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Australia Post reveals the extraordinary lengths it went to to deliver parcels during coronavirus

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australia post reveals the extraordinary lengths it went to to deliver parcels during coronavirus
Australia Post chief Christina Holgate said the company had a busy ten weeks

Australia Post chief Christina Holgate said the company had a busy ten weeks

Australia Post chief Christina Holgate said the company had a busy ten weeks

Australia Post chartered 17 planes per day to deliver packages during an online shopping boom at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

The postal giant experienced a 90 per cent increase in parcel processing, as businesses moved their services online to stay afloat during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Speaking at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia national forum on Tuesday, Australia Post chief Christina Holgate explained the company was forced to create makeshift sorting facilities to meet the incredible demand. 

‘We’ve had ten weeks operating like the size of Christmas,’ Ms Holgate said, according to the Canberra Times.

Ms Holgat said 200,000 households shopped online for the first time during the pandemic – bringing three million people to the website in one day. 

‘These were massive operational challenges which brought huge costs.’

Ms Holgate said parcels were 40 percent bigger and heavier than they were before the pandemic. Pictured: A man collecting a parcel over the Easter weekend during COVID-19

Ms Holgate said parcels were 40 percent bigger and heavier than they were before the pandemic. Pictured: A man collecting a parcel over the Easter weekend during COVID-19

Ms Holgate said parcels were 40 percent bigger and heavier than they were before the pandemic. Pictured: A man collecting a parcel over the Easter weekend during COVID-19

As Qantas planes were grounded to curb the spread of the virus, Australia Post was forced to charter flights around the nation to deliver packages – which were 40 per cent bigger and heavier than they were before the pandemic.

The travel ban also resulted in a 90 per cent drop in passport application processing – another service offered by the postal agency.  

Sixteen pop-up sorting facilities the size of football fields were set up with staff from around the company volunteering to help.

About 4,500 employees began working from home and many took leave in April to keep costs at a minimum. 

Extra costs also came from a surge in postal redirection as employees moved to home offices, and ensuring staff had the correct protective equipment to stop potential infections.

Sixteen pop-up sorting facilities the size of football fields were set up with staff from around the company volunteering to help. Pictured: a woman collecting a package over the Easter long weekend

Sixteen pop-up sorting facilities the size of football fields were set up with staff from around the company volunteering to help. Pictured: a woman collecting a package over the Easter long weekend

Sixteen pop-up sorting facilities the size of football fields were set up with staff from around the company volunteering to help. Pictured: a woman collecting a package over the Easter long weekend

Pictured: A postie collecting packages during COVID-19 lockdowns over the Easter weekend

Pictured: A postie collecting packages during COVID-19 lockdowns over the Easter weekend

Pictured: A postie collecting packages during COVID-19 lockdowns over the Easter weekend

‘We didn’t want to stand down our employees because there’s always that risk that if you don’t operate in a crisis you can became irrelevant so we wanted to keep working,’ she said.

In April, Australia Post announced a restructure that will see letters delivered every second business day so more posties would be available to deliver parcels from online shoppers. 

While Australia Post was accused of planning to fire posties, the company maintained that would not happen.

‘These changes have been requested to enable Australia Post to continue to offer important community services and remain sustainable for the future,’ it said in a statement last week.

‘No postie that is directly impacted by the implementation of the ADM (alternating delivery model) will be forced to accept a redundancy.’  

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Daniel Andrews accused of distraction technique by moving briefings

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daniel andrews accused of distraction technique by moving briefings

Daniel Andrews has been accused of deliberately moving his daily press conference an hour earlier to distract from an inquiry into the state’s hotel quarantine debacle.

On Monday and Tuesday this week the premier held his briefing at 10am, an hour before the usual time of 11am.

The inquiry into the quarantine scheme, which failed to contain the virus and sparked the state’s deadly second wave, begins at 10am each day with key witnesses being questioned.

Daniel Andrews (pictured) has been accused of deliberately moving his daily press conference an hour earlier to distract from an inquiry into the state's hotel quarantine debacle

Daniel Andrews (pictured) has been accused of deliberately moving his daily press conference an hour earlier to distract from an inquiry into the state's hotel quarantine debacle

Daniel Andrews (pictured) has been accused of deliberately moving his daily press conference an hour earlier to distract from an inquiry into the state’s hotel quarantine debacle

Opposition MP Matthew Guy also said Mr Andrews deliberately changed the timing of his briefing to take attention away from the inquiry

Opposition MP Matthew Guy also said Mr Andrews deliberately changed the timing of his briefing to take attention away from the inquiry

Opposition MP Matthew Guy also said Mr Andrews deliberately changed the timing of his briefing to take attention away from the inquiry

The Australian’s workplace editor Ewin Hannan described Mr Andrews’ change of timing of as a ‘crass attempt at media management to minimise attention’ on the inquiry. 

Opposition MP Matthew Guy also claimed Mr Andrews deliberately changed the timing of his briefing to take attention away. 

‘For Andrews and Labor, media spin always comes first – always. It’s all about the PR. And for Andrews, it’s all about him,’ he wrote.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted the premier’s office for comment. 

Chris Eccles, the premier's right-hand man

Chris Eccles, the premier's right-hand man

Chris Eccles, the premier’s right-hand man

Victoria’s second wave began in late May when hotel security guards and staff failed to adhere to social distancing requirements, caught the virus and spread it around Melbourne. 

The Andrews government has been criticised for using private security guards instead of soldiers and police to run the quarantine scheme.  

On Monday the inquiry heard from the man who runs the premier’s office, Chris Eccles, who said he did not know who made the decision to use private security instead of ADF troops to enforce the quarantine.

The inquiry heard that Mr Eccles was offered ADF support from Canberra but he could not remember if he told the premier, or anyone else, about the offer.

Daniel Andrews has denied that hundreds of troops were offered. 

On Tuesday the inquiry heard from the head of the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions and the boss of the Department of Health and Human Services. 

At his press briefing on Tuesday Mr Andrews refused to answer questions over who made the decision to use private security guards to man quarantine.

He is due to appear before the inquiry on Friday afternoon.

‘I can confirm to you that I’ll be truthful, absolutely honest and direct,’ he said.

Victoria has had three coronavirus deaths, while new cases jumped on Tuesday to 28.

The latest fatalities take the state toll to 766 and the national figure to 854.

The news cases are a significant spike on Monday’s 11, the lowest Victorian figure since June 16.

But the crucial 14-day rolling average of new cases for Melbourne continues to fall to 32.8, while it is holding at 1.6 for regional areas.

Cases with an unknown source from September 6-19 are 45 for Melbourne and none for regional Victoria.

Mr Andrews encouraged anyone with a scratchy throat, runny nose or headache to get tested for the virus. Pictured: Melbourne residents on Saturday

Mr Andrews encouraged anyone with a scratchy throat, runny nose or headache to get tested for the virus. Pictured: Melbourne residents on Saturday

Mr Andrews encouraged anyone with a scratchy throat, runny nose or headache to get tested for the virus. Pictured: Melbourne residents on Saturday

There was some good news for Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday, with a Newspoll showing a majority of Victorian voters back his handling of the state’s second wave.

Some 62 per cent said they were satisfied with his performance even though the virus escaped from hotel quarantine in late May and caused a deadly second wave.

The Newspoll also found that 61 per cent of Victorians thought the state’s lockdown restrictions were ‘about right’. 

A quarter of people said they were too strict and 10 per cent said they were too lenient.  

Asked how Mr Andrews was handling his job, 62 per cent of voters were satisfied and 35 per cent were dissatisfied for a net satisfaction score of 27 per cent.

The September net score was up from 20 per cent in July when the state’s second wave of infections began to emerge. In April, it was 58 per cent. 

Mr Andrews has been under constant criticism since he plunged Victoria back into lockdown on 8 July. The state’s second wave has caused more than 700 deaths, mostly in aged care homes. 

It began when hotel security guards and staff failed to adhere to social distancing requirements, caught the virus and spread it around Melbourne.  

Opposition MPs want restrictions relaxed faster as the lockdown threatens to put up to 400,000 Victorians out of work by Christmas. Pictured: A Melbourne park on Saturday

Opposition MPs want restrictions relaxed faster as the lockdown threatens to put up to 400,000 Victorians out of work by Christmas. Pictured: A Melbourne park on Saturday

Opposition MPs want restrictions relaxed faster as the lockdown threatens to put up to 400,000 Victorians out of work by Christmas. Pictured: A Melbourne park on Saturday

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Colombian student remembered as ‘playful and happy’ after Honda hit her motorcycle in Sydney

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colombian student remembered as playful and happy after honda hit her motorcycle in sydney

A Colombian student who died when a car allegedly hit her motorcycle has been remembered as ‘playful and happy’. 

Maria Alejandra Landazabal Contreras was waiting at a red light in Moorebank, south-west Sydney, when a Honda HR-V allegedly struck her from behind about 11.35pm on Saturday. 

The 27-year-old was rushed to Liverpool Hospital with severe head and internal injuries but died the next morning.

Maria Alejandra Landazabal Contreras (pictured) died on Sunday after a Saturday night crash

Maria Alejandra Landazabal Contreras (pictured) died on Sunday after a Saturday night crash

Maria Alejandra Landazabal Contreras (pictured) died on Sunday after a Saturday night crash

The Honda HR-V (pictured) allegedly hit Ms Contreras's motorcycle (right) about 11.35pm on Saturday

The Honda HR-V (pictured) allegedly hit Ms Contreras's motorcycle (right) about 11.35pm on Saturday

The Honda HR-V (pictured) allegedly hit Ms Contreras’s motorcycle (right) about 11.35pm on Saturday

Ms Contreras moved from Colombia to Sydney earlier this year and was staying with host Rosa Rutte in Engadine, where she helped care for Ms Rutte’s twin daughters. 

‘She made an instant connection with my daughters and reminded me of myself when I came to Australia as a student,’ Ms Rutte told The Daily Telegraph

‘She had a kid’s soul, she will play with my daughter hide and seek, she do their nails and their hairs (sic), she prepared delicious desserts.’ 

Ms Rutte said Ms Contreras’s death was ‘still very surreal for all of us’ saying she had her whole life ahead of her. 

‘She had so many dreams to fulfil. She loved travelling, she was planning to travel through Asia while she was studying in Australia.’  

Ms Contreras moved from Colombia to Sydney earlier this year and was staying with host Rosa Rutte and her family in Engadine

Ms Contreras moved from Colombia to Sydney earlier this year and was staying with host Rosa Rutte and her family in Engadine

Ms Contreras moved from Colombia to Sydney earlier this year and was staying with host Rosa Rutte and her family in Engadine 

Ms Contreras has been remembered as 'playful and happy' following her tragic death

Ms Contreras has been remembered as 'playful and happy' following her tragic death

Ms Contreras has been remembered as ‘playful and happy’ following her tragic death 

Police allege Wilbert Gabrielle Guevara, 32, from Doonside, was behind the wheel of the SUV which hit Ms Contreras. 

He has been charged with dangerous driving occasioning death – drive in a manner dangerous, negligent driving occasioning death, not stop at red light and drive whilst disqualified.

Guevara was due to appear in Liverpool Local Court on Tuesday but is still in hospital being treated for his injuries.

The matter will return to court on September 28 as a report is prepared for the coroner. 

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Sydney kebab shop owner is savaged for sharing a ‘homophobic meme’

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sydney kebab shop owner is savaged for sharing a homophobic meme

A kebab shop owner in Sydney’s LGBTI heartland has been driven off social media over a homophobic meme. 

Ziftekhar Hasan’s business, Yilmaz Grill & Bakehouse in Waterloo in Sydney’s south has been the target of increasing backlash from neighbours after the offensive post was shared to the shop’s Facebook page. 

The page was then inundated with so many negative comments and reviews, even after Mr Hasan issued a grovelling apology, that he was forced to close the account. 

Mr Hasan (pictured) said he has been seeing increasing backlash from locals after the post

Mr Hasan (pictured) said he has been seeing increasing backlash from locals after the post

Mr Hasan (pictured) said he has been seeing increasing backlash from locals after the post 

‘It came to my attention that an eatery in our building was posting ant-gay memes. I will not be buying from there again … I urge the gays of the village to boycott this business,’ one neighbour wrote. 

Mr Hasan defended the meme which Daily Mail Australia has chosen not to publish due to its offensive content. 

‘It’s not about me being homophobic it’s just me sharing a meme that I’ve seen online,’ Mr Hasan told A Current Affair outside his shop. 

One of the shop's neighbours urged other locals to avoid the business

One of the shop's neighbours urged other locals to avoid the business

One of the shop’s neighbours urged other locals to avoid the business 

The business (pictured) in Waterloo in Sydney's south regularly hosts $15 all-you-can-eat nights

The business (pictured) in Waterloo in Sydney's south regularly hosts $15 all-you-can-eat nights

The business (pictured) in Waterloo in Sydney’s south regularly hosts $15 all-you-can-eat nights 

Locals, however, didn’t seem to be buying the change of heart with one woman throwing eggs at Mr Hasan from her balcony across the street. 

‘You’re a homophobe… Shut your business down now,’ the woman then yells. 

Shutting his shop down would certainly hurt Mr Hasan’s back pocket – with the successful business earning him enough to buy a lime green Lamborghini worth more than $200,000. 

The car, emblazoned with the store’s logo, is one of a number of expensive vehicles regularly parked outside Mr Hasan’s shop on $15 all you can eat nights he puts on for his mates. 

Another neighbor said Mr Hasan deserved the backlash he was getting for promoting hate. 

‘It’s kind of silly especially knowing the demographics of this place which is pretty gay friendly,’ the local said. 

Mr Hasan said his post was prompted after a mate of his was sexually assaulted by a gay person in 2014. 

However, he also later brushed off the meme as ‘just a joke’ and said they were not his ‘genuine’ views when interviewed by ACA. 

Mr Hasan’s said the community should celebrate its similarities rather than differences and he hopes to repair his standing with the locals in his suburb and wider LGBTI community. 

Mr Hasan's lime green Lamborghini (pictured) is a sign of his business's success

Mr Hasan's lime green Lamborghini (pictured) is a sign of his business's success

Mr Hasan’s lime green Lamborghini (pictured) is a sign of his business’s success 

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