70 cases, five deaths as crucial vote looms

 

Victoria has recorded another new low as the daily COVID-19 increases continue to trend down.

Just 70 new cases were detected over the past 24 hours, the lowest figure since 66 cases were recorded nearly two months ago on July 3.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he hoped to see numbers in the 40s or 50s by the weekend.

However leading epidemiologists have argued the numbers should fall to the 20s by that time to ensure Victoria is on track to start easing restrictions from September 14.

Five more Victorians infected with COVID-19 died, taking the total state death toll to 570.

Premier Daniel Andrews will address the media later on Tuesday.

CRUCIAL STATE OF EMERGENCY VOTE AT MIDDAY

Legislation to extend Victoria's State Of Emergency is expected to be introduced when parliament's upper house sits from noon.

Opposition upper house leader David Davis said the bill would be opposed.

He said the six-month extension being sought, reduced from 12 months, was a power grab by Mr Andrews.

The government will need to secure crossbench support to push the legislation through.

However, the crossbench remains split about whether or not to back the bill.

Reason Party MP Fiona Patten on Tuesday said members had received vile abuse following the announcement of the bill.

Police officers and army personnel patrol the Tan Track during stage four. Picture: David Geraghty
Police officers and army personnel patrol the Tan Track during stage four. Picture: David Geraghty

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos on Monday messaged Upper House MPs with new details for the contentious Bill, as the government chases the three crossbench votes needed to ram it through.

Other proposed changes include a requirement that public health advice on an extension be tabled to parliament each month and a clarification of the Chief Health Officer's powers under these rules.

Ms Patten and Animal Justice Party MP Andy Meddick have indicated they would support a six-month extension but said it was conditional on the inclusion of an additional oversight committee.

People exercising along the Yarra river trail on Monday afternoon. Picture: NCA NewsWire/David Geraghty
People exercising along the Yarra river trail on Monday afternoon. Picture: NCA NewsWire/David Geraghty

The Herald Sun understands the rest of the crossbench has not signed up to this plan and are reluctant to endorse any proposal that goes beyond six months.

The State Opposition will also put forward its own amendments for a month-to-month extension it is not expected to have the votes to pass.

Victoria's police and nursing unions on Monday called for politicians to extend Victoria's State of Emergency Powers on behalf of frontline workers fighting the virus.

It comes as expert advice obtained by the Opposition raises concerns over the legality of the changes proposed by the government.

A legal statement from Marcus Clarke QC flagged issues with altering the definition of what poses a serious risk to public health and with the extension of the declaration period.

Shadow Attorney-General Edward O'Donohue said the proposed laws gave too much power to an unelected official.

 

 

 

JOB EXPERTS TO EYE LOCAL SOLUTIONS

Employment experts will be deployed to Victoria to identify job opportunities for those struggling to find work in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

The employment facilitators, part of a $62.8m federal government program, will ­develop localised plans on job opportunities and priorities, as well as skills gaps.

They will work across inner metropolitan Melbourne, western Melbourne, northwestern Melbourne, southeastern Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula and Gippsland, covering almost 250,000 job seekers.

Many businesses were forced to close because of the stage four lockdown. Picture: David Crosling
Many businesses were forced to close because of the stage four lockdown. Picture: David Crosling

Government data shows the unemployment rate was as high as 12.6 per cent in northwestern Melbourne before the city's stage four lockdown.

Federal Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said local solutions were needed.

"Small and family businesses rely on their local communities and we want to tap into their expertise and connections to get people working again," Senator Cash said.

"As the economy recovers from COVID-19, the jobs that are created may look different to those that existed before.

"The recovery is also likely to look different across sectors and communities which is why it is critical to provide tailored support."

- Tom Minear

 

 

Originally published as 70 cases, five deaths as crucial vote looms



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