The leader of the Nationals in the Senate has lashed “city-centric” state governments  who don’t understand the needs of regional Australia and claimed a disconnect still exists between the city and the country in Australia after a border “fiasco”.
 

After a day of media appearances, Senator Bridget McKenzie appeared in the Senate appealing for state leaders to agree to a hotspot approach to coronavirus outbreaks rather than hard borders.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday announced the easing of border restrictions for permit holders between Victoria and NSW.

From Friday, those with permits will be able to travel 50 km either side of the NSW-Victoria border in what is being described as a “border bubble zone”.

The revised permit will allow residents to travel across the border from Victoria for school, work, to obtain goods and access certain services.

The current size is two and a half kilometre radius.

Overnight, Senator McKenzie demanded “swift, decisive action at a local level” and claimed “one-size-fits-all border closures imposed on regional communities by other states is not a localised, targeted approach.

“In fact, it has served to highlight the disconnect that still exists between the city and the country here in Australia.

“While state leaders are engaged in a political game of one-upmanship to garner support amongst capital city voter bases, COVID-19-free border communities that are hundreds of kilometres from COVID-19 hotspots are being torn apart.

“Decisions made in Melbourne and Sydney, and let’s not forget Adelaide, Brisbane and Hobart—I’m not sparing either the red or the blue team here—are having untold impacts on border communities, rural and regional health services and education outcomes and, even more concerning, untold impacts on emotional and mental wellbeing.

She earlier criticised “untenable, draconian measures by city centric state governments who are more interested in the populist political polling they’re receiving, than making decisions based on medical evidence”.

Senator McKenzie has called for states and territories to “urgently adopt risk based health approaches based on a clear definition of COVID-19 hotspots”.

She urged Premiers to use “common-sense and use evidence over politics at this Friday’s National Cabinet so there’s an agreed definition of COVID hotspots and in determining where they are”.

Senator McKenzie also called for:

  • National leaders to set and agree on a national standard approach to inbound quarantine with stringent checks and equivalent processing systems
  • To agree on criteria for determining which areas are COVID-19 hotspots
  • Prioritise an agriculture workers code to allow movement of farmers and workers across borders, beyond the current 100 kilometre zone

“We know how contagious this virus is from the start,” Senator McKenzie said on 2GB. 

“We need to treat isolated outbreaks no matter where they are, in isolation, shut that region or area down very swiftly and securely and let the rest of our community, our state, our regions get on with doing business.

“I’d be calling on the Premiers to stop playing populist politics and to actually recognise that we need to open up…where there is no medical risk.

“Lives and livelihoods are being devastated due to these decisions by state Premiers.”

Meanwhile, there have been 70 new cases and five deaths recorded in Victoria in the past 24 hours, continuing a downward trend in the state.

NSW reported 13 new infections and Queensland recorded two. 

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Live Updates

The leader of the Nationals in the Senate has lashed “city-centric” state governments and claimed a disconnect still exists between the city and the country in Australia after a border “fiasco”.

After a day of media appearances, Senator Bridget McKenzie appeared in the Senate appealing for state leaders to agree to a hotspot approach to coronavirus outbreaks rather than hard borders.

““Many of the cases my office and that of my colleagues have been helping are absolutely heart breaking, all of which were avoidable if our state governments had of shut down and isolated COVID hotspots rather than an entire region,” she said in a statement.

From Friday, those with permits will be able to travel 50km either side of the NSW-Victoria border in what is being described as a “border bubble zone”.

The revised permit will allow residents to travel across the border from Victoria for school, work, to obtain goods and access certain services.

The current size is two and a half kilometre radius.

Overnight, Senator McKenzie demanded “swift, decisive action at a local level” and claimed “one-size-fits-all border closures imposed on regional communities by other states is not a localised, targeted approach. “In fact, it has served to highlight the disconnect that still exists between the city and the country here in Australia.

Senator McKenzie urged Premiers to use “common-sense and use evidence over politics at this Friday’s National Cabinet so there’s an agreed definition of COVID hotspots and in determining where they are”.

“We know how contagious this virus is from the start. We need to treat isolated outbreaks no matter where they are, in isolation, shut that region or area down very swiftly and securely and let the rest of our community, our state, our regions get on with doing business,” she told 2GB.

“I’d be calling on the Premiers to stop playing populist politics and to actually recognise that we need to open up…where there is no medical risk.”

“Lives and livelihoods are being devastated due to these decisions by state Premiers.

A UK drugmaker and Oxford Biomedica have entered into an expansion agreement to scale up production of its potential Covid-19 vaccine.

AstraZeneca and the Oxford-based cell and gene therapy firm will produce tens of millions of doses of the drugmaker’s potential vaccine, AZD1222, for 18 months, which could be extended by a further 18 months into 2023 – under the supply agreement.

It will be made at the firm’s three manufacturing suites at its new centre, Oxbox, in Oxford, the Guardian reports, with two of the suites ready to use in the next two months.

According to the publication, AstraZeneca will pay Oxford Biomedica £50m ($90m) under the deal.

AstraZeneca, which is developing the vaccine with researchers at Oxford University, said its global manufacturing capacity was close to 3bn doses.

Queensland Health have issued an alert for a childcare centre in Brisbane’s Fig Tree Pocket.

Anyone who visited Fig Tree Pocket Early Childhood Centre on August 21 between the morning and evening should monitor their health.

If they develop any COVID-19 symptoms, even mild, they must get tested and isolate until they receive their test result.

A public health alert has not been issued for the flight the reported Victorian resident was on as new advice provided to Queensland Health is that he was not infectious while on the flight.

A man considered a close contact of a COVID-19 case at a Sydney gym says 10 days passed until health authorities told him to self-isolate, and he’s yet to hear anything from Fitness First.

“It seems like a big oversight,” the man, who wished to remain anonymous, told news.com.au on Tuesday.

Picture: Gaye Gerard/Sunday Telegraph

He said he exercised at Fitness First Bond Street, the company’s largest club in the CBD, on Thursday, August 20.

Read the full story here.

For years the AFL have toyed with the idea of hosting a night Grand Final. In 2020 that is set to become a reality.

The tumultuous 2020 season, thrown through the ringer thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will see the biggest game of the year shifted away from the MCG.

States lined up and threw their hat into the ring for the opportunity to host the blockbuster game, but ultimately it will be the Gabba who receives the nod.

Picture: News Corp Australia

The AFL’s executive team, including CEO Gillon McLachlan and fixturing boss Travis Auld, reportedly gave their recommendation to the AFL commission for the Gabba to play host on Tuesday morning.

It isn’t expected to be revealed until Wednesday, however reports indicate the game will not only be played in Brisbane, but for the first time in AFL history it will be played at night.

Read the full story here.

Angie Raphael, NCA NewsWire

Federal parliament has agreed to extend the $100 billion JobKeeper program with changes, meaning people will receive a lower amount from the end of the month.

From September 28, the $1500 fortnightly payment will fall to $1200, followed by another drop in January to $1000 if you were working at least 20 hours per week before JobKeeper was introduced.

For part-time workers, payments will fall to $750 a week this month, then $650 next year.

People receiving JobSeeker payments will also get a decrease on their payments.

Read the full story here.

Director and chief executive at the Burnet Institute, Professor Brendan Crabb, has made a bold prediction that Victoria could eliminate COVID-19 before NSW.

Speaking to the ABC’s Patricia Karvelas this afternoon, Prof Crabb was confident Victoria will eradicate coronavirus completely.

“The opening up of Australia – we won’t be going overseas for long, but there is a prize to open up Australia’s borders, and I think Victoria is going to eliminate this,” he said.

“I think we will eliminate it before New South Wales, and I would like to see that being a race.”

Today’s number of new infections in Victoria – 70 – are the lowest the state has seen since July, and Prof Crabb said that in “two, three or maybe four weeks’ time from now, it is quite realistic to be at or very close to zero”.

With Premier Daniel Andrews set to release his plan on Victoria’s roadmap out of stage four and three restrictions this Sunday, Prof Crabb said the “finish line” needs to be approached cautiously.

“It has been a slog and to see things coming down like this is great. But I must say this time we have to approach this finish line with a sense of being a bit more worried, a lot more alert, to the consequences if we don’t get this right,” he said.

“The criteria for exit need to be absolutely defined, prioritised and the first of those is the elimination of community spread, some definition around what zero means, and what timeframe we are going to reach it in. That’s the first and most important of three or four other milestones.”

A 22-year-old woman has been fined by police in Tasmania for failing to isolate as directed after travelling from interstate.

Police identified the woman was not at her nominated quarantine residence on Saturday during a routine check.

She was located by police at a different address today and issued with a $774 fine for the offence.

A police statement said there had been no evidence members of the community were put at risk during the breach.

The on-again, off-again girlfriend of a prominent outlaw motorcycle gang member – who flew from Victoria to Queensland last night despite being infected with COVID-19 – has revealed why he made the dash.

Shane Bowden, a 48-year-old former member of the Mongols, fled from the Royal Melbourne Hospital while being treated for coronavirus and was intercepted at Brisbane Airport on Monday after flying into Queensland.

Bowden has been detained in a Gold Coast hotel, and The Courier Mail reports all 84 passengers on flight JQ560 have been rounded up and placed in quarantine.

Picture: Glenn Hampson

Trudi McPhee, who has known him for 30 years, told the Herald Sun Bowden was initially being treated for serious injuries to his leg sustained in an Epping drive-by shooting when he tested positive for COVID-19.

“He is a pretty wild man, he was already wanted by Queensland police he had told me,” Ms McPhee said.

“He didn’t want to be in Victoria anymore.

“He checked out of hospital because he was very scared, he was worried people were watching him all the time.

“I believe he needs help. He is obviously not thinking properly.”

Bowden has been taken to a Gold Coast hospital by ambulance today because the gunshot wound in his leg has become badly infected.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters this morning the apprehension of Bowden showed “how strong our border measures are”.

“My hat goes off to all the police,” she said.

“Just imagine if that had gotten out into the community.”

An in-depth investigation into Bowden’s movements will decide whether he committed any criminal offences by allegedly knowingly travelling interstate while infected with COVID-19.

According to the DHHS breakdown of today’s new coronavirus cases, these are the Victorian LGA’s with the highest number of active infections:

  • Wyndham: 276
  • Brimbank: 235
  • Hume: 175
  • Moreland: 171
  • Whittlesea: 141
  • Melton: 136
  • Casey: 133
  • Darebin: 131
  • Melbourne: 99
  • Greater Dandenong: 97
  • Hobsons Bay: 70
  • Maribyrnong: 69
  • Bayside: 65
  • Kingston: 63
  • Moonee Valley: 62
  • Greater Geelong: 50
  • Monash: 47
  • Yarra: 43
  • Mornington Peninsula: 37
  • Frankston: 36
  • Port Phillip: 34
  • Cardinia: 28
  • Banyule: 24
  • Glen Eira: 20
  • Yarra Ranges: 20
  • Manningham: 19
  • Boroondara: 18
  • Knox: 17
  • Stonnington: 16
  • Whitehorse: 15
  • Latrobe: 12
  • Maroondah: 12
  • Mitchell: 12
  • Colac Otway: 11
  • Moorabool: 11
  • Greater Bendigo: 8
  • Nillumbik: 8
  • Macedon Ranges: 7
  • Interstate: 6
  • Ballarat: 5
  • Greater Shepparton: 5
  • Surf Coast: 3
  • Campaspe: 2
  • East Gippsland: 2
  • Horsham: 2
  • Warrnambool: 2
  • Wellington: 2
  • Arabat: 1
  • Baw Baw: 1
  • Central Goldfields: 1
  • Mansfield: 1
  • Pyrenees: 1

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