Showing posts with label New South Wales. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New South Wales. Show all posts

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Queensland locks down its borders once more


ABC News, 5 August 2020:

Queensland will close its border to all of New South Wales and the ACT from 1:00am on Saturday.

The 68-year-old Queensland woman was diagnosed with the virus in the past 24 hours and authorities are still investigating the source of the infection.

Two historic cases have also been added to the state's total of 1,088 cases.

The hotspot declaration means anyone travelling from NSW or the nation's capital will soon be banned from entering the Sunshine State.

Queenslanders who return after travelling there will be sent to mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.



Queensland COVID-19 snapshot:
Confirmed cases so far: 1,088
Deaths: 6
Tests conducted: 581,286

Latest information from Queensland Health......

New South Wales COVID-19 numbers as of a 5 August 2020 NSW Health update:

Confirmed cases (including interstate residents in NSW health care facilities) 3,631

Deaths (in NSW from confirmed cases) 52

Of the 12 new cases reported to 8pm last night:
  • one is a traveller in hotel quarantine
  • 10 were locally acquired linked to known cases including:
    • two cases linked to the Thai Rock restaurant in Wetherill Park
    • two cases linked to the Apollo restaurant in Potts Point
    • six cases associated with the funeral gatherings cluster
  • one is locally acquired with unknown source
There are now:
  • 105 cases associated with Thai Rock Wetherill Park cluster
  • 58 cases associated with the Crossroads Hotel cluster
  • 46 cases associated with the funeral events in Bankstown and surrounding suburbs, including 15 associated with Mounties in Mount Pritchard.
  • 30 cases associated with the Potts Point cluster, including 24 cases linked to the Apollo Restaurant cluster and 6 cases linked with the Thai Rock Restaurant Potts Point cluster (two cases attended both and are counted as Thai Rock cases).

Monday, 3 August 2020

Armidale, Walcha, Uralla, Glen Innes Severn, Inverell and Tenterfield given early bushfire warning by NSW Rural Fire Service


ABC News, 1 August 2020:

Parts of northern New South Wales should be on high alert for dangerous bushfires early this year, the Rural Fire Service (RFS) has warned. 


Residents in Armidale, Walcha, Uralla, Glen Innes Severn, Inverell and Tenterfield are being urged to come up with an emergency fire plan and clear their yards and gutters. 

Spokesman James Morris said the RFS was especially concerned about grassfires in the region, given recent rainfall had led to new growth. 

"It doesn't take long for these areas to dry out and see that risk and that's why we want people to make sure they're prepared year-round for these fires," he said. 

Warnings to get ready for bushfires are usually issued around August when the weather starts to warm up heading into spring. 

This year, RFS leaders know they will also need to make changes to their fire response, while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. 

"There's the added pressure of the pandemic as well," Mr Morris said. 

"That will obviously put challenges on a number of functions that are undertaken during a bushfire seasons, like community meetings and evacuation centres." 

Thousands of homes were destroyed during Australia's "Black Summer" and more than 5 million hectares of land burnt across the state. 

While only six councils in the state's north are currently in the BFDP, Mr Morris said the RFS remained concerned about areas further south that were also devastated by severe blazes. 

"We still have a lot of grass and bushland out there that is still yet to burn," he said.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

A conga line of #COVIDIOTS


Queensland Police News, 30-31 July 2020:

Woman fined for not declaring hot spot, Gold Coast 

myPolice on Jul 31, 2020 @ 3:06pm 

 Police have given a 25-year-old woman a $4003 fine this morning after she allegedly provided false information by failing to declare she had been to a hot spot in New South Wales. 

The woman was travelling with a man by car with Queensland registration plates when around 4am they attended the Miles Street checkpoint with a Queensland Declaration Border pass stating they had not visited a known hot spot. 

Police working at the checkpoint believed the man and the woman were acting suspiciously and questioned them further about their movements and it is alleged differing versions were given. 

It is alleged the woman eventually admitted to recently being in Campbelltown and the man from Fairfield. 

Police also established that the 53-year-old man was wanted for other criminal matters in New South Wales and was taken in to custody. 

The woman was given a $4003 fine and turned away from the border. 

Chief Superintendent Wheeler said this highlights that police are being very vigilant on our border checkpoints. 

“If you are coming into Queensland, even with a valid Border Declaration pass, you stand a very good chance of being intercepted and questioned by police. 

“We make no apologies for our vigilance and scrutiny as this is about keeping Queensland safe from the threat of COVID-19,” said Chief Superintendent Wheeler.  

BWC vision can be viewed here: https://d2haxmvzil2swt.cloudfront.net/uploads/2020/07/30/093525_COVID_Fine.mp4

Three women charged under the Public Health Act 
myPolice on Jul 30, 2020 @ 4:09pm 

Detectives from Task Force Sierra Linnet have charged three women for allegedly providing false information on their Queensland border declarations. 

Police will allege that all three women travelled to Victoria and deliberately provided misleading documents at the Queensland border. 

A 19-year-old Heritage Park woman, a 21-year-old Acacia Ridge woman and a 21-year-old Algester woman have all been charged with one count each of providing false or misleading documents – Section 364 of the Public Health Act (maximum penalty – 100 penalty units or $13,345) and fraud (dishonestly gain benefit / advantage) – Section 408C(1)(d) of the criminal code (maximum penalty five years’ imprisonment). 

Police can also confirm that all three women are now cooperating with QPS and Queensland Health officials. 

A criminal investigation is also being undertaken by Task Force Sierra Linnet investigators which is unrelated and not connected to the alleged travel to Victoria. 

All three women are currently in quarantine and are due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on September 28. 

There is no further information available at this time in relation to the ongoing criminal investigation. 

The Queensland Police Service is committed to ensuring everyone complies with public health directions and will continue to enforce restrictions at the border. 

The Queensland Entry Declaration can be accessed at www.qld.gov.au/border-pass.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NSW Police
, Latest News, 27-30 July 2020: 


Victorian man charged over alleged breach of Public Health Order 
Thursday, 30 July 2020 02:58:56 PM 

Police have charged a Victorian man with breaching a Public Health Order after he flew from Melbourne to Sydney allegedly without a permit to enter NSW. 

Just before 1pm yesterday (Wednesday 29 July 2020), officers who were deployed at Sydney Airport for Operation Coronavirus, were requested to assist NSW Health who were talking with a man who had just arrived on a flight from Melbourne. 

Police were told the 21-year-old man from Roxbough Park, Victoria, was unable to produce a NSW Health exemption. 

The man was assisted to charge his phone before it was established that he did not have a permit but would apply for one so he could care for his children. 

It’s alleged that the man made a number of applications for a permit and had provided false information. 

After establishing that the man did not have children, nor a valid reason to be in NSW, police directed him to return to Victoria. 

He was offered options for travel and further assistance from NSW Health.
The man allegedly refused to make travel plans and failed to comply with police directions and was arrested about 3.30pm before being taken to Mascot Police Station. 
During a subsequent search of the man and his bags, officers located a bottle of alprazolam, which was not prescribed to him. 

He was charged with not comply with noticed direction re s 7/8/9 - COVID-19 and possess prescribed restricted substance. 

The man was granted conditional bail but is required to quarantine in a Health-managed hotel until he appears at Downing Centre Local Court on Monday 17 August 2020. 

Police continue to appeal to the community to report suspected breaches of any ministerial direction or behaviour which may impact on the health and safety of the community. 

Anyone who has information regarding individuals or businesses in contravention of a COVID-19-related ministerial direction is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Latest breaches of Public Health Orders across state 
Monday, 27 July 2020 02:38:30 PM 

Three people have been issued Penalty Infringement Notices after failing to self-isolate on return from Victoria. 

Details of these alleged breaches are further outlined below: 

- About 12pm on Saturday (25 July 2020), officers attached to Murray River Police District attended a home on Decimus Street, Deniliquin, following reports two people who had returned from Victoria on Tuesday 21 July 2020, had been seen entering a store on Cressy Street. A 33-year-old woman and 31-year-old man allegedly told police “it’s a free country”. They were both subsequently issued $1000 PINs. 

- About 12pm yesterday (Sunday 26 July 2020), officers from South Coast Police District attended a home at Surf Beach, after reports a 63-year-old woman had visited a supermarket in Batemans Bay despite being directed to self-isolate after returning from Victoria. She was issued a $1000 PIN.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Victoria Police, Breaking News, 29 July 2020: 


Teen charged following evade 
Wednesday, 29 July 2020 04:44 

A teenaged boy has been charged after evading police in a car last night. Officers were called to Holland Crescent, Truganina about 11.50pm after reports of a group of males acting suspiciously. 

When police arrived it is alleged that two males drove off in a BMW. 

The BMW was sighted a number of times by police and it is alleged that it was travelling at high speed and failing to stop at red lights. 

The car was eventually spotted in Quarrion Court, Hoppers Crossing about 12.40am. 

As officers approached the BMW, the two occupants got out of the car and ran from police. 

The driver, a 16-year-old boy from Truganina, was arrested after a short foot chase. 

The other occupant of the car is still outstanding. Investigators have interviewed the youth and he has been charged with reckless conduct endangering serious injury, drive manner dangerous, drive speed dangerous and unlicensed driving. 

He has been bailed to appear at a Children’s Court at a later date.
The teen was also found to be in breach of the directions issued by the Chief Health Officer. 
He has been issued a $1652 penalty notice. 
The directions by the Chief Health Officer, under the State of Emergency declared in Victoria, have been enacted to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.
 
The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

News.com.au, 1 August 2020: 

A Victorian woman has been charged after she allegedly gave false information to police upon her arrival into Queensland. 

Officers from task force Sierra Linnet reviewed the border declaration of a 51-year-old woman who told authorities she was travelling into Queensland from Victoria for “essential work purposes”. 

Gympie police attended an address at 11am this morning and spoke to the woman. Further investigations revealed that she lied at the border about her purpose for entering Queensland, police said. 

She has since been taken to hotel quarantine. 

She was charged with one count of failing to comply with a COVID-19 border direction, and was issued a Notice to Appear at Gympie Magistrates Court on November 30. 

Investigations are ongoing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Fair Work Commission shuts the door after COVID-19 has bolted


In April 2020 the Fair Work Commission was aware of a need and varied 99 modern awards to support the inclusion of "unpaid pandemic leave".

At the time it was also aware that there was a need to consider paid pandemic leave in respect of “health care workers” covered by a number of awards.

However, on 8 July the Fair Work Commission dithered and refused to vary identified “Health awards” to provide for paid pandemic leave.

This refusal came despite the strong suspicion that some private sector aged care workers in insecure employment were not declaring COVID-19 symptoms as they could not afford to stay home without suffering financial hardship and possible loss of ongoing employment.

The inevitable began to occur. COVID-19 infection numbers began to rise again in private sector aged care facilities in Victoria where there are now at least 440 active cases in 61 aged care facilities and the death toll for those in residential care stands at 47 elderly people.

In addition these 61 aged care facilities appear to be associated with another 78 COVID-19 cases.

Although Victoria has the highest death toll New South Wales is not far behind, with 29 elderly people in residential care dead since the start of the pandemic.

The national COVID-19 death toll in residential care stood at 78 on 29 July 2020 according to the Australian Government Dept. of Health. 

It was only on 27 July that the Fair Work Commission decided it was convinced there was a need for paid pandemic leave in the aged care sector*.

ABC News, 28 July 2020:

Aged care workers employed under three awards will be entitled to two weeks' paid leave if they are required to self-isolate due to having coronavirus symptoms or being a close contact of a confirmed case, following a ruling from the Fair Work Commission.

The amendments will come into effect from Wednesday, July 29, and last for three months.

Conditions attached to the paid leave include:
  • Workers must be aged 17 or older and be likely to have worked during the self-isolation period
  • Cannot be receiving any income — including other leave or JobKeeper — during their time in quarantine
  • If workers test positive to the virus they will be provided with workers compensation leave, which will supersede the pandemic leave
  • If the direction to self-isolate comes from a doctor, and not come the Government or employer, the worker must provide a medical certificate
  • The entitlement extends to casual employees "engaged on a regular and systemic basis" and the payment would be based on their average earnings over the past six weeks.....
In its ruling, the FWC stated "it cannot be assumed that the current outbreak will remain confined to Victoria".

"The recent events in that state demonstrate how rapidly circumstances can change," the full bench of the commission found.

"Recent developments in New South Wales are not encouraging. The award of the entitlement remains necessary notwithstanding that the current locus of the pandemic is in Victoria."…...

Key points:
  • The Fair Work Commission ruled the paid leave was necessary nationwide due to recent events demonstrating "how rapidly circumstances can change"
  • The ruling follows submissions from the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Health Services Union and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation calling for paid pandemic leave to apply for all staff in aged care across the country until the end of September
  • Only casual employees who can have been employed on a "regular and systemic basis" will be entitled to the paid leave
  • The commission's ruling grants paid pandemic leave to staff working in residential aged care under the Aged Care Award, the Nurses Award and the Health Professionals Award.
NOTE
* See Fair Work Commission, Decisions, Health Sector Awards—Pandemic Leave, (AM2020/13), 27 July 2020

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

More than 60 per cent of businesses in Byron Bay are now relying on JobKeeper to stay afloat


The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 July 2020:

In Byron Bay, sales of a $9.30 large green G-Force smoothie reveal how the COVID-19 wave has dumped on the NSW tourist town. 


In good times, with 2.4 million visitors a year ranging from backpackers to festival goers and others looking for yoga, surf and a healthy lifestyle, Byron can support six smoothie businesses. 

One of them, Sweet Byron, would sell 19 of these large green smoothies a day.   

Then coronavirus hit, forcing the closure of domestic and international borders. Byron's foreign visitors dried up, and its English language schools nearly emptied. 

 COVID-19 caused the cancellation of weddings and events such as the Writers Festival and the Splendour in the Grass misic festival, which usually provide a boost in the slow winter months. 

Ninety per cent of shops, hotels and restaurants in the town closed. When they reopened before school holidays, the streets were empty and Sweet Byron was lucky if it sold two Gforce Smoothies. 

Those students and backpackers who had remained headed north when the Queensland border re-opened earlier this month. 

More than 60 per cent of businesses in Byron are now relying on JobKeeper to stay afloat, according to a map by data analytics company Taylor Fry released last week

This is the most in any local government area in Australia and double the number in capital cities. 

Without JobKeeper Mika Cohen, the owner of the Sweet Byron smoothie shop, said his business wouldn't survive. 

Smoothie sales bounced back during the recent school holidays after coronavirus travel restrictions lifted and the town filled with families who followed the sun north. 

Mr Cohen was back to selling 8 Gforce Smoothies a day, still less than half the number he sold pre-COVID. 

With nearly all of Byron's economy tied to tourism, hospitality and the creative arts, Byron mayor Simon Richardson said the pandemic has delivered a "triple whammy". 

"It is really dangerous times for us," he said. 

Hotel bookings looked healthy for summer, but if the town doesn't get that "fattening" he feared it could "lurch into real danger". 

Hotel owner Christian Millett said Byron had been a stable market all year long, in the past. But after coronavirus shut down weddings and festivals, Mr Millett said he would not have been been able to justify keeping his doors open outside of school holidays if he wasn't receiving JobKeeper.....

Taylor Fry's analysis found smaller firms in retail, hospitality, manufacturing and construction sectors are especially dependent on JobKeeper to retain their staff...... 

When the tourism dried up, it affected the rest of the region with "all the pork and tomatoes, macadamia and the mueslis which aren't being bought".

Cr Richardson said there was a "false sense of affluence" associated with Byron because of its multimillion-dollar beach houses and movie-star residents like Chris Hemsworth. 

"For every $10 million house at Wattegos Beach there are 10 homes that are in some of the poorest areas in NSW," he said. 

Four areas in the LGA are among the most disadvantaged 20 per cent in Australia, and two are among the most affluent..... 

Rents are also high, and Cr Richardson said he has seen more people couch surfing after losing their jobs. A shopkeeper said his landlord wanted to restore rents to pre-COVID levels after providing discounts earlier: "In this time, we can't afford the full rent for the premises ... because there are 60 to 40 per cent fewer tourists." 

Taylor Fry's principal Alan Greenfield said without JobKeeper he was nervous about the future of regional tourist towns, especially if restrictions on travel continued. "If locals can't see a future where they live, they might be inclined to move away." 

Simon Westaway, the executive director of the Australian Tourism Industry Council, said the impact of COVID-19 on his 10,000 members had been "diabolical". Unlike other industries, it had been hard for tourist operators to "pivot" to other business. 

Even if people could travel, the impact of continuing uncertainty over jobs and rising mortgage stress – estimated to grow to $200 billion from $60 billon now – meant visitors were not necessarily buying the most expensive "smoothie". 

"You put all these figures together, and you go wowie kazowie, who is in a mindset to have a decent holiday? Let alone if you are allowed out [by governments]. " 

Although business was down now, surf school director and founder of Let's Go Surfing Brenda Miley said Byron was an aspirational place that will bounce back. "Everyone wants to go there. It is well worn trek from Bondi to Byron, and that all came together last school holidays." 

 She thinks it will be booked out next summer if government restrictions on travel aren't in place. "People who were planning to go skiing in Colorado or France are so happy to go to Byron and surf for a week or two," she said.

Percentage of NSW Northern Rivers Businesses relying on JobKeeper Payments by Local Government Area - as of 22 July 2020 

  • Byron 60.39%
  • Tweed 47.79%
  • Ballina 39.56%
  • Clarence Valley 34.52%
  • Lismore 35.05%
  • Richmond Valley 27.45%
  • Kyogle 21.3%

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Tweet of the Week



Friday, 24 July 2020

Claims being made that people denied entry into Queensland are not moving out of northern NSW


Northern Rivers residents from the Clarence Valley up to the NSW-Queensland border are reporting a high incidence of 'visitors' from Victoria and Sydney who appear to be settling in for a prolonged stay.

Although it has been over 70 days since there was any local COVID-19 transmission, with interstate sourced infection again being reported in the Northern Rivers region some local residents are understandably becoming slightly nervous.

Northern NSW Local Heath District has advised that; Anyone who is unable to practise physical distancing should wear a mask and NSW Health has urged people to avoid non-essential travel and social gatherings.

Queensland Police have recorded attempts to cross the border by seven Victorians from banned areas & two Sydney men.


Queensland Police, media release excerpts, July 2020:

* A 27-year-old Victorian man has been fined after attempting to enter Queensland at Texas after allegedly claiming not to have been in Victoria within 14 days. Police intercepted his vehicle at a state border control checkpoint on Inglewood Texas Road around 3.30pm on Thursday [16 July 2020]. Officers will allege the man, who had been refused entry to Queensland twice previously, had been in Melbourne after receiving information from Victoria Police. 

 * Six Victorian travellers have been fined for trying to enter the state with false border declarations on the Gold Coast over the weekend [11-12 July. Police intercepted a minivan on Saturday night where all six occupants were refused entry at the M1 border control check point. On Sunday, officers intercepted the same van on Stuart Street in Coolangatta around 2pm. After speaking with the 19-year-old male driver, it will be alleged the same group were attempting to cross with border with declarations falsely claiming they had not been in Victoria in the previous 14 days. All six people, including two 19-year-old women and four men aged 18, 19, 23 and 28 years old, were fined $4,003 for failing to comply with the Covid-19 Border Direction. They were again refused entry. 

* Around 11am [8 July 2020], officers at the Griffith Street border control check point intercepted a bus and spoke with a 43-year-old male passenger to verify his border pass. His declaration indicated he was travelling from New South Wales to Queensland for essential medical treatment. Police will allege the Sydney man was in possession of false identification, did not require medical treatment and had completed the border declaration fraudulently. The man was refused entry to Queensland and issued with an infringement of $4,003 for failing to comply with the Covid-19 Border Direction.

* A New South Wales man has been fined after trying to enter Queensland in the boot of a vehicle at Wallangarra. Officers intercepted the vehicle on Border Street around 6.45pm on Sunday night [19 July 2020] and while conducting a search, located the 41-year-old man hiding in the boot. The man was fined $4,003 for attempting to enter Queensland without a Border Declaration Pass, in breach of the Queensland COVID-19 Border Direction. Two women, aged 28 and 29, were also in the vehicle at the time. All three people were refused entry to Queensland.


Sydney Morning Herald, 18 July 2020:

Queensland Police yesterday erected a 700-metre barricade on the Gold Coast in an attempt to stop people from known hotspots illegally crossing the NSW border.

ABC News, 19 July 2020:

Dozens of Australian Defence Force personnel have been deployed to Queensland's border crossing on the Gold Coast to help deal with lengthy delays. Queensland police said 600,000 border passes were issued last week.

Sydney Morning Herald, 18 July 2020:

...the risk of spread by travellers from Victoria is dangerously high. Cases of infection have been reported in greater Sydney but also in Ballina on the North Coast and Merimbula on the South Coast. NSW Police say 150,000 vehicles have been allowed to enter the state even after the border was closed last week.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Unemployment in Australia is at a 22 year high, however NSW is faring a little better


Australian Bureau of Statistics, Labour Force June 2020, 16 July 2020:


NATIONAL SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES 
  • Employment increased 210,800 to 12,328,500 people. 
  • Full-time employment decreased 38,100 to 8,489,100 people and part-time employment increased 249,000 to 3,839,400 people. 
  • Unemployment increased 69,300 to 992,300 people. 
  • Unemployment rate increased 0.4 pts to 7.4%. 
  • Underemployment rate decreased 1.4 pts to 11.7%. 
  • Underutilisation rate decreased 1.0 pts to 19.1%. 
  • Participation rate increased by 1.3 pts to 64.0%. 
  • Monthly hours worked in all jobs increased 64.3 million hours to 1,664.7 million hours.
NATIONAL YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT
  • Employment for 15-24 year olds increased by 101,500 people (6.3%). 
  • Unemployment rate for this group increased 0.4 pts to 16.4%.
  • Participation Rate for 15-24 year olds increased 3.9 pts to 63.5%. 
  • Around 30% of the people moving into employment in June were aged 15 to 24 years.
New South Wales in June 2020 :
  • Number of Employed Persons rose by est. 81,000 to total 3,949,500 individuals. This still leaves a gap of est.124,200 persons who lost the job they held in January 2020 and have not yet found other employment (original data);
  • Full-time Employment rose by est. 8,200 positions (original data);
  • Part-time Employment rose by est. 72,800 positions (original data);
  • the Employment to Population Ratio was Persons 59.5, Males 64.4, Females 54.8 (original data);
  • the Unemployment Rate was Persons 6.7%, Males 6.7%, Females 6.8% (original data);
  • Underemployed Persons totalled est. 473,900 individuals (original data); and
  • the Workforce Participation Rate was Persons 63.8% - up 1.6 percentage points, Males 69.0% - up 2 percentage points, Females 58.7% - up 1.6 percentage points (original data).

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Berejiklian Government determined to expand coal seam gas mining in New South Wales voted down bill to reintroduce the public interest as a ground for certain decisions relating to petroleum titles and impose a moratorium on CSG exploration & mining


The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 June 2020: 

The Berejiklian government has rushed to defeat a private member's bill to derail the controversial Narrabri gas project, as anti-coal seam gas groups were preparing to target National party seats. 

In a rare move, the Coalition suspended the day's parliamentary agenda on Thursday to debate a coal seam gas moratorium bill, in a bid to fast-track its demise in the Legislative Assembly. 

It comes after the bill, put forward by independent MP Justin Field, passed the NSW upper house on Wednesday night with the support of Labor and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party. 
 
Santos's Narrabri project could supply up to half of NSW's gas needs.CREDIT:DEAN SEWELL
 

The bill, which the government voted down in the lower house, sought to impose an immediate moratorium on the prospecting or mining of coal seam gas in NSW, and classifies certain areas as permanent "no go zones". 

One of these zones is the Great Artesian Basin recharge zone, which covers part of the area for Santos' proposed $3 billion project to drill 850 gas wells in Narrabri, northern NSW, many of them within the Pilliga state forest. 

Deputy Premier John Barilaro attacked the Shooters party - the Nationals' key rivals in the bush - for their "unholy alliance" with Labor and the Greens in supporting the bill, which he said would "destroy" jobs..... 

Coal seam gas mining has long been a vexed issue for the National Party, amid fierce opposition from farmers and community groups. It was a key factor in the party losing the northern NSW seat of Ballina to the Greens at the 2015 election. 

Shooters MP Roy Butler, whose seat of Barwon includes the township of Narrabri, said the "vast majority" of his electorate opposed coal seam gas, predominantly out of concern for groundwater contamination. 

"The reality is if you don't have a good domestic supply of water in a town like Narrabri, Coonamble, any of those places, it doesn't matter how many jobs you've got, because you're not going to have anyone in the town," Mr Butler said....

BACKGROUND 

Petroleum (Onshore) Amendment (Coal Seam Gas Moratorium) Bill 2019 [NSW]Explanatory note

The first and second reading of this bill occurred on 22 August 2019.

In the vote of 5 June 2020 which defeated the bill both Nationals MP for Clarence Chris Gulaptis and Labor MP for Lismore Janelle Saffin were designated as "Pairs" and therefore deemed absent from the vote.

Coaltion Government MLAs who voted down the bill and their electorates:

Anderson, K. (Tamworth) Ayres, S. (Penrith) Barilaro, J. (Monaro) Berejiklian, G. (Willoughby) Clancy, J. (Albury) Conolly, K. (Riverstone) Constance, A. (Bega) Cooke, S. (Cootamundra) Coure, M. (Oatley) Crouch, A. (Terrigal) Davies, T. (Mulgoa) Dominello, V. (Ryde) Elliott, D. (Baulkham Hills) Evans, L. (Heathcoate) Gibbons, M. (Holsworthy) Griffin, J. (Manly) Henskens, A. (Ku-ring-gai) Johnsen, M. (Upper Hunter) Kean, M. (Hornsby) Lee, G. (Parramatta) Lindsay, W. (East Hills) Marshall, A. (Northern Tablelands) O'Dea, J. (Davidson) Pavey, M. (Oxley) Perrottet, D. (Epping) Petinos, E. (Miranda) Preston, R. (Hawkesbury) Roberts, A. (Lane Cove) Saunders, D. (Dubbo) Sidgreaves, P. (Camden) Sidoti, J. (Drummoyne) Smith, N. (Wollondilly) Speakman, M. (Cronulla) Taylor, M. (Seven Hills) Toole, P. (Bathurst) Tuckerman, W. (Goulburn) Upton, G. (Vaucluse) Ward, G. (Kiama).

Sunday, 31 May 2020

News Corp goes digital & withdraws from print media in the NSW Northern Rivers region - with small print 'community' mastheads disappearing entirely


Last year News Corp told its shareholders that: "In addition, the Company has divested and may in the future divest certain assets or businesses that no longer fit with its strategic direction or growth targets."

It seems that such an event came to pass in May 2020, not quite four years after News Corp purchased so many of those print newspapers it is now closing down entirely or reinventing as purely digital news platforms.

Perhaps the clue to this restructuring is in the fact that this multinational media corporation mentioned "loss" or "losses" at least 223 times in its Annual Report 2019.

With News Corp owning 150 print newspapers, at the end May 2019 its readership across all mastheads only appeared to reach a weekly average of est. 7.7 million out of a nation of over 25 million people.

However, the Northern Rivers is the only NSW region being completely restructured - losing five small print 'community' newspapers entirely and six of its print news mastheads becoming digital news platforms only from Monday 29 June 2020.

News Corp Australia, media release, 27 May 2020: 

News Corp Australia announces portfolio changes 

The Executive Chairman of News Corp Australasia, Mr Michael Miller, today announced significant changes to News Corp Australia’s publishing portfolio. 

Mr Miller said that over recent months News Corp had undertaken a comprehensive review of its regional and community newspapers. This review considered the ongoing consumer shift to reading and subscribing to news online, and the acceleration of businesses using digital advertising.  

“COVID-19 has impacted the sustainability of community and regional publishing. Despite the audiences of News Corp’s digital mastheads growing more than 60 per cent as Australians turned to trusted media sources during the peak of the recent COVID-19 lockdowns, print advertising spending which contributes the majority of our revenues, has accelerated its decline,” Mr Miller said. 

“Consequently, to meet these changing trends, we are reshaping News Corp Australia to focus on where consumers and businesses are moving and to strengthen our position as Australia’s leading digital news media company. This will involve employing more digital only journalists and making investments in digital advertising and marketing solutions for our partners.” 

Mr Miller said News Corp’s portfolio review highlighted that many of our print mastheads were challenged, and the double impact of COVID-19 and the tech platforms not remunerating the local publisher whose content they profit from, had, unfortunately, made them unsustainable publications. 

He said the portfolio changes being implemented would mean that from Monday June 29 the bulk of News Corp’s regional and community titles would move to purely digital publishing. 

“More than 375 journalists will be specifically covering regional and community news and information. They will continue to serve, and live in, their local communities with the majority in regional Queensland where we have most of our titles,” Mr Miller said. 

“More than 640,000 Australians, our latest figures show, are currently subscribing to News Corp’s digital news content and subscriptions are growing at an annual rate of 24 per cent. 

“Much of this growth is from local news, where subscribers have more than doubled in the past year. In regional Queensland more than 80,000 people have digital subscriptions and this number has grown by more than 40 per cent this year. 

“I’m confident that these numbers will accelerate through dedicated and constant digital publishing and continuing to serve the local communities whose trust and community commitment the mastheads have developed over decades. 

“Over the past 19 months News has launched 16 new digital only local mastheads. In total we will now publish 92 digital only regional and community mastheads, each offering readers rolling coverage, electronic alerts and newsletters, richer audio and video content and deeper local sport coverage and community debate. 

“At the same time, News Corp’s major mastheads in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide – The Courier-Mail, The Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun and The Advertiser – will now become more state focused with increased regional content and will partner with our regional and community local titles in their states to ensure we deliver compelling journalism to Australian consumers regardless of where they live. 

Subscribers wherever they live will now have access to the best of News Corp’s local, regional, state, national and international news, sport, features and columnists.” 

Describing the changes being announced today, Mr Miller said: “These initiatives are significant. They will involve fundamental changes to how we operate our business but they are necessary. Together with senior executive and editorial appointments announced recently, they will enable us to be more effective in driving further success in the growth areas News Corp is excelling in such as digital advertising products, solutions and subscriptions and will embed a more collaborative way of working to maximise our sport and news coverage, hyper local digital subscriptions and the success of our all-important weekend editions.” 

Today’s announcements to News Corp’s publishing portfolio will mean some job roles will change and regretfully, will lead to job losses. Mr Miller said that for those employees impacted by the changes, he wanted to thank them personally for their professionalism, dedication and contribution. 

“They have provided News with invaluable years of service. Their passionate commitment to the communities in which they live and work and their role in ensuring these have been informed and served by trusted local media has been substantial,” he said. 

Commercially, these portfolio changes will make News less complex for its partners to leverage and will build on the innovations it already has in place. 

This includes: 

  • News Xtend which is now Australia’s top digital marketing agency for small and medium enterprises; 
  • News Connect data platform which ensures businesses reach the right consumer segments wanting to pay for their products and services through its specialist ability to access two billion consumption signals from 12 million Australians; 
  • Australia’s number one digital publisher for news, real estate, business, sport and fantasy sport, food, fashion, health and beauty, parenting and women’s lifestyle; 
  • Digital powerhouse news.com.au which has increased its audience more than 30 per cent in the past two months to more than 12.2 million monthly users; 
  • A leader in audio and video with News’ data now showing award-winning podcast downloads of more than five million monthly and digital video views topping 100 million monthly, up 45 per cent in a year; 
  • Monday’s launch of BINGE entertainment streaming service which joins Foxtel and the Kayo sport streaming service as the nation’s premium subscription broadcasters; 
  • REA Group which is Australia’s clear leader for real estate digital services and investing in Asia and the United States, through its 20 per cent stake in Move, Inc. 

In conclusion, Mr Miller said: “News Corp remains committed to Australia’s regions and communities and the initiatives we are implementing today represent a detailed, considered strategy to ensure we will better serve our journalism to Australians who live outside its major cities. 

“News Corp and its employees also will retain at their creative core their passion for championing, and advocating for an ever improving Australia. As our country emerges in coming weeks from the lockdown enforced on us by the threat of COVID-19 into a ‘new normal’, we will ensure these values that separate News Corp from other media companies are even stronger than ever.” 

Consequently, News Corp Australia is announcing today that: 

Our major regional titles – The Hobart Mercury, NT News, Cairns Post, Townsville Bulletin, Gold Coast Bulletin, Toowoomba Chronicle and Geelong Advertiser – will continue to publish both in print and digitally. 

The following regional titles will become digital only: Queensland – Mackay Daily Mercury, Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, Gladstone Observer, Bundaberg News Mail, Fraser Coast Chronicle, Gympie Times, Sunshine Coast Daily, Queensland Times, Warwick Daily News, Central and North Burnett Times, Central Queensland News, Chinchilla News, Dalby Herald. Gatton Star, Noosa News, South Burnett Times, Stanthorpe Border Post, Western Star, Western Times, Whitsunday Times, Whitsunday Coast Guardian and Bowen Independent, news from the towns covered by the Atherton Tablelander, Northern Miner, Post Douglas & Mossman Gazette and Burdekin Advocate will continue to appear, as it does currently, under the regional sections of the Cairns Post and Townsville Bulletin; 
NSW – Tweed Daily News, Ballina Advocate, Byron Shire News, Coffs Coast Advocate, Grafton Daily Examiner and Lismore Northern Star; Northern Territory – The Centralian Advocate. 

The bulk of titles in our community groups – NewsLocal in NSW/ACT, Leader in Melbourne, Quest in Brisbane and Messenger in Adelaide – will become digital only. Community print editions were suspended early in April because of the impact of COVID-19 restrictions. 

The community titles to be digital-only news services are: Melbourne Leader titles – Stonnington, Mornington Peninsula, Knox, Whitehorse, Monash, Northern, Whittlesea, Maroondah, Moorabbin, Mordialloc Chelsea, Moreland, Lilydale and Yarra Valley, Frankston, Bayside, Caulfield Port Phillip, Cranbourne, Greater Dandenong, Moonee Valley, Maribyrnong, Wyndham; 

NewsLocal in NSW and ACT – Fairfield Advance, Penrith Press, Macarthur Chronicle, Blacktown Advocate, Canterbury Bankstown Express, Central Coast Express, Hills Shire Times, Hornsby Advocate, Liverpool Leader, Manly Daily, Northern District Times, Parramatta Advertiser, Inner West Courier, Southern Courier, Illawarra Star, Wagga Wagga News, St George Shire Standard, Canberra Star, Newcastle News, Blue Mountains News, Central Sydney, South Coast News; 

Quest in Queensland – Albert and Logan News, Caboolture Herald, Westside News, Pine Rivers Press, Redcliffe and Bayside Herald, South-West News, Wynnum Herald, North Lakes Times, Redlands Community News, Springfield News; 

Messenger in SA – Messenger South Plus; Messenger East Plus, Messenger North, Messenger West, Messenger City, Adelaide Hills and Upper Spencer Gulf. 

Three Sydney community titles, Wentworth Courier, Mosman Daily and North Shore Times, which are distributed in the city’s most affluent suburbs, will resume print editions. 

Some small print newspapers will cease publication, but the local journalism coverage of their area will continue, feeding into the digital masthead for their regional community. The regional titles to cease publication are: Queensland – Buderim Chronicle, Caloundra Weekly, Capricorn Coast Mirror, Coolum News, Nambour Weekly, Ipswich Advertiser, Kawana/Maroochy Weekly, Gold Coast Sun, Hervey Bay Independent, Maryborough Herald, Balonne Beacon, Surat Basin News, Herbert River Express, Innisfail Advocate, Central Telegraph; NSW – Coastal Views, Northern Rivers Echo, Richmond River Express Examiner; Tasmania – Tasmanian Country; Specialist – Big Rigs, Rural Weekly, Seniors. 

Additionally, we will streamline our community titles and will publish local stories under their regional or city-based masthead. The community titles which will cease publication are: Leader titles in Victoria – Manningham, Preston, Diamond Valley, Heidelberg, Sunbury Macedon, Progress and Northcote; NewsLocal in NSW – Rouse Hill Times; Quest in Queensland – Northside Chronicle/Bayside Star, North-West News, South-East Advertiser, Southern Star, Bribie Weekly; and South Australia – Messenger Coast Plus. [my yellow highlighting]