Australia examines modern slavery laws amid concerns over products linked to Uyghur abuse

Original article by Daniel Hurst
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 28-Apr-21

Australian Border Force official Vanessa Holben says the federal government will review the Modern Slavery Act in 2022. The legislation has been criticised over its lack of financial penalties for companies that fail to deal with the use of slave labour in their supply chains. Holben says the government is "deeply concerned" about reports of human rights abuses against the Uyghur people in China’s Xinjiang region. Independent senator Rex Patrick has proposed legislation to ban imports from Xinjiang and other parts of China that are produced by using forced labour. The bill is being scrutinised by a Senate committee.

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AUSTRALIAN BORDER FORCE

JobKeeper aid helped prevent 500 suicides

Original article by Simon Benson
The Australian – Page: 5 : 28-Apr-21

Ian Hickie, the joint director of Sydney University’s Brain and Mind Centre, says the best thing the federal government can do to reduce mental health stress and preventable suicide is to maintain economic and jobs growth. The centre’s latest modelling suggests that COVID-19 support measures such as the JobKeeper wage subsidy will prevent 469 suicide deaths and 4,226 hospitalisations for self- harm between 2020 and 2025. It is also likely to avert more than 51,000 mental health presentations at hospitals’ emergency departments over the same period.

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UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY. BRAIN AND MIND RESEARCH INSTITUTE

ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence drops 1.6pts to 112.4 as Greater Perth enters three-day lockdown

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 28-Apr-21

ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence fell 1.6pts to 112.4 on April 24/25. Despite the fall, Consumer Confidence is still above the 2021 weekly average of 111.0 and 27.4pts higher than the same week a year ago (85.0). Now 28% (up 1ppt) of Australians say their families are ‘better off’ financially than this time last year, while 26% (up 1ppt) say their families are ‘worse off’ financially. In addition, 37% (down 2ppts) of Australians expect their family to be ‘better off’ financially this time next year, and 13% (unchanged) expect to be ‘worse off’ financially. Some 21% (down 2ppts) of Australians expect ‘good times’ for the Australian economy over the next 12 months, while 15% (unchanged) expect ‘bad times’. Meanwhile, 44% (unchanged) of Australians say now is a ‘good time to buy’ major household items, while 23% (down 1ppt) say now is a ‘bad time to buy’ (the lowest figure for this indicator since March 1, 2020).

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ROY MORGAN LIMITED, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

Crown slugged with $1m fine over junkets

Original article by Lachlan Moffet Gray
The Australian – Page: 2 : 28-Apr-21

The Victorian Commission for Gambling & Liquor Regulation has ordered Crown Resorts to pay a fine of $1m over its dealings with so-called ‘junket’ operators that have links to organised crime groups. It is the maximum penalty under Victoria’s Casino Control Act. However, Crown will not face an outright ban on future dealings with junket operators. Instead, it will not be permitted to resume partnerships with such operators at its Melbourne casino until the regulator is satisfied that its processes have been improved.

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CROWN RESORTS LIMITED – ASX CWN, VICTORIAN COMMISSION FOR GAMBLING AND LIQUOR REGULATION

Price of electricity the lowest since 2012

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 7 : 28-Apr-21

Data from the Australian Energy Market Operator shows that wholesale electricity prices fell to the lowest level since 2012 during the first three months of 2021. The wholesale price in New South Wales averaged $38 per megawatt hour, compared with $86MWh for the March 2020 quarter; the wholesale price in Victoria averaged $25MWh, down from $79MWh previously. Demand for electricity fell during the quarter due to factors such as the increase in solar power generation and the lowest average temperatures for the period since 2012.

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AUSTRALIAN ENERGY MARKET OPERATOR LIMITED

Loan deferral scheme a win for economy

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 : 28-Apr-21

More than 468,000 home loan customers in Australia were on deferred repayment plans at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic; this had fallen to 3,170 by the end of March. Likewise, the number of small business borrowers who have deferred their loan repayments has fallen from 235,440 to just 508. Overall, just 0.5 per cent of all loans are still on a ‘repayment holiday’. The loan deferral scheme ended on 31 March, but Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh says the nation’s banks will continue to provide support for distressed households and businesses.

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AUSTRALIAN BANKING ASSOCIATION

Roy Morgan Image of Professions Survey 2021: In a year dominated by COVID-19 – health professionals including Nurses, Doctors and Pharmacists are the most highly regarded; but almost all professions down from pre-pandemic

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 28-Apr-21

Health professionals have again been rated as Australia’s most highly regarded professions in Roy Morgan’s latest Image of Professions Survey, but there have been declines for almost all professions compared to four years ago. Of all 30 professions surveyed in 2021, only one profession, Union Leaders, increased their rating compared to four years ago, while 29 professions have a lower image now than in 2017 pre-pandemic. Some 88% of Australians (down 6% from 2017) now rate Nurses ‘very high’ or ‘high’ for their ethics and honesty, followed by Doctors on 82% (down 7% since 2017), Pharmacists on 76% (down 8%), School Teachers on 74% (down 7%), and Dentists on 71% (down 8%). These are the main findings of a Roy Morgan online survey conducted from April 13-22, 2021, with 1,267 Australian men and women aged 14+.

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ROY MORGAN LIMITED

Health officials beg for hotel quarantine to be upgraded

Original article by Christopher Knaus, Melissa Davey
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 28-Apr-21

Public Health Association of Australia president Tarun Weeramanthri has urged the national cabinet to end the ‘political blame game’ over hotel quarantine and address deficiencies with the system. He says airborne transmission of COVID-19 in hotels with inadequate ventilation is the single biggest risk in terms of the virus spreading. Chief medical officer Paul Kelly has defended the hotel quarantine system; he has told a parliamentary inquiry that the system is ‘fit for purpose’, but concedes that improvements can be made. Some state governments are continuing to advocate housing returned travellers in purpose-built facilities in regional areas.

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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HEALTH

Heritage spats slow BHP plans

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 18 : 28-Apr-21

BHP struck the Olympic Dam Agreement with the Kokatha, the Kuyani and the Barngarla people in 2008. However, a native title ruling in 2014 deemed that the Kokatha people were the sole traditional owners of the land that encompasses the Olympic Dam copper mine. The Kokatha people contend that the existing agreement is outdated and must be replaced, and that BHP should not be consulting with the Kuyani and the Barngarla with regard to the management of heritage sites for which they no longer have any native title rights. BHP in turn contends that the terms of the 2008 agreement require it to consult with all three indigenous groups.

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BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP

Morrison’s crisis aid for India

Original article by Phillip Coorey, Emma Connors
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 28-Apr-21

The federal government will provide a COVID-19 support package to assist India to combat its second wave of the coronavirus. The initial aid will include 500 ventilators, 100 oxygen concentrators and personal protective equipment such as surgical masks, face masks and surgical gloves. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also announced that all direct flights from India will be suspended until at least 15 May. The move will affect up to 9,000 Australian citizens and permanent residents who are currently in India. Meanwhile, India has recorded 323,144 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours; Australia has reported 23 new cases in hotel quarantine.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET