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Toyota RAV4 makes history as the first ever SUV to top monthly car sales charts, VFACTS data shows

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toyota rav4 makes history as the first ever suv to top monthly car sales charts vfacts data shows

An SUV is Australia’s bestselling car for the first time ever with the Toyota HiLux ute’s uninterrupted, three-year run at the top now over.

The Toyota RAV4 was the most popular vehicle in July with its monthly sales tally of 4,309 marking a massive 78.1 per cent increase compared with the same time last year despite the coronavirus crisis, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has revealed.

In another historic first, the majority of cars sold on Australian roads are now an SUV with higher ground clearance – with this feat achieved during another horror month for the industry.

The Toyota RAV4 was the most popular vehicle in July with its monthly sales tally of 4,309 marking a 78.1 per cent increase compared with the same time last year. In another historic first, the majority of cars sold on Australian roads are now an SUV with higher ground clearance

The Toyota RAV4 was the most popular vehicle in July with its monthly sales tally of 4,309 marking a 78.1 per cent increase compared with the same time last year. In another historic first, the majority of cars sold on Australian roads are now an SUV with higher ground clearance

The Toyota RAV4 was the most popular vehicle in July with its monthly sales tally of 4,309 marking a 78.1 per cent increase compared with the same time last year. In another historic first, the majority of cars sold on Australian roads are now an SUV with higher ground clearance 

The HiLux last month fell into third place, behind its perennial rival the Ford Ranger, with its monthly sales compared with 2019 diving by 12.3 per cent to 2,947. 

Historic firsts in Australian motoring

2020: The Toyota RAV4 becomes the first SUV to be Australia’s No.1 monthly bestseller in the very same month the majority of cars sold are SUVs

2016: Toyota HiLux is the first ute to be the annual bestseller 

2015: HiLux is the first ute to win a monthly sales race 

2011: Mazda3 becomes the first ever fully-imported car to top annual sales charts

1996: Hyundai Excel becomes the first fully imported car to top the monthly sales charts 

Source: Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries VFACTS data 

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The Toyota ute has been Australia’s annual top-selling vehicle since 2016 but it hasn’t been beaten in a monthly VFACTS data sales race since October 2017, when the Hyundai i30 hatchback outsold it. 

In an automotive first, SUVs with higher ground clearance comprised the majority of new vehicles on Australian roads with a 50.4 per cent market share in July, double the 25 per cent share of traditional passenger vehicles. 

The Toyota RAV4, available as an all-wheel drive or a front-wheel drive, is also the first ever SUV to come first in a monthly sales race.

Motoring expert Toby Hagon, the editor of EV Central, said the popularity of the petrol-electric hybrid model had helped the RAV4 make history despite Australian motorists having a crowded field of SUVs to choose from.

‘RAV4, having an SUV in that top-selling spot is a very significant moment for the market,’ he told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘The RAV4 was the first sub-$40,000 hybrid SUV on the market and as a result it’s had huge demand to the point where Toyota has struggled to meet that demand.

‘The fact that hybrid system only costs about $2,500 more than the non-hybrid has made it hugely appealing with buyers so it’s really hit a chord.’

Just two decades ago SUVs including four-wheel drives made a mere ten per cent of vehicle sales, back when large sedans were the top sellers.

The HiLux last month fell into third place, behind its perennial rival the Ford Ranger, with its monthly sales diving by 12.3 per cent to 2,947. The ute has been Australia's annual top-selling vehicle since 2016 but it hasn't been beaten in a monthly sales race since October 2017

The HiLux last month fell into third place, behind its perennial rival the Ford Ranger, with its monthly sales diving by 12.3 per cent to 2,947. The ute has been Australia's annual top-selling vehicle since 2016 but it hasn't been beaten in a monthly sales race since October 2017

The HiLux last month fell into third place, behind its perennial rival the Ford Ranger, with its monthly sales diving by 12.3 per cent to 2,947. The ute has been Australia’s annual top-selling vehicle since 2016 but it hasn’t been beaten in a monthly sales race since October 2017

‘I remember when car companies started talking about SUVs potentially taking 25 per cent of the market – there were a lot of people putting doubt on that,’ Mr Hagon said. 

Vehicle sales in July dived by 12.8 per cent compared with the same month in 2019

Vehicle sales in July dived by 12.8 per cent compared with the same month in 2019

Vehicle sales in July dived by 12.8 per cent compared with the same month in 2019

The RAV4’s milestone was reached 24 years after the Hyundai Excel became the first fully imported car to top the monthly sales charts in Australia, back when the most basic Korean hatchback marketed as a Sprint sold for $13,990 driveaway.

The Australian-made Holden Commodore went on to win the 1996 sales race and remained the annual bestseller every year uninterrupted until 2010. 

If history is any guide, the Toyota HiLux is likely to be the bestseller for 2020 in a declining market hit by COVID-19 lockdowns.

Vehicle sales in July dived by 12.8 per cent compared with the same month in 2019. 

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries chief executive Tony Weber said strict lockdowns in Melbourne in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus was likely to worsen an already bad situation for the car industry.

‘The extended stage four restrictions which have now been invoked in Australia’s second largest market, Victoria, will no doubt further challenge the industry during the coming months,’ he said.

The Ford Ranger was Australia's second-best selling vehicle in July, outselling its rival the Toyota HiLux for the first time since September 2017

The Ford Ranger was Australia's second-best selling vehicle in July, outselling its rival the Toyota HiLux for the first time since September 2017

The Ford Ranger was Australia’s second-best selling vehicle in July, outselling its rival the Toyota HiLux for the first time since September 2017

Australia’s top selling car companies in July

1 Toyota 15,508 sales

2 Mazda 7806

3 Mitsubishi 4684

4 Hyundai 4634

5 Kia 4625

6 Ford 4573

7 Volkswagen 3710

8 Nissan 2906

9 Subaru 2864

10 Honda 2199   

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Australia’s top selling vehicles in July

1 Toyota RAV4 4309 sales

2 Ford Ranger 3104

3 Toyota Hi-Lux 2947

4 Toyota Corolla 2192

5 Hyundai i30 1745

6 Mazda CX-5 1727

7 Mitsubishi Triton 1593

8 Mazda CX-3 1355

9 Toyota Camry 1281

10 Mazda3 1224

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George Clooney fires back at Kentucky Attorney General after Breonna Taylor grand jury verdict

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george clooney fires back at kentucky attorney general after breonna taylor grand jury verdict

Celebrities reacted with outrage to a Kentucky grand jury’s decision to indict only one of the police officers being investigated for their roles in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.

And as the messages poured in, Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron was quick to dismiss critics as ‘celebrities, influencers and activists who [have] never lived in Kentucky’ in remarks made shortly after the grand jury’s decision. 

However, George Clooney fired back that he said he was ‘ashamed’ by the outcome of the grand jury – and pointed out he was ‘born and raised in Kentucky’.

George Clooney [seen here in 2019] has fired back at Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron who dismissed 'celebrities and influencers' critical of Breonna Taylor grand jury verdict

George Clooney [seen here in 2019] has fired back at Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron who dismissed 'celebrities and influencers' critical of Breonna Taylor grand jury verdict

Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron was quick to dismiss critics as 'celebrities, influencers and activists who [have] never lived in Kentucky' in remarks made shortly after the grand jury's decision. Seen here on Wednesday

Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron was quick to dismiss critics as 'celebrities, influencers and activists who [have] never lived in Kentucky' in remarks made shortly after the grand jury's decision. Seen here on Wednesday

George Clooney [L, in 2019] has fired back at Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron [R, on Wednesday] who dismissed ‘celebrities and influencers’ critical of Breonna Taylor grand jury verdict

George and Amal Clooney are pictured at Magee's Bakery in Augusta, Kentucky in 2015 after attending a family reunion in the small town

George and Amal Clooney are pictured at Magee's Bakery in Augusta, Kentucky in 2015 after attending a family reunion in the small town

George and Amal Clooney are pictured at Magee’s Bakery in Augusta, Kentucky in 2015 after attending a family reunion in the small town 

Cameron downplayed the concerns of ‘activists’ in the wake of the grand jury’s outcome, which came over four months after the 26-year-old EMT’s death.     

‘There will be celebrities, influencers and activists who having never lived in Kentucky will try to tell us how to feel, suggesting they understand the facts of this case, that they know our community and the Commonwealth better than we do, but they don’t,’ Cameron said.

‘Let’s not give in to their attempts to influence our thinking or capture our emotions.’

In response to that, Kentucky native Clooney offered a scathing response where he said he was ‘ashamed’ by the outcome of the grand jury.

Celebrities reacted with outrage to a Kentucky grand jury's decision to indict only one of the police officers being investigated for their roles in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor

Celebrities reacted with outrage to a Kentucky grand jury's decision to indict only one of the police officers being investigated for their roles in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor

Celebrities reacted with outrage to a Kentucky grand jury’s decision to indict only one of the police officers being investigated for their roles in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor

'I was born and raised in Kentucky,' Clooney wrote in a statement shared with the media. 'Cut tobacco on the farms of Kentucky. Both my parents and my sister live in Kentucky. I own a home in Kentucky, and I was there last month.' Seen here in 2019

'I was born and raised in Kentucky,' Clooney wrote in a statement shared with the media. 'Cut tobacco on the farms of Kentucky. Both my parents and my sister live in Kentucky. I own a home in Kentucky, and I was there last month.' Seen here in 2019

‘I was born and raised in Kentucky,’ Clooney wrote in a statement shared with the media. ‘Cut tobacco on the farms of Kentucky. Both my parents and my sister live in Kentucky. I own a home in Kentucky, and I was there last month.’ Seen here in 2019

‘I was born and raised in Kentucky,’ he wrote in a statement shared with the media. ‘Cut tobacco on the farms of Kentucky. Both my parents and my sister live in Kentucky. I own a home in Kentucky, and I was there last month. ‘

‘The justice system I was raised to believe in holds people responsible for their actions,’ he went on.

‘Her name was Breonna Taylor and she was shot to death in her bed by 3 white police officers, who will not be charged with any crime for her death. I know the community. I know the commonwealth. And I was taught in the schools and churches of Kentucky what is right and what is wrong. I’m ashamed of this decision.’

Kentucky’s Jefferson County Circuit Judge Annie O’Connell on Wednesday announced the grand jury’s decision to charge former detective Brett Hankison with three counts of wanton endangerment in connection to the police raid on the night of March 13.

The first-degree charge, a Class D felony which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, relates to Hankinson shooting into the neighboring apartments during the incident, not Taylor’s death.

George Clooney and his father Nick walk the red carpet during the premiere of Leatherheads in Maysville, Kentucky in 2008

George Clooney and his father Nick walk the red carpet during the premiere of Leatherheads in Maysville, Kentucky in 2008

George Clooney and his father Nick walk the red carpet during the premiere of Leatherheads in Maysville, Kentucky in 2008

Kentucky native Clooney offered a scathing response where he said he was 'ashamed' by the outcome of the grand jury. Seen here with Amal Clooney in 2019

Kentucky native Clooney offered a scathing response where he said he was 'ashamed' by the outcome of the grand jury. Seen here with Amal Clooney in 2019

Kentucky native Clooney offered a scathing response where he said he was ‘ashamed’ by the outcome of the grand jury. Seen here with Amal Clooney in 2019

Kentucky's Jefferson County Circuit Judge Annie O'Connell on Wednesday announced the grand jury's decision to charge former detective Brett Hankison with three counts of wanton endangerment in connection to the police raid on the night of March 13

Kentucky's Jefferson County Circuit Judge Annie O'Connell on Wednesday announced the grand jury's decision to charge former detective Brett Hankison with three counts of wanton endangerment in connection to the police raid on the night of March 13

Kentucky’s Jefferson County Circuit Judge Annie O’Connell on Wednesday announced the grand jury’s decision to charge former detective Brett Hankison with three counts of wanton endangerment in connection to the police raid on the night of March 13

Hankinson was fired by the Louisville Metro Police Department in June after officials said he violated policy by ‘wantonly and blindly’ firing his gun during the raid.

Sgt Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, who were also present at the time of the fatal operation, were not charged.

Neither the grand jury nor the presiding judge elaborated on the charges.

State Attorney General Daniel Cameron addressed the long-awaited decision shortly after the announcement in a news conference in Frankfort.

He gave a detailed account of the months-long investigation into the events leading up to deadly shooting, which he said had been pieced together by ballistics reports, 911 calls, and witness interviews, due to the lack of bodycam footage.

Hankinson was fired by the Louisville Metro Police Department in June after officials said he violated policy by 'wantonly and blindly' firing his gun during the raid

Hankinson was fired by the Louisville Metro Police Department in June after officials said he violated policy by 'wantonly and blindly' firing his gun during the raid

Hankinson was fired by the Louisville Metro Police Department in June after officials said he violated policy by ‘wantonly and blindly’ firing his gun during the raid

But Cameron, who is the state’s first Black attorney general, said that the officers were not charged because they acted in self-defense after Taylor’s boyfriend fired at them.

‘I certainly understand the pain that has been brought about by the tragic loss of Miss Taylor. I understand that as an attorney general … I understand that as a black man,’ Cameron told reporters.

‘This team, myself, and the representatives of the Attorney General’s office have taken a lot of criticism and scrutiny. But that scrutiny in many ways was misplaced because there was not a day that people in this office didn’t go to sleep thinking about this case.

‘Criminal law is not meant to respond to every sorrow and grief, and that is true here. But my heart breaks for the loss of Miss Taylor,’ the AG said.

Cameron, who is the state's first Black attorney general, said that the officers were not charged because they acted in self-defense after Taylor's boyfriend fired at them. Seen here is a memorial for the slain EMT, in Louisville, KY on Thursday

Cameron, who is the state's first Black attorney general, said that the officers were not charged because they acted in self-defense after Taylor's boyfriend fired at them. Seen here is a memorial for the slain EMT, in Louisville, KY on Thursday

Cameron, who is the state’s first Black attorney general, said that the officers were not charged because they acted in self-defense after Taylor’s boyfriend fired at them. Seen here is a memorial for the slain EMT, in Louisville, KY on Thursday

Along with the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, Taylor's case became a major touchstone for the nationwide protests that have gripped the nation since May - drawing attention to entrenched racism and demanding police reform. Riots in Portland ON on Wednesday

Along with the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, Taylor's case became a major touchstone for the nationwide protests that have gripped the nation since May - drawing attention to entrenched racism and demanding police reform. Riots in Portland ON on Wednesday

Along with the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, Taylor’s case became a major touchstone for the nationwide protests that have gripped the nation since May – drawing attention to entrenched racism and demanding police reform. Riots in Portland ON on Wednesday

Investigators believe Cosgrove was responsible for firing the bullet that took Taylor’s life. Taylor was shot at least five times after officers barged into her apartment while acting on a search warrant for a drug investigation.

Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, opened fire when police burst in, hitting Mattingly. Walker was charged with attempted murder of a police officer, but prosecutors later dropped the charge.

Walker had told police he heard knocking but didn’t know who was coming into the home and fired in self-defense.

Cameron said Cosgrove and Mattingly were not charged after investigators determined their actions were justified because Walker opened fire.

‘According to Kentucky law, the use of force by (Officers Jonathan) Mattingly and (Myles) Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves,’ he said. ‘This justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges in Miss Breonna Taylor’s death.’

The three officers did not take part in the obtaining of the warrant, he said.

U.S. Presidential candidate Joe Biden has made his stance on the matter clear, as seen in this recent tweet by the former Vice President

U.S. Presidential candidate Joe Biden has made his stance on the matter clear, as seen in this recent tweet by the former Vice President

U.S. Presidential candidate Joe Biden has made his stance on the matter clear, as seen in this recent tweet by the former Vice President

The raid had been widely reported by the media as a ‘no-knock’ warrant however, further investigations later proved the cops had knocked before entering.

Walker had also told investigators he did hear knocking, but maintained the cops had not identify themselves as police.

They knocked on Taylor’s apartment door and announced their presence outside, which Cameron said was corroborated by a neighbor who witnessed the arrival.

Getting no answer, Cameron said police officers ‘breached the door’ and gained entry into the apartment.

Mattingly entered first, and at the end of a corridor saw Taylor and with Walker who was pointing a gun.

Walker fired, injuring Mattingly in the thigh. Mattingly returned fire, and his colleagues began shooting soon after, Cameron said. Hankison fired 10 bullets, Cameron said.

Six bullets hit Taylor, though there is no ‘conclusive’ evidence that any came from Hankinson’s gun, Cameron said. Bullets fired by Hankison traveled into a neighboring apartment.

The first-degree charge, a Class D felony which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, relates to Hankinson [pictured] shooting into the neighboring apartments during the incident, not Taylor's death

The first-degree charge, a Class D felony which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, relates to Hankinson [pictured] shooting into the neighboring apartments during the incident, not Taylor's death

The first-degree charge, a Class D felony which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, relates to Hankinson [pictured] shooting into the neighboring apartments during the incident, not Taylor’s death

Along with the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, Taylor’s case became a major touchstone for the nationwide protests that have gripped the nation since May – drawing attention to entrenched racism and demanding police reform.

The wanton endangerment charges each carry a sentence of up to five years. Protesters began marching through the streets of Louisville, where Taylor was killed, after the announcement, shouting ‘No justice, no peace.’ Some sat quietly and cried.

Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Taylor’s family, called the grand jury’s decision ‘outrageous and offensive!’

‘Justice has NOT been served,’ tweeted Linda Sarsour of Until Freedom, a group that has pushed for charges in the case

Meanwhile in Louisville, officials had been bracing for more protests and possible unrest as the public nervously awaits the decision.

In a midday press conference, Mayor Greg Fischer announced he will impose a 72-hour curfew in the city, from 9pm to 6.30am.

‘No matter what Attorney General Cameron announces, I urge everyone to commit, once again, to a peaceful, lawful response,’ the mayor told reporters.

Taylor, 26, was killed shortly after midnight on March 13 when three plainclothes officers used a battering ram to force their way in to her Louisville home with a so-called no knock warrant

Taylor, 26, was killed shortly after midnight on March 13 when three plainclothes officers used a battering ram to force their way in to her Louisville home with a so-called no knock warrant

Taylor, 26, was killed shortly after midnight on March 13 when three plainclothes officers used a battering ram to force their way in to her Louisville home with a so-called no knock warrant

While emphasizing he does not know the grand jury’s finding, the mayor has declared a state of emergency in the city, and Louisville Metro Police Department has closed off much of downtown to vehicles.

Taylor, 26, was killed shortly after midnight on March 13 when three plainclothes officers used a battering ram to force their way in to her Louisville home with a so-called no knock warrant.

Fearing intruders, her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a gun. The three officers fired their guns, striking Taylor five times.

Cameron, a Black Republican, has said his investigation into Taylor’s death is ongoing, but has declined to confirm media reports that he is convening a grand jury to vote on whether to bring criminal charges against the officers.

The city’s main federal courthouse has also been closed all week in an order by Chief Judge Greg Stivers of the Western District of Kentucky.

Last week, the city of Louisville agreed to pay Taylor’s family a record-breaking $12million in a wrongful death lawsuit that her mother Tamika Palmer filed against the city and its police department back in April. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Victoria COVID-19 numbers: State records 14 new cases and eight deaths

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victoria covid 19 numbers state records 14 new cases and eight deaths

Victoria has recorded 14 new COVID-19 cases and eight deaths in the past 24 hours, as the state moves closer to the easing of restrictions. 

The number of cases originating from an unknown source are down from Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services said on Friday morning. 

Despite the drop in cases Melbourne will not take ‘massive steps’ out of its lingering lockdown as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews moved to temper expectations ahead of a much-anticipated announcement on Sunday.

Victoria has recorded 14 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours to Friday (Pictured are ADF personnel manning  a Princes Highway checkpoint outside Melbourne)

Victoria has recorded 14 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours to Friday (Pictured are ADF personnel manning  a Princes Highway checkpoint outside Melbourne)

Victoria has recorded 14 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours to Friday (Pictured are ADF personnel manning  a Princes Highway checkpoint outside Melbourne) 

On Thursday, the state reported  2 new cases have been diagnosed since yesterday, with the total number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria now at 20,105. 

Of the known cases 67 are being treated in hospital while eight are in intensive care being treated with ventilators. 

The city’s crucial 14-day COVID-19 case average plummeted to 26.7 on Thursday, below the 30-50 threshold needed to trigger to the next stage of normalisation.

Despite a day earlier indicating some restrictions could be eased quicker than planned, Mr Andrews was talking down the prospect of major changes to Melbourne’s lockdown. 

‘Sunday will not be a day of massive steps,’ he told reporters on Thursday.

‘The roadmap does not speak to that. It is not a day when we essentially throw the doors open.’

Pictured are ADF troops and police patrolling Melbourne during the second wave of the virus

Pictured are ADF troops and police patrolling Melbourne during the second wave of the virus

Pictured are ADF troops and police patrolling Melbourne during the second wave of the virus 

Under the metropolitan Melbourne roadmap announced on September 6, proposed changes include a staged return to school for some students and an allowance for pubic gatherings of five people from two households.

Victoria recorded just 12 new cases on Thursday, dropping the city’s rolling average by 2.7.

Mr Andrews said the figures were still ‘too much’ to skip to ‘step three’ a month early.

He expects the state government and health authorities to settle on the new rules on Saturday night before publicly confirming the package.

It came as Mr Andrews stands by beleaguered Health Minister Jenny Mikakos after the Health Workers Union called for her dismissal.

Ms Mikakos appeared before the inquiry into Victoria’s botched hotel quarantine scheme on Thursday, with the premier scheduled to be grilled on Friday.  

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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New South Wales: Coronavirus restrictions to be eased further

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new south wales coronavirus restrictions to be eased further

Massive changes are on the way for weddings, schools and community sport in New South Wales as the state takes another step in easing strict COVID-19 rules.

Dancing at weddings will be allowed from Friday, however, the dancefloor will be limited to just 20 people in the bridal parties. Previously, only the bride and groom were allowed to dance. 

Interschool activities will resume on Saturday – again under COVID-safe rules – and more than one parent will be allowed to watch from the sidelines while practising social distancing. No carpooling is allowed.

School choirs, musical ensembles, camps and excursions will resume in Term 4, as will school sports.

Dancing at weddings will be allowed from Friday, however, the dancefloor will be limited to just 20 people from the bridal parties. Previously, only the bride and groom were allowed to dance

Dancing at weddings will be allowed from Friday, however, the dancefloor will be limited to just 20 people from the bridal parties. Previously, only the bride and groom were allowed to dance

Dancing at weddings will be allowed from Friday, however, the dancefloor will be limited to just 20 people from the bridal parties. Previously, only the bride and groom were allowed to dance

Interschool activities will resume on Saturday - again under COVID-safe rules - and more than one parent will be allowed to watch from the sidelines while practising social distancing

Interschool activities will resume on Saturday - again under COVID-safe rules - and more than one parent will be allowed to watch from the sidelines while practising social distancing

Interschool activities will resume on Saturday – again under COVID-safe rules – and more than one parent will be allowed to watch from the sidelines while practising social distancing

Year 6 formals and graduations are back on and high school formals will be permitted after the HSC, while kindergarten orientation and Year 7 transitions will be allowed under COVID-safe rules.

Under the changes, entertainment facilities can increase capacity to 50 per cent and function centres hosting corporate meetings will be allowed to cater for up to 300 people, up from 150, from next week.

‘For workers across the full spectrum of the performing arts – from box office staff to ushers, from technicians and roadies to the artists – this change means more jobs,’ Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said on Friday.

‘For audiences, it means we can soon enjoy the experiences we have all missed so much during the pandemic.’

Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres said the relaxation of restrictions on corporate events will boost business for function centres.

‘It’s vitally important for the business community to back on its feet by being able to collaborate and share ideas in person once again,’ he said in a statement.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Thursday dangled the prospect of New Year’s Eve fireworks being held on Sydney Harbour this year to ‘offer people a glimmer of hope’.

Under the changes, entertainment facilities can increase capacity to 50 per cent and function centres hosting corporate meetings will be allowed to cater for up to 300 people, up from 150, from next week

Under the changes, entertainment facilities can increase capacity to 50 per cent and function centres hosting corporate meetings will be allowed to cater for up to 300 people, up from 150, from next week

Under the changes, entertainment facilities can increase capacity to 50 per cent and function centres hosting corporate meetings will be allowed to cater for up to 300 people, up from 150, from next week

The New South Wales premier said the state government will offer to pay for Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks to make sure they go ahead

The New South Wales premier said the state government will offer to pay for Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks to make sure they go ahead

The New South Wales premier said the state government will offer to pay for Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks to make sure they go ahead

Gladys Berejiklian said the fireworks represent 2021 being a sign of home amid the coronavirus pandemic

Gladys Berejiklian said the fireworks represent 2021 being a sign of home amid the coronavirus pandemic

Gladys Berejiklian said the fireworks represent 2021 being a sign of home amid the coronavirus pandemic

But mass gatherings on the harbour foreshore won’t be allowed.

The changes come after the state recorded no new cases of community-spread COVID-19 for the third day in a row. 

There was just one case recorded in a returned traveller in hotel quarantine. 

NSW Health is treating 71 cases, with two patients in intensive care. None are on ventilators and the majority are in non-acute, out-of-hospital care.

There were 17,392 coronavirus tests conducted in the past 24-hour reporting period, compared with 16,759 in the previous 24.

Major changes to restrictions in NSW: 

Weddings:

From Friday, up to 20 people will be allowed onto the dance floor at weddings, provided they are part of the bridal party.

Schools:

Excursions and school camps will also resume in Term 4.

Up to five people will be allowed to sing in choirs, and there can now be an unlimited number of students in musical ensembles, subject to social distancing. 

Both parents will be allowed to watch games from the sidelines while practising social distancing. No carpooling is allowed. 

Year 6 formals and graduations are back on and high school formals will be permitted after the HSC, while kindergarten orientation and Year 7 transitions will be allowed under COVID-safe rules. 

Theatres, cinemas and concert venues:

Entertainment facilities can increase capacity to 50 per cent and function centres hosting corporate meetings will be allowed to cater for up to 300 people, up from 150, from next week. 

 

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