New South Wales has recorded 1485 locally acquired cases, and three deaths.
We are about to turn to NSW, where authorities are due to hold a press conference with today’s Covid-19 update shortly.
Young says that NSW Health has alerted QLD authorities to two new cases that were infectious in Queensland.
The first is a fully vaccinated Qantas pilot, who lives on quite an isolated cattle property out towards Kingaroy. he travelled from his home to Brisbane where he saw his mother. He then travelled to Brisbane Airport, flew to Hong Kong, and then flew back to Melbourne, where he tested negative. He also travelled down to Tamworth. Authorities are waiting on the genome sequence to see whether he contracted the virus in Tamworth or Hong Kong. At this stage, health authorities are not too concerned because he was at home during his infectious period, and his wife and children have tested negative.
The second person is a truck driver who lives in NSW, and travelled up through Queensland. He travelled through Archerfield and Coopers Plains, and then travelled straight back down to NSW. Young says he had some exposure time at the Archerfield BP, but otherwise very minimal exposure in Queensland.
Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young is providing more information about the state’s one locally acquired case.
The mother of the four-year-old tested negative twice before testing positive in the last 24 hours.
Young has also put a call out to anyone in the Logan/Beenleigh community who attended a nail salon, Stylish Nails, last Monday. The salon has become an exposure site. But not many people checked in using QR codes, and so health authorities are still struggling to track down those customers
This brings the total to 16 active cases in Queensland.
Palaszczuk is urging Queenslanders to go and get vaccinated. In the last 24 hours, Queensland Health administered 15,880 vaccines.
This means that 52.7% of the state has had at least one dose, and 34.14% are fully vaccinated.
Queensland records one new case
Queensland has recorded only one new locally acquired Covid-19 case, the mother of the four-year-old daughter who tested positive on Friday.
The mother was in isolation.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is due to give a Covid-19 update at 10.45am.
Three children are in the ICU in Sydney with Covid-19, news.com.au has reported.
Two children are under the age of 10, one of whom is an infant. Both are on ventilators.
Another child is under the age of 12 and is being treated with a high flow CPAP machine, which is a mask that increases pressure in the airways and can help inhaling and exhaling air.
All three children have underlying health conditions.
Senator Rex Patrick delivers jobkeeper ultimatum
Independent federal senator, Rex Patrick, appears to have tweeted an ultimatum to the government: be transparent about the profitable corporations that wrongly pocketed jobkeeper, or he will withdraw support for the government’s changes to the EPBC Act.
The government needs Patrick’s vote in the Senate to pass the legislation.
Patrick has been asking for the ATO to release a list of the companies that received jobkeeper, and how much they received.
Finally, Speers asked Robert why the government won’t, at least, publish a list for taxpayers of “where the money went and let the firms decide whether to pay it back”?
But Robert argued that that would interfere with the privacy of these companies.
The transparency if you like, or what pertained in the Senate which was a demand for all the records of so many Australian companies, and vast majority of them being small to medium enterprises under tax law, that would substantially invade the privacy and would substantially make a huge step in the wrong direction as to how we manage the privacy of all of those individuals and all of those companies, David. It would be a massive retrograde step in how we do things.
Turning to jobkeeper, Speers pointed out that $13bn went to firms with rising revenues (some of whom actually tripled their revenues). Speers asked Robert why the government hasn’t demanded these firms repay their jobkeeper payments, while 11,000 welfare recipients have been asked to do so?
The law requires, the law has been in place for decades across multiple governments, and likewise the law, jobkeeper – which was passed through Parliament and Labor agreed with it was to provide from March to September last year – that if you had a downturn, you had a prospective payment at $1,500.
Why not have the same rule apply. If you get overpaid, you have to pay it back?
Because Treasury’s advice was we need to give as much prospective guidance and confidence as possible. In fact, in April, view that the average downturn across those firms in Australia, 3.8 million workers covered was 37% downturn, so it was highly targeted and on Treasury advice.
(Put your hand up if this argument has you confused as well.)
David Speers moved on to question Stuart Robert on Insiders this morning about what the federal government will do to support those, especially low-income earners, who test positive for Covid-19 and need to isolate.
Robert said that the government would continue to plan and announce support, but wouldn’t provide any further details.
We will continue to work through what these measures look like and announce them when required, but our track record has shown that we have stepped up and taken care of Australians in very difficult circumstances.
This exchange pretty much sums up the first half of Speers’ interview with Robert on ABC Insiders this morning:
So I’m clear: we should have a framework and stick to it, but it might shift and we have to change?
Of course plans shift. You will have a plan for your show next week and I’m sure you will change it when things come up.
But lives are at not at risk. Hopefully lives are not at stake.
Then there is a lot of confusing back and forth about whether or not Australia has a plan to open up at 80%, or whether that plan can and should change. Robert seems to be trying to argue both points.
On the one hand, Robert insists that we can be confident that we should open up at 80% (even though we haven’t seen the updated modelling from the Doherty Institute).
When pressed on this point, Robert says that the original Doherty Institute modelling “is a framework of 80%. That is why the national plan is there. That’s why we need the framework”.
But then Robert also says that “we will continue to do further work, as we move into the months ahead”.
Asked if the plan might “move or shift, or is set in stone?”, Robert snapped back:
Oh, goodness, David, look at the last 12 months, things have been shifting on a daily and weekly basis. A plan is always a basis for change, it has to be.
But Speers isn’t satisfied with Robert’s reasoning. He points out that the Doherty Institute has done further modelling on the pressure that hospitals are likely to face at reopening, given the higher case numbers we are seeing in NSW and Victoria.
So, Speers asks, how can we be confident that we are going to open up until we can see what the hospitals are likely to face?
Because we started it last year. When we started that first big six months, especially from March to September, we were faced with very genuine fears that we have faced now, great overloads of the hospital system, hence why we made available every bed in hospitals, a lot of investment in terms of ventilators and the like, so a lot of that work started then. That was 12 months ago. We’ve had 12 months of planning now…
I appreciate that, but why is the further work necessary now?
Like all things, now that we’ve got the Delta strain, last year we planned for a different strain, so it’s always cautionary faced with a different problem in this case, a different virus, one should always update what you are looking at…