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What we know today, Friday October 30


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

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WA borders to reopen to rest of Australia

Western Australia will reopen its borders to all states and territories from November 14, but some restrictions will remain for people from NSW and Victoria.

Premier Mark McGowan says it is the right time to move to a new “controlled interstate border” after a fall in COVID-19 cases across the country.

People who have recently been in NSW and Victoria will be required to enter self-quarantine at a suitable premises.

They will also be required to undertake COVID tests upon arrival and on day 11 of their quarantine period.

Arrivals from all other states and territories – deemed “very low risk” jurisdictions – will not be required to quarantine but must undergo health screening, a temperature check and complete an application declaring their recent travel.

“I want Western Australians to know that we would not be proceeding down this path unless we had the clear health advice to do so,” McGowan told reporters on Friday.

“The time is right, the conditions are right, and I’m very confident our control border arrangements strike the right balance.”

The decision was signed off by the state disaster council on Friday after receiving the latest advice from the chief health officer.

McGowan said the trigger for moving to the new border controls will be a 14-day rolling average of less than five community cases.

This is currently being achieved in all states and territories, he said.

But the premier warned any significant change in conditions in the eastern states over the next fortnight could force a delay.

One new COVID-19 case in SA

SA Health reported one new case of COVID-19 today – a woman in her 40s who recently arrived from overseas.

The department said the woman was in a medi-hotel and posed no public health risk.

There are now 10 active cases of the virus in SA.

Spurrier breaks silence on W&CH cardiac transfers

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier has confirmed she was consulted about a decision to halt the transfer of babies from the Women’s and Children’s Hospital to Melbourne for cardiac surgery.

The transfer arrangement resumed this week, but had been curtailed – with some patients sent instead to Sydney – due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision is under the microscope after Adelaide obstetrician John Svigos told a select committee last week that four babies had died in the WCH because Adelaide is the only mainland capital city that does not have provision of paediatric cardiac surgery or a vital life-support machine known as Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Support Service.

The babies were not transferred to Melbourne for the treatment due to the state’s second wave of coronavirus.

At a press conference this morning, Spurrier confirmed she was consulted on the transfers.

“I’m providing public health advice,” Spurrier said.

“That (advice) is: what is the epidemiology like, have there been cases, is there an outbreak at that particular hospital, and what we can do in fact to minimize that risk if indeed the child needs to go to that institution.”

However, she said the final decision was taken on clinical grounds within the WCH.

Spurrier declined to comment on whether the right decisions were taken.

“Look, I think we’ve got Dr Mike Cusack having a look at the particular issue at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital at the moment, and I think we need to just have a look and see the outcome of that review.”

Spurrier also noted that a child was transferred to Melbourne for ECMO this week, with SA Health putting in place procedures to ensure the transfer was “as safe as possible”.

Queensland keep borders shut

Sydney and Victoria remain on Queensland’s COVID-19 border blacklist, but the state will reopen to regional NSW next week. .

Deputy Premier Steven Miles says the border will remain closed to people who travel through Victoria and 32 local government areas of Greater Sydney.

The current restrictions will be eased from 12:30am ACST on Tuesday.

It means Queenslanders and people who have not been in Sydney and Victoria will be able to travel in and out of the Sunshine State.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said ongoing mystery COVID-19 outbreaks in the Greater Sydney area was behind her decision to advise that the 4.8 million residents from the city should continue to be blocked from entering Queensland.

“Yesterday they had four new cases and one of those cases they could not link to any other known clusters,” she said.”

“(That) means that they have transmission and they don’t know where it is coming from.

“That is why those 32 (local government areas) all need to be declared hot spots”.

Dr Young said there was “a strong possibility” Queensland would open to Sydney once health officials were “on top of” the community outbreaks.

Bushfire Royal Commission asks for more federal leadership on disasters

The Royal Commission into last summer’s bushfires has been released this morning, with the report calling for greater Federal Government action in response to disasters.

The final report, which has 24 chapters, 80 recommendations and is nearly 600 pages in length, recommends a host of changes to government communication and coordination during bushfire season,

“We have concluded that the Australian Government has the power to, and should, play a greater role in relation to natural disasters on a national scale,” the report’s recommendations read.

“For such disasters, the Australian Government should be able to declare a state of national emergency.

“The declaration should be made by the Prime Minister, and legislation should be clear about the circumstances in which a declaration may be made.”

The report also noted that the continued effects of climate change will force communities to deal with multiple natural hazards at the same time.

“To properly manage natural disasters of national scale and consequence, it is no longer suitable or appropriate to assess disaster risk at an individual hazard level,” the report said.

“We must assess the risk of multiple hazard events occurring concurrently or consecutively.”

The commission also restated a previous recommendation that a body similar to national cabinet be established to take charge of high-level, strategic decisions.

States and territories should also establish their own senior ministerial forums to support the body cabinet and make decisions on how finite resources may be shared across jurisdictions and how best to communicate with the public.

The commission further recommended a standing national resilience and recovery body be set up to better co-ordinate national efforts in those areas.

Rory Atkins to join Suns

Former Crows player and unrestricted free agent Rory Atkins is set to join the Gold Coast Suns next season. is reporting that Atkins has signed a five-year, $400,000 with the Queensland club.

The 26-year-old played four games for the Crows in 2020, but declared his intention to leave Adelaide in August.

The left-footed midfielder has played a total of 101 games.

Atkins is one of at least three players departing Adelaide this trade period, with Kyle Hartigan and Brad Crouch in the process of finalising moves to Hawthorn and St Kilda.

SA govt blames virus for Adelaide 500’s demise

The State Government is blaming COVID-19 for its decision to axe next year’s Superloop Adelaide 500 and not to renew the Supercars contract for future years.

The event, usually held in late February or early March, had been a major drawcard of Adelaide’s Mad March festival for more than two decades. Its demise coincides with the withdrawal of the Holden brand from Australia’s premier V8 racing competition.

Premier Steven Marshall said the event had become “impossible to invest in” amid the financial uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve seen an increase in cost, we’ve seen a reduction in the amount of corporate support, and then when we layer over the top of that the implications of living in this COVID environment – this event has become unviable,” Marshall told reporters at a press conference this morning.

“The SATC (South Australian Tourism Commission) made a recommendation to the government advising that we should repurpose that money to support the events sector, which is a sector which has been doing it extraordinarily tough.

“I asked the SATC questions about this we queried the assumptions that were made, but ultimately we are supporting the recommendation of the SATC.

“In an ideal world, we wouldn’t be cancelling this event, but for the reasons that I’ve outlined, it just remains impossible to invest in going forward with the level of uncertainty around COVID-19.”

SATC Chef Executive Rodney Harrex said the tourism commission was looking at events they could “spread through the year”, and pointed to the “significance of the investment” required to build the superloop track.

“We have looked at the ability to run the 2021 event, we’ve looked beyond that, and I think it’s clear that we’re unable to give the people of South Australia the return that they need for that investment,” Harrex said.

“We look at the economic opportunities of the things that we invest in, I think it’s really important to recognise that we have a very commercial board, and the board challenge us around the areas we invest, and this is one that they did.”

Harrex also said it was “worth recognising” that attendance for the event was declining prior to COVID-19.

Adelaide’s city street circuit around the East End became world-famous when it hosted the Australian Grand Prix from 1985 to 1995.

It has been home to major Supercars races since 1999.

A statement on the Supercars Championship website said it regretted the decision by the South Australian Government to cease holding the event.

“If at any time in the future, the South Australian Government decides to recommence the Adelaide 500, Supercars would be delighted to be there,” the statement said.

State Opposition leader Peter Malinauskas took to Twitter last night, claiming “The Marshall Liberal Government have killed the Adelaide 500 not COVID”.

“This event has been the centrepiece of Mad March events for years attracting thousands of interstate tourist and generating millions of dollars for hotels, pubs and restaurants,” Malinauskas wrote.

South Australian Supercars driver Nick Percat also took to Twitter last night.

“F1 put Adelaide on the map, Supercars took that over and held one of the biggest events in the nation and created jobs and massive revenue for the state, motorsport is engrained in SA and will be sorely missed,” the 32-year-old former Holden driver wrote.

“Thank you to everyone involved in helping make the event happen.”

Report clears Hutt Street Centre

A controversial Adelaide City Council review of the Hutt Street Centre – costing ratepayers over $40,000 – has found that the homeless service provider has complied with land use regulations, despite concerns from some neighbouring traders and residents that the service is expanding unlawfully.

The review, commissioned by the council in May, was widely criticised by the Hutt Street Centre, the State Opposition and some councillors, who argued it “lacked compassion” and would unfairly burden the not-for-profit organisation, which is set to experience a spike in demand in the wake of COVID-19.

Those in support, including the majority of the city council and Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor, argued that the review was necessary to “put to bed once and for all” concerns from some neighbouring traders and residents that the Hutt Street Centre was unlawfully expanding, leading to what they claimed had been a spike in criminal and antisocial behaviour in the city’s southeast.

In a letter published by the council yesterday, barrister Dr Nicholas Manetta, who conducted the review on behalf of Norman Waterhouse Lawyers, wrote that he had “not identified any unauthorised uses on the land”.

Read the full story here

Rudd think tank CEO resigns over Epstein link

A global think tank chaired by ex-Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has accepted the resignation of its president, after discovering he had borrowed money from US financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

CEO Terje Rod-Larsen apologised to the board of the United Nations-affiliated International Peace Institute for his “failed judgment” in securing the $US130,000 personal loan as well as donations from foundations set up by the convicted pedophile.

Rod-Larsen’s departure comes after Rudd convened an extraordinary board meeting overnight on Thursday.

“Epstein’s crimes were hideous,” the institute said in a statement.

“The notion that IPI would be in any way engaged with such an odious character is repugnant to the institution’s core values.”

Epstein, through his foundations, donated $US650,000 to the IPI between 2011 and 2019, a revelation Rudd said yesterday was “deeply disturbing”.

“I first learned of contributions from Epstein’s foundations to the IPI in November 2019 through reporting by the Norwegian press. I was blindsided by this,” he said in a statement.

“These revelations were deeply disturbing to me and to other members of the board.”

The institute’s work includes combating human trafficking and sexual violence.

The IPI has since donated a sum equivalent to any donations received from Epstein’s foundations to programs that support victims of human trafficking and sexual assault.

Epstein was convicted in Florida in 2008 of procuring an underage girl for prostitution.

In July last year, he was arrested on federal charges for the sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York but was found dead in his US prison cell a month later.

‘Richo’ lands Power CEO role as Byrne Jones wins medal

Port Adelaide’s Darcy Byrne-Jones was awarded the John Cahill Medal last night for being the club’s best and fairest player for 2020. Photo: Michael Errey, InDaily.

Port Adelaide Football Club has announced Matthew Richardson as its new Chief Executive Officer at its annual awards last night where Darcy Byrne-Jones was named the club’s best and fairest player for 2020 ahead of Travis Boak and Tom Jonas.

He will start in the new role on Monday and replaces outgoing CEO Keith Thomas who finishes up this week after more than nine years at the helm.

Richardson’s appointment was announced by Power chairman David Koch at the club’s annual Best and Fairest Awards event at the Adelaide Convention Centre last night.

Richardson has been at the club since 2001 starting as Marketing Manager of the Magpies in the SANFL and then progressing to CEO when the Magpies were deemed a separate entity to the Power.

In 2008, Richardson joined the Power as General Manager of Marketing and Consumer Business and was promoted in 2018 to Executive General Manager.

Koch admitted he had wanted an external person to take on the role, but said Richardson was the most compelling candidate.

“No candidate we spoke to ever seemed to have the all-round package that Richo brings. I was always sub-consciously benchmarking them against him,” he said.

Koch praised Thomas for leaving such a well-rounded successor, saying it was the mark of a good leader.

He outlined some of Thomas’s achievements since his appointment in August 2011 including appointing Ken Hinkley as coach and Travis Boak as captain, overseeing the One Club strategy to reunite the SANFL and AFL arms of the club, and launching both the competition’s first Aboriginal AFL Academy and Women’s Aboriginal AFL Academy.

Port Adelaide defender Darcy Byrne-Jones was named the club’s best and fairest player at last night’s awards ceremony ahead of Travis Boak and Tom Jonas.

The 25-year-old polled 159 votes to finish 23 clear of Boak and 30 ahead of third-placed Tom Jonas.

Hydrogen hubs to could drive green energy production in SA

The State Government has announced three hydrogen hubs, which it says will position South Australia at the forefront of global clean hydrogen production and exportation.

The hubs at Port Bonython, Port Adelaide and Cape Hardy/Port Spencer would likely use excess wind and solar energy to generate green hydrogen to power industry or even be exported.

Yesterday’s announcement follows the launch of the state’s Hydrogen Action Plan more than a year ago and the construction of Australia’s largest hydrogen-producing electrolyser at Tonsley this year.

The state government this month also launched its energy and mining strategy, in which it recommitted to a 100 per cent net renewable target by 2030.

The government claims just one of the hydrogen hubs could at least double the current installed capacity of solar and wind farms in South Australia.

Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan said South Australia’s world-class wind and solar resources could underpin the state’s international competitiveness as an exporter of clean hydrogen to Asia and other regions.

“Hydrogen is shaping up as a game-changer in the fight against climate change and our aim is to get the cost down so that it’s a commercially attractive option for heavy transport, power generation and use by industry,” he said.

State Theatre Company unveils 2021 season

State Theatre artistic director Mitchell Butel. Picture: Jessica Zeng.

State Theatre Company SA has unveiled a full season of eight main-stage shows for 2021, including the world premiere adaptation of The Boy Who Talked to Dogs and a new South Australian play exploring a radical global solution to the climate crisis.

After a year in which COVID-19 forced the cancellation or postponement of five shows in his first season as artistic director, Mitchell Butel says the company is happy it can return with works that will “explode off the stage and make audiences re-think and re-charge, all while being challenging, provoking and entertaining”.

Launched at Her Majesty’s Theatre last night, the program features a diverse line-up of actors and explores themes ranging from national politics to school politics, climate change, conspiracy theories, class, vaccination, gender, grief, reconciliation and redemption.

Highlights of the season will include a State Theatre Company and Slingsby co-production based on “dog man” Martin McKenna’s memoir The Boy Who Talked to Dogs, to be presented during the Adelaide Festival, and a new play by South Australian Finegan Kruckemeyer called Hibernation, which is described as “a boldly ambitious large-scale work with themes eerily parallel to the 2020 lockdown”.

Read our full preview of the season here.

Macron stands firm after French terror attack kills three in Nice

A defiant President Emmanuel Macron says he will deploy thousands more soldiers to protect key French sites such as places of worship and schools after a knife-wielding attacker shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people at a church in Nice.

Speaking from the scene, Macron declared that France had been subject to an Islamist terrorist attack “over our values, for our taste for freedom, for the ability on our soil to have freedom of belief”.

“And I say it with lots of clarity again today: we will not give any ground.”

A police source told Reuters the assailant was believed by law enforcement to be a 21-year-old Tunisian who had recently entered France from Italy.

A Tunisian security source and a French police source later named the suspect as Brahim Aouissaoui.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said the attack in his city had happened at Notre Dame church and was similar to the beheading earlier this month near Paris of teacher Samuel Paty, who had used cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in a civics class.

Thursday’s attacks, on the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed, came at a time of growing Muslim anger at France’s defence of the right to publish the cartoons, and protesters have denounced France in street rallies in several Muslim-majority countries.

After the Nice attack, Prime Minister Jean Castex raised France’s security alert to its highest level.

Estrosi said the Nice attacker had repeatedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” even after being detained by police.

At about 9am, a man armed with a knife entered the church and slit the throat of the sexton, beheaded an elderly woman, and badly wounded a third woman, according to a police source.

The sexton and the elderly woman died on the spot and the third woman managed to make it out of the church into a nearby cafe where she died, Estrosi told reporters.

​ “The suspected knife attacker was shot by police while being detained. He is on his way to hospital, he is alive,” he said.

“Enough is enough. It’s time now for France to exonerate itself from the laws of peace in order to definitively wipe out Islamo-fascism from our territory.”

France, with Europe’s largest Muslim community, has suffered a string of jihadist attacks in recent years, including bombings and shootings in 2015 in Paris that killed 130 people and a 2016 attack in Nice in which a militant drove a truck through a seafront crowd celebrating Bastille Day, killing 86.

– with AAP and Reuters
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