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.

CORPORATES
UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY. BRAIN AND MIND RESEARCH INSTITUTE

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.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BORDER FORCE

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.

CORPORATES
PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HEALTH

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.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

‘We must get real on a possible China war’: Dutton

Original article by Olivia Caisley
The Australian – Page: 4 : 26-Apr-21

Defence Minister Peter Dutton says Australia must continue to be a ‘good neighbour’ in the Asia-Pacific and work with its partners and allies to maintain peace in the region. He adds that China has made it clear that reunification with Taiwan is firmly on its agenda, and he has warned that war over Taiwan cannot be ruled out in the future. Dutton has also indicated that thousands of deals with foreign governments are being reviewed following the Coalition’s decision to terminate Victoria’s deal to participate in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. They include the 2015 deal to lease the Port of Darwin to a Chinese company for 99 years.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF DEFENCE

Business calls to fast-track tax cuts

Original article by Joe Kelly
The Australian – Page: 2 : 26-Apr-21

The third stage of the federal government’s income tax cuts package is slated to take effect from 1 July 2024. Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott says the government should consider bringing forward the tax cuts in order to boost the economy and create jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Australian Council of Social Service CEO Cassandra Goldie recently called for the third-stage tax cuts to be dropped, arguing that they will benefit people on high incomes the most.

CORPORATES
BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SOCIAL SERVICE

Parental leave a $5bn earner

Original article by Joe Kelly, Geoff Chambers
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 26-Apr-21

The Business Council of Australia has called for paid parental leave to be increased to 26 weeks for couples who agree to more equally share the amount of time they take off work. The BCA has also proposed increasing the childcare subsidy for lower-income households from 85 to 95 per cent; it notes that modelling by KPMG suggests that this would boost the economy by about $5bn a year. The BCA contends that the high cost of childcare is deterring many women from returning to the workforce. Some Liberal MPs have urged the federal government to include childcare reforms in the Budget on 11 May.

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BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA

Axe falls on Andrews’ BRI deal with China

Original article by Ben Packham, Joe Kelly
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 22-Apr-21

Australia’s strained relations with China may worsen after the federal government used the Foreign Relations Act to cancel Victoria’s agreement to participate in the controversial Belt and Road Initiative. Foreign Minister Marise Payne has used the new powers to veto the state government’s 2018 memorandum of understanding with regard to the BRI, as well as a subsequent framework agreement. Payne has also deemed that the Victorian government’s scientific co-operation agreement with Syria and an education and training deal with Iran are not in the national interest.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE

PM’s global tech fix for emissions

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 22-Apr-21

The federal government has committed to spending $566m over eight years on the development of low-emission technologies in partnership with other countries. This follows the government’s previous announcement that it will spend $540m on hydrogen and carbon capture and storage projects. Prime Minister Scott Morrison contends that international collaboration is the most effective way to address the issue of carbon emissions, a point he will emphasise during the upcoming virtual climate change summit that will be hosted by US President Joe Biden.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, UNITED STATES. EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

RBA lauds $50bn budget boost

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 21-Apr-21

The federal government had forecast a $198bn Budget deficit for 2020-21 in its mid-year economic and financial outlook. The Department of Finance has advised that the Budget bottom line improved by $23bn during the first eight months of the financial year; some economists now expect the full-year deficit to be about $50bn lower than had been forecast in December. Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia says the strong economic rebound has seen national GDP growth return to its pre-pandemic level. The RBA reiterated in the minutes of its monthly board meeting that the cash rate is likely to remain on hold until at least 2024.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF FINANCE, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA