Weekly Wrap Up
- National Cabinet is meeting this morning and is expected to discuss a timetable for the easing of restrictions.
- Australia’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 6,910.
- More than 4.7 million Australians have received JobKeeper payments.
- Approximately 5.2 million Australians have downloaded the Government’s COVID-Safe phone app, including a majority of politicians.
- The NSW inquiry into the handling of the Ruby Princess cruise ship continued this week, revealing NSW Health authorities failed to revise their risk rating of the ship, even after learning of a spike in passengers reporting flu-like symptoms.
- Economic data has this week revealed that current coronavirus restrictions are costing the economy $4 billion per week.
Coronavirus clusters in Victoria and NSW
An outbreak of coronavirus cases at a meat processing facility in Victoria has put the Victorian Government under pressure from the State Opposition, who have compared the situation to the Ruby Princess debacle in NSW. Currently, the total number of cases linked to the facility sits at 62. Premier Daniel Andrews has dismissed the criticism, supporting Health Minister Jenny Mikakos’ comment that health authorities handled the outbreak “perfectly”. Meanwhile, a cluster of cases at an aged care home in NSW has led the Federal aged care watchdog to intervene after the 16th death linked to the facility. The move was backed by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who said the federal regulator’s warning was a “positive step”.
Governments chart the way out
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern joined Tuesday’s National Cabinet meeting to discuss the possibility of a ‘trans-Tasman bubble’ to enable travel between Australia and New Zealand. The National Cabinet was also briefed by the Chair of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission, Neville Power, on the best approach to supporting businesses and workers in the return to work as new economic data revealed current restrictions are costing the economy up to $4 billion per week. National Cabinet will meet again today and is expected to reveal a three-step framework to gradually remove restrictions to re-start the economy. Federal Parliament resumes on Tuesday.
Eden-Monaro preselection heats up
Coalition preselection jostling for the Eden-Monaro by-election heated up this week as NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro and NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance threw their hats into the ring. Mr Barilaro ruled himself out of the contest on Monday, leading Mr Constance to formally announce he would be running. However, Mr Constance swiftly withdrew his nomination the following day, saying he needed to remain focused on the bushfire recovery effort in NSW. Reports now suggest the Liberal candidate will be Fiona Kotvojs, while the Labor candidate will be Bega Mayor Kristy McBain. The by-election in the marginal federal seat was sparked by the retirement of Labor MP Mike Kelly last week.