Thursday, July 16, 2020

Morrison unveils JobTrainer scheme

The Federal Government will today spruik a $1.5 billion extension in wage subsidies for apprentices and trainees, along with a new $500 million skills and training scheme. Ahead of labour force figures expected to show another rise in unemployment, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will today promote the wage subsidies and JobTrainer scheme, which aims to create about 340,700 places in short courses to train school leavers or reskill people looking for a job. The JobTrainer investment is contingent on states and territories matching the funding and signing up to an overhaul of the vocational education and training sector. The National Skills Commission in consultation with the states would determine “target areas”, with the federal government flagging sectors such as healthcare and social work, transport, manufacturing and retailing.

The University of New South Wales will slash almost 500 full-time jobs and combine faculties as it responds to Covid-19 and a $370 million budget shortfall next year. UNSW is also employing 115 fewer casual staff than it was in January. In addition, the institution will also pivot to online learning and offer more flexible working arrangements. The Community and Public Sector Union NSW plans a mass meeting with members today, and is calling for JobKeeper support to be extended to the higher education sector. It comes as New South Wales reported 13 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, with the virus continuing to surge in Victoria, where 238 new cases were recorded.

A Birriah elder has criticised the company behind a proposed coal-fired power station in north Queensland for promoting itself as a representative of Birriah traditional owners without having formally consulted their native title body. Algon Walsh jnr, a director of the Birriah Aboriginal Corporation and cultural heritage officer, told Guardian Australia that Shine Energy had not consulted most traditional owners, directors and elders about the coal plant at Collinsville. Shine Energy – which has been promised $3.3 million by the federal government to conduct a feasibility proposal on the controversial power station – describes itself as a “traditional owner company”. “We own that country up there, we’re Birriah people, that’s our country, that’s our nation,” Shine’s chief executive, Ashley Dodd, told Sky News last year. Dodd is a Birriah traditional owner. The company has no apparent source of income, office, or in-house energy expertise.

Queensland will host most of the ($) rest of the AFL season, with all 10 Victorian clubs set to relocate north to escape Melbourne’s Covid-19 lockdown. In addition, every Victorian and NSW-based Supercars racing team will also relocate to Queensland from next week, reports The Courier Mail, while the NRL is prepared to follow if the situation in Sydney continues to worsen. In a coup worth an estimated $30 million to the state’s tourism industry, Queensland  is also pitching to host the AFL grand final.


“Mariam Koslay notices that blinds in many of the units are closed, and the lights switched off. ‘I was concerned,’ she says. Before the lockdown, there had been activity inside the towers – now things have stilled. In the afternoon, she and two friends decide to spray-paint the words ‘we see you’ onto white sheets, holding them up for residents to view. From some windows, residents wave back; others open their blinds to see what’s happening.”


“By convention, it seems clear that the Queen was never actually going to intervene in 1975 one way or the other, including by stopping Kerr from what she could clearly see was his course: the Queen’s view seems to be that she shouldn’t be seen to have one, and that any exercise of the royal prerogative is a matter for her representatives alone. Ultimately – and this is the great paradox of power – the fact that the Queen has maintained her powers in Australia has depended in no small part on the fact that she’s never used them.”


“He ordered a medium-rare sirloin night after night, but each evening it came out cooked slightly differently. Nobody could tell him when they would be allowed back into Australia. His wife was unhappy, his investments were losing money and a man in a fedora had made him behave like a moron, scratching around like a chicken for the amusement of hundreds of people.”


“Guest numbers in capital city hotels may not return to pre-pandemic levels for another three years, according to new analysis, striking another devastating blow for the crippled Australian tourism sector.”


“Significant coral bleaching at one of Western Australia’s healthiest coral reefs was found during a survey carried out in April and May. The survey took a combined effort of several organisations, together with tour operators more used to taking tourists, but with time spare during the coronavirus lockdown.”


“Professor James Smoliga, a physiologist in the Department of Physical Therapy at High Point University, North Carolina, has found the hotdog-eating threshold for humans is probably around 832 grams in 10 minutes, or about 83 hotdogs ... This is just nine away from the current world record of 74, which was set by Joey Chestnut at the annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest held in New York City in 2018.”

Max Opray is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.