The mail carrier’s chief executive has been asked to stand aside after revelations of luxury watches gifted to executives, but the company is facing much deeper crises.Much of the week’s drama has returned to some form of the same question: Is the national postal service completely out of touch with community expectations?
The aged care royal commissioners have called on the federal government to immediately fund additional staff in aged care facilities, finding there was “insufficient action” to prepare for the pandemic. In a special report, the commissioners made six recommendations, calling for a comprehensive plan for the sector, delivery of urgent funding, creation of a national aged care advisory body, improvement of family access to aged care residents, as well as independent investigation of all outbreaks of Covid-19. The report drew a mixed reaction, with one royal commission witness and specialist practitioner in geriatric medicine, Joseph Ibrahim, saying it “let the Government off the hook” for describing the response more than interrogating it. Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck said the Government accepted all recommendations and announced $29.8 million in new funding for serious incident responses and $10.8 million to enhance the skills of aged care nurses.
The federal government will today push a range of tax cut proposals ahead of next week’s federal budget. The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Morrison government is considering a loss carry-back provision that enables businesses of all sizes to claim back tax paid pre-pandemic to offset losses incurred during the current recession. Other plans include fringe benefit tax exemptions for businesses retraining or reskilling workers who face redundancy and for small and medium businesses who supply items such as laptops and phones to workers. Firms from the middle of next year would also be able to settle excise duty on eligible goods. The measures will cost $112 million over the next three years. The Australian Financial Review meanwhile reports that plans to cut the research and development tax incentive will be reversed.
Rio Tinto wrote to the Morrison government last year urging it to transfer environmental approval powers to the Western Australian government before a major review of national environment laws was complete, reports Guardian Australia. The effort came 10 months before the Coalition announced it would change the laws to set up “one-stop shops” at state level for approvals, starting with WA. The letter was written by Rio’s then-iron ore chief Chris Salisbury, who stepped down after the company blew up a 46,000-year-old Indigenous heritage site in Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara. It comes as an inquiry hears that in the days leading up to the detonation, Rio laid more than 100 additional explosives in the gorge, despite the fact that traditional owners had made contact and raised concerns.
The Maritime Union of Australia has halted its industrial action until the Fair Work Commission hearing on October 26 and 27, after two days of conciliation with Patrick Terminals. The union’s industrial actions, which consisted mostly of bans on overtime and acting in higher duties, were framed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as being responsible for delays of up to 20 days in unloading ships at Sydney’s Port Botany. MUA Sydney assistant branch secretary Paul Garrett said the offer of Patrick Terminals would have resulted in “mass casualisation” through employment of 50 casuals in roles that were formerly full time.