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What we know today, Monday August 3


Welcome to your serving of the day’s breaking news from South Australia, the nation and abroad. Follow this post for breaking news through the day.

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Final disability safeguarding taskforce report handed down

The State Government’s “safeguarding” taskforce, formed following the “disgusting and degrading” death of Ann Marie Smith, today made its final report public.

Co-chairs David Caudrey and Kelly Vincent outlined 14 key gaps and seven associated recommendations to the State Government, which they believed would help prevent more vulnerable people with disability dying due to negligence and mistreatment.

SA Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink said, among the recommendations, the final report highlighted the need to bring forward the expansion of the Adult Safeguarding Unit by two years to October 1. Its scope was due to be broadened in October 2022.

Lensink said the new date would fast-track the advice and support available for people with disability over 18 years.

“It will enable them to recruit staff in the meantime, so that they can start taking calls from this additional cohort from the 1st of October,” Lensink said.

“The other action that we’ve undertaken is to provide $1.8 million for funding for disability advocacy.

“We’ve already been funding the independent disability advocate, which is the role David Caudrey plays. So, we’ll be providing an additional $400,000 which is going to assist people with individual advocacy.”

Vincent said she was in consultation with the Minister about how the advocacy funds would be distributed.

“That is a question that the minister and I have been discussing this morning,” Vincent told reporters on Monday afternoon.

“I think that process isn’t finalised yet. What we need to make sure of is that money goes to the right variety of organisations and advocacy groups to represent the breadth of difference and different disabilities.”

According to a government statement, other recommendations included new information-sharing guidelines with the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Commission, regular health checks for vulnerable NDIS participants and publishing Disability Access Inclusion Plans by October 31.

Lensink said the taskforce had also considered the role of the Community Visitor Scheme, rejecting a Labor proposal to allow people under the scheme to enter people’s private homes to provide oversight of care.

New SA restrictions as cases rise

South Australians will only be able to gather with up to 10 people at home and must remain seated while drinking alcohol at pubs and clubs under new restrictions being brought in from midnight tomorrow after the state today recorded two new COVID-19 cases.

Premier Steven Marshall said that the new restrictions were prompted by “extraordinary concerns” about virus-ravaged Victoria, which is today reported to record another 429 new coronavirus infections.

From midnight tomorrow, home gatherings will be limited to 10 people – down from the current 50 people – and people will only be allowed to drink alcohol at licensed venues while seated.

Marshall foreshadowed further changes to density restrictions at licensed venues, football matches and fitness studios.

It comes as South Australia today recorded two new positive coronavirus cases – bringing the state’s total to 455 with eight currently active.

SA’s transition committee, charged with managing the state’s response to COVID-19, is due to meet on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, two closed South Australian colleges are undergoing deep cleaning after two  cases of COVID-19 were reported on Sunday.

One case is a woman in her 20s, who is a close contact of a known case, attended Thebarton Senior College and an after-hours program at Roma Mitchell Secondary College while infectious.

The South Australian Department for Education announced both sites will shut the site for a minimum of 24 hours, with parents, carers and adult students in the process of being contacted.

The sites will not reopen until public health officials indicate that it is safe to do so.

Vic records more than 400 new cases and 13 deaths

Melbourne’s retail sector will take a hammering as the government confirms a widespread business shutdown to curt the coronavirus outbreak.

The three-tiered system was announced on Monday as Victoria recorded 429 new cases of coronavirus and 13 more deaths.

As the state started its six-week hard lockdown, the deaths brought the state toll to 136 and the national toll to 221.

It equals last Thursday as the state’s worst day for fatalities.

The business shutdown will be divided into three groups, with the first group to stay open.

This includes supermarkets, groceries and post offices.

But the second group, including retail, some manufacturing and administration, must stop onsite operations as of midnight on Wednesday.

Retail stores can operate contactless “click and collect” and delivery services under strict guidelines, while hardware stores will only stay open for tradespeople.

The third group, including meatworks, will stay open – but under much stricter conditions.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the strict measures were essential to help curb the state’s ongoing second outbreak.

“It is very, very challenging,” he said.

“I never thought I’d find myself in a position where I’d have to ask people not to go work.

“Retail will look very different than it has ever looked.”

Yet another border breach arrest

Another man has been arrested for failing to comply with COVID-19 restrictions, after crossing the SA/Victoria border on Sunday.

SA Police said they had arrested a 31-year-old man at Wingfield this morning.

They will allege that the man was refused entry to SA on Sunday because he did not meet the essential traveller status. He tried again half an hour later and drove off – but instead of returning to Victoria, he filled up his car at a nearby service station and travelled to Adelaide.

“Police will further allege that since the start of April, the man has breached directions of the Emergency Management Act on seven other occasions,” Police said in a statement.

Earlier today,  Police revealed another man had been arrested after allegedly breaching COVID directions at the Caroline border checkpoint in the state’s South East.

An Australian Defence Force member located a man walking about on Caroline Road, about 100m past the check point from the Victorian border About 6.40am on Sunday morning.

South Australia Police arrested the 39-year-old Victorian man and took him to the Mount Gambier Police Station where he was charged with failing to comply with a direction.

He was refused police bail and will appear in the Mount Gambier Magistrates Court on Monday 3 August.

Two people arrested on Saturday and accused of breaching coronavirus border restrictions by crossing illegally into South Australia are due to face a magistrate in Adelaide today.

The man, 25, and a 20-year-old woman, both from NSW, have been held in custody awaiting today’s court appearance.

They were arrested on Saturday in the Adelaide suburb of Kilburn and subsequently charged with breaching COVID directions, police said.

On Thursday the same pair had allegedly attempted to cross the border into SA near Pinnaroo, claiming they were doing so to sell a dog. They were refused entry and told to return to NSW.

It is believed they later crossed the NSW border into SA.

Adelaide house prices buck national downturn

South Australia continues to buck national housing trends with Adelaide the only state capital to record an increase in dwelling values for July.

Adelaide prices rose by 0.1 per cent and sales in regional SA increased in values by 1per cent, according to CoreLogic data released today.

Nationally, prices fell by 0.6 per cent in July and 1.6 per cent for the quarter.

Adelaide’s prices were up 0.3 per cent for the quarter, reaching a median value of $41,826.

Only Canberra returned stronger growth for the month and all the other capitals recorded small declines.

CoreLogic’s head of research Tim Lawless said housing markets have remained relatively resilient through the COVID period so far.

“Record low interest rates, government support and loan repayment holidays for distressed borrowers have helped to insulate the housing market from a more significant downturn,” he said.

“Advertised supply levels have remained tight, with the total number of properties for sale falling a further 4.3% in the 4 weeks to July 27th, sitting 15.2% below where they were this time last year.

“Additionally, increased demand driven by housing specific incentives from both federal and state governments, especially for first home buyers, have become more substantial.”

First SpaceX crewed mission splashes down

Photo: SpaceX via AP

SpaceX’s first-crewed mission to the International Space Station has been successfully completed with US astronauts safely splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast.

Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley returned in the early hours of this morning in SpaceX’s new Crew Dragon after a two-month voyage that was NASA’s first crewed mission from home soil in nine years.

The pair left the station on Saturday and returned home on schedule following a 21-hour journey aboard Crew Dragon “Endeavour.”

The successful splashdown was a final key test of whether Elon Musk’s spacecraft can transport astronauts to and from orbit — a feat no private company has ever accomplished before.

“On behalf of the SpaceX and NASA teams, welcome back to Planet Earth. Thanks for flying SpaceX,” SpaceX mission control said upon splashdown.

For the return sequence, on-board thrusters and two sets of parachutes worked autonomously to slow the acorn-shaped capsule, bringing Behnken and Hurley’s speed of 28,000km/h in orbit down to 560km/h upon atmospheric re-entry, and eventually 25kph at splashdown.

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX became the first private company to send humans to orbit with the launch of Behnken and Hurley, who spent more than two months on the space station upon returning.

Behnken and Hurley’s homecoming was also the first crewed splashdown in an American capsule in 45 years.

SA’s $3.2 billion investment shortfall

Investment in South Australia fell by 8.2 per cent in the three months to June 30 to $39.4 billion compared with the same period last year, according to a Deloitte Access Economics report released today.

The state’s share of the national infrastructure investment pie also fell to just 5.4 per cent of total Australian investment for the June quarter.

However, the June figure was a 5.9 per cent increase on investment in South Australia in the March quarter when $37.2 billion was reported.

The report said the decline was led by a fall in the utilities, telecommunications and mining industries, which more than offset gains in the transport industry.

Read the full story as part of today’s InDaily Business Insights here.

Trump set to take action on TikTok

US President Donald Trump is expected to make an announcement “shortly” on the social media app TikTok, as Washington ramps up pressure on Chinese tech companies.

Trump signalled on the weekend he would ban TikTok in the United States using emergency economic powers or an executive order.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US Government was closing in on a solution with the president expected to make an announcement “shortly”

He said Chinese software companies were “feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party, their national security apparatus,” such as facial recognition patterns, phone numbers and information on friends.

“He (Trump) will take action in the coming days with respect to a broad array of national security risks that are presented by software connected to the Chinese Communist Party,” Pompeo told broadcaster Fox News.

“These are true national security issues, they’re too privacy issues for the American people,” Pompeo said.

“The president when he makes his decision will make sure that everything we have done drives us as close to zero risk for the American people,” Pompeo said.

TikTok is a popular social media app that specialises in short video formats and is owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance.

The company insists it does not share user data with Beijing.

US software giant Microsoft has paused advanced talks to acquire the US operations of TikTok after Trump on Friday said he opposed the deal, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States announced last week that TikTok was under review.

“The entire committee agrees that TikTok cannot stay in the current format because it risks sending back information on 100 million Americans,” Treasury Secretary and committee chair Steven Mnuchin told ABC News.

“The president can either force a sale or the president can block the app using IEEPA,” Mnuchin said, referring to the 2019 International Economic Emergency Powers Act, which effectively bans communications tools that pose a national security threat to the US.”

Virus outbreak on July Arctic cruise

At least 40 passengers and crew from a luxury Norwegian cruise liner have tested positive for COVID-19.

Authorities are still trying to trace a number of passengers from two recent Arctic voyages, public health officials in Norway said overnight.

Four crew members on the MS Roald Amundsen were hospitalised on Friday when the ship arrived at the port of Tromsoe, and later diagnosed with the respiratory illness.

Tests showed another 32 of the 158 staff were also infected.

While the crew was quarantined on the ship, the 178 passengers who arrived on Friday were allowed to disembark before anyone had been diagnosed, triggering a complex operation to locate them in order to contain any potential spread.

So far, four of the combined 387 passengers travelling on the ship on two separate cruises since July 17 have been found to carry the virus, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) and the Tromsoe municipality said.

“We expect that more infections will be found in connection to this outbreak,” said Line Vold, a senior FHI executive, adding that the passengers have been told so self-isolate.

IPL cricket aims for September start in UAE

Chris Lynn batting for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League. Photo: Rafiq Maqbool / AP

The world’s biggest annual Twenty20 cricket competition the Indian Premier League will take place between September 19 and November 10 in three bio-secure venues in the UAE, subject to Indian government clearances.

The league was originally scheduled to begin in late March but had to be put off because of the COVID-19 crisis, leaving the BCCI staring at a potential $US540 million ($A750 million) loss in revenue.

However, the postponement of this year’s T20 World Cup in Australia because of the pandemic threw a lifeline to the league that boasts many of world cricket’s biggest names.

There were no realistic chances of holding the competition this year in India, which is currently the third-worst affected country in the world with nearly 1.7 million confirmed cases and 36,500 deaths.

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