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- This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Retail sector slams Victoria’s ‘ludicrous’ outdoor shopping rule
Retailers have hit out at the Victorian government’s delay in allowing the sector to reopen, describing it as hypocritical and impractical for them to be limited to outdoor shopping and click and collect.
Under the expedited road map announced by Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday, general retail businesses can reopen with customers in their stores only when 80 per cent people in the state aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated.
Gerry Harvey says outdoor trading is no good for his Harvey Norman stores.Credit:Janie Barrett
However, from Friday, 20 fully vaccinated people are allowed in a restaurant or cafe. The Australian Industry Group’s Victorian head, Tim Piper, said the discrepancy in the state’s revised road map between hospitality and retail did not make sense.
Victoria recorded 1903 new coronavirus cases and seven deaths on Monday. The 80 per cent vaccination trigger is unlikely to be reached until early November. The first-dose vaccination rate is at 88.45 per cent, with 66.73 per cent fully vaccinated. The 70 per cent double-dose target is expected to be reached on Thursday with some restrictions, including those on general retail shops, to be eased that night.
More on the situation in Victoria here.
Bureaucrat tells NSW corruption inquiry of concerns about gun club grant
A NSW bureaucrat has told the state’s corruption inquiry it would have been critical to know then-treasurer Gladys Berejiklian was in a relationship with disgraced former Liberal MP Daryl Maguire at the time she was advocating for a multimillion-dollar grant in his Wagga Wagga electorate in 2016.
Office of Sport director Michael Toohey yesterday said he had serious concerns about a “flimsy” and “deficient” business case behind the grant application for the Australian Clay Target Association in Wagga, for which Ms Berejiklian gave top billing on the government’s agenda.
Michael Toohey arrives at the ICAC on Monday.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer
“I can’t see that was anything but a conflict of interest,” he said, having first learnt of the secret five-year relationship at an Independent Commission Against Corruption hearing last year.
The ICAC is currently examining whether Ms Berejiklian breached the public trust or encouraged corrupt conduct during her five-year secret relationship with Mr Maguire.
Ms Berejiklian has vehemently denied all wrongdoing and insisted that she always acted in the interests of the state.
The second day of hearings kick-off later this morning.
More on yesterday’s ICAC hearing here.
Questions linger over Qld’s new pandemic path
Queensland has become the latest state to drop its COVID-zero approach to the pandemic with a long-awaited reopening plan.
Under the road map, once Queensland reaches 70 per cent double-dose – expected by November 19 – people from hotspot locations can travel to Queensland by air only, provided they are fully vaccinated and have a negative COVID test in the previous 72 hours. But they will still have to quarantine for 14 days at home.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the state will reopen before Christmas.Credit:Matt Dennien
Once the state hits 80 per cent – expected just before Christmas – fully vaccinated people will be able to enter by road or air provided they have a negative COVID test 72 hours before arriving. No quarantine will be required.
There is no timeline for when unvaccinated people will be able to enter Queensland.
Queensland authorities had been hinting at the changes for some time but, until yesterday, refused to provide details.
While businesses and the state Opposition have welcomed the plan’s certainty, both say there are still questions about how the community and economy will function beyond an 80 per cent vaccination rate under incentives for vaccinated-only venues.
Read the full story here.
This morning’s headlines at a glance
Good morning and thanks for reading our live coverage.
It’s Tuesday, October 19. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll bring you some of today’s biggest stories as they unfold.
Here’s everything you need to know before we get started.
- Queensland will remain closed to NSW and Victoria for another two months under the state’s reopening road map. Under the plan, once Queensland reaches its 70 per cent double-dose vaccination target – expected by November 19 – people from coronavirus hotspots may travel to the Sunshine State by air if they are fully vaccinated, test negative to COVID-19 in the precious 72 hours and undergo home quarantine for 14 days. Once the state hits its 80 per cent double-dose target (expected just before Christmas), fully vaccinated people will be able to enter by road or air with a negative coronavirus tests with no quarantine required. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has not given a timeline for when unvaccinated people may be able to enter Queensland from NSW, Victoria or the ACT. Queensland reported no new local cases of COVID-19 yesterday.
- Victorian retailers have slammed what they say is a “simply ludicrous” outdoor shopping rule. Melbourne’s lockdown is set to end at 11.59pm Thursday night. From Friday, restaurants and cafes can have up to 20 fully vaccinated people at a time for indoor service. However, retailers may only trade outdoors. Meanwhile, doctors say urgent “category one” elective surgeries are being postponed because of a worsening bed shortage in Victorian hospitals. The state recorded 1903 new coronavirus cases and seven deaths yesterday.
- A NSW bureaucrat has told the state’s Independent Commission Against Corruption that it would have been critical to know then-treasurer Gladys Berejiklian was in a relationship with disgraced former Liberal MP Daryl Maguire at the time she was advocating for a multimillion-dollar grant in his Wagga Wagga electorate in 2016. The second day of ICAC hearings kick-off later this morning. Ms Berejiklian has vehemently denied all wrongdoing and insisted she always acted in the interests of the state. NSW yesterday recorded 265 new cases of COVID-19 and five deaths.
- ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr is urging more Canberrans to come forward for coronavirus testing now that the nation’s capital has been out of lockdown for several days. The ACT yesterday reported 17 new cases of COVID-19 and eight deaths.
- People in southern Tasmania are waking up to their first full day out of a three-day snap lockdown triggered by a NSW man who escaped hotel quarantine in Hobart before testing positive to coronavirus. However, Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein says people will still need to wear masks when leaving the home until 6pm Friday.
- And in international news, former US secretary of state Colin Powell has died at the age of 84 due to complications from COVID-19.
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