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What we know today, Tuesday September 28


Victoria’s daily COVID-19 cases have exceeded the number in New South Wales for the first time in several months as its new infections hit a daily record of 867 and four deaths while NSW announced 863 new cases and seven deaths.

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Victoria hits daily virus case record

Victoria has recorded 867 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and four deaths, as well as an additional 149 infections from previous days.

It is the state’s highest daily figure since the start of the pandemic, surpassing the previous record of 847 cases on Saturday.

The state’s health department said an additional 140 cases have been added to Monday’s tally and nine cases to Sunday’s tally due to test results “incorrectly recorded by a third-party software vendor”.

This means there are now 9261 active infectious across Victoria.

There were 49,450 coronavirus tests processed and 35,160 vaccine doses administered at state-run hubs on Monday.

It comes as general practitioners and pharmacies in Melbourne suburbs hardest hit by COVID-19 are eligible for grants to help speed up the vaccination rollout.

More than 78 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over have now had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 47.7 per cent have had two doses.

Melbourne’s lockdown will remain in place until 70 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 are double-vaccinated, which is forecast for October 26.

A more significant easing of restrictions will occur when the 80 per cent double-dose target is met, forecast for November 5.

However, some modest changes will be made to restrictions on Wednesday, when the state pass 80 per cent single-dose vaccination coverage.

Meanwhile, NSW has reported 863 new local cases of COVID-19 – dipping below Victoria’s number of daily infections – and seven deaths.

Most of NSW is locked down and police are cracking down on compliance measures as authorities battle to contain the spread of the virulent Delta strain.

Of the seven people who died in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday, one person was in their 40s, one in their 50s, two in their 70s, two in their 80s and one in their 90s.

It takes the toll for the current outbreak to 316.

Pair arrested after chopper tracks car from above

A man and a teenaged boy will appear in court today after the police helicopter was used to track the stolen car they allegedly drove through suburban Adelaide last night.

Police were called to a home in Springfield after reports a Mercedes Benz had been stolen from the garage of a home about 10.50pm.

The car was fitted with a tracking device which allowed police to locate the stolen Mercedes on Prospect Road a short time later.

The police helicopter PolAir tracked the vehicle from above as it headed north before turning onto Regency Road, Gallipoli Drive and then into the back streets of Angle Park.

The Mercedes was dumped on Angle Road where the driver and passenger ran from the car.

Cordons were set up in the area and two males were arrested in Londonderry Crescent, Mansfield Park.

The alleged driver was located in the yard of a home and his teenage passenger was located on the roof of another house.

Both were arrested without incident.

A 16-year-old boy from Hope Valley and a 21-year-old man from Christies Beach were charged with aggravated serious trespass and illegal use of a motor vehicle.

The teen was also charged with being unlawfully on premises and the 21-year-old charged with speed dangerous,  driving unlicenced and driving disqualified.

They were both refused police bail and will appear in Port Adelaide Magistrates and Youth Court today.

Investigation clears Crows of pre-season camp breaches

A SafeWork SA investigation has cleared the Adelaide Football Club of any work health and safety laws at its notorious 2018 AFL pre-season camp.

The Gold Coast mind training camp, held months after the Crows’ shattering 2017 grand final loss to Richmond, was intended to build mental resilience and take the club forward.

Instead, it created ructions within their squad, with reports some players had been distressed and offended by what took place during the camp.

But the Crows confirmed on Tuesday a SafeWork SA investigation found they hadn’t breached any work health and safety laws.

“The South Australian Government’s independent workplace safety regulator has cleared the Adelaide Football Club of any wrongdoing in relation to its pre-season training camp in 2018,” the Crows said in a statement.

“SafeWork SA’s comprehensive investigation, which took more than a year to complete, found neither the club nor any other person or organisation breached any work health and safety laws during or in relation to the camp.

“The club fully co-operated with the confidential investigation, voluntarily providing all information and documentation sought by SafeWork SA. The matter is now closed.”

Four new Queensland COVID cases

Queensland has four new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 including a truck driver who was infectious in the community for a week.

All of the cases are in the southeast corner of the state but so far there’s been no order for a new lockdown.

The first case was reported late on Monday, an Eatons Hill man who works at an aviation training facility who was infectious in the community for three days. His wife is the second case.

The man was double vaccinated but only had his second jab a week ago.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said there were significant concerns about the third case – the truck driver who was active in the community for a week while infectious, and who was staying in share accommodation.

“The police are speaking to this truck driver to get some more information from him,” the premier told reporters on Tuesday.

The fourth case, which authorities are not too concerned about, was a person who tested positive after being released from two weeks of hotel quarantine.

The premier said masks have again been made mandatory in public settings in the Brisbane and Morton Bay areas.

The new cases come after 55260 people attended two NRL preliminary finals matches in Brisbane at the weekend. Another 70,000 people attended the RiverFire festival on Saturday night.

Brisbane is also scheduled to host the NRL Grand Final on Sunday.

Gibbs, Tsitas share Magarey Medal honours

South Adelaide midfielder Bryce Gibbs and Woodville-West Torrens on-baller James Tsitas have been crowned joint winners of the 2021 Magarey Medal in a nail-biting count at Adelaide Oval last night.

Former Carlton and Adelaide player Gibbs and Eagles ball-magnet Tsitas polled 21 votes, to be the first players to share SANFL’s prestigious individual award in nine years.

Three players – Gibbs, Tsitas and Glenelg’s Matthew Snook – were a chance to win with one round to play, with Gibbs polling two votes in the Panthers’ Round 19 win against West Adelaide to share the medal.

Snook finished joint runner-up with Eagles star Jack Hayes, who drew level with Snook on 20 votes when he was adjudged best afield in his team’s final minor round win against Central District.

The winners of the past two Magarey Medals – North Adelaide’s Campbell Combe (2020) and Glenelg’s Luke Partington (2019) – finished equal third with 17 votes each.

Gibbs, 32, is the eighth South Adelaide player to win the Magarey Medal, joining Panthers’ greats such as Dan Moriarty, Mark Naley and the retiring Joel Cross.

Featuring in his first full SANFL season since playing with Glenelg in 2006, Gibbs averaged 27 disposals, six tackles and six clearances to have a major influence in his team’s run to the Preliminary Final.

Tsitas is the first Woodville-West Torrens player to win the Magarey Medal since the Warriors and Eagles joined forces in 1991.

A former captain of Geelong’s VFL team, Tsitas has thrived since arriving at the Eagles in 2020, playing in a League premiership in his first SANFL season.

The 26-year-old touched the ball more than any other player during the 2021 minor round, averaging 29 disposals, five tackles and five clearances to be a consistent driving force for the Eagles inside the centre square.

It is the 15th occasion multiple players have won the Magarey Medal and 13th that joint winners have been honoured, with South’s Joel Cross and Central’s Brad Symes being the most recent in 2012.

Rules ease to encourage farm stays for workers

The State Government is temporarily changing planning rules to make it easier for farmers to set up temporary accommodation to house an expected influx of workers during harvest.

The jobs in regional South Australia are typically filled by interstate or overseas workers, but due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, companies, like bulk grain handler Viterra, are calling on locals to fill these roles.

According to the government, hotels and motels are already being booked out in regional towns but more accommodation is needed for the influx of workers.

Bulk handler Viterra is looking to fill 1500 positions alone.

The planning regulation changes mean bulk handlers and other farmers won’t have to obtain planning consent for temporary accommodation proposals.

Development applications will be assessed by the State Planning Commission, rather than councils, to ensure any development approval granted is appropriately and consistently conditioned.

“Farmers and bulk handlers, such as Viterra, are anticipating a big harvest for South Australian growers, and they need the workers to support getting it into storage,” Minister for Planning and Local Government Vickie Chapman said.

“These changes are expected to significantly reduce the time it takes to gain approval to build temporary accommodation for these workers.

“The changes are temporary, but I encourage other farmers to speak up if they believe this regulation change could help them as well.”

Fire destroys Woodville home

An unoccupied house in Woodville was destroyed by fire overnight, leaving a damage bill of $500,000.

Police and fire crews were called to the Bower Street home about 12.30am to find the house engulfed by flames.

Seven appliances and 24 firefighters battled the blaze for an hour from three sides to extinguish the blaze.

Fire Cause Investigators attended the scene and deemed the fire suspicious.

Macron egged at French food fair

French President Emmanuel Macron has been hit at the shoulder by an egg thrown at him by a man during a visit to an international food trade fair near Lyon.

Video footage from the event in the town of Bron clearly shows a well-boiled egg bouncing off Macron’s shoulder without breaking.

The 19-year-old who threw the egg at close range was immediately arrested, according to the public prosecutor’s office in Lyon.

The motive for the egging remains unclear but intentional violence against a public official is a crime in France.

It is not the first time Macron has been the target of an egging.

In 2017, the then-presidential candidate was pelted with an unboiled egg and came off far worse: the egg broke open on his head.

SA researchers unearth ancient eagle fossil

Flinders University researchers have unearthed a 25-million-year-old eagle fossil, thought to be one of the world’s oldest species of raptors, on a remote South Australian cattle station.

Palaeontologists discovered Archaehierax sylvestris, on the barren shore of a dry lake in a desolate sandy desert habitat during ongoing investigations into a lost ecosystem, when Australia’s interior was covered in trees and verdant forests.

“This species was slightly smaller and leaner than the wedge-tailed eagle, but it’s the largest eagle known from this time period in Australia,” PhD candidate Ellen Mather said.

“The foot span was nearly 15 cm long, which would have allowed it to grasp large prey.

“The largest marsupial predators at the time were about the size of a small dog or large cat, so Archaehierax was certainly ruling the roost.”

Associate Professor Trevor Worthy said eagles at the time were few in number so were infrequently preserved as fossils.

“It’s rare to find even one bone from a fossil eagle,” he said.

“To have most of the skeleton is pretty exciting, especially considering how old it is.”

The raptor would have hunted koalas, possums and other animals in trees surrounding a vast shallow lake, on which waterfowl, cormorants and flamingos would have been abundant, researchers said.

They said the Archaehierax partial skeleton, made up of 63 bones, was one of the best-preserved from the SA site.

Details of the find have been published in the journal Historical Biology.

– with AAP and Reuters

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