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JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments to be reduced in a ‘series of phases’

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jobkeeper and jobseeker payments to be reduced in a series of phases

The JobKeeper and increased JobSeeker payments will be adjusted in several phases from September, Scott Morrison said today.

Speaking at an exhibition display business in Miranda, south Sydney, the Prime Minister said the support payments would not be suddenly removed when they are due to end on September 27.  

‘We have to look at our supports and our programmes as a series of phases,’ he said.

The JobKeeper and increased JobSeeker payments will be reduced in several phases from September, Scott Morrison said today. Pictured: Queues for Centrelink in April

The JobKeeper and increased JobSeeker payments will be reduced in several phases from September, Scott Morrison said today. Pictured: Queues for Centrelink in April

The JobKeeper and increased JobSeeker payments will be reduced in several phases from September, Scott Morrison said today. Pictured: Queues for Centrelink in April

‘And how many phases there are it is very difficult to say because there are so many uncertainties associated with COVID-19.’

Currently 3.5million Australians receive the $1,500-a-fortnight JobKeeper payment and almost a million are on the doubled JobSeeker payment of $1,124.50 every two weeks.

The government has not yet revealed how much the payments will be in the next phase, with further announcements expected this week.  

Mr Morrison said businesses would get several months to adjust to the next phase of support because the current levels do not end until September 27.

‘It will be targeted, it will be temporary, it will be effective as the first round has been,’ the Prime Minister said. 

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said some businesses may no longer qualify for JobKeeper in the next phase.

‘If that turnover is improved sufficiently and they are opening their doors, seeing more foot traffic through their shops, then the JobKeeper program may not be applicable to them,’ he told Sky News on Monday.

The Treasurer said the initial design of the program was based on getting money out as quickly as possible which meant it was not perfect.  

‘One of the outcomes of that is that some people under the program received more money in the form of this $1,500 flat payment than they were receiving prior to the crisis,’ he said.

A tram passenger is seen wearing a mask in Bourke street in Melbourne. Victoria has recorded 275 cases of coronavirus and a woman in her 80s has died

A tram passenger is seen wearing a mask in Bourke street in Melbourne. Victoria has recorded 275 cases of coronavirus and a woman in her 80s has died

A tram passenger is seen wearing a mask in Bourke street in Melbourne. Victoria has recorded 275 cases of coronavirus and a woman in her 80s has died

Mr Frydenberg said sectors which would need help beyond September include aviation, tourism, arts and hospitality.

Under the existing scheme, companies turning over less than $1 billion with a 30 per cent fall in revenue are eligible.

Firms turning over more than $1 billion must show a 50 per cent decline.

Businesses that met the revenue test at any stage during the pandemic qualified for the payments for each employee.

Labor frontbencher Tony Burke said JobKeeper needed to be better targeted through retesting businesses and tapering payments.

‘There’s been a reasonable amount of waste and lack of targeting in how the government handled it first time around,’ he told ABC radio.

But the opposition is refusing to nominate a set figure for JobKeeper or JobSeeker, which has been temporarily increased to $1100 a fortnight.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews wears a face mask as he walks in to the daily briefing on Monday

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews wears a face mask as he walks in to the daily briefing on Monday

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews wears a face mask as he walks in to the daily briefing on Monday

Mr Burke said the dole should not return to its old rate of $560 a fortnight.

‘It needs to keep people out of poverty, $40 a day is not enough to live on,’ he said.

Left-leaning think tank The Australia Institute has released modelling showing more than half a million Australians would be thrown into poverty if JobSeeker is returned to its former rate.

‘This will not only have serious negative social effects for decades to come, but makes terrible economic policy by effectively withdrawing much-needed stimulus,’ institute executive director Ben Oquist said.

Mr Morrison said government support packages had avoided people falling into poverty.

‘It is still tough, it is extremely tough out there. But at a time like this, I think all Australians will be pleased they’re in Australia and nowhere else.’

Medical workers and police are seen at a government commission tower in North Melbourne which was released from hard lockdown on Sunday

Medical workers and police are seen at a government commission tower in North Melbourne which was released from hard lockdown on Sunday

Medical workers and police are seen at a government commission tower in North Melbourne which was released from hard lockdown on Sunday

On Monday Victoria recorded 275 cases of coronavirus and a woman in her 80s died as New South Wales recorded 20 cases, its biggest total in three months. 

Victoria’s figure is less than Sunday’s total of 363 and well below Friday’s record of 428, giving hope the spread is decreasing during Melbourne’s six-week lockdown. 

Premier Daniel Andrews said 147 Victorians are in hospital, including 31 fighting for their lives, and 26,588 tests had been conducted.

Ninety-six people are in hospital in New South Wales with two in intensive care, including a person in their 30s. The state conducted 21,167 tests on Sunday.

A man wearing a mask walks past a lone anti lockdown protester on the steps of the Victorian Parliament in Melbourne. The sign refers to Australia's flu outbreak of 2018

A man wearing a mask walks past a lone anti lockdown protester on the steps of the Victorian Parliament in Melbourne. The sign refers to Australia's flu outbreak of 2018

A man wearing a mask walks past a lone anti lockdown protester on the steps of the Victorian Parliament in Melbourne. The sign refers to Australia’s flu outbreak of 2018

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Holidays in South Australia are ON as New South Wales confirms just six new coronavirus infections

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holidays in south australia are on as new south wales confirms just six new coronavirus infections

New South Wales residents will be able to holiday in South Australia after the state recorded just six new cases of COVID-19 in hotel quarantine. 

None of the new coronavirus cases reported on Wednesday were acquired within the community, giving the green light for South Australia to open its borders.   

South Australia Premier Steven Marshall on Tuesday said the border reopening with NSW would go head if no new cases of community transmission were recorded. 

SA will lift its COVID-19 border restrictions with NSW from midnight on Wednesday and drop the two-week quarantine requirement. 

South Australia Premier Steven Marshall (pictured) said the state would open its borders to NSW on Wednesday at midnight if no new cases of community transmission were recorded

South Australia Premier Steven Marshall (pictured) said the state would open its borders to NSW on Wednesday at midnight if no new cases of community transmission were recorded

South Australia Premier Steven Marshall (pictured) said the state would open its borders to NSW on Wednesday at midnight if no new cases of community transmission were recorded

NSW recorded just six new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday from travellers in hotel quarantine. SA will lift its COVID-19 border restrictions with NSW and drop the two-week quarantine requirement (Police check at the NSW-Victoria border pictured)

NSW recorded just six new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday from travellers in hotel quarantine. SA will lift its COVID-19 border restrictions with NSW and drop the two-week quarantine requirement (Police check at the NSW-Victoria border pictured)

NSW recorded just six new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday from travellers in hotel quarantine. SA will lift its COVID-19 border restrictions with NSW and drop the two-week quarantine requirement (Police check at the NSW-Victoria border pictured) 

‘I got an update towards the middle of last night and there hadn’t been anything reported so we’re pretty confident it is going to happen,’ he told Nine Network on Wednesday. 

‘We still want to check out any new infections in NSW through to midnight last night,’ Mr Marshall said.

‘But NSW has been doing extraordinarily well. We can’t wait to welcome people from NSW with open arms.’

This marks the second day in a row with no community transmission of COVID-19 in NSW.     

‘The last time NSW had consecutive days without community transmission was July 3, 4, and 5,’ a statement from NSW Health said.

The new cases brought the total number of infections recorded in NSW to 4,023. 

There were also 16,759 tests recorded in the 24-hour reporting period. 

‘While there were no locally acquired cases recorded in the past 48 hours, the virus is likely still circulating and it is imperative anyone displaying mild symptoms get tested immediately and not delay their test.

‘If people don’t come forward and get tested, we can’t keep the pandemic at bay,’ NSW Health said.

NSW Health are currently treating 74 people for coronavirus, including three cases in intensive care, one of whom is being ventilated. 

The prospect of the border relaxations has already boosted the domestic aviation industry with more flights to resume in coming weeks.

Qantas is also expected to add flights from Sydney to Adelaide this week along with budget airline Jetstar

Qantas is also expected to add flights from Sydney to Adelaide this week along with budget airline Jetstar

Qantas is also expected to add flights from Sydney to Adelaide this week along with budget airline Jetstar

Last week SA lifted the quarantine requirements for people coming from the ACT and now looks likely to do the same for travellers from NSW on Thursday.

Virgin Australia plans to resume daily flights between Sydney and Adelaide – from three a week now – from October 2, and will offer three flights a week between Canberra and Adelaide from October 12.

The airline has flagged adding even more flights from November.

Qantas and its budget airline Jetstar are also expected to add flights between Sydney and Adelaide this week.

The long-awaited decision on SA’s border with NSW was made at Tuesday’s meeting of the state’s transition committee and came after initial plans to lift the isolation measures were stalled for weeks because of a cluster of coronavirus cases in Sydney.

‘This is going to be a relief that will be felt across our state, from an economic perspective and from a family perspective,’ Mr Marshall said on Tuesday.

Virgin Australia plans to resume daily flights between Sydney and Adelaide - from three a week now - from October 2, and will offer three flights a week between Canberra and Adelaide from October 12

Virgin Australia plans to resume daily flights between Sydney and Adelaide - from three a week now - from October 2, and will offer three flights a week between Canberra and Adelaide from October 12

Virgin Australia plans to resume daily flights between Sydney and Adelaide – from three a week now – from October 2, and will offer three flights a week between Canberra and Adelaide from October 12

‘We know that this has been a massive burden on the business community and also on families and individuals.’

SA health officials had examined the case of an infected Sydney taxi driver but were satisfied it was a risk that NSW could be manage.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the decision to ease the border measures came after 14 days of no community transmission in NSW involving cases with an unknown origin.

‘I know people will be concerned about the taxi driver. But I’m very confident that person is not representative of community transmission,’ she said.

Professor Spurrier has urged anyone travelling between SA and NSW to keep a close eye on the latest information in relation to coronavirus cases in Sydney and called for all travellers on planes to wear masks.

SA reported no new cases on Tuesday and has no active infections.

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Victoria’s emergency response boss wanted a navy blockade to stop cruise ships

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victorias emergency response boss wanted a navy blockade to stop cruise ships

Victoria’s emergency response boss wanted the Australian Defence Force to intervene to stop cruise ships from docking in Melbourne

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp pushed to get a navy blockade to ensure cruise ships would not enter Port Phillip Bay.

The exchange was revealed during the state’s inquiry into the botched hotel quarantine on Tuesday, where audio recordings of State Control Centre meetings were shown from March 27 and 28.

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp pushed to get a navy blockade to ensure cruise ships would not enter Port Phillip Bay

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp pushed to get a navy blockade to ensure cruise ships would not enter Port Phillip Bay

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp pushed to get a navy blockade to ensure cruise ships would not enter Port Phillip Bay

The exchange was revealed during the state's inquiry into the botched hotel quarantine on Tuesday, where audio recordings of State Control Centre meetings were shown from March 27 and 28

The exchange was revealed during the state's inquiry into the botched hotel quarantine on Tuesday, where audio recordings of State Control Centre meetings were shown from March 27 and 28

The exchange was revealed during the state’s inquiry into the botched hotel quarantine on Tuesday, where audio recordings of State Control Centre meetings were shown from March 27 and 28

On March 27 Mr Crisp was told that two cruise ships were preparing to dock in Melbourne and reacted strongly, the Herald Sun reported.

‘It’s where we night need a bit more help from the ADF, we need a navy blockade so the ships can’t get close to Victoria,’ he said. 

An unnamed person said the ships were going to arrive at Station Pier in the coming days to resupply before then heading to the United States.

Mr Crisp dropped the issue after saying it was ‘very useful’ and the meetings continued to set up the mandatory 14-day quarantine period with less than 36 hours notice.

There was confusion in the State Control Meetings about whether state or commonwealth laws were going to be used to enforce the quarantine.

In a recording from March 28, Mr Crisp said: ‘The control agency is the Department of Health and Human Services for this operation’.

However on Tuesday DHHS secretary Kym Peake claimed her department did not hold full responsibility.

Ms Peake also told the inquiry she did not know who decided to hire private security for the hotel quarantine. 

DISCUSSION ABOUT NAVY SHIPS DURING THE STATE CONTROL MEETING ON MARCH 27 

Andrew Crisp: Are we expecting cruise ships? I didn’t think we were.

Claire Febey: While we have been on the call, I’m getting advice from team members who are looking into this (who) tell me that there are two cruise ships that want to refuel, restock and change crew … I need to get some more detail but I just think that’s something we need to consider and plan for.

Mr Crisp: No, no, definitely, if that’s possibly going to happen. It’s where we might need a bit more help from the ADF, we need a Navy blockade so the ships can’t get close to Victoria.

Unnamed: So there’s two ships coming into Melbourne to Station Pier, one tomorrow morning and one Sunday morning. They’re coming in purely to resupply with fuel, water and food. One of the ships is taking two US passengers on and they’re heading out again. There is no change of crew, no one is getting off, it’s simply just to refuel and go. And these are two of the ships that were off the coast of Western Australia. They have got American tourists on board, they can’t fly and they have to travel by sea to get home to North America.

Mr Crisp: That’s very useful. 

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Premier Daniel Andrews has been slammed for his handling of the coronavirus crisis

Premier Daniel Andrews has been slammed for his handling of the coronavirus crisis

Premier Daniel Andrews has been slammed for his handling of the coronavirus crisis

Government officials were hesitant about hiring private security personnel to man the hotels because they thought it was an industry run by ‘cowboys’.

They were also concerned about ‘rogue’ guards potentially ‘prowling the corridors’ of hotels, WhatsApp messages shown at the inquiry reveal.  

In spite of their concerns, private security firms did land the contracts, and up to 99 per cent of coronavirus cases in Victoria’s second wave can now be traced back to returned travellers.

The virus escaped several hotels after security guards unknowingly contracted the virus and spread it throughout their communities. 

On Tuesday, the inquiry was shown several text messages between Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions staff on the evening of March 27.

‘Gotta be careful with a lot of security companies. Heaps of cash work,’ one bureaucrat warned.

‘Cowboy industry,’ another said.

‘Needs to be reputable. Don’t want (redacted) rogue (redacted) prowling the corridors,’ another replied.

Victorian government officials were hesitant about hiring private security personnel to man the hotel quarantine program because they thought it was an industry run by 'cowboys'

Victorian government officials were hesitant about hiring private security personnel to man the hotel quarantine program because they thought it was an industry run by 'cowboys'

They were also concerned about 'rogue' guards potentially 'prowling the corridors' of hotels, WhatsApp messages shown at an inquiry into the bungled program reveal

They were also concerned about 'rogue' guards potentially 'prowling the corridors' of hotels, WhatsApp messages shown at an inquiry into the bungled program reveal

Victorian government officials were hesitant about hiring private security personnel to man the hotel quarantine program because they thought it was an industry run by ‘cowboys’

The inquiry is partially trying to decipher who made the final decision to hire private firms instead of utilising the services of the Australian Defence Force.

The inquiry is working through evidence to establish if and how the quarantine program failed Victorians.

Jobs department secretary Simon Phemister told the inquiry his department was tasked with hiring security companies following a meeting at the state control centre on March 27.

Mr Phemister wasn’t present at the meeting but knew it was attended by high-ranking Victoria Police officers and Mr Crisp.

‘I don’t know who made the decision,’ Mr Phemister told the inquiry on Tuesday.

‘All I know is that we were commissioned to procure private security in that 4.30pm meeting.’

According to recordings of the meeting, Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Grainger told Mr Crisp it was the force’s preference that private security be the ‘first line of security’.

Victoria Police have since argued they were expressing a preference, not a direction.

Mr Phemister said his department was looking for companies with a track record of working with the government plus the ability to ‘scale up’ as more travellers returned home.

The inquiry is working through evidence to establish if and how the quarantine program failed Victorians

The inquiry is working through evidence to establish if and how the quarantine program failed Victorians

The inquiry is working through evidence to establish if and how the quarantine program failed Victorians

The virus escaped several hotels after security guards unknowingly contracted the virus and spread it throughout their communities

The virus escaped several hotels after security guards unknowingly contracted the virus and spread it throughout their communities

The virus escaped several hotels after security guards unknowingly contracted the virus and spread it throughout their communities

It was also considered ‘valuable’ if a security company had its own personal protective equipment supplies due to a shortage in Victoria at the time.

‘The final point… we needed them to be good, model employers,’ he said.

‘Now more than ever, given the economic climate, we needed people who had a track record of being good to their teams and employing people on a correct and fair basis.’

There are several more officials required to give evidence to the inquiry, which is now in its final week of public hearings.

Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kym Peake sppeared on Tuesday, while Jobs Minister Martin Pakula and Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville are both due to give evidence on Wednesday.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos and Premier Daniel Andrews have been pushed back to Thursday and Friday respectively due to scheduling issues.

‘When I’ll appear before the inquiry I’ll answer the questions as honestly, frankly, clearly, directly as possible,’ the premier told reporters at his daily news conference on Tuesday.

The inquiry continues.  

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Qantas ends its 30-year partnership with Rugby Australia due to the coronavirus pandemic

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qantas ends its 30 year partnership with rugby australia due to the coronavirus pandemic

National carrier Qantas has ended its 30-year sponsorship of the Wallabies, saying ‘this pandemic has been the undoing’. 

Qantas chief customer officer Stephanie Tully announced on Wednesday that the long-running partnership with the national rugby union team was over. 

‘In an environment where thousands of our people have lost jobs and thousands more are stood down while they wait for flying to restart, we can’t maintain these sponsorships in the way we have in the past,’ Ms Tully said in a statement. 

‘While we’re dealing with this crisis and its aftermath, the cash cost of our sponsorships has to be zero.

‘Qantas has had a very long association with Rugby Australia and the Wallabies, and we’ve stuck with each other during difficult times. Unfortunately, this pandemic has been the undoing.’ 

The cash-strapped airline will also not be paying any sponsorship fees to Cricket Australia and the Football Federation Australia for the next 12 months.   

Qantas will still provide ‘in-kind support’ such as free flights and marketing. 

The airline will continue to support the Australian Olympic Committee and Paralympics Australia and fly both teams to the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Qantas has grounded most of its fleet due to travel restrictions and recently recorded a $1.9 billion annual loss for the 2019/2020 financial year. 

Meanwhile, 20,000 Qantas staff have been stood down while 8,000 have been made redundant. 

The airline stressed the decision was purely financial and was completely unrelated to the Wallabies Irael Folau controversy last year. 

Folau’s contract was terminated after his homophobic social media posts were ruled a serious breach of Rugby Australia’s standards.   

CEO Alan Joyce said Qantas did not sponsor teams to be embroiled in controversy.  

‘Sponsorship is supposed to be a positive for us,’ Mr Joyce said at the time. 

More to come. 

Qantas planes grounded at Sydney Airport. The airline has suddenly ended its 30-year sponsorship of the Wallabies, saying 'this pandemic has been the undoing'

Qantas planes grounded at Sydney Airport. The airline has suddenly ended its 30-year sponsorship of the Wallabies, saying 'this pandemic has been the undoing'

Qantas planes grounded at Sydney Airport. The airline has suddenly ended its 30-year sponsorship of the Wallabies, saying ‘this pandemic has been the undoing’

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