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From Australia News in Brief

PM Morrison will participate in the Extraordinary G-20 Leaders' Meeting on Afghanistan

Many Australians are worried about working alongside their unvaccinated colleagues

Prince Charles urges PM Morrison and other leaders  as this is the last chance for action.

Vaccination push continues as NSW prepares for Roadmap to Freedom

ACT records 28 new local COVID-19 cases

Interpreter who helped rescue Biden in Afghanistan finally escapes

“Our multicultural media professionals have been tireless in sharing crucial health messages...

Parramatta mayor pushes to keep council’s development contributions plans

International students fear discrimination and lost ground upon return to

Australia

Racing back on track in regional NSW

Local sport scores $4.6 million funding boost




PM Morrison will participate in the Extraordinary G-20 Leaders' Meeting on Afghanistan

13/10/2021

(See Translation in Arabic Section)

Canberra - M E Times Int'l:  Since the Taliban’s takeover in August, Australia has evacuated around 4,100 people as part of our evacuation operations from Kabul International Airport and helped to secure visa and settlement arrangements for thousands of people from Afghanistan.

It is crucial that the world’s major economies work together to support the people of Afghanistan.

He said: "We must be coordinated in our approach to Afghanistan’s immediate humanitarian needs, to demand the Taliban regime ensure safe passage from Afghanistan for foreign citizens and visa holders, and to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorism.

He added: stand with G20 members in supporting international agencies delivering much needed humanitarian assistance on the ground. Australia is committed to helping Afghanistan build a stable and secure future.

He concludes: I thank Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi for convening this important meeting.

 Most employees 'uncomfortable' working alongside unvaccinated colleagues

Many Australians are worried about working alongside their unvaccinated colleagues

Sydney: A new study has found a rising number of Australians are concerned about working alongside their unvaccinated colleagues, while a high percentage of those quizzed threw their support behind vaccine mandates in their workplace.

The Employee Sentiment Report, which was conducted by Elmo Software, surveyed more than 1,000 geographically dispersed workers aged 18 and older in the September quarter, comparing the results with the quarter before.

The survey found 70 per cent of workers – up from 62 per cent in the last quarter - supported their bosses introducing vaccine mandates.

“The latest round of lockdowns may be behind soaring support for employers requiring their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” the study wrote.

The research also noted a substantial rise in vaccinated workers finding themselves “uncomfortable” working alongside unvaccinated colleagues.

The survey found 58 per cent of respondents are uncomfortable about returning to work alongside their unvaccinated peers, up 14 per cent from the last quarter.

The revelation comes as vaccination rates across the nation continue to rise, with NSW last week hitting 70 per cent double-dose.

Elmo CEO Danny Lessem believed the lockdowns and restrictions across NSW and Victoria led to the rise in support of vaccination mandates.

"Australian workers want things to get back to normal because they are well and truly tired of the economic insecurity and fear for their jobs,” he said.

“The lockdowns across New South Wales and Victoria could be behind the eight point spike in support for employers mandating COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace.

“Support is now sitting at 70 per cent, up from 62 per cent in the June quarter before lockdowns were implemented.”

Some employers are legally required to ensure their workers are vaccinated against coronavirus, following state-wide mandates for particular industries, such as healthcare workers in NSW and construction workers in Victoria.

Employees can also be required to get vaccinated through an agreement or contract clause and where it is lawful and reasonable for the employer to give their workers a direction to be vaccinated, which is assessed on a case-by-case basis, according to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Mr Lessem said the survey indicated that Australian employees would prefer employers make the workplace as safe as possible.

"The Employee Sentiment Index shows that Australian workers are giving employers a clear mandate to do what it takes to make the workplace as safe as possible,” he said.

 “Whether that's mandating vaccinations or tracking vaccination and test status, workers want to have some sense of security and stability return to their working lives.”

Almost all employees surveyed, 88 per cent, expressed strong support for their employer knowing their vaccination status, with four in five workers supporting vaccine passports in the workplace.

 Prince Charles encourages Scott Morrison to attend COP26 climate summit

Prince Charles urges PM Morrison and other leaders  as this is the last chance for action.

Prince Charles was stunned to learn world leaders, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, may not attend the COP26 conference in Glasgow - and issued a warning it's the last chance to act.

BBC's climate editor Justin Rowlatt this week told the Prince of Wales Mr Morrison "isn't even certain that he could make it" to the United Nations Climate Change Conference at the end of the month.

"Is that what he says does he? Mmm," Prince Charles replied.

"The point being that this is a last chance saloon, literally.

"Because if we don't really take the decisions that are vital now, it's going to be almost impossible to catch up."

The Prince of Wales warned of a "catastrophic" impact if no action is taken, adding he was worried world leaders would "just talk" when they meet for the critical conference.

"It will be a disaster. I mean it will be catastrophic. It is already beginning to be catastrophic because nothing in nature can survive the stress that is created by these extremes of weather," he said.

Prince Charles was stunned to learn world leaders, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, may not attend the COP26 conference in Glasgow - and issued a warning it's the last chance to act.

BBC's climate editor Justin Rowlatt this week told the Prince of Wales Mr Morrison "isn't even certain that he could make it" to the United Nations Climate Change Conference at the end of the month.

"Is that what he says does he? Mmm," Prince Charles replied.

"The point being that this is a last chance saloon, literally.

"Because if we don't really take the decisions that are vital now, it's going to be almost impossible to catch up."

The Prince of Wales warned of a "catastrophic" impact if no action is taken, adding he was worried world leaders would "just talk" when they meet for the critical conference.

"It will be a disaster. I mean it will be catastrophic. It is already beginning to be catastrophic because nothing in nature can survive the stress that is created by these extremes of weather," he said.

Mr Rowlatt also asked what Prince Charles would say to the Australian government who seems "reluctant to take on board the need to take really serious action on the issue".

"You gently try to suggest that maybe there are other ways of doing things, otherwise in my case, you lot will accuse me of interfering," Prince Charles said.

Mr Morrison has not yet confirmed whether he will attend the Glasgow conference, despite increasing pressure from the Opposition Leader.

"The Prime Minister should attend the Glasgow conference and he should represent Australia - if he doesn't it's because he is embarrassed by Australia's position," Labor leader Anthony Albanese said.

 Coronavirus Australia live news: Stadium carparks to be drive-through jab  hubs

Vaccination push continues as NSW prepares for Roadmap to Freedom

Sydney: NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Sunday that it was vital for people to continue to “roll up their sleeves” to get their two doses of vaccine against COVID-19.

“Vaccination is our greatest weapon against the virus, together with social distancing, hand sanitising, mask wearing and getting tested when we have symptoms – which all remain important as we navigate our way out of this pandemic,” he said.

Mr Hazzard was speaking the day before the launch of the first phase of the government’s long-awaited “Roadmap to Freedom”.

From October 11, people who have had both doses of vaccine will be allowed to have up to 10 friends and family visit one another’s homes, and be able to go to restaurants and bars, retail shops, gyms, and other sporting facilities.

School students in NSW are set to return to their classrooms later this month.

 ACT records 28 new local Covid-19 cases, including a newborn baby | The  West Australian

ACT records 28 new local COVID-19 cases

Canberra: The ACT has recorded 28 new local COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours.

There are 450 total active cases currently in the ACT.

It comes as Chief Minister Andrew Barr confirmed the end of lockdown for the territory will be on Friday.

 Interpreter Who Helped Rescue Joe Biden in 2008 Pleads for Help | PEOPLE.com

Interpreter who helped rescue Biden in Afghanistan finally escapes

An Afghan interpreter who helped in the rescue of then-Sen. Joe Biden in 2008 from a valley in Afghanistan has finally escaped from the Taliban-controlled country after being left behind in initial US evacuations.

Aman Khalili, who was previously identified by his official first name, Mohammed, for security reasons, left Afghanistan and crossed into Pakistan with his family last week, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Khalili and his family spent weeks in hiding following the end of the US troop withdrawal and initial evacuation efforts in August.

While the US had been able to evacuate thousands from the country before the deadline, hundreds of Americans and allies remain in Afghanistan, which is now under the rule of the Taliban.

At the end of August, Khalili made a direct appeal to the president, asking Biden to save him and his family.

“Hello Mr. President: Save me and my family,” he said. “Don’t forget me here.”

Over the past six weeks, US veterans worked alongside former Afghan soldiers and Pakistani allies to get Khalili and his family out. They traveled over 600 miles across Afghanistan to escape.

Brian Genthe, a combat veteran who worked with Khalili in Afghanistan, called the interpreter “a blessing.”

“Aman helped keep me and other Americans safe while we were fighting in Afghanistan, and we wanted to return the favor,” he said.

In 2008, then-Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and Biden (D-Del.) were aboard a pair of US Army Black Hawk helicopters that were forced by a snowstorm to land in the Afghan mountains, where they were vulnerable to a Taliban attack.

Khalili, who was 36 at the time, was working as an interpreter with the US Army and joined a motorcade responding to the senators’ call for help. According to soldiers, the group braved more than 100 firefights in the valley.

At the time of his plea to Biden, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she appreciated the man’s role in helping rescue the president — and that the US would try to help him leave Afghanistan.

She added: “Our commitment is enduring — not just to American citizens, but to our Afghan partners who have fought by our side — and our efforts and our focus right now is … to the diplomatic phase. We will get you out. We will honor your service.”

Khalili and his family made it out of Afghanistan on Oct. 5, after weeks of failed attempts from veterans, employees of conservative commentator Glenn Beck, and the Human First Coalition to save them.

 

“Our multicultural media professionals have been tireless in sharing crucial health messages...

Sydney: Stories of survival in the face of persecution and investigative reports about scams targeting diverse communities are among the winners of the 2021 Premier’s Multicultural Communications Awards.

Minister for Multiculturalism Natalie Ward today revealed the successful entries across 12 categories.

“These awards recognise the vital role our multicultural communicators play in delivering critical information and connecting with our diverse communities,” Mrs Ward said.

“Our multicultural media professionals have been tireless in sharing crucial health messages throughout the pandemic and have been instrumental in helping keep our community safe. 

“I commend this year’s winners and finalists and would like to thank them for their ongoing support in communicating with diverse audiences across NSW.”

Mrs Ward said the winning media and marketing entries were recognised across categories including Best Audio-Visual Report, the Public Interest Award and Business Campaign of the Year.

“Unfortunately due to COVID-19 restrictions, an in-person event to announce this year’s winners can’t take place, but that of course doesn’t take away from the importance of their work in our community,” Mrs Ward said.

“We look forward to celebrating the outstanding achievements of our winners at the Premier’s Harmony Dinner next year.

“I sincerely congratulate our outstanding winners and finalists for bringing an important voice to topics such as racism, migrant exploitation and the impact of COVID on our diverse communities. 

“I am delighted that the NSW Government is the only state in Australia to recognise multicultural communicators with a stand-alone awards program.”

For more information about the Premier’s Multicultural Communications Awards visit: https://multicultural.nsw.gov.au/premiers-multicultural-communications-awards/

 

Parramatta mayor pushes to keep council’s development contributions plans

Sydney: Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Steven Issa wants his council’s infrastructure contributions plans to remain in place when the NSW Government makes changes to the Development Contributions Bill.

Cr Issa wrote to Planning Minister Rob Stokes raising concerns about the proposed reforms and advocating for the retention of council’s new CBD and Outside CBD Infrastructure Contributions Plans.

“Parramatta is one of the fastest growing cities in Australia but our success depends on our ability to fund local community infrastructure,” Cr Issa said.

“Over a number of years, council worked closely with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE); the community; landowners and developers to create a new planning scheme for the City of Parramatta, including the CBD Planning Proposal and Outside CBD Local Environmental Plan.”

Council’s new contributions plan for developments outside the Parramatta CBD, which will help bring in more than $1.24 billion to fund community infrastructure over 20 years, took effect in September. A separate contributions plan for the Parramatta CBD was also developed and will be considered by Council for approval in a fortnight.

 International students fear discrimination and lost ground upon return to  Australia - ABC News

International students fear discrimination and lost ground upon return to Australia

Sydney: Nearly 60,000 international students are itching to get on Australian soil to begin or resume their studies, but many are anxious about what life will look like once they arrive.

Radhika Gyani from India, who is enrolled in a master's of engineering at the University of New South Wales, has been studying online and counting the days until she gets back.

She says she misses the "human connection" and that online studies are "too machine-driven" — but has some trepidation about returning to Australia despite her excitement.

"[I am] not sure how comfortable the locals would be to have a bulk of international folks back all of a sudden, not so sure how welcoming they would be," Ms Gyani said.

But that is not Ms Gyani's only worry — she fears an influx of international arrivals could affect her ability to afford life in Sydney.

"I'm worried about rent and jobs, because there will be a steep elevation in demand for rental accommodation and employment," she said.

PhD researcher Sonia Qadir from Pakistan is concerned about her career prospects as she approaches the end of her law degree.

"COVID has forced universities to make a lot of cuts and reduced the number of possible courses on offer for PhDs to teach," Ms Qadir said.

'A second culture shock'

Australian National University student An Do says he expects a "second culture shock" to be waiting for him when he returns.

"Not speaking English on a daily basis for two years has affected my ability to communicate a lot, so I will have to start from scratch again," he said.

"I don't really know how to greet my local friends when I see them again.

"Another outbreak could plunge universities back into online mode and make it harder for our social life."

The absence of face-to-face learning has also taken its toll on Ms Qadir's academic progress.

"Not being able to meet face to face also means we cannot build the kinds of scholarly communities that are really important and necessary for learning and growing as scholars," she said.

She said extended border closures had kept her outside Australia for most of her PhD degree.

"We have missed out on teaching opportunities, networking and getting to know other faculties and academics besides out supervisors," Ms Qadir said.

"It's really putting our choice of Australia as an educational destination into question."

Remote learning woes

Vietnamese student community leader Binh Nguyen said many students had raised concerns about remote learning.

"The tuition fee is unchanged, but the quality of education worsens and no student can accept this condition," he said.

But Barney Glover, the convenor or the NSW Vice-Chancellors Committee, said thousands of offshore students were still showing interest in Australian education, despite remote teaching.

"They have been paying fees and, in some cases, discounted fees compared to what they would be paying in Australia," he said.

During this period, several Vietnamese students took to online forums to share stories about copping flak from disgruntled community members for wearing masks.

International student recruiter Duy Matthews said stories of negative experiences had circulated on many Vietnamese social media platforms.

Mrs Matthews says Australian Visa and Student Services, which recruits students from Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar, has suffered a 60 percent decline from pre-COVID levels in new enrolments into Australian universities.

"Many parents and students are considering switching to other countries like Canada and the US, especially because they have been ahead in reopening borders," she said.

Dr Glover, who is also the Vice Chancellor of the University of Western Sydney, says extended border closures have driven many international students to North America and Europe.

 Regional racing back on track

Racing back on track in regional NSW

Sydney: The NSW Government has welcomed the return of crowds of up to 5,000 people to regional racecourses and tracks following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said it was fantastic to see fans of thoroughbred, harness and greyhound returning to the track.

“The three racing codes should be commended for how they operated during the pandemic,” Mr Anderson said.

“As NSW races towards our vaccination targets, the NSW Government is focused on supporting industries which provide jobs and economic stimulus.”

Mr Anderson said the NSW Government had invested record amounts of funding to support the racing industry over the past 12 months, including $67 million to upgrade regional racetracks.

“The racing industry provides stimulus to regional communities, creating tens of thousands of jobs and injecting billions of dollars into the state’s economy,” he said.

Local sport scores $4.6 million funding boost | Mirage News 

Local sport scores $4.6 million funding boost

Sydney: Initiatives which focus on increasing participation in sport through events, development programs and facilities are the focus of the latest round of the NSW Government’s Local Sport Grant Program.

Minister for Sport Natalie Ward said more than $4.6 million is available to local sporting clubs to make their ideas to boost participation a reality, as COVID restrictions ease.

“We know sport has great health, social and economic advantages and we’re looking to strengthen our local sporting communities as we plan for the future,” Mrs Ward said.

“Sport goes far beyond the physical benefits. It boosts social networks and can also help develop skills and create jobs.

“This funding will support projects at grassroots sporting clubs which are driving participation opportunities, so that more people in NSW can enjoy the benefits of being involved in sport.”

The NSW Government funded more than 930 projects across the State through the last round of the Local Sport Grant Program.

“A terrific variety of initiatives were funded, including a Come and Try day at the Sydney Speed Skating Club at Macquarie Ice Rink, equipment at Armidale City Gymnastics Club to enable the participation of children with sensory issues and a program to subsidise sailing fees for children from disadvantaged communities at Toronto Amateur Sailing Club at Lake Macquarie,” Mrs Ward said.

Successful clubs can receive funding of up to $20,000, with up to $50,000 available for each electorate throughout NSW.

Applications open today and close on Friday, 19 November.

For more information visit: www.sport.nsw.gov.au/local-sport-grant-program




 














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