Stockbrokers still failing mandatory compliance test

Almost a third of participants in the latest mandatory compliance exam for stockbrokers have failed, sparking fresh criticism of the test, which quizzed finance professionals on topics such as relationship breakdowns and the emotional state of clients.

A range of financial services advisers have been forced to sit a mandatory exam that tests knowledge of corporate laws and ethics by providing a series of hypothetical situations and multiple-choice questions. The test has been written by the soon-to-be-defunct Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) and must be taken by occupations including accountants, stockbrokers and mortgage lenders that are also licensed to provide financial advice.

Brokers are continuing to fail a mandatory compliance test that has been described as not “fit for purpose”.Credit:Louie Douvis

FASEA released figures on Tuesday showing 31 per cent of all participants failed the March exam, an improvement from the 33 per cent recorded at the January sitting. The overall pass rate is now 89 per cent, with 83 per cent across stockbroking firms – although FASEA’s data does not differentiate between brokers and advisers at these firms.

The Age and Herald previously revealed stockbrokers at top firms including Shaws, Morgans and Bell Potter, had failed the test en masse because the exam questions cover material irrelevant to their jobs. Bell Potter has said the industry would be “happy to fund” a new exam that is tailored to stockbrokers, but this offer has been rebuffed.

One stockbroker at a top firm with more than two decades’ experience, who could not be named because he was not authorised to speak publicly, was among the cohort who failed the latest sitting and said he was perplexed by some of the questions.


“There were questions in there that really didn’t have any relation to anything I’d even seen in study material, or what I do,” he said. “There was one random question about a couple that had financial stress in their relationship and what percentage of these relationships would fail.

“The answers were [percentages] that all had decimal points,” he said. “I don’t know whether I got it right or wrong. They don’t tell you.”

“What they’re trying to do is jam triangular pegs and round pegs into square holes,” said the broker.

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COVID inspectors go undercover to check compliance in venues

Undercover COVID inspectors are heading out on an eight-week compliance blitz across Sydney, posing as mystery shoppers at more than 1000 venues.

The Liquor and Gaming officers are looking for coronavirus breaches such as employees not wearing masks and people failing to check in with QR codes as new data reveals Victorian residents are slacking off.

The data – released by the government – showed only 41 per cent of visitors to hospitality venues checked in every time the visited.

Officers will be cracking down on those found not to be checking in (Getty)

Liquor & Gaming Director of Compliance Dimitri Argeres said most businesses are complying, however, a number of venues misusing the Dine and Discover vouchers can expect action to be taken against them by officers.

“With thousands of businesses across the state part of the scheme, it is now more important than ever for these venues to be COVID smart and COVID safe,” Mr Argeres said.

“While we are looking at compliance with the Dine & Discover rules, our focus remains on venues doing the right thing in terms of COVID safety.”

Liquor & Gaming compliance officers will be out undercover this week conducting inspections across hundreds of different venues across NSW. The program quietly began on Wednesday.

Harsh consequences will apply to anyone found breaching the COVID requirements, including fines of up to $5000 and venue closures for repeat offenders.

“A key part of compliance for hospitality businesses is the requirement customers sign in using the Service NSW QR code,” Mr Argeres.

“Now is not the time to get complacent, the COVID safety requirements are in place for a reason, and all venues need to make sure they are fully compliant.”

Yesterday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian enforced a suite of new restrictions impacting Greater Sydney while health officers work to contain the outbreak.

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Victoria moves to single QR code COVID-19 check-in system amid concerns about compliance

It wasn’t until Rachelle Connor left Victoria and returned that she started to become worried about how QR codes were used in her home state.

At the first restaurant they visited after arriving in Western Australia, Ms Connor and her family were asked to download the SafeWA app before scanning into the venue.

“That’s how diligent they are,” she said.

It was one of the first times she had been told she would not be allowed into a venue without showing proof of her checking in.

“It’s just everywhere, people are doing it and people are complying,” she said.

“And it just struck us that after being in Victoria, where we’ve had so many cases, to go to a state that has had barely any cases, and everyone is still scanning to go into any sort of shop or any outlet was just extraordinary.”

Ms Connor, a council worker, said she had written to businesses since returning home “and I was told that it’s not mandatory in Victoria”.

Most venues, including hospitality, sport facilities, gyms, religious sites, community venues, entertainment venues, real estate inspections, museums, nightclubs, gaming, accommodation and beauty services, are all required to use a QR code system.

Supermarkets, retail and shopping centres are “highly recommended” to use the service.

The results of a recent survey released by the government found only 41 per cent of visitors to hospitality venues checked in every time.

Authorised officers visited a range of venues between April 30 and May 2 and issued warnings or notices about a lack of compliance with the system.

Health Minister Martin Foley said there had been “declining levels of compliance with the kind of measures we need to stay safe and stay open”.

The use of QR codes for contact tracing is in the spotlight after New South Wales authorities praised a couple at the centre of the outbreak for using the state’s system.

Nancy Baxter, head of the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne, said the QR codes were “really helpful” if everyone was using them.

The data collected through the QR codes can work faster than the “deep detective work” of contact tracers, meaning potentially infected people isolate sooner.

But Professor Baxter said their usefulness depended on their uptake.

“Even myself, I try to be vigilant about it, but just recently, I couldn’t seem to get the system to work. Did I persist? No, honestly … and I don’t think I’m unique,” she said.

The government has today announced small-to-medium-sized businesses will have patron caps lifted from May 28.

Venues that are 400 square metres or below will be able to have up to 200 patrons per space — such as a dining room or band room — with the previous rule of one person per 2 square metres removed.

They must use the government’s Service Victoria app and have COVID marshals in place to ensure people are checking in to each space.

Mr Foley said the move to the single system was made on public health advice and after looking around the rest of the nation.

After allowing venues to use their own check-in system for months, Victoria recently mandated the use of the Service Victoria app, or for third-party systems to link back to the government’s interface.

Venues were given an amnesty until April 23 to comply.

There had been some pushback over fears small businesses would be forced to bear the cost of the move to a single program.

The new rules announced today mean all venues must use the government’s app instead, despite many going through the process of having their systems approved over recent weeks.

“Business welcomes the announcement of the easing of restrictions today,” chief executive of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Paul Guerra said.

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Offshore wind supply chains to be tightened as subsidies face switch-off for non compliance

Government is hardening its stance on renewable energy subsidies, with the potential to pull contracts if supply chains do not meet criteria.

Officials at BEIS are ensuring ‘more bang for the buck’, with the intention to guarantee Britain benefits economically from the support for the green recovery.

The confirmation came as the next auction round was set to start in December.

Amendments will strengthen the supply chain plan process for projects of 300MW or above entering.

It will include the assessment of a developer’s delivery of its supply chain commitments, to be brought forward to shortly after a project’s milestone delivery date and new powers for the Secretary of State to pass or refuse a supply chain implementation statement, together with the ability to terminate what is known as a Contracts for Difference.

RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive, Melanie Onn, said: “Supporting innovation and the growth of the UK’s offshore wind industry is vital to kickstart the green economic recovery.

“We’re building up a strong UK supply chain with major manufacturers locating factories here and the industry is committed to supporting globally competitive companies. Developers and supply chain firms are making significant investments to drive in the industry forward.

RenewableUK deputy chief executive Melanie Onn.
RenewableUK deputy chief executive Melanie Onn.

“The latest supply chain proposals set challenging new demands for project developers, so it’s vital that the guidance is clear on how we can demonstrate the contribution we’re making by creating thousands of jobs, developing skills and fostering innovation across the supply chain, as well as building vital new infrastructure.

“Project developers are already working with manufacturers to help them understand our projects’ needs and timelines, which will support investment in new facilities and the development of new skills in our workforce. Underpinning all this, we need large volumes of new capacity in the next CfD auction for new contracts to generate clean power to keep us on track for our 2030 target, quadrupling what we’ve already installed.”

On the Humber, Able Marine Energy Park has received a £75 million grant to bring it forward on the last undeveloped stretch of deep water estuary, with a steel monopile manufacturer about to enter the planning process.

Siemens Gamesa is also doubling its footprint, with the city confirmed to build the next generation blades, subject to planning consents.

The Tees is also seeing a new investment from General Electric, with further public backing. All are part of plans to create thuosands more jobs as installation targets are raised and timeframes accelerated.

AbleUK group development director Neil Etherington highlighted Government’s determination to do better with content at last month’s Offshore Wind Connections event.

Speaking at the Hull-hosted virtual conference, he described Siemens Gamesa’s plant as “a fantastic example of doing good stuff, big stuff, important stuff in the UK”.

“We can do much better,” he said. “That’s why the Prime Minister said ‘enough’s enough, we’re going to make the UK the Saudi Arabia of wind’ and he announced a new funding package to bring that to reality.”

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XOPP restaurant in Haymarket criticised for low QR code compliance

A Sydney restaurant has been criticised by the health department for not enforcing QR code check-ins after the eatery ended up on a list of feared coronavirus exposure sites.

The rebuke from NSW Health came as the state recorded no new coronavirus cases on day three of an ongoing outbreak.

However, there are still fears community members could be infected with COVID-19 without knowing it after an eastern suburbs couple tested positive on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

After the couple’s diagnosis, NSW Health compiled a long list of places where officials fear COVID-19 could have spread.

Haymarket restaurant XOPP was added to the list on Thursday night.

NSW Health wrote in a coronavirus update on Friday that QR code check-ins at the restaurant were “very low”.

“NSW Health is concerned that compliance with QR code check-ins at XOPP restaurant was very low and urges anyone who dined or worked there on Wednesday, 28 April from 1.30pm to 2.30pm to get tested immediately and self-isolate until they receive a negative result,” the department wrote.

The XOPP restaurant was highlighted in the NSW Health update as forming part of an investigation into how the eastern suburbs couple was infected.

A department spokesman said officials were keen for people who visited the eatery at the time specified to come forward and get tested immediately and self-isolate until receiving a negative result.

But he stressed there would be no negative consequences for anyone who missed checking in.

The man who first tested positive to COVID-19 this week has no links to overseas travel, border work or health work, and health officials are stumped as to how he became infected.

While a genome analysis has indicated the virus he was infected with originally came from a returned traveller from the US, it’s unclear how the spread actually occurred.

Officials have warned there appears to be a “missing link”, meaning one or more people might be in the community and COVID-19 positive without being aware of it.

“It’s a mystery at the moment,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told Channel 7’s Sunrise program earlier on Friday.

“We don’t know who it is. It could be more than one person, it could be a worker that has passed it onto someone else who has passed it onto someone else.”

Anyone who visited the following venues at the specified times are considered close contacts and should get tested immediately and isolate for 14 days regardless of result:

COLLAROY: Alfresco Emporium, 1021 Pittwater Rd, Tuesday May 4; 1.00pm to 1.30pm

MOORE PARK: The Stadium Club in the Entertainment Quarter, 122 Lang Road, Monday May 3; 11.30am to 12:30pm

PADDINGTON: Barbetta at 1 Elizabeth Street in Paddington between 1.30pm and 2.30pm April 30.

ROSE BAY: The Royal Sydney Golf Club on Kent Road, Monday May 3; 5.30pm to 9.00pm

RUSHCUTTERS BAY: Figo restaurant; 3/56-60A Bayswater Road; Friday April 30; 8.45-11pm

SYDNEY: HineSight Optometrist at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth between noon and 1pm on April 30.

MASCOT: BP Mascot; 1077 Botany Road; Saturday May 1; 4.30-5pm

For some venues that were previously listed, the window of concern has expanded, including the entries for Joe’s Barbecues & Heating and Tucker Barbecues, where the alert now applies from 1.30pm to 2.30pm on May 1.

The alert for District Brasserie was also extended, until 12pm on April 30.

Other venues of concern include:

SYDNEY: District Brasserie at 2 Chifley Square between 11am and 12pm on April 30.

SILVERWATER: Joe’s Barbecues & Heating; 142 Silverwater Road; Saturday May 1; 1.30-2.30pm

SILVERWATER: Tucker Barbeques; 138 Silverwater Road; Saturday May 1; 1-1.45pm

BONDI JUNCTION: The Meat Store; 262 Oxford Street; Sunday May 2; 3-4pm

BONDI BEACH: Bondi Trattoria, 34 Campbell Parade, Thursday April 29, 12.45pm – 1.30pm

SYDNEY: Fratelli Fresh, Westfield Sydney, F5 Pitt Street, Tuesday April 27: 1:15pm – 2:15pm

There were five new cases of coronavirus in hotel quarantine in the latest 24-hour reporting period.

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How resilience and compliance saw us through

Chris Cincotta, who launched the virally popular social media phenomenon Humans of Melbourne five years ago – he says it’s “a love letter to Melbourne” – believes individual and collective resilience has been the key to our city’s success in suppressing the virus.

In August, on the first day of what was to be a 42-day lockdown (it later stretched to 17 weeks), Cincotta took to Instagram to share a photograph of the Yarra River at sunset.

“Just in case anyone forgets, this is what we are fighting for,” he wrote. “I would love to make a pact with all of you legends. A lot of us will be spending a lot of time online in the next six weeks. It is more important now than ever that we remain positive for ourselves and our loved ones.”

The post was seen by more than 10 million people, and shared across the world. And Cincotta’s call to positivity was taken up by Melburnians from all walks of life.


From teddy bear hunts for cooped-up kids, to rainbow drawings displayed in homes’ front windows and Spoonville, what sustained our city was our willingness to create beauty in boredom.

“We are resilient,” Cincotta said. “We’re such a great city.”

Director of the Melbourne Institute Professor Abigail Payne, who has been leading research on the impacts of COVID-19 on our city for the University of Melbourne, agrees we are a hardy bunch.

“What I think has struck me [about] Australians – and this is particularly true of Victorians because we’ve gone through it more than others – [is] how compliant we are,” she said.

“We’re asked to stay at home, we’re asked to socially distance, we’re asked to wear masks. And we do that. And in our [research], people are willing to do that. People seem OK working from home. You know, I think we are very resilient.”

This has been a tale of two pandemics, though. The institute’s research has shown many of us continue to suffer the lingering effects of the COVID-19 tail.

Shoppers in the Queen Victoria Market on FridayCredit:Justin McManus

Of those surveyed by the university in early February, 27 per cent suffered financial stress and were struggling to pay for basic goods and services.

The proportion of Australians vulnerable to “adverse income shocks”, already financially stressed and only just making ends meet, was 56 per cent. This was despite real GDP rising by 3.3 per cent in the September quarter of last year and Australia no longer being in recession as of December.

Professor Payne cautioned that we are not out of the woods yet; the next weeks and months will be crucial in continuing to suppress the virus and the months after the end of JobKeeper will push many individuals and businesses to breaking point.

Amid the rolling uncertainty of the past 11 months, however, many have found their strength by looking for the good.

Good Karma Network founder Amy Churchouse.

Good Karma Network founder Amy Churchouse.

Amy Churchouse started the country’s first Good Karma Network five years ago, kicking off with a community page for residents of her home suburb of Kensington. Since then, the movement has grown to 57 networks, with some 125,000 members across Australia (most are in Victoria).

The aim of Good Karma Networks are to spread kindness, compassion and good deeds; surely a movement suited to a global pandemic that has united us in common experience while keeping us cruelly apart.

Churchouse said such movements are needed now, more than ever.

“It was a powerful tool before COVID, and I think it’s important for us to think about this in a wider context,” she said. “It’s about humans being good together. If we are a community, if we are connected, we can cope with anything.”

During 2020 the popularity of Good Karma Networks, and the community building they represent, blossomed. In Reservoir, locals started a “grow cart”, containing books, fresh vegetables and seedlings offered to passersby with an encouragement to “take what you need, [and] give what you can”.

A Coburg apartment block created a Whatsapp group to keep in touch, trade produce and tools, and run errands for neighbours unable to get out of their homes.

One woman in Melbourne’s inner north posted that her son had lost his teddy bear. A fellow member dug out an old identical bear, patched him up, and sent it to the young boy with a note describing how the bear had gone on an adventure and had finally come back to him.

For Melburnian Marc Shrapnel, whose wife Melinda died in January after a long battle with cancer, lockdown offered a rare beauty: it brought their busy household together during Melinda’s final months.

Cafe society has restarted.

Cafe society has restarted.Credit:Justin McManus

As Melinda’s health and mobility deteriorated during 2020, she was forced to stay home more and more, while the rest of the household was busy at work or school.

“The lockdown of everyone brought the household back home and forced a change with all members,” Marc said.

“It was now a case of stopping the bustle and frantic nature of life in Melbourne and spending time together. The household daily routine was filled with sounds of life and movement. This gave Melinda the opportunity to spend time, a precious resource when faced with a defined end.”

Melbourne lord mayor Sally Capp paid tribute to Melburnians, saying they have rallied together when it mattered most.

Melbourne is regaining some of its old buzz.

Melbourne is regaining some of its old buzz.Credit:Justin McManus

“Melburnians are some of the most resilient and caring people in Australia – if not the world,” Cr Capp said.

“We defeated a second wave of COVID and the overwhelming majority of Melburnians have done whatever it takes to keep our community safe.


“Despite the incredible pain and sacrifice so many people have made throughout the pandemic, one unifying feature has been how often we have looked to help out each other during this crisis.”

On Friday, Melbourne’s CBD was regaining some of its old buzz.

The number of pedestrians in the city was up by about 150 per cent compared with the last day of lockdown, although the number of people was still only at one-third of pre-pandemic levels.

“We will still need to continue our compassion and care for other Melburnians for many months as our city recovers,” she said.

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Goulburn development compliance crackdown creates longer list | Goulburn Post

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The owners of an allegedly unauthorised structure at a district olive grove have launched court action against Goulburn Mulwaree Council. Late last year the council issued a demolition order against the large, ornate building which the owners described as an olive storage shed. Planners had alleged the structure was non-compliant and gave the owners an opportunity to lodge a development application. Environment and planning director Scott Martin said when this was not forthcoming, a demolition order and $3000 penalty infringement notice were served. READ MORE: Goulburn Mulwaree Council ups ante on unapproved works Goulburn Mulwaree Council heads to court over Forest Siding Road shed Goulburn Mulwaree Council orders demolition of farmshed house Goulburn Mulwaree Council orders shed demolition, issues penalty Goulburn Mulwaree Council issues consent for Run-O-Waters shed Councillors heard at their recent meeting that the owners have since launched a class one appeal in the NSW Land and Environment Court. The council will defend the matter, arguing it doesn’t meet exempt development provisions or match the characterisation of an olive storage shed. Mr Martin said his department is currently assessing a DA for the building. “We are at an impasse waiting on additional information. We are trying to characterise what it actually is,” he said. But he said demolition was a “last resort” given the building’s quality. The matter is just one in a long list of developments the council is either investigating or claiming are unlawful. In October, councillors were told that penalty and infringement notices, stop-work, stop-use and demolition orders had been issued as part of a compliance crackdown. They included a large shed housing people at Forest Siding Road, Middle Arm, ‘unauthorised’ granny flats, dwellings, land clearing, ‘vehicle hoarding’ and wastewater systems, among others. That list of 25 has grown to 38 matters. “Much of this can be attributed to a growing public awareness based on the amount of media coverage and a growing number of community members that are less tolerant of ‘rule breakers’ and queue jumpers,'” Mr Martin said. “Overall this has necessitated a more ‘hard line’ approach towards compliance from the council.” But it is also coming at a cost. From October to January 21, three compliance matters had incurred $15,640 in legal costs. Mr Martin expected the figure to increase with the class one appeal but said staff had minimised costs by preparing evidence and documentation. “We are doing more of that but the catch-22 is…it takes away from our day to day work,” he said. “(But) I think the message is getting through to the community. We just need to keep chipping away at it.” ALSO READ: Hospital contractor parking ‘spills over’ into residential streets The council has also issued $40,000 worth of penalty notices over the same period. In response to a question from Cr Leah Ferrara, Mr Martin said not all of this had been collected and some could take several years to recover. It sometimes depended on a person’s financial situation and other mechanisms, such as community work orders, to recoup the fines. A revenue collection service administers the process. Meantime, the council is pressing ahead with Land and Environment Court action against the Forest Siding Road property owner for allegedly unauthorised native vegetation clearing, earthworks, a shed’s construction and conversion of a garage to a dwelling. Planners claimed the shed was housing 13 people. Demolition, stop-work, restore and stop-use orders were issued last year. Two clean-up directions were also sent out, with which the owner had partially complied, a report stated. ALSO READ: Women to share their experiences of surviving climate hardships Elsewhere, a Cowper Street homeowner has challenged the council’s disposal of vehicles it impounded in December, 2019. The vehicles were allegedly blocking a rear private laneway which gave access to nine other properties. However neighbours remain concerned about cars in the front and back yards. Mr Martin said his department was investigating further action over the home’s lack of downpipes and gutters, which had caused runoff to neighbouring properties, and the state of the structure. The owner of an Avoca Street unit block of units has mounted Land and Environment Court action over the council’s refusal of a DA. The latter claimed that under-floor car parking spaces had been illegally converted to habitable accommodation. Meantime, draft stop-work and demolition orders have been issued to a Tiyces Lane, Boxers Creek property owner for the alleged illegal clearing of 35 hectares of natural bushland, a truck wrecking facility, polluted runoff and an ‘unauthorised shed’ with habitable rooms. The council also issued a $4000 penalty infringement notice in regard to the wrecking operation. ALSO READ: ‘Political posturing will not get the job done’: Pollies trade barbs over Yass water Other matters included a stop-work order on an unauthorised truck depot in Lockyer Street which had sparked neighbour complaints about noise. A DA has since been lodged but Mr Martin said the owner was seeking a ‘more suitable’ site. Staff are also investigating complaints that a southern Auburn Street business is being used as a place of worship, and an ‘unauthorised’ bed and breakfast at Wollumbi Road, Marulan. Mr Martin told the meeting the long list disappointed him but the approach was correct. “It makes people aware they have to deal with the council when they work outside the guidelines,” he said. We care about what you think. Have your say in the form below and if you love local news don’t forget to subscribe.



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How to jolt the UK public into coronavirus compliance – POLITICO

James Johnson is co-founder of J.L. Partners and a senior adviser to Kekst CNC. He previously ran polling in Downing Street under U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.

Reports over the last few days tell us the U.K. government is worried, once more, about the public’s compliance with lockdown restrictions. Though more rules could be coming, for now the prime minister is focusing on enforcing existing measures and looking to — as a No. 10 source told the Sunday Times — “jolt” the public into adherence.

Some lockdown breaking — like people still not wearing masks in shops — is flagrant. In these cases, it feels like only enforcement will make a difference. But more often, the key thought that underpins most breaches of the rules, and something we have all heard from friends, relatives, or even ourselves, is more innocent. It says: “Of course this will be OK. It’s just one small thing. It’s not going to be the thing that makes the difference.”

In March, this was — most of the time — dislodged by an acute, personal fear of the virus among young and old alike. Polling by Kekst CNC showed that people in Britain saw the virus as more dangerous than in any other country surveyed. This level of personal fear has since faded, as more details about coronavirus have come to light. So much of this stemmed from the virus being unknown and this perception is unlikely to return. But, more than personal considerations, compliance also came from a strong feeling of community. People felt part of a wider mission, giving up their freedoms to help the country as a whole, as well as the National Health Service.

This community commitment has also faded. A genuine sense that “we are all in this together” was fatally wounded by a trip to Barnard Castle by Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser, and repeated cases of celebrities breaking the rules. And fatigue has set in too. One need only look at the enthusiasm for the relaunch of the U.K.’s “Clap for Carers” initiative last week (now dubbed “Clap for Heroes”) and compare it to the rallying cries of pots and pans during the first lockdown.

If these cannot be replicated like-for-like, how then can the government increase compliance?

The first step is the simplest: To follow rules, people need to know what they are. The government has taken it for granted time and again that one broadcast, a follow-up press conference, and some social media adverts will be enough for people to understand and internalize a whole set of new information. Coming from a starting point of great regional variation in the restrictions, as well as new and widely-misunderstood concepts like support bubbles (still mixed up with the “rule of six” in my focus groups), the public need the rules to be signposted as clearly as possible and repeated — perhaps through a text alert to every phone.

Guidelines and law could be further merged. It is hardly unreasonable for people to default to considering what is and is not legal. Yet the health secretary has backed the police for fining people based on the guidance. And the fact that the prime minister’s official spokesman could not say this week whether exercise with a beverage is illegal further compounds this problem. The more examples like this there are, the more likely it is that people will throw their hands up in the air, say the rules are all over the place, and go and do something anyway.

‘Real and urgent’

As outlined above, a sense of collective duty is not as automatically present as it was last year. But the government still has a lever to pull. The appeal to protect the NHS, as well as our fellow citizens, still has acute emotional resonance for many people. To trigger it, the consequences need to feel real and urgent.

With this in mind, the government put out a television advert featuring Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, as well as frequent op-eds and quotes in his name. But just saying “protect the NHS” no longer works. It has become a soundbite that people pass over. Whitty is a convincing figure to the public, but his familiarity has taken out some of the urgency of his message. Newspaper opinion pieces are the hallmarks of political campaigns, not public health ones.

Instead of telling people about the consequences of their actions, the government needs to show them. Recent, first-hand accounts from doctors and nurses fighting the pandemic have been persuasive. The government could arrange to show what is really happening in coronavirus wards, working with a consortium of broadcasters. A 10-minute, prime-time, vivid illustration of what hospitals are really like right now, on all the main channels and pumped across social media, would help provide the jolt No. 10 is looking for, with NHS staff imploring the public to act.

The usual suspects might howl about scare tactics. But, for personal sacrifice to be made for a collective cause this far into the pandemic, people need to know that this cause is also their own, and that it is real. It must be illustrated not by anonymous death figures or a slogan, but by a true picture of how their own herd is under attack.

The result of such a move would be to take their considerations from “this flex of the rules will be alright” to “I had better not.” Currently, the government is nudging the public. If they want to jolt them, they will need to go down bolder avenues than they are at present.

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Queensland police do check for mask compliance

Queensland police do mandatory mask checks during Brisbane’s lockdown

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Could Victoria’s compliance collapse threaten our holiday season?

Unfortunately, an alarming number of businesses in malls, shopping centres and outlets in Victoria are ignoring the need to safeguard their patrons, are not signing in visitors and are not conducting contactless tracing.

The Victorian government has not released scan-in data on its QR code and app, and the question remains, why?

The Victorian government has not released scan-in data on its QR code and app.Credit:Luis Ascui

While NSW is on high alert, Victoria sign-in adherence has plummeted

The truth is, no one wants to talk doom-and-gloom anymore. The latest quarantine hotel figures after 53 doughnut days is not a popular discussion point.

In Victoria we continue to frequent the high streets and malls with or without visitor sign-in systems. Although manual registries have been recently discouraged by the Victorian government, too many outlets continue to work with manual registration systems that require pen and paper. Many patrons have quietly chosen to simply sign in to manual systems, or worse still, are ignoring the lack of contactless visitor sign-ins at a growing number of outlets.


Victoria’s QR code adoption rate figures are mysteriously unknown

After months of development the Victorian government has recently released its visitor check-in QR code system. The system is not mandatory and mysteriously, the adoption rate is not available to the public, yet transparency is important when it comes to a government solution.

Privacy concerns present a major challenge in driving government system adoption, not surprisingly, after widespread criticism of operational failures and the lack of transparency. Research conducted in the United States points out that privacy concerns and trust in public health authority could also be linked to low adoption rates.

Although promoted as installation-free, the government states on its website that if you don’t have an up-to-date smartphone, you’ll need to download an app to complete check-in. Given the history of government apps, we can’t expect the public to rush to download another one.

The federal government's COVIDSafe app.

The federal government’s COVIDSafe app.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Recent reports on quarantine breaches show a poor record of transparency and a lack of notifications on the public’s potential exposure to the coronavirus. A DHHS spokesman over a week ago said the “practice of quarantining secondary contacts as a precautionary measure” only began in October, three months after the quarantine debacle.

The sharp decline in contactless sign-ins in Victoria is worrying

Many health organisations have repeatedly emphasised the importance of broad contactless visitor sign-ins across public outlets to curb the spread of COVID-19. But an alarming number of businesses in malls and shopping centres in Victoria are ignoring the need to safeguard their patrons.

If the government app cannot be mandated, shouldn’t we do more to ensure businesses and public venues are complying and helping the public avoid another COVID calamity?


Given the variety of QR codes, apps and new contactless sensor technology, there is no shortage of ways to easily and quickly scan in or wave in the public into businesses, venues and locations.

Contactless visitor sign-in systems installed and governed in every business and outlet can and should be a crucial factor in fighting the pandemic.

What we need this summer is a massive, carefully co-ordinated strategy between government, business organisations and local communities, emphasising focused, systematic and local adoption.

Coupled with extensive testing capacity, contactless check-ins at every business and outlet will give us a fighting chance of staving off another wave of the pandemic.

Let’s secure this simple measure to protect our new-found freedom. After all, conducting contactless check-ins is a small price to pay to keep us healthy, safe and free during Christmas and 2021.

Bernadene Voss is CEO of Wavin Technologies.

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