Backpackers allowed to extend stays in Australia to help farmers during coronavirus pandemic

Backpackers will be allowed to extend their stays in Australia and temporary visa holders will get early access to their superannuation under changes being unveiled by the Federal Government today. Key points: The move is to ensure farmers have enough labour to plant and pick their crops The seasonal workers will be exempt from a […]

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Crippled Australian arts companies face another blow as funding cut

Related Story: Events industry calls for $850m stimulus as coronavirus shuts down live entertainment Related Story: Arts has become a dirty word — and now a billion-dollar industry is spooked Already facing an existential crisis in the face of coronavirus, Australia’s arts sector says it’s been further devastated after dozens of organisations lost federal funding. […]

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Jockey banned from racing after breaching isolation order from stewards

A Central Queensland jockey has been hit with a six-month ban from racing for failing to comply with a stewards direction to self-quarantine. Key points: The apprentice jockey rode trackwork in Rockhampton on Wednesday after being ordered by stewards to self-isolate for 14 days The adoption of designated racing regions is in line with policies […]

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The Prime Minister and Chief Medical Officer spoke after the National Cabinet meeting this afternoon. This is what we learned

Australia has been eagerly waiting for the result of the latest National Cabinet meeting, held earlier today. Many recent National Cabinet meetings have meant big changes for how we live our lives, with business closures, social distancing rules and more all decided there. Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy gave an […]

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NT Chief Minister says it's the 'safest place in Australia', but warns against COVID-19 complacency

The Northern Territory Chief Minister says the NT is the only jurisdiction in Australia without diagnosed community transmission of COVID-19, but residents should not be complacent. Key points: NT arrivals have dropped by 75 per cent since Monday, the Chief Minister says He says the NT is the only Australian jurisdiction without COVID-19 community transmission […]

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Should we wear face masks even when we're not sick with COVID-19? The WHO revisits its advice

Advisers to the World Health Organisation (WHO) are considering whether to suggest new guidance for the public on wearing face masks as a way to limit the spread of coronavirus. Key points TEMPLATE Key points WHO advisory panel to assess whether public should wear face masks to slow coronavirus spread New research suggests respiratory droplets […]

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Duckworth-Lewis co-inventor Tony Lewis dies

Tony Lewis, co-inventor of the Duckworth-Lewis method for settling weather-affected cricket matches, has died aged 78. Key points: Tony Lewis and Frank Duckworth devised the Duckworth-Lewis formula to settle rain-affected cricket matches Prior to 1999, such matches were resolved using the average run-rate The new method, later known as Duckworth-Lewis-Stern, calculated a new target for […]

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Baker Boy to help combat coronavirus confusion

Rising hip-hop star Baker Boy has been enlisted by the Northern Territory Government to help combat ongoing confusion about the coronavirus across remote northern Australia. Key points: Baker Boy has rapped in Yolngu-Matha language to help push COVID-19 messaging Arnhem Land officials say there’s been widespread confusion about new social distancing regulations Author Richard Trudgen […]

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SA Health looks to 'sterilise, reprocess' N95 masks as staff face PPE shortages

External Link: Dr David Shaw discusses the repurposing of N95 face masks in South Australia. SA Health has advised staff they should use N95 face masks — considered the most protective — for only the most serious coronavirus cases, along with flagging the potential sterilisation and reuse of the undersupplied masks. Key points: The Royal […]

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'Are we expendable?': Free child care is a dream come true. But what we are asking of educators is huge

Free child care for all! Education and care services funded directly! The complex and annoying child care subsidy system with its myriad rules turned off! The Prime Minister stating on national TV that early education and care is important for children and working families! Educators’ and teachers’ jobs saved! It’s amazing what a pandemic can […]

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Coronavirus tenants code looms as National Cabinet struggles to reach an agreement

Related Story: Live: Global coronavirus cases could be ‘5 to 10 times’ the 1 million known Related Story: Coronavirus update: New Yorkers told to cover faces, French death toll surges after nursing home data added The Prime Minister has foreshadowed a mandatory coronavirus industry code of practice would be imposed on commercial and retail tenants, […]

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Australians must continue to stay home, or 'flattening the curve' could turn into this

Australia is only a few days into its latest regime of strict self-isolation measures designed to fight the coronavirus pandemic, but already, many people are asking — when will they end? Not before late July at the very earliest, modelling from the University of Sydney suggests. The model, first published last week and now updated, […]

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'COVID-19-related racism is real': Here's what you can do if you're targeted

The Australian Human Rights Commission says about one in four people who lodged racial discrimination complaints in the past two months say they were targeted due to COVID-19. Key points: The Asian-Australian community faces “a compounded level of stress” caused by racism The Australian Human Rights Commission encourages the public to “show kindness and support” […]

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Concerns people arriving at WA checkpoints could be exposed to coronavirus

Western Australia’s newly-established regional checkpoints could become a place where people are being inadvertently infected with COVID-19 if frontline personnel do not practise strict physical distancing measures or wear enough personal protective equipment (PPE), a public health expert has warned. Key points: A public health expert says WA’s new regional checkpoints could spread COVID-19 if […]

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Modelling predicts this hospital will soon have up to 30 ICU admissions a day. It only has five beds

Modelling obtained by the ABC predicts health services in regional Victoria may face coronavirus patients outnumbering available ICU beds by as much as 10 to one. Key points Wimmera Base Hospital was told to prepare for 10-30 ICU admissions a day at the height of COVID-19 infections Many regional hospitals serve aging populations The Victorian […]

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Football fans are almost out of options, so they're checking out the Belarus Premier League

Coronavirus has crippled the sporting landscape across the world. Unless you’re a fan of the Belarusian Premier League, that is. Key points: The 16-team Belarus Premier League is still continuing despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic It is one of only four football leagues in the world — the others are in Nicaragua, Burundi, and Tajikistan […]

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'None of us know what the other side will look like': COVID-19 culls newsrooms in regional Australia

Advocates are demanding the Federal Government provide immediate assistance to save regional Australia’s shrinking commercial media, as the forced shutdown of communities continues to drive advertising sales into the ground. Key points: The McPherson Media Group (MMG) is the latest print organisation to lay off multiple staff due to a decline in advertising sales following […]

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ASIC warns real estate agents against advising tenants to access super to pay rent

The corporate watchdog has intervened to stop real estate agents advising tenants struggling to pay rent to withdraw money from their superannuation, warning that those who do so could face hefty fines and jail time for unlicensed financial advice against people’s best interests. Key points: The intervention comes after reports of real estate agents demanding […]

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Public warned police will be watching coronavirus measures followed

Related Story: Tour company worker ill after hosting coronavirus-infected pair Related Story: Race meets, sex work, garage sales banned under latest COVID-19 measures Police have warned the public they will be enforcing social distancing around Tasmania this weekend, urging people attending produce markets to “buy what you need and then go straight home”. Tasmania COVID-19 […]

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Buses checked and motorists denied entry to Queensland amid border crackdown

Queensland Police have this morning implemented hard New South Wales border closures in Coolangatta, with numerous motorists and one man on board a bus already being denied entry. Key points: Queensland Police say 14 entry points have been closed with barricades, including along the interwoven Coolangatta-Tweed Heads border A new checkpoint has been established on […]

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'I was always hurting myself': This children's book author is striving to turn the gender imbalance on its head

In her time as a professional extreme sport skier, a psychology research student and during a stint working at Google, Annabel Blake noticed a reoccurring theme: an alarming shortage of women. Key points: Author Annabel Blake is aiming to normalise women working in STEM jobs through her Talu Tales children’s books Each book contains a […]

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Ditching the work-from-home tracksuit for#FormalFriday going viral on social media

As a growing number of Australians turn their lounge rooms into makeshift offices, the concept of “casual Friday” is being replaced with “formal Friday” — a COVID-19 phenomenon driven by people craving social connection. Queensland University of Technology (QUT) professor Daniel Angus, an expert in digital communication, said “formal Friday” was providing a fix for […]

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Aussies in the bush reaping benefits of COVID-19 online service delivery

Related Story: Psychology comes out of the office and into the horse paddock Related Story: Horses help in the healing of a flood-ravaged Hunter Valley community If there is anything good to come out of the coronavirus pandemic, it could be that rural Australians end up better connected to essential and recreational services than ever […]

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'Do I pay my school or do I buy something to eat?': International students left struggling

Daniela Maza has lived in Australia for the past four years but, like potentially hundreds of thousands of other students around the country, has suddenly found herself facing significant financial distress in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Key points: More than 500,000 international students were in Australia when the coronavirus pandemic was declared Many […]

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No visits, fewer drugs and threat of COVID-19 see tensions rise in prisons

Efforts are underway to ease prisoner unrest in New South Wales correctional facilities after two fires broke out at a maximum security prison in the Hunter Valley on the weekend. Key Points: NSW Corrective Services denies recent unrest in a maximum security prison is coronavirus-related, but says contingencies are in place should there be an […]

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Live: Coronavirus cases pass the 5,000 mark in Australia, with National Cabinet set to meet tonight

The country’s death toll sits at 24, with more than 5,000 known cases in Australia. National Cabinet will meet this evening, a day after announcing more support for workers and free childcare. Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak Join us throughout Friday as we give you live updates on the coronavirus crisis. External Link: Coronavirus […]

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One ventilator, 400 people with respiratory illness. This community is 'incredibly vulnerable'

Related Story: First coronavirus cases confirmed in Central Australia, as services drop everything to help stop the spread to remote communities Related Story: Cherbourg was devastated by Spanish flu. A century on, it’s not taking any chances More than 200 people have been forced into quarantine in a remote Indigenous community, with vulnerable elders living […]

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Final stage of Sydney light rail opened remotely by minister as travel restrictions limit use

The final stage of Sydney’s light rail has opened amid directions it should not be used except for essential services, as coronavirus shutdowns see enforceable stay-home directives from the NSW Government. Key points: The light rail is restricted to essential travel purposes like food supplies and exercise The Transport Minister opened the light rail with […]

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Coronavirus update: UK death toll nears 3,000 as government faces criticism over low testing rates

In Spain the coronavirus death toll surpasses 10,000, while the United Kingdom records a third consecutive deadliest day and unemployment claims explode across the United States. This story is being updated regularly. You can also stay informed with the latest episode of the Coronacast podcast. Friday’s top stories: UK daily deaths rise three days in […]

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Health Department confirms 17 nursing homes with coronavirus cases

Related Story: Locked out: Families worry elderly are suffering and starving There have now been 41 residents and staff in 17 nursing homes diagnosed with COVID-19, the Federal Department of Health says. The numbers obtained exclusively by the ABC were updated on Thursday afternoon. The figures show a rise by seven residents and staff and […]

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'They sustain me': PM reflects on family, admitting it's hard to imagine world on other side of pandemic

In an emotional moment, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was drawing inspiration from his grandmother who lived during the Great Depression, and admitted it was hard “trying to imagine the world on the other side” of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key points: Mr Morrison reiterated his message that coronavirus will affect the way Australians live […]

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'Grave concerns' for Kimberley as coronavirus case spike sees tough travel restrictions imposed

Premier Mark McGowan has expressed “grave concerns” for the spread of coronavirus in WA’s remote Kimberley region as he imposed new travel restrictions within the region that go beyond tough measures already imposed across the rest of the state. Key points: Shire borders in the Kimberley will close at midnight The tough travel restrictions are […]

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Love scam fraudster's lawyer successfully argues for release over coronavirus fears

Related Story: ‘Predatory’ fake US soldier charged after allegedly scamming woman out of almost $400,000 A man who duped a Brisbane woman into believing he was a diplomat and into handing over more than $100,000 has been given a suspended sentence after his barrister argued prisoners were facing increased hardship amid the coronavirus pandemic. Key […]

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Uluru artists depict COVID-19 health messages through dot paintings

Indigenous artists have taken the COVID-19 messaging into their own hands at Mutitjulu, the small Aboriginal community nestled at the base of Uluru, 500 kilometres south-east of Alice Springs. Key points: Mutitjulu Indigenous artists who sell their traditional artwork to tourists at Uluru have been painting key COVID-19 health messages in traditional dot painting style […]

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