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What we know today, Wednesday June 30


All 18 AFL clubs will be temporarily based in Victoria when the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide arrive in Victoria this afternoon via a charter flight.

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Crows, Power to head to Victoria

The Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide will travel to Victoria this afternoon via a charter flight to join the other 16 AFL clubs in Melbourne.

Tickets sales were suspended this morning for Saturday’s Adelaide Oval clash between the Crows and Brisbane ahead of tightened South Australian coronavirus restrictions.

Port Adelaide’s match against Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night will proceed as planned.

The AFL will provide an update on the Crows/Lions match once arrangements are finalised.

AFL Executive General Manager Clubs and Broadcasting Travis Auld said the league would continue to make decisions that best manage the evolving situation across the country.

“Bringing the two South Australian teams to Victoria today minimises risk for the competition as we progress the season in a constantly changing environment,” he said.

“As of this evening we will have all 18 teams in Victoria and, as a competition, we will continue to remain adaptable where required.

“The two teams travelling today will fly to Victoria via a charter flight and will remain in the state ahead of this Round’s matches.

“While COVID-19 continues to impact the community, we will work closely with state governments, health officials, our clubs and players to ensure the best possible outcome for everyone in the game.”

Five new cases in SA but no lockdown

Four Adelaide housemates of an NT miner have been diagnosed with COVID-19, prompting the State Government to announce a tightening of restrictions.

The male miner aged in his 30s returned to SA on Saturday and returned a negative test but then tested positive yesterday after submitting a second test.

The new cases involve the miner, his wife and three of their children. A baby in the family is yet to test positive.

Visitors numbers have been capped at 10 per household but other restrictions remain unchanged at this stage.

SA Premier Steven Marshall said the family had all been transferred to Adelaide’s dedicated facility for positive coronavirus cases.

“While this is a very concerning turn of events, we are very relieved this person and this family have been at home since Saturday,” he said.

The other 28 miners who returned from the same NT mine have also been in isolation since arriving in SA.

The Northern Territory has also extended its lockdown to Alice Springs.

South Australia will not go into lockdown at this stage despite the five new cases.

The worker left Newmont’s Granites Mine on Friday and spent seven hours at Alice Springs airport before flying to South Australia.

Alice Springs will lockdown for 72 hours from 1pm Wednesday.

The crisis started on Saturday when a young Victorian man, who travelled to the mine on June 18 via a Brisbane quarantine hotel, tested positive for the virus.

There are now 11 cases linked to the mine.

NSW records 22 new COVID-19 cases

NSW has recorded 22 new local COVID-19 cases but authorities expect numbers to tail off by the end of the week.

The new cases came from more than 68,000 tests undertaken to 8pm on Tuesday and Premier Gladys Berejiklian said initial fears of a significant escalation in case numbers hadn’t been realised.

Of the 22 cases, 11 were in isolation for the entirety of their infectious period. The tally for the outbreak that began on June 16 is now 171.

“Our fears about huge escalation haven’t materialised and we certainly want to keep it that way,” Berejiklian told reporters on Wednesday.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant earlier told Sydney radio 2GB she expected a decline in case numbers around the end of the week, but only if people continue to adhere to lockdown rules.

“This really depends on how the community and businesses respond to our request to minimise those interactions,” she said.

Today marks the fourth day of a lockdown for people in the Greater Sydney, Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour regions.

The stay at home orders will be in place until at least July 9.

Berejiklian has suggested the transmissibility of the Delta strain means some restrictions will likely remain in place, even after the current cluster is eradicated and the lockdown ends.

She said the state needs to get 80 per cent of its adult population vaccinated before it can adjust to “COVID-normal” life and open up.

The state is just over 20 per cent of the way to that goal.

Confusion over AstraZeneca advice after GPs blindsided

The federal government insists health advice for the AstraZeneca vaccine hasn’t changed despite phones “ringing off the hook” at GP clinics nationwide after the prime minister invited under 40s to discuss the jab with their doctor.

Scott Morrison late on Monday announced the Commonwealth will provide doctors with legal protection to provide the AstraZeneca vaccine to adults of all ages, sparking a rush of younger people keen to have the jab.

The Australian Medical Association refused to endorse the decision with AstraZeneca only recommended for people aged over 60 because of rare but serious blood clots.

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners President Karen Price said doctors were still trying to get their heads around the announcement.

“Phones are ringing off the hook at GP clinics,” she said.

“We had no warning of [Monday’s] announcements and this isn’t the first time this has happened to general practice.

“Please remember us GPs are still trying to get our heads around [the] announcement concerning AstraZeneca too and what it means for our patients.”

Health Minister Greg Hunt rejected suggestions the government had overhauled its vaccination strategy to speed up the rollout.

“There’s simply a recognition that the access for those who wish to make an informed, consent decision can be broad and consistent with the supply,” he told reporters in Victoria.

State premiers were reluctant to endorse the decision, which Scott Morrison announced after a meeting of national cabinet.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said governments should follow the advice of expert panel ATAGI, which recommended AstraZeneca only be given to people aged over 60.

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley insisted the AstraZeneca call was not a decision of national cabinet.

South Australian chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier on Tuesday said she did not “have a particular issue with the announcement”.

“The GPs are very confident that they have people who would like that vaccine but we need to make sure there’s a consent process for that.

“With every medication, it is a patient’s choice, and as long as they’ve had a robust discussion and understand the risks and they’ve done that with their GP then it really is up to them to make that decision.”

She noted that Pfizer will be made available to all Australians at some point but supplies are not available yet to open eligibility to under 40s.

Just over seven per cent of Australians have been fully vaccinated against COVID with outbreaks locking down millions of people across Sydney, southeast Queensland, Perth, Darwin and Townsville.

Vaccination data from the federal government show a total of 540,128 COVID vaccines have been administered in South Australia.

AFL fixture up in the air as Lions await SA Health exemption

The AFL is scrambling to finalise its round 16 fixture just a day out from the opening match of the weekend as the Brisbane Lions await an exemption from SA Health to fly into South Australia for their game against the Crows on Saturday.

Every club except Adelaide and Port Adelaide are now in Victoria after Brisbane, Gold Coast, West Coast and Fremantle arrived in Melbourne on Tuesday night due to snap lockdowns in south-east Queensland and Perth.

The AFL is awaiting an exemption from SA Health for the Lions to travel into South Australia for Saturday’s clash with the Crows at the Adelaide Oval scheduled for 4:05pm (ACST).

If the exemption is granted, Brisbane would likely face similar conditions to those experienced by Geelong and Collingwood in entering SA last month.

The two Victorian clubs had to undergo pre-flight COVID tests before boarding a chartered plane to Adelaide, and were required to isolate from the rest of the South Australian community.

The Lions hope to travel back to Queensland on Sunday but are prepared to be away for longer.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier on Tuesday said she had not been updated about any progress on an exemption but expected the same protocols to be in place as previously.

“We do have very good processes, we’ve used it before in the last couple of weeks with other teams and I presume we’ll be happy to do the same,” she said.

It is unclear whether the increased restrictions across SA will impact Adelaide Oval’s capacity for Saturday’s match.

Spurrier said SA Health was “still in conversations” with the Stadium Management Authority determine if any new protocols will need to be implemented.

“There are other controls that can be used at Adelaide Oval, so we are working closely with Adelaide Oval,” she said.

Meanwhile, the AFL has already moved the Gold Coast Suns’ Thursday night home clash with Richmond from Metricon Stadium to Marvel Stadium.

But the league is still weighing up the venue and time for Fremantle’s home clash with Carlton, originally slated for Perth’s Optus Stadium on Saturday night.

That game will either be played in Tasmania on Saturday afternoon or it will go ahead on Saturday night at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong.

Elsewhere, the Swans’ home game against West Coast at the SCG has been shifted to GMHBA Stadium on Sunday, while the Giants will play at the MCG for the second-straight week when they face Melbourne on Saturday.

Southeast Queensland awakes to lockdown, NT mine cluster grows

Millions of residents in Brisbane and southeast Queensland are this morning waking to their first day of a snap three-day lockdown, while the number of cases linked to an outbreak at a Northern Territory mine grows to 11 infections.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Tuesday announced the local government areas of southeast Queensland, Townsville City and Palm Island would go into lockdown after it emerged a 19-year-old receptionist at the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane travelled to the state’s north and was infectious in the community for 10 days before being tested.

One of her close friends and two of her family members are also now ill, and awaiting test results. The concierge also had contact with three other hospital workers.

The concierge was one of two cases of community transmission reported on Tuesday. The second was another miner who returned to Queensland from a Northern Territory mine where the Delta variant has also been circulating.

The cluster linked to the Northern Territory mine has now grown to 11 cases after the wife and daughter of an infected worker tested positive on Tuesday.

Darwin and its surrounding areas have been in lockdown since Sunday after a young Victorian man, who had travelled to the mine on June 18 via a Brisbane quarantine hotel, tested positive for the virus on Saturday.

New South Wales is also bracing for more cases today to add to the tally of more than 149 people who have contracted COVID  locally since June 16, when the first case was reported at Bondi in Sydney’s east.

Seventeen of Tuesday’s new cases in NSW were linked to previously confirmed cases, with the source of the other two still under investigation.

Both work in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, the epicentre of the outbreak.

In Western Australia, Premier Mark McGowan says the snap three-day snap of the Perth and Peel regions aims to crush an outbreak that has reached three cases, but cautions the highly infectious Delta strain is testing health systems and the community.

More than two million West Australians on Tuesday woke to their second day of a four-day lockdown to combat a COVID-19 outbreak linked to NSW.

There were no new locally acquired cases recorded on Tuesday when Perth and the Peel region were plunged into lockdown.

OzAsia reveals first taste of 2021 festival program

Theatre-maker Anchuli Felicia King’s dark corporate comedy White Pearl and the Australian premiere of pianist Belle Chen’s audio-visual show Destinations are among early highlights announced today for the 2021 OzAsia Festival.

After COVID-19 forced the cancellation of OzAsia’s live program in 2020, it is set to return from October 21 to November 7 this year with what new artistic director Annette Shun Wah describes as “the most significant showcase of contemporary Asian Australian artists that’s ever been seen”.

“We have so many world-class performers right here in Australia, and these first few shows that we’re announcing today are just the tip of an iceberg that includes world premieres and collaborations featuring some of Australia’s most respected artists alongside exciting new voices,” she said.

Chen’s Destinations, a show using electric keys, synthesizers and visual installations, will have its Australian premiere at Her Majesty’s Theatre during OzAsia. Other events announced today include a comedy special featuring performers such as Lawrence Leung, Nina Oyama and Jason Chong, and a new writing and ideas program to be hosted by former Adelaide Writers’ Week director Laura Kroetsch with guest curators Benjamin Law and Roanna Gonsalves.

A theatre highlight will be White Pearl, a satire about a start-up skincare company in Singapore whose TV commercial for its new range of “White Pearl” skin-whitening cream goes viral for all the wrong reasons. Read an interview with playwright Anchuli Felicia King on InReview.

-Suzie Keen

Social housing not keeping pace with national market: study

There are some 436,000 social housing dwellings in Australia accommodating more than 800,000 people, but the nation’s social stock is not keeping pace with growth in the rest of the housing sector, a new report says.

A study released on Wednesday by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showed the proportion of social housing decreased from 4.7 per cent of all dwellings in 2010 to 4.2 per cent last year.

Social housing is defined as public housing, community housing, state-owned and managed Indigenous housing, and Indigenous community housing.

“While the number of households in social housing has generally increased over the decade to mid-2020, social housing has not kept pace with the growth in the overall number of households in Australia,” the institute stated.

There were about 802,000 occupants in Australia’s social housing network in 2019/20, up from 797,100 the previous year.

Across all social housing, 62 per cent of occupants were women, and 49 per cent were aged 40 years or older.

The report also found demand for Commonwealth rental assistance climbed sharply last year as COVID-19 took a toll on the economy, with the number of families receiving the supplement payment rising from 1.29 million in 2019 to 1.7 million in late June last year.

The previous peak of that figure was 1.35 million in 2016.

Of those people on rent assistance, 38 per cent were also on JobSeeker payments – up on the 20 per cent in 2019.

The report also showed the number of single, no children, shared income units on Commonwealth rental assistance nearly doubled, from 163,300 to 321,900.

Nearly a third, or 29 per cent, of individuals or families on rent assistance were still considered to be in rental stress.

-With AAP and Reuters

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