Monday , July 6 2020
Home / National News / As it happened: Morrison government to end childcare relief package as Black Lives Matter protests increase risk of COVID-19 infections, Australian death toll stands at 102

As it happened: Morrison government to end childcare relief package as Black Lives Matter protests increase risk of COVID-19 infections, Australian death toll stands at 102

Education Minister Dan Tehan has announced the end of fee-free childcare for Australian families.

The childcare relief package will end on July 12, Mr Tehan said, restoring the old model that combines government subsidies and fees from families.

He said Australia’s success at containing COVID-19 had sent people back to work and school, causing demand for childcare spots to rebound.

“The system was designed for when demand was falling, now we are seeing demand increase. And we think we have got the balance right,” Mr Tehan said.

“Services are keen to expand their offering to support more families.”

From July 13, the old child care subsidy will be reintroduced. The government will also put in place transition measures to protect centres and families whose incomes have been harmed.

The government will provide extra government funding through the shift back to the old model. The government will also alter the work activity test for eligible parents to help them afford fees.

From July 20, centres will also lose access to the JobKeeper wage subsidy.

You can watch the announcement below:

That’s all for the coronavirus updates blog for today. Thanks for tuning in. As always, the blog will start up again tomorrow at 6am.

If you’re just clicking on the blog now, rather than having to scroll down to the end, here is a summary of today’s top updates:

  • Australia’s fee-free childcare will end on July 12, at which point the system will be transitioning back to the subsidy model.
  • Five new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Australia in the past 24 hours, three in NSW and two in Victoria. A total of 7265 cases have been confirmed nationwide since the start of the outbreak, and 457 of them are still active cases.
  • Of the 61 coronavirus cases confirmed in the past week, about 70 per cent were in returned travellers from overseas who have been kept in hotel quarantine.
  • The president of the Australian Medical Association has called on people who attended a Black Lives Matter protest at the weekend to self-isolate for 14 days. Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said it would be weeks before it would become clear whether the protests had sparked an increase in coronavirus infections.
  • Qantas and Virgin Australia have suspended remaining international flights.
  • New Zealand has announced it has no active cases in the country and will be cutting most of its restrictions from midnight when it drops to “alert level one”.
  • There have been 7 million cases of coronavirus recorded since the start of the pandemic, with 402,000 recorded deaths.

Qantas and Virgin Australia have regrounded their remaining international passenger operations after government funding for the handful of overseas routes they were flying came to an end.

The Morrison government says it is reviewing whether it needs to fund further flights to get Australians home from abroad as some overseas airlines resume flying here.

Qantas and Virgin will again suspend their international passenger operations.

Qantas and Virgin will again suspend their international passenger operations. Credit:Brendon Thorne

Under the government program, Qantas was flying a twice weekly London-Perth-Melbourne return service and a weekly Los Angeles-Melbourne service, the last of which landed on Monday morning.

Meanwhile Virgin – which is in voluntary administration seeking new owners – was flying a weekly Los Angeles-Brisbane service which ended Sunday.

About a month ago, we did some analysis of domestic and international flights in Australia that showed how much flights had declined. It would be interesting to see what the data for May showed as well.

Restaurants, shops and transport services were back up and running in Jakarta on Monday, as restrictions were eased further despite Indonesia posting its biggest daily spike in coronavirus infections two days earlier.

Offices in Jakarta, the epicentre of Indonesia’s outbreak, were operating with limits on employee numbers while traffic wasted no time in returning to gridlock, with cars bumper-to-bumper and clusters of motorcycles sandwiched between lanes.

Indonesia’s main stock index gained up to 2.5 per cent and hit its highest in three months on Monday as investors cheered the resumption of more business activities.

But it remains the worst-hit country in East Asia outside China, with 32,033 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 1,883 deaths. Indonesia has had no national lockdown and cities have been allowed to impose restrictions, though not all are strictly followed.

Reuters

I have just finished updating the data in our COVID-19 data centre.

This free resource lets you find out the number of coronavirus cases that have been confirmed at a local, state and federal level, as well as seeing how case numbers have been growing throughout the world.

NSW Police Minister David Elliott expects future protests larger than 10 people will be illegal if they fail to comply with COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings.

It comes as medical and public health experts were divided over whether thousands of protesters who attended Black Lives Matter rallies around the country, including a 20,000-strong march at Sydney’s Town Hall on Saturday, should self-isolate for 14 days.

In a firming of the Berejiklian government’s position on Monday, Mr Elliott said all future protests must comply with the current public health orders, which currently limit public gatherings to 10 people.

The Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney last Saturday.

The Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney last Saturday.Credit:James Brickwood

“Any protest in the future, irrespective of how honourable the cause, must comply with the current public health orders,” Mr Elliott said in a statement. “If it does not, it is my expectation that police will not authorise the protest and it will be illegal.

“The safety of the entire community during a global pandemic must come first, and those who wish to express their view are encouraged to do so in a COVID-safe way such as on social media.”

The position is supported by Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Social controls should be eased within weeks if huge city protests do not trigger a spike in coronavirus cases, Liberal MPs say in a new sign of the pressure to lift curbs that are hurting the economy.

The Morrison government MPs believe the Black Lives Matter protests could prove the case for removing the restrictions, although some fear this could be pushed back if there is any sign of a second wave of infections.

A Black Lives Matter protest at the front of Parliament House in Canberra on Saturday.

A Black Lives Matter protest at the front of Parliament House in Canberra on Saturday.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

With Parliament due to meet on Wednesday, Victorian Liberal senator Sarah Henderson called on politicians who attended the protests to stay at home this week to avoid putting colleagues at risk.

But at least three of those who joined the protests – Greens senators Mehreen Faruqi and Janet Rice and Labor MP Graham Perrett – plan to attend Parliament.

Commonwealth medical experts are taking a “wait-and-see” approach to whether the protests lead to any increase in COVID-19 cases at the same time Australians return to shopping centres, restaurants and bars.

“If there is no spike in infections that re-endanger the community, there is zero justification for not easing restrictions further,” NSW Liberal senator Hollie Hughes said.

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s daily coronavirus update has just been sent out. Here are the key numbers on Australia’s COVID-19 tally:

  • Five new cases have been confirmed in the past 24 hours, three in NSW and two in Victoria.
  • 7265 cases have been confirmed since the start of the outbreak.
  • 102 people have died (this number is unchanged since yesterday).
  • 6706 people who had been infected have made a full recovery.
  • 19 people are in hospital, including three in intensive care.
  • 1,633,500 tests have been carried out in Australia.

The expert panel advising governments on their coronavirus response has contradicted the peak medical body’s call for the tens of thousands of Australians who attended Black Lives Matter rallies over the weekend to self-isolate to prevent a wave of infections.

Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone said all protesters “must get tested for COVID-19 [if] they develop any symptoms [and] look at the option of isolating themselves from the rest of the community” for 14 days.

The Black Lives Matter protest in Melbourne on Saturday.

The Black Lives Matter protest in Melbourne on Saturday. Credit:Christopher Hopkins

But the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), made up of state and federal chief medical officers, declined to back the call to self-isolate at its Monday meeting.

Deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth said there would be challenges in implementing such a policy.

“There is no current recommendation that people who attended those mass gatherings should do anything different. In fact, do exactly the same thing – which is get tested if they become unwell,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Dr Coatsworth said it would be weeks before authorities would know if the rallies had sparked a wave of infections, but the Australian health system was prepared for an outbreak.

The Health Department is urging anyone who has symptoms associated with coronavirus to get tested. These symptoms include fever, sore throat, shortness of breath and a loss of sense of smell.

Nationwide, more than 1.5 million tests for coronavirus have been carried out in Australia since the start of the outbreak. Here are the locations where you can get tested in New South Wales and Victoria:

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth has said he understands the frustrations of people who cannot go to the football, but there were differences between the return of spectator sport and a single protest.

“I would point out perhaps we don’t have protests on every Friday and Saturday night of the footy season,” he said.

“The return to stadium sport and spectators is something the Australian health protection principal committee is considering, it is something that we have been discussing,” he said.

“So there may well be a way to do that in a safe measured way in the coming months, so I guess in principle there is a rather big difference between a single protest and a return to spectator sport in Australia.”

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Dr Coatsworth urged those who attended last weekend’s Black Lives Matter protests to get tested if they develop symptoms of coronavirus.

These symptoms include a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath.

About admin

Check Also

‘Fraud and forgery’: Fireworks over Sirius buyer’s development attempt

A JDH Capital spokesperson said it was “a private principal investment firm”, and “the company’s …