- Victoria records another 1007 COVID cases, 12 deaths
- Chapman set to face no confidence motion
- SA closes border to NT as virus cluster grows
- Push to increase park lands oversight defeated
- Alleged medi-hotel absconder arrested
- Global consultancy giant announces Adelaide expansion
- US Capitol rioter ‘Shaman’ gets 41 months jail
Victoria records another 12 COVID deaths as restrictions lift at midnight
Victoria will scrap almost all remaining COVID-19 public health restrictions from midnight as it nears the 90 per cent double-dose vaccination mark, with another 1007 cases and 12 deaths recorded in the state on Thursday.
From Friday, fully vaccinated Victorians will be able to dance in clubs, there will be no home visitor limits and no density limits for cafes and restaurants.
“Because 90 per cent of Victorians have gone and gotten vaccinated, so many of these rules, almost all of them can fall away,” Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Thursday.
Masks will remain for a few more weeks in retail, for hospitality workers, on public transport and for primary school staff, visitors and students in years three to six.
Victoria is expected to hit 90 per cent double-dosed vaccination for the population aged 12 and over this weekend.
It comes as the state recorded 1007 new COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths on Thursday.
The state is now managing 13,814 active coronavirus infections.
It is the first time in five days that the state’s daily tally has risen above 1000 cases.
There are 337 virus patients in hospital, with 63 actively infected with COVID-19 in ICU, 65 have been cleared, and 34 on ventilators.
Non-essential retail will join the state’s vaccinated economy, meaning only fully vaccinated people can visit shops unless they are aged under 12 years and two months or have a valid exemption.
Masks will no longer be required for customers visiting hospitality venues, however workers must continue wearing them.
However, Victorians will need to continue wearing masks for a few more weeks in retail settings, on public transport and for primary school staff, visitors and students in years three to six.
From December 15 retail customers will no longer need to wear masks, unless there is a significant jump in hospitalisations.
Indoor events can host up to 30,000 punters, however one-off approval is needed to exceed that capacity.
Events held outdoors can exceed 30,000 attendees if they publish their COVIDSafe plans.
The changes mean the Boxing Day Test and Australian Open will be able to proceed at full capacity, subject to approval of the MCG and Melbourne Park’s plans.
People who attend weddings, funerals and places of worship that do not check vaccination statuses will be required to wear masks and be subject to density limits.
There will also be changes to isolation rules, with anyone who comes in contact with a confirmed virus case outside their home not required to self-quarantine.
Close contacts must, however, get a PCR test and isolate until they receive a negative result.
The quarantine change means businesses will no longer have to deep clean their premises after a positive case, or ask the department of health for approval.
Chapman set to face no confidence motion
Attorney-General Vickie Chapman could today become the first lower house minister in SA to lose a vote of no confidence, a prospect that could trigger an unprecedented constitutional standoff.
Labor has given notice that it will today move a motion of no confidence in the embattled minister, with a parliamentary inquiry expected to table a report declaring she had conflicts of interest, misled parliament and breached the ministerial code of conduct in her handling of a proposed major port project that she vetoed on her native Kangaroo Island.
A hostile parliament carries the real prospect of the motion passing, but the Deputy Premier has steadfastly denied the allegations, while Premier Steven Marshall has backed her “100 per cent”, telling parliament this week: “There are many uncertainties in life, but one thing that is certain is that the Deputy Premier is going nowhere.”
If the Government loses a vote of no confidence, the role of the state’s new Governor Frances Adamson will come under the spotlight, with the Opposition seeking to call on her to step in and remove Chapman from office.
The motion declares that the House of Assembly “no longer has confidence in the Member for Bragg to continue in her role as Deputy Premier, Attorney-General, Minister for Planning and Local Government, and as a Member of the Executive Council, for deliberately and intentionally misleading the House of Assembly and breaching the Ministerial Code of Conduct, and that this House calls on the Premier to immediately advise Her Excellency, the Governor, to remove the Member for Bragg’s commission to serve as a Minister of the Crown”.
It further “calls on the Speaker of the House of Assembly to present Her Excellency, the Governor with a copy of this motion, if adopted, expressing this House’s will that the Member for Bragg no longer serve as Deputy Premier, Attorney- General, Minister for Planning and Local Government and as a Member of the Executive Council”.
SA closes border to NT as virus cluster grows
Fully vaccinated South Australians returning from the Northern Territory town of Katherine will be required to undergo seven days of self-quarantine, after authorities moved to shut SA’s northern border on Wednesday following a spike in COVID-19 cases.
The new direction which came into force last night bars all Northern Territory residents – regardless of vaccination status – from entering South Australia, with only essential travellers and people fleeing domestic violence exempted.
It comes after the NT recorded another eight COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, with five in the remote community of Robinson River and three in the town of Katherine.
There are 19 active local cases in the NT.
Both Katherine and Robinson River have been in lockdown since Monday evening.
Fully vaccinated South Australians who have been in the Katherine LGA since November 10 are required to self-quarantine for seven days upon returning to SA and receive a COVID-19 test on day one, five and 13 of stay.
Unvaccinated South Australian residents are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
South Australian residents who transited through Katherine on their journey home are permitted to enter without having to undergo seven-days quarantine, provided they only stopped for respite or “other essential purposes (such as obtaining fuel)”.
South Australia is set to ease its border restrictions to fully vaccinated travellers from Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT on November 23.
A newborn baby was among the eight new COVID-19 cases detected in the NT on Wednesday.
“They are all Aboriginal Territorians,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner told reporters.
“The situation in Robinson River and Katherine is serious.
“I fear (the virus) will take lives in the territory before the year is out.”
All cases in the NT are either at or being moved to the Centre for National Resilience to quarantine, with 234 close contacts identified.
Gunner said it was likely the Delta variant of the virus had seeded in the NT, with genomic test results due on Thursday are expected to confirm if the current cluster is linked to the NT’s first community transmission outbreak several weeks ago.
Push to increase park lands oversight defeated
A Greens Bill to require parliamentary approval of any attempt to rezone the city park lands has been defeated in the Upper House.
Greens MLC Robert Simms said his private members bill would have prevented the State Government from rezoning the park lands without approval from both houses of state parliament.
It comes amid an ongoing push from the State Government to rezone 71 hectares of the park lands for the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital and the 15,000 seat Riverbank Arena.
But Simms said his Bill was defeated in the Upper House on Wednesday after both major parties voted against it.
“This is a dark day for the Parklands. Labor have sided with the Liberals to kill off this bill – effectively giving the Government the green light to press ahead with its rezoning plans,” Simms said.
“This doesn’t just mean the Riverbank Arena is still on the agenda but also the other rezoning proposed by the Government – creating the potential for cafes, restaurants and apartment towers.
“Giving the Liberals the right to rezone the Parklands is like giving Count Dracula the keys to the blood bank. Our Parklands shouldn’t be something developers can sink their teeth into.”
Alleged medi-hotel absconder arrested
A woman who allegedly absconded from medi-hotel quarantine in Adelaide has been arrested and charged with breaching the Emergency Management Act.
Police say Samantha Sullivan, also known as Samantha McNeven, was apprehended shortly after 9pm yesterday in Mile End following an “extensive police investigation”.
She arrived in Adelaide on Friday and was required to quarantine for a fortnight at the Pullman medi-hotel, but escaped on Saturday night via a fire escape and then caught a taxi from a nearby cab rank.
Sullivan had tested negative for COVID-19. She arrived in Adelaide from Darwin with a stolen driver’s license, according to police.
She has been charged with breaching the Emergency Management Act and will appear before the Adelaide Magistrates Court today.
Sullivan was the third person to escape South Australia’s medi-hotel system.
In August, SA Police conducted a review of medi-hotel security after New South Wales man Paul McElhinney walked out of the Grand Chancellor Hotel’s basement car park and spent eight hours in the community.
Global consultancy giant announces Adelaide expansion
US professional services company Cognizant is setting up a new global delivery centre in South Australia, with the State Government expecting the move to create up to 1600 jobs.
The multinational consultancy firm announced this morning it would be expanding its Australian workforce to Adelaide, with the new centre to help South Australians clients with software, AI, machine learning and data analytics.
The company, which employs nearly 300,000 staff across the world and has offices in Melbourne and Sydney, said their new Adelaide hub will have a focus on using new technologies to help clients de-carbonise and grow South Australia’s green economy.
Cognizant Australia and New Zealand CEO Jane Livey said a “Centre of Excellence” will be built within the delivery hub to “help clients drive carbon neutrality”.
“Being based in Adelaide will help us to fulfil our purpose to build a high quality, market leading digital transformation capability that enhances the lives of everyday Australians,” Livesey said.
“The green Adelaide movement which works towards a vision of a cooler, greener, wilder and climate resilient South Australia has been top of mind.
“It aligns nicely with Cognizant’s sustainability and Internet of Things offerings.”
The company is currently seeking expressions of interest for new employees at the future Adelaide centre.
Premier Steven Marshall said up to 1600 digital jobs will be created by Cognizant’s expansion.
“1600 South Australians who are looking for a career in the digital space will have jobs thanks to Cognizant’s confidence in our great state,” Marshall said.
“Cognizant will be in good company in Adelaide with the Australian Institute for Machine Learning, the MIT bigdata Living Lab, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure Space and Nokia 5G.”
US Capitol rioter ‘Shaman’ gets 41 months jail
A federal judge has sentenced the US Capitol rioter nicknamed the “QAnon Shaman” to 41 months in prison for his role in the deadly January 6 attack by followers of then-president Donald Trump.
Prosecutors had asked US District Judge Royce Lamberth to impose a longer 51-month sentence on Jacob Chansley, who pleaded guilty in September to obstructing an official proceeding when he and thousands of others stormed the building in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s election.
The sentence matches one imposed by a judge on a former mixed martial artist filmed punching a police officer during violence, who was sentenced last week to 41 months in prison.
Lamberth said he believed Chansley, who made a lengthy speech before he was sentenced, had done a lot to convince the court he is “on the right track”.
Chansley’s lawyers asked the judge for a sentence of time served for their client, who has been detained since his January arrest.
He appeared in court in a dark green prison jumpsuit, with a beard and shaved head.
While in detention, Chansley was diagnosed by prison officials with transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.
When he entered his guilty plea, Chansley said he was disappointed Trump had not pardoned him.
Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives and acquitted by the Senate on a charge of inciting the January 6 riot for a fiery speech that preceded it.
Four people died in the violence.
-With AAP and Reuters
Local News Matters
Media diversity is under threat in Australia – nowhere more so than in South Australia. The state needs more than one voice to guide it forward and you can help with a donation of any size to InDaily. Your contribution goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. Please click below to help InDaily continue to uncover the facts.