Australians support masks and border closures and are willing to be vaccinated for COVID-19

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 18-Jan-21

A special Roy Morgan survey into Australian attitudes towards COVID-19 conducted on Thursday and Friday shows 72% of Australians say mask wearing should be compulsory, 68% don’t want State borders to be completely open and 77% would be willing to be vaccinated if a new Coronavirus vaccine became publicly available – unchanged from mid-November. Support for compulsory mask wearing is highest in NSW (80%) and Victoria (77%) but at only 53% in South Australia. A large majority of 85% of people in WA don’t want State borders to be completely open today – a higher rate than any other State and in line with the tough border policies of Premier Mark McGowan who faces an election in early March.

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ROY MORGAN LIMITED

Players give Open a serve: Stars angry as third flight locked down

Original article by Alanah Frost, Sharon McGowan, Marc McGowan
Herald Sun – Page: 7 : 18-Jan-21

The number of COVID-19 cases linked to the upcoming Australian Open has increased to four, after a case was detected on a third in-bound charter flight. All passengers on the three flights have been placed in hard quarantine for two weeks; this includes 72 tennis players, who will not be permitted to leave their hotel rooms to undertake training until shortly before the Australian Open begins. Some players have criticised the lockdown rules and alleged that they were changed ‘overnight’, but Tennis Australia contends that the rules were made clear from the outset. Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley has rejected suggestions that the Australian Open will be cancelled.

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AUSTRALIAN OPEN TENNIS, TENNIS AUSTRALIA

Nearly four in five Australians working from home suffered from burnout last year

Original article by Matt Johnson
The New Daily – Page: Online : 15-Jan-21

An international study undertaken on behalf of work management app Asana has found that 77 per cent of Australians and New Zealanders experienced burnout while working from home in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. This compares with 71 per cent of respondents globally. The study also found that working from home resulted in more employees putting in longer hours, yet productivity was negatively affected. Jim Stanford from the Centre for Future Work contends that working from home is not sustainable.

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ASANA, THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE LIMITED. CENTRE FOR FUTURE WORK

No-go zones: a nation divided

Original article by Patrick Commins, Richard Ferguson
The Australian – Page: 1 & 5 : 12-Jan-21

Business leaders have criticised Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan after he acknowledged that the state is pursuing an elimination strategy for COVID-19. This is at odds with the national cabinet, which adopted a suppression strategy in 2020. Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox says an elimination strategy will merely "kill investment and job creation", while Council of Small Business Organisations CEO Peter Strong has warned that an elimination strategy would destroy the economic recovery. New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian contends that the total elimination of COVID-19 is impossible while Australians continue to return from overseas, adding that the goal should be zero community transmission.

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WESTERN AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PREMIER AND CABINET, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, COUNCIL OF SMALL BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, NEW SOUTH WALES. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET

Coronavirus restrictions tipped to stay in Australia until mid-2022

Original article by Josh Butler
The New Daily – Page: Online : 11-Jan-21

Infectious diseases expert Professor Peter Collignon has warned that Australians should expect to be subject to COVID-19 restrictions until at least the end of 2021. He adds that restrictions could potentially be in place for up to two years if governments adopt an elimination strategy. He also says that further restrictions may be necessary during the coming winter months, as the coronavirus spread more and survives for longer in colder weather. There is also uncertainty about the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines that the federal government has committed to buying.

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Berejiklian slams Andrews over hasty border shutdown

Original article by Stephen Rice
The Australian – Page: 1 & 5 : 11-Jan-21

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has urged other states to consult with her government before closing their borders in the future. Victoria’s border with NSW remains closed, and Premier Daniel Andrews has yet to set a firm date for lifting the restrictions. This is despite the fact that NSW recorded just three new locally-acquired COVID-19 cases on 10 January, while just 10 new cases among returned travellers in hotel quarantine were recorded nationwide. There are now 199 active cases in NSW, 45 in Victoria, 21 in the Northern Territory, 20 in Queensland, 15 in South Australia and 15 in Western Australia.

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NEW SOUTH WALES. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET, VICTORIA. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET

States push for masks on local flights

Original article by David Marin-Guzman, Hannah Wootton
The Australian Financial Review – Page: Online : 8-Jan-21

A proposal to make mask wearing mandatory on domestic flights and in airports will be discussed at an emergency national cabinet meeting on 8 January. The proposal is one of a number of measures aimed at preventing a mutant strain of the coronavirus that has originated from the UK from spreading throughout Australia. Other measures to be discussed include daily testing of hotel quarantine staff and compulsory pre-flight screening of passengers. A survey conducted by the Australian Airports Association in December found that around 88 per cent of people supported mandatory masks in international terminals, while 82 per cent supported pre-flight screening.

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AUSTRALIAN AIRPORTS ASSOCIATION LIMITED

Fans dunked as NBL postpones season opener on virus outbreaks

Original article by Jessica Gardner
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 7-Jan-21

The first game of the 2021 National Basketball League was due to be played in regional Victoria on 10 January between the NBL’s two Melbourne teams. However, the recent COVID-19 outbreaks in Sydney and Melbourne has seen that game postponed, and the first game will now be held on 15 January between the Cairns Taipans and the Hawks in Cairns. The first two rounds of the season will be restricted to virus-free locations, while the postponed Melbourne derby has been tentatively scheduled for Bendigo on 31 January.

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NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE

Australia did 2020 pretty damn good

Original article by Terry McCrann
Herald Sun – Page: 45 : 24-Dec-20

Despite the spectacular failure of Victoria’s first hotel quarantine program – which has accounted for nearly 90 per cent of Australia’s COVID-19 death toll – the nation’s policymakers have handled the pandemic remarkably well. Three factors enabled the nation to get it right – not perfect, but right – in containing the virus and balancing the economic and medical costs of the pandemic. Closing the nation’s international borders prevented an outbreak on the scale seen in Europe, while the national lockdown and stimulus measures ensured that the decline in economic growth in the June quarter was limited to just seven per cent.

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Tax Office to review rejected JobKeeper bids

Original article by Tom McIlroy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 7 : 21-Dec-20

Karen Payne, the Inspector-General of Taxation & Taxation Ombudsman, has found that some businesses may have been unfairly denied coronavirus assistance by the Australian Taxation Office. As a result of her findings, the ATO will re-evaluate rejected applications for business cashflow payments and the $90 billion JobKeeper program. However, despite her findings, Payne and professional bodies such as the Institute of Public Accountants have praised the ATO for the way in which it quickly implemented government assistance programs during the pandemic.

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AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF TAXATION AND TAXATION OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE