Monthly Archives جولای 2020

Treasury warns icare fund for police and nurses needs $4b bailout

‘It’s a mystery’

The May 2020 Treasury briefing note said bushfire costs of about $800 million and other blowouts, including adverse workers’ compensation trends of $500 million, had set the fund back $1.4 billion.

But Peter McCarthy, a retired actuary and senior partner at EY who spent 35 years advising governments and regulators on workers’ compensation, said COVID-19 and the bushfires only partly explained the need for the $4 billion. “It’s a mystery what they needed the rest of it for,” he said.

Icare will front State Parliament on Monday and, in response to some pre-hearing questions, it said Treasury had provided $2 billion in funding in June and that it would review its options to put in another $2 billion before the end of the calendar year.

The revelations follow a joint invest...

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Four reasons the UK government’s obesity strategy may not work for everyone

COVID-19 has affected a disproportionate number of people with obesity in the UK. As such, the government has seen the pandemic as a “wake-up call” to the health risks of living with obesity. They have recently announced a long overdue strategy to tackle obesity in Britain.

Some of the proposals aimed at significantly reducing obesity rates, include:

  • banning TV and online advertising of foods high in fat, sugar, or salt before 9pm
  • calorie labelling on menus in restaurants and takeaways, alongside consulting on alcohol calorie labelling and front-of-pack “traffic light” labelling – where “green” products are considered more nutritious, and “red” products less
  • expansion of the NHS’s weight management service (including apps and online tools)
  • incentives for GPs to suppo...
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COVID-19 exposure notification app now available

OTTAWA — The federal government-backed exposure notification smartphone app has launched, marking the beginning of a new frontier in the coronavirus fight: alerting participating Canadians when they come in proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The app—called COVID Alert— will compile anonymized data and use reports from confirmed positive COVID-19 cases to notify Canadians when they’ve been in proximity to someone who has the virus. It has received the stamp of approval from federal and provincial privacy watchdogs, though it leaves infection contact tracing up to public health officials.

While the initial rollout is just underway in Ontario, Canadians across the country are able, and are being encouraged to download the app in anticipation of more provincial...

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Anger as Melbourne councils refuse to freeze rates despite surpluses

Of Melbourne’s 31 metropolitan councils, at least 17 are increasing rates despite recording a surplus.

Yarra Council’s draft budget, to be finalised next week, projects a $3.94 million deficit with $30.54 million earmarked for capital works – almost $7 million below last year’s expenditure.

Yarra councillor Stephen Jolly said the council should not be dumping capital works projects, nor raising rates.

“Every other government in the world from Donald Trump down is borrowing,” Cr Jolly said.

The Greens-dominated council is deferring capital works as a result of the pandemic. The Age understands that includes one project for “safety around schools”, as well as the design of protected bike lanes.

The four-bin system, to collect food waste, will also be pushed out of this year’s plans...

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Video: Who controls pandemic data?

Editor’s note: When the Trump administration ordered hospitals to report COVID-19 data to the Department of Health and Human Services rather than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as they had been doing, it provoked worries and criticism from public health experts. The White House said that the HHS system will provide more accurate data faster, but the switch did raise concerns that political considerations would influence what data is reported. Professor of public policy Julia Lane, who recently published the book “Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto,” explains why public data is vital to public health and democracy in general.

What was the main concern over the data?

The whole point of having a career civil service running public data systems is ...

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PM Trudeau: Morneau ‘should not have accepted’ gifts from WE Charity

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Finance Minister Bill Morneau should “not have accepted” the gifted portions of his family’s trips with WE Charity.

Trudeau, speaking at a press conference in Ottawa on Friday, was referring to the fact that WE Charity paid in part for two trips that members of Morneau’s family took in 2017 — one of which Morneau himself took part in.

Morneau has apologized for the “error” and said it was his full intention to cover the full cost of the trips — though he only last week repaid the $41,000 the charity had initially covered related to the trips to Kenya and Ecuador.

“As Mr. Morneau himself highlighted, he apologized and he should not have accepted the elements of that, that were gifts,” Trudeau said Friday.

Trudeau said in the press conf...

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Instead of the blame game, we all need to pull together

We can look for the negatives and play the blame game to vent our frustrations as this virus spreads, or we can offer support and understanding to our leaders and health professionals who are working tirelessly to contain this virus. The Age should lead by example. We are all in this together and should pull together.
Margaret Bryceland, Truganina

It’s time for even tougher restrictions in Victoria

The Premier’s appeals to people to ‘‘do the right thing’’ is falling on deaf ears in too many instances, but it also a futile approach to where we are at now. Why is his government continuing with this approach when, clearly, it is not working? We are facing the prospect of the problem dragging on, and this is the last thing we need. It is time for strong and decisive action...

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South Africa needs better food price controls to shield poor people from COVID-19 fallout

COVID-19 has wrought havoc on poor households in countries across the world. In South Africa, more and more people are facing hunger resulting from mass job losses and small, poorly implemented supplementary cash grants.

On top of this the pandemic has put in stark relief the country’s poorly understood food system, in which powerful firms operate with little oversight while vulnerable actors in the informal food sector face over-regulation.

When the country went into lockdown on 26 March 2020, government placed the formal food sector at the centre of continued food supply. Informal food vendors were restricted. Yet these vendors provide an important source of food and livelihoods for the majority of South Africa’s population.

The South African constitution recognises the right to ...

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CERB recipients will be transferred to EI program soon: PM

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the millions of people who are still claiming the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will soon be transitioned onto the federal Employment Insurance program.

Trudeau said that more details will be coming before the end of August, but said that “no one will be left behind.”

In mid-June the government announced CERB would be extended to the end of the summer, but now with that on the horizon, he’s begun to lay out what recipients should expect.

As of July 26, there have been 8.46 million unique CERB applicants, and the government has paid out $62.75 billion since it was launched early on in the pandemic. 

“EI should cover every Canadian who is looking for work, and for those who don’t qualify for EI right now, like g...

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A brother’s confession: Peter McEvoy and the Walsh Street murders

When police are killed it is usually by an offender desperate to escape arrest. This was entirely different. A stolen car was left in the middle of the street to lure police to the ambush.

It was cold-blooded and loosely planned for months, although the final decision to act was made just hours earlier.

The red-hot suspects were a group of armed robbers who banded together through a common love of stolen money and an equal hatred of the police who pursued them.

It was a time when banks were robbed at a rate of around two a week and there were at least three teams of professional bandits picking off targets.

One was the Flemington Crew led by Victor Peirce, Graeme Jensen, Peter McEvoy and Jedd Houghton...

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