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Australia coronavirus live news: Victoria records no new Covid cases as Melbourne lockdown ends Coronavirus Australia live: Victoria records no new Covid cases; Four Corners QAnon episode to air Monday
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A reporter has asked if the state government has considered upgrading ventilation across all public building in order to reduce the chance of large outbreaks requiring lockdowns.
But Merlino seems to think this could be an almost impossibly difficult task.
Gordon Legal, the law firm that brought a class action against the federal government’s robodebt scheme, has welcomed the court’s decision to approve a $112m settlement.
Andrew Grech, a Gordon Legal partner, said:
Merlino has been asked about stocks of vaccine:
Merlino can’t promise there will be no more lockdowns once vaccination rates reach a certain level.
Sutton:
Sutton has been asked what the state can do to try to avoid lockdowns in the future.
Sutton said the latest lockdown response came after there were already four generations of transmission.
Victoria SES’s Tim Wiebusch has once again urged people never to drive through flood waters, no matter how shallow, after a man was found dead in his submerged car yesterday afternoon.
The federal court has approved a $112 million settlement between the Commonwealth and the victims of the Coalition’s robodebt scheme after what a judge called a “shameful chapter” in public administration.
Handing down his judgment on Friday, Justice Bernard Murphy criticised the federal government for a “massive failure”, saying the court had heard “heartwrenching” stories of pain and anguish from victims of the Centrelink debt recovery scheme.
Under the robodebt scheme, which ran between 2015 and November 2019, the federal government unlawfully raised $1.76bn in debts against 443,000 people, the court was told.
Murphy said the government had pursued around 381,000 people, unlawfully recovering $751m, including through “private debt collectors”, and the court heard one mother link her son’s suicide to the debt recovery program.
Gordon Legal brought a class action on behalf of all victims last year after a court ruling in 2019 paved the way for a wider legal challenge.
The government has agreed to repay at least 381,000 people and wipe all debts, worth $1.76bn, raised using the unlawful method of “income averaging” tax office data to check welfare payments.
The settlement adds $112m in interest payments, which will be shared between around 394,000 victims, depending on the size of their debt and how long they were without their money.
Murphy said:
Murphy said it should have been “obvious” to the senior public servants who designed the scheme that the income averaging method was “unreliable”.
But he did not think there was evidence that proved the government knew the scheme was “unlawful” when it was established, suggesting it was more likely to be a “stuff up” than a “conspiracy”.
About 200,000 people originally included in the class action will not receive any benefit from the settlement.
Murphy said those people’s debts had eventually been substantiated using their own payslips or other evidence, meaning they were valid and had owed the money.
He said they would have needed to show that their debts were “tainted with illegality” to be owed compensation, a claim he said had “weak prospects of success”.
Some 680 people who objected to the settlement will be allowed to opt out.
Murphy said he hoped the judgment would provide “some closure”.
Wiebusch says there may still be significant flooding for regional Victoria ahead.
He said 30 homes were impacted by flood waters around Traralgon, Hazelwood and Maffra.
Okay, time to get an update on the severe weather and flooding events in Victoria that have so far claimed one life.
Tim Wiebusch from the State Emergency Service confirms it’s been a record-breaking weather event:
Sutton says yesterday’s four mystery cases appear to be connected to the Kappa variant outbreak, which is a big relief as the more infectious Delta strain has also been circulating.Sutton says yesterday’s four mystery cases appear to be connected to the Kappa variant outbreak, which is a big relief as the more infectious Delta strain has also been circulating.
The other loose end to tie up in Victoria is the two travellers who tested positive in Queensland.The other loose end to tie up in Victoria is the two travellers who tested positive in Queensland.
Chief health officer Brett Sutton said there will still be more cases to come in Victoria.Chief health officer Brett Sutton said there will still be more cases to come in Victoria.
Acting premier James Merlino came under fire at yesterday’s press conference for the continued pause on elective surgeries in Melbourne.Acting premier James Merlino came under fire at yesterday’s press conference for the continued pause on elective surgeries in Melbourne.
Now, following a day of zero local cases, he has some news on that front.Now, following a day of zero local cases, he has some news on that front.
While that was happening the Victorian press conference has just begun. Let’s have a look!While that was happening the Victorian press conference has just begun. Let’s have a look!
OK people, buckle in!OK people, buckle in!
The episode of Four Corners that explores Scott Morrison’s relationship with a QAnon conspiracy theory subscriber will be airing next Monday.The episode of Four Corners that explores Scott Morrison’s relationship with a QAnon conspiracy theory subscriber will be airing next Monday.
Last week Nine reported the episode had been pulled after being “upwardly referred” to the broadcaster’s managing director, David Anderson, for review. Anderson said the episode was merely being delayed and worked on further.Last week Nine reported the episode had been pulled after being “upwardly referred” to the broadcaster’s managing director, David Anderson, for review. Anderson said the episode was merely being delayed and worked on further.
Now, executive producer Sally Neighbour has tweeted out a preview of the episode, announcing it will air next Monday.Now, executive producer Sally Neighbour has tweeted out a preview of the episode, announcing it will air next Monday.
You can read more of our previous coverage on this story and the Four Corners episode here: You can read more of our previous coverage on this story and the Four Corners episode here.
Our welfare and inequality reporter Luke Henriques-Gomes is listening in to the Robodebt class action judgement and will be bringing us all the updates.Our welfare and inequality reporter Luke Henriques-Gomes is listening in to the Robodebt class action judgement and will be bringing us all the updates.
Also, the news is just in, Victoria’s Covid-19 press conference will be at 11.40 am AEST.
The Victorian Council of Social Services has called for the federal government’s emergency Covid-19 payment to be extended, as restrictions still in place in Victoria mean many are still unable to return to work.
Chief executive Emma King said:
The federal government’s temporary emergency payment only covered the second week of lockdown in Melbourne. It has now been withdrawn, because lockdown has technically been lifted.
King said the strict eligibility requirements for the payment — which excluded anyone who received any other Commonwealth support payments, even as low as $48 per week — meant money did not reach many who needed it.
She said:
Woohoo! All three states on high alert for Covid-19 have recorded no cases overnight.
Here are the NSW numbers to complete the trilogy:
That’s about all from Queensland today.
In short, there was some good news:
No new cases.
A new pop up Pfizer vaccination hub for people aged 16-49 and groups 1A and 1B.
And a stern warning:
Five people who recently travelled to Victoria have already been fined for entering Queensland illegally.
Chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young says the infected Victorian couple likely have the Kappa variant of Covid-19, rather than the more infectious Delta strain which is also circulating in Victoria.
Young said she is increasingly confident that the state can manage the situation on the Sunshine Coast.
Those in regional Victoria are now allowed to travel into Queensland, confirms the health minister.
But people in greater Melbourne who are not Queensland residents still need an exemption to travel, Yvette D’Ath says.
D’Ath said authorities would review easing border restriction on the city of Melbourne next week.
The deputy police commissioner says police have so far found five people from Victoria who have illegally entered Queensland.
Martin says:
Queensland’s deputy police commissioner, Peter Martin, says police have not yet interviewed the Victorian couple in relation to possible criminal charges.
Queensland’s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, says all close contacts of the infected Victorian couple have so far tested negative to Covid-19.
She said 417 people in the Sunshine Coast came forward to get tested on Thursday.
Victorians are in the naughty corner today in Queensland, with health minister Yvette D’Ath laying down the hard word on people crossing the border without an exemption.