SA Police’s $11m COVID-19 budget blowout

The coronavirus pandemic has forced SA Police to spend an unbudgeted $10.9 million in the past three months while up to 550 sworn officers have been redirected from their usual policing duties to respond solely to COVID-19, Commissioner Grant Stevens says.

Stevens told a Budget and Finance Parliamentary Committee hearing this morning that his workforce has been forced to adjust to “extraordinary events” in the past few months to ensure that people comply with the 63 COVID-19 directions issued in South Australia since March.

He said between 450 and 550 sworn officers are deployed on average everyday, along with up to 200 civilian temporary contemporary staff and Australian Defence Force personnel, and 42 members from the State Emergency Service.

Another 100 to 120 people a day undertake “significant work” to support COVID-19 operations, including support to the state control centre and resource coordination.

By the end of November, SA Police will deploy a further 28 protective security officers to support SA Police monitor medi-hotels.

“We have been required to constantly adjust our priorities, balance workforce planning and business processes to maintain our COVID-19 commitments,” he said.

“We will expand the use of non-sworn resources and protective security officers by continuing to examine those functions that genuinely need sworn authorities and those that don’t.

“It presents a unique opportunity to reconsider our policing model.”

The forced staffing changes have prompted SA Police to increase its employee costs by an estimated $3.2 million and supplies and services budget by $3.4 million during the 2019-20 financial year.

SA Police spent an unbudgeted $10.9 million related to COVID-19 activities from July to September so far this financial year.

Stevens said that SA Police was dealing with “unique and extraordinary circumstances” and the state’s Treasury was prepared to provide additional funding when requested.

“There’s no expectation that SAPOL will have to find that ($10.9 million) within our existing (budget) allocation,” he said.

Since March, Stevens, who is also the state’s emergency coordinator, has extended the state’s emergency declaration eight times and issued 63 directions – eight of which are currently active.

Police have undertaken more than 117,000 quarantine compliance checks and over 31,000 business checks, while processing more than 565,000 individual travel applications.

Currently, up to 60 police staff per day in the metropolitan area are dedicated to quarantine compliance checks, with many more engaged across country regions.

Police also monitor 22 border checkpoints and 46 border crossing points as part of the state’s hard border closure policy with Victoria.

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$11M SALE: Byron hills are alive with property boom

A PROPERTY near Bangalow has sold for $11 million proving you don’t have to be near the beach in Byron shire to achieve astronomical prices.

The hinterland areas of Byron are proving especially buoyant during the pandemic with 72 properties sold there in the space of six months.

In Ray White Byron Bay’s Hinterland Quarterly Market Report it says that one listing had 100 email inquiries and was short-listed by 430 people.

There has also been an increase in interest from overseas, with one buyer making offers on property sight unseen from Los Angeles.

“Traditionally, we see many buyers looking to migrate from the cities to regional areas, but interest has heightened recently as people look to get a foothold in the Byron Shire,” Ray White’s report states.

“However, the push has not just come from the cities. Many of our recent results have been long term locals looking to gain a bit more space and privacy.

“Some of the strong results have occurred with multiple buyers negotiating for the one property pushing up prices and exceeding expectations.

“Interest is not confined to one or two areas within the shire. The demand is strong throughout the shire.”

The 24-hectare property in Fowlers Lane, Bangalow sold late last month for $11M.


46 Fowlers Lane, Bangalow, NSW 2479


The seven bedroom, six bathroom contemporary home with views of the ocean across green rolling hills, was listed through Byron Bay Property Sales.

It had previously changed hands four years ago for $2.4 million.

According to Ray White’s quarterly report, the lowest sale price in the hinterland area in the last six months was $400,000 and the median sale price in the same period was topping the $1.5 million mark.

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Joe Rodon: Tottenham sign Wales centre-back from Swansea for £11m

Rodon has won seven caps for Wales

Tottenham have signed Wales centre-back Joe Rodon from Swansea on a five-year deal for an initial £11m plus add-ons.

Rodon, 22, made 54 appearances for the Championship club having made his Swans debut during the 2018-19 campaign.

He started all three of Wales’ matches during the international break to take his tally to seven caps.

Rodon is Spurs’ seventh signing of the season and he joins compatriots Ben Davies and Gareth Bale, who re-signed for Tottenham on loan from Real Madrid.

Rodon’s arrival adds depth to Spurs’ defence, which has seen the departures of centre-backs Jan Vertonghen to Benfica and Juan Foyth to Villarreal on loan.

Although the transfer window closed on 5 October for Premier League clubs to sign players from abroad, they were allowed to conduct business with Football League teams until 17:00 BST on Friday.

Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.

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Tycoon who designed Harry and Meghan’s £11m mansion issues warning on property

Harry and Meghan have been warned by the Tycoon who designed their £11m mansion in California to ‘watch out for mudslides’.

The Sussexes recently moved into their sprawling pad ‘The Chateau’ after buying it in May – with American talk show queen Oprah Winfrey and Hollywood stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Rob Lowe among their nearby neighbours.

The lavish 14,463 sq ft property – designed and built by multi-millionaire businessman Terry Cunningham and his wife Randi – is so technologically advanced that it can detect fog rolling in from the Pacific ocean.

Set in 5.4 acres of “spectacular” land in Montecito, The Chateau is based on a classic French country house, and is surrounded by sweeping lawns, rose gardens, huge Italian cypress trees, blooming lavender and 100-year-old olive trees.

Mr Cunningham and his wife spent four years building the plush nine-bedroom mansion after buying the land in 1999, creating a dream home for themselves and their children to “make memories”.

The nine-bedroom mansion is set in 5.4 acres of land near the Santa Barbara hills

The businessman even poured two bottles of red wine onto the cellar floor to give the room an authentic aroma.

But despite installing sensors which can detect fog, there was one natural phenomenon the couple didn’t think when designing the house – mudslides.

In 2018, devastating mudslides came within 200ft of the property, after being triggered by heavy rain in the hills nearby which had been ravaged by wildfires.

“We sure as hell didn’t think about it when we were building, but certainly it’s something I would be thinking about now,” said Mr Cunningham, now 61, in an interview with the Mail on Sunday.

The Duke and Duchess spoke to Dani Trin over Zoom
Harry and Meghan bought the property in May and moved in six weeks ago

Giving an idea of the star-studded nature of the Santa Barbara neighbourhood, Mr Cunningham recalls Oprah holding her 50th birthday party nearby in 2014 – when he and his wife got to listen to Stevie Wonder playing live.

The Canadian-born tycoon – chief executive of software company Descartes Labs – has fond memories of the palatial property, which features 16 bathrooms, a spa, a two-bedroom guest house, library, games room, arcade, cinema and private gym.

There is also a large pool and tennis court, as well as an outdoor children’s play area.

“We loved it. We built it. It was our dream home and we built it as a family home and we still love the place,” said Mr Cunningham.

The neighbourhood is so exclusive that Stevie Wonder performed at Oprah Winfrey’s birthday party at a neighbouring property

The tech tycoon described how the heating system used an algorithm to determine when it should shut down or spool up, based on the rate of change in the fog detected by sunlight sensors on the south-facing wall.

He also detailed how he designed and built the wine cellar using plywood from his brother’s mill, and poured wine on the floor so that it “smelled correctly”.

Meghan and Harry bought the property in May through a shell company listed at the LA address of her long-term business manager Andrew Meyer, according to the Mail on Sunday. They moved in six weeks ago.

The sprawling estate features tennis courts, a pool, a guest house, rose gardens and cypress and olive trees

Mr Cunningham, who still lives nearby, recently heard from a neighbour who had bought the property, after he and his wife sold it in 2009.

He said Harry and Meghan “got a great deal” – and insisted he hoped the couple and their one-year-old son Archie enjoy the house just as much as he and his family did.

He said: “We’re really excited that they found a wonderful home in Montecito. It’s a wonderful place to have lots of family around and it gave the kids memories they still talk about to this day.

Mr Cunningham sold the house 11 years ago because they wanted to downsize. The buyer was controversial Russian billionaire Sergey Grishin, 54, who was nicknamed the ‘Scarface Oligarch’.

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