- Last active SA coronavirus case cleared
- Victor Harbor schoolies to be scaled back
- Recession hits Australia as biggest economic blow on record revealed
- It’s official: Brisbane will host AFL Grand Final
- Sydney Harbour NYE celebrations under COVID cloud
- Qld fugitive on run in SA
- Race track housing development to begin in Murray Bridge
- Victorian emergency extended at midnight sitting
- Crows break drought with big win over Hawks
- Fresh push for Scottish independence
- Trump tours Wisconsin after protests
- Ed Sheeran’s baby is a right young Lass
Last active SA coronavirus case cleared
South Australia has cleared its last active coronavirus case, taking the state’s run without a new infection to 10 days.
The last case to be resolved was that of a local nurse who had volunteered to travel to Victoria to work in that state’s aged care sector.
She had been diagnosed on August 23 and went into quarantine despite showing no symptoms of the virus as the time.
Still considered an active infection on Tuesday, Premier Steven Marshall said the “brave” woman was now clear of the disease.
SA’s clean sheet will put more pressure on the transition committee, which meets against later this week, to further ease some COVID-19 restrictions.
Though Premier Steven Marshall says the state can still not afford to become complacent.
Tasmania also cleared its last active COVID-19 case today.
Victor Harbor schoolies to be scaled back
Schoolies in South Australia will be scaled back this year as authorities and organisers grapple with the shape of the November celebrations in Victor Harbor.
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the large gatherings usually associated with the three-day event for school leavers, south of Adelaide, would not be possible this year.
But he said police, SA Health, the event’s organisers and a representative group of year 12 students were in discussions about what form the celebrations might take.
“We think a lot of young people may still go down there. We want them to have a good time but we want them to have a good time safely,” Stevens said.
“We’re hopeful through our discussions that we’ll come up with a plan that suits everybody.
“But it won’t look like any other schoolies.”
Adelaide Oval looks set to miss out on hosting the AFL grand final but Port Adelaide will likely host some matches there during finals series.
Under current rules, up to 25,000 fans can attend open-air events, but SA Health and the oval management have been working on a limit for 10,000 for recent AFL games.
Stevens has flagged an increase in the number of football fans allowed into Adelaide Oval for any finals matches.
He said as the situation surrounding coronavirus cases improved, particularly the level of community transmission in Victoria, there was scope to increase those numbers.
“Large crowds would certainly be on the agenda if we were to get finals matches,” he said.
Recession hits Australia as biggest economic blow on record revealed
The Australian economy contracted by 7.0 per cent in the June quarter, confirming the nation is in its first recession in almost 30 years.
Australian Bureau of Statistics head of national accounts Michael Smedes said the global pandemic and associated containment policies led to the fall.
“This is, by a wide margin, the largest fall in quarterly GDP since records began in 1959,” he said on Wednesday.
Economists expected the national accounts for the June quarter to show an economic contraction of around six per cent.
In the year to June, the economy shrank 6.3 per cent, the ABS said.
In the March quarter, the economy had contracted by 0.3 per cent.
A technical recession is defined by two consecutive quarters of negative growth.
Earlier, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said Australia had weathered the coronavirus crisis better than most other countries.
“In all of the circumstances, Australia is performing comparatively better than most others,” he told reporters in Canberra ahead of the data.
“We are going to have to continue to do everything we can to get ourselves back into the best possible position.”
Private demand detracted 7.9 percentage points from economic growth in the quarter, driven by a 12.1 per cent fall in household expenditure which included a 17.6 per cent drop in services expenditure.
“The June quarter saw a significant contraction in household spending on services as households altered their behaviour and restrictions were put in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” Mr Smedes said.
On the positive side, net exports (exports minus imports) contributed a large one percentage point to the result, while public demand added 0.6 percentage points, driven by health-related spending by state and local governments.
The economic downturn has already seen the number of people unemployed push past one million for the first time.
Treasury has warned a further 400,000 Australians could join the dole queue before Christmas, partly as a result of Victoria’s harsh lockdown.
Meanwhile, legislation splitting JobKeeper wage subsidies into a two-tiered system and extending the program for another six months have breezed through parliament, with the $1500 flat fortnightly rate to end later this month.
People who worked less than 20 hours a week before the crisis struck will be paid $750 a fortnight from the end of September, while all others will receive $1200.
The maximum payment will come down to $1000 from December to March.
The RBA yesterday opted to keep the official cash rate at the record low of 0.25 per cent.
Brisbane to host AFL Grand Final
Brisbane’s Gabba ground will host this year’s AFL grand final as the competition’s showpiece game leaves Victoria for the first time.
The premiership decider will be shifted from its usual afternoon time slot and be played at night, with at least 30,000 fans slated to attend the October 24 spectacle.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said moving the grand final was the “biggest decision of all” in a season disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The AFL Commission ruled on key criteria including safety, integrity of the competition, fan engagement, financial support for the game and long-term legacy.
“In another historic first, the grand final will be scheduled for the night of Saturday 24th of October, with the exact start time to be confirmed,” McLachlan told reporters in Queensland this afternoon.
Adelaide Oval has been placed on standby to host the grand final, should a COVID-19 outbreak in Queensland impact the planned Gabba game.
The shift was forced by Victoria’s COVID-19 breakout putting that state into lockdown, ruling out the grand final’s traditional venue, the MCG.
The grand final has been played away from the MCG only once in the last 74 years, when Melbourne’s Waverley Park hosted the 1991 game because of MCG construction works.
State governments of Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales bid to host the match.
But Queensland was always in the box seat given the assistance the state has provided to the AFL to help keep the season afloat.
Queensland has hosted numerous clubs in hubs and the majority of home-and-away games have been played in the state.
The time slot will avoid a clash with horse racing’s Cox Plate and appeal to broadcasters, who expect a massive television audience in prime time.
Premiership contenders West Coast (Optus Stadium) and Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval) are expected to host any home finals at their regular home grounds in the lead-up to the grand final.
Sydney Harbour NYE celebrations under COVID cloud
The NSW Government is weighing up calls to axe this year’s Sydney Harbour New Year’s Eve fireworks as known clusters continue to fuel a trickle of new coronavirus infections
The state recorded 17 new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday including one in hotel quarantine, 15 linked to known clusters and one where the source is unknown.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro told Nine’s Today program this morning it was far too risky to hold Sydney’s world-famous New Year’s Eve fireworks in the midst of a pandemic.
“How can you attract one million people to the harbour shores and do it in a safe way?”, he said.
“Police and health experts are saying it is very difficult to police one million people on the (harbour) foreshores.
“This is the reality of the pandemic. We know it won’t happen, the risk is far too high.”
However, Premier Gladys Berejiklian is open to the event going ahead, but said it would be different from what Sydneysiders are used to.
“I’d like to see it go ahead in a COVID-safe way if we can manage that,” she told reporters this morning.
“If it does proceed it won’t be like every other year with crowds everywhere.”
The premier flagged the state was heading in the right direction as coronavirus case numbers in Victoria gradually drop.
“Given where we could have been, given where we are in NSW … our worst fears have not materialised but the threat is there,” she said.
“I ask everyone to, rightly so, be optimistic about the future and where we are heading.”
Berejiklian yesterday announced an easing of NSW’s border permit system with Victoria to re-establish a 50km border buffer zone from Friday.
Qld fugitive on run in SA
An armed man wanted in Queensland is still on the run in South Australia after evading a border checkpoint.
Police say Alex Blake and a woman are travelling in a stolen car and are believed to have a gun.
They crossed into SA on Monday afternoon in a white Toyota Hilux ute that was stolen from a Queensland address on Sunday.
Anyone spotting the car or Blake and his companion should not approach them, but call police.
Police said the stolen ute has a large black toolbox in the rear tray and the QLD plates have been replaced with SA plates – S632BHY. It was stolen from a Queensland address on Sunday.
It is alleged the ute was involved in a petrol drive-off at Innamincka about 3.15pm on Monday and also drove at speed towards a man in the town.
The pair were later spotted at Hawker, in SA’s mid-north yesterday morning and the ute was seen at Port Augusta yesterday afternoon.
The man and woman were spotted in the vehicle at Hawker this morning where they allegedly failed to pay for fuel at the local service station.
Alex Blake, who is wanted on a Queensland warrant, is described as being of Caucasian appearance, aged in his early 30’s with a medium build. He was last seen wearing an orange and blue high-vis long-sleeved top, long dark blue pants and a baseball cap.
The woman is described as having dark shoulder-length hair and wearing a black short-sleeve T-shirt.
Race track housing development to begin in Murray Bridge
The former home of the Murray Bridge Racing Club will be carved up in the coming months for stage one of a $50-million residential development by South Australian real estate business Burke Urban.
Known as Newbridge, up to 350 residential allotments have been approved on the now vacant land adjacent to the Murray Bridge Golf Club and only a few hundred metres from the heart of town.
Stage one of development would include 23 hectares with 129 Torrens Title allotments ranging from 412 sqm to 1061 sqm.
Burke Urban said the first 37 allotments were now for sale and civil works would begin in November.
InDaily understands residential development works are due to begin in late 2021.
The new Murray Bridge racecourse opened last year on the outskirts of town after more than a century of racing at the former track ended in May 2019.
Read the full story here
Victorian emergency extended at midnight sitting
A six-month extension to the Victorian government’s state of emergency powers has passed parliament in the early hours of the morning after a surprise intervention by the Greens.
It comes as Victoria announced a slight increase of 90 new coronavirus cases overnight and six more deaths, taking the state toll to 576 and the national figure to 683.
Victorian Greens upper house MP Samantha Ratnam returned from maternity leave to vote for the government’s amended bill, which passed 20 votes to 19 just before 2am.
“I felt it was just too important that I had to be here,” she told reporters as she arrived at parliament with two-month-old Malala.
Reason Party MP Fiona Patten and Animal Justice Party MP Andy Meddick also voted in favour of the six-month extension, giving the government 20 votes in the 40-member upper house.
Premier Daniel Andrews originally sought a 12-month extension to the state of emergency powers, which allow the chief health officer to issue public health directions.
The current state of emergency was due to expire on September 13, along with Melbourne’s stage four lockdown and regional Victoria’s stage three rules.
The amended bill is specific to the COVID-19 pandemic and includes additional transparency measures, Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said.
It comes as Victoria recorded five coronavirus deaths and 70 new cases on Tuesday, its lowest single-day increase in cases since July 3.
The state government on Sunday will release its plans to move both Melbourne and regional Victoria out of restrictions, noting they will be different.
Active case numbers outside of the capital have plummeted to 139.
South Australia yesterday reported no new coronavirus cases for the eighth consecutive day. There is only one active case in the state.
Crows break drought with big win over Hawks
Adelaide’s Matthew Nicks says his first win as an AFL head coach is a much-needed confidence boost for his players after their toughest 12 months in the club’s 30 seasons.
The Crows broke a 13-month losing streak when they downed a hapless Hawthorn by 35 points at Adelaide Oval last night.
The 12.11 (83) to 7.6 (48) triumph was the club’s first victory since August 3 last year, a stretch of 16 games across two calendar years and first-year coach Nicks’ breakthrough win.
“From my point of view, I hope what it does is just reaffirm with our players what it’s going to take, give them some confidence,” Nicks said.
“As a coach it’s pleasing to get that feeling back from your players and that reassurance that ‘hey, we’re going in the right direction’.”
The Hawks remain stuck in the mire in 15th place with just one win from their past 10 matches.
Adelaide ruckman Reilly O’Brien (26 hitouts, 19 disposals, eight marks) fed a hungry Adelaide’s midfield featuring prolific ball-winners Matt Crouch (32 disposals), his brother Brad (27), Rory Laird (25) and Ben Keays (22 possessions, one goal).
Four Crows – Taylor Walker, Darcy Fogarty, Chayce Jones and Harry Schoenberg – kicked two goals each.
Hawthorn attackers Jack Gunston (three goals) and Chad WIngard (two goals) were among few Hawk winners, with Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell (23 disposals) and Jack Scrimshaw (22 touches) their leading ball-getters.
The Crows were never headed and led at each change – by seven, 15 and 22 points, before winning by 35.
Fresh push for Scottish independence
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to publish draft legislation for a new Scottish independence referendum, including the question and timing of the vote, before the region’s parliamentary election next year.
Sturgeon, who heads Edinburgh’s pro-independence devolved government, put on hold plans for a second referendum in March to concentrate on the coronavirus crisis.
However, the most sustained support for Scottish independence in the modern era has prompted nationalists to renew their push for another vote.
In a 2014 referendum on independence, Scots voted 55 per cent to 45 per cent to stay in the United Kingdom.
“Before the end of this parliament, we will publish a draft bill setting out the proposed terms and timing of an independence referendum as well as the proposed question that people will be asked in that referendum,” Sturgeon said.
If Scotland voted for independence it would mean the United Kingdom would lose about a third of its landmass, almost a tenth of its population, a core ingredient of its identity and rip apart the world’s sixth-biggest economy.
Next year’s election to the devolved parliament is expected to provide a fresh platform for the Scottish National Party to press for a new referendum.
The nationalists are expected to win a majority and aim to use that mandate to push Johnson to grant a fresh vote on the issue.
However, it is ultimately up to the British parliament to decide whether Scotland can hold another referendum, and Johnson’s government in London has repeatedly said it will reject any demand for a new vote.
Trump tours Wisconsin after protests
US President Donald Trump has defied requests to stay away and arrived in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to highlight his “law and order” re-election campaign theme in a city up-ended by protests after the shooting of a black man by a white police officer.
Opinion polls suggest the Republican president is narrowing the gap with the front-running Democrat Joe Biden amid ongoing protests over racial injustice and the resulting violence.
Trump’s trip to Wisconsin, a political battleground state that he won narrowly in 2016, gives him a chance to emphasise his police-friendly pitch in a state he hopes to keep in his column in the November 3 election.
The state’s governor and the city’s mayor both urged Trump to avoid Kenosha to prevent inflaming tensions.
But the president dismissed their appeals, choosing to visit one of the flashpoint cities where anti-racist demonstrators have clashed with Trump supporters who have converged on protest sites, sometimes openly carrying arms while vowing to protect property from looters.
After landing in neighbouring Illinois, Trump and his motorcade passed groups of onlookers, mixed with people carrying signs of support for him and others carrying signs with Black Lives Matter written in big letters.
A 17-year-old Trump supporter has been charged with killing two people and wounding another with a semi-automatic rifle in Kenosha.
Trump defended the white teenager, who faces six criminal counts, and declined to condemn violence from his supporters.
But in Portland, Oregon, site of three months of nightly protests that have often turned violent, a Trump supporter was shot dead on Saturday and the president lamented that “they executed a man in the street”.
Ed Sheeran’s baby is a right young Lass
British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran says his wife has given birth to the couple’s first child, a girl named “Lyra Antarctica Seaborn Sheeran”.
“Last week, with the help of an amazing delivery team, Cherry gave birth to our beautiful and healthy daughter,” the record-breaking musician said on Instagram alongside a photo of a pair of tiny socks.
“Both mum and baby are doing amazing and we are on cloud nine over here.”
The 29-year-old singer is the most successful British artist of the last decade, spending a total of 79 weeks at the top of the charts with eight no.1 singles, including the global smash “Shape of You”, and four studio albums.
He married childhood school friend Cherry Seaborn in January 2019, according to the video for his song “Put It All On Me”.
Lyra is the name of the protagonist in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, a trilogy that Sheeran choose as his book on the BBC radio program “Desert Island Discs” in 2017.
– with AAP and Reuters
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