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Coronvirus updates LIVE: Scott Morrison announces $130 billion ‘Jobkeeper’ wage subsidy, Victoria implements stage three social distancing restrictions

A staff member at a Rosanna nursing home in Melbourne’s north-east has tested positive to the coronavirus, Nine News is reporting.

Families of those residents have been informed in a letter from the home.

Chief health officer Brett Sutton said he was not aware of the case, but said authorities were closely monitoring aged care.

“Certainly nursing homes are a huge risk, we understand the vulnerability of everyone who lives in nursing homes, it’s a closed setting so transmission becomes really difficult to manage,” Dr Sutton told Nine News.

He said aged care staff who feel unwell should immediately self-isolate.

“It doesn’t mean that we’re going to have an outbreak if a staff member has become unwell.”

We’ll have more on this shortly.

The Victorian Opposition has urged Premier Daniel Andrews to freeze new taxes and regulations that could “hurt businesses”, and is calling for Parliament to sit for a day to pass important legislation.

Liberal leader Michael O’Brien said the Coalition was “willing to work with the government”.

Liberal leader Michael O'Brien called for a bipartisan approach to the coronavirus response.

Liberal leader Michael O’Brien called for a bipartisan approach to the coronavirus response.Credit:Simon Schluter

“In order to work with the government, we need the government to work with us too,” he said.

“That means no surprises and no ambush. It means working with us cooperatively, giving us plenty of notice of what is proposed, giving us the change to be properly briefed, and nothing should go forward that isn’t agreed across party lines.”

Mr O’Brien said Parliament needed to pass bushfire relief legislation – to have money flow through to bushfire-ravaged communities – and amendments to the Local Government Act, which would allow councils to hold meetings via a teleconference instead of in person.

Given the “extraordinary” circumstances, Mr O’Brien said, it is wrong to introduce new taxes and regulations that “would hurt businesses more than they already are hurting”.

“Premier, this is not the time for new taxes, it’s not the time for more red tape, it’s the time to help our businesses survive and it’s the time to keep people in jobs,” the Opposition leader said.

“And if it’s going to hurt businesses, and if it’s going to hurt jobs, there should be an immediate freeze on it.”

Racing Victoria will stand down staff, slash prizemoney and board members and top executives will take pay cuts of up to 50 per cent in a bid to protect the Victorian racing industry amid the coronavirus pandemic.

From next Monday, April 6, RV’s contribution to all flat and jumps race prizemoney will be cut by 20 per cent for each metropolitan race until further notice.

CEO Giles Thompson will take a pay cut as Racing Victoria stands down employees and cuts prizemoney amid the coronavirus pandemic.

CEO Giles Thompson will take a pay cut as Racing Victoria stands down employees and cuts prizemoney amid the coronavirus pandemic.Credit:AAP

However, it has stopped short of announcing prizemoney cuts to major group races like the $7 million Melbourne Cup for now; most of Victoria’s big races have already been run for the year and there are no group 1 races scheduled in Melbourne until next spring.

Racing Victoria is hoping that some form of normality may have returned by the time the big Cups carnivals at Caulfield and Flemington, as well as the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley, are due to be run in late October and November.

Read the full story here.

The Jobkeeper payment will be delivered through the Australian Tax Office. The payment will be a flat-rate of $1500 a fortnight to keep workers on the books regardless of their salary.

It will be administered through the single touch payroll system, requiring businesses to keep the employee in order to distribute the payment. Businesses and not-for-profits will be eligible after a downturn in revenue of 30 per cent.

Mr Morrison confirmed the payment would be delivered in May but backdated to March 1.

Employees who have been stood down will be eligible for the payment. Those employers who have already laid off workers will also be able to be re-hire employees and access the payment.

“That means they can still have them on the books and start working together on how they can resuscitate the business on the other side,” Mr Morrison said.

“We want to keep the engine of our economy running. It may run on idle for a time but it must continue to run.”

New Zealanders and casuals working for more than one year will also be eligible for the Jobkeeper payment.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg distinguished the Jobkeeper payment from the wage subsidy scheme in the United Kingdom. “Their scheme is for three months. Our scheme is costed for six months.”

Mr Frydenberg said employees will be receiving a minimum of $1500, with employers allowed to top up wages beyond that.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a $130 billion package to support the wages of up to 6 million Australians throughout the coronavirus crisis.

The “Jobkeeper” subsidy will be worth $1500 a fortnight.

“We will pay employers to pay their employees,” he said.

“Our government has made a decision today that no government has made before.

“Our goal is to protect lives and livelihoods of Australians to protect and preserve the economy that we depend on and to get to the other side as well.”

Employees will receive a minimum of $1500, with employers able to top up wages beyond that.

Mr Morrison confirmed Parliament, which was not due to sit until August, will have to be recalled to pass the legislation required for the new $130 billion package.

Mr Morrison warned that many countries “may see their economies collapse” throughout the crisis.

He said the stimulus and survival measures taken so far, equal to up to $330 billion, would help Australia avoid this fate.

“It is never the time for rash and ill considered decisions,” he said.

“We still do not know the many other challenges that we will face.”

The Centrelink partner threshold rate has also been raised to $79,000. This means Australians will be eligible for welfare payments if their partner earns up to this amount.

The threshold had previously been set at $48,000, disqualifying up to 400,000 people who had become unemployed from receiving welfare.

The Jobkeeper payment will be delivered through the Australian Tax Office. The payment will be a flat-rate of $1500 a fortnight for all employees laid off regardless of their salary.

It will be administered through the single touch payroll system, requiring businesses to keep the employee on the books in order to distribute the payment. Businesses and not-for-profits will be eligible after a downturn in revenue of 30 per cent.

Mr Morrison confirmed the payment would be delivered in May but backdated to March 1. Employees who have already been stood down will be eligible for the payment.

The Age is releasing a daily podcast – featuring senior reporters discussing all things coronavirus – and an evening newsletter summarising the key developments of the day.

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Get our Coronavirus Update newsletter for the day’s crucial developments at a glance, the numbers you need to know and what our readers are saying. Sign up to The Sydney Morning Herald’s newsletter here and The Age’s here.

Listen to the podcast here:

The Stonnington local government area in Melbourne’s inner east continues to have the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, data released by the Health Department shows.

A total of 71 diagnoses have been recorded in Stonnington, which takes in Toorak, as of Monday, up ten from when the figures were last updated on Saturday.

And ten new cases have been confirmed since the weekend in Banyule, which takes in Bundoora, Greensborough, Viewbank, Heidelberg and Ivanhoe, bringing the area’s total to 35.

Of the 821 confirmed cases statewide, 653 have been in metropolitan Melbourne, 146 in regional Victoria and the rest are still being determined.

You can see how many coronavirus cases have been confirmed in your area using the embedded map.

Keep in mind it shows the place where the infected person typically lives, not where they are now or where they picked up their infection.

You can also view the data in table format here.

Queensland’s cases of coronavirus have increased by 33 overnight to 689, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

Strict isolation rules appear to be slowing the spread of the virus, with 31 new cases recorded on Sunday compared with last week, when 50 to 70 people were being infected each day.

Queensland Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk.

Queensland Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk.Credit:AAP

“We cannot rest on our laurels, we need to keep working hard,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“The Prime Minister announced last night that following on from our national cabinet meeting we would be limiting both indoor and outdoor gatherings to two persons, and the exceptions, of course, are your household.

“Now, this is really important, we have seen a lot of people out and about, all over gym equipment, in playgrounds, a lot of different families coming together, using the equipment.

“We can’t do this. I know it sounds really tough, but we can’t do it at this time.”

Ms Palaszczuk said the new rules would be in place for at least one month.

All non-urgent dental procedures in Victoria will be postponed for at least three months as the state government seeks to limit the spread of the virus in hospitals and ensure vital resources are freed up.

The suspension will take place immediately and will be re-assessed in three months to determine if it should be extended.

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos.

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos.Credit:AAP

Emergency dental case will be accessible at Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne and other community-based dental services.

Suspended services include general dental care, routine denture services, specialist care, oral health promotion, teaching clinics and day surgery procedures.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the move would help limit the spread of coronavirus and free up personal protective equipment for front line health workers.

Patients with existing dental appointments in the next three months will be contacted to discuss treatment plans and make new appointments.

“We’re putting the safety of patients and health care workers first by ensuring health care professionals have the equipment they need when they need it,” Ms Mikakos said.

“I urge all Victorians to maintain their oral health by eating well, drinking tap water, and brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.”

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