More than two years after it was first established, the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has called for systemic overhaul of an underfunded and under-regulated sector.
South Australia has implemented a hard border closure on Greater Melbourne overnight, as a Covid-19 cluster linked to the use of a nebuliser at the Holiday Inn hotel grows to eight. With a further two cases identified late yesterday afternoon, Victorian authorities have pinned the outbreak on a guest using a medical device for asthma sufferers that would have had them exhaling up to 10,000 times more aerosol particles than is normal, allowing more droplets for the virus to attach itself to. Australian Medical Association Victorian president Julian Rait said the fact a small aerosol cloud could spread outside hotel rooms, infecting staff and guests, suggested “worryingly inadequate ventilation controls” and noted the theory did not explain recent cases at other quarantine hotels. Experts have called for personal protective equipment for hotel staff on par with workers in high-risk Covid hospital wards. SA’s snap border closure means people who have been in Melbourne are not allowed to enter unless they are a returning resident or meet other special conditions.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s office fast-tracked an $880,000 grant proposal to the National Retail Association just over a week after the organisation made a $1500 political donation to the Queensland Liberal National Party at an event Dutton attended. The 2018 donation was for the purpose of personally supporting Dutton, reports the ABC, with a further undated $5000 donation during the 2019 reporting period also listed as “support for Peter Dutton”. Legal experts say that Dutton’s intervention in pushing the “national security and criminal justice” grant for the retail group may give rise to a perceived conflict of interest, which could be considered a breach of Prime Minister Scott Morrison's ministerial standards.
McDonald’s has called for the Fair Work Commission to consider non-monetary benefits such as the free food it provides employees when determining if a pay deal leaves workers better off. In a submission to the Senate inquiry on the Coalition’s industrial relations omnibus bill, the fast food giant pushed for even greater emphasis on benefits beyond monetary rewards, such as free chicken nuggets, when deciding whether to approve a pay deal. The Victorian Trades Hall Council conversely submitted that by allowing consideration of non-monetary benefits the bill would “water down the principal function of the [Better Off Overall Test] to the detriment of workers and work conditions across all industries”.
The federal government should overhaul water policy agreements with the states to explicitly recognise climate change, according to the Productivity Commission’s draft report on national water reform. The review of the National Water Initiative found it is outdated and needs reform to explicitly recognise that climate change will challenge existing agreements on sharing water between states. The report also calls for more integration of recycled water and stormwater, and more focus to be placed on the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities controlling and managing their own water resources.