CHILDCARE, INDIGENOUS BUSINESS AND RENT
In yet another packed day of packages, the Coalition announced a plan for free childcare yesterday — which the ABC has unpacked in excellent detail here — as well as a new “Jobs Hub“, integrating public and private employment opportunities and a registry for businesses, and a $123 million package to help Indigenous businesses and communities respond to the pandemic.
The Guardian reports that Scott Morrison has warned of at least six months of turmoil, while, in more whiplash-inducing news, The Australian ($) reports that Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter has slammed calls from resources and energy employers to slash award rates.
TO BAIL OUT A LANDLORD? According to The Age, the national cabinet will also consider putting commercial landlords on the $130 billion JobKeeper scheme, ahead of a potential collapse of commercial real estate in shopping centres and offices across the country.
6.6 MILLION UNEMPLOYED AMERICANS IN ONE WEEK
According to the ABC, a record 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment insurance in the past week following new state quarantines measures, with an estimated 3.3 million people applying the week earlier and economists now predicting as many as 20 million jobs will be lost throughout the crisis.
While they may be able to access additional unemployment measures as part of America’s $2.2 trillion stimulus, most of those people will also have lost health insurance at a time when “free” tests for the coronavirus are, as the New York Times explores, still yet to materialise.
THE LEFT EATS ITS OWN FACE: For anyone hoping this might push the Democrats to embrace universal healthcare, note that the current, undisputed epicentre of the virus, New York State, just passed a budget ($) that slashes Medicaid by billions of dollars.
- Western Australia has implemented further restrictions between the Kimberley’s four local governments areas following six new cases, including five health workers, while the state has also passed the Emergency Management Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 enabling new $1,000 on-the-spot fines.
- Victoria has clarified that all outdoor activities except exercise are banned following confusion over fishing and boating, while also finalising an agreement with the state’s private hospitals.
- NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has alleged that the Ruby Princess staff may have mislead NSW Health about the extent of onboard illnesses.
- Queensland has announced the closure of a number of places within the state’s national parks including picnic areas, toilet facilities, lookouts, popular walking tracks, swimming areas and four-wheel drive beach recreation areas.
- South Australia has brought forward a $45.7 million expansion of the Flinders Medical Centre Emergency Department by four months.
- Tasmania has banned racing for the next four weeks, and from 6pm today will prohibit or close farmers markets, recreational scalloping, garage sales, sex worker services and TAB and UBET stores.
INDIGENOUS MESSAGING CAMPAIGN KNOCKS IT OUT THE PARK
Finally, as Croakey outlines in an incredible collection, federal, state, local government and community groups have created a range of television, radio, print and digital resources for Indigenous communities throughout the crisis.
Many of the government campaigns are modelled on priority messages from Monday’s ‘Management Plan For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Populations’, which include:
- travel restrictions to communities;
- effective hygiene practices;
- vaccines (emphasis on influenza and pneumococcal coverage ahead of winter);
- reporting illness, seeking advice and/or attending health services early, especially if vulnerable;
- appropriate use of PPE;
- isolation and quarantine (a major issue for remote communities where there is a fixed housing supply and crowding is already an issue); and
- maintaining food and essential services and supplies.
There are also some outstanding community-run initiatives, from NACCHO’s daily coronavirus news alerts to short films by the Northern Land Council shot in multiple NT languages to Deadly Choices’ #CleanAndDeadly campaign complete with North Queensland Cowboys merchandise.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
In this new normal that we’re living in, it’s no longer about entitlement. It’s about need.
The prime minister ruins an otherwise very welcome childcare announcement by attempting to create a deserving/undeserving poor dichotomy.
“The federal government has made a key change to the information it seeks from cruise ships in light of the escalating scandal of the Ruby Princess.
“The change is an apparent admission that insufficient detail was given on the health of passengers on board the ship, though who is responsible for the failure — the company or health authorities — remains unclear.”
“For years under this government, what is now the Home Affairs portfolio has operated in a political culture of complete impunity, no matter how incompetently its officials have behaved, and no matter how many times it placed people at risk.”
“Coronavirus has presented a potential crisis for illicit drug users, drying up supply and pushing people to more desperate measures. While a shortage of illicit drugs might seem like a good thing, experts warn Australia could see a sharp rise in overdoses, putting pressure on already swamped health systems.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Imagine if we could extract a permanent vaccine against hyper-partisanship from COVID-19 — Michelle Grattan (The Conversation): “As the COVID-19 transforms our individual lives, we are learning a few new things about ourselves as a society. We’ve known Australians suspect authority and, like other Western countries, have come to trust government less and less – right? One goes to our historical narrative; the other is borne out by quantitative research. And we don’t need a survey to know our political system is highly, often gratingly, adversarial.”
Full disclosure: the only way to earn trust in the virus endurance test — David Crowe (The Age): “The verdict from one of Canberra’s medical experts was direct this week when police in Sydney and Melbourne started warning Australians to leave their local parks and stay indoors. Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases physician and a professor at the Australian National University, said the state decisions on hard lockdowns looked like ‘panic by politicians’ rather than science.”
‘It will change my life entirely’: young people on getting the $550 coronavirus supplement — Freya, Louise, Samara-Jade, Aidan and Jess (The Guardian): “As part of its stimulus package the government has introduced the coronavirus supplement, an extra $550 a fortnight payment for people on the jobseeker allowance, parenting payment (partnered and single), farm household allowance, special benefit recipients, Austudy, Abstudy and youth allowance (student).”