TUESDAY JULY 21
Payments will be cut but unemployed Australians and workers on the Federal Government’s coronavirus wage subsidy program will continue to receive support beyond the planned JobSeeker and JobKeeper end date.
The JobKeeper wage subsidy will continue until March next year, but payments will fall from $1,500 to $1,200 a fortnight after September. People working fewer than 20 hours a week will receive $750.
The payments will fall again to $1,000 a fortnight, and $650 a fortnight for people working fewer than 20 hours, for the first three months of 2021.
The JobSeeker coronavirus supplement will continue for another three months but fall from $550 to $250 a fortnight, meaning people on the program will receive $800 a fortnight after September.
More than 5 million Australians receive payments from the JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs.
The JobKeeper wage subsidy is paid to 960,000 employers, who then pass the full payment onto 3.5 million workers.
Since the Government established JobKeeper at the height of the coronavirus crisis, businesses have been paid a flat rate of $1,500 each fortnight for every staff member they kept on their books.
Businesses will have to prove they’re still in financial distress each quarter, as the payment is extended to March next year.
Victoria has recorded 374 new coronavirus cases overnight and three more elderly people have died from the virus, taking the state’s death toll to 42.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the three women who died were in their 80s, 90s and 100s.
The state’s reported tally of new cases has fluctuated in recent days from a record high of 428 on Friday, 217 on Saturday, 363 on Sunday and 275 cases on Monday.
Mr Andrews said it was “always challenging” to draw broad conclusions about the trajectory of the pandemic in Victoria based on any one day’s results.
“At the end of the day, we’re not seeing the doubling and doubling again,” he said.
“So what that says to me … is that the sorts of measures we have put in place are having a direct impact.”
Melburnians have been scrambling to get their hands on masks, before wearing a face covering in public becomes compulsory for people in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire from 11:59pm on Wednesday.
Those not wearing a face covering in public from Thursday could face $200 fines, but the Government has said that a scarf, hanky, or bandana is acceptable, provided it covers the nose and mouth.
The Premier said he wanted to congratulate Melburnians for “having taken up the call” to wear masks.
Meanwhile, thirteen new cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed in NSW overnight — including 10 cases associated with a cluster from the Thai Rock restaurant in Sydney’s south-west.
That cluster now stands at 26, while the cluster from the Crossroads Hotel has grown to 50.
One of the new cases is a traveller in hotel quarantine.
All of the 12 locally acquired cases have been traced to known sources.
There are two new cases who were contacts of cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel cluster, where many people tested positive after attending the venue on July 3.
NSW Health is urging residents to avoid non-essential travel and continue to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people at home.
The owner of Dreamworld is facing a maximum penalty of $4.5 million after being charged today over the deaths of four people on the Thunder River Rapids Ride in 2016.
Ardent Leisure has confirmed the Queensland Work Health and Safety Prosecutor today filed three charges against the company, five months after the coroner handed down his findings into the tragedy that took four lives.
Each of the Category 2 charges pursuant to Section 32 of the Queensland Work Health and Safety Act 2011 carry a maximum penalty of $1.5 million.
“First and foremost, we again express our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of Roozbeh Araghi, Luke Dorsett, Kate Goodchild and Cindy Low for their loss and ongoing suffering and say sorry to all of the people impacted by this tragedy,” Ardent Leisure chairman Dr Gary Weiss and theme parks division chief executive John Osborne said in a joint statement.
All four suffered fatal injuries at the Gold Coast theme park when they were thrown from their raft in the unloading area and either trapped or ejected into the water beneath a mechanised conveyor in October 2016.
“There has been considerable change at Dreamworld over the last few years as was acknowledged by the coroner in his report,” the statement said.
“Dreamworld has taken substantive and proactive steps to improve safety across the entire park and continues to enhance existing systems and practices, as well as adopt new ones, as we develop and implement our safety case in accordance with the Queensland Government’s new major amusement park safety regulations.”
Coroner James McDougall delivered a scathing assessment of the “total” and “systemic” safety failures at the park, referring Ardent Leisure to the Office of Industrial Relations to consider proceeding with charges.
“It is reasonably suspected that Ardent Leisure may have committed an offence under workplace law,” Mr McDougall told the Brisbane Magistrates Court in February as he handed down nearly his nearly 300-page report.
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