Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Royal Commission: Aged care residents fed on $7 a day

The Aged Care Royal Commission continues, with the latest hearings focusing on the inadequate food served in many care facilities. At a hearing in Cairns, food industry professionals, including celebrity cook Maggie Beer, assessed food practices and standards that contributed to dreadful food quality served to residents of aged-care. Lack of specialist training for kitchen staff, cutting corners in food preparation, opting for cheap food options — as low as $7 a day, and frequently repeated menu items were common traits highlighted in the hearings. Food safety audits were also infrequent in many facilities, with maggots and rotten food found near the kitchen in one “upmarket residential aged care facility”. Beer said raising food budgets to just $10.50 per person a day would make a significant impact. “It's not possible to feed them with a combination of nutrition, flavour and pleasure — it is not possible, full stop, at $7 a day."

The Queensland Government has taken mining company Adani to court for allegedly deceiving the Environment Department over land clearing activities at the site of its Carmichael mine. A statement from the department said Adani gave false and misleading information in their 2017/2018 annual return, which “requires information about planned and actual disturbance of land at the mine”. Adani notified the department in September last year that they had made “an administrative paperwork error” in its return. In their own statement, Adani told the ABC that “all relevant works were legal” and compliant with project conditions, and that no environmental harm had occurred. Legal proceedings will not affect work under way on the mine.

Bushwalker Michael Bowen has been found safe and sound after going missing on Friday during a hike near Tasmania’s Lake St Clair. Even though he was an experienced walker, there were still fears for the 57-year-old Melbourne man who experienced freezing temperatures,  cold winds and snow over the four nights he was missing, putting him at risk of hypothermia. Bowman was taken to the Royal Hobart hospital for medical checks. West Australian father Terry Koziniec and his 15-year-old daughter, Emily, were also rescued from the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, after being stranded in thick snow. Severe weather prevented the helicopter from reaching them so rescue teams had to retrieve them on foot. Terry Koziniec said that their three hour hike turned into three days due to fallen trees and waist-high snow. On Monday, the body of another man who went missing in Marysville in Victoria on the weekend was found after several days’ search. Poshik Sharma, 21, was last seen last Thursday after leaving the Duck Inn following a disagreement with friends. His body was found in bushland on the outskirts of Marysville and is not being treated as suspicious.  

Netflix has bowed to pressure from mental health experts and removed a graphic scene depicting suicide from the first season of the television show 13 Reasons Why. Screen studies lecturer at the University of New England, Dr Fincina Hopgood, noted the significance ofthe decision, which occurred a long time after opposition to the scene first arose. “To edit a scene from a TV episode more than two years after it first aired globally is quite unprecedented, especially given the network’s initial resistance to calls from mental health organisations to edit or remove this scene," Dr Hopgood said. Netflix edited out the scene on advice from medical experts in preparation for the launch of the show’s third season. The scene was criticised at the time for showing the method of suicide and its potential to spark copy cats. The edit is now been uploaded to the streaming service globally. 

Lifeline 13 11 14 

In sport, basketballer Ben Simmons has signed a new contract which will make him Australia’s highest paid athlete. Simmons, who plays in the NBA for the Philadelphia 76ers, has inked a five-year contract extension for the equivalent of $A242 million. 

Guarding the henhouse
Almost two years since changes were implemented following a royal commission into youth detention, tear gas is again being used on children in the Northern Territory. Russell Marks on Don Dale.


“In the 40 or so years that the blackbirding trade operated, some 15,000 Islanders died in the cane fields – around 30 per cent of those transported. Most of the rest were forcibly deported when Federation and the advent of the White Australia Policy ended the practice. It was the largest mass deportation in Australian history, enacted despite a savvy and hard-fought political campaign to permit them to stay in the country as free citizens. Their journeys back to the islands were funded by the stolen wages of labourers who had died.”


“O’Reilly critiques corporations and opportunistic legislation through a language that might be used to promote them. Were it not for the ‘totality of contingency and violence’, told by the voiceover, we could be watching an ad.”


“People who are out of work and on the Newstart allowance have not seen a real increase in their payment for 25 years. Their benefits have not actually been cut, but over that time their standard of living has gone dramatically backwards as the cost of living has increased. Under the government’s plan, this will continue. As Richard Denniss, chief economist at The Australia Institute, says: ‘The easiest and least visible way for the government to cut spending is to let inflation do the harm on the spending side.’”


“Earlier, the federal industry minister Karen Andrews warned that the commonwealth ‘is not an ATM for the states’. Karen Andrews told Radio National she would be “pressing the states and territories for a timeline” to complete audits of buildings with flammable cladding and would help coordinate the effort but did not intend to pay to fix the problem. Asked about co-funding, Andrews replied: ‘No, this problem is of the states’ making and they need to step up and fix the problem and dig into their own pockets.’”


“Almost two million Australians have already filed their income tax returns, rushing to get their hands on up to $1080 in tax cuts less than a fortnight after they passed parliament. An Australian Taxation Office spokesman said today the ATO had received 1.96m lodgements since July 1. A spokesman for Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said 605,000 Australians had so far received $1.429bn in refunds, adding up to an average refund of $2,361.00 per person.”


“It’s 50 years since humans first walked on the Moon. Can you point out where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed? Join astronomer Fred Watson on a guided tour of the Apollo sites, stunning lava plains and craters that dot the lunar surface.”


Anna Horan
is a Melbourne-based editor and writer.