Students breach Melbourne coronavirus restrictions for McDonald’s trip


A trio of vloggers who broke Melbourne’s strict lockdown restrictions for a trip to McDonald’s and then posted about it on social media have been fined thousands of dollars for their “naive” and “shameful” stunt.

The five-minute video was filmed by a group of international students stuck in Melbourne, who posted about it on Chinese social media site Weibo, where it was viewed tens of thousands of times in the space of a few hours, before it was deleted following widespread criticism.

The deleted video featured the group sneaking past police on Elizabeth Street in the city’s CBD while the James Bond theme plays, before they arrive at the McDonald’s at around 2.30am on Sunday morning, despite an 8pm to 5am curfew in effect in Melbourne to combat coronavirus that the group had the “courage” to break.

“Can we succeed? I have confidence, McDonald’s is a reward for the brave,” one of the curfew breachers in the video said.

“Who does late-night McDonald‘s serve?” another asked.

“It serves us — the heroic people,” the first replied.

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media_cameraTwo of the curfew breachers dance while they waited for their order. Picture: WeChat via ABC

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The on-camera pair danced in the McDonald’s while waiting 20 minutes for their food, before returning to their apartment with their videographer, where they declared Melbourne’s strict conditions were “like a fart”.

The ABC reported hundreds of commenters on Weibo blasted the trio’s “irresponsible” behaviour, with one telling them not to “show off risking other people’s lives, even if you don’t care about your own safety”.

Another worried it would bring shame to the wider Chinese-Australian community.

They made it back to their apartment but later turned themselves in. Picture: WeChat via ABC
media_cameraThey made it back to their apartment but later turned themselves in. Picture: WeChat via ABC

The trio themselves told the ABC they gave themselves up to police and provided a detailed account on Monday.

“Our so-called ‘courage’ is very naive before the law. We were a group of shameful jokers, and ignorant people seeking attention,” they said in the statement.

“We have shamed Chinese people in Melbourne, and caused extremely negative consequences for them,” the trio added.

“We have confessed our mistakes to the police today and received our infringements.

“We accept all criticism, which is the punishment we deserve.”

As well as the criticism they each received a $1652 fine with ABC reporting they copped a $5000 fine.

“For the sake of the health and safety of every Victorian, we need people to follow these directives and will not hesitate to issue fines to those who choose to selfishly and blatantly show a disregard for community safety,” Victoria Police told the national broadcaster.

Originally published as Vloggers ‘fined $5000’ for Macca’s run



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Nine major items to be discussed at today’s council meeting


THE council will meet for an ordinary meeting in Airlie Beach today.

 

Here are nine interesting things set to be discussed:

LAGOON PARKING

Division 1 councillor Jan Clifford will move a motion at this week’s council meeting to reinstate free parking at the Broadwater and lagoon carparks.

If the motion is agreed on by councillors, free parking will be back until September 23 before it is reassessed.

In the motion, Cr Clifford argued that reinstating free parking would assist struggling businesses in Airlie Beach.

CANE CUTTER SCULPTURE

Council will discuss a submission of up to $250,000 to the Queensland Government’s Space and Places Activation Program that could lead to the installation of a new sculpture in Proserpine.

If the council supports the submission and is successful in securing funding, a statue of a cane cutter sitting on a bench seat could be placed near Pioneer Park, the Proserpine Entertainment Centre or the council administration building.

The funding could also help to develop resources to showcase the region’s growing number of sculptures with the potential to develop a ‘drive and dive’ program for visitors.

Parking at the Airlie Beach Lagoon may be free again. Photo: Laura Thomas

COUNCIL SCHOOLIES PROGRAM

Council’s Schoolies program will also be discussed today with a recommendation that councillors approve the cancellation of the 2020 Whitsunday Schoolies 7-Day Safety Response Program due to the ongoing issues and risks related to COVID-19.

The Whitsunday Schoolies Advisory Committee met on several occasions and it was agreed unanimously that it would be a too high a risk to the community to run the program this year.

The program involves activities, including mosh-pit style dance parties, that attract up to 1200 participants a year from across Queensland and interstate.

ANIMAL INSPECTIONS

The council is also set to approve an inspection program for Whitsunday residential properties to ensure animals that require registration or approval to be kept, are in fact registered with and approved by the council.

The approved inspection program will run from September 14 to December 11 between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday.

A copy of the inspection program will be made available to view at Whitsunday Regional Council offices in Bowen, Cannonvale, Collinsville and Proserpine.

Harry Bruce's take on schoolies headed to the Whitsundays.

Harry Bruce’s take on schoolies headed to the Whitsundays.

AIRPORT CAFE

In the confidential section of the meeting, council will discuss expressions of interest for the retail space at Whitsunday Coast Airport.

As part of the airport’s ongoing upgrades, the retail space near Captain and Co will be used as a food and beverage outlet for travellers.

The space has not been used since the unveiling of the airport following renovations last year and features an open dining space with plenty of seating.

FUNDING FOR KEY PROJECTS

The council will today discuss the endorsement of three key projects to be put forward for funding under the Queensland Government’s $10 million Reef Assist Program.

The three projects put forward include an $80,850 expansion to the feral animal aerial shooting program, $299,504 toward the removal and reduction of declared weeds and $308,000 for the Whitsundays Green Street project.

The feral animal shooting program is set to reduce the impact of feral pis on the region’s farmers while the declared weed removal will target 20 hectares of woody weeds such as leucaena, lantana, prickly, acacia and chinee apple.

The Green Street project will increase tree cover in Whitsunday town areas, reducing erosion, improving stormwater quality, providing improved shading and cooling and creating more walkable towns.  

This project also involves the design of a master plan for Greening Bowen and at least 1000 trees installed in the region.

It was estimated the three projects would create about 13 jobs.

The council will discuss expressions of interest for the cafe and retail space at Whitsunday Coast Airport. Picture: Supplied.

The council will discuss expressions of interest for the cafe and retail space at Whitsunday Coast Airport. Picture: Supplied.

NEW ROUNDABOUT

A submission to the Department of Transport and Main Roads Black Spot Program has also been lodged by the council and is set to be discussed today.

The council hopes to secure $274,000 in funds to address the identified hot spot of the Gregory St and William St intersection in Bowen.

Funding has been requested to install a single-lane roundabout, which includes reducing the number of lanes to just one per leg when approaching the intersection.

Funding has been requested to install a single-lane roundabout to address the identified hot spot of the Gregory St and William St intersection in Bowen.

Funding has been requested to install a single-lane roundabout to address the identified hot spot of the Gregory St and William St intersection in Bowen.

COUNCIL CARPARK

The council will discuss a development permit for a new carpark for the new council administration building in Proserpine.

At a meeting last year, the council approved the Proserpine Administration Building redevelopment with carparking located at 102 Main St, the site of the old fire station.

However, issues with the site meant the council did not end up taking possession of the land.

In May, council resolved to purchase 7 Chapman St for a carpark and the sale and transfer of this land is in the works.

The proposed site consists of 47 car parks.

A submission opposing the development application was received during the period of public notification that raised concerns that the proposal would “significantly detract from the area’s visual and residential amenity as a result of increased noise, traffic and after-hours activities.”

The council “acknowledged the built form of a carpark on the subject site is generally not compatible with the local residential amenity, however on the basis suitable conditions of approval can be imposed to soften the visual impact and mitigate the impact of noise and traffic through restricting the users of the carpark approval is supported.”

 

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DEVELOPMENT PERMIT EXTENSIONS

Changes to development applications will be put in the spotlight at the meeting today.

The council will discuss a revised policy for determining requests to extend the currency period of development permits.

Under the revised policy, currency periods for previous development permits issued will be automatically brought in line with the currency periods in the Planning Act 2016 under delegated authority.

Second extensions, for example more than two years, will also be approved under delegation, but subject to demonstration that the planning regulations haven’t changed or that any changes would not result in new or changed conditions of development.

Applicants will also be required to demonstrate that the development has reasonable prospects of being completed within the extended time.

Applications that do not meet the criteria or are seeking a third or further extension will not be supported.

In all cases, applications that will result in a total currency period of more than 10 years will not be supported. These applications will be determined by the council.





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From strength to strength, local agents join forces in win for customers


Two family real estate businesses have come together, First National McGregor and 4one4 Real Estate. (L-R) John McGregor, Paul Berry (standing), Patrick and Abbey Berry, Julie and Chris McGregor. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN


PATRICK Berry and John McGregor have known each other since kindergarten, went through school together and after school started working for their family businesses.

And now, that friendship has helped bring them back together with the two companies McGregor First National and 4one4 Real Estate becoming one.

John’s father Chris, an industry leader with decades of property market and Real Estate Institute experience, said the wheels started turning on joining the companies about a year ago.

He said the businesses were similar in many ways, dedicated to personalised service and each has a good culture.

Patrick said that they shared similar family-run values such as going that extra mile for a vendor.

“Last week, one of my sales consultants painted a door to make sure a house settled,” he said.

“John has swept water off a vendor’s balcony at 2am after a storm.”

With family, you have to drop everything from time to time, John said, and that way of thinking is ingrained in the culture of our business.

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Two Hobart family businesses have joined forces, First National McGregor and 4one4 Real Estate. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN


While each company has different approaches to doing the same job – 4one4 is known as a tech-savvy company, McGregor has the breadth of experience – they complement each other.

“The knowledge, history, their approach on how to get things done has been a great addition to the business already,” Patrick said.

John said that the business had a wealth of experience ranging from 17-year-olds just starting out, to Paul Berry and Chris with their decades-long depth of knowledge, which can only be good news for their clients. “I feel like the most exciting bit is being able to use our resources and experiences to adapt to what out clients need and to create an agency that is ‘of today’,” he said.

“From a client perspective, it will be business as usual.”

A point of difference for 4one4 is the goal of providing a one-stop shop.

It has a strata arm, sales, rentals and marketing that is all in house.

The guys also have a podcast together, for fun, and to educate people on the local market.

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COVID has left its mark on every aspect of society and business decisions are not exempt from its influence.

For Patrick and Paul, they took the long view of what would be possible by pushing ahead with the merger.

“There was probably a bit of nervous energy about doing it, but because of the team we were working with, ultimately we were not worried,” Patrick said.

“If we didn’t know the McGregor family as well as we do it might have been different, but for us it was a great opportunity and we wanted to go for it.”

Regardless of the climate, John said, it was still a “solid plan”.

“COVID has effected the greater market, and yet we have still been able to do go numbers, which is a reflection of the hard work we all put it,” he said.



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Is infrastructure an economic saviour or a white elephant? What COVID-19 can teach us about delivering big projects


Governments are banking on infrastructure projects to help the Australian economy recover from the coronavirus recession.

With almost $300 billion already committed to infrastructure before the COVID crisis, state and federal governments have announced an additional $15 billion for projects since the beginning of the pandemic.

But not everyone is convinced it will be worthwhile.

Michael Keating was secretary of prime minister and cabinet during the last recession, in 1991.

He thinks the money can be better spent.

“I’ve got very strong reservations about an infrastructure or major infrastructure response to a recession,” he told 7.30.

“Most people won’t say they’re white elephants.

Former NSW Premier Nick Greiner thinks infrastructure can be an effective part of the response when it is done properly.

“I don’t think there is a perfect answer to getting it right,” he told 7.30.

“And we don’t have a good track record in Australia on major projects, frankly.”

But Mr Greiner thinks the response to the COVID-19 outbreak can provide a lesson for the delivery of infrastructure projects.

“If you trust the experts, you get a better answer,” he said.

“I think listening to the experts doesn’t just work in a pandemic, I think it works in infrastructure.”

‘Keeps us employed’

WA Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti says the Metronet project will keep people employed in vital industries.(ABC News: Richard Glover)

The West Australian Government promises Perth’s new Metronet project will “change how people live and travel”.

“Metronet is the biggest rail infrastructure program ever undertaken in Western Australia,” WA Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti told 7.30.

“It is a comprehensive package of new rail lines and new stations.”

It was planned well before coronavirus pushed the economy into recession, but Ms Saffioti said it was the right time to push ahead with the project.

“What we’ve seen through the COVID pandemic is a loss of jobs in many industries,” she said.

“But with the construction industry, we’ve been able to keep those jobs going and keep employment in those vital industries.”

The WA Government is pushing for local companies to get a high percentage of the work.

One of the beneficiaries is Eilbeck Cranes.

“Metronet allows us to basically retain the employment base that we have,” Operations Manager John Rasmussen told 7.30.

“It is important for governments to focus on local supply.

“For one thing, that keeps us employed, but we also have the capability.

“The know-how and the quality is already here in Australia.”

Super funds are long-term investors

MCU of Greg Combet wearing open necked white shirt with thin blue checks
Greg Combet says super funds will become more involved in infrastructure projects from the beginning.(ABC News)

Traditionally it has been government that has funded big infrastructure projects, but times are changing and the superannuation industry has a big bucket of money to invest and is keen to get involved in new projects rather than just purchase existing infrastructure.

Former Labor minister Greg Combet heads IFM Investments, an investment company owned by Australia’s industry super funds.

“The industry funds over the next three years, we’ve got plans to invest about $19.5 billion, and we think that’ll create 200,000 jobs over that period,” he told 7.30.

“So that’s a demonstration of what can be achieved.”

IFM owns the Port of Brisbane and Brisbane Airport, and it put up the $1.3 billion needed for the project.

Mr Combet insisted the industry funds were in for the long haul.

“Super funds are long-term investors,” he said.

“So we’re natural partners with governments for that reason.”

But he said the Government needed to get the setting right.

“The missing ingredient — particularly at a time like this in the midst of the pandemic where we’re needing to invest to achieve economic recovery, and not just government investment, but mobilising private investment — it requires national leadership to identify the projects and to bring them to market,” Mr Combet said.

‘Delays and overruns’

MCU of Michael Keating with white hair and beard, almost rimless glasses and wearing dark blue jacket and light blue shirt.
Michael Keating is doubtful of the economic benefit of many infrastructure projects.(ABC News)

Mr Keating is not convinced the industry super funds’ strategy is sound.

“If I was a director, I’d rather buy an existing project where there’s no cost overrun,” he said.

“I’d pay the price consistent with getting a return on my money.”

And with governments also ramping up infrastructure spending to provide stimulus, he offered this word of caution.

“Back in the 1991 recession — when I was head of the prime minister’s department and prime minister [Paul] Keating was putting together an infrastructure response to that recession, and premiers swore on stacks of Bibles that every project was shovel ready — some of them didn’t start for another three years,” he said.

He doesn’t expect this time round to be much different.

“The most likely thing is there’ll be budget overruns and there will be delays.”

A federal government spokesman said its package would “support jobs and businesses by delivering priority projects focused on infrastructure upgrades and maintenance”.



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‘Slow death’ of ATAR as school leavers head for jobs ‘cliff’


Digital micro-credentialing and the “slow death” of ATAR are the future of education, according to a new review, but research shows COVID-era school leavers will be worse off.

A new report into school leavers’ transition into work or further study has recommended the ATAR “cannot continue to dominate the education experience”, as the Australian education system adjusts to the longer-term effects of the COVID-19 crisis.

The chancellor of Western Sydney University, Peter Shergold, chaired a review into pathways for senior secondary students, which also found vocational education pathways had traditionally been perceived as “second class”.

“I think ATAR is, in a real sense, distorting our senior secondary education system,” Professor Shergold 7.30 as part of a new series on the education and jobs of Australia in 2025.

“I’m not calling — the panel is not calling — for the execution of ATAR. It’s [a] slow death over the next five years.

“What are we doing about the 70 per cent of students at school who are not using ATAR to get to university?”

‘We’re facing a cliff’

Principal of Beenleigh State High School Matt O’Hanlon with student Ambrosia Jackson.(ABC News)

The debate over the quality of school-leaver pathways and vocational training could not be more timely, as this year’s seniors leave high school during the first recession since 1991.

“If you go back to the group who graduated from school during the global financial crisis, in fact they had been disadvantaged, they are still playing catch-up,” Professor Shergold said.

“It can take a number of years for events like this to wash through the system.”

Research has shown the long-term effect on recession-era school leavers, says EY chief economist Jo Masters.

“Economic research shows that it impacts your income for 10 years, if you’re unlucky enough to start [your career] in a recession,” Ms Masters told 7.30.

Jan Owen, co-convenor of Learning Creates Australia — a collaboration of philanthropic and education-sector stakeholders attempting to transform the system — said the promise that education makes about leading to careers and things like home ownership was “broken at the moment for a generation of young people”.

“There’s a scarring effect of events like COVID-19 on young people’s lives, which will continue for potentially decades,” Ms Owen said.

She said that with hundreds of thousands of students soon to finish school and higher education, “we’re facing a cliff even this year”.

“It’s very, very serious because if those young people can’t find a path of some kind into further learning, into jobs, into apprenticeships, into internships, we need to open up all the opportunities as far as we can.”

Digital learning and micro-credentialing the future

A teenage girl wearing a school uniform.
Ambrosia Jackson, 17, hopes to start her own cafe when she leaves school.(ABC News: Christopher Gillette)

Amid the gloomy outlook, there are ideas to help make education purpose fit for Australia in 2025.

Matt O’Hanlon is the principal of Beenleigh State High School in South East Queensland’s Logan City, an area with high youth unemployment.

“We’ve only got about 24 per cent of students who actually go for a university pathway. The rest of our students are looking for jobs,” Mr O’Hanlon told 7.30.

One of his pupils Ambrosia Jackson, 17, aspires to open a cafe when she leaves school.

“What worries me about the future is TAFE and stuff. I just worry that I won’t complete it. But fingers crossed. I have hope,” she said.

She is one of a handful of students in an Australia-wide trial of a digital micro-credentialing platform called Credly, facilitated by the University of Melbourne.

A man wears a shirt and tie.
School principal Matt O’Hanlon says micro-credentialing “recognises the 21st century skills”.(ABC News: Christopher Gillette)

It provides her with “digital badges” for competencies she has achieved in specific skills, such as barista skills, but also attributes like teamwork and communication skills that are not shown on traditional school leavers’ certificates.

It can give prospective employers a clearer portrait of her competencies and attributes.

It is all part of a greater emphasis on how students, both high school and above, leverage the digital space to showcase their learning and access short, sharp competencies in specific skills.

“A revolution is going on in terms of the education that people can gain, particularly online, and not just in Australia, around the world,” Professor Shergold said.

“Whatever the future holds, it’s going to require higher levels of digital literacy. And that has got to be a focus if we are going to be serious about education being the platform for equal opportunity in Australia.”

Watch part 1 of this special series on 7.30 tonight.



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Chairman shares key to Bowen’s post-COVID recovery


BOWEN is well positioned to grasp opportunities during coronavirus recovery with a raft of developments and a change in attitude pegged to draw more people to the area, according to the Bowen Collinsville Enterprise chairman.

Paul McLaughlin said Bowen was in a unique economic position because of the diversity of the region’s industry.

“We’re very fortunate that we just don’t rely on tourism,” he said.

“That gives us a good base I guess so if one industry isn’t doing as well, it doesn’t affect the town as much as something like Airlie Beach, which is really reliant on tourism.

“Like all communities we just have to accept the fact that we’re not going to have international travel for a number of years … but I think we have to (stop looking) at that as a negative.

“The reality is that we may have nine million people that aren’t coming into the country, but we’ve probably got nine million people that aren’t going out of the country.

“What we’ve got to do is capture that domestic market that can’t go out of the country and get them to spend in the region.”

Urannah Creek, the site of the proposed Urannah Dam, which Mr McLaughlin said would be key in strengthening the region’s economy.

Mr McLaughlin said although the recent border closure to NSW and Victoria would pose a challenge for travel in the short term, there were several key projects in the works that could boost infrastructure and jobs in the region.

These included the Urannah Water Scheme, bringing a Catalina to Bowen and exploring options for development in the Bowen Marina.

Combined with the Carmichael Mine and other developments across the Whitsundays, Mr McLaughlin argued the region would draw more residents and tourists.

“I’ve always made the statement if you want small business to flourish you need big business to flourish because big business is what brings the people,” he said.

Looking at what he called the “bigger picture”, Mr McLaughlin also put forward a case for Bowen to capitalise on changes in the workforce as a result of COVID-19.

Bowen's Whitsunday Paradise Development could also provide a boost to Bowen, according to Mr McLaughlin.

Bowen’s Whitsunday Paradise Development could also provide a boost to Bowen, according to Mr McLaughlin.

This could include drawing more permanent residents from southern states as well as improvements to the region’s “liveability” with house and land packages like those offered at Whitsunday Paradise.

A change in work and movement away from office spaces could also provide opportunities for growth in Bowen with Mr McLaughlin saying there was “no reason” the head offices of major companies needed to be in big cities any more.

“I think it is a different world,” he said.

“If you’ve got a billion dollars to spend, should you spend it on roads in Brisbane trying to allow people to save 10 minutes getting to the office or should you come and spend it in North Queensland trying to encourage people to get out of Brisbane?

“Hopefully governments will start to see the logic (and stop) building tunnels and bridges for roads in the cities and start investing that money into dams and infrastructure and projects that generate income instead of projects that cost money to maintain.”

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However, he believed the key to Bowen’s recovery and development would be flexibility.

“You have to change and adapt,” he said.

“In these COVID times, if we all tried to focus on what might happen, we’d never manage anything.

“The businesses that can be flexible and are prepared to change and are prepared to work at it, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“The other positive thing is that there are big projects on the horizon that are going to help our area.

“If out of all this we can convince levels of government that it’s critical that these projects get up and it’s critical that these projects go forward, hopefully they may be a bit more realistic with some of the red and green tape that we need to go through to get these projects moving faster.”





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