August 28, 2020


The annual Schoolies festival at the Gold Coast has been cancelled by the government in response to the growing COVID-19 threat.

Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said she sympathised with year 12 graduates.

“I’m really sorry you can’t have the traditional celebration,” she said.

“The last year of school is so important… so much of it has had to change this year.

“But this group is so resilient and innovative, I’m looking forward to seeing what they put in place instead of mass gatherings.”

In other COVID-19 news:

Victoria has recorded 113 new coronavirus cases overnight.

The Department of Health also confirmed 12 more deaths in the past 24 hours.

Daily infection numbers have remained below 150 all week, with health authorities pleased at the consistent downward trend.

The state’s active cases have plummeted, while hospitalisations and ICU admissions have “stabilised”, according to the state’s chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says there have been 13 new cases of coronavirus in her state in the 24 hours to 8.00pm yesterday. Twelve of them were acquired locally and one is in hotel quarantine.

Six of the new cases are connected to the CBD cluster at the City Tattersall’s Club, meaning there is now a total of 14 infections linked to this venue.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said this cluster has grown “significantly”.

“It highlights how quickly COVID-19 can spread in the sense we have a seeding event, its amplification and then that has seeded other workplaces and lead to exposure in the community to a number of venues that we have announced,” she said.

The axing by the Queensland government of the end-of-year Schoolies celebrations came as restrictions were set to be imposed on the Gold Coast after a new cluster grew overnight as Queensland recorded three new COVID-19 cases.

All new cases are linked to the prison officer trainer at the Queensland Corrective Services Academy who tested positive yesterday.

Two of the new cases are based at Pimpama and one from Forest Lake.

From 8am tomorrow, only 10 people will be allowed inside and outside for gatherings on the Gold Coast.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said all new cases had had mild symptoms. All 200 people linked to the Academy will now be tested after the 25 close contacts tested negative.

The three new cases confirmed today are all in their 30s and had not been “close contacts” of the 60-year-old prison officer trainer who tested positive on Wednesday.


Rugby league star Jack de Belin will face trial in November over rape allegations after pre-trial legal arguments concluded.

De Belin, 29, and his co-accused Callan Sinclair have denied sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman in a Wollongong apartment after a night out in December 2018.

He has pleaded not guilty to four counts of aggravated sexual assault in company and one count of aggravated sexual assault in company inflicting actual bodily harm.

He will face a readiness hearing on September 7 and his trial is scheduled to begin on November 2.

The St George Illawarra forward has been unable to play since early 2019 when he became the first player sidelined under the NRL’s “no fault” stand-down policy.

He was set to go to trial in February however the case was delayed by complex legal arguments.

Those legal arguments went through several delays including when a critical witness fell ill due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Judge Andrew Haesler handed down his interlocutory judgment on Friday in the Wollongong District Court.

During his stand-down, de Belin has been allowed to train and has been collecting his $595,000-a-year-salary.

He is off contract with the Dragons at the end of the NRL season but several clubs including St George-Illawarra and the Warriors have expressed interest in signing him for 2021 should he be acquitted.


A four-year-old boy is one of three people who have died after wild winds swept across Melbourne, bringing down trees.

The boy suffered critical injuries after being hit by a falling tree in Blackburn South last night.

Police said the boy was taken to hospital where he later died.

A 59-year-old Tecoma man also died after a tree fell on his car in Belgrave yesterday.

The man was driving out of a shopping centre carpark when a tree fell and crushed the car shortly after 6:00pm.

A 36-year-old woman from Parkdale became the third fatality after a tree fell on a car in Fernshaw, in Victoria’s north-east.

Police said the car was driving down the Maroondah Highway when it was hit by a falling tree at about 6:50pm.

The woman was sitting in the front passenger seat and died at the scene.

The driver, a 24-year-old Flinders man, was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

The deaths came during a night of intense storms that moved across Victoria from the south, over Melbourne and towards north-eastern Victoria from late Thursday afternoon into the evening.

State Emergency Service (SES) deputy chief officer Dave Barker told ABC Radio Melbourne it had been “a challenging 18-hour period”.

Mr Barker said suburbs in eastern Melbourne were some of the hardest hit with more than 95,000 properties suffering power outages.

Wind gusts as high as 124 kilometres per hour were recorded at Mount Gellibrand, east of Colac, and 100kph winds were recorded at Port Fairy, on the state’s south-west coast.


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