Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Balancing the spin coming from the Morrison Government

The suspicion cannot be avoided that the Australian Prime Minister and certain of his cabinet ministers are once again actively backgrounding against their state counterparts.

Last time it was during the mega bushfires of 2019-20. This time it is in relation to COVID-19 policy responses and their implementation.

Perhaps now is the time to record for North Coast Voices readers some of the media releases issued by the NSW Berejiklian Government

Media Releases from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and other state ministerial/departmental sources [my yellow highlighting]

23 March 2020

The NSW Government has taken significant new steps to increase restrictions across the state – triggering the next level of enforcement necessary to fight COVID-19.

Following the decisions made by National Cabinet, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the shutdown to protect NSW citizens.

I understand many in the community are worried, and these changes will affect everyday lives, and may be upsetting,” Ms Berejiklian said.

But these decisions will make us all safer, they are taken with the health of all citizens in mind, and they must be taken now.

If you have the capacity to work from home, you should do so.”

In line with health advice, from midday today, the following non-essential activities and businesses will be temporarily shut down:
  • Pubs, registered clubs
  • Gyms, indoor sporting venues
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
  • Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • Religious gatherings, places of worship (excluding small weddings and funerals that comply with the 4m2 rule, which can proceed).
  • It is important to note essential gatherings at places such as hospitals, workplaces, constructions sites and for public transport are exempt and will continue.
As confirmed last night by the Prime Minister schools will remain open, based on health advice, which has not changed.

But from tomorrow, in NSW, for practical reasons, parents are encouraged to keep their children at home.

Because nearly 30 per cent of children are already being kept out of school, for practical reasons NSW is encouraging parents to keep their children at home,” Ms Berejiklian said.

This will ensure there is only one unit of work [online teaching], whether the student is at home or at school.

No child will be turned away from school.”


22 March 2020

Please attribute to a NSW Health spokesperson:

NSW assessments on cruise ships entering our ports has exceeded Federal Government protocols and was doing so, well in advance of the National Protocol*, that was issued on March 6 2020.

Notwithstanding that, the Federal Government has not increased any protocol procedures relating to cruise ships since March 6.

Today, the NSW Government further enhanced its procedures to minimise the risk of passengers with any respiratory conditions whatsoever from departing cruise ships until COVID-19 tests can be carried out on onshore laboratories.

Since February 14, NSW Health has applied assessment procedures to all 63 ships entering Sydney Harbour. The National Protocol does not direct jurisdictions to do such assessments but instead, leave it to the State’s discretion.

Contrary to some public statements made, every cruise liner that has entered NSW ports has been the subject of an assessment well beyond Federal requirements.

The National Protocol states “provided there are no concerns about the COVID-19 risk profile of a ship or suspected COVID-19 cases reported, the human bio-security officer may advise the bio-security officer that pratique can be granted and the ship may be allowed to continue the voyage while samples are being tested”.

NSW Health undertook a full assessment of the Ruby Princess, notwithstanding under the National Protocol in place, it could have chosen not to do an assessment.

NSW Health again followed the National Protocol that states “the ship may be allowed to continue the voyage while samples are being tested”.

However, as of midnight March 22, NSW Health will go even further beyond the National Protocol and its current own State protocols and will hold all cruise ships in port until any patients highlighted as having respiratory issues are tested for COVID-19.

The increased testing regime follows 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19 from the Ruby Princess, including 17 passengers and 1 crew member diagnosed in NSW, and 8 passengers diagnosed interstate (as of 8 pm yesterday).

*National Protocol for Managing Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Risk From Cruise Ships; published March 6 2020.

22 March 2020

Tonight I will be informing the National Cabinet that NSW will proceed to a more comprehensive shutdown of non-essential services. This will take place over the next 48 hours.

Supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, freight and logistics, and home delivery will be among the many services that will remain open.

Schools will be open tomorrow, though I will have more to say on this issue in the morning.

I will update NSW tomorrow morning about the impacts and our plans following the National Cabinet.


20 March 2020

Supermarkets across the state are now able to receive deliveries 24 hours a day to restock their shelves under new rules introduced by the NSW Government.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the government had moved to override local council rules that restrict some stores from restocking their shelves and operating their loading docks outside regular business hours.

We need to make sure these products can move from factories to shelves as quickly as possible,” Ms Berejiklian said.

We are moving quickly so truck drivers can make deliveries to supermarkets around the clock.

It is important that people now stop unnecessary panic buying.”

Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said the State Environmental Planning Policy Amendment (COVID-19 Response) 2020 makes clear that truck deliveries are able to supply shops and retailers with essential goods at all times to support communities.

Councils and retailers have been working well together to allow greater flexibility in delivery hours, and this change gives everyone the certainty we need to ensure these deliveries can continue,” Mr Stokes said.

The SEPP makes clear that truck deliveries are able to supply shops and retailers with essential goods at all times.”

The new rules apply immediately and will be kept in place until the crisis is over.


17 March 2020

The NSW Government today announced a major $2.3 billion health boost and economic stimulus package to protect the community and help protect jobs in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak over the next six months.

This package has two key components: $700 million in extra health funding and $1.6 billion in tax cuts to support jobs.

Key elements of the NSW COVID-19 package announced today include:

Health boost
  • $700 million extra funding for NSW Health. This will assist in doubling ICU capacity, preparing for additional COVID-19 testing, purchasing additional ventilators and medical equipment, establishing acute respiratory clinics and bringing forward elective surgeries to private hospitals.
Business support and jobs
  • $450 million for the waiver of payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for three months (the rest of 2019-20). This means these businesses will save a quarter of their annual payroll tax bill in 2019-20.
  • $56 million to bring forward the next round of payroll tax cuts by raising the threshold limit to $1 million in 2020-21
  • $80 million to waive a range of fees and charges for small businesses including bars, cafes, restaurants and tradies
  • $250 million to employ additional cleaners of public infrastructure such as transport assets, schools and other public buildings
  • More than $250 million to bring forward maintenance on public assets including social housing and crown land fencing
  • $500 million to bring forward capital works and maintenance.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the NSW Government’s package bolstered the health system, cuts taxes for business that employed tens of thousands of people across the State, and would help secure jobs at a very challenging time.

Our first priority is always the health of the people of this State and looking after their families and jobs,” Ms Berejiklian said.

This package works hand-in-hand with the recent moves by the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Federal Government. It will provide more resources to help slow the spread of this virus and boost treatment for those people in our community who need it most.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the NSW package would help businesses struggling with a once-in-a-generation event.

The Government stands ready to do whatever it takes to keep people safe and ensure our economy withstands this storm,” Mr Perrottet said.

Today we are injecting $700 million into the health system and almost $1.6 billion to boost business. In simple terms, this money will help save the lives of loved ones and protect jobs.

We are supporting business by lowering their costs through tax cuts and fee reductions, and working to boost jobs by funding ready-to-go capital work and maintenance projects as a priority.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the Government was doing whatever it took to support front line health workers, and urged people to follow important safety messages.

Our health workers are doing an amazing job,” Mr Hazzard said.

This extra funding backs the work of our doctors, nurses, allied health staff, ambulance officers and support staff in the fight to prevent the spread of and prepare for COVID-19.”


The Australian Government has announced the following facilities will be restricted from opening from midday local time 23 March 2020:

Pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
Gyms and indoor sporting venues
Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies).

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