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?
About 600,000 Victorian students return to school today, with teachers to closely monitor the wellbeing of children who have been remote learning since June. All primary school and Year 7 students will attend classrooms for the first time in 10 weeks, to be joined by VCE, VCAL, and special needs learners. All secondary students are required to wear masks. One school, St John Vianney’s Primary School in Parkdale, will monitor the social behaviour, co-ordination, and conditioning of students, with concerns that kids haven’t been as active at home. Students in Years 8-10 return to class on October 26. The Conversation reports that children may have enjoyed benefits from the lockdown, including closer bonding with parents. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday warned parents not to let ill students attend classes.
Victoria reported a dozen new Covid-19 cases and one death on Sunday, keeping Melbourne’s 14-day average higher than the city’s targets for the next step of eased restrictions. The targets include a rolling 14-day case average of five or lower, but currently sit at 9.3. Andrews flagged that this meant Melbourne social restrictions might be eased next weekend but not business restrictions. Contacts of known Covid-19 cases in Victoria must now be tested before leaving quarantine or face another 10 days in isolation, and regional Victorian businesses who do not take "reasonable steps" to ensure their customers are legally allowed to be outside of Melbourne will face a fine of nearly $10,000. Meanwhile, The Age reports that Sorrento hotelier Julian Gerner this week will lodge a legal challenge in the High Court of Australia against the validity of the Melbourne lockdown.
A $27 billion federal budget measure offering tax breaks for business investment could be expanded further, after Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg asked Treasury and the Business Council of Australia to discuss ways to include larger companies, including local subsidiaries of multinationals. According to The Australian Financial Review, business leaders have lobbied the federal government to expand eligibility for the plan, which currently allows businesses with turnover of up to $5 billion to instantly deduct the full cost of eligible capital assets.
A new report from Foodbank finds that demand for food relief rose by 47 per cent during the pandemic, with international students and casual workers particularly in need of assistance. The report noted that people already experiencing food insecurity before the pandemic had sought help more often. In 2019, an estimated 15 per cent of Australians experiencing food insecurity were seeking food relief at least once a week, a number that more than doubled to 31 per cent in 2020. Foodbank surveyed roughly 500 charities and 1000 Australians who had experienced food insecurity in the past 12 months. The findings come despite the temporary boost to the JobSeeker payment, as advocates push for the federal government to commit to a permanent increase.