- SA’s hard border with Vic likely to be eased in a fortnight
- Irish trainer upstages father again as Twilight Run wins Melbourne Cup
- RBA cuts cash rate, prepared to do more
- Victoria extends zero-case streak to four days
- China extends trade strikes to timber, barley
- Wine industry, councils up in arms as Basham rejects all 11 GM-free bids
- Labor signs MOU to make Adelaide Supercars return an election promise
- Record 500kg ice haul was headed for Australia
- Pair charged with cop-shop shoplifting
- Royals escape to the country ahead of UK lockdown
SA’s hard border with Vic likely to be eased in a fortnight
South Australia’s hard border with Victoria is likely to be eased within a fortnight, allowing people to come into SA and quarantine at home for two weeks, officials announced late this morning.
A ban on drinking while standing up in pubs, bars and restaurants is also likely to be lifted within the same timeframe.
Premier Steven Marshall told reporters he was giving people advance notice of the plan to allow preparations to be made.
“We know that this is great news for families especially in the lead-up to Christmas,” he said.
“Victoria has been doing extraordinarily well recently. They have got on top of the issues in their state.”
Marshall said the restriction forcing people to be seated while drinking was also likely to be lifted.
“A lot of South Australians will be absolutely delighted that they will be able to go to a pub in a couple of weeks’ time and have a beer at the bar with their mates,” he said.
“We’re looking at around about a two-week timeframe for this (which) will allow us to put some of the critical technology in place – QR codes and also scanners – to ensure that we can still have that excellence in terms of contact tracing.”
People in cross border communities will also no longer be subjected to weekly testing as of midnight tonight.
South Australia recorded two new COVID-19 cases today – a man in his 50s and a woman in her 30s.
They both recently returned from overseas and are in hotel quarantine.
SA Health says there is no risk to the community.
Read the full story here.
Irish trainer upstages father again as Twilight Run wins Melbourne Cup
Irish trainer Joseph O’Brien has upstaged his famous father Aiden again to win his second Melbourne Cup with Twilight Payment.
The $23 chance led all the way to give Australian jockey Jye McNeil his first Melbourne Cup win ahead of the Aiden O’Brien trained favourite Tiger Moth and Prince of Arran.
South Australian jockeys filled the minor placings with Kerrin McEvoy aboard Tiger Moth while Jamie Kah claimed third on Prince of Arran.
Joseph O’Brien won the 2017 Melbourne Cup with Rekindling while his more accomplished father is still chasing his first win in the race despite bringing horses to Melbourne since 2006.
The Chosen One ran fourth.
Twilight Payment ran 11th in last year’s Melbourne Cup and again led the field up but this time was never run down in the 3200m race to claim the 4.4 million first prize.
The eight-year-old gelding’s win also confirmed Lloyd Williams’ place as the most successful owner in Melbourne Cup history with his seventh victory.
RBA cuts cash rate, prepared to do more
The Reserve Bank of Australia has cut the cash rate to a record low and says it is prepared to do more if necessary.
At its board meeting on Tuesday, the RBA agreed to slice the cash rate to just 0.1 per cent from 0.25 per cent and made similar reductions for other measures to keep market interest rates and funding costs low across the economy.
“With Australia facing a period of high unemployment, the Reserve Bank is committed to doing what it can to support the creation of jobs,” Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe said in his post-meeting statement on Tuesday.
However, he believes the economic recovery is under way in Australia and positive economic growth is now expected in the September quarter, despite the restrictions in Victoria.
If the rate cut is passed on in full by the banks, the average monthly saving could be about $33 a month on a $400,000 loan for an owner occupier paying principal and interest.
The central bank also reduced its three-year bond yield target rate and its term funding facility rate for banks to 0.10 per cent from 0.25 per cent.
The Reserve Bank has also introduced a $100 billion bond buying program for five to 10 year maturities of either Australian government or state bonds. The size of the bond program will be kept under review.
Lowe said the combination of the RBA’s bond purchases and lower interest rates across the bond yield curve will assist the recovery by lowering financing costs for borrowers and contributing to a lower exchange rate.
The board will not increase the cash rate until actual inflation is sustainably within the two to three per cent target range.
“For this to occur, wages growth will have to be materially higher than it is currently,” Lowe said.
“This will require significant gains in employment and a return to a tight labour market. Given the outlook, the board is not expecting to increase the cash rate for at least three years.”
The reduction in the cash rate is the first since March this year, when it was reduced twice in the month, the second coming at a special board meeting at the onset of the pandemic.
Victoria extends zero-case streak to four days
Victoria has recorded its fourth consecutive day of zero coronavirus cases and no further deaths, as Melburnians enjoy their first public holiday since emerging from lockdown.
The figures, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services on Monday, bring Melbourne’s 14-day rolling average to 1.9 cases, with two mystery case recorded in the fortnight to October 31.
Regional Victoria, meanwhile, has recorded no cases in the past fortnight.
Melbourne Cup Day will be marked on Tuesday with Flemington off-limits to any spectators for the race that ‘stops the nation’.
Pubs and bars are open to pick up the slack but limited to caps of 50 people outdoors and 20 indoors.
Only two adults plus dependants from one household are allowed over for a cup day party.
Parks are likely to be a popular option for groups up to 10, as temperatures across the city soar into the high 20s.
As of Wednesday, there were 49 active COVID-19 cases in Victoria, the lowest number since June 15, after peaking at 7880 on August 11.
China extends trade strikes to timber, barley
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has confirmed China has suspended exports of Australian logs from Queensland and barley from another grain producer.
The suspensions follow customs clearance delays for $2 million worth of live Australian rock lobsters stuck on a Chinese airport tarmac.
“Australia has strong regulatory controls that underpin the integrity and biosecurity of all products exported,” Littleproud told AAP.
“We will work with the Chinese authorities to investigate and resolve these issues.”
China has launched trade action against Australian beef and wine in recent months, with coal and cotton exports also dragged into the dispute.
There are fears Australian sugar and copper exports could be the next casualties of deepening diplomatic tensions over coronavirus, Hong Kong and the South China Sea.
Australia’s former ambassador to China Geoff Raby said the series of trade strikes showed how vulnerable exports were to pressure from Beijing.
Raby said while many countries were facing difficulties in dealing with a “stronger, more powerful, more ugly” China throwing its weight around the world, Australia was an outlier in terms of how low the relationship had sunk.
“It looks bad, I think we are in the process of a tit-for-tat retaliation, and we are in a downward spiral,” he told ABC radio.
“I think we need to find a circuit breaker and to find a way to put a floor under this.”
Wine industry, councils up in arms as Basham rejects all 11 GM-free bids
Australia’s largest organic wine region and the state’s biggest council have panned a state government decision to reject all 11 bids by SA councils to ban genetically modified crops from their districts.
Primary Industries Minister David Basham announced yesterday afternoon that there was not enough evidence to justify any council area remaining GM-free outside of Kangaroo Island, which had its moratorium preserved under a separate deal last year.
McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association, which sits entirely in the state’s most populous council Onkaparinga, led the push to remain GM-free.
In its submission, MGWTA said McLaren Vale risked losing up to $20.1 million annually in crop value and an additional $5.1 million each year in export value should GM crops be grown in the area.
Other SA wine regions impacted by the decision include Barossa, Adelaide Hills, Langhorne Creek and Riverland.
“We believe that the request from our Council and McLaren Vale, as well as the requests from many of our state’s other multi-million-dollar wine regions presented a unique opportunity for the newly appointed Minister for Agriculture to demonstrate the government’s continued support of South Australia’s billion-dollar grape and wine industries,” MGTWA general manager Jennifer Lynch said.
Earlier in the day, Onkaparinga Mayor Erin Thompson the decision would add unnecessary red tape and additional costs to the wine industry, hindering its ability to create jobs and growth.
“This decision simply doesn’t add up,” she said.
“We listened to our growers and they told us about the measurable impact this decision would have, but this has fallen on deaf ears and the implications are deeply concerning.”
Under the legislation, councils had a once-off six-month opportunity to apply to remain GM-free but applications could only be considered on trade and marketing grounds.
However, the decision was welcomed by Grain Producers SA as a “historic day for the grain industry”.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said outside of Kangaroo Island, there was no substantial evidence to justify any council area remaining GM-free.
“The lifting of the GM moratorium gives our grain growers the certainty they need ahead of the 2021 season. It also brings our farmers and researchers onto a level playing field with their counterparts around the country who have had access to GM technology for at least a decade.”
Adelaide Hills, Alexandrina, Barossa, Berri Barmera Council, Onkaparinga, Playford, Yankalilla, Mount Barker, Tea Tree Gully, Gawler and City of Victor Harbor councils – all in or near major wine regions – applied to have local GM moratoriums extended.
Read the full story here
Labor signs MOU to make Adelaide Supercars return an election promise
The State Opposition is vowing to bring back V8 Supercar racing to Adelaide if it wins the 2022 election.
SA Labor leader Peter Malinauskas met with Supercars CEO Sean Seamer in Sydney yesterday to show his support for the race, which was scrapped by the Marshall Government on Thursday night.
The State Government blamed COVID-19, dwindling crowds and declining economic benefit 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.
“After discussing with the CEO of Supercars, Sean Seamer, I have signed an MOU and am now in a position to make this an election policy,” Malinauskas posted on Twitter last night.
“Let’s bring this race back to where it belongs.”
If Labor wins the next state election, I will bring the Supercars back to Adelaide! After discussing with the CEO of @supercars, Sean Seamer, I have signed an MOU and am now in a position to make this an election policy. Let’s bring this race back to where it belongs. pic.twitter.com/nIFoaf6JpT
— Peter Malinauskas (@PMalinauskasMP) November 2, 2020
Record 500kg ice haul was headed for Australia
A record haul of the street-drug “ice” that was headed for Australia has been seized by Hong Kong customs officials.
The 500-kilogram cargo of crystal methamphetamine, with an estimated market value of 300 million Hong Kong dollars ($A55 million), was found inside a consignment of cement heading from Mexico to Australia.
The illegal trove arrived in Hong Kong on a transhipment container from Mexico via Vietnam and Korea. According to the Customs and Excise Department, the container was bound for Australia via Singapore.
Officers said they were suspicious because the shipment came to Hong Kong via a complicated route and that bags of synthetic stimulant were concealed inside 1170 bags of cement powder, according to broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong.
On Friday another consignment of methamphetamine worth 3.4 million Hong Kong dollars headed for Australia, where its value is much higher than in Hong Kong, was busted by customs. The air shipment had been sent from Malaysia.
Back in June, Hong Kong saw its largest case of airborne drugs being smuggled into the city when 25 kilograms of cocaine was seized inside a consignment of fish food from the Netherlands.
Hong Kong’s location, as a gateway to mainland China and with easy accessibility to the rest of Asia and Asia-Pacific region, makes it vulnerable to the illegal drugs trade.
Wastewater testing figures released last week show South Australia has the highest average capital city and regional consumption of methamphetamine in the nation.
Pair charged with cop-shop shoplifting
A man and a woman in their 20s have been charged with stealing charity fundraising lollies and a ribbon from a police station in the state’s South East.
Police said a man was seen driving an unregistered, uninsured Holden with unassigned number plates on Thursday, October 29.
The driver went to Millicent Police Station the following day to be interviewed over the traffic offences. While at the station, he and his partner allegedly stole charity fundraising lollies and a ribbon from the front counter of the police station.
The 27-year-old Millicent man was arrested and charged with theft, breach of bail, driving an unregistered and uninsured motor vehicle, driving while disqualified and unassigned number plates. He was bailed to appear in court at a later date.
A 25-year-old Millicent woman was reported for theft and will be summonsed to appear in court at a later date.
Royals escape to the country ahead of UK lockdown
Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip have returned to Windsor Castle for Britain’s second lockdown, Buckingham Palace says.
The royal couple travelled to Berkshire from the Sandringham estate three days before the month-long restrictions come into force on Thursday.
The news follows reports that the Queen’s grandson Prince William tested positive for coronavirus in April.
The Sun newspaper said the Duke of Cambridge continued with his telephone and video engagements, and told one observer he had not wanted to worry anyone.
The BBC also confirmed the news from sources late on Sunday.
When contacted, Kensington Palace declined to comment but did not deny the claim.
William’s father, the Prince of Wales also tested positive to COVID-19 in March.
Prince Charles quarantined with mild symptoms separately from the Duchess of Cornwall, who tested negative.
The royal couple reunited just days before their 15th wedding anniversary in April.
The UK has topped 1 million coronavirus cases in recent days and has recorded almost 47,000 deaths during the pandemic.
England will enter a second lockdown on Thursday, which will close restaurants, pubs and non-essential shops until at least December 2, although unlike the first lockdown in late March and April, schools will stay open for all pupils.
– with AAP and Reuters
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