Weekly Wrap Up
5 March 2021
- The Morrison Government launched Australia’s first National Plastics Plan, outlining its approach to increase recycling, identify alternatives to unnecessary plastics and reduce environmental impact.
- Attorney-General Christian Porter denied historical allegations and has taken a short period of medical leave.
- The Prime Minister advised that Member for Boothby Nicolle Flint will not contest her seat at the next election.
- The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will continue its investigation into former Member for Wagga Wagga Daryl Maguire.
- Member for Drummoyne John Sidoti resigned from his Ministerial duties and moved to the cross bench following the ICAC’s announcement it will hold a public inquiry as part of its investigations into his alleged misconduct.
Royal Commission Reports
The Government released the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, completed by Royal Commissioners Hon Tony Pagone QC and Lynelle Briggs AO. The Report, titled Care, Dignity and Respect, provides 148 recommendations to reform the aged care system. Interestingly, the Commissioners provided different recommendations in some cases.
Subsequently, the Prime Minister pledged $452 million to address immediate issues in the aged care system and the Government said the following five pillars will drive its comprehensive response: home care; residential aged care quality and safety; residential aged care services and sustainability; workforce; and governance. The Prime Minister also committed to establishing a new Aged Care Act, to replace the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth).
The Victorian Government tabled the Final Report of the Royal Commission into the Victoria’s Mental Health System. Chair Penny Armytage AM and Commissioners Professor Allan Fels AO, Dr Alex Cockram and Professor Bernadette McSheery provided 65 recommendations to ensure that treatment, care and support are available, and that previously crisis-driven services are redesigned to reflect the better outcomes that community-based frameworks provide. Premier Daniel Andrews announced he would fast-track the delivery of six mental health priority sites as part of the new Local Adult and Older Adult Mental Health and Wellbeing Services in immediate response.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics released National Account data, reporting that the Australian economy rose 3.1 per cent in the December quarter, following an increase of 3.4 per cent in September – the first time in 60 years the economy has grown more than 3 per cent in two consecutive quarters. This strong economic growth follows the national easing of restrictions. Australia’s recovery from the pandemic is further expressed through year results which saw gross domestic product improve from -3.7 per cent to -1.1 per cent.
In other positive news, 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Australia, with the rollout set to begin on 8 March. However, the Governor General declared the extension of the human biosecurity emergency period until 17 June 2021, to ensure the Government can continue to implement measures to control the spread of COVID-19.
Across the Tasman, New Zealand reported a mystery case of COVID-19, sending Auckland into a seven-day lockdown. Subsequently, Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly announced that the restrictions placed on Green Zone travel with NZ would continue for the time being.
The New Zealand and Queensland parliaments will sit. NSW budget estimates continues.
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