African women lived it up at a cocktail bar, Thai restaurant and NINE other venues after lying about flying into Queensland from Melbourne - and they may have sparked a major COVID-19 cluster
A coronavirus-infected teenager enjoyed trips to a cocktail bar and a Thai restaurant after returning to Queensland from Melbourne and lying about where she had been.
There are fears Olivia Winnie Muranga and Diana Lasu's extraordinary disregard for COVID-19 rules could spark a Victoria-style outbreak in Queensland, which recorded its first community transmission in two months on Wednesday.
The pair, both 19, arrived together in Brisbane from Melbourne via Sydney on July 21 and made false declarations on their border paperwork. They are expected to be fined $4,000 each.
A third woman who travelled with the women from the Victorian capital has already been fined and is awaiting her test results for coronavirus.
It is believed all three lived the high life around Brisbane for eight days, going to work, visiting restaurants and bars.
A third woman who tested positive to coronavirus yesterday is believed to be the 22-year-old sister of one of the teenagers.
Ms Muranga went to work for two days at Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge, south of the city. She called in sick and went to see a doctor on Saturday who told her to get tested immediately.
She didn't do so until Monday. Instead she continued to attend venues in Ipswich and Brisbane, including going to a Thai restaurant in Springfield on Sunday and a Southbank cocktail bar on Monday.
On Thursday Queensland's Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said the women are now involved in an ongoing police investigation. Authorities will probe how the women were able to travel from Melbourne to Brisbane despite the border closure, and whether they used fake names and contact details on their declaration passes.
Investigators will also probe whether the women were at party during their stay in Melbourne which was attended by about 20 people. The gathering was broken up by police, who issued fines totalling $30,000.
Ms Muranga is a cleaner at Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge. The school's principal Gary Cully confirmed a coronavirus-infected cleaner worked for three days last week.'The staff member was on site last week and then rang in sick and then that's when the trace program started,' Mr Cully told The Courier Mail.
'As far as I'm aware they were not symptomatic while they were onsite and then called in sick the following day and then the next week were tested.'
Shopping centres, restaurants, a school, and a church they visited will shut while authorities scramble to conduct contact tracing.
The pair took flight VA863 from Melbourne to Sydney and flight VA977 from Sydney to Brisbane, 21 July
Scores of the women's contacts will be forced to isolate, and aged care facilities in the Metro South Health region will re-enter lockdown.
The incident prompted Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to announce all Sydneysiders will be banned from entering the state from Saturday. 'There will be a thorough police investigation here but now we have to act as a community and in the areas where the chief health officer says need to be closed, will be closed and I urge people in those areas when that list goes out later on today to please ensure that if you are feeling sick you must go and get tested,' she said.
Queensland residents returning will have to isolate in a hotel for 14 days at their own expense.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young called the pair 'reckless' and said she was 'very disappointed'.
Health Minister Steven Miles said there was a large amount of contact tracing that needed to be done with the community as well. 'These young women have gone about their business within the communities that they live in and so there will be a large amount of contact tracing to be done, largely within it the Logan and Springfield areas, including shopping malls, restaurants and a church.'
The pair's entry into Queensland is the subject of a criminal investigation, with penalties for lying on your declaration form incurring fines of $4,003 or six months in jail.
There are now eight actives cases left in Queensland following three new cases on Wednesday. SOURCE A report from more than 150 experts and affected community members has called on the government to punish climate change enablersClimate skeptics would like to see this go to court. The case would collapse like a house of cards when the full weight of scientific evidence about global warming was led
In a sobering study released this week, Australia was revealed to have lost nearly three billion animals due to the devastating Black Summer bushfires.
The fossil fuel industry has “pushed Australia into a new bushfire era” and should pay for the carnage inflicted from blazes and other disasters across the country, former emergency leaders, climate scientists and doctors have declared.
The Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA), a group of more than 150 experts and affected community members, have called on the Federal Government to impose a levy on those contributing to climate change.
As part of the 165 recommendations, the group wants a climate disaster fund set up to cover the massive costs associated with natural disasters.
The rising impact of global warming evidenced in the summer’s devastating and extensive bushfires has created the need to “fundamentally rethink how we prepare for and manage this growing threat”, former Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said.
“This plan outlines practical steps that all levels of government can take right now to better protect communities,” he said, who is also a Climate Councillor.
“It’s important that the Federal Government takes these recommendations seriously and acts on them urgently. “First and foremost, the Federal Government must tackle the root cause of climate change by urgently phasing out fossil fuels to reach net zero emissions.”
The declaration comes ahead of the royal commission report into the destructive bushfire season which is due to be handed to government next month, which Mr Mullins hopes will include provisions for a climate response.
The cost of extreme weather events is growing towards a total annual bill of $39 billion by 2050, Deloitte Access Economics partner Nicki Hutley said, who also contributed to the report.
“Climate change, which is fuelling more severe extreme weather events and worsening bushfire danger, has serious economic consequences,” she said.
“Reducing emissions, building community resilience, and boosting emergency resourcing can help us avoid huge economic impacts and damage in the future, while creating clean new jobs right now.”
The report comes as the government faces increasing pressure to invest in a major green energy plan, with groups from across the political spectrum declaring an investment is imminent to help propel the economy out of the virus crisis.
Once the iconic divide between conservative and progressive politicians, activists and lobby groups say the need for action on climate change has reached a boiling point with evidence of environmental damage now being undeniable.
“The pressure is growing and the larger picture is a lot of the Coalition members, Liberals and Nationals, do support this transition and understand it ultimately will happen,” Coalition for Conservation chair Cristina Talacko told news.com.au.
“It’s not a question of debating the ideology behind climate anymore, we’ve gone totally past that, now it’s about what’s good for Australia, what’s going to give us resilience because we don’t want the droughts and the bushfires.”
Climate Council chief executive Amanda McKenzie said calls for a green energy policy overhaul is coming from most segments of the community but insists there are still hurdles within the party led by Scott Morrison, who once famously brandished a lump of coal during Question Time.
“There are a few dinosaurs in federal parliament but the amount of support that’s now coming from state governments, from business, and from industry will be irrepressible,” she told news.com.au.SOURCE Firefighting tactics should change as climate warms, say fire chiefsBlaming the fires on global warming is just propaganda. Australia's biggest fires were many years ago. The important thing is to get a more effective response to the fires. And for that the measures called for below are a step in the right direction
Australian bushfire fighters should change tactics to focus on early detection and extinguishment of blazes rather than their containment as climate change has altered the nature of fires on the continent, an expert group has recommended.
Former Fire and Rescue NSW commissioner Greg Mullins said that in the hotter and drier conditions more common in Australia due to global warming, containment was more difficult or impossible at times – and on high-danger days, firefighters should seek to detect and put out fires as fast as possible.
The change in tactics would require increased funding by governments so bushfire authorities could use early-warning technologies including thermal-imaging drones and satellites and increase the number of highly trained airborne firefighting teams of the sort that defended the famous grove of ancient Wollemi Pines in the Blue Mountains.
Further, on such days, aircraft should be deployed as soon as fires are detected, said Mr Mullins.
A shortage of airborne firefighting equipment means they are often not deployed until firefighters on the ground have surveyed the fire, by which time it was often too late, Mr Mullins said.
He was commenting on the release of a report into the fires drafted after a summit of emergency, local government and community leaders, economists, academics and climate scientists earlier this year.
He called on the federal government to purchase new purpose-built firefighting aircraft such as the CL-415 Superscooper, an amphibious aircraft that can land on any large enough body of water and collect 6000 litres of water in 18 seconds. He noted that during the summer fires, many aircraft deployed on the NSW South Coast had to return to the RAAF base Richmond to refill.
The recommendations were among 165 developed during the summit hosted by the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action and the Climate Council earlier this year who gathered to develop plans for bushfire response, readiness and recovery in an era of increased fire danger.
Underscoring all the recommendations was a call for all governments, the private sector and community groups to work together to immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"We are rapidly moving to a climate outside the range of human experience," says the summit's report Australia Bushfire and Climate Plan.
"This is driving an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme events and disasters including out-of-scale bushfires. Addressing greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas must therefore be the highest priority because changes in our climate are increasing the bushfire threat and reducing the effectiveness of current hazard reduction strategies."
The report has also called for improved co-ordination between firefighting authorities and the Australian Defence Force.
"Often you'll have the military saying to fire services, 'what do you need', but fire services have no idea what Defence has to offer," said Mr Mullins. Better co-ordination will be critical in fighting future fires, he said.
"You don't want soldiers fighting fires, they are not trained to do it. But they have huge capacity in engineering, in logistics. They have air bases and infrastructure. Every person they put in the field releases a firefighter to do their job."
The group also called for reforms to insurance practices in the face of increased disaster risks, and recommended that the federal government map extreme weather risks street by street across the country and identify areas where under- and non-insurance was placing recovery at risk.
It called for the establishment of a permanent independent insurance price monitor either with the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission or as a stand-alone entity.
The group also called for the creation of a national climate disaster fund to help preparation and recovery efforts to be funded by a levy on fossil fuel producers.SOURCE Horticulture giants warn fruit and vegetable prices could rise due to labour shortageBorder closures really are a problem here
The horticulture industry has warned fruit and vegetable prices could rise up to 60 per cent and 127,900 jobs are at risk across the economy as the backpacker workforce faces being decimated due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a new parliamentary submission, the industry says the loss of the foreign harvest workforce, which includes young people from Europe and South East Asia on working holiday maker visas, would cut Australia's GDP by $13 billion while slashing the value of the horticulture industry by $6.3 billion.
To address feared shortages in coming months the horticulture industry has called for a special one-off $1200 payment funded by the federal government to lure Australians from the cities to work on farms at harvest time.
The workforce concerns are outlined in a submission from the Australian Fresh Produce Alliance (AFPA) to federal Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Migration's "Inquiry into the Working Holiday Maker Program". The industry group consists of fresh food heavyweights including ASX-listed Costa Group and privately owned Perfection Fresh.
The working holiday maker program accounts for about 80 per cent of the harvest labour workforce, and the industry is concerned that COVID-19 border closures and restrictions could severely disrupt the number of backpackers able to work in Australia.
Tens of thousands of backpackers have left Australia this year and the industry fears this trend will continue.
Australian farmers need to continue to secure a workforce to harvest fruit and vegetables for Australian families.
Michael Rogers, CEO of Australian Fresh Produce Alliance
The Australian Fresh Produce Alliance has proposed the $1200 payment to harvest workers only be paid after they complete three months of work. The group has also called for a $1200 induction support payment for businesses who hire workers under this arrangement, also paid after three months.
"The AFPA has obtained data from member companies, other growers and labour hire companies that indicates from March 2020 to June 2020 these companies received 23,000 inquiries for work. Only 8 per cent of these inquiries were made by Australian citizens and permanent residents," the submission says.
The economic calculations about job losses and prices come from modelling by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by the Australian Fresh Produce Alliance. The 127,900 job loss estimate includes lost harvest worker roles, as well as the impact on other sectors from a dramatically smaller harvest including in transport, food manufacturing and retail.
The Australian Fresh Produce Alliance fears that without a backpacker labour force, fruit and vegetables would be left to wither and rot, or crops would not be planted because of labour force concerns.
Darren Gray explores how society sources its food, investigating how apples get from the orchard to your table.
It is also asking for the number of harvest workers coming to Australia via the Seasonal Worker Program and Pacific Labour Scheme increased from 12,000 to 15,000 per year.
"Australian farmers need to continue to secure a workforce to harvest fruit and vegetables for Australian families. And we have a current and very real challenge that we will have a shortage of workers," said the group's chief executive Michael Rogers.
Michael Simonetta, chief executive of fresh produce giant Perfection Fresh, said backpackers had been a vital horticulture industry workforce for years.
"Now it's absolutely critical to us and the horticulture industry to harvest the crops that we grow, to feed Australia and our neighbours to the north," he said.
Asked what would happen if working holiday maker harvest workers disappeared, Mr Simonetta said: "Our industry would be devastated. We wouldn't be able to pick all the crops that growers are labouring over and investing a lot of money in.SOURCE Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here