Victoria records 20th coronavirus death
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Melborne: Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton has confirmed the death of a man from coronavirus infection overnight, bringing the state’s virus death toll to 20.
Dr Sutton also confirmed another 20 new cases of the virus were diagnosed in Victoria in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 1884.
The state's Chief Health Officer said there were still 141 active cases of the virus in Victoria, including 30 in hotel quarantine.
Australia maintains AAA credit rating despite economic recession
Canberra: Australia has maintained its AAA credit rating despite an economic recession triggered by COVID-19. Ratings agency Moody's pointed to a resilient economy and effective policy-making as reasons for its decision.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg lauded the rating as "very good news for the Australian economy to receive a vote of confidence".
"Australia is one of only 10 nations to have a AAA credit rating from the three leading rating agencies," he said.
"The credit rating of the sovereign impacts on the cost of borrowing, whether it's by state governments or by banks. "So this is important for the economy as a whole."
'Factional culture' within ALP 'digressing to the point of detrimental division'
Sydney: Former Fairfax journalist James Button says “factional culture” within the ALP has digressed to the point of creating detrimental division within the party.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced all ministerial staff would be banned from holding elected positions within the Labor Party amid an ongoing branch stacking scandal and major cabinet reshuffle. Mr Button told reporter “there’s nothing wrong with factions in principal but the way factions operate now, it stifles debate, discourages people from joining the party, the people who make the party energetic”.
He said conflict within the ALP was “not just an isolated issue of a few bad apples, this is a culture that spans the whole party”.
“Parties need MPs – but they also need ordinary members and we just haven’t been paying any attention to those ordinary members for years and that absolutely has to change,” he said.
University fee hike driving education 'in the wrong direction'
Canberra: Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick says the inflation of university fees for humanities courses might actually lead to a “situation where you waste university and public resources”.
A federal overhaul of university fees will see an annual increase of 113 per cent for humanities courses while maths and agriculture courses will undergo a 62 per cent price decrease.
The move is part of a government plan to encourage employment in sectors that would boost the nation’s post-pandemic economy.
Mr Patrick said the plan was problematic partly because “it might be a case where you go down that particular pathway and end up dropping out”.
“I don’t think you can force people to go down a particular stream if they’re not comfortable, you know, people are successful when they enjoy what they do,” he said.
“Charging people more for degrees is going in the wrong direction, we need to underpin our future economy with well-educated people."
Australia marks 70 years since Korean War
Sydney: Australians are preparing to commemorate 70 years since the nation entered the Korean War on June 25, 1950.
NSW RSL’s Matt Jones said "few people really are aware of the activities of the air force during the Korean war or event that the navy played a role so there’s a lot more to shed light on".
While plans were largely disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic, a number of wreath laying ceremonies will go ahead on Wednesday.
Mr Jones said 340 of the 17,000 Australians deployed to Korea were killed between 1950 and 1953.
“It was fought hard action at a high cost,” he said.
NSW businesses told to refuse entry from Melbourne visitors
Sydney: The Victorian Opposition leader is backing a call from the New South Wales Premier for businesses to refuse entry to visitors from Melbourne.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian called on organisations to refrain from doing business with Victorians, especially those travelling from the state’s coronavirus ‘hot spots’.
“I would encourage businesses not to welcome anybody from those hot spots because the advice from the Victorian Premier is do not travel interstate if you’re from one of those hot spots," she said.
"And my advice is even stronger; it’s do not go down there and certainly I think it’s the prerogative of every business, of every organization, not to accept anybody from those hotspots at this time.
"That is basic pandemic management." Pubs and clubs have also been told to reject potentially infected patrons, and ski fields at Perisher and Thredbo have been told to reject school holiday bookings from Victoria.
Victorian Opposition leader Michael O’Brien supported the call, telling Sky News “I don’t blame other states for acting in a way they want to act to protect themselves”.
“The best way to make sure Victorians can once again rejoin the country as full citizens and able to travel across borders would be for Andrews to get the coronavirus numbers down,” he said.
Driver testing restrictions lifted from 1 July
Sydney: People living in the bush are set to benefit from driver testing returning to full capacity from 1 July, thanks to easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said all customers would be able to book a driver test online, via phone or in a Service NSW Centre.
“Thanks to the cooperation and discipline of so many people, Service NSW has been able to reintroduce driver testing,” Mr Dominello said.
“Appropriate safeguards will remain in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19, such as disposable seat covers, hand sanitiser and gloves. Customers will also need to sign a statutory declaration confirming they are well enough to take the test.”
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said it was a huge win for people living in the regions who typically didn’t always have the same level of access to public transport as those in metropolitan areas.
“Only last week we announced changes to drivers and riders who want to progress from P1 to P2 and then on to an unrestricted licence by allowing them to do it online instead of having to drive to their nearest Centre, and now we’re reintroducing driver testing because we are committed to making life easier for people in the bush.”
Border battle escalates as state leaders get cold feet
W.A: The border battle between the states is escalating with two premiers flagging a potential delay on reopening after Victoria recorded a spike in coronavirus cases.
Concerns of a second wave saw Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan cancel his proposed border lifting moments after unveiling a much-anticipated open date.
"The current situation in Victoria is dire.
The tentative date was going to be August 8 but right now it would be irresponsible of me to earmark that date," Mr McGowan said.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian shut down speculation there would be a border ban between Victoria and New South Wales but urged residents to rethink travel to any hotspots.
Meanwhile, South Australian Premier Steven Marshall threatened to tear up plans to reopen his state borders on July 20.
"We have worked so hard. We do not want to go backwards, so we won't be opening up our borders if it's not safe to do so," he said.
Melbourne faces lockdown as COVID-19 cases surge
Melbourne: Residents in six Melbourne coronavirus hotspots face local lockdowns as the state grapples to curb an upsurge in virus cases.
A testing blitz was launched and health officials have begun door-knocking in confirmed hotspots in a bid to slow the spread.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was criticized for his handling of the Black Lives Matter protests, which many argued led to mixed messaging about social distancing rules.
At least five new cases of the virus have so far been linked to Melbourne's Black Lives Matter protests a fornight ago.
Victoria Police said officers would enforce Stay at Home orders in coronavirus hotspots if residents were seen openly flouting them.
Albanese 'in real trouble' if Liberals win Eden-Monaro
Sydney: Political Editor Andrew Clennell says Labor leader Anthony Albanese will be "in real trouble" if the Liberal Party is successful at the Eden-Monaro by-election.
The July 4 by-election is expected to be close, with recent polling indicating the Liberal Party is ahead of Labor in the primary vote.
Mr Clennell said he believed the Liberal Party was “in with a show”, an outcome he said would put the Labor leader in hot water.
“The more [Scott Morrison] goes there, the more I think the Liberals are a chance," he said.
Govt announces additional funding for bushfire recovery
Canberra: Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced an additional $80 million in funding for the forestry industry to speed up recovery efforts in bushfire-affected regions.
More than 700 million hectares of vineyards and about 20 per cent of Australia’s apple trees were impacted by the bushfires.
Under the boost, grape producers who lost their 2020 vintage will be able to apply for grants up to $10,000 and apple growers up to $120,000.
Biggest education shake up in 30 years
Sydney: The NSW school curriculum will be overhauled to improve standards, with changes starting in 2021 and all years learning the new curriculum by 2024.
Unnecessary content will be cut, there will be a greater focus on literacy and numeracy, and TAFE and vocational training pathways will be modernised.
A curriculum review undertaken by Professor Geoff Masters supports the biggest shake up of the education system in more than 30 years.
The Government’s response to the review is based on:
• Decluttering the curriculum by reducing unnecessary subjects
• A ‘back to basics approach’ that will see a renewed focus on the core subjects of English, Maths and Science
• Year 11 and Year 12 prequalification for University and TAFE courses.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the overhaul would raise standards and equip students for the jobs of the future.