Why Boris Johnson is recreating Tony Blair’s “delivery unit”

MICHAEL BARBER helped Tony Blair to get stuff done. In 2001 he established a “delivery unit” that translated lofty ambitions into measurable goals—regarding children’s literacy, say, or hospital waiting times—and pursued them relentlessly. This was not always popular. Reflecting a common gripe, one Daily Telegraph columnist raged against the “grinding and dehumanising imposition” of targets reminiscent of Soviet central planning.

That columnist, now prime minister, has come round to targets. Following a request from Boris Johnson, Sir Michael has since Christmas been hard at work recreating the delivery unit. Brexit and covid-19 are starting to take up less time, and Mr Johnson wishes to reshape the country to the tastes of his new electorate: northern, non-graduate and Brexit-leaning. In the Queen’s Speech on May 11th, the prime minister promised more housebuilding, more technical education, new train lines, new free ports and a new post-Brexit subsidy regime—brought into being by a more interventionist government.

Covid-19 has left Mr Johnson in charge of a wartime state. Some £303bn ($430bn) went on combating the pandemic in the year to March, driving public debt from 84% of GDP to nearly 100%, its highest ratio since the 1960s. A government quite unprepared for the crisis scrambled to build…

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Uber narrows loss as hunger for food delivery business grows during pandemic

Delivery bookings rose 166% from the same period last year, leading to better-than-expected earnings despite flat ride bookings

Uber’s thriving food delivery business, aided by a bump in home deliveries during lockdowns, helped the company counteract a slow quarter for ride-hailing bookings amid the pandemic.

The company announced better-than-expected earnings in its first quarter of 2021, despite reporting its ride bookings were flat from the previous quarter and had decreased year over year.

Continue reading…

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Bendigo newsagents unable to sell newspapers after delivery van theft

More than 50 newsagents, supermarkets and service stations in the Bendigo region have been unable to sell newspapers this morning after the delivery truck was stolen.

The opportunist thief was wearing a high-visibility jumper when he got into the white, 2018 IVECO Ducato van and sped off from the Harpin St business about 4:00am.

The van had around 2,000 newspapers in the back.

“Essentially the van had about 80 per cent of Bendigo’s retail newspapers,”  Bendigo Distribution Services owner Jerome Tauelangi said. 

Bendigo Police are hunting for the thief after the truck was later found dumped on Emu Creek Road in Emu Creek about six hours later.

Mr Tauelangi said his co-worker had parked the van on the warehouse driveway when the early morning offender struck.

“He went inside, to try to grab some keys to another van to follow him. But it was gone.

“Nothing like this has ever happened in our 20 years, especially not at four in the morning.

“The person was dressed in hi-viz so he blended in, so no one saw him stand out,” Mr Tauelangi said. 

Golden Square Newsagency owner Bill Roberts said he had never seen anything like it in his 16 years in business.

“It’s like the pub with no beer,” he said.

“But there’s been a bit of laughter because I’ve put up signs saying, ‘No papers today, the van has been stolen’,” said Mr Roberts. 

Police are reviewing CCTV from nearby businesses.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

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Sydney food delivery rider in serious condition after crash in Rockdale

A food delivery rider in Sydney is in a serious condition after a crash in the city’s south only 200 metres from where another rider died last year while working.

The 20-year-old man was riding a scooter at about 9:00pm yesterday when he was hit by a car at the intersection of the Princes Highway and Rockdale Plaza Drive, Rockdale.

He sustained serious head injuries and remains in a serious condition at St George Hospital where he is expected to undergo surgery.

The 22-year-old woman driving the car was arrested and taken to hospital for mandatory testing and has since been released.

Police are appealing for information and dashcam or CCTV footage from the area at the time of the crash as their investigations continue.

Father of three, Khaled Bouzidi, said he held the hand of the delivery rider to keep him responsive as he lay on the street bleeding.

Khaled Bouzidi saw the crash from his balcony and raced downstairs to provide first aid.(

ABC News: James Carmody


He said he heard the crash happen from his nearby home and rushed out to help while others called emergency services.

“I just did my best because that is what I learnt at my first aid certificate, just squeeze their hand and try and get the person to be responsive,” he said.

“A group gathered around him and everyone was shocked as we waited for the ambulance.”

There has been a spate of delivery driver deaths in recent months, with four people killed on Sydney roads late last year.

Bijoy Paul, 22, from Bangladesh was on a delivery for UberEats when he was hit by a car in Rockdale last November.

He was on a bicycle when he was hit by a car at the corner of Princes Highway and Lister Avenue after picking up a delivery from the nearby McDonald’s.

He died several hours later in hospital.

Cars at an intersection
Police are appealing for information after the crash at the intersection of Princes Highway and Rockdale Plaza Drive.(

ABC News: James Carmody


In 2020 the NSW government set up the Gig Economy Joint Taskforce to investigate the recent deaths of food delivery riders.

Last month the taskforce issued draft guidelines to food delivery companies and said common hazards that needed to be managed included “unsafe systems of work”, like “poorly designed apps” and “unrealistic estimated delivery times” resulting in time pressures and unsafe riding.

The guidelines called on delivery companies to make sure the app used by riders is designed to be used safely on the road and is based on average rider speeds and traffic conditions, to not result in “unreasonable time pressures and physical exhaustion”.

They also called on companies to design their apps to recognise rider fatigue, so they can lock riders out after 12 hours of working and not allow them to log back in for another 10 hours.

Better Regulation Minister Kevin Anderson said the draft guidelines would be included in an Industry Safety Action Plan to be released in April.

However the Transport Workers Union said direct government intervention was needed as a non-binding plan will not force food delivery companies to make the required changes.

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Australia Post urged to reconsider decision to stop perishable goods delivery

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson has called on Australia Post to delay its intention to stop delivering perishable goods. According to Billson, such a policy would have a savage impact on small-business producers.

“Given Australia Post has 80 per cent share of the total delivery market, this abrupt decision could prove to be devastating to those small business food producers who rely on this essential postage service,” Billson said. “So many small businesses moved to selling their products online as a result of the COVID crisis. They need some additional time to consider what options they have to fulfil their orders.”

Billson added that Australia Post’s decision to cease delivery of various perishable goods from June 30 is a self-imposed deadline that could be delayed, which would be an opportunity for it to address the concerns raised and provide assistance to the affected small-business food producers.

“We strongly encourage Australia Post to consider the impact this will have on their small-business customers and to work with regulators to find a way to continue this essential service,” Billson said.

The ASBFEO noted that it has already reached out to Australia Post and the state small business commissioners and have expressed to them their willingness to discuss the matter further with industry regulators in an effort to resolve any issues Australia Post is experiencing across the delivery network with regulatory matters.

“It is crucial to support small businesses as they work to recover from an incredibly challenging 12 months. Part of that is ensuring essential services such as postage of goods are both readily available and affordable to these affected small businesses,” Billson concluded.

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Saucery. Delivery • The Aussie Coeliac

Note: Please note Saucery. reached out to me to offer me to try two of their meals. However, all my opinions are 100% honest.

Sacuery. is a new café and home delivery service in Melbourne. They are on a mission to re-create foods we love to be healthier and good for us. They make and deliver meals and sauces that are created from scratch without sugar, gluten, dairy and vegetable oil-free. For home delivery, you can choose from a range of meal sauces, soups, and even donuts. You can check out if you are in the delivery area on their website. As well as the home delivery, as mentioned they do have a Café in Malvern which I’ll visit to review the in-store only menu soon. All these meals are made in Australia.

I was able to choose two meal sauces to try; I opted for the Beef Stroganoff and Cauliflower Massaman Curry. These came as just sauce packs which will set you back $14 for 400g for the Massaman and $19 for the beef stroganoff. Additionally, you can choose to have them both with basmati or cauliflower rice. These options are cheaper. You have the option of microwaving these; which is what I did for convenience. However, there are also stovetop directions as well.

Massaman Curry Cauli

Let’s start with the Massaman Curry Cauli which is labelled gluten free, grain free, no added dairy, no added sugar, vegan, and low carb. I opted for my own pack of basmati rice to serve. It contains no major allergens but is made in a facility that handles Shellfish, Tree Nuts, Peanuts, Sesame Seeds, Egg, and Soy. Ingredients include coconut products, potatoes, green beans, shallots, lemongrass, tapioca flour, vegan fish sauce, garlic, galangal, chilli, cinnamon, star anise, paprika, cloves, cardamom, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, pepper, monk fruit, and bay leaves. This is a very simple but delicious curry. I don’t think it reminds me of a Massaman I’d get at a restaurant but it does have a great flavour. It’s creamy, with a load of vegetables to help fill you up. There is definitely a hint of spice to it as well.

In comparison to the beef stroganoff it’s a little boring but I did really enjoy it. Each sauce pack does do two serves nicely with your choice of side. Which makes it a nice customizable dinner option for when I feel like rice but Brody wants noodles.

Saucery. Beef Stroganoff over pasta on a plate.

Speaking of the Beef Stroganoff; that contains no major allergens. Again it is made in a facility that handles fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, egg, and soy. Ingredients include beef, coconut, onion, mushroom, thyme, parsley, olive oil, paprika, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, and pepper. This is delicious but boy do those herbs smack you in the face. It’s creamy and the beef is so tender. I stuck a piece with my fork and it fell apart. There are loads of mushrooms too. I went with some caserece pasta to serve. The sauce was perfectly portion for two serves. While delicious though, It’s not like any stroganoff I’ve made before. Perhaps I’ve been making it wrong; it was a little less creamy. Furthermore, hose herbs gave it a strong tang.

I feel like because of that overpowering herb note this won’t suit everyone’s tastes. I did really love it but Brody thought it was too strong. Maybe if they taper down that herby flavour it’ll work better for more palates.

As an extra treat the team through in the Saucery. Donuts. There are eight flavours in total and I received six of them. Those two other flavours are Choc Banana and Banana Cinnamon. The six I tried are; vanilla, berry, chocolate, choc coconut, choc orange, and choc caramel. A six pack will set you back $15; while a 24 is $60. I do wish that I’d been able to try the choc banana over the coconut since I’m not a big coconut fan but I’ll get to that in a little bit. All of these do contain almond meal and egg. Again they are made in a facility that uses peanuts, shellfish, fish, sesame seeds, and soy. Other ingredients include coconut, tapioca, monk fruit juice, yeast, xanthan gum, sunflower lecithin. Furthermore, you can check each flavour on their website for specific ingredients.

The base donut is so airy; every time you bite into them you get layers of air pockets. It’s soft and moist too. Some have cocoa throughout, some have caramel and the choc coconut has coconut in it. We really like the base donut and they have only a little bit of coconut flavour to it. We honestly, couldn’t get over how fluffy they were. Even after a day in the fridge. Now, let’s head into the icing which is where the real difference comes; all the icing left us with that cocoa butter / coconut oil feel. Additionally, it’s a little soft and will melt under your fingers.

The vanilla has a vanilla burst straight off the bat which fades into a strong coconut flavour. Nothing bad but not my favourite. My least favourite though and it’s all personal preference is the Choc Coconut which has dessicated coconut in the donut and all over the top. I have a textural issue with coconut flakes. Brody didn’t mind it and if you like coconut then this will be fine. Onto the Berry which has a tart berry flavour. It contrasts the coconut nicely. I could happily eat the whole donut. Into the three chocolate varieties; our favourite has to be the Choc Orange. That orange oil sings out beautifully. Although the candied orange pieces on top were a little jarring.

The plain chocolate Brody described as boring; but it is delicious. I also feel like it is the most moist of the six. The chocolate is very typical for vegan chocolate flavour; with a little bit of bitterness. Finally, the chocolate caramel which almost has a salted caramel feel. It’s a little bitter from the vegan chocolate. Overall, for sugar free donuts these are not bad. I really love the actual donut as most sugar free ones I’ve found are dense. I’ll have to try the two banana ones eventually as we love banana.

That’s it for the goodies that Saucery. delivered to me. Thank you so much for letting me share your company with the community. As mentioned I will be heading to their cafe in the future and there you can purchase more of these meals. Therefore, let me know if there are any you want me to review and I’ll try and grab them.

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Until Next Time;

Ashlee; The Aussie Coeliac.

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Moderna hasn’t breached its vaccine contract despite repeated delivery concerns: Anand

Moderna has not violated its contractual obligations with Canada, Procurement Minister Anita Anand says, despite continued setbacks over promised COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to this country.

“There has not been a breach of contract at this stage, and indeed, strong relationships with our suppliers [have] been fundamental to ensuring that we’ve accelerated 22 million doses already from one quarter to the next,” Anand said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live.

The minister’s comments come as a shipment of 1.2 million Moderna doses bound for Canada this month has been scaled back and delayed.

The shots, which were set to arrive this week, have been slashed to 650,000 doses and will now arrive later in April or by early May. A further 12.3 million doses expected to arrive by the end of June will also shrink by one to two million shots and are now scheduled to show up between July and September.

The Massachusetts-based company is struggling to meet ramped-up global demand at its European facilities, partly due to labour shortages.

“Moderna continues to make substantial capital investments to support production increases … and explore other potential collaboration opportunities,” the company said in a statement on Friday.

Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Moderna hasn’t contravened its COVID-19 vaccine contract with Canada, even though deliveries of the company’s mRNA vaccine continue to experience delays. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Flexible contracts allow for accelerated deliveries

Both Moderna and Pfizer wrestled with production holdups earlier this year as the companies scaled up their capacity to handle increased demand — but Pfizer has maintained a consistent delivery schedule since then.

“Pfizer has been an incredibly stable partner in the bringing in of vaccines to this country,” Anand told CBC chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton.

“We continue to ask them for earlier and earlier doses, and they continue to ensure that we are able to do that.”

On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada signed an agreement with the pharmaceutical giant for eight million more doses of its mRNA vaccine.

FedEx workers in Toronto offload a plane carrying Moderna vaccine doses originating from Europe in March 2021. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

The country is not paying a premium for the accelerated deliveries, Anand said.

“We are paying fair market value for these doses, and they are obliging our requests. We exercised options for those eight million doses, and we had built that flexibility into our contracts.”

The minister said the nature of Canada’s agreements with its suppliers means delivery schedules are not necessarily set in stone.

“The ability for Canada to bring in increasing numbers of doses goes back to the diversified portfolio of vaccines that we put in place back last August, and [we] made sure that we have flexibility here so that we can draw down on our contractual arrangements.”

Accessing U.S. supply

When asked at what point the United States might be able to open up access to its vaccine stocks, Anand said she’s not focused on that country’s supply chain.

“I’m not focused on the U.S. timeline as much as I am on ensuring we’re having those discussions right now, and that’s why we have been engaged with the U.S. administration since January,” she said.

So far, Canada has received 1.5 million AstraZeneca-Oxford doses on loan from its southern neighbour that will be returned later this year.

“We are in constant discussion with the United States and will continue to do that through our ambassador, Kirsten Hillman, and with her excellent help in order to have Canada as being well placed to continue to draw doses from multiple countries, not just the U.S.,” Anand said.

You can watch full episodes of Rosemary Barton Live on CBC Gem, the CBC’s streaming service.

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Tasmania’s agritourism ‘cut off’ from customers as Australia Post ends delivery of some perishable items

Australia Post’s decision to end a “crucial” delivery service could undermine agritourism operators and online entrepreneurs, industry players warn.

The government-owned business last month revealed it would no longer deliver certain perishable goods, such as cheese and meat, due to inconsistent food safety requirements across states and territories.

The move has alarmed Tasmanian businesses selling perishable food online to interstate customers, citing the logistical challenge of crossing the Bass Strait and the limited alternative options available.

Tom Wotton leads regional Tasmanian tourism association West by North West and says Australia Post’s decision could “really tie the shoelaces” of agritourism operators.

He said online sales helped convert tourists into loyal customers long after they returned home.

“It’s a significant tranche of the market. It’s our eastern seaboard states, the primary visitor market for Tasmania.”

Mr Wotton said some agritourism operators were “deeply concerned” about the loss of perishable delivery, particularly those who planned to expand their online offering.

‘Lifetime customers’ could be lost

Andy Jackman runs an organic dairy in the bucolic hills of North-West Tasmania and uses Australia Post to sell cheese across the country.

An Australia Post parcel facility processing online shopping purchases.(

Supplied: Australia Post


The Oldina farmer said people who visited Red Cow Organics for an agritourism experience often became “lifetime customer and ambassador”.

“Not just for Red Cow, but Tasmania as well,” she said.

But the looming change at Australia Post will jeopardise that, and Ms Jackman fears she may have to stop selling online.

“We’re hoping that won’t be the case. We’re hoping something can be sorted out between now and then to continue the business growth.”

Australia Post originally planned to stop delivering perishable goods at the end of March but has since extended the deadline to June 30.

When asked what alternative options were available for Tasmanian producers, it referred to an earlier statement that said the change would impact “a small number of customers”.

“The carriage of perishable food requirements differ by state and include complex requirements on vehicle type [cold or ambient], site and vehicle registration, licence maintenance, staff training and audit requirements,” a spokesperson said.

“Australia Post continues to work closely with customers and the Tasmanian government to determine alternate products and suppliers.”

Gourmet food website devastated

The end of the service has truffle farmer and online entrepreneur Duncan Garvey worried.

Black truffles on a platter
Truffles are among the perishable goods sold through Duncan Garvey’s online marketplace, Tasmanian Gourmet Online.(



The Huon Valley man buys and sells from around 90 Tasmanian producers through his digital marketplace, Tasmania Gourmet Online, and posted approximately 15,000 parcels last year.

Mr Garvey said the business had grown threefold in the past 12 months, but that was at risk because 40 per cent of the goods he sold were perishable.

“The decision by Australia Post to not allow producers to send perishable products will be devastating,” he said.

Mr Garvey said he had investigated alternative options, including the nascent carrier Home Delivery Service, but found nothing suitable.

“A lot of people have struggled through COVID, and these people are very worried about what they’re going to do. It’s very sad,” he said.

E-commerce investment at risk

Malcolm Ryan's rhubarb patch
Malcolm Ryan says Australia Post’s decision will disadvantage smaller businesses.(

Supplied: Rose Grant


Chocolatier Malcolm Ryan fears his wares may be next to be “prohibited” by Australia Post, given it had temperature requirements to avoid spoilage.

The potential loss of online sales couldn’t come at a worse time for the Latrobe businessman as he is currently investing more than $30,000 to rebrand his business, build an online presence and pivot to digital sales.

“It’s all aimed at online and driving this business of mine, Rhuby Delights, into Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth,” he said.

Mr Ryan said e-commerce was a “rapidly growing space”, and Australia Post’s decision would disadvantage smaller businesses that were unable to secure special arrangements with other carriers.

“If you’re not in that space, you’ll be left behind, and Australia Post is leaving us behind unless we get off our backsides and do something about it,” he said.

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Meat workers prioritised for COVID vaccine, but no decision on delivery date or if jabs mandatory

The head of Australia’s largest meat cooperative would like to see the COVID-19 vaccine made mandatory for its workers to ensure it provides a safe workplace.

The meat processing sector has been listed as “high risk” and workers are included in Phase 1b, the second stage of the Federal Government’s National Rollout Strategy of the vaccine.

Health workers and emergency staff are in the first stage commencing late February.

The meat industry had pushed governments to prioritise its workers in the vaccine rollout and while they are not first in line the decision to put them in Phase 1b has been welcomed by Simon Stahl, the CEO of The Casino Food Co-op (formerly the Northern Cooperative Meat Company in northern New South Wales).

Abattoir workers in Australia are already required to be vaccinated against Q fever — a highly infectious and potentially debilitating disease spread from animals to humans.

“Whether they apply the same protocols to the COVID vaccination, we’re yet to be told so we’ll just have to wait for a decision from the relevant authorities,” Mr Stahl said.

“It’s my job to provide a safe workplace and you could see how quickly it spread in some southern meatworks, [so] we’ve got a lot of interventions in place and those interventions will stay with or without the vaccination.

“But I think if you’re going to provide a safe workplace and you’ve got to trust our authorities in terms of the efficacy and the safeness of the vaccine.”

Mr Stahl conceded there were two sides to the vaccine debate.

“We’ll wait to see what the advice is but there’s going to be a counterargument that says if someone gets COVID and it was off someone who hadn’t been vaccinated and they were in our workplace, they would say you didn’t provide a safe workplace when there was a known vaccine out there.”

The Australian Meat Industry Council’s CEO Patrick Hutchinson said while abattoirs were deemed high-risk facilities, the threat was only a concern if COVID was out of control in the community.

“We’ve seen in Victoria that if this virus is not contained in the community then in workplaces, such as abattoirs, it can obviously spread and then be brought back into the community again,” he said.

He rejected suggestions that abattoirs were gestators of the virus.

“They are unwitting or unfortunate facilities where the virus can survive,” Mr Hutchinson said.

He said the virus had a longer lifespan in abattoirs due to the cold conditions and workers being close together.

“So we’ve got to be making sure that people in those facilities are vaccinated, and then it leads on to the vaccine rollout for the rest of the community,” he said.

Stage one of the vaccine rollout is expected to start in late February, but when abattoir workers can access the vaccine is unknown, with NSW Health confirming that priority will be given to frontline health staff.

“The focus will be those staff most likely to come into contact with COVID-positive patients,” a spokesperson said.

“Health staff have also been notified of the 11 likely hospital sites required by the Federal Government to facilitate the Federal Government’s rollout of the vaccines.”

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Narendra Modi: Agri reforms aimed at last-mile delivery in a time-bound and efficient manner: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said there is a need for more involvement of the private sector in research and development in agriculture, establishment of agro-industry clusters near villages and encouraging startups in the field to use the latest methods for the benefit of small farmers.

Participating in a webinar on provisions in the budget for agriculture and farmer welfare, Modi said the reforms in this sector should have been ushered in some decades back and the country should move ahead without delay in post-harvest value addition like food processing to improve the profits of farmers. The expansion in this sector should help the country make a mark in the global market.

The PM said his government aims at empowering the 12 crore small farmers in the country and the agriculture reforms are aimed at last-mile delivery in a time-bound and efficient manner while taking all segments along. Centre-state relations and public-private partnerships are crucial in this endeavour.

Though Modi did not mention the three farm laws in his address, he defended them throughout and said the country must move on to improve the condition of farmers. He maintained that the previous governments had focused only on agriculture productivity and not paid much attention to the demands of the 21st Century. Underlining that there is a need to move fast, he said dairying is one example where processing and cooperatives have helped in getting a good price for the farmer.

Modi emphasised on developing processing in all agriculture sectors like foodgrain, fruit, vegetables and fisheries, as well as establishing modern storage facilities near villages. He said farmer producer organisations (FPOs) can play a vital role in taking the produce from the farm to the factory.

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