6.50pm to 8pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 9, Belconnen to Lyneham BUS328 on 1 September from 8.57pm to 9.10pm
  • Amaroo: ALDI Amaroo, 12 Pioneer Street on 1 September from 10.45am to 11.50am
  • Belconnen: Cash Converters Belconnen, 3/6 Weedon Close on 1 September from1.20pm to 2.40pm
  • Fyshwick: Bidfood Canberra, 16 Mildura Street on 1 September from 5.30am to 10am
  • Braddon: Beyond Pharmacy Braddon, 4/18 Lonsdale Street on 1 September from 4.30pm to 5.30pm
  • Kaleen: Kaleen Plaza Pharmacy, Shop 5 Kaleen Shopping Centre, 5 Georgina Crescent on 1 September from 6.15pm to 7.10pm
  • City: Coles Canberra Centre, Bunda Street on 1 September from 2.40pm to 3.30pm
  • Belconnen: Coles Westfield Belconnen, Benjamin Way on 1 September from 8.15am to 9am
  • Franklin: Woolworths Franklin, 51 Nullarbor Avenue, Corner Flemington Road on 1 September from 8am to 8.50am
  • Majura Park: Costco, 39-41 Mustang Avenue on 1 September from 10.15am to 12.10pm
  • Woden: Australia Post Woden, Shop 4/15 Bowes Place on 1 September from 4.40pm to 5pm
  • Amaroo: ALDI Amaroo, 12 Pioneer Street on 1 September from 4.45pm to 5.30pm
  • Chisholm: Coles Chisholm, 42 Halley Street on 1 September from 2pm to 3pm
  • Belconnen: Coles Westfield Belconnen, Benjamin Way on 1 September from 11.30am to 12.45pm
  • Dickson: Woolworths Dickson, 1 Dickson Place on 1 September from 1.45pm to 2.40pm

TUESDAY 31 AUGUST

  • Charnwood: Woolworths, 25-30 Charnwood Place on 31 August from 11.50am to 1pm
  • Watson: IBIS Budget Hotel Canberra, 15 Tay Street on 31 August from 12am to 11.59pm
  • Belconnen: Woolworths Westfield Belconnen, Benjamin Way on 31 August from 6.25pm to 7.20pm
  • Braddon: 80/20 Food Braddon, 1/18 Lonsdale Street on 31 August from 10.40am to 11.30am
  • City: Develins City Chemist, 3/4 Garema Place on 31 August from 9.20am to 10.15am
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 51, Lyneham Shops to Dickson Interchange BUS560 on 31 August from 9.15am to 9.30am
  • Braddon: Centrelink Service Centre Braddon, 13 Lonsdale Street on 31 August from 1.50pm to 2.45pm
  • Woden: Centrelink Service Centre Woden, 2-6 Bowes Street on 31 August from 8.50am to 9.30am
  • Gungahlin: Woolworths Gungahlin, 30 Hibberson Street on 31 August from 5.45pm to 6.50pm
  • Fyshwick: Bidfood Canberra, 16 Mildura Street on 31 August from 5.30am to 12.30pm
  • Weston: Cooleman Court Shopping Centre – Public Toilets on 31 August from 12.15pm to 12.45pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 66, Denman Prospect to Woden Interchange BUS355 on 31 August from 7.27pm to 7.43pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 61, Woden Interchange to Phillip BUS359 on 31 August from 7.46pm to 7.50pm

MONDAY 30 AUGUST

  • Public Transport: Bus Route 50 Watson Shops to Dickson Interchange BUS435 on 30 August 6.19am to 6.28am
  • Watson: IBIS Budget Hotel Canberra, 15 Tay Street on 30 August from 12am to 11.59pm
  • Majura Park: Chemist Warehouse Majura Park Shopping Centre, 18/26 Spitfire Avenue on 30 August from 6pm to 7pm
  • Majura Park: Woolworths Majura Park Shopping Centre, 18/26 Spitfire Avenue on 30 August from 6.25pm to 7.30pm
  • Bruce: CIT Bruce Campus (Student Accommodation Block Ra Only), 1 Jack Fleming Place on 30 August from 8.50pm to 11.30pm
  • City: Kinn Thai Restaurant, 125 Bunda Street on 30 August from 4.40pm to 9.30pm
  • Chisholm: Chisholm Newsagency and Post Office, 42 Halley Street on 30 August from 2.20pm to 3pm
  • Kaleen: Coles Kaleen, 1 Maribyrnong Avenue on 30 August from 4pm to 4.50pm
  • Weston: Woolworths Cooleman Court, Corner Brierly Street and Mahony Court on 30 August from 1.45pm to 2.30pm
  • Gungahlin: Qscan Radiology Clinics, Hibberson Street on 30 August from 11.05am to 12.40pm
  • Chisholm: Coles Chisholm, 42 Halley Street on 30 August from 1.45pm to 3pm
  • City: Kan Sushi & Poke, 3/221 London Circuit on 30 August from 11.50am to 7.30pm
  • City: Emart Asian Supermarket, Shop 15/45 West Row on 30 August from 1.20pm to 2.45pm
  • Fyshwick: Bidfood Canberra, 16 Mildura Street on 30 August from 5.30am to 12.30pm
  • Florey: SupaExpress Florey, 1/26 Kesteven Street on 30 August from 5.40pm to 6.45pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 66, Denman Prospect to Woden Interchange BUS492 on 30 August from 8.21pm to 8.38pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 71, Woden Interchange to Cooleman Court BUS601 on 30 August from 8.42pm to 8.49pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 7, Cooleman Court to City Interchange BUS710 on 30 August from 10.39pm to 11.03pm
  • Gungahlin: Priceline Pharmacy, 126/43 Hibberson Street on 30 August from 12.20pm to 1.20pm
  • Gungahlin: First Choice Liquor, 46-50 Hibberson Street on 30 August from 12.50pm to 2pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 65, Woden Interchange to Cooleman Court BUS607 on 30 August from 1.25pm to 1.38pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 70, Cooleman Court to Woden Interchange BUS376 on 30 August from 1.57pm to 2.07pm
  • Charnwood: Woolworths Charnwood, 25-30 Charnwood Place on 30 August from 7am to 8.20am

SUNDAY 29 AUGUST

  • Watson: IBIS Budget Hotel Canberra, 15 Tay Street on 29 August from 12am to 11.59pm
  • Mawson: The Flow Bottle Shop Mawson, Southlands Shopping Centre, Heard Street on 29 August from 5pm to 5.40pm
  • City: Coles Canberra Centre, 8148 Bunda Street on 29 August from 11.25am to 12.20pm
  • Gungahlin: Woolworths Gungahlin, 30 Hibberson Street on 29 August from 6.30pm to 7.45pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 53, Ainslie (Chisholm St) to Ainslie Shops BUS586 on 29 August from 2.24pm to 2.28pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 53, Ainslie (Campbell St) between Foveaux St and Chisholm St BUS645 on 29 August from 5.41pm to 5.43pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 31, City Interchange to Braddon (Ainslie Ave) BUS664 on 29 August from 9.06pm to 9.13pm
  • Gungahlin: ALDI Gungahlin, Hibberson Street on 29 August from 6.40pm to 7.40pm
  • Fyshwick: Bidfood Canberra, 16 Mildura Street on 29 August from 5.30am to 12.30pm
  • Weston: Aldi Cooleman Court Shopping Centre on 29 August from 11.10am to 12.15pm
  • Mawson: Woolworths Mawson, 15 Mawson Place on 29 August from 8.20am to 10am
  • Weston: Aldi Cooleman Court Shopping Centre on 29 August from 11.10am to 12.15pm
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 65, Woden Interchange to Cooleman Court BUS641 on 29 August from 8am to 8.10am
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 64, Cooleman Court to Woden Interchange BUS641 on 29 August from 8.43am to 8.53am
  • Weston: Woolworths Weston Creek, Corner Brierly Street and Mahony Court on 29 August from 2.50pm to 4pm

SATURDAY 28 AUGUST

  • Watson: IBIS Budget Hotel Canberra, 15 Tay Street on 28 August from 12am to 11.59pm
  • City: Coles Canberra Centre, 148 Bunda Street on 28 August from 9.30am to 10.20am
  • Dickson: Woolworths Dickson, 1 Dickson Place on 28 August from 9.10am to 10am
  • Mawson: Woolworths Mawson, 15 Mawson Place on 28 August from 5.10pm to 6pm
  • Fyshwick: Bidfood Canberra, 16 Mildura Street on 28 August from 5.30am to 12.30pm
  • Woden: Woolworths Westfield Woden, Keltie Street on 28 August from 4.20pm to 5.20pm
  • Woden: Woolworths Westfield Woden, Keltie Street on 28 August from 4.20pm to 5.20pm
  • Holt: Woolworths Kippax, Kippax Fair Shopping Centre, 26 Hardwick Crescent on 28 August from 3.20pm to 4.20pm
  • Holt: Kingsley’s Chicken, Kippax Fair Shopping Centre, 26 Hardwick Crescent on 28 August from 3.30pm to 4.20pm

FRIDAY 27 AUGUST

  • Public Transport: Bus Route 2, Wentworth Avenue to Canberra Outlet Centre BUS329 on 27 August from 10.19am to 10.26am
  • Public Transport: Bus Route 2, Canberra Outlet Centre to Wentworth Avenue BUS322 on 27 August from 1.28pm to 1.34pm
  • Watson: IBIS Budget Hotel Canberra, 15 Tay Street on 27 August from 6pm to 11.59pm

Monitor for symptoms

If you have been to any of the following locations at the dates and times specified, you should monitor for symptoms:

  • NEW – City: The Pharmacy on Petrie, 148 Bunda Street on 17 September from 12.30pm to 1pm
  • NEW – Watson: Watson Pharmacy, 1 Watson Place on 16 September from 10.30am to 11.30am
  • NEW – Woden: Abode Woden, 10 Bowes Street on 15 September from 12am to 11.59pm
  • NEW – Holt: Woolworths Kippax Fair, 26 Hardwick Crescent on 15 September from 12.50pm to 1.30pm
  • NEW – Holt: Caremore Pharmacy Kippax, 8 Hardwick Crescent on 15 September from 1pm to 1.40pm
  • NEW – Crace: Supabarn Crace, 56 Abena Avenue on 15 September from 12.45pm to 1.30pm
  • NEW – Woden: Abode Woden, 10 Bowes Street on 14 September from 12am to 11.59pm
  • NEW – Belconnen: Woolworths Metro Cameron Avenue, 1/6 Grazier Lane on 14 September from 1.30pm to 1.40pm
  • NEW – Belconnen: Woolworths Metro Cameron Avenue, 1/6 Grazier Lane on 14 September from 10.20am to 11am
  • NEW – Holt: Woolworths Kippax Fair, 26 Hardwick Crescent on 14 September from 8.40pm to 9.30pm
  • NEW – Fyshwick: Chemist Warehouse, 17 Iron Knob Street on 14 September from 2pm to 2.40pm
  • NEW – Woden: Abode Woden, 10 Bowes Street on 13 September from 12am to 11.59pm
  • NEW – Belconnen: Woolworths Metro Cameron Avenue, 1/6 Grazier Lane on 13 September from 4.30pm to 5.15pm
  • NEW – Braddon: 7-Eleven, 20 Mort Street on 13 September from 12.10pm to 12.50pm
  • NEW – City: Coles Canberra Centre, 148 Bunda Street on 13 September from 2.10pm to 2.50pm
  • NEW – Wanniassa: Donatello’s, 18 Sangster Place on 13 September from 1.30pm to 2.30pm
  • NEW – Belconnen: Woolworths Metro Cameron Avenue, 1/6 Grazier Lane on 12 September from 8.40pm to 9.20pm
  • NEW – Woden: Abode Woden, 10 Bowes Street on 12 September from 12am to 11.59pm
  • NEW – Belconnen: BWS Republic, 1 Edmondstone Place on 11 September from 1.40pm to 2.20pm
  • NEW – Woden: Abode Woden, 10 Bowes Street on 11 September from 12am to 11.59pm
  • NEW – Casey: Supabarn, 15 Kingsland Parade on 11 September from 8.45pm to 9.20pm
  • NEW – Belconnen: Woolworths Metro Cameron Avenue, 1/6 Grazier Lane on 10 September from 2pm to 2.45pm
  • NEW – Braddon: 7-Eleven, 20 Mort Street on 10 September from 2.30pm to 6.30pm
  • NEW – Conder: Woolworths Lanyon Market Place, 4 Sidney Nolan Street on 10 September from 6.10pm to 6.50pm
  • NEW – Conder: EG Fuel, Tharwa Drive on 10 September from 11pm to 11.40pm
  • NEW – Woden: Abode Woden, 10 Bowes Street on 10 September from 12am to 11.59pm
  • NEW – Banks: IGA, Pockett Avenue and Brockway Street on 10 September from 2.25pm to 3pm
  • NEW – City: Coles Canberra Centre, 148 Bunda Street on 10 September from 7.45am to 8.20am
  • NEW – City: Coles Canberra Centre, 148 Bunda Street on 10 September from 12pm to 12.45pm
  • NEW – Wanniassa: Cellarbrations Erindale, 1/50 Denigan Street on 10 September from 4pm to 4.35pm
  • NEW – Braddon: Ampol Foodary, 36 Lonsdale Street on 9 September from 9pm to 9.40pm
  • NEW – Fyshwick: McDonalds, 173 Newcastle Street on 9 September from 3.45pm to 4pm
  • NEW – Belconnen: Woolworths Metro Cameron Avenue, 1/6 Grazier Lane on 9 September from 3.15pm to 4pm
  • NEW – Woden: Abode Woden, 10 Bowes Street on 9 September from 12am to 11.59pm
  • NEW – Belconnen: Woolworths Metro Cameron Avenue, 1/6 Grazier Lane on 8 September from 1.40pm to 2.20pm
  • NEW – Belconnen: Woolworths Metro Cameron Avenue, 1/6 Grazier Lane on 8 September from 4.10pm to 4.50pm
  • NEW – Belconnen: Woolworths Metro Cameron Avenue, 1/6 Grazier Lane on 8 September from 9.40pm to 10pm
  • NEW – Conder: Woolworths Lanyon Market Place, 4 Sidney Nolan Street on 8 September from 3.45pm to 4.45pm
  • NEW – Woden: Abode Woden, 10 Bowes Street on 8 September from 12am to 11.59pm
  • NEW – Conder: Woolworths Lanyon Market Place, 4 Sidney Nolan Street on 7 September from 12.20pm to 1.10pm
  • NEW – Conder: Lanyon Paharmacy Lanyon Market Place, 4 Sidney Nolan Street on 7 September from 8.50am to 9.40am
  • NEW – Conder: Lanyon Post Office Lanyon Market Place, 4 Sidney Nolan Street on 7 September from 12.25pm to 1pm
  • NEW – Conder: Woolworths Lanyon Market Place, 4 Sidney Nolan Street on 6 September from 11.56am to 12.45pm
  • NEW – Holt: Woolworths Kippax Fair, 26 Hardwick Crescent on 6 September from 10.10am to 10.50am
  • NEW – Holt: Woolworths Kippax Fair, 26 Hardwick Crescent on 3 September from 11.50am to 12.20pm
  • NEW – Belconnen: Coles Express, Lathlain Street and Wignall Place on 1 September from 1.45pm to 2.45pm
  • Hughes: Friendly Grocer, 16 Hughes Place on 16 September from 10am to 11am
  • Hughes: Friendly Grocer, 16 Hughes Place on 16 September from 5pm to 6pm
  • Kambah: Woolworths, 2 Primmer Court on 16 September from 3.45pm to 4.15pm
  • City: Coles Canberra Centre, 148 Bunda Street on 16 September from 12.50pm to 1.30pm
  • Holt: City Family Practice, 8 Hardwick Crescent on 15 September from 1pm to 1.40pm
  • Kambah: United Petroleum, 150 O’Halloran Circuit on 15 September from 7.45pm to 8.15pm
  • Kaleen: Coles, 1 Maribyrnong Avenue on 15 September from 4pm to 4.40pm
  • Kaleen: B&B Emporium, Kaleen Plaza, Georgina Crescent on 15 September from 4.10pm to 4.45pm
  • Gungahlin: Coles Express, 1 Ginn Street on 15 September from 6.20pm to 7pm
  • Phillip: Coles Express, 172 Melrose Drive on 15 September from 7.20pm to 8pm
  • Crace: Supabarn, 56 Abena Avenue on 15 September from 12.45pm to 3.30pm
  • Melba: IGA, 1/4-6 Melba Circuit on 14 September from 12.45pm to 1.30pm
  • Gungahlin: Pharmacy Select Gungahlin Village, 46 Hibberson Street on 14 September from 6pm to 6.30pm
  • Gungahlin: Coles Gungahlin Village, Cnr Hibberson Street and Gungahlin Place Street on 14 September from 6pm to 6.30pm
  • Kaleen: Kaleen Plaza, Georgina Crescent on 14 September from 3.50pm to 4.30pm
  • City: IGA X-press, 22/58 East Row on 14 September from 7pm to 8pm
  • Aranda: Two Before Ten, 69 Bandjalong Crescent on 14 September from 10.20am to 11am
  • Mitchell: Metro Petroleum, Lysaght Street on 14 September from 1pm to 1.40pm
  • Greenway: Tuggeranong Discount Drug Store, 17 Anketell Street on 14 September from 6.05pm to 6.40pm
  • Conder: EG Fuel, Tharwa Drive on 14 September from 9.20am to 10am
  • Casey: 7-Eleven, 10 Kingsland Parade on 14 September from 8.30am to 9.10am
  • City: IGA X-Press East Row, 22-58 East Row on 14 September from 7.15am to 8.50am
  • Wanniassa: NewsXpress Erindale Shopping Centre, 2 Denigan Street on 14 September from 8.30am to 10am
  • Wanniassa: Kingsleys Chicken Erindale, 5/20 Gartside Street on 13 September from 6.10pm to 7pm
  • Kambah: United Petroleum, 150 O’Halloran Circuit on 13 September from 1.30pm to 2.30pm
  • Watson: Supabarn Express, 5 Watson Place on 13 September from 7pm to 8pm
  • City: IGA X-press, 22/58 East Row on 13 September from 7pm to 8pm
  • Kingston: BP, 77 Canberra Avenue on 13 September from 4.30pm to 5.10pm
  • Manuka: Coles, Franklin Street and Flinders Way on 13 September from 9.50am to 9.55am
  • Manuka: Coles Express, Canberra Avenue and Flinders Way on 13 September from 6.50am to 7.30am
  • Manuka: Coles Express, Canberra Avenue and Flinders Way on 13 September from 1.25pm to 2.05pm
  • Greenway: Tuggeranong Discount Drug Store, 17 Anketell Street on 13 September from 2.50pm to 3.30pm
  • Conder: Woolworths Lanyon Marketplace, 4 Sidney Nolan Street on 13 September from 6pm to 6.50pm
  • Holt: 7-Eleven Kippax, 88 Hardwick Crescent on 13 September from 11am to 11.50am
  • Braddon: Charcoal Rooster, 94 Lowanna Street on 13 September from 9am to 9.40am
  • Gungahlin: Pacifik Halal Meats, 54-56/141 Ernest Cavanagh Street on 13 September 12.30pm to 1.15pm
  • Gungahlin: Coles Express, 1 Ginn Street on 12 September from 6.10pm to 6.50pm
  • Canberra Airport: Ms Ba Co Majura Park Shopping Centre, 18/16 Spitfire Avenue on 12 September from 3.40pm to 4.20pm
  • City: IGA X-press, 22/58 East Row on 12 September from 7pm to 8pm
  • Belconnen: Coles Express, Lathlain Street and Wignall Place on 12 September from 5.20pm to 6.10pm
  • Amaroo: Priceline Pharmacy, 6 Pioneer Street on 12 September from 11.15am to 12pm
  • Charnwood: Capital Chemist, Charnwood Shopping Centre, Lhotsky Street on 12 September from 1.30pm to 2.15pm
  • Greenway: Tuggeranong Discount Drug Store, 17 Anketell Street on 12 September from 3.15pm to 3.55pm
  • Manuka: Coles, Franklin Street and Flinders Way on 12 September from 2.20pm to 3.10pm
  • Gungahlin: Woolworths, 30/33 Hibberson Street on 12 September 3.35pm to 4.15pm
  • Amaroo: Coles, Horse Park Drive on 13 September from 12.50pm to 1.40pm
  • Gungahlin: Chemist Warehouse, 30 Hibberson Street on 12 September from 1.50pm to 2.30pm
  • Gungahlin: Woolworths, 30 Hibberson Street on 12 September from 2pm to 2.30pm
  • Mawson: BWS, Mawson Place on 12 September from 2.10pm to 2.50pm
  • Charnwood: Woolworths, 25-30 Charnwood Place on 12 September from 1.25pm to 2.10pm
  • Dunlop: Woolworths, 80 Lance Hill Avenue on 12 September from 1.50pm to 2.30pm
  • Dickson: Woolworths, 1 Dickson Place on 11 September from 11.50am to 12.40pm
  • Manuka: Coles Express, Canberra Avenue and Flinders Way on 11 September from 6.52am to 7am
  • Manuka: Coles, Franklin Street and Flinders Way on 11 September from 9.25am to 10.05am
  • Greenway: Tuggeranong Discount Drug Store, 17 Anketell Street on 11 September from 3.10pm to 3.50pm
  • City: The Pharmacy on Petrie, 148 Bunda Street on 11 September from 4.30pm to 6pm
  • Conder: EG Fuel, Tharwa Drive on 11 September from 11.50am to 12.30pm
  • Casey: Fresh Seafood Canberra, 15 Kingsland Parade on 11 September from 1.20pm to 2.20pm
  • Phillip: Oporto, 82 Parramatta Street on 11 September from 8.35pm to 9.20pm
  • Casey: Coffee Guru Casey Market Town, 15 Kingsland Parade on 11 September from 2.05pm to 2.45pm
  • Casey: Casey Market Town, 15 Kingsland Parade on 11 September from 2pm to 2.50pm
  • Amaroo: Coles, Horse Park Drive on 11 September from 1.25pm to 2pm
  • Casey: 7-Eleven, 10 Kingsland Parade on 11 September from 3.35pm to 4.15pm
  • Casey: B&B Emporium Casey Market Town, 15 Kingsland Parade on 11 September from 2.05pm to 2.45pm
  • Narrabundah: Friendly Grocer, 6 Iluka Street on 11 September from 9.05am to 9.50am
  • Hawker: Woolworths Metro Hawker, Springvale Drive and Hawker Place on 11 September from 7.20pm to 8.10pm
  • Mawson: Woolworths, 15 Mawson Place on 11 September from 12.50pm to 1.40pm
  • Wanniassa: BWS, 10-17 Sangster Place on 11 September from 1.50pm to 2.40pm
  • Amaroo: Coles, Horse Park Drive on 11 September from 1.20pm to 1.40pm
  • Amaroo: Coles, Horse Park Drive on 11 September from 10.50am to 11.05am
  • Amaroo: Amaroo Village Shopping Centre, Horse Park Drive on 11 September from 1.25pm to 2pm
  • Aranda: Two Before Ten, 69 Bandjalong Crescent on 10 September from 10.25am to 11.10am
  • Wanniassa: BWS Erindale, 50-68 Comrie Street on 10 September from 10.25am to 11.05am
  • Wanniassa: Blackjack Kiosk, 50-68 Comrie Street on 10 September from 10.30am to 11.10am
  • City: Department of Education, Skills and Employment Building, 140-180 City Walk, Garema Court on 10 September from 8.40am to 4.45pm
  • Greenway: Tuggeranong Discount Drug Store, 17 Anketell Street on 10 September from 2.50pm to 3.45pm
  • Narrabundah: Friendly Grocer, 6 Iluka Street on 10 September from 7.20pm to 8.10pm
  • Woden: BWS Westfield Woden, Keltie Street on 10 September from 3.10pm to 3.50pm
  • Woden: Liquorland Westfield Woden, Keltie Street on 10 September from 3.10pm to 3.50pm
  • Wanniassa: Woolworths Erindale, 50-68 Comrie Street on 10 September from 4.40pm to 5.20pm
  • Amaroo: Wokitup!, 11 Pioneer Street on 10 September from 5.50pm to 6pm
  • Holt: Pizza Hut Kippax, 102 Hardwick Crescent on 10 September from 12pm to 12.40pm
  • Belconnen: Chargrilld Eatery and Pizza Bar, 1/59 Cameron Avenue on 10 September from 11.40am to 12.20pm
  • Narrabundah: Mint Rd, 4/59 Boolimba Crescent on 10 September from 8.25am to 9.05am
  • Narrabundah: Narrabundah Friendly Grocer, 6 Iluka Street on 10 September from 8.30am to 9.10am
  • Belconnen: Woolworths Metro Cameron Avenue, 1/6 Grazier Lane on 10 September from 8.20pm to 9pm
  • City: IGA X-press, 22/58 East Row on 10 September from 7pm to 8pm
  • City: Dina’s Liquor, 7 East Row Street on 9 September from 10pm to 11pm
  • Dickson: EG Fuel, 1 Cape Street on 9 September from 12.05pm to 12.45pm
  • Belconnen: Woolworths Metro Cameron Avenue, 1/6 Grazier Lane on 9 September from 9pm to 9.40pm
  • Amaroo: Coles, Horse Park Drive on 9 September from 8.15am to 8.30am
  • Amaroo: ALDI, 12 Pioneer Street on 9 September from 8.30am to 9.15am
  • Narrabundah: Narrabundah Pharmacy and Post Office, 18 Iluka Street on 9 September from 8.30am to 9.15am
  • Fyshwick: Metro Petroleum, 15 Barrier Street on 9 September from 8am to 8.40am
  • Narrabundah: Mint Rd, 4/59 Boolimba Crescent on 9 September from 8.30am to 9.10am
  • Wanniassa: Woolworths Erindale Shopping Centre, 50-68 Comrie Street on 9 September from 8.10am to 9am
  • Parkes: Elixir Cafe, Queen Elizabeth Terrace on 9 September from 1pm to 1.40pm
  • Yarralumla: IGA, 23 Bentham Street on 9 September from 1pm to 1.40pm
  • Casey: Coffee Guru Casey Marketown, 15 Kingsland Parade on 9 September from 7.30am to 8.10am
  • Narrabundah: Narrabundah Pharmacy and Post Office, 18 Iluka Street on 8 September from 8.35am to 9.15am
  • Yarralumla: IGA, 23 Bentham Street on 8 September from 1pm to 1.40pm
  • City: ALDI Canberra Centre, 148 Bunda Street on 8 September from 9am to 10am
  • Manuka: Coles, Franklin Street and Flinders Way on 8 September from 5pm to 5.45pm
  • Mawson: Woolworths, 15 Mawson Place on 8 September from 3.25pm to 4.10pm
  • Hawker: Coles Express, 20 Springvale Drive and Hawker Place on 8 September from 10.10am to 11am
  • Narrabundah: Mint Rd, 4/59 Boolimba Crescent on 8 September from 8.35am to 9.10am
  • Banks: IGA, Pockett Ave and Brockway St on 8 September from 8.10am to 8.50am
  • Holt: Kippax Fair Shopping Centre, 26 Hardwick Crescent on 8 September from 5.10pm to 6.20pm
  • Holt: The Reject Shop Kippax Fair Shopping Centre, Hardwick Crescent on 8 September from 5.10pm to 6pm
  • Macquarie: Optimal Pharmacy Plus Jamison Plaza, Bowman Street on 8 September from 9.30am to 10.15am
  • Holt: ALSI Kippax Fair Shopping Centre, Hardwick Crescent on 8 September from 4.20pm to 5pm
  • Charnwood: Shell Coles Express Charnwood, Lhotsky Street and Charnwood Place on 8 September from 5pm to 6pm
  • Belconnen: Chemist Warehouse Belconnen Markets, 2 Ibbott Lane on 8 September from 3.30pm to 4.15pm
  • Conder: Corks Liquor, 18 Norman Lindsay Street on 8 September from 6.40pm to 7.20pm
  • Conder: Woolworths Lanyon Marketplace, 4 Sidney Nolan Street on 8 September from 6.50pm to 7.30pm
  • Canberra Airport: Costco Fuel, 39 Mustang Ave on 8 September from 3.30pm to 4.30pm
  • Casey: Coffee Guru Casey Marketown, 15 Kingsland Parade on 8 September from 7.40am to 8.20am
  • Casey: 7-Eleven Casey, 10 Kingsland Parade on 8 September from 1.30pm to 2.15pm
  • Casey: 7-Eleven Casey, 10 Kingsland Parade on 8 September from 6.20pm to 7pm
  • City: ALDI Canberra Centre, 148 Bunda Street on 7 September from 9am to 10am
  • City: Dina’s Liquor, 7 East Row Street on 7 September from 10pm to 11pm
  • City: IGA X-press, 22/58 East Row on 7 September from 7pm to 8pm
  • Fyshwick: Hungry Jacks, Corner 100 Newcastle Street and Wollongong Street on 7 September from 3.35pm to 4.30pm
  • Wanniassa: BlackJack Kiosk, 50-68 Comrie Street on 7 September from 11.25am to 12pm
  • Wanniassa: NewsXpress, 50-68 Comrie Street on 7 September from 11.30am to 12pm
  • Wanniassa: Woolworths Erindale, 50-68 Comrie Street on 7 September from 11.30am to 12pm
  • Dickson: CG’s Discount Tobacconist, 25 Dickson Place on 7 September from 10.50am to 11.30am
  • Dickson: CG’s Discount Tobacconist, 25 Dickson Place on 7 September from 2.10pm to 3.10pm
  • Wanniassa: Woolworths Erindale Shopping Centre, 50-68 Comrie Street on 7 September from 2.30pm to 3.30pm
  • Ngunnawal: Spar Express Ngunnawal Local Centre, Wanganeen Avenue on 7 September from 7.50pm to 9pm
  • Conder: Corks Liquor, 18 Norman Lindsay Street on 7 September from 4.40pm to 5.30pm
  • Conder: Corks Liquor, 18 Norman Lindsay Street on 7 September from 7.45pm to 8.30pm
  • Macquarie: Optimal Pharmacy Plus Jamison Plaza, Bowman Street on 7 September from 7.55am to 8.40am
  • Macquarie: Optimal Pharmacy Plus Jamison Plaza, Bowman Street on 6 September from 9am to 10.50am
  • Dunlop: Woolworths Dunlop, 80 Lance Hill Avenue on 6 September from 7.30am to 8.30am
  • Belconnen: Chatterbox Espresso Bar, 40 Cameron Avenue on 6 September from 10am to 10.45am
  • Manuka: Coles, Franklin Street and Flinders Way on 6 September from 5.10pm to 6.15pm
  • Manuka: Coles, Franklin Street and Flinders Way on 6 September from 2pm to 2.50pm
  • Belconnen: 40 Cameron Avenue (entire building) on 6 September from 8.40am to 5.30pm
  • Charnwood: Shell Coles Express, Lhotsky Street and Charnwood Place on 6 September from 3.10pm to 4.10pm
  • Wanniassa: BlackJack Kiosk, 50-68 Comrie Street on 6 September from 10am to 10.40am
  • Charnwood: Capital Chemist Charnwood Shopping Centre, Lhotsky Street on 5 September from 6.40pm to 7.20pm
  • Charnwood: Woolworths, Charnwood Place on 5 September from 6.45pm to 7.30pm
  • Macquarie: Optimal Pharmacy Plus Jamison Plaza, Bowman Street on 5 September from 9.15am to 10.50am
  • Holt: IGA Holt, Holt Place on 5 September from 12.50pm to 1.40pm
  • Gungahlin: Pacifik Halal Meats, Shop 141 Ernest Cavanagh Street on 5 September from 4.55pm to 5.30pm
  • Gungahlin: ALDI Gungahlin, Hibberson Street on 5 September from 4.55pm to 5.30pm
  • Amaroo: United Petroleum, Katherine Ave and Horse Park Drive on 5 September from 12.20pm to 1pm
  • Gungahlin: Dobinsons Marketplace Gungahlin, Hibberson Street on 4 September from 8.45am to 9.30am
  • Gungahlin: TSG Marketplace Gungahlin, Hibberson Street on 4 September from 8.50am to 9.30am
  • Gungahlin: Pacifik Halal Meats, Shop 141 Ernest Cavanagh Street on 4 September from 4.15pm to 4.40pm
  • Gungahlin: ALDI Gungahlin, Hibberson Street on 4 September from 4.25pm to 5.10pm
  • Hawker: Woolworths Metro Hawker, Springvale Drive on 4 September from 12.20pm to 1.05pm
  • Gungahlin: Priceline Pharmacy Marketplace Gungahlin, 33 Hibberson Street on 4 September from 4.35pm to 5.25pm
  • Charnwood: Woolworths Charnwood, 25-30 Charnwood Place on 4 September from 2.40pm to 3.30pm
  • Dunlop: Woolworths Dunlop, 80 Lance Hill Avenue on 4 September from 3.10pm to 4pm
  • Kaleen: Caremore Plaza Kaleen, Shop 5, Georgina Crescent on 4 September from 11.15am to 11.55am
  • Kaleen: Coles Kaleen, 1 Maribyrnong Avenue on 4 September from 11.20am to 12.05pm
  • Holt: Woolworths Kippax, 24/48 Hardwick Crescent on 4 September from 11.50am to 12.35pm
  • Belconnen: Officeworks, Kippax Fair Shopping Centre on 4 September from 12.15pm to 1.10pm
  • O’Connor: Capital Chemist O’Connor, 9 Sargood Street on 4 September from 2pm to 2.40pm
  • Mitchell: Metro Petroleum Mitchell, Lysaght Street on 4 September from 3.15pm to 3.50pm
  • Macquarie: TSG Jamison Plaza, Bowman Street on 4 September from 10.30am to 11.30am
  • Macquarie: Coles Jamison Plaza, Bowman Street on 4 September from 8.05am to 8.45am
  • Macquarie: BP Jamison, 52B Redfern Street on 4 September from 8.15am to 9am
  • Dunlop: Woolworths Dunlop, 80 Lance Hill Avenue on 4 September from 5.10pm to 6pm
  • Kaleen: Ampol Foodary Kaleen, 275 Maribynong Avenue on 4 September from 11.35am to 12.15pm
  • Dickson: Woolworths, 1 Dickson Place on 3 September from 10am to 11.30am
  • Dunlop: Woolworths Dunlop, 80 Lance Hill Avenue on 3 September from 6.50pm to 7.30pm
  • Macquarie: Optimal Pharmacy Plus Jamison Plaza, Bowman Street on 3 September from 9.20am to 10am
  • Macquarie: ALDI Jamison Plaza, Bowman Street on 3 September from 12.40pm to 1.30pm
  • Mitchell: Mitchell Resource Management Centre, Flemington Road on 3 September from 3pm to 3.30pm
  • O’Connor: Capital Chemist O’Connor, 9 Sargood Street on 3 September from 10.50am to 11.30am
  • Amaroo: Coles Amaroo, Horse Park Drive on 3 September from 12pm to 5pm
  • Macquarie: Jamison Plaza News, Bowman Street on 3 September from 2pm to 2.50pm
  • City: Nandos Canberra Centre, Shop FG1 125 Bunda Street on 3 September from 2.50pm to 3.30pm
  • Dickson: Capital Chemist Dickson, 2/6 Dickson Place on 3 September from 1.45pm to 2.30pm
  • Woden: Commonwealth Bank Shop 003A/6 Westfield Woden, Keltie Street on 3 September from 2.50pm to 3.40pm
  • Woden: Westfield Woden Food Court, Keltie Street on 3 September from 3pm to 4pm
  • Woden: Woolworths Westfield Woden, Keltie Street on 3 September from 2.50pm to 3.50pm
  • Dickson: Woolworths Dickson, 1 Dickson Place on 3 September from 1.50pm to 2.30pm
  • Gungahlin: Coles Express Gungahlin, 1 Ginn Street on 3 September from 5.10pm to 6pm
  • Belconnen: Abode Hotel (lobby only), 3 Grazier Lane on 2 September from 3.50pm to 4.30pm
  • Canberra Airport: McDonald’s Majura Park, Majura Road and Mustang Avenue on 2 September from 8.45am to 9.30am
  • Belconnen: Mechanical Care, 3 Park Street on 2 September from 8am to 8.45am
  • Belconnen: Mechanical Care, 3 Park Street on 2 September from 11.30am to 12.10pm
  • Conder: Thai Som Tum Restaurant, 17 Sidney Nolan Street on 2 September from 6.30pm to 7.15pm
  • Conder: Zambrero Conder, 3/5 Sidney Nolan Street on 2 September from 6.35pm to 7.20pm
  • City: Coles Canberra Centre, 148 Bunda Street on 2 September from 2.30pm to 3.15pm
  • Gungahlin: Oporto Marketplace Gungahlin, Hibberson Street on 2 September from 7.10pm to 8pm
  • Gungahlin: Ali Kebabs Marketplace Gungahlin, Hibberson Street on 2 September from 7.20pm to 8.10pm
  • Macquarie: Optimal Pharmacy Plus Jamison Plaza, Bowman Street on 2 September from 12.20pm to 4.50pm
  • Belconnen: ACT Tyrepower, 27 Nettlefold Street on 2 September from 1.50pm to 2.40pm
  • Kambah: Ampol Food Kambah, 3 Marconi Crescent on 2 September from 3.55pm to 4.40pm
  • Woden: Coles Westfield Woden, Keltie Street on 2 September from 5.10pm to 6pm
  • Pialligo: Caltex Canberra Airport, 1/3 Rogan Street on 2 September from 12.10pm to 12.55pm
  • Pialligo: Caltex Canberra Airport, 1/3 Rogan Street on 2 September from 9.15am to 9.50am
  • Gungahlin: Woolworths Gungahlin, 30 Hibberson Street on 2 September from 10.25am to 11.10am
  • Weston: Cooleman Court Shopping Centre, Brierly Street on 2 September from 2.15pm to 3pm
  • Weston: Mr Sushi Cooleman Court Shopping Centre, Brierly Street on 2 September from 2.30pm to 3pm
  • Dickson: The Scholar Yum Cha & Seafood Chinese Restaurant, 23 Woolley Street on 2 September from 5pm to 6pm
  • Phillip: BP Phillip, 166 Melrose Drive on 2 September from 12.30pm to 1pm
  • Gungahlin: Bunnings Gungahlin, 10 Gribble Street on 2 September from 12.45pm to 1.45pm
  • Mitchell: Caltex Mitchell, 116 Lysaght Street on 2 September from 8.45pm to 9.30pm
  • Narrabundah: Friendly Grocer, 6 Illuka Street on 2 September from 1pm to 3.30pm
  • Mitchell: Spice of Life Adult Store, 1/48 Sandford Street on 2 September from 11.05am to 11.40am
  • Belconnen: Dan Murphy’s Westfield Belconnen, Benjamin Way on 31 August from 6.15pm to 7pm

This list will be updated as new information becomes available.

Find the ACT Government’s list of exposure sites in Canberra here.

Click here for information on entering the ACT from other parts of Australia and New Zealand.

12 to 15 year olds can now book for Covid-19 vaccination in ACT

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CT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith

The number of coronavirus cases in ACT has jumped up by 17 bringing the total number of infections under this outbreak to 618.

In an effort to up efforts to fight the pandemic ACT announced that bookings for vaccination for 12 to 15-year-olds have been opened.

“There are are about 25,000 young people in this age group in the ACT. So while this is a relatively small cohort, we know that it is particularly important that we continue our vaccination program to ensure that young people in our community can be vaccinated.” ,” Heath Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith told reporters on yesterday.

The territory will change its daily reporting of vaccination rates from Monday to include the percentage of Canberrans aged 12 and over who have been inoculated rather than the 16-plus percentage.

“So you will see those numbers go down a few percentage points,” the minister said.

ACT enjoys one of the highest rates of vaccination in the country with almost 78 per cent single dose and 54 per cent two doses.

The 17 new cases are linked to 11 outstanding infections.

Ms Stephen-Smith said while six of these cases are under investigation, five are known to have been in quarantine during their entire infectious period and 12 spent some of that time in the community.

She says eight people are in hospital, two of them in intensive care and one requiring ventilation.

A number of construction sites were added to virus exposure locations, but the minister said this was not the result of on-site transmission.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr had slammed some residential construction sites last week for breaches of public health orders.

“It was extraordinarily disappointing the other day to see the compliance checks on sites identifying breaches of these COVID safety plans, or not having COVID safety measures appropriately in place.”

Excessive alcohol consumption rampant during ACT lockdown

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Friends drinking beer at brewery bar restaurant on weekend - Friendship concept with young people having fun together toasting brew pint on happy hour at pub - Focus on glass - Bright contrast filter

The impact of excessive alcohol consumption is yet to be fully seen, but local Salvation Army addiction services are reporting an increase in demand for assistance during the ACT lockdown.

ACT Salvation Army representative Wendy Hateley said people who have been accessing addiction services at their ACT sites have reported that lockdown has exacerbated their addiction. 

“During lockdown, our Fyshwick site are unable to take any residents into the facility but have seen an increase in demand for their day program,” Ms Hateley said.

“The Braddon facility has also seen an increase in demand for their day service addiction program.”

People using the Braddon services have said that lockdown has increased their addiction issues, and workers said they can see how lockdown is impacting the mental health of their clients.

Although there has already been an increase in demand for addiction services, Ms Hateley said the full effects lockdown are having on people’s drinking and addiction habits won’t be seen until people are required to go back to work.

“People are at home and not realising how much they’re drinking, and the people in our programs are reporting they’re using alcohol and other drugs more frequently since being at home,” she said.

“Our Braddon facility have said they are seeing people increase their drug and alcohol use because they are alone, which has exacerbated the issue.”

A poll conducted by the Australian National University revealed one in five people over the age of 18 reported increased alcohol use, with almost half of these having one to two extra drinks per week and 28 per cent having three to four extras.

Although a higher proportion of Australians (27 per cent) reported a decrease in their alcohol consumption compared to those (20.2 per cent) who reported an increase, the ANU said there is a significant uncertainty around these estimates due to small sample sizes and a large margin of error.

In Victoria, the most recent ABS data shows a 33 per cent increase in alcohol retail sales between 2019 and 2020, reaching a record $3.45 billion.

This year is set to exceed that record increase, with alcohol retails sales in the first quarter of 2021 reaching $810.9 million compared to $713.9 million in 2020.

Retail Drinks Australia CEO Michael Waters revealed retail liquor sales have increased over the last 18 months due to the widescale closure of on-premises venues, including pubs, nightclubs, and cafés, but this increase hasn’t been enough to offset an overall decline in total liquor sales.

“The vast majority of Australians have continued to exhibit responsible drinking behaviours throughout the various lockdown periods during the Covid-19 pandemic. This can be demonstrated through consumption trends with a recent ANU poll noting that 80 per cent of respondents had reported either ‘no change’ or a ‘decrease’ in their alcohol consumption in May 2020 since the spread of Covid-19,” Mr Waters said.

“The retail liquor sector did observe some initial panic buying of alcohol associated with the very first series of lockdowns in March 2020. As anticipated, takeaway liquor sales largely normalised shortly thereafter, and the implementation of voluntary quantity limits has been one of the ways in which retailers have shown a commitment towards responsible retailing throughout the pandemic.”

If you or anyone you know is suffering from addiction, please contact any of the following helplines:

Queanbeyan records two new COVID-19 cases, one in Yass

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The Southern NSW Local Health District has recorded three new cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, with two in Queanbeyan and one in Yass.

There is one case in Jerrabomberra and one in Queanbeyan which are both linked to the current ACT outbreak.

The case detected in Yass is still under investigation.

The Deputy Premier of NSW John Barilaro also confirmed that two previously reported cases in Merimbula have now been classified as false positive.

The news comes as the state of NSW recorded 1351 new cases and 12 deaths.

Business grants hard to access, slow to arrive

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Inner-South Business Council chair, John-Paul Romano,

Frustrated by lengthy delays in support payments and what they say is a lack of direct contact with the Chief Minister, local business groups have been invited to meet tomorrow with government officials from Economic Development who are managing the ACT’s lockdown Business Grant program.

Those Business Grants will provide $20,000 to employing businesses and $7,500 to non-employing businesses with an annual turnover of more than $75,000, a total payroll of less than $10 million, and whose turnover has declined by at least 30%.

Ten thousand businesses might be eligible, the ACT Government expects. As of Tuesday afternoon, Minister for Business Tara Cheyne said, more than 1,130 applications had been approved, to a value of more than $18.6 million.

But local business leaders said they knew of only two businesses that had been approved. They say the process is difficult and opaque, and that the government treats it like a normal grant activity, rather than as welfare support for businesses. John-Paul Romano, chair of the Inner-South Business Council, said he implored Ms Cheyne months ago to be able to keep businesses going.

“At my last meeting, the last thing I said before she left was: ‘Please, for the sake of God, be ready that if we go into lockdown, there are payments ready to go two or three days after lockdown starts.

“Six weeks into lockdown, and more than 5,000 businesses in Canberra haven’t got their money – and others don’t want to apply because they can see how difficult it is to get the money.”

Tom Adam, president of the Phillip Business Community called the application process a deterrent. “If [the government] think the application process was a simple one, they’re sorely mistaken.” The government had to update the website with examples of how to apply, he said. “If you need to update a process on how to do things, it means the process wasn’t clear.”

Business owners had been asked to provide information that was not originally requested, delaying their application.

“It shouldn’t take you 12 weeks to get a grant from the government,” Mr Adam said. “If you ask for information that wasn’t required at the start, and say: ‘Now we need this information, you go back to the start of the queue,’ you’re being disingenuous.”

Nor did business owners know the status of their application once they applied, Mr Adam said.

“The lack of transparency in the process is disgusting.”

Businesses needed certainty; they needed to know whether they had been approved, and when they would receive the funds. If they knew money would arrive in a month, they could plan for that contingency.

“Until I have a compass bearing to focus on, I’m floating in the ocean hoping that at some point a gust of wind will blow my sails. I don’t know which way to go, ” he said.

“Do I turn around and say: ‘Close the doors, my business is ruined’ – or do I keep fighting, trying to keep my customers on board, desperately seeking every single cent in the hope that I might get the business support grant in the future?”

Communication with the government was difficult, Mr Adam and Mr Romano said.

The government sent emails, with the businesses’ names copied and pasted; a telephone conversation would be easier, Mr Romano thought.

“If we can’t ring up and find out the status of our application, when you can go to the council and ask for an application update, it screams of ineptitude and a lack of ability to process it and a lack of understanding,” Mr Adam said.

Business leaders wanted the government to stop treating the grants as a normal grant activity, rather than as social welfare support for businesses.

“There needs to be a sense of urgency and emergency attached to this,” said Kel Watt, a spokesman for Braddon United Retailers and Traders.

Businesses desperately needed the money now, Mr Romano said. Many had nothing in their bank account, some were being threatened by the Tax Office, suppliers had cut off supplies, landlords were threatening to evict them, and some were suicidal.

“The government, six weeks into a lockdown, having had 18 months to prepare, has not put a cent in their bank account. That’s solely on the government.

“If something happens, all that delay is on the government’s hands – and they’ve got the blood on their hands.”

John-Paul Romano, chair of the Inner-South Business Council

Ms Cheyne acknowledged this was a difficult time for business. She said the ACT Government would change the system to ensure applicants were emailed notifications as they moved through the different stages of assessment. A large team worked seven days a week, and payments were approved seven days after applications opened.

Yesterday, the ACT and Federal Governments also announced an additional COVID-19 Business Grant Extension payment of $10,000 for all employing businesses and $3,750 for non-employing businesses.

Further one-off grants will be made to the tourism, accommodation, arts and events, and hospitality businesses of up to $20,000.

Liberal MLA Leanne Castley said businesses were desperate and unsure how much longer they could hold on.

“The Government has continually moved the goal posts on what financial documents need to be provided for the business grants to be paid, which is leaving many business owners frustrated, exhausted, and with little or no money left to operate,” she said.

“We are almost five weeks into a lockdown and only 10 per cent of eligible businesses have been provided with support by the Labor-Greens Government; this is cruel and a slap in the face to the business community.”

–Canberra Weekly

Life satisfaction in the ACT has declined since the pandemic

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TOKYO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 26 2020 Virus frightens visitors at Japan's shopping district of Ginza. Image of empty street in the heart of the luxury hub of the capital.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Massimo Rumi / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Massimo Rumi/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Since April, the ACT has had one of the biggest declines in life satisfaction of any Australian jurisdiction, according to Australian National University research published today.

Almost two-thirds of Australians believe that their life has gotten worse during this year’s pandemic, and more than half feel more negative about the future compared to 2020’s first wave of infections, according to a survey of more than 3,000 people – conducted while almost half of Australia, some 13 million people, were in lockdown.

“The dramatic changes in the past four months have led to declines in life satisfaction, worsening psychological distress, and an increase in loneliness across Australia,” said the study’s co-author, ANU Professor Nicholas Biddle.

Between April and August 2021, life satisfaction declined in all states and territories except Western Australia, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory. The biggest declines were in the lockdown states, particularly NSW (-0.56), Victoria (-0.43), and the ACT (-0.31).

Roughly half the people surveyed said they were more stressed, and more than a quarter said their relationships were more difficult or strained this year compared to 2020.

In short, Australians are suffering from lockdown blues, co-author Professor Matthew Gray believes.

“Australians are more likely to think that their life had gotten worse, were more likely to say that they felt more negative about the future than they were in May, were more stressed, and more likely to say that their relationship had got more difficult or strained.”

Worry and anxiety due to COVID-19 rose from 49.8 per cent in April – the lowest during the pandemic – to 60.9 per cent in August. For those who lived outside NSW, anxiety rose from 48.5 per cent in April to 56.0 per cent in August, and from 50.7 per cent to 67.9 per cent over the same period in NSW.

Australians’ fears about getting infected almost tripled – from 10.7 per cent in April to 30.8 per cent in August.  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also significantly more worried about infection. 

Australians are less satisfied with the direction of the country than at any time during the pandemic, and less confident in the federal, state, and territory governments.

“Australians think that given the successes of the country early in the pandemic, the situation should be far better than it currently is,” Professor Biddle said.

Confidence in state and territory governments declined nationally, from 67.2 per cent in April to 62.1 in August.

In April, 45.4 per cent said they had a great deal, or quite a lot of confidence in the Federal Government in Canberra; this dropped to 40.6 per cent by April. It is well below the peak in confidence during the pandemic of 60.6 per cent recorded in May 2020.

The data is taken from Australia’s only longitudinal survey with data from before the pandemic, and can be found here.

What the ACT’s lockdown restrictions mean

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ACT Health Minister Rachel Steven-Smith

Rachel Stephen-Smith puts on a colourful face mask.
ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith urged people not to “look for a loophole” out of following lockdown rules.(ABC News: Harry Frost)

Under the lockdown, Canberrans will be told not to leave their homes for the next seven days except for essential reasons, which include essential employment, healthcare, vaccination appointments, shopping for groceries or supplies and up to one hour of outdoor exercise.

Once again, Canberrans will also be expected to wear masks when in public.

General retail stores will close and hospitality venues will be restricted to takeaway only.

The government is asking any businesses that remain open actively discourage browsing in their stores, adding that the Check In CBR app is “critical” for anyone leaving their homes.Here’s what you can and can’t do during the ACT’s lockdownCanberra is entering lockdown, here’s what you can and can’t do for the next seven days.Read more

Parents and caregivers have been asked to keep their children home from school throughout the lockdown if they can. 

Out-of-school-hours childcare and early-education services will remain open during the lockdown, but again parents are being urged to keep their children at home if possible.

Education Minister Yvette Berry said teachers would not conduct remote learning but would prepare for it in case it became necessary.

The government also urged Canberrans not to hold family gatherings or have parties with friends.

“This is not an opportunity to browse Bunnings,” Chief Minister Andrew Barr said.

“The purpose of a lockdown is to stop people moving unnecessarily.

“The objective here is to reduce the movement of people … that’s why we are going into a lockdown.

“Now is not the time to be popping over to mum and dad’s … please stay at home.”

He added that “the virus does not respect family bubbles”.

No more than two people will be permitted to visit another household, but only for approved reasons listed on the ACT Health website.

Those reasons include helping someone who needs physical assistance or as a carer.

Intimate partner visits will be allowed, and people who live alone can identify one other household that they can visit or receive visits from.

Various men walk through Canberra wearing facemasks
A mask mandate and seven-day lockdown have been announced in the ACT after a new case of COVID-19 was confirmed.(ABC News: Nick Haggarty )

Mr Barr told Canberrans to stay in their own local areas, unless for essential purposes.

“Our general guidance is to stay within your local area, so if you live in Belconnen, exercise in Belconnen, get your groceries in Belconnen. Do not be travelling across the ACT for exercise or essential supplies,” he said.

“It goes without saying, now is not the time to have friends over, to have parties. We really need this lockdown to be effective and we have seen in parts of Australia what happens when people do the wrong thing.”

He said it was “critical” for people’s health that they take every precaution.

Mr Barr added that the new case was further evidence of the importance of vaccines in fighting COVID-19.

“What this whole situation demonstrates though, is the absolute importance of vaccination and why it is so critical that more Canberrans, more NSW residents – more Australians get vaccinated,” he said.

“That’s what we need to focus on in addition to clearly, the public health measures that we have put in place this week.”

Mr Barr said those who lost shifts or work during the lockdown would have the opportunity to apply for financial support.

“The Prime Minister and the Treasurer were very supportive of those measurements being put in place … and I’m pleased that we’ve been able to enact the same arrangements that have applied for other states and territories,” he said.

“The further details in relation to those support packages, the COVID disaster package, the business supports … will be available on our COVID-19 website and through the various Commonwealth government websites, where an additional page or link will be provided for support for ACT residents and businesses.”

Hope lockdown will act as ‘circuit-breaker’

Kerryn Coleman speaks in front of ACT Government backdrop.
ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said they hoped to stop the virus with an immediate lockdown.(ABC News: Andrew Kennedy)

As news emerged that panic-buying was taking place across the capital, Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith also urged Canberrans not to rush out to purchase supplies and to be “thoughtful” as they entered lockdown.

Ms Rachel Stephen-Smith said the lockdown announcement was made because the source of the infection was unknown, with genomic sequencing still underway.

“At this point in time we have no source, or no link for this case,” she said.

“This is one of the reasons why I have recommended and we are going into a lockdown for the next seven days.

“We will be conducting an intensive case investigation, looking back for the 14 days prior to when we thought he was exposed to see if we can identify where this has come from.”

She repeated Mr Barr’s message that people should stay home unless for essential reasons.

“Our message is, do not look for a loophole within those reasons, an excuse to leave your home,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“If in doubt, don’t do it unless it is absolutely essential.”

Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman added that they hoped the lockdown would act as a circuit breaker.

“The reason that we are locking down for seven days is because we have learnt lessons and we understand the nature of the virus now, and the rapidity and the risk of transmission,” Dr Coleman said.

“We’re not super people and we don’t have a crystal ball.”

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Panic buying begins at supermarkets as the ACT approaches its lockdown deadline.(Courtesy: Tegan George)

Those with symptoms of COVID-19 have also been reminded to get tested, with a new testing clinic set to be open later today at Brindabella Business Park.

But Ms Stephen-Smith said people shouldn’t get a test simply because they were “anxious” about the virus, as it would only make wait times longer for those who were potentially infected.

Capacity and operating hours at the other testing sites — Weston Walk-In Centre and EPIC drive-through — will be “increased significantly”, the government said.

Federal parliament is currently sitting in the capital, but at a reduced capacity, and the building has not been open to the public for weeks.

Some NSW postcodes permitted to enter ACT

A group of police officers stand beside cars on a highway.
Police will be at the ACT border to check those travelling from NSW are permitted to enter Canberra.(ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

The whole of New South Wales has also been declared a COVID-19 affected area, and only those from approved postcodes in that state will be permitted to enter the ACT, and for essential reasons only.

Ms Stephen-Smith said ACT Policing would be at the border to ensure those entering Canberra were abiding by the rules.

NSW residents will be expected to provide proof of residential address and their reason for travelling to the ACT.

The postcodes permitted to enter the ACT are:

PostcodesIncluded cities, townships and areas
2581Gunning, Collector
2582Murrumbateman, Yass
2584Binalong
2611Uriarra
2618Wallaroo, areas along the ACT’s north-western edge
2619Jerrabomberra
2620Queanbeyan, Googong, Karabar, Sutton, Gundaroo
2621Bungendore
2623Captains Flat
2626Bredbo and Michelago

ACT placed under lockdown for 7 days after 4 cases of COVID-19 were recorded

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Acting Chief Minister of ACT Andrew Barr

The ACT has gone into lockdown for seven days, after the territory recorded four positive casesof COVID-19.

Key points:

  • The initial case — man in his 20s — had been infectious in the community since Sunday
  • Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the new cases posed a “serious health risk”
  • The snap shutdown, which began at 5:00pm, is the first time the ACT has entered lockdown since early in 2020

At midday, ACT authorities confirmed a man in his 20s from Gungahlin in Canberra’s north had tested positive to the virus and had been infectious in the community since Sunday.

Just after 5:00pm, Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman announced live on ABC Radio Canberra that three others had since tested positive in the ACT, all of them close contacts of the first case.

“I can report very hot off the press that we knew of nine really close contacts, so these were people who had prolonged and repeated exposure to our case,” she said.

“We know that three of those have given us additional positive cases, the other six have returned negative tests at this point in time.”

Authorities said the source of the man’s infection was unknown, with multiple exposure sites listed.

The government said the fresh outbreak represented the “most serious public health risk” the ACT had faced for 12 months.

It had previously been 105 days since the last case in the ACT —a diplomat in quarantine — and over a year since the last locally acquired case.

The ACT has been in lockdown since 5:00pm on Thursday. It is the first time the ACT has entered a lockdown of this nature since the early days of the pandemic.

List of ACT exposure sites

Anyone who has visited the following places during the below times has been told to immediately get tested and quarantine for 14 days.

SuburbPlaceDateArrival timeDeparture time
Canberra CityFiction Bar8 August12:00am4:45am
WodenChurch of Pentecost, 19B Irving St8 August10:30am1pm
FyshwickFreedom Furniture8 August2pm2:20pm
FyshwickJB Hifi8 August2:15pm2:35pm
FyshwickTK Maxx8 August2:35pm2:50pm
BraddonAssembly Pub8 August9pm9:30pm
FyshwickStockade Training Centre9 August7:30am1pm
FyshwickStockade Training Centre10 August9am11am
ManukaUrban Pantry10 August10:30am1pm
FyshwickHarvey Norman10 August11am12pm
MitchellNorth Canberra Business Centre11 August11:10am11:30am
CookCompanion House11 August11:30am11:45am
KingstonCapital Chemist11 August12pm12:15pm
ManukaColes11 August12:15pm12:40pm

NSW records five deaths and 262 new COVID-19 cases

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NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian

The state reported five deaths and 262 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, with 129 of the new cases linked to a known case or cluster, according to NSW Health.

All of Greater Sydney, including Wollongong, Central Coast and the Blue Mountains, entered a lockdown on June 26, which has been extended for four more weeks until at least August 28.

A seven-day snap lockdown will commence at 5 pm on Thursday in the Hunter and Upper Hunter regions.

https://twitter.com/i/broadcasts/1lPKqXBBoPNxb

New laws increase use of ACT police body worn cameras

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ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said the amendments support law enforcement officials to collect evidence while strengthening community confidence in police integrity. Photo: Kerrie Brewer.

Under new legislation agreed to in the Legislative Assembly today, the body worn cameras (BWC) sported by ACT police will be put to use far more often than previously.

The Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 makes changes to five pieces of legislation, one of which will increase the use of ACT police body worn cameras, allowing them to be used in a private space without asking for consent.

Currently, the police are required to seek consent when using their BWC to record an event or to continue recording an event when in a ‘private’ space, such as a private residence or motor vehicle.

The Bill amends the Crimes Surveillance Devices Act 2010 and Listening Devices Act 1992 and requires police to use BWCs during police duties; the use must be overt and be used in dealings with members of the public, subject to specified exemptions.

Police will also be required to advise people the device is recording in all circumstances except where it’s not reasonably practical or safe to do so.

The Bill received tri-partisan support in the ACT Legislative Assembly.

The amendments complement existing legal frameworks and have been modelled on similar provisions in NSW from 2007.

Guidelines developed by the ACT Chief Police Officer will include specific requirements about accessing, storing, retaining and using recordings captured to ensure the right to privacy is protected.

ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said the amendments support law enforcement officials with their capacity to collect evidence while also strengthening community confidence in police integrity.

“It creates a clear evidence base if somebody commits an offence,” he told ABC Radio Canberra’s Mornings today.

“And also, for the community, if they feel police have done something inappropriate or there’s been an excessive use of power and force, there will also be video evidence of that.”

Mr Rattenbury said the legislation is written to ensure it achieves operational and accountability goals while protecting privacy.


Body worn cameras ‘particularly useful’ in family violence situations

ACT police body worn cameras
Under the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 ACT police body worn cameras can be used in a private space without asking for consent. Getty,

In a submission made during the consultation phase of the Bill, the Australian Federal Police Association (AFPA) said they “strongly support” the current use of BWCs and the reform to expand their use.

AFPA president Alex Caruana said the benefits obtained by officers wearing the cameras far outweigh any negatives.

He said BWCs deliver better transparency and accountability, quicker resolution for complaints and corroborating evidence, increased civility between police and the community, and training opportunities.

AFPA believe the reforms would prove particularly useful in family violence situations, where current requirements often impede the capacity of police to record such incidents.

Under the current legislative regime, permission must be sought from the lawful occupants to record inside private premises.

“All too often, police officers attend incidents, especially family violence incidents, occurring within private premises,” Mr Caruana said.

“This is problematic where the offender and victim are both the lawful occupants, yet one approves while the other doesn’t.”

The reforms would benefit policework in homicide, assault and sexual assault investigations within private premises.

“The use of BWCs inside private premises can capture physical evidence that may be missed by first responding officers while they are focused on the matter at hand,” Mr Caruana said.

Minister for Police Mick Gentleman said BWCs are widely used by police nationally and internationally, and that the footage captured will provide evidence to assist in legal proceedings.

“Although ACT Policing have used body worn cameras in various situations since 2019, it’s important that there is transparency and clarity regarding the use of this tool,” he said.

Canberra Liberals leader Elizabeth Lee said her party supports the Billbut stressed the implementation of the changes in the Bill would be key.

“We need to ensure that these amendments enhance and improve our laws and achieve the outcomes they were intended for,” she said.

“The Canberra Liberals will keep a close eye on the ongoing operation of these laws.”

–Canberra weekly

Micro-forests are growing in Canberra, offering hope to communities facing climate change

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Edwina Robinson is the mastermind behind the growing micro-forest trend in the ACT.(Supplied: Dean Dampney)

Edwina Robinson was driving through the brown landscape of south-eastern NSW in 2019 when she was struck with just how dry it had become.

Inspired to do something constructive, she came up with an idea to future-proof her own inner-north neighbourhood of Canberra by creating a micro-forest, in a bid to offset global warming in her urban environment.

Two years later, $70,000 has so far been raised by the enthusiastic local community, who got behind Ms Robinson’s crowd-funded project.

A micro-forest is now flourishing in the suburb of Downer, while another has been financed for nearby Watson.

Three others are also now on the cards for Holt, Casey and Kambah.

The project is being watched closely by climate scientists looking for ways to help us cope with a warming planet.

From Japan to Australia, with a twist

Two children help put plants in the ground at a garden.
The micro-forests in Canberra’s inner north are driven by community funds and working bees.

The size of a tennis court, micro-forests were originally devised by Akira Miyawaki, a botanist who wanted to restore biodiversity in urban environments.

Since the first tiny forest was planted in Zaandam in the Netherlands in 2015, the Miyawaki method has been growing in popularity, particularly in Europe, as communities work to mitigate the “urban heat island” effect.

The method replicates mature ecosystems, but on a small scale, with each plant, grass and shrub chosen carefully to complement the others.

Advocates point to research that shows the important role of forests in storing carbon and helping to fight climate change.

They say tiny forests grow 10 times faster, become 30 times as dense, and are 100 times more biodiverse.

A drone image of the micro-forest early in its growth.
The Downer micro-forest in its early stage of growth.(Supplied: David Jenkins, Ghetto Media)

Ms Robinson, who is a landscape architect by trade, said she adapted the Mikawaki model to the Australian climate, but worked off the same core principle of building in dense layers of vegetation.

“You’re trying to really improve your soil, get air into your soil, but also organics into your soil,” she said.

“You’re giving those plants the best possible start in life.”

Unlike the Miyawaki method, however, they were not trying to replicate the natural environment, instead trialling plants that were native to different parts of Australia, to see what would best cope with warmer temperatures.

They also employed a “water harvesting” method, building underground trenches that enabled the water to get to the plants’ roots, where it was needed most.

She said thanks to the initial efforts of about 30 volunteer gardeners and the rainfall that came with La Nina, the Downer micro-forest was thriving.

And while the overall goal was to lower the temperature by installing micro-forests in every neighbourhood, she said there were other motivations too.

A map of the proposed garden with carefl notes.
The micro-forests were carefully researched and planned by Edwina Robinson and others in the community.(Supplied: Edwina Robinson)

“By providing a project in the local community, you’re providing something that people can take part in and get to know more people,” she said.

“They also get a sense of ownership of that place, so they’re more likely to participate in maintaining it — they become stewards of those places.”

She said while the ACT government had expressed some concerns about her plan initially, they were now behind the project.

“I think at first they were a bit like, ‘this is a weird idea’ because it wasn’t traditional plantings. At first, they didn’t like the idea that everything was so closely spaced, particularly the trees. They put some caveats on it,” she said.

“But they seem much happier now they’ve seen what we’ve built at Downer … that’s government’s role, to be cautious.”

She said the group was now receiving some government money in addition to what they had crowd-sourced, in a collaboration she said was positive.

“When you’re working outside of government, it can work more quickly, more nimbly,” she said.

Potential to lower temperatures, but more forests needed

Two people kneel to plant trees in a freshly mulched area.
A variety of grasses, shrubs and trees are planted close together in nutrient-rich soil.(Supplied: Edwina Robinson)

Australian National University Professor of Forestry Peter Kanowski said micro-forests had the potential to lower temperatures in urban parts of Canberra.

“I think we should expect to see more of these as part of the sort of diversity of ways that we add greenery to our cities, and that we use that greenery to deliver multiple benefits for the environment, but also for urban residents and communities,” he said.

“I think the big picture is that we sort of need all hands on deck in our urban areas, because of the increasing average temperatures and the increasing frequency of heat waves.”

He said as cities became more densely populated, they lost the benefits of backyard gardens on the urban temperature.

“But then, you know, there are little pockets of land in in our densifying suburbs where micro forests could be a great solution,” he said.

One example, he said, could be putting a micro-forest to the west of a children’s playground, which could directly cool that space.

A man walks past cafes and restaurants on a street in Canberra.
Scientists are optimistic micro-forests could benefit Canberra’s streets in hotter months.(Supplied)

He pointed to a CSIRO study that showed on a February day the difference between a shaded and unshaded Canberra street was as much as 15 degrees Celsius.

But he said they would need to see a bigger number of micro-forests across the urban environment to properly measure their effects.

A team of researchers at the ANU would be watching closely to see the impact of those under development in Canberra.

“Anything that we can do that increases the carbon stocks in our cities, like a micro-forest, and many micro-forests, will help be part of that overall solution of pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere,” he said.

Ms Robinson said she hoped her model would become a blueprint for more forests in Canberra and beyond.

“When you look at what some of the statistics tell us about climate change, they say we have until 2030, and so if that’s the case, I’d better get my skates on, and keep building micro-forests,” she said.

“And so I suppose what I’m trying to do is set up a model where I don’t have to be the only one who does this.”

–.abc.net.au/news/

Canberra Airport bans flights from Western and Southern Australia

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Canberra Airport

The boss of Canberra Airport is calling for flights from Perth and Adelaide to be banned from arriving in retaliation to the states both closing the border to the ACT despite the territory not recording a local case since 2020.

Canberra Airport CEO Stephen Byron told Sky News “we’re just bemused” why Queensland with its “very conservative” health advice will let Canberrans fly into the state, but Western Australia and South Australia will not.

“The whole thing’s a mess, it’s confusing and we’re locked out of travel,” he said.

“Effectively we and Qantas and Virgin have had our business shut down by a premier pretending it’s health advice when it’s nothing like health advice, it’s just politics.

“We’re not asking for a lot, but we’re asking for a guarantee that going forward … the border to Canberra … won’t be shut down so long as we’ve still got zero cases.

“If you can give us that undertaking then it makes sense for us to try and restart flights to Perth and Adelaide.

“But if you can’t give us that assurance which says you might just shut down when we’ve got no cases of COVID at all then basically we might as well give up.”

–SkyNews

Video: Former US President, Trump sues Facebook, Google and Twitter alleging censorship

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Former US President Donald Trump

Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday filed lawsuits against Twitter Inc (TWTR.N), Facebook Inc (FB.O), and Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O), as well as their chief executives, alleging they unlawfully silence conservative viewpoints.

The lawsuits, filed in U.S. District Court in Miami, allege the California-based social media platforms violated the right to freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Trump is seeking class action status for the lawsuits, meaning he would represent the interests of other users of Twitter, Facebook, and Google’s YouTube who allege they have been unfairly silenced.

He filed three lawsuits making similar allegations — one against Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, one against Twitter and its CEO Jack Dorsey, and one against Google and its CEO Sundar

“We will achieve a historic victory for American freedom and at the same time, freedom of speech,” Trump said at a news conference at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

A Twitter representative declined to comment. Representatives of Facebook and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Former President Donald Trump speaks to his supporters during the Save America Rally at the Sarasota Fairgrounds in Sarasota, Florida, U.S. July 3, 2021. REUTERS/Octavio Jones
Former President Donald Trump speaks to his supporters during the Save America Rally at the Sarasota Fairgrounds in Sarasota, Florida, U.S. July 3, 2021. REUTERS/Octavio Jones
Former President Donald Trump gestures while speaking to his supporters during the Save America Rally at the Sarasota Fairgrounds in Sarasota, Florida, U.S. July 3, 2021.  REUTERS/Octavio Jones

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Former President Donald Trump speaks to his supporters during the Save America Rally at the Sarasota Fairgrounds in Sarasota, Florida, U.S. July 3, 2021. REUTERS/Octavio Jones

Trump lost his social media megaphone this year after the companies said he violated their policies against glorifying violence. Hundreds of his supporters launched a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 after a Trump speech repeating his false claims that his election defeat was the result of widespread fraud, an assertion rejected by multiple courts, state election officials and members of his own administration.

The lawsuits ask a judge to invalidate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that has been called the backbone of the internet because it provides websites with protections from liability over content posted by users. Trump and others who have attacked Section 230 say it has given big internet companies too much legal protection and allowed them to escape responsibility for their actions.Report ad

“This complaint is hard to even make sense of,” said Paul Gowder, a professor of law at Northwestern University.

Trump sought to portray the social media companies as subject to the same First Amendment requirements as government entities when it comes to censorship, but Gowder said nothing in the lawsuits “even comes close to turning social media companies into government actors.”

A federal judge in Florida last week blocked a recently enacted state law that was meant to authorize the state to penalize social media companies when they ban political candidates, with the judge saying the law likely violated free speech rights.

The lawsuit said the bill signed by Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis in May was unconstitutional. It would have made Florida the first state to regulate how social media companies moderate online speech.

–Reuters

Former South Africa President starts serving his 15 months jail sentence

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Former South Africa President Jacob Zuma

South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma is in custody after handing himself over to police, the culmination of a long legal drama seen as a test of the post-apartheid state’s ability to enforce the rule of law.

Key points:

  • Jacob Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in prison for failing to appear at an inquiry into his presidency
  • The former president had until Wednesday night to hand himself over to police
  • Hundreds of former president’s supporters, some of them armed, had gathered near his home to try to prevent his arrest

Zuma, 79, was handed a 15-month prison term last week for defying an instruction earlier in February to give evidence at an inquiry into corruption during his nine years in power until 2018.

South Africa’s Constitutional Court gave the former leader, who was not in court for the sentencing, until Wednesday night (local time) to hand himself over to authorities.

Police spokesperson Lirandzu Themba confirmed in a statement that Zuma was in police custody, in compliance with the Constitutional Court judgment.

The Department of Correctional Services said in a separate statement that Zuma was admitted to Estcourt Correctional Centre, about 175 kilometres from his rural homestead in Nkandla in eastern South Africa.

Police had been instructed to arrest Zuma by the end of Wednesday if he failed to appear at a police station.

Play Video. Duration: 34 seconds
Former South African president Jacob Zuma hands himself over to police

Hundreds of his supporters, some of them armed with guns, spears and shields, had gathered near his homestead to try to prevent his arrest.

But in the end, Zuma decided to go quietly.

“President Zuma has decided to comply with the incarceration order,” his foundation said.

It was a remarkable fall for a revered veteran of the African National Congress liberation movement, who was jailed by South Africa’s white minority rulers.

Zuma denies there was widespread corruption under his leadership.

His lawyers asked the Constitutional Court on Wednesday to suspend its arrest order until his challenge against his sentence was heard.

The corruption inquiry is examining allegations he allowed three Indian-born businessmen, Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta, to plunder state resources and traffic influence over government policy.

He and the Gupta brothers, who fled to Dubai after Zuma was ousted, deny any wrongdoing.

Zuma also faces a separate court case relating to a multi-billion-dollar arms deal in 1999 when he was deputy president. He denies the allegations related to the case.

The former president maintains he is the victim of a political witch-hunt and that Deputy Chief Zondo is biased against him.

Reuters

Braddon Centrelink office faces closure

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Alicia Payne

The Braddon Centrelink office will be closed in February 2022 further taking the services away from Canberrans.

The JLL property managers have already put the office’space on the market for rent.

The Braddon Labor MP for Canberra Alicia Payne is not impressed by the new development when she saw the advertisement of the property on a staffer’s Facebook feed. She believes the Federal Government plans to close the shopfront.

“It looks pretty clear that that’s what they’re thinking, and I wouldn’t trust this government with Centrelink,” Ms Payne told ABC Radio this morning.

The MP has started a petition urging the the Federal Government to keep the Braddon shopfront open. She already garnered 190 signatures.

“I’ll be fighting to ensure the Canberra electorate’s ONLY in-person Centrelink office is saved from this Liberal Government’s attempt to close it,” Ms Payne wrote on Facebook.

Senator Linda Reynolds, Minister for Government Services, confirmed in a letter to her that the lease would expire on 28 February 2022.

“The Agency is currently considering its face-to-face service offer for North Canberra,” Senator Reynolds wrote.

Services Australia general manager Hank Jongen said that as leases came up for renewal, the agency reviewed service centre tenancies to ensure they were fit for purpose and aligned with the changing needs of the community. Services Australia considered convenience to the community, the demand for services across the geographic footprint, and access to public transport.

Ms Payne described the Centrelink shopfront as “an important centre for Canberra’s workers and jobseekers, as well as older Canberrans, students, and those experiencing homelessness”.

“During the pandemic, we saw long lines down Lonsdale Street, as record numbers of Canberrans accessed Centrelink payments,” she said. “It is unbelievable that the Morrison Government is contemplating taking this service away from Canberrans.”

Many of those clients would have difficulty accessing the nearest Centrelink service centres in Weston, Belconnen, Gungahlin, and Tuggeranong, Ms Payne argued.

“With payments so low (JobSeeker at $43.50 a day), the cost of extra bus fares to get to one of these offices could be too much for people,” the MP told the ABC. “That sounds extreme, but it’s very much the reality.”

Senator Reynolds said the transformation and modernisation of business and information technology, and the increased uptake of digital services (such as myGov and Express Plus mobile apps) had significantly changed the way customers accessed the Agency’s services. Digital and telephone self-service allowed people to do their Centrelink business at a time and place convenient to them.

“This has led to fewer people needing to attend service centres.”

Ms Payne did not think this was good enough. Centrelink processes were complex, she told the ABC; homeless people did not have access to computers or phones to access Centrelink; and people escaping domestic violence might not be able to use a computer or a phone at home, and would rather come into a face-to-face office.

Canberra Weekly asked the Government whether in-person visits had decreased, or if figures were available. The Government did not answer those questions.

Services Australia has said it will inform the community and staff if it planned to make any changes to services in Braddon.

However, Ms Payne claimed that there had been no community consultation about the potential closure. (The Government did not reply to Canberra Weekly’s question about this issue.) The ACT Council of Social Services (ACTCOSS) also asked Senator Reynolds’s office whether they planned to consult the people affected. The Minister’s office had not replied.

In fact, Ms Payne told ABC Radio, the Government’s transparency was “appalling”.

“That I or anyone would find out from an advertisement for the office space that’s clearly the Centrelink office is not good enough.”

The news that the shopfront would close has dismayed politicians and social services.

“It is disappointing that we are seeing a reduction in face-to-face service for the many people who cannot access online services, or who need help to navigate online services,” said Dr Emma Campbell, CEO of ACTCOSS.

“A reduction in access to Centrelink face-to-face support might result in a person being breached and ending up with no income, simply because they’re unable to get someone to sit down with them and assist in navigating complex reporting requirements.”

Some people needed face-to-face support because of their age, disability or vulnerability; others waited for hours on the phone. The Braddon office was also close to specialist services, including homelessness services. If it closed, vulnerable people would need to travel further and spend money that might go towards food, clothing, and shelter, Dr Campbell said.

—Canberra Live & Canberra Weekly

ACT to relax the mask requirement from Friday

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Acting Chief Minister of ACT Andrew Barr

The greatest risk to Canberra from Sydney’s Covid outbreak has passed, the ACT’s Chief Minister has said as mask requirements are to be relaxed.

Andrew Barr said he was surprised that Canberra had not recorded any cases but warned that Canberrans should not toss away their masks just yet.

Health authorities will still strongly encourage use in high-risk settings including public transport.

ACT’s announcement is despite Sydney and surrounds facing an extended lockdown, while regional areas also remain under some restrictions including mandatory face masks.

ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman won’t hesitate to reinstate a mask mandate should the territory be under threat of COVID-19, adding the past week had proven it could be enforced within hours and result in high take-up.

“The concern over winter is that a lot of people spend a lot more time indoors [which] can get a bit crowded, a lot of the time you can’t properly socially distance,” she said.

“Getting used to using masks, particularly in indoor high-risk settings is a really useful thing.

“I won’t hesitate to stand that up in the future if I feel we need that extra protection.”

Dr Coleman had also expected a new case to emerge in Canberra, thankful the past week came and went without notice.

“One of the reasons for being comfortable lifting the [mandate] now is the risk of seeding and hence, transmission, has backed right off, because we’ve had a really good response to our stay-at-home orders,” she said.

“We’ve had very high levels of testing and we’re not picking up anything.

“If there is undetected transmission [and] we think the risk of that might be ramping up … that’s when masks can add some value.”

 ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr. Picture: Keegan Carroll

The mandate requiring people in the ACT to wear a face mask in most indoor settings, including retail and public transport would be lifted at 11.59pm on July 9.

Mr Barr said the greatest risk for Canberra from the Sydney outbreak had passed.

He said he was “pleasantly surprised” the ACT had not recorded a case particularly as 25,000 people over the past two weeks had signed declarations to say they had been in Sydney or surrounding regions.

“That risk period from the Sydney period has now passed [but there] still remains a level of risk,” he said.

“At this point, we are in a better position than we were two weeks ago in terms of the risk profile.”

Mr Barr said limited movement between the ACT and Sydney had also contributed to the decision by the territory’s Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman to lift the mask mandate.

However, Canberrans are still being encouraged to wear masks in certain situations, such as public transport, crowded shopping centres or waiting in a queue at a busy restaurant. But Mr Barr said it was a personal decision.

“Most people have taken a very responsible approach here and have sought to avoid crowds for months now,” he said.

“Others have a slightly different approach to living with a pandemic.

“The message to everyone here is that use your common sense. Assume there is still a level of risk, it’s lower than two weeks ago but there is still a level of risk and behave accordingly.”

ACT Health imposed a mask mandate from June 28 in response to the outbreak of the Delta strain in Sydney, and had aligned with requirements in regional NSW.

Stay-at-home orders will still apply to any ACT residents who have been in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong in the past 14 days. This has been extended to July 16, mirroring Sydney’s lockdown.

Mr Barr said about 6400 people were under stay-at-home rules after visiting Covid affected parts of Sydney in recent weeks but that number was slowly decreasing everyday.

Mr Barr said while the situation in Sydney remained a concern, the NSW government had made the “right decision” to extend lockdown for a week.

“What this means in the ACT, similar to regional NSW, we’ve not seen the seeding of the virus outside the greater Sydney area,” he said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian extended the lockdown of Sydney and surrounds for a week until at least July 16.

A further 27 new locally acquired cases in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.

“This Delta strain is a game changer – it is extremely transmissible and more contagious than any other form of the virus that we’ve seen,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“The reason why the NSW government has taken this position is because we don’t want to be in a situation where we are constantly having to move between lockdown, no lockdown, lockdown, no lockdown.”

–Canberra Times

ACT abolishes stamp duty for homes with a value of $500k or less

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Stamp duty abolished in ACT

Canberra Live Reporter

The ACT government has stopped collecting the stamp duty for off the plan housing units valued at $500 000 or less.

This was revealed by a recent government newsletter, Our CBR.

This only applies to owner occupier purchases.

“This is a significant next step in the ACT government’s ongoing tax reform program and reflects our commitment to improving housing affordability in the ACT,” reads part of the government flyer.

The stamp duty was a barrier to many people wishing to enter the housing market.

“….the next phase of the reform will be targeted at increasing the benefit most for people buying a lower value property to live in,” says the government revenue collecting arm.

Continues the statement: Whether you are looking to purchase your first home, wanting to upgrade or to downsize, continuing to reduce stamp duty will make it easier for Canberrans to purchase the home that is right for them.”

Canberra Hospital undergoing a huge face-lift

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The new home of Canberra Hospital 'Sexual Health Centre

By Sibanengi Dube

Canberra Hospital, the main referral health institution in ACT is undergoing a massive face lift.

The hospital expansion programme has seen the Sexual Health Centre being moved from its previous red brick building into number 8 block which is a new facility that also houses the clinical teaching and training department.

Old premises of Canberra Hospital’Sexual Health Centre are being turned into an Emergency Surgical and critical Healthcare facility. The area is now cordoned off for construction purposes

In a recent government newsletter, Our CBR, the hospital announced that the ongoing improvements at the hospital created hundred jobs.

“100 local jobs were supported during the project which will help Canberrans in need of assistance and provide valuable training facilities for nurses and doctors, reads part of the newsletter.

The new yellow building supports the relocation of services to make way for the construction of the Emergency, Surgical and Critical healthcare facility due for completion in 2024

Sport and Recreation Minister injects $35k into ACT playgrounds

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Minister Yvette Berry

A playground finder app and a new non-competitive orienteering course at Mulligans Flat Sanctuary are among the five projects receiving a share of $35,650 under the 2021 Nature Play Grants program.

In a statement, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Yvette Berry said the Playground Finder by Play Australia will encourage more kids to get outside and discover playgrounds near and far.

The grant will support the roll out of the newly redeveloped app and website to include all 519 playgrounds in the ACT. It includes photos, the features of the space and community feedback.

“Play Australia welcomes the support from ACT Government’s Nature Play Grants Program to help us develop Playground Finder in the ACT,” said Barb Champion, Executive Director of Play Australia.

“Playground Finder will help more ACT families discover the wonder of local playgrounds, which are essential outdoor spaces to encourage communities to connect and to improve active play outcomes for children,” she said.

According to Ms Berry, Orienteering at Wildbark will be a new way to explore and enjoy the Mulligans Flat Sanctuary in Gungahlin. The Nature Play Grant will support Capital Woodland and Wetlands Conservation Association’s inventive way to get the community active.

The Minister said this year’s recipients build on the success of last year’s round. As a result of a 2020 grant, the Walga Nature Preschool at Southern Cross Early Learning Centre created a permanent learning space amongst the trees so the children can spend the entire day learning and exploring outdoors.

The Nature Play Grants program supports Canberrans to use our great outdoor areas to get fit, play, go on adventures and socialise.

A full list of all the 2021 projects funded can be found on the Sport and Recreation website.

-Canberra Weekly

Traffic disruptions hit Canberra as Callam Street gets closed for good

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Minister of Transport, Chris Steel announced the permanent closure of part of Callam Street which will be turned into a pedestrian friendly space.

Construction has already taken off the ground to build a new on-street transport interchange on Callam Street. The new development will see the erection of a light rail stop in Woden and a bus layover facilities.

“Disruptive period of construction” will involve permanently closing Callam Street between Bradley Street and Matilda Street from mid-August to “create a pedestrian-friendly space between the town centre and Woden Town Park,” said Steel.

Apart from the 10,000m2 of passenger-friendly space, the project will come with seven more bus stops added to the area and a light rail station.

The first phase construction work includes building new bus layovers on Launceston and Easty Streets plus a driver amenity facilities, road improvements on Wilbow, Easty, Launceston and Callam Streets.

The development also will also introduce new traffic signals installed at the Bowes/Launceston, Callam/Launceston and Easty/Launceston intersections and a new pedestrian across the town centre.

NSW records 16 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, some caught breaching lockdown rules

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NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian

Authorities are warning people to “be open and honest” with contact tracers — even if they’ve breached lockdown rules — after NSW recorded 16 new local COVID-19 infections.

Key points:
  • Homes rather than public places are now the main source of infections 
  • Three new cases are linked to the Ocean Foods wholesaler in Marrickville
  • Health authorities are pleased 13 of 16 new cases were in isolation

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said most people were “doing the right thing” but contact tracers had discovered people flouting the rules.

“We just want people to know that we would much rather you tell us the truth without consequence, so that we can actually find all those potential cases,” the Premier said.

Ms Berejiklian said the next few days of the lockdown were “absolutely critical” to controlling the outbreak. 

The 16 new infections announced today is an improvement on the previous day’s total of 35.

“Whilst the numbers overnight are very encouraging compared to the previous day, we know that they still have a potential to bounce around, and we still know that the next few days are absolutely critical,” Ms Berejiklian said. 

She stressed people should only leave the house for exercise or “when you absolutely have to”.

“Please don’t go visiting each other because that’s how the virus spreads.”

Of the 16 new cases, 13 had been in isolation while infectious.

More than 45,000 people were tested in the 24 hours to 8:00 pm yesterday.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said 14 of the cases were linked to previously confirmed cases, with five of them household contacts.

Three were linked to the Great Ocean Foods seafood wholesaler in Marrickville, which Dr Chant described as a “significant spreading event”.

She added no new cases were acquired from overseas in the 24 hours to 8:00pm last night.

Dr Chant stressed the lower numbers could only be sustained if people observed the rules.

She acknowledged it was “a trying time for young adults who want to socialise with others” but she stressed the importance of people being honest if they had broken the rules. 

People are seen queued to receive their vaccination all are wearing face masks.
More than 43,000 people were tested for COVID-19 in the latest reporting period.(AAP: Mick Tsikas)

“When our contact tracers are going back and looping around and confirming … close contacts, we ask that you double-check that you haven’t had any breaches or any missteps.

“Again … we’ll be sad if you have, but please be open and honest with us.

“The consequences of not letting us know about a lapse are incredible at this sort of critical phase in our response … don’t redouble that mistake by not being very honest with us.”

Dr Chant assured people any information given to public health authorities would not be shared.

Play Video. Duration: 1 minute 19 seconds
NSW CHO issues plea to young people to be honest with contact tracers

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said public places such as hotels, clubs, pubs and restaurants had previously been the main sites of transmission, but this had now shifted to homes.

NSW COVID-19 exposure sites: A long list of Auburn shops and a cinema have all been added to the growing COVID-19 exposure sites list in NSW.

See the full list of venues here.Read more

“Right now the most dangerous place is actually our homes. Aussies tend 
to think of their home as their castle, but right now it can be COVID central.” he said.

He said the only reason people should visit someone in their home was if they needed care.

“But if you do have the need to go to someone’s home, it would be very wise for you to avoid kissing, cuddling, closeness, any proximity at all can mean that this virus can get you and spread it then to others when you leave that house.” 

New areas of concern include Auburn, where residents are encouraged to get tested after various venues of concern were identified.

Dr Chant also singled out the Commonwealth Bank at Roselands Shopping Centre in Sydney’s south west, warning anyone who had attended on June 28, 29 and 30 was a close contact and must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result.

Dr Chant said three residents of the Summit Care aged care facility in Baulkham Hills who tested positive to COVID-19 were a woman in her 80s, a man in his 80s, and a man in his 90s.

“Now, pleasingly, those three individuals were fully vaccinated but out of the abundance of caution, they have been offered transfer to Westmead Hospital for observation,” Dr Chant said.

She added no further residents had tested positive to the virus.

–abcnews

Brad Hazzard warns Australians against kissing and cuddling during lockdown

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NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard

New South Wales Health Minister has delivered a breathtaking and unusual warning against “kissing and cuddling” within homes as greater Sydney battles cabin fever during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Overnight, NSW recorded 16 new locally acquired cases of coronavirus with 13 of those in isolation for their infectious periods.

Greater Sydney is in its second week of stay-at-home order issued on Saturday, June 26.

However, concerns are mounting that residents are breaching the restrictions after Sydney’s beaches were seen packed with people over the weekend.

Mr Hazzard was also concerned Sydney residents were leaving their homes to visit friends and family, which is not allowed except for a variety of reasons.

That includes food shopping, work, exercise or to provide care to family members.

Visitors are not allowed to a home except for a number of provisions including helping a person to move or parental arrangements.

Mr Hazzard referenced cult classic Australian comedy The Castle in issuing a warning against visiting other residences.

“Right now the most dangerous place is actually our homes,” Mr Hazzard said on Sunday.

“Aussies tend to think of their home as their castle, but right now it can be Covid central.

“There is only one reason why you should be leaving your home at the present time, and that is caring for somebody who needs that care.

“If you do have the need to go to someone’s home, it would be very wise for you to avoid kissing, cuddling, closeness or any proximity at all could mean this virus can get you and spread it then to others when you leave that house.”

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has warned people against visiting others in their homes. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian Gilles

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has warned people against visiting others in their homes. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian GillesSource:News Corp Australia

–News.Com

Vaccinated Sydney aged care residents test positive for COVID19

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Kathie Melocco's parents, Allan and Lona, are residents at Summit Care. Her father tested positive for COVID-19.(Suppied and ABC News: Tim Swanston )

A Sydney aged care home is on high alert after three residents tested positive for COVID-19, despite being fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine.

There are reports a second nurse has tested positive at the Royal North Shore Hospital – causing three more wards to go into lockdown.

This comes after three residents at an aged care home in Sydney’s north-west have tested positive to COVID-19, after two staff tested positive.

Two of the three infected residents were transferred from Summit Care’s Baulkham Hills facility to Westmead Hospital as a precautionary measure on Saturday night.

New South Wales Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant says “it’s much too early to tell” whether COVID-19 has spread within two hospitals after a student nurse tested positive to the virus. Dr Chant said the 24-year-old female student “worked while…

In a statement, Summit Care said the residents were showing no symptoms and are “in good spirits”.

“All three residents, who are fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, were transferred to Westmead Hospital last night as a precautionary measure for their safety and wellbeing, and that of the other residents and staff,” the statement read.

“The residents are showing no symptoms and are in good spirits.”

National Cabinet’s decision to make the coronavirus vaccine mandatory for aged care workers has divided the industry. Lawyers say employers can lawfully prevent someone from working if they are not vaccinated. It comes as only a third of…

A Summit Care spokesperson said 96 per cent of the 149 residents have been vaccinated, so they’re “confident about the outcome”.

“The fact that the affected residents are showing no symptoms at this stage shows their early vaccinations have worked,” he said.

“We continue to work closely with the department and taking all of the necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of our residents and staff.

“We thank them and their families for their ongoing cooperation and support.”‘

–SkyNews

Mayhem’ as Sydney crowds defy lockdown advice to stay at home

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Crowds of people have been caught thronging outdoors in Sydney in defiance of lockdown pleas to stay at home, with one venue reporting scenes of “mayhem”.

People flocked to the skate park at Sydney Park during lockdown in large numbers on Saturday afternoon.

Crowds of people thronged outdoors in Sydney on Saturday, enjoying “lockdown” and ignoring pleas to stay at home as NSW struggles to contain the Covid-19 Delta strain spread.

At one venue, Sydney’s Centennial Park, a visitor told news.com.au it was “mayhem” with cars and crowds and that she had “never seen it so busy”.

Sydneysiders seemed to be at odds with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s advice earlier this week to “Please stay at home unless absolutely necessary”.

She hammered home that message again in her Saturday morning press conference announcing 35 new virus cases in NSW, noting that while “the weather is great”, caution was needed.

“ … if you do want relief from your home today, if you have been staying at home and doing the right thing, please avoid shopping centres or indoor areas,” she said today.

“And if you are exercising with people who are not from your household, please make sure you keep that social distance and where you can, if you want to get exercise, please avoid shopping centres or indoor areas.”

But at Centennial Park, where the park’s centre was closed off, people crowded around the edges and customers crammed into the cafe without masks while failing to observe social distancing rules.

“It was busier than the Easter Show,” one park visitor, identified as Natasha, told news.com.au.

“Cars were honking horns, we were getting pushed off the footpaths and on to the

“It was crazy. I’ve never seen it like that before, even on school sports days.”

At Bondi, which has had more than 70 “venues of concern” listed by NSW Health, including 20 on the “close contacts” list, maskless people strode the promenade by the beach.

People flocked to the skate park at Sydney Park during lockdown in large numbers on Saturday afternoon.

At Double Bay, a personal training group appeared to have done exactly what Premier Berejiklian warned against: “If you are outdoors exercising in a group of ten, make sure the ten doesn’t become 20”.

Elsewhere in Sydney, including at Flemington Markets, people crowded in to do their Saturday morning shopping, while a news.com.au reader reported that at Darling Square, “every outdoor table and bench is full”, and that Sydney Park was “packed like a normal Saturday”.

RELATED: Qld records 5 new local cases

People are seen walking the promenade at Bondi Beach on Saturday morning. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi

People are seen walking the promenade at Bondi Beach on Saturday morning. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De MarchiSource:News Corp Australia

Exercisers thronged to Centennial Park on Saturday morning where it was hard to get a parking space. Picture: NRS/CJS Media

Exercisers thronged to Centennial Park on Saturday morning where it was hard to get a parking space. Picture: NRS/CJS MediaSource:Supplied

One of half a dozen groups exercising in Redfern Park on Saturday morning. Picture: CJS Media

One of half a dozen groups exercising in Redfern Park on Saturday morning. Picture: CJS MediaSource:Supplied

On Twitter, some posters were calling the closures a “Clayton’s lockdown” or questioning why retail stores were still open and adding to the daily expansion of Covid-19 locations.

Locations at Bondi, North Bondi, Bondi Junction and Bondi Beach on the NSW Health list include 39 casual contact listings, six transmission venues of concern and several transport routes.

NSW Police have issued 78 infringement notices to people who have left home for unacceptable reasons, including tourists visiting the Jenolan Caves because they were “bored”.

On Friday, NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the exposure sites were “shifting”.

“The message is, please don’t go out and about shopping in retail, in any setting, if you have got symptoms,” she said.

“It also highlights the importance, as people are moving around in shopping centres, please do assume that you are next to someone who may have covid and ensure you are wearing a mask at all times.”

At Bondi, where more than 70 covid locations have been listed by NSW Health, walkers exercised by the beach. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi

At Bondi, where more than 70 covid locations have been listed by NSW Health, walkers exercised by the beach. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De MarchiSource:News Corp Australia

Groups in Redfern Park didn’t exceed ten each, but were in close quarters. Picture: CJS Media

Groups in Redfern Park didn’t exceed ten each, but were in close quarters. Picture: CJS MediaSource:Supplied

Centennial Park on Saturday morning was ‘busier than on a school sports day’, one user told news.com.au. Picture: NRS/CJS Media

Centennial Park on Saturday morning was ‘busier than on a school sports day’, one user told news.com.au. Picture: NRS/CJS MediaSource:Supplied

ACT government qualifies the mandatory wearing of masks

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Residents of Canberra were recently slapped with a compulsory putting on of masks in public places. The new development took the resident by surprise as they are not used to covering their mouths and faces.

Canberra Live publishes below a full statement on the ACT’s website detailing the rationale behind the Covid 19 preventative measures:

Face masks must be designed or made to be worn over the mouth and nose and should fit securely around your face to provide the wearer with protection against infection.

Use either single-use masks or reusable cloth masks. Scarves, bandannas, and face shields are not adequate substitutes for masks.

Single-use masks should be made with a non-woven, melt-blown polypropylene layer. They should not contain holes or valves. Always source single-use masks from reputable outlets such as chemists and supermarkets, and—as the name makes clear—only use each mask once. For each situation put on a new, clean mask.

Reusable cloth masks should have at least three layers of fabric to ensure adequate protection. Wash and dry reusable masks after use and store in a clean, dry place.

The NSW Government provides useful information about what kind of masks are suitable, where to get them and how to wear them.

When must I wear a face mask?

You must wear a fitted face covering at all times when:

  • On a public transport service or at a public transport waiting area, including
    • Taxi services
    • Rideshare services
    • Bus and light rail services
    • Community transport services
    • Stations or platforms for rail/bus/lightrail
    • Bus stops and taxi ranks (including any area where people queue or gather)
  • In indoor retail premises or business premises that provide goods or services to members of the public who attend the premises (other than a hospitality venue, health service or kiosk), including the following:
    • Supermarkets
    • Shopping centres (including food courts)
    • Bank branches
    • Post offices
    • Pharmacies
    • Hairdressing salons
    • Nail salons
    • Beauty salons (removal of the face covering is permitted if necessary for the proper provision of the goods and services)
    • Tanning salons
    • Waxing salons
    • Spas
    • Tattoo parlours
    • Massage parlours
    • Betting agencies
    • Community centres, youth centres or facilities
    • Auction houses
    • Real estate auctions / display homes / open homes
    • Galleries / museums / national institutions
  • In any indoor part of premises licensed under the Liquor Act that is used primarily for the purposes of gaming, including a gaming lounge
  • In indoor entertainment facilities including
    • Cinemas or movie theatres
    • Events and event performances
  • In indoor premises being used for public worship or religious services, including places of worship
  • Visiting or working within residential aged care facilities. (Note: residents of an aged care facility are exempt.)
  • Working at a hospitality venue in the ACT in a role which requires you to deal directly with members of the public. This includes
    • casinos
    • food and drink premises
    • micro-breweries and small distilleries
    • pubs
    • registered clubs
    • small bars
  • Dropping off and picking up children from childcare/after school care

Requirements do not apply to individuals who are working on a premises outlined above if the person does not interact directly with members of the public. This does not include persons working at residential aged care facilities.

Under a Public Health Direction effective from 11.59pm on Friday 22 January 2021, face masks are mandatory inside the Canberra Airport terminal and during domestic commercial flights in and out of Canberra.

Hospitality venues

The Public Health Direction requires a person that is working at a hospitality venues to wear a mask where that person is dealing directly with members of the public.  Owners of these venues must ensure that staff are complying with this requirement.

Under the Public Health Direction, patrons are not required to wear a mask when in a hospitality venue. This aligns with requirements currently in place in regional NSW.

However ACT Health recommends that patrons consider wearing a mask when they are moving within a venue, for example if they are ordering at a counter, using the bathrooms, or standing in an area whilst waiting for take away.  There is no need to wear a mask when seated. This also aligns with the regional NSW advice.

Gyms and sport

When visiting a gym, we ask that you keep your mask on when entering the facility, waiting for classes and in other common areas. You can remove it to do your workout and put it back on afterwards.

When attending indoor sports, participants and referees are required to wear masks before and after games as well as in common areas. Participants and referees are not required to wear masks while competing. Spectators and coaches are required to wear masks at all times when they are inside.

When attending outdoor sports, spectators are not required to wear masks.

Dance classes

When attending dance classes, anyone over the age of 12 years is asked to wear a mask when entering the venue, waiting for classes or while in other common areas. Masks can be removed when participating in the dance class, but it must be put back on afterwards.

Dance instructors can remove their mask whilst instructing a class, but should wear a mask before and after each class.

Spectators and anyone that may be waiting in a dance venue should wear a mask at all times while they are inside.

When can I remove my face mask?

You can remove a fitted face covering when

  • You are eating or drinking
  • You are communicating with another person who is deaf or hard of hearing
  • You are at work and the nature of your work makes the wearing of a fitted face covering a risk to your health and safety or another person’s health and safety
  • Clear enunciation or visibility of the person’s mouth is essential
  • In an emergency
  • Removal of the covering is necessary for the proper provision of the goods and services, for instance if a hairdresser or beautician needs their client to remove their mask to deliver a service
  • Exercising, including in a gym
  • Participating in sport
  • Working in child or after school care holiday programs
  • Working in an office environment, unless you work in a customer service role where you are regularly interacting with the public.

Who does NOT need to wear a face mask?

Face mask requirements do not apply to:

  • Persons aged 12 years or under,
  • A person with a physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability that makes wearing a fitted face covering unsuitable including for example a skin condition, an intellectual disability, autism or trauma.

Are there any exceptions to wearing a face mask?

Please remember not everyone can wear a mask safely, including some people with a disability.

If you can wear a mask, you should.

If you can’t, don’t panic.

Even in places where wearing face masks is mandatory, there are exceptions or lawful reasons not to wear one.

In some situations, wearing a face mask will not be appropriate for people with some disabilities, physical or mental health conditions.

If you have a condition that prevents you from wearing a mask, you may wish to ask your registered health practitioner or disability care provider to issue a letter confirming this, next time you are in contact with them. Although this is not a requirement under the public health order.

Are there penalties for not wearing a face mask?

The maximum penalty you may face for not wearing a face mask is $8,000.

How do I properly wear a face mask?

The NSW Government has a step-by-step guide on how to put on, wear and dispose of a face mask.

Here are some handy tips for wearing a mask:

  • Wash or sanitise your hands before putting on or taking off your mask
  • Ensure the mask covers your nose and mouth and fits snugly under your chin, over the bridge of your nose and against the sides of your face
  • Refrain from touching the front of your mask while wearing or removing it
  • Do not allow the mask to hang around your neck or under your nose
  • Do not reuse single-use masks, for each situation put on a new, clean mask
  • Carry clean masks in a paper or zip-lock bag
  • Wash and dry reusable masks after use and store in a clean, dry place
  • You may use a single-use mask continuously for up to 4 hours, as long as it does not become moist, soiled or damaged. Do not store and reuse single-use masks
  • If your single-use or cloth mask gets soiled or damp, replace it with a new one.

Masks are just one line of defence against COVID-19 and are not a substitute for other precautions. Continue physical distancinghand and respiratory hygiene, staying at home if you are unwell, and getting tested if you have symptoms.

–ACT Government website

ACT Book of the Year 2020: Canberra’s literary variety recognised in long-awaited shortlist

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John Clanchy, two-time winner of the ACT Book of the Year, whose latest novel has made the 2020 shortlist. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

From a glimmer of love through the darkness of war to the irrepressible bond between twins, via a history of an Australian rat under European colonisation, the shortlist for the ACT’s most prominent writing prize shows the breadth of work from the region.

The long-awaited shortlist for the 2020 ACT Book of the Year has been released, after the award was delayed due to the pandemic.

Two-time Book of the Year winner John Clanchy’s In Whom We Trust, an historical novel that tells the story of a priest and those he looks out for in a Melbourne orphanage before the First World War, makes the list.

Lisa Fuller‘s Ghost Bird, a young adult novel which won the 2017 David Unaipon award for unpublished Indigenous writers, is also included. Fuller, a Murri woman from Queensland, lives and works in Canberra.ADVERTISING

The shortlist also includes Nigel Featherstone’s Bodies of Men, a novel which explores themes of masculinity, bravery and courage in the Second World War.

Nigel Featherstone's novel Bodies of Men has been shortlisted. Picture: Jamila Toderas

 Nigel Featherstone’s novel Bodies of Men has been shortlisted. Picture: Jamila Toderas

Featherstone said it was exciting to be included on the shortlist, which extended the life of books which had been published before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To have your own creative region say, ‘you know, we think this book has merit’ does mean a lot, I think,” Featherstone said.

Featherstone said the ACT Book of the Year was a unique opportunity for writers to hear from their peers in the quiet period after a book has been published.

“I think one of the things is that we write these books and they’re published, and then there’s this silence where nothing happens. You spent six years getting 80,000 words in the right order, and then nothing happens,” he said.

An event will be held later this month to announce the winner of the $10,000 award.

Arts Minister Tara Cheyne said the award aimed to support the development of ACT-based writers and to contribute towards the territory’s positive writing culture.

“The award recognises quality contemporary literary works by ACT-based authors in the previous calendar year, with prizes of $10,000 for the winner, $2000 for any highly commended book and $1000 for each shortlisted book,” Ms Cheyne said.

Nominations for the 2021 Book of the Year award are open until Monday, August 2.

2020 ACT Book of the Year award shortlist

  • Acting Like a Girl by Sandra Renew (Recent Work Press)
  • Bodies of Men by Nigel Featherstone (Hachette Australia)
  • Ghost Bird by Lisa Fuller (University of Queensland Press)
  • In Whom We Trust by John Clanchy (Finlay Lloyd)
  • The Enchantment of the Long-haired Rat by Tim Bonyhady (Text Publishing)

–Canberra Times

NSW cafe owners arrested over mask refusal

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Show-cause notices are steps that police are willing to take, Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys says.

 Show-cause notices are steps that police are willing to take, Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys says.

Police have issued another set of charges against the owners of a cafe in Bowral, in the NSW Southern Highlands, for breaching COVID rules.

Police say about 20 people, including staff, at The Organic Food Store were not wearing face masks inside on Saturday at lunchtime.

It’s alleged that when officers asked them to wear masks, the employees “expressed they had no intention of complying.”

Officers then arrested two women aged 62 and 43, who will face court charged with breaching public heath directions.ADVERTISING

The women were also arrested on Thursday and charged with similar offences.

A 63-year-old man was also charged on Thursday with assaulting and resisting a police officer, inciting others to resist a police officer, and failing to comply with a direction prohibiting spitting and coughing.

Meanwhile, authorities are on the verge of ordering the closure of another regional NSW cafe that has repeatedly violated COVID-19 rules.

The cafe at Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains have been issued a show-cause notice, forcing the two owners to justify why it should not be closed.

“That’s the escalation of events that both police and (NSW) Health are prepared to take,” Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said on Saturday.

The owners, a 32-year-old woman and 33-year-old man, were arrested and charged on Wednesday for failing to wear masks.

They were released on conditional bail, but police found the cafe’s patrons on Friday again wearing no masks.

There was no QR code or sign-in sheet to facilitate check-ins.

Meanwhile, 48 people were fined in NSW on Friday for failing to wear a mask, while 30 others received infringement notices for other COVID-19 breaches.

Among them were two young men from Sydney’s west who tried to go on a tour of Jenolan Caves on Friday afternoon.

Police say they told the officers who stopped them that they travelled there because they were bored.

Each received a $1000 fine and were told to return to Sydney.

“It is quite clear now that people will report this sort of behaviour to police and we will take interest,” the deputy commissioner said.

Australian Associated Press

NSW records 35 new COVID-19 cases

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NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian

NSW has recorded 35 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases as Sydney reaches the halfway point of its 14-day lockdown.

It’s the highest number of daily cases since the first wave of COVID-19 in early 2020, but Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was pleasing that most of the cases were isolated throughout their infectious period.

“Whilst as predicted the number of cases are going up, we’re seeing a greater proportion of those cases in isolation which is exactly what we want to see,” Ms Berejiklian said on Saturday.

“The green shoots are there. The green shoots of the lockdown doing what we hoped it would are there.”

The new cases take the outbreak tally to 261.

Twenty-three of the new cases were in isolation through their infectious period. Three were in isolation for part of their infectious periods. Nine were infectious in the community.

The numbers come after NSW Health identified 35 possible exposure sites on Friday evening.

Anyone who attended Exquisite Brows and Spa in the Marrickville Metro between 9am and 5pm last Saturday is a close contact and must isolate for 14 days. A Strathfield medical practice, the Manly Novotel and the Eastlakes Woolworths are also close contact venues.

Further alerts have been issued for venues in Burwood, Auburn, Homebush, Strathfield, Eastern Creek, Roselands, Villawood and Lakemba in Sydney’s inner west and west; Bondi Beach and Bondi Junction in the east; Eastlakes, Matraville, Oatley, Caringbah, Kirrawee, Rockdale and South Hurstville in the south and southeast; and Avalon in the northern beaches.

Two legs of the 400 bus route last Thursday have also been identified as COVID risks. The full details are on the NSW Health website.

Ms Berejiklian warned on Friday that the next few days were “critical” and that authorities wanted to see a rise in the proportion of new cases already in isolation.

“Come early next week we do want to see that tide turned,” she said.

Meanwhile, NSW has lifted stay-at-home orders for travellers from Western Australia, the Northern Territory and parts of Queensland as those states and territories have eased their own lockdowns.

However, visitors from Brisbane and Moreton Bay must remain at home, as must anyone in the Greater Sydney area.

The lockdown for Greater Sydney and surrounds is due to end on July 9.

-Australian Associated Press

Boris Johnson overstates Australia’s climate ambition

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison

By Michelle Grattan 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been under strong pressure from both UK PM Boris Johnson and United States President Joe Biden to embrace the 2050 target. But he has so far not done so, despite edging towards it, writes political columnist MICHELLE GRATTAN.

BRITISH Prime Minister Boris Johnson put Scott Morrison on the spot when he told their joint news conference he thought the Australian PM had “declared for net zero by 2050”.

Michelle Grattan

When Johnson made the statement a journalist interjected to point out Morrison’s policy was to get to net zero “preferably” by 2050.

Johnson pressed on to say this was “a great step forward when you consider[…] the situation Australia is in. It’s a massive coal producer. It’s having to change the way things are orientated, and everybody understands that.

“You can do it fast. In 2012 this country had 40 per cent of its power from coal. It’s now less than 2 per cent, going down the whole time. […] I’m impressed by the ambition of Australia. Obviously we’re going to be looking for more the whole time, as we go into COP26 in November.”

The net zero moment came as the two stood together to announce they had reached an in-principle agreement on a free trade deal between Britain and Australia – the first such deal the United Kingdom has done post Brexit.

Johnson had been asked whether he wanted Australia to go beyond its present 2030 emissions reduction target.

Morrison has been under strong pressure from both Johnson and United States President Joe Biden to embrace the 2050 target. But he has so far not done so, despite edging towards it. His position is to get to net zero “as soon as possible, preferably by 2050.”

Formally embracing the target would threaten a fight within the Nationals that could destabilise the party’s leader Michael McCormack.

Nationals Senate leader Bridget McKenzie warned this week:

“There is no agreement with the second party of this Coalition government on any target date for zero emissions. In fact it would fly in the face of the Nationals public policy commitment.”

The free trade agreement, which still has details to be finalised, would reduce barriers on the mobility of workers between the two countries as well on trade in goods and services.

The deal would promote more exchange of young people, allowing them to stay and work in each country for three years instead of two. This arrangement would apply to people up to age 35 rather than 30, as at present.

The federal government says Australian producers and farmers would “receive a significant boost by getting greater access to the UK market” while Australian consumers would “benefit from cheaper products, with all tariffs eliminated within five years, and tariffs on cars, whisky, and the UK’s other main exports eliminated immediately” the agreement started.

Australia would within five years place less onerous conditions on British backpackers, who presently have to spend a set time working in agriculture, or other sectors of labour shortage in regional Australia, to get an extension of their visa.

A separate agriculture visa would be established for UK and Australian visa holders, to get more two way traffic (for example, of shearers) in the agricultural sector.

Over 10 to 15 years the UK would liberalise Australian imports of beef and sheep meat, with shorter periods for sugar and dairy products.

The agricultural sectors in both Britain and Australia expressed concerns when the agreement was being negotiated. In Australia farmers have been worried about the possibility of losing labour if the conditions on backpackers were scrapped.

Johnson said the deal would be good for British car manufacturers and the export of British financial and other services, and he hoped for the agricultural sectors on both sides.

On agriculture “we’ve had to negotiate very hard. […] This is a sensitive sector for both sides, and we’ve got a deal that runs over 15 years and contains the strongest possible provisions for animal welfare.”

The removal of the farm work requirement would make it easier for British people and young people to go and work in Australia, he said.

Morrison said the deal would open the pathway to Britain’s entry into the The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

He also indicated it was “enormously helpful” in the context of the difficulties with China. “Where you have challenges with one trading partner from time to time, then the ability to be able to diversify your trade into more and more countries is incredibly important.”

Morrison and Johnson discussed the final points of the agreement in principle over a dinner meeting at 10 Downing Street. Their talks also included climate change.

Michelle Grattan is a professorial fellow at the University of Canberra. This article was originally published on The Conversation

‘I thought I was going to die’: Schoolboy describes surviving shark attack while out snorkelling

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A 10-year-old boy has described how a shark launched at him three times while he was snorkelling, leaving him with two deep gashes to his foot.Jackson Bartlett was snorkelling with his dad at Five Finger Reef, near Coral Bay, in Western Australia on Friday morning when a shadow followed him in the water.”It went for me, missed,” Jackson told 9News from his hospital bed.

Jackson was snorkelling with his father when he was attacked.
Jackson was snorkelling with his father when he was attacked. (Nine)

“Then went for me, got one of my flippers, then went for me and got a flipper and my leg.”The 2-metre bronze whaler left two nasty gashes in the schoolboy’s foot, slicing it from his ankle to his toes.”I was bleeding at (that) moment … I thought I was going to die because it was really scary,” he said.Jackon’s father, Blake Bartlett, told 9News he felt as though he was running on water as he rushed his injured son back to shore.

Jackon's father, Blake Bartlett, says it felt like he was running on water attempting to get his son to shore after the attack.
Jackon’s father, Blake Bartlett, says it felt like he was running on water attempting to get his son to shore after the attack. (Nine)

“We were out probably 75 metres, so it was a long way, and felt like a lifetime,” Mr Bartlett said.Off-duty doctors at the beach gave Jackson first aid before he was airlifted to Perth Children’s Hospital.”Since it bit me, I wanted to take one of its teeth so I could remember it,” Jackson said.”I still like sharks. But I just don’t want to swim too close to big ones like that.

The scar on Jackson Bartlett's foot after the shark attack.
The scar on Jackson’s foot after the shark attack. (Nine)

“I want to go back surfing. I just love the ocean.”Jackson is expected to be discharged from hospital tomorrow.The Bartletts have been travelling around Australia for the past nine months.It is expected Jackson and his family will fly back home to Sydney this week where he will spend time recovering, before they head back to WA to resume their travels.

–9News

Gandaroo traffic jam looming as construction kick off

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Heavy equipped parked near Crace. ready to widen Gandaroo road

Motorists plying along Gandaroo will be suffering traffic inconveniences soon due to road upgrades that are scheduled to start soon.

The busy road which connects Gaungalin and Belconnen is being widened to accommodate the rising traffic volume.

Heavy construction equipment has already been stationed next to Crace suburb.

Public notices about the commencement of construction are already flicking by the road sides.

Canberra residents are flocking to get their Covid 19 vaccines

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Deepali Joshi who got her first jab today encourages all Canberra residents to get their Covid 19 jabs

By Sibanengi Dube

The Garran Surge Covid 19 Centre in Canberra is administering more than 1000 jabs everyday as ACT residents take heed to the government’s call to get the Coronavirus vaccine.

Canberra Live visited the mass vaccination clinic today to get a feel of what is happening at the life serving facility. Enthusiastic and friendly staff members of the clinic were orderly and timeously serving the people. People were served within a turn around period of 25 minutes including the 15 minutes observation period. There were no queues when this paper turned up at the facility which is premised adjacent to Canberra Hospital. People were just moving from the parking lot straight to the serving rooms.

A staff member at the Centre told Canberra Live that 100 people were passing through their gates every hour on a busy day.

“We see 100 people every hour on a busy day and around 50 when we are not busy,” said the staff member who preferred anonymity.

Scores of Canberra residents who thronged the facility on Friday expressed excitement over the opportunity to received a the jab.

Deepali Joshi who was interviewed soon after taking her first jab said a feeling of safety gripped her soon after taking the vaccine.

Deepali Joshi outside Gerran Surge Covid 19 Clinic

“I am definitely feeling safe now. I will drink a lot of water to stabilise myself,” said Joshi.

Joshi said most of his colleagues, friends and family members have already been jabbed adding that she was the only one left out.

“So this explains why I made sure that I get mine today,” added Joshi.

The same sentiments were expressed by Julie King who was interviewed as she prepares herself from the parking lot to receive her second jab.

“I feel fortified already. Today I am taking my last dose. I encourage everyone to get their Covid 19 vaccines,” said King.

King told Canberra Live that she was ready to travel to UK to visit her family members.

Julie’son, Daniel King who was visibly excited to get his Pfizer jab said he felt “royal.”

Julie King flanked by her sons Daniel and Williams just before getting their second jabs

“I feel royal,” said Daniel is a clear display of his good sense of humour. His brother William was in smiles while waiting for his turn to get the jab.

CanberraLive Deputy Editor, Sibanengi Dube taking a Covid 19 jab

All people in phase 1a, 1b, people aged 40 years and over, plus Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aged 16 years and over are being vaccinated. Pfizer is the preferred Vaccine for the under 50 while AstraZeneca is for the over the 50. AstraZeneca vaccine made headlines after a few incidents of blood clotting.

COVID-19 vaccinations are being offered in the ACT at

Australia not desperate to seal an agriculture free trade deal with UK

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Australia’s trade minister Dan Tehan is in daily talks with his British counterpart, Liz Truss, in the race to reach the outlines of a deal by early next week. Composite: AAP, Reuter

Trade minister Dan Tehan hopes to reach an agreement in six days but says there are outstanding issues amid a pushback from British farmers

Australia’s trade minister has signalled he is prepared to walk away from a free trade agreement with the UK if Australian agricultural exporters are not granted sufficient access to the British market.

Dan Tehan is in daily talks with his British counterpart, Liz Truss, in the race to reach the outlines of a deal by early next week, but the farming sector in the UK has been pushing back at the possibility of quickly granting tariff-free access for Australian red meat.

Both sides are hoping to strike an in-principle agreement by the time the Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, meets with Boris Johnson in London on Tuesday next week.

Morrison will first attend the G7 summit in Cornwall, England, as one of four non-G7 leaders invited to the gathering of wealthy developed countries, where leaders are expected to focus on Covid recovery, the climate crisis and security.

Tehan said on Wednesday he was still hoping to reach an agreement in six days but there were outstanding issues “that we’re still seeking to resolve”.Advertisement

He spoke with Truss for about 90 minutes on Tuesday night and the pair was due to have another call on Wednesday night – but has publicly indicated that a deal should not be taken for granted.

“I’m confident that we will get there – but in the end, if the ultimate agreement isn’t in our national interest, then obviously we won’t be signing up to it,” Tehan said in an interview with Sky News Australia.

Tehan said Australia wanted to “offer British consumers the choice of being able to get access to more of our beef, more of our lamb – and we know that British consumers do want to get access to more of our beef and more of our lamb”.

“So, what we’re looking to do is to enable more of our agricultural produce to access the UK market,” he said.

Tehan implied the British agricultural sector had nothing to fear from the deal, saying Australia’s process of opening up its economy had led Australian farmers to become “much more competitive” and “globally focused”.

Further comment was sought from Tehan.

Observers believe the UK is desperate to clinch its first post-Brexit free trade agreement whereas Australia – which has struck a range of FTAs over the past decade – is in less of a hurry.

Previously the UK could rely on the European Union’s specialist negotiators to handle detailed talks on proposed FTAs on behalf of the entire bloc.A clause in the UK-Australia trade deal could let companies sue governments. We have been here beforePatricia RanaldRead more

The negotiations have been characterised by some unorthodox tactics, with allies of Truss telling a newspaper in April that Tehan was inexperienced and that the UK trade secretary “plans to sit him down in the Locarno Room [in the Foreign Office] in an uncomfortable chair, so he has to deal with her directly for nine hours”.

The British high commissioner, Vicki Treadell, said last week she wanted to “manage expectations” about the free trade agreement with Australia, even as both sides were negotiating “at record speed”.

In a briefing which included Guardian Australia, Treadell said both sides were working hard to reach an agreement in-principle but this “just sets out the framework of what we want to achieve” and it was unlikely to come into effect until next year.

Asked about concerns raised by the British farming sector, Treadell said the Australian government’s priorities for the deal included tariff-free access for its agricultural exports and it was “clearly an ongoing negotiation” about how that might be phased in.

She said there was “work to be done with our agricultural sector in the UK, to sell them the opportunity end of this because it’s two-way”.

Morrison leaves Australia late on Wednesday to attend the G7. The theme of this year’s British-hosted G7 summit is building back better from the coronavirus and creating “a greener, more prosperous future”.

Johnson has invited Australia, India, South Korea and South Africa as guest countries.

Before travelling to Cornwall, Morrison will first visit Singapore to discuss regional security issues and a potential travel bubble between the two countries.

After the G7, Morrison will go to London for a two-day program with Johnson, and then on to Paris for trade and defence talks with the French president, Emmanuel Macron.

–The Guardian

Melbourne will crawl out of lockdown tomorrow

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Victoria Acting Premier, James Merlino

Melbourne will take its first small steps out of lockdown on Friday, as the Victorian government resists calls from business for a “snapback” to an open economy sooner.

The city’s lockdown will end at 11:59pm on Thursday and Melburnians will be able to leave their house more freely, but must remain within a 25-kilometre radius of their home.

Outdoor gatherings will be allowed with up to 10 people but home visits will remain barred.

While limited indoor dining will return at restaurants, gyms and other indoor sports settings will remain closed for at least another week.

The announcement about easing restrictions came as Victoria recorded one new locally acquired COVID-19 case on Tuesday.LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemicVictoria’s COVID restrictions from FridayMelbourne’s lockdown is about to end, but there still differences in restrictions between the city and the regions. Here are all the new restrictions from Friday.Read more

Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley said the case was directly linked to Stratton Finance at Port Melbourne, and the person had been quarantining during their infectious period.

The new case was detected among 28,485 test results on Tuesday, as 19,533 vaccination doses were administered at state-run hubs.

Acting Premier James Merlino said the plan was to further ease restrictions again from 11:59pm on Thursday, June 17, and end the metro-regional divide.

“This is a good day, everyone should be absolutely proud of what we’ve all achieved together,” he said.

“But we know that this isn’t over yet and until we have widespread vaccination across Victoria and across our country, the virus will still be with us.

“Subject to the public health advice, the epidemiological conditions through the next week, we expect next Thursday night, the regional-metro divisions will come down and we’ll be able to travel more freely around the state again.”

News of the change in restrictions came as a Victorian woman, who travelled from Melbourne to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, tested positive for COVID-19.

The woman left Victoria while the lockdown was in place.Your handy 25-kilometre radius calculator for after Melbourne’s lockdownMelburnians are set to move to a 25-kilometre travel bubble around their home as lockdown restrictions ease from Friday. Here’s how far that will get you.Read more

Among the other announcements today, there will be a further $8.3 million in business grants to help those sectors which are not yet allowed to reopen, including gyms, dance studios and amusement parks.

The government will also make QR check-in compulsory at all workplaces “with very limited exceptions”.

“Previously, it’s only been mandatory for customer-facing businesses, but through this outbreak we have seen a number of cases occur in office settings so we want to take the next step on this,” Mr Merlino said.

The mandatory workplace QR check-in is expected to be introduced from Thursday next week.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said it was important to get back to zero cases.https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/OsyIq/5/?abcnewsembedheight=400

“This started with one case in Wollert that has led to almost 100 cases over a period of a few weeks,” he said.

“So we absolutely have to drive back down to zero. That’s been the national strategy for a reason. It’s what allows our travel bubble, it’s what allows our internal borders to be open again.”

Business community complains Victoria is ‘crawling out’ of lockdown

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s chief executive Paul Guerra said while eased restrictions were welcome, it was “not the snapback we were hoping for”.

“We went fast in [to lockdown], but we are crawling out,” he said.

“While most businesses across the state can now open, we need to see further easing of restrictions to enable all businesses to get back to viable trade as soon as possible to keep jobs, businesses, livelihoods, culture and prosperity alive in Victoria.”

Chairs leaning up against a table at an outdoor cafe.
Shutting down Melbourne turns off the tap on the visitor economy, Ms Mariani says.(ABC News: Patrick Rocca)

The chief executive of the Victorian Tourism Industry Council, Felicia Mariani, said the 25-kilometre travel bubble set to be imposed on Melburnians would be another blow to businesses in regional Victoria.

“For regional travel, 80 per cent of the visitation to our regional areas actually comes from people living in the Greater Melbourne area,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne.

“From a tourism point of view, when you shut down Greater Melbourne you really turn off the tap for the visitor economy in the whole state.”

Professor Sutton said while an absence of mystery cases in recent days was a good sign, Victoria’s outbreak remained “reasonably volatile”.

“The idea of a snapback to absolutely no restrictions whatsoever, no one’s done that after significant community transmission,” he said.

“So we have to move, by increments, safely, but with the minimum restrictions that we know will continue to control this.”

Lifting restrictions the right move, expert says

La Trobe University epidemiologist Hassan Vally said barring any surprises in daily case numbers, lifting restrictions was the right call.

“And unless there’s a spanner in the works, I think the health authorities should feel very confident about relaxing restrictions,” he said.https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/lO0rp/5/?abcnewsembedheight=400

It’s the fourth lockdown for the state, and so the fourth time a path to eased restrictions is being plotted.

“The standard playbook is to relax restrictions in a very cautious way,” Dr Vally said.

After the five-day snap lockdown in February, schools reopened, workplaces returned to 50 per cent capacity and gathering caps were slightly lifted.

It took until a month later for the state to move to the fully “COVID-normal” settings.

Investigations continue into Delta outbreak

Health authorities have not yet determined how the Delta strain of the virus moved from a man in hotel quarantine into the community.

Woman wearing mask.
Melburnians will be allowed to gather outdoors in groups of up to 10.(Getty Images: Daniel Pockett/Stringer)

Genomic testing had traced the outbreak to a man who arrived in Melbourne from Sri Lanka in May, but Professor Sutton said no breaches of quarantine protocol had been identified.

“But something’s happened and we need to try and get to that as much as possible, not just to see if there are close contacts that we need to run down now, but for any lessons around finding those gaps and those tiny improvements that might be made into the future,” he said.

Responding to a question about the number of hotel quarantine breaches in Victoria, compared to other jurisdictions, Professor Sutton said hotel quarantine was “not a perfect system”.

“It is still probably the most powerful and positive public health intervention that Australia could have made back in March last year,” he said.

“It has gotten us to that state of community transmission that has made a world of difference on the global scale in terms of how we’ve managed to open up in Australia and how we’ve managed to protect so many Australians from long COVID, from dying.”

There are more than 1,100 primary close contacts linked to the West Melbourne cluster of cases, which involves the Delta variant.

–ABC News

George Williams officially released by Raiders

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George Williams now officially released from Canberra Raiders

The Canberra Raiders can confirm that George Williams has been officially released by the club.

Williams finishes his career with the Raiders playing 32 matches since making his club debut at the beginning of the 2020 season.

The Raiders would like to wish George all the best for the future.

Family thanks Canberra firefighters after saving toddler 17 years ago

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First responders Justin Morrison and Joe Box with Jewel East, 17 years after they rescued her after her mother, Elissa East, accidentally drove her car into their house. Picture: Elesa Kurtz. Inset, Jewel after the accident.
Nearly two decades after Canberra teenager Jewel East was injured after her mother accidentally drove a car into their home, the family has thanked the first responders whose life-saving skills meant Jewel, a toddler at the time, could continue telling her story today.

On Tuesday, the family paid tribute to the firefighters for their heroics in July 2004 when they were first on scene at MacArthur.

Jewel’s mother, Elissa East, said the incident had “affected our family a great deal” and that she needed counselling over the years.

“We talked about it over the years and always talked about firefighters and how they were first on the scene,” Mrs East said.

“Every time I see firefighters, I feel a huge debt of gratitude.”
Jewel East during her recovery.+3Pictures: Supplied

Mrs East said she had always wanted to thank them but never knew how to arrange it until recently after speaking to a friend.

In thanking the firefighters – Justin Morrison, Joe Box and Paul Owens – Mrs East said they made it possible to have Jewel to remain in their lives.

“She’s very lucky to be alive,” she said.

“Another 5-10 minutes later and if the firefighters weren’t there at the time, who knows what the outcome would’ve been.”

As for Jewel, she has no memory of the incident but said she thanked the firefighters, ambulance and other emergency services who helped her recovery.

“If they hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have anything to remember because I wouldn’t be here,” the 17-year-old said.

Jewel said the incident left a lasting impact on her mother who still struggled to be in a car.

First responders Justin Morrison and Joe Box with Jewel East, 17 years after they rescued her after her mother, Elissa East, accidently drove her car into their house. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

 First responders Justin Morrison and Joe Box with Jewel East, 17 years after they rescued her after her mother, Elissa East, accidently drove her car into their house. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

Her father, Adam East, who was not home at the time of the incident, left with Jewel in an ambulance to hospital.

Mr East said the family was “extremely grateful” and had a “swell of gratitude” for all first responders because they deal with high-pressured and stressful environments every day.

Justin Morrison, one of three firefighters at the scene in 2004 and Chisholm Fire Station officer, said it was fortunate they were based only around the corner.

“When we turned up, we saw a car through a wall and didn’t think it was going to end too well,” he said.

Mr Morrison said hearing the cries of Jewel meant a sigh of relief as it meant she was breathing. Once they saved Jewel and removed her from danger, they also checked on Elissa’s welfare.

“Like any job, we have a process to follow. We identify hazards and deal with them, then work out who was where and the risks of structural collapse as well,” he said.

“We appreciate the family coming out … as we don’t always know what happens to families after an incident. We take comfort in the fact that we’ve done the best in helping someone.”

Similarly, fellow rescuer Joe Box, now senior firefighter at the station, said first responders “love what we do”.

“Some jobs are worse than others, but as it turns out, it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. It all ended well,” he said.

“I suppose we’re the ones trying to be calm in those situations.

“It’s a great outcome and it’s great to meet these people. We thank them as well.”

The coming together of the family and the firefighters who helped saved Jewel’s life comes one day before Thank a First Responder Day on Wednesday.

The initiative aims to help reconnect emergency services personnel with those they have helped as part of wellbeing activities and counselling services.

–Canberra Times

Damaging storm hits Canberra as cold front sets in

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A huge pine tree lays on top of power lines in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a powerful storm which crashed into the Eastern USA.

A severe weather warning has been issued for damaging winds in Canberra, as heavy storms head for the capital as part of a cold front that is driving down temperatures across the east coast.

There’s also a chance that same cold front could bring snow to the region from about 7am Wednesday, although it is unlikely to be enough to fall on the ground in the suburbs.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued the warning at 4.31pm Tuesday, saying a line of thunderstorms was tracking east and “likely to produce damaging winds in the warning area over the next several hours”.

Meteorologist Melody Sturm said the city could expect about 6mm or 7mm on Tuesday evening.

“This snow is due to a cold front moving through the state and is connected to a low pressure system through our south, more so close to Tasmania. It will move through west to east from the cold front and pass over Canberra,” Ms Sturm said.

Earlier, the bureau tipped snowfall for elevated areas of the ACT such as Mount Ginini and the Brindabellas.

Wednesday is expected to be particularly cold, with the bureau tipping a top of just seven degrees. It says we will have a near 100 per cent chance of rain, with up to 8mm expected to fall and snow falling above 600 metres. There’s also the chance of another thunderstorm.

It says there is the chance of snow falling above 600 metres on Wednesday and Thursday, suggesting some of Canberra’s mountains could get a dusting. Mount Ainslie is 842m and Black Mountain is 812m, for example.

Ahead of the storm warning, the State Emergency Service advises that people should:

  • Move your car under cover or away from trees.
  • Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony.
  • Keep at least 8 metres away from fallen power lines or objects that may be energised, such as fences.
  • Report fallen power lines to either Ausgrid (131 388), Endeavour Energy (131 003), Essential Energy (132 080) or Evoenergy (131 093) as shown on your power bill.
  • Trees that have been damaged by fire are likely to be more unstable and more likely to fall.
  • Unplug computers and appliances.
  • Avoid using the phone during the storm.
  • Stay indoors away from windows, and keep children and pets indoors as well.
  • Stay vigilant and monitor conditions. Note that the landscape may have changed following bushfires.
  • For emergency help in floods and storms, ring the SES (NSW and ACT) on 132 500.
A screen shot from the Bureau of Meteorology of the storm heading for Canberra.

 A screen shot from the Bureau of Meteorology of the storm heading for Canberra.

NRL Team List: Raiders v Broncos

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The Canberra Raiders have named their squad for Saturday night’s match against the Brisbane Broncos at GIO Stadium.

Josh Papalii returns from suspension in the front row with Emre Guler moving to the bench. Joe Tapine has also been named to return from a knee injury and replaces the suspended Ryan James.

Matt Timoko gets his opportunity this weekend in the centres and replaces Curtis Scott who has been stood down from all club duties.

Bailey Simonsson will have an opportunity to play fullback this weekend, with Caleb Aekins named in the Raiders NSW Cup side. This sees Semi Valemei return to the NRL side on the wing.

Jack Wighton has been named to start the match and will be assessed following Wednesday night’s opening origin match.

Match: Raiders v Broncos

TEAM LISTS

BACKS

  • Fullback for Raiders is number 1Bailey Simonsson1Fullback for Broncos is number 1Herbie Farnworth
  • Winger for Raiders is number 2Semi Valemei2Winger for Broncos is number 2Xavier Coates
  • Centre for Raiders is number 3Sebastian Kris3Centre for Broncos is number 3Dale Copley
  • Centre for Raiders is number 4Matthew Timoko4Centre for Broncos is number 4Jesse Arthars
  • Winger for Raiders is number 5Jordan Rapana5Winger for Broncos is number 5Selwyn Cobbo
  • Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6Jack Wighton6Five-Eighth for Broncos is number 6Karmichael Hunt
  • Halfback for Raiders is number 7Sam Williams7Halfback for Broncos is number 7Albert Kelly

FORWARDS

  • Prop for Raiders is number 8Josh Papalii8Prop for Broncos is number 8Matthew Lodge
  • Hooker for Raiders is number 9Josh Hodgson9Hooker for Broncos is number 9Jake Turpin
  • Prop for Raiders is number 10Dunamis Lui10Prop for Broncos is number 10Payne Haas
  • 2nd Row for Raiders is number 11Corey Harawira-Naera112nd Row for Broncos is number 11Alex Glenn
  • 2nd Row for Raiders is number 12Elliott Whitehead122nd Row for Broncos is number 12Tevita Pangai Junior
  • Lock for Raiders is number 13Ryan Sutton13Lock for Broncos is number 13Thomas Flegler

INTERCHANGE

  • Interchange for Raiders is number 14Tom Starling14Interchange for Broncos is number 14Kobe Hetherington
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 15Emre Guler15Interchange for Broncos is number 15John Asiata
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 16Iosia Soliola16Interchange for Broncos is number 16Keenan Palasia
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 17Joseph Tapine17Interchange for Broncos is number 17TC Robati

RESERVES

  • Reserve for Raiders is number 18Elijah Anderson18Reserve for Broncos is number 18Tesi Niu
  • Reserve for Raiders is number 19Hudson Young19Reserve for Broncos is number 19Cory Paix
  • Reserve for Raiders is number 20Matt Frawley20Reserve for Broncos is number 20David Mead
  • Reserve for Raiders is number 21Harry Rushton21Reserve for Broncos is number 21Jordan Riki

Raiders Ins

  • Harry Rushton
  • Hudson Young
  • Joseph Tapine
  • Josh Papalii
  • Matt Frawley
  • Matthew Timoko
  • Semi Valemei

INS

Broncos Ins

  • Cory Paix
  • Dale Copley
  • Karmichael Hunt
  • Payne Haas
  • Tesi Niu
  • Xavier Coates

Raiders Outs

  • Caleb Aekins
  • Corey Horsburgh
  • Curtis Scott
  • Ryan James

OUTS

Broncos Ins

  • Ethan Bullemor
  • Jamayne Isaako
  • Tyson Gamble

Match Officials

  • Referee: Chris Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Liam Kennedy
  • Touch Judge: Wyatt Raymond
  • Senior Review Official: Matt Noyen

Last updated: 04:52 pm Tuesday 8th June 2021

Injuries/Suspension

Ryan James – Suspended – Round 15

Curtis Scott – Stood down – Indefinite

Corey Horsburgh – Wrist – Round 19-20

Jarrod Croker (Knee) – Indefinite

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (Neck) – Season

Harley Smith-Shields (Biceps) – Round 20-22

–Canberra Raiders

Snow to hit Canberra tonight as temperatures plunge

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Snow and icy conditions are expected across southern NSW and the ACT this week. Photo: Leon Oberg

Some of Canberra’s southern suburbs and the Brindabella Ranges will be in the eye of a very strong blast of polar air expected to bring snow flurries on Tuesday night and Wednesday (8 and 9 June).

Forecasts still vary as the complex frontal and low-pressure system moves across Victoria, Tasmania and southern NSW; however, many reliable models are forecasting snowfalls to extend up to the Queensland border for areas above 900 metres.

In the ACT region, where the elevation is 577 metres, the mercury will take a dramatic dip to a forecast maximum of just 8 degrees on Wednesday as the first serious blast of winter arrives. A maximum of 10 deg C on Thursday will feel much colder, though, while 20 to 30 mm of rain is also expected on Wednesday and up to another 20 mm on Thursday.

Backed by strong northwesterly winds on Tuesday night and most of Wednesday, any showers that form are expected to fall as snow flurries in Tuggeranong, Woden, Weston Creek, Molonglo Valley, Canberra City, Belconnen and Gungahlin. However, any snow that falls is not likely to settle.Snowfalls forecast

The Bureau of Meteorology’s forecast for snow on Wednesday (9 June). Image: BOM MetEye.

Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Melody Sturm said on Monday (7 June) they are forecasting strong and gusty north-west winds that could be severe. Behind the cold front are widespread showers, small hail and isolated thunderstorms.

“For NSW, we have a cold front pushing across the state on Tuesday,” Ms Sturm said. “Things start to get really interesting as a complex area of low pressure starts to develop late Tuesday and into Wednesday and begins to intensify as it moves off the coast.

“It’s very much an evolving weather situation, but snow is expected to drop to low levels throughout areas of NSW above 900 metres. Snow should settle on the ground in those areas but shouldn’t last longer than a day.”

On Wednesday, the Central and Northern Tablelands of NSW may be impacted, including Orange, Oberon, the Blue Mountains, Barrington Tops, Armidale, Walcha, Glen Innes and Guyra. Snow may also fall in southern Queensland around the Darling Downs.

There is also a risk of heavy rain and very strong winds in the south-east later in the week, and people in these areas should watch for updates and severe weather warnings, which are expected to be issued. Coastal areas could see flash-flooding and small hail as the low-pressure system forms off the NSW coastline.People on opening day at Perisher

Skiers and snowboarders gather for the opening day at Perisher on Friday. Photo: Perisher Facebook.

The higher peaks around the ACT are also likely to see heavier snow covering, although rainfall will wash it away fairly quickly.

Of course, the ski resorts are not just rubbing their hands to keep them warm, with a very handy covering of snow ahead of the traditional opening of the ski season this long weekend. Perisher jumped the queue last Friday (4 June) by opening a week earlier after recent cold conditions allowed for a 25 cm covering of man-made snow.

Snowatch.com.au forecaster Pete Taylor said 60 to 100 cm of snow is likely across all resorts, although rain could wash some of it away on Thursday.

“The resorts are likely to do very well from this system with a metre of snow being the best-case scenario for Thredbo up top, Perisher, Falls Creek and Hotham,” he said.

“There is a wide range between the minimum and maximum snowfall predictions, and that is due to Thursday’s temps, which will be hovering around -1C to +1C with rain in the south. This is the day to watch as it could damage the cover if temps stay above zero.”

Long-range, Mr Taylor said there are good outlooks for snow in the mountains from 16 to 18 June, with further positive signs for snowfalls on 24 to 26 June

The weekend should be mostly cloudy with the chance of some light snow up top and showers and drizzle on the lower slopes.

“I’m also liking the looks of a system due around the 30th of June,” he said.

–RIOTACT

Liberal senator Hollie Hughes criticises NDIS independent assessments

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A blonde woman wearing a maroon patterned jacket jacket sitting at a table mid-sentence
The New South Wales Liberal senator says the NDIS has changed her son’s life.(ABC News: Ian Cutmore

A Liberal senator has joined a growing number of critics of her government’s controversial plan to introduce independent assessments for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Hollie Hughes, whose 11-year-old son Fred has autism, told RN Breakfast today the changes would put allied health professionals, some with no knowledge of the particular condition a client has, in charge of assessing funding needs.

“Quite frankly, my senior behavioural therapist who has been with us for over 10 years has a much better idea of what Fred can and can’t do than a speech therapist who has never known anyone with autism before,” Senator Hughes said.

The NDIS has been trialling the use of independent assessors, instead of relying on an individual’s medical advice, when considering new applications for funding under the scheme.

Under the change, independent allied health professionals spend one to four hours with a person to assess their needs and eligibility.

Play Audio. Duration: 11 minutes 5 seconds
Liberal senator Hollie Hughes pushes back against NDIS reform

Senator Hughes said the assessment process included a set list of questions, but NDIS participants needed to be treated as individuals.

“It’s been people going in and asking a very set list of questions or a series of tasks; peeling a piece of fruit over the sink, making a cup of tea, taking the bin out,” Senator Hughes said.

“Then there are questions like, ‘In the past 30 days have you needed support to maintain a friendship, conduct sexual activity?’

“The questions are invasive, inappropriate, but on top of that they had nothing to do with what a person’s goals were.”

Senator Hughes said the NDIS had been a “game changer” for her son Fred and the whole family.

“I’m a massive fan of the NDIS. When Fred was diagnosed it didn’t exist,” Senator Hughes said.

The government has marketed the changes as a method of making the system fairer and more responsible.

The cost of the scheme is expected to reach more than $30 billion by the middle of this decade.

Two women sitting in at a desk on red seats
Liberal senators Hollie Hughes and Linda Reynolds do not see eye to eye on independent assessments.(ABC News: Matt Roberts)

Focus should be on providers, Hughes says

Senator Hughes said the government and the agency in charge of the scheme needed to look at providers rather than participants for savings.

“The people most focused on the sustainability of schemes are the parents of kids with disability or people with a disability because they need it to succeed more than any bureaucrat needs a job. We need it,” Senator Hughes said.

“It’s getting a bit insulting that it’s consistently looking at the participants and saying we need this to be sustainable. 

“No-one is looking at the providers, who are charging obscene amounts of money in some cases for appointments.”

The Minister for the NDIS, Linda Reynolds, said the government was committed to improving the experience of participants, while ensuring ongoing sustainability.

“We need to give genuine flexibility, choice and control to participants so we can deliver the NDIS as it was originally intended,” Senator Reynolds said.

“The scheme is deeply inequitable in its application and I am deeply committed to introducing some form of functional assessment to bring fairness and equity to the process.

“The final form will be decided as a result of the consultation process underway.”

–abc.net.au

Australian War Memorial’s $500m redevelopment clears final hurdle despite wave of public opposition

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Exterior of the proposed changes to Anzac Hall
Anzac Hall is set to be demolished after the expansion was given the green light.(Supplied: AWM

A controversial $500 million plan to renovate and expand the Australian War Memorial (AWM) has been given approval for early works, despite an influx of public submissions against the project.

The redevelopment was first proposed in 2018 and has since attracted the criticism of architects and heritage advocates, who have slammed it as “wasteful” and “arrogant”.

The memorial’s director last year defended the renovation which would see the 20-year-old Anzac Hall replaced with a new gallery space and the removal of more than 100 trees. 

This morning, the National Capital Authority (NCA) — tasked with granting the project’s final approval — cleared the way for early works to begin. 

Aerial shot of the Australian War Memorial
What the proposed Australian War Memorial would look like from the sky.(Supplied: The Australian War Memorial )

Public consultation generated most submissions in NCA’s history

The multi-million-dollar proposal was put to the public for consultation in April this year.

The NCA’s chief executive Sally Barnes said the public consultation process received 601 submissions — the most in the authority’s history.

“Most people who put in submissions did not support the project overall … they did raise issues, including the need for the expansion and the cost,” Ms Barnes said.

“There were questions raised about tree removal, and whether the tree removals were in line with the National Capital Plan, and of course, landscapes for us are really important.

“We’ve put some conditions in the approval that [the War Memorial] must increase the number of trees that will be on that site at the end of the works.”

After the consultation process closed, the NCA demanded further information from the War Memorial on its plan to remove and replace native trees surrounding the memorial.

Woman wearing a suit jacket and glasses looks at various pages in a park.
Chief executive of the National Capital Authority Sally Barnes examines public submissions for the AWM’s proposed refurbishment.(ABC News: Tahlia Roy )

In a statement today, the NCA said the AWM would remove 140 trees and retain 455.

The NCA said that the War Memorial must also plant a minimum of 250 additional native trees at the completion of the project.

“With this change noted, the NCA has concluded the proposal is not inconsistent with the National Capital Plan and the works have been approved,” the NCA said. 

Those works also include excavation, the relocation of services and the demolition of Anzac Hall — one of the more controversial works in the proposal. 

Approval a ‘significant milestone’, minister says

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester described today’s announcement as a “significant milestone”.

“This approval will allow for preparation of the area around the site, relocation of some services and progressing with the demolition of Anzac Hall,” Mr Chester said.

“The development has strong community support and the memorial has followed all the due processes in achieving this early works approval.”

The AWM will submit a full landscape plan detailing the species and location for the new trees next year.

Mr Chester said there would be further community consultation about the major works designs in the coming months.

Weekend games scores at Raiders Belconnen

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All the scores from Sunday’s games at Raiders Belconnen

Specsavers Canberra Raiders Cup Ladies League Tag

West Belconnen Warriors 70 d Tuggeranong Bushrangers 0

Blumers Lawyers Canberra Raiders Cup Reserve Grade 

West Belconnen Warriors 52 d Tuggeranong Bushrangers 4

Blumers Lawyers Canberra Raiders Cup First Grade

Tuggeranong Bushrangers 24 (Tries: J Pollard 2, J Martin 2; Goals: M O’Malveney 2, J Heyman 2) d West Belconnen Warriors 22 (Tries: T Sloman 2, B Withers, M Uasi; Goals: B Graham 3)

crrl.com.au

Mystery surrounds source of Delta variant as Victoria records 4 new cases

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Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino. Images: Getty Images

Despite testing and checking against known databases, mystery still surrounds the source of the Delta COVID-19 variant outbreak affecting Melbourne and suspected exposure sites in New South Wales including Jervis Bay.

The Victorian Government says the state’s lockdown is unlikely to be curtailed – and has announced a $32.2 million tourism package for struggling businesses on Sunday – as the state recorded four new locally acquired cases of coronavirus, bringing the current COVID-19 outbreak to 72 active cases.

Two people have recovered while there were six new infections recorded in hotel quarantine. Amid the current Victorian outbreak, 29,816 test results were returned over the previous 24 hours and 19,940 vaccinations were administered at state-run centres.

Two of the new COVID-19 cases are a 79-year-old resident of the Arcare Maidstone aged care centre and an agency nurse. Another positive case detailed on Sunday is an additional employee of the port Melbourne finance company, while a teacher who works at a school linked to the West Melbourne outbreak of the Delta variant has tested positive.ADVERTISING

Authorities expect the Victorian lockdown will continue to Thursday with significant concerns about the now 10 known Delta variant cases and mystery surrounding where it came from. It is not known when, where and how the family from West Melbourne picked up the strain and possibly travelled with through Jervis Bay, Goulburn and Gundagai.

The Deputy Victorian Chief Health Officer Professor Allen Cheng says authorities are “neck and neck” with what they know about the virus, which he regards as the “downstream risk”.

“Really most of the people that we’re seeing at the moment are people that are already in quarantine and therefore there’s no downstream risk from that,” he said.

The “upstream”, wider risk is another matter for everyone including contact tracers and genetic sequencers.

“So who, for these cases that we can’t find, who gave them the infection? Particularly the family that returned from Jervis Bay,” Professor Cheng said.

“We are concerned about who was it that might have given them infection, and therefore, you know, could there be other infections related to that.”

The prevailing theory is that the Delta variant escaped from hotel quarantine. But where, what state and how is not known.

“I think it’d be fair to say just given, I think, five per cent of Victorians have been tested in the last seven days. If there was a big outbreak going on, I think, you know, we would expect to have picked it up,” the deputy Chief Health Officer said.

Infectious diseases expert Professor Sharon Lewin from the Doherty Institute is heading sequencing efforts over the Delta spread. The highly infectious strain could have been picked up by the family in Jervis Bay, but she is leaning towards a possible leak from hotel quarantine.

“My strong hypothesis is that it’s coming through an importation from overseas, through our quarantine hotels. That would be the most likely,” Professor Lewin said on Saturday.

There has also been an unexpected wastewater detection of fragments of COVID-19 in the inner west of Melbourne which involve suburbs unrelated to the current outbreak. The suburbs include Aberfeldie, Essendon, Essendon West, Flemington, Footscray, Kensington, Maribyrnong, Moonee Ponds, Parkville and Travancore.

To assist struggling businesses, particularly regional alpine tourism businesses, the Victorian government has announced a $32.2 million tourism package, which will include a fourth release of regional tourism travel vouchers.

There will be 80,000 vouchers released under the next round of the travel voucher program.

The state assistance adds to the $460 million in support already announced for Victorian businesses as well as the Federal government’s announcement of a temporary COVID-19 disaster payment for workers affected by extended lockdowns.

—AP

A medical facility on wheels bringing hope to Canberra’s homeless

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CT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith
Various people stand outside the PAT van in central Canberra
The ‘pathways to assistance’ van provides support to Canberra’s homeless and has just set up a new clinic at Veteran’s Park.(ABC News: Greg Nelso

A trip to the doctor is something many take for granted.

But for those living rough or in public housing, just figuring out how to get to a clinic can be a barrier.

In Canberra, a $250,000 mobile GP clinic took to the road in November last year, providing some of the Territory’s most vulnerable with access to free counselling and primary healthcare services.

And now, the medical lifeline is getting another permanent home in the city’s centre — which means people who need it will now be able to access free healthcare services, five days a week.

Man with grey hair wearing dark clothes smiles for the camera
David Bryce became a volunteer at PAT the van after using it for healthcare.(ABC News: Greg Nelson )

Despite only opening last year, the Pathways to Assistance and Treatment van — affectionately known as PAT —  sees about 25 patients per day.

One such patient is public housing resident David Bryce who, before he started visiting the van, hadn’t considered seeing a doctor for a health check.

“I went and just had a health check up, and found out about a few issues,” he said.

“I couldn’t believe they go there every [week].”

Following PAT’s success running clinics for public housing residents in Reid, Belconnen, Oaks Esate and Ainslie, a fifth permanent location — every Friday at Veterans Park in Civic — was announced yesterday.

“PAT is now providing primary health care five days a week, across five sites, to Canberrans who may otherwise be unable to access vital services,” Bronwyn Hendry, CEO at Directions Health Services said.

Three men stand at a table and barbecue and cook eggs and bacon in the Canberra city centre
David Bryce said his volunteer work at the van had helped to boost his self-esteem.(ABC News: Alana Seeais )

Mr Bryce now regularly attends and volunteers at the service, cooking bacon and egg rolls for people as they wait for their appointment.

“It’s been really good for my mental health and my self-esteem,” he said, adding that the van filled an important gap in medical access.

“A lot of people on the streets wouldn’t have access to healthcare without it,” he said.

Local GP Ben Harness runs the clinic one day a week and said many of his clients have complex needs.

“A lot of clients tend to struggle and haven’t always had good experiences dealing with traditional main stream health care service,” Dr Harness said.

Many clients struggle with addiction issues, and each van is assigned a GP, a nurse and a drug and alcohol counsellor.

Nurse Ali Loom said a lot of clients were also disconnected from family and their community, further adding to their problems.

“A lot of our clients have huge trauma background, with childhood trauma or ongoing adult trauma,” she said.

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith smiles as she receives her COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine
ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said there were some obstacles to extending the vaccine rollout to the vans.(ABC News: Rosie King )

Ms Loom said that the number one question being asked at the clinic is when and how to get the coronavirus vaccine.

“It’s such a valid question because these are the people who won’t be able to access the COVID vaccines via the normal channels,” she said.

“There’s a lot of fear in those communities about their vulnerabilities to COVID, so we hope we can offer the vaccines pretty soon.”

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said she was considering a plan to make the AstraZeneca vaccine available for people who use the van.

However, Ms Stephen-Smith did not commit to a timeframe, and said that it was not just the vaccination that needed to be considered.

“It’s not just about putting a needle in someone’s arm, particularly for people who are vulnerable,” she said.

“It is about making sure that they know where they can go to if they do experience some of those mild symptoms after they’ve been vaccinated.”

Video: A minor earthquake rips through Canberra

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Tsunami damage of the East Japan great earthquake disaster

Volcano Discovery, a renowned earthquake detecting institute has just confirmed that Australia was hit by an earthquake 1 hour and nine minutes ago.

During the past 30 days, Australia was shaken by 1 quake of magnitude 6.1, 13 quakes between 5.0 and 6.0, 36 quakes between 4.0 and 5.0, 79 quakes between 3.0 and 4.0, and 136 quakes between 2.0 and 3.0. There were also 32 quakes below magnitude 2.0 which people don’t normally feel.
Biggest quake: 6.1 quake Indian Ocean 8 May 1:21 am (GMT +10) 4 weeks ago
Biggest quake today: 4.8 quake Indian Ocean, 185 km south of Waingapu, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, 5 Jun 12:05 pm (GMT +8) 7 hours ago
Most recent quake: 2.1 quake Southland District, 166 km northwest of Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand, 5 June 2021 10:12 GMT 1 hour 9 minutes ago

Booming iron ore price propels Australian economy

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China’s latest threats to cut off Australian iron ore has raised major concerns about the ripple effect on our domestic housing market

Australia can thank the booming price of its biggest export iron ore, which currently brings in $136 billion a year, for thrusting the economy ahead of Brazil and bringing it close to Russia in a little over 12 months since the covid-19 pandemic began.

The Aussie economy has drawn admiration around the globe as it bounced back from the downturn last year, outperforming most countries.

Australia’s gross domestic product, a measure of the money value of goods and services produced, climbed to $US1.43 trillion ($A1.86 trillion), while Brazil’s dropped to $US1.42 trillion ($A1.83 trillion), according to Bloomberg data.

Soaring prices for iron ore have been the main driver for Australia’s boom as it outpaced Brazil’s economy for the first time in 25 years.

“The Australian economy has done exceptionally well but it’s very much an iron ore price story,” said IFM Investors chief economist Alex Joiner.

He added it was good for the country and it feeds into things that drive living standards.

Strict lockdown measures have impacted Brazil’s economy and despite Melbourne’s latest outbreak, Australia has managed to limit some of the financial fallout from the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Russia’s nominal GDP dropped to $US1.48 trillion ($A1.91 trillion) in the fourth quarter of 2020 and Australia’s sat at $US120.7 billion ($1.55 trillion), closing the gap by an estimated $US84.2 billion ($A108.8 billion).

“Our fiscal position has been made so much better by iron ore prices. It’s a modern day reinvention of ‘we are the lucky country’,” Dr Joiner told the AFR.

“This is an extraordinary tailwind for the economy and it’s an extraordinary gift to the government who benefits from the revenues we receive.”

Figures show that the Australian economy is set to become the world’s 12th largest economy in 2021, up two places from 2019, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Australia’s GDP will be around $2 trillion, yet the country is home to just 0.3 per cent of the world’s population and accounts for 1.6 per cent of the global economy.

China earlier flagged a plan to drive down the cost of Australia’s biggest export, but so far little impact has been felt. China buys 60 per cent of Australia’s iron ore.

–news.com.au

Better educational outcomes for children in care

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Liberal MLA Elizabeth Kikkert believes an award-winning Victorian program could hold the answer to improving educational outcomes for children in residential care.

Children in residential care have poorer educational outcomes than their peers – but Liberal MLA Elizabeth Kikkert believes an award-winning Victorian program could hold the answer.

Children and young people in out-of-home care were less likely to attend school or be engaged with learning, Mrs Kikkert said in the Legislative Assembly this week. Many did not continue school beyond minimum school leaver age (17), and their levels of numeracy and literacy were low.

In the ACT, according to a 2019 KPMG evaluation, 20% of children in care did not meet the minimum standard for reading, and 13% did not meet the minimum standard for numeracy – three times higher than their peers.

“Youth workers have shared with me two specific concerns,” Mrs Kikkert said. “First, that so many kids in residential care are disengaged from or struggling with learning. Second – and maybe more important – that they lack the confidence and capacity to help these kids re-engage or learn better.

“In short, they want to help. They know it is an important part of their role as residential care workers. But they don’t know what works best, what doesn’t, or how exactly to go about it.”

Mrs Kikkert noted that the ACT Government’s out-of-home care strategy acknowledged many of the issues that she had raised; its Joint Education and Training Pathways Initiative encouraged attendance, notified child protection staff of absenteeism, and made sure each child had an individual learning plan.

“These are all good things,” Mrs Kikkert said. “The question remains whether this is enough. Youth workers who have shared their concerns with me emphatically state that it is not.”

Listening to youth workers, Mrs Kikkert said she realised that carers needed more support and training to help their children learn; and assistance from experts to help children re-engage with school and learn better.

Anglicare Victoria’s TEACHaR program provided exactly what youth workers state they need, Mrs Kikkert said. Children doubled their engagement with learning, and twice as many children reached average overall academic achievement. The Victorian Government is replacing its Children in Residential Care educational support program with one based on this.

Mrs Kikkert proposed that the ACT Government review Anglicare’s an award-winning Victorian youth education program and explore ways a similar program could be made available here.

Rachel Stephen-Smith, Minister for Health, Families and Community Services, said the government supported Mrs Kikkert’s motion. “It goes to the very important issue of how we best provide holistic support to children and young people in out-of-home care, or in youth detention.”

The Anglicare model could be incorporated into the future of the ACT’s out-of-home care system, Ms Stephen-Smith said. The government was designing the next iteration of its Step Up for Our Kids strategy; the minister would report to the Assembly later this year on how matters raised in this motion could inform that work. TEACHaR, Ms Stephen-Smith noted, was a broad program of support; it also targeted children disengaging from education who were not in care.

However, poor educational attainment was not caused by out-of-home care, Ms Stephen-Smith and Emma Davidson, Minister for Justice Health, said. Many children and young people in out-of-home care had experienced significant trauma through abuse or neglect, which impacted their education; by the time children entered Bimberi Youth Justice Centre, their education had already been disrupted.

Child Youth Protection Services worked with ACT schools to ensure no child in the Director-General’s care was educationally disadvantaged because of living in out-of-home care. All young people at Bimberi, attended Murrumbidgee Regional High School, Griffith, which helped children transition back to school. It was important that education and youth workers had separate but collaborative and complementary roles, Ms Davidson said: teachers to educate, youth workers to focus on other essential social and wellbeing supports.

Ms Stephen-Smith made one amendment. Mrs Kikkert had wanted the ACT Government to “ensure that staff in residential care homes and Bimberi Youth Justice Centre received ongoing training and support”. In Ms Stephen-Smith’s substitution, the Government will “explore ways to improve support”.

Mrs Kikkert’s clause was very specific, Ms Stephen-Smith explained; it would require staff to receive training focusing on literacy and numeracy, but the role of youth workers was quite varied. Literacy and numeracy might not be the most appropriate things for some children and young people to focus on, rather than re-engaging with education. This amendment “broadened the call”, Ms Stephen-Smith said.

Although pleased Labor and Greens members supported most of her proposal, Mrs Kikkert was not satisfied with this amendment.

“To be blunt, exploring something is far different from ensuring that it happens,” she said.

“Will anything meaningful actually happen? Will kids in care continue to not receive support in learning because this government is vomiting out words of declaration and not words of commitment? Will carers continue to watch helplessly as they are not given appropriate training as a matter of urgency?”

Crace Community Association launches floriade in Crace

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Chairman of Crace Community Association David Pollard

Members of Crace Community Association (CCA) planted flowers at Crace shopping Centre today in observation of the government sponsored Floriade campaign.

Scores of CCA activists braved the chilly weather of today to make beds of 3000 tulip bubs and 3000 annuil and pansies flowers at the intersection of Abena Avenue and Hillcrest Street.

CCA Chairman, David Pollard, told Canberra Live that the Floriade campaign marks the beginning of a busy programme for his Association which had been inactivated by Covid 19.

“CCA has been quiet due to Covid 19 but our activities are now beginning to pick up,” said Pollard.

Pollard said the covid 19 slowdown gave his organisation an opportunity to pause and look for fresh ideas for our community.

“In order to really get things moving again, we will be holding an Annual General Meeting early in the new Financial Year. We will be looking to reinvigorate our committee with a mix of old faces and new,” said Pollard.

He urged the Crace community to keep an eye out on Facebook and email for details.

“We would like to run our Christmas Carnival again this year, as well as celebrating Halloween in what has become a Crace tradition,” he added.

Russia intensifies attacks in Ukraine as two sides hold talks

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By YURAS KARMANAU

LVIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia and Ukraine kept a fragile diplomatic path open with a new round of talks on Monday even as Moscow’s forces pounded away at Kyiv and other cities across the country in a punishing bombardment that the Red Cross said has created “nothing short of a nightmare” for the civilian population.

Meanwhile, a convoy of 160 civilian cars left the encircled port city of Mariupol along a designated humanitarian route, the city council reported, in a rare glimmer of hope a week and a half into the lethal siege that has pulverized homes and other buildings and left people desperate for food, water, heat and medicine.

The latest negotiations, which were held via video conference, were the fourth round involving higher-level officials from the two countries and the first in a week. The talks ended without a breakthrough after several hours, with an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying the negotiators took “a technical pause” and planned to meet again Tuesday.

The two sides had expressed some optimism in the past few days. Mykhailo Podolyak, the aide to Zelenskyy, said over the weekend that Russia was “listening carefully to our proposals.” He tweeted Monday that the negotiators would discuss “peace, ceasefire, immediate withdrawal of troops & security guarantees.”

Previous discussions, held in person in Belarus, produced no lasting humanitarian routes or agreements to end the fighting.

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Ahead of the talks, air raid alerts sounded in cities and towns around the country overnight, from near the Russian border in the east to the Carpathian Mountains in the west, and fighting continued on the outskirts of Kyiv. Ukrainian officials said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces shelled several suburbs of the capital.

Ukrainian authorities said two people were killed when the Russians struck an airplane factory in Kyiv, sparking a large fire. The Antonov factory is Ukraine’s largest aircraft manufacturing plant and is best known for producing many of the world’s biggest cargo planes.

Russian artillery fire also hit a nine-story apartment building in the northern Obolonskyi district of the city, killing two more people, authorities said. Firefighters worked to rescue survivors, painstakingly carrying an injured woman on a stretcher away from the blackened and smoking building.

And a Russian airstrike near a Ukrainian checkpoint caused extensive damage to a downtown Kyiv neighborhood, killing one person, Ukraine’s emergency agency said.

Kateryna Lot said she was in her apartment as her child did homework when they heard a loud explosion and ran to take shelter.

“The child became hysterical. Our windows and the balcony were shattered. Part of the floor fell down,” she said. “It was very, very scary.”

A town councilor for Brovary, east of Kyiv, was killed in fighting there, officials said. Shells also fell on the Kyiv suburbs of Irpin, Bucha and Hostomel, which have seen some of the worst fighting in Russia’s stalled attempt to take the capital, local authorities said.

Airstrikes were reported across the country, including the southern city of Mykolaiv, and the northern city of Chernihiv, where heat was knocked out to most of the town. Explosions also reverberated overnight around the Russian-occupied Black Sea port of Kherson.

In the eastern city of Kharkiv, firefighters doused the smoldering remains of a four-story residential building. It was unclear whether there were casualties.

In the southern city of Mariupol, where the war has produced some of the greatest suffering, the city council didn’t say how many people were in the convoy of cars headed westward for the city of Zaporizhzhia. But it said a cease-fire along the route appeared to be holding.

Previous attempts to evacuate civilians and deliver humanitarian aid to the city of 430,000 were thwarted by continuing fighting.

Robert Mardini, director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the war has become “nothing short of a nightmare” for those living in besieged cities, and he pleaded for safe passage for civilians to leave and humanitarian aid to be brought in through the front lines.

“The situation cannot, cannot continue like this,” he said. “History is watching what is happening in Mariupol and other cities.”

A pregnant woman who became a symbol of Ukraine’s suffering when she was photographed being carried from a bombed maternity hospital in Mariupol last week has died along with her baby, the Associated Press has learned.

Mariupol residents including Natalia Koldash rushed to shelter inside a building Sunday as an unidentified plane passed overhead.

“We have no information at all,” Koldash said. “We know nothing. It looks like we are living in a deep forest.”

Associated Press video showed debris from a damaged residential building and another building that a young man named Dima described as an elementary school.

“There was no military at this school,” he said. “It’s unclear why it was hit.”

The Russian military said 20 civilians in the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine were killed by a ballistic missile launched by Ukrainian forces. The claim could not be independently verified.

The U.N. has recorded at least 596 civilian deaths since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, though it believes the true toll is much higher. Millions more have fled their homes, with more than 2.8 million crossing into Poland and other neighboring countries in what the U.N. has called Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II.

“All day crying from the pain of having to part with loved ones, with my husband, my parents,” 33-year-old refugee Alexandra Beltuygova said in the Polish border town of Przemysl after fleeing the industrial Ukrainian city of Dnipro.

“I understand that we may not see them. I wish this war would end,” she said.

Russia’s military is bigger and better equipped than Ukraine’s, but its troops have faced stiffer-than-expected resistance, bolstered by arms supplied by the West. The U.S. said Russia asked China for military equipment to use in Ukraine — a claim the Kremlin denied.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “Russia has its own potential to continue the operation” and that it was “unfolding in accordance with the plan and will be completed on time and in full.”

Russia has denied intending to occupy Ukraine, but Peskov said it “does not rule out the possibility of taking full control of large settlements that are now practically surrounded.”

The war expanded Sunday when Russian missiles pounded a military training base in western Ukraine, close to the Polish border, that previously served as a crucial hub for cooperation between Ukraine and NATO.

The attack killed 35 people, Ukrainian officials said, and raised fears that NATO could be drawn into direct conflict with Russia.

–AP