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Call it the ’90 per cent economy’. Post-pandemic, it will never be the same


If the economy manages to return to a normal growth rate in the second half of this year, quarterly gross domestic product will still be about $30 billion smaller at the end of 2020 than it was at the end of 2019. Only a super-strong burst of growth lasting several years will make up for the economic output lost to the pandemic.

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Even so, maintaining 90 per cent of the economy’s output in the face of a deadly pandemic has been quite an accomplishment.

In a way we’re fortunate the coronavirus outbreak happened in 2020 rather than in 2000 because, even two decades ago, the economic damage would likely have been far more severe.

Technologies that facilitate remote work have allowed millions to keep doing their jobs during the crisis. A study by the consultancy AlphaBeta, a part of Accenture, found the tools that enable remote work and collaboration permitted 3.2 million Australian employees to keep doing their work safely during the pandemic, including about 1.6 million who may have otherwise been unable to do any work at all. That’s a vast amount of economic output that would have been lost before remote working became possible on a mass scale.

At the same time, online shopping has helped keep our homes stocked with goods during the pandemic, delivery apps have made it easy for us to keep eating meals from our favourite restaurants at home and the digital delivery of movies, apps and music have kept us entertained.

But the strange circumstances of the 90 per cent economy will have lasting consequences. The adjustments made to sustain economic activity during the pandemic have altered the behaviour of businesses, workers and consumers.

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Take businesses first. There has been an astonishing acceleration in the use of digital technology during the past seven months. AlphaBeta’s research found Australian companies have, on average, increased their adoption of some digital technology during the COVID-19 period by as much as the previous 10 years. The uptake of digital collaboration tools, such as video-conferencing, has been especially swift. Most businesses intend to continue using these new tools and practices after the pandemic has passed.

Associated with this shift has been the vast, unplanned experiment in working from home. Before the pandemic Australia had been something of a laggard when it came to remote work. On the day of the 2016 census only 4.1 per cent of non-farm employees reported working from home, only marginally higher than in 2006.

But this year a legion of employees had their first taste of working from home, and many liked it.

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A survey published last month by Sydney University’s Institute for Transport and Logistics showed three in four workers believed that, post-COVID-19, their employers were more likely to support work from home than they did before the pandemic. A separate study by Swinburne University researchers John Hopkins and Anne Bardoel found three in four managers now believed their staff would do more remote work after the pandemic than before it.

The office isn’t dead. But the evidence suggests things won’t go back to the way they were.

Professor David Hencher, the director of the Institute for Transport and Logistics Studies, says the “new normal” for how Australia’s workforce balances time spent working from home versus time at the office might not become apparent until late next year. But he anticipates a substantial fall in work-related travel around big cities with major implications for the use of transport infrastructure, demand for office space and the character of our central business districts.

“There will be a decline in activity around our CBDs but quite a bit of that will relocate to the suburbs,” he said.

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Meanwhile, the pandemic has been altering the way we consume and spend. A recent survey by the McKinsey consultancy found a majority of Australians had tried “new shopping behaviours” since the onset of the pandemic and most intended to continue with them. While many old spending behaviours will return once health risks fade, new habits picked up during the crisis will persist. That will also have sweeping repercussions.

The coronavirus-induced downturn has changed the way businesses, workers and consumers behave. Our economy will be fundamentally different as a result.

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Gladys Berejiklian’s Valentine’s Day phone call you didn’t get to hear


Gladys Berejiklian’s private life was put on display at the Independent Commission Against Corruption, but there were a few pieces of evidence deemed too invasive to be aired in public.

Among them: a Valentine’s Day phone conversion intercepted by ICAC and played in front of a closed session.

The counsel assisting ICAC, Scott Robertson, proposed that audio of the late-night phone call with former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire be played in private so as not to “unduly affect the privacy” of the NSW Premier.

“The public interest in not causing undue embarrassment and the like is outweighed in respect of this particular call as compared with the public interest in exposure of the matters relevant to this commission’s investigation,” Mr Robertson told the commissioner.

Ms Berejiklian’s legal representative, Arthur Moses SC, did not object. The next dozen pages of ICAC transcripts were entirely blacked out.

After going back into open session, Mr Robertson’s questioning of the Premier revealed the blacked-out conversation related in part to Mr Maguire’s plans after retiring from parliament.

Mr Maguire resigned first from the Liberal Party, and then from politics, in 2018 after a separate ICAC inquiry. At the time, Ms Berejiklian publicly urged him to resign. But it was revealed on Monday she continued to carry on a personal relationship with Mr Maguire that lasted until last month.

The public did get to hear parts of the last few minutes of the phone call between Ms Berejiklian and Mr Maguire, recorded at 9.21pm on February 14, 2018.

“The other thing that I am thinking right (is) that I … need you to process in your head what you want to do right but I also need to come to the realisation that it’s not got anything to do with me,” Ms Berejiklian told Mr Maguire, according to the transcript.

“I’m trying to support, support you not stress you.”

As the phone call was wrapping up, Ms Berejiklian told Mr Maguire: “You’ve got to think about your stuff and I’ve got to think about my stuff, that’s all.”

Mr Maguire responded: “Hmm, well I am working on that Gladys. I’m going to bed see ya later.”

Mr Maguire is expected to testify in front of the inquiry on Wednesday.



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The NRL Penrith-Souths and Melbourne-Canberra preliminary finals are almost too close to call


It’s hard not to be excited about this weekend’s finals, particularly the Penrith-Souths match.

You’ve got a Penrith side who are on a 16-game winning streak, whose defence is one of the best in the competition, and can also to turn it on and score points from just about anywhere on the pitch.

They’re going up against a South Sydney team who have won nine of their last 11 games and scored 144 points in their last three games.

How can you not be excited about that?

Penrith are a young, exciting team that have a lot of hunger, strength and skill — and they’re very fit to boot.

Whereas at Souths you’ve got some senior guys in Damien Cook, Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds playing at the very top of their game.

You’ve also got some young guys in that side who have really stood up. Corey Allan at fullback, Bayley Sironen on the edge, Campbell Graham out wide.

A South Sydney NRL player is tackled around the knees by a Canterbury opponent.
Bayley Sironen has been excellent for the Rabbitohs this year.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Everything is pointing towards it being an awesome game — although Souths had to work really hard to get here.

Paramatta good, but attack-minded Souths ruthlessly expose errors

You have to feel for Paramatta a little bit. Everyone had written them off pretty early. They had a lot of injuries at the back end of the season plus what happened to them on game day with Michael Jennings — that must have been a big distraction.

When Souths came out and started really well, racing into that 8-0 lead, you feared the worst.

But they put that aside and played some great football.

Clinton Gutherson — who has to be a shout for the Eels player of the year — was immense, scoring two and having a solid hand in the other one as the Eels went bang, bang, bang, scoring three tries in five minutes.

A Parramatta Eels NRL player lies on the ground with his hands on his forehand after the loss to South Sydney.
Clint Gutherson ran for 211 metres against South Sydney, scoring two tries.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Gutherson was deservedly called into the NSW Origin squad and wouldn’t look out of place at fullback in Freddy’s team, although it’ll take more than one unfortunate slip from James Tedesco to make him hand over that number one NSW jersey.

The short exchanges of passing the Eels put together were amazing during that passage of play and really troubled Souths.

There was real intent there. They were running hard, Dylan Brown was playing really square, the edge back rowers were running really hard lines and pushing up in close support of Gutherson, which allowed him to do his thing and break the line and score those tries.

They weren’t just trying to take the soft option and pass to go around them, taking the easy metres, they were happy to play through them and that is what was working for them.

But you can’t make a whole lot of mistakes against Souths in the wrong part of the field, because their attack is unbelievable.

The game really seemed to turn when Mitchell Moses hit the post with that kick from in front.

Had they kicked that goal, things could have been very different for Paramatta.

Instead, there was an eight-point turnaround, with the Bunnies going up the other end and scoring from that set. That put Souths eight points in front and, as a result, the Eels’ whole game-plan changed.

A South Sydney NRL player stretches out his right hand as he attempts to palm off a Parramatta opponent.
The Rabbitohs kept the Eels at arm’s length in their finals clash.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

They had to chase points — they felt like there was space out wide to throw the ball around to, but they ended up just pushing passes that didn’t stick, which resulted in errors that Souths ruthlessly punished.

Would I have watched the Souths-Eels final? Not a chance

It’s funny, I’m not too sure how Penrith or Melbourne would have approached last weekend.

I know some teams get together and watch the game, while others — including myself — would never watch the game.

When Cronulla had the week off in the 2016 finals series I was nowhere near watching the Brisbane-North Queensland game.

In fact, I was out clay target shooting.

I kept an eye on the score, but that was about it. I really didn’t really care who won or lost, I just hoped they bashed each other up a bit, meaning that if we went hard enough in the first 40 minutes, some fatigue would kick in and we’d be able to run over the top of whoever the winner was.

Luke Lewis of the Sharks is tackled by Cheyse Blair and Blake Green of the Storm
Having a break during the finals clearly helped the 2016 Sharks.(AAP Image: Dan Himbrechts)

I knew the coaches and assistant coaches would analyse what they saw and work out how they wanted us to play.

We put a lot of faith in that process and that’s why it’s a great team sport; you’ve got the coaches doing one thing and the players doing theirs.

Your number one focus is on yourself and you playing your best football.

It’s a two-horse race in both finals

The Raiders will be really confident coming into this game and Canberra always seems to play good football against the Melbourne Storm — they beat them on their way to the grand final last year — although it might end up being more of a defensive game than Penrith-Souths.

A Canberra Raiders NRL player jumps in the air as he embraces two teammates after a try was scored against the Sydney Roosters.
The Raiders won an emotional match against the Roosters in the semi-final.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Having said that though, I think the Storm will edge it and meet Penrith in the finals.

The Storm have had the opportunity to give their players a really good rest and they’ll go into the game at Lang Park super fresh — although if Cameron Munster does not recover in time that would help Canberra.

The issue is that last weekend’s game was a really fast, high-intensity game of footy and, despite the great football that Canberra have been playing, which is more than good enough to beat the Storm, that fatigue cannot be discounted.

We were lucky enough to talk to a couple of the Canberra players after the game and they all said they were spent.

It was such a fast game of footy and they had to dig really deep in the last 10 minutes, and that fatigue might come into it at the back end of this weekend’s match.

The Storm won’t shoot themselves in the foot. Canberra are going to have to play for the full 80 minutes to have a chance.

I’d love to see Canberra make the grand final after the way they played last year and lost. I’d like to see them have another crack at it.

And I’d love to see them meet Penrith there, although they’re far from a certainty against Souths.

The best thing about this weekend is that there are two two-horse races.

Whichever team turns up and is willing to put in the hard work, the greatest week of their lives is just around the corner.

Luke Lewis was speaking to ABC News Digital’s Simon Smale.



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Local News - Victoria

Exit of top public servant Chris Eccles the right call but hotel quarantine questions unresolved


It’s a two-minute conversation that has ended the career of Victoria’s most senior public servant. It happened on March 27, at 1.17pm, the same day national cabinet had decided to establish a nationwide hotel quarantine system. The then police commissioner, Graham Ashton, who took the call from Chris Eccles, has indicated that a conversation he had around that time advised him of the decision to use private security in Victoria’s quarantine hotels.

In acknowledging he made the phone call, Mr Eccles emphasised he “did not convey … any decision regarding the use of private security”. While he well understood that he had to fall on his sword yesterday after previously denying having had such a conversation, he was adamant that he was “unaware any such decision had been made”.

While many are sure to speculate, in fairness to Mr Eccles his side of the story should stand until the hotel quarantine inquiry releases its full report. With the benefit of all the facts at hand, the inquiry should be able to make a call on where the truth lies.

At Monday’s press conference, Mr Andrews said he was shocked when told of Mr Eccles’ discovery that he misled the inquiry. The Premier will certainly miss having such an experienced hand by his side during this tumultuous year, but Mr Eccles has operated in political circles long enough to understand what he had to do. It was the right call.



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Brisbane Lions call on weight of painful experience against Richmond, and rise to the occasion


The habit when it comes to reflecting on finals is to focus on the moments.

Any final worth its salt will have at least a handful of capital-m Moments. Brisbane coach Chris Fagan said so himself after Friday night’s game, pointedly remarking that “in finals the game is full of moments — you’ve just got to win as many of them as you can”.

This one, which saw the Brisbane Lions through to their first preliminary final since the golden era at the expense of the flag-favourite Tigers, was no exception.

It was a captivating game, which buzzed with energy from the Lions’ opening goal in the first minute, right to Hugh McLuggage’s euphoric sealer. It was played with an admirable commitment to attack between two teams who know no alternative but full throttle.

Cam Rayner had his moment, bursting clear and delivering from near enough the centre square to stop what had seemed at the time like irrepressible Richmond momentum.

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Charlie Cameron had several, one coming not long after Rayner’s, from the pocket, and the other to prove early in the third quarter that this Brisbane team had no interest in wilting.

There was Lachie Neale, his talents evidently stolen by the Monstars in the first quarter. Fortunately he needed only to touch the ball to get them back, as his timely and unexpected bomb just before the long break proved.

Some of Neale’s greatest moments could have been missed too, specifically a triple or possibly quadruple effort on centre wing late in the third, which saw him intercept a dangerous Tigers counter, somehow slow Dustin Martin’s momentum, bring the ball to ground then lunge ahead of two opponents to tap it to advantage.

Finals turn on moments like that one, or the feather touch of Sherrin on goalpost padding from some Shai Bolton brilliance that would have gone undetected if not for the AFL’s goal review system.

The entire crowd sensed the importance of that snicko intervention and, having avoided its Tom Hawkins moments, for the first time it felt unequivocally like Brisbane’s night.

But to reduce this game to the mere sum of its parts would not do it justice. This was a night a generation in the making for Brisbane, the culmination of Chris Fagan’s four years of development which has reached warp speed in the last two.

It was 11 years and 15 failed cracks at the Tigers, a straight sets exit in 2019, the weight of expectation tipping the scales to an unhealthy level.

The Lions of 2019 were underdogs, a fairytale story. They rose rapidly but disappeared just as quickly. It made the Lions of 2020 easy to dismiss and impossible to trust until otherwise convinced.

Jarrod Berry shrugs as Dylan Grimes tries to grab the back of his jersey
Jarrod Berry shrugs the tackle of Dylan Grimes.(AAP: Darren England)

All of this, every last stinging memory of the years in the wilderness and the opportunities wasted, all of it manifested in Friday night’s onslaught.

Brisbane tackled with a startling ferocity from the first minute to the last, they took their opportunities to surge forward with full commitment and were just as hearty in their efforts the other way. They even kicked straight, especially at crucial times when the value of a goal was greater than six points.

Never was the payoff for Brisbane’s collective experience greater than late in the second quarter, as Richmond threatened to once again suffocate them.

At that moment, though the lead sat at just six or seven points, there felt like there was an inevitably to proceedings. So many teams, including and especially the Lions, had felt that unique Richmond pressure and succumbed.

This time, Brisbane resisted. And when Rayner kicked his goal, every player on the field made the same realisation at once — these Lions are different, and they aren’t rolling over this time.

A Richmond AFL player holds the jersey of a Brisbane Lions opponent while they stand facing each other.
Darcy Gardiner stands his ground when confronted by Trent Cotchin.(AAP: Darren England)

For Brisbane, that meant unrestrained confidence. For Richmond, it meant panic and rebellion and costly ill-discipline.

None of that, or any of the subsequent moments that Lions fans will replay countless times during their well-deserved week off, happens without everything that has come before.

It didn’t change Brisbane’s motivation — Fagan specifically downplayed the idea of them taking to the field “with a monkey on our back” — it just changed how it approached the moments.

What comes next for the Lions will be fascinating, because this time it’s all uncharted territory. Once again they will be starry-eyed on an unfamiliar stage, hoping everything it has been through will leave it ready for what it’s about to face.

Fortunately, in beating Richmond in such scintillating and palate-cleansing fashion, it has yet another experience and yet more belief from which to draw from when a big game is there to be won.

It certainly feels as if the biggest moment of Brisbane’s 2020 season is yet to come.



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Police call for patience as Qld opens to NSW


Police are calling for patience with traffic delays already being experienced on the Gold Coast on Thursday after Queensland relaxed its border restrictions with NSW.

From 1am on Thursday, the sunshine state has thrown its door open to 152,000 northern NSW residents from Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Glen Innes, and Richmond Valley shires who will not need quarantine.

Likewise, Queenslanders who head south to those parts of NSW will not need to quarantine upon return.

Gold Coast Superintendent Mark Wheeler told Today traffic delays of up to 30 minutes were already being experienced on Thursday morning.

Pictures from the M1 border checkpoint at 7am show cars banked up with long lines.

“This is our 15th iteration of border restriction changes, so the public have gotten used to it,” Supt Wheeler said.

“We have certainly gotten used to dealing with the changes and I just ask for people to be patient and plant their journey accordingly.

“This is about stopping COVID-19 coming into Queensland.

“Of course we will see some line-ups that will probably extend hundreds of metres down the road … at the moment we are seeing some delays to about 30 minutes and that is understandable.”

It comes amid confusion over which border pass motorists need to enter into Queensland, with police already being forced to pull cars aside for wrong passes.

Supt Wheeler said from Coolangatta this morning he would talk to Queensland Health about rewording the Queensland Border Declaration Pass (Border Zone Resident).

All motorists travelling into Queensland from northern NSW will need the X-pass, not the G-pass.

Authorities were on Thursday morning also racing to fix a glitch in the online application system.

Seven NSW postcodes now allowed into Queensland were not being recognised by the system, knocking back eligible residents as a result.

Police and health authorities urging those wanting to travel between the extended travel bubble to complete a border declaration pass, and update it every seven days.

Motorists also need to carry proof of address with them as they travel, such as a driver’s license or a power bill.

According to Today, police have this morning pulled over a number of cars with the wrong border declaration pass, advising motorists that no matter where they live everyone needs an updated pass.

A Queensland Police Services spokesman said eased border restrictions were limited to NSW border zone residents who have not travelled to a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days.

“Providing false information on the declaration or entering Queensland unlawfully could result in a $4003 fine or a notice to appear in court,” the spokesman said.

ADF troops have been withdrawn from the border checkpoints.

The Queensland Police have installed an extra 15 officers to assist, however the Gold Coast’s top cop had warned of lengthy delays ahead of the changes.

“We’ll spread (our officers) across a number of checkpoints,” Supt Wheeler said on Tuesday.

“We monitor it on an hourly basis and if we need to move police across to a busier one we will.”

Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan pleaded for families to remain tolerant and calm as police check each car one by one.

“You can have a hundred police on the border and it won‘t necessarily speed things up,” he said.

“Because what we do is get the traffic flow down to one lane. So there is a certain capacity of cars you can process at any one time.”

It comes as Queensland winds back restrictions on outdoor gatherings and dining, easing hospitality patronage limits from person per 4 sqm outside to one per 2 sqm.

In addition to the doubling of capacity at Queensland’s cafes, pubs, restaurants and bars with outdoor seating, restrictions have also been eased at theme parks and outdoor events like school fetes.

Up to 1000 people will now be permitted to gather at those events.

Queensland marked it’s third day in a row of no new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. It’s been three weeks since any known cases were in the community.



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Incentives for JobSeeker, Youth Allowance as farmers call for more help ahead of peak season


Australia’s farming industry is under threat but it isn’t fire or drought this year that is causing the most damage.

The coronavirus crisis — and the closed borders that came with it — has left thousands of farms across Australia crying out for staff.

The farms, usually thriving with young foreign backpackers at this time of year, are hoping Aussies might be able to fill the gap left by the country’s international workforce.

Australia’s agricultural industry relies on foreign workers to fill around 50,000 jobs a year.

There are fears fresh fruit and vegetables could soon be more expensive at the supermarket due to the staff shortage with the government considering a range of options to attract people to farm work.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack confirmed some of the measures on Wednesday, one of which promises backpackers already in Australia a 12 month extension on their visa if they take another regional job.

“We want to make sure that if those backpackers are now facing the prospect of having to leave Australia they can apply for an extension to that for the harvest trail,” Mr McCormack told reporters.

Agricultural Minister David Littleproud also encouraged Australians to “have a crack” at the farm work, announcing a number of financial incentives.

“So we’re working through some measures that could be announced very soon around incentivising Australians who are on JobSeeker, but also Youth Allowance recipients, to look at measures and opportunities for them,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Mr Littleproud promised to announce exactly how those on government benefits would be incentivised “very soon”.

“That is the big challenge – how do we incentivise those people, particularly those who are recipients of the Youth Allowance, to get a leg in,” he said.

“I don’t think you’re going to see (a) rush to the regions, I think you’ll see a small but orderly transition of some people in metro areas who see the opportunities.”

Federal Liberal MP John Alexander suggested a harsher approach, suggesting a conscription-type system that would force unemployed people to work at farms.

“We need some more teeth,” Mr Alexander told a parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday.

“While we can’t probably go to conscription, can we apply a little more heat and pressure and do it urgently, because the crops won’t wait.”

Later suggesting a compulsory questionnaire for those on JobSeeker, Mr Alexander said Australia needed to pretend “as if we’re in a war situation”.

“The question (about farm work) should be asked, ‘if not, why not?’ if somebody is saying ‘Oh no, I don’t want to do that’ because they’re just happy sitting on the couch and taking the dole,” Mr Alexander said.

“What more pressure could be applied to somebody who’s a little bit marginal? “It needs to be done as if we’re in a war situation. It needs to be mobilised very quickly.”



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Netball’s Indigenous Diamonds call for immediate action on diversity; Netball Queensland commits to change


The only two Indigenous netballers to have played for Australia have got an agreement from Netball Queensland to commit to funding programs and creating strategies to end the sport’s lack of diversity.

It ends a week of negative coverage for the sport following the only Indigenous player in Super Netball, Jemma Mi Mi of the Queensland Firebirds, being left off the court during Indigenous Round — despite being used by organisers to promote it.

Netball has been played in Australia for almost 100 years, but Marcia Ella-Duncan and Sharon Finnan-White remain the only two Indigenous players selected for the national team back in the 1980s and 1990s.

Speaking on The Ticket, both said they were tired of the 30-year “talk-fest” that has resulted in little change and called for immediate action — which Netball Queensland Chair, Eugenie Buckley, agreed to.

Netball Australia has devised “a declaration of commitment” which Buckley says all the states will sign.

“I can tell you from the other CEOs across the states there is a 100 per cent support for it,” she said.

The netball elders, Ella-Duncan and Finnan-White, have drawn a line in the sand after what they say is decades of inaction.

“I’ve been pushing back, I’ve been saying, ‘I will walk with you all the way but I am not your problem-fixer, you have a problem netball, you fix it’,” Ella-Duncan said.

“I’ll be part of the solution but don’t come to us looking for answers because we are tired.”

Three key areas for improvement in diversity

After retiring, Finnan-White ran her own programs for Indigenous netballers with success in cities such as Townsville and Cairns.

“I went to every state around the country doing that for eight years without one cent of governing body funding … I still don’t have any governing body funding for what I’m doing,” she said.

“We are angry.

“Like Marcia I’m here to support the system, I’m not here to work against it or criticise anyone, we’re here to support the changes that need to be made.”

A Queensland Firebirds Super Netball player looks to pass against West Coast Fever.
Jemma Mi Mi is the only Indigenous player in Super Netball, but she had zero game time in the Indigenous Round.(AAP: Dan Peled)

Finnan-White identified three key areas that could make an immediate difference to netball’s lack of diversity.

“Firstly, it needs to get that declaration of commitment out as soon as possible from Netball Australia and as a collective from the states, it’s really important,” she said.

“It can’t just be a statement, it needs to have some real key principles underlying and underpinning it.

“Involving Indigenous community leaders in the conversation, listening to us, and taking what we say seriously is the second thing.

“Also, they need to start looking for funding right now to inject into some of the awesome things that are happening around the country to make sure they can continue to be sustainable.”

Long-term funding vital, says Ella-Duncan

Ella-Duncan said there has always been “a tremendous amount” of goodwill in the netball community, but the system fails.

“There needs to be a clear financial commitment because that’s one of the biggest impediments to progress,” she said.

“This will be a long journey, so the funding needs to be across a number of cycles.

“I am absolutely convinced that the states will not do anything unless they are mandated to do it and so I think there needs to be clear targets.

“In the interim there needs to be a parallel pathway program that quickly ramps up the number of kids that are being exposed to the high-performance environment.

“We are not the only culture that is grossly under-represented in the netball high performance pathway.

“I’m really interested in what can we do right now to get things moving and at the same time create an environment that is inclusive of all women and girls so that it becomes business as usual.”

Netball Queensland agrees urgent change is needed

Buckley was asked whether she could commit to the ideas as a matter of urgency.

“Yes we can, in short,” she said.

“The declaration of commitment we are co-championing with Netball Australia, so we are 100 per cent on board with that; we are 100 per cent on board with there being actual targets and being accountable to those targets — as the other states are.

“Funding? Absolutely.

“The only thing I would just need to take on notice is the parallel pathways … I’m not saying ‘no’ at all … and Marcia might be right, it might be a parallel pathway immediately with a view to get it going to get the numbers up and then merge it … but just to get something going, very happy with that.”

The Netball Queensland Chair also offered to consider adding a ninth team to the state-league Sapphire Series.

“We’ve got the flexibility to find solutions here.

“We are happy to take a whole of sport approach, not just a Queensland approach.”

Super Netball plays its final round this weekend, ahead of an October 18 grand final.



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Local News - Victoria

Pubs call for lifeline after ‘unworkable’ path out of lockdown


And even if the state does hit the zero target, the group says capacity restrictions are so limited that it still would not be feasible for pubs to reopen.

Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Australian Venue Co, which has 32 venues in Victoria including The Duke of Wellington in the CBD and Golden Gate Hotel in South Melbourne, said his pubs were losing a combined $64,000 a day in fixed costs.

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Mr Waterson has teamed up with the owners of the Bush Hotel in Toorak, Sand Hill Road (which runs The Espy in St Kilda and the Terminus in Abbotsford), and the National Hospitality Management (which owns Bridie O’Reillys in St Kilda) to demand more government support and consultation with the industry.

Live music favourite the Old Bar, on Johnston Street in Fitzroy, has already been closed for half the year.

“We won’t have a gig this year, I think is where we’re at,” said co-owner Liam Matthews, who is also behind the Carringbush in Abbotsford.

The Old Bar is safe from closing thanks to community donations, support from the City of Yarra and a $15 million state government lifeline for live music venues following the Save our Scene campaign.

But the Carringbush has struggled in the second lockdown, Mr Matthews said.

The pub stopped doing takeaway food when stage four came in, but it will return from next week to try to cover the bills.

Mr Matthews said the venues were losing $2400 a month each on liability insurance alone. He recently paid a $600 monthly power bill for the Carringbush, even though the lights haven’t been on, because the freezers and fridges have to keep working.

He hopes the government will be open to adjusting some restrictions over time.

“I want [COVID-19] gone and I don’t want people to die. I want everything to go back to normal, I’m completely on board [with restrictions]. But I have a myriad of problems with the way it’s been done.”

Mr Matthews said customers had strictly followed the rules during stage two when hospitality was open for dining.

“People just want to be in those places we live in Melbourne for.”

But he said it would take months to reinvigorate live music in Melbourne, after the time without gigs, venues or even band rehearsals.

Leisa and Ryan Wheatland, owners of the Bush Hotel in Toorak, said the state government’s “one-size-fits-all approach” to support packages hadn’t taken pubs’ overheads into consideration.

“A pub does more than just serve food and beverages. It allows a social space for the community,” the owners said.

The push comes after the Morning Star Hotel in Williamstown and the Mona Castle Hotel in Seddon announced they would permanently close after months in Melbourne’s tough lockdown.

The state government said several support measures and grants have been made available to pubs which included remimbursing or waiving liquor licence fees for 2020.

“We’ll continue to consult with key sectors like hospitality as we move safely and steadily in our steps towards COVID Normal”, a government spokeswoman said.

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Local News - Victoria

Opposition demands scrapping of ‘captain’s call’ curfew


“It’s not a matter for Brett [Sutton], that’s not health advice, that’s about achieving a health outcome. His advice is ‘do whatever you can to limit movement’. Police then say ‘we need rules we can enforce’.

“It needs to be as simple as possible. We can’t stop every car, but if everyone who’s out (that shouldn’t be) knows they will get caught, and they’ve got no lawful reason to be outside, then all of a sudden you will limit movement.

“These are decisions ultimately made by me.”

Mr Andrews said that the curfew also stopped “people sneaking around” and helped police enforce restrictions.

“There is no denying that it has limited movement and the movement that it has most limited is movement that is not lawful,” Mr Andrews said.

Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien accused Mr Andrews of making a captain’s call that was not rooted in health advice.

“It wasn’t a Brett Sutton [Chief Health Officer] call, it wasn’t a medical evidence call, it was a captain’s call by the Premier who wanted to keep Melbourne in curfew,” he said.

Mr O’Brien said it was unfair for Victorians to be unable to walk their dog at 8.30pm, for example, without health advice.

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“The curfew should go,” Mr O’Brien said. “When you consider how extreme a curfew is – in wartime we haven’t been subject to a curfew.

“This is an extraordinary infringement on the rights of the people of the state, and for the Premier to do it without any medical advice, without any scientific advice, to make a captain’s call, shows you that the power has gone to this bloke’s head, and frankly we deserve better than that.”

Mr O’Brien said the government’s actions were at odds with its claims to being guided by medical advice.

“Well, what right does Daniel Andrews have to ignore public health advice? What right does Daniel Andrews have to keep Melburnians locked in their hopes between 8pm and 5am because he thinks it’s a good idea?” he said.

“This is the premier who says on all these decisions ‘I base it on the advice, I base it on the evidence.’ Well this time the premier made the call himself and Victorians have got to ask, why should we be locked up under curfew because Daniel Andrews thought it was a good idea and the medical and scientific advice wasn’t backing it?”

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