How many Covid cases have there been in your area? Use our tool to find out



In total, 250 active hospital sites, 89 vaccination centres, and around 1,200 local vaccination sites – including primary care networks, community pharmacy sites and mobile teams – were set up to ensure every at-risk person has easy access to a vaccination centre, regardless of where they live.

Some 100 Oxford million jabs have been ordered by the Government, with 40 million due to be rolled out by March. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency also approved the Moderna vaccine for use on Jan 8, which is expected to be delivered this month.

But what about the new strains? 

Studies suggested the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine may be only 10 per cent effective against the South African strain, but Professor Jonathan Van Tam said the variant is not likely to become dominant.

The news comes as people living in an area of Barnet, North London, have been urged to get a test after a case of the South African variant of coronavirus was detected on April 14. The variant was also found in three South London boroughs, where surge testing was deployed in an attempt to stop the spread of the variant.

Scientists have found that the Kent coronavirus variant is mutating to mimic the South African variant, which could render current vaccines less effective.

However, Nick Loman, professor of microbial genomics and bioinformatics at the University of Birmingham, said it was unlikely that the new variants could out-compete the less dangerous UK variant.

Additionally, a new variant from the Philippines has also been identified in England for the first time after two cases were reported on Mar 16. It came after the Philippines reported 33 cases of a new variant on Mar 9.

Public Health England said the variant contains a number of notable mutations, including the E484K spike protein found in the Manaus variant. Concerns have been raised that vaccines may not be as effective against this protein.

The new strain has been designated as a variant under investigation (VUI) rather than a variant of concern, such as the Manaus strain.

Public Health England said one of the cases was linked to international travel and the other is still being investigated, but did not confirm where either had been found. 

It comes as a coronavirus variant that was first detected in India was found in the UK on Apr 14. 

It was the first time PHE had reported the variant in the UK. The B.1.617 variant carries two mutations, E484Q and L452R. Both are separately found in many other coronavirus variants, but they were reported together for the first time in India. 

On Apr 19, Matt Hancock confirmed India had been added to the international travel “red list” after 103 cases of the Indian variant were identified in the UK, of which the “vast majority have links to international travel”. The new rules will come into force from Friday, Apr 23.

The move was announced just hours after Boris Johnson cancelled his long-awaited trip to the country after a record-breaking surge in cases. New Delhi has been put into a week-long lockdown in an attempt to bring down the level of infection.

Samples have been analysed to see if the new variant has any “concerning characteristics” such as greater transmissibility or resistance to treatments and vaccines.

Prof Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, told the Guardian that the arrival of the India variant was potentially worrying.

He said: “These two escape mutations working together could be a lot more problematic than the South African and Brazilian variants who have only got one escape mutation. 

“It might be even less controlled by vaccine than the Brazilian and South African variants.”

How did coronavirus spread worldwide?

At the end of Dec 2019, the Chinese authorities sent out a public alert warning that a “pneumonia of unknown cause” had been identified in Wuhan, central China.

Some 10 days later, on Jan 7, scientists announced that a new coronavirus was the source of the outbreak – quickly adding that it then did not appear to be spreading between humans. 

At that point, fewer than 60 cases had been found. But now the virus, since given the name SARS-CoV-2, has spread to 185 countries, infecting more than 139 million people with the disease Covid-19 and killing more than 2.9 million.

This map, which updates automatically, shows where the disease is now, how many cases there have been and how many people have died: 



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Where to find the cheapest fuel in Wollongong



The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in NSW
Every day, NewsLocal tracks local fuel prices, so that you know when and where you are paying too much.
The cheapest U91 petrol at 2.15am today, according to Fuel Check, was 126.9 cents a litre, 39.0 cents cheaper than the most expensive bowsers.
These are the cheapest stations for Unleaded:
Russell Vale Service Station, 115 Bellambi Lane, Bellambi, 126.9
Metro Petroleum, 37 Shellharbour Rd, Lake Illawarra, 127.5
7-Eleven Lake Illawarra, 2 – 4 Peterborough Avenue, Lake Illawarra, 127.5
Caltex Woolworths Warilla, 43-57 Shellharbour Rd (Warilla Grove Shopping Centre), Warilla, 127.5
Enhance Barrack Heights, 254-256 Shellharbour Rd, Barrack Heights, 127.5
|
Today’s other average and cheapest fuel prices:
Premium 98
The cheapest is 144.9 cents, while the average is 159.7 cents.
Cheapest stations for Premium 98 are :
Enhance Port Kembla, 2-4 Church Street, Port Kembla, 144.9
Metro Petroleum, 37 Shellharbour Rd, Lake Illawarra, 145.5
7-Eleven Lake Illawarra, 2 – 4 Peterborough Avenue, Lake Illawarra, 145.5
South Petrol, 48 Illawarra St, Port Kembla, 145.9
Russell Vale Service Station, 115 Bellambi Lane, Bellambi, 146.9
|
Premium 95
The cheapest is 139.5 cents, while the average is 152.8 cents.
Cheapest stations for Premium 95 are :
7-Eleven Lake Illawarra, 2 – 4 Peterborough Avenue, Lake Illawarra, 139.5
Independent Balgownie, 99 Balgownie Road, Balgownie, 139.9
Caltex Woolworths Warilla, 43-57 Shellharbour Rd (Warilla Grove Shopping Centre), Warilla, 140.5
Russell Vale Service Station, 115 Bellambi Lane, Bellambi, 142.9
7- Eleven Towradgi, 162-166 Pioneer Rd, Towradgi, 143.9
Caltex Star Mart Barrack Heights, 332-336 Shellharbour Rd, Barrack Heights, 143.9
7-Eleven Corrimal, 138-146 Princes Highway, Corrimal, 143.9
|
Diesel:
The cheapest is 123.9 cents, while the average is 134.9 cents.
Cheapest stations for Diesel are:
Caltex Port Kembla, 16 Flinders St, Port Kembla, 123.9
Independent Towradgi, 119 Towradgi Road, Towradgi, 125.7
Independent Kanahooka, 90-94 Lakeside Dr, Kanahooka, 126.9
Enhance Port Kembla, 2-4 Church Street, Port Kembla, 128.9
Russell Vale Service Station, 115 Bellambi Lane, Bellambi, 129.9
Westside Coniston, 136 Gladstone St, Coniston, 129.9
|
LPG
The cheapest is 79.8 cents, while the average is 89.1 cents.
Cheapest stations for LPG are :
7-Eleven Dapto, 125-127 Princes Hwy, Dapto, 79.8
Metro Berkeley, 57 Winnima Way, Berkeley, 82.9
Bp Warrawong, 42-46 King St, Warrawong, 83.9
Enhance Port Kembla, 2-4 Church Street, Port Kembla, 86.9
Bp West Wollongong, 438 Crown St, West Wollongong, 87.9
|
Why you should shop around:
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says petrol price cycles bear little relation to the wholesale price of fuel.
“The cheapest and most expensive days to buy petrol can change from cycle to cycle,” it says, recommending motorists “use price cycles to help you decide when to buy petrol”.
What service stations must do:
Service station operators must ensure the price of fuel in FuelCheck matches the standard price of the fuel at their service station at all times.
NSW Fair Trading says consumers who notice a price difference are “encouraged to raise this with the service station operator”.
“Consumers are able to lodge a complaint with NSW Fair Trading directly via FuelCheck regarding instances of fuel price mismatch,” it says.
“Fair Trading will review each complaint and depending on the circumstances the service station may be fined for non-compliance. Penalty notices of $550 can be issued for each offence.”

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Man who famously mailed himself from Melbourne to London in 1965 wants to find accomplices


It’s been 56 years since Brian Robson made international headlines by mailing himself from Australia to London.

As the story goes, the young Welshman became homesick while working in Melbourne but couldn’t afford to fly himself home.

So he squeezed himself into a crate, which was then flown to London.

“It was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Terrifying,” Robson told the BBC.

“I spent most of my time, I think if I be truthful, in trying to control myself, calm myself down.

“And then in between all that, of course, I couldn’t breathe properly half the time. I couldn’t move.

“Certainly after perhaps the first 36 hours, my muscles were all seizing up.”

Robson says while the flight was meant to travel direct to London, it was diverted via Los Angles.

His trip ended up taking five days.

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Where to find the cheapest fuel in Macarthur Camden



The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in NSW
Every day, NewsLocal tracks local fuel prices, so that you know when and where you are paying too much.
The cheapest U91 petrol at 8.15pm today, according to Fuel Check, was 121.9 cents a litre, 48.0 cents cheaper than the most expensive bowsers.
These are the cheapest stations for Unleaded:
Westside Petroleum Campbelltown, 104 Lindesay Street, Campbelltown, 121.9
Apex Petroleum Airds, 60 Riverside, Airds, 121.9
Independent Appin, 71 Appin Road, Appin, 121.9
7-Eleven Lurnea, 124 Hoxton Park Rd, Lurnea, 122.5
Uncle Leo’S, Lot 1A, Campbelltown, Glenfield, 123.9
Independent Camden, 8 Argyle St, Camden, 123.9
Bp Rossmore, 832 Bringelly Road, Rossmore, 123.9
|
Today’s other average and cheapest fuel prices:
Premium 98
The cheapest is 135.7 cents, while the average is 166.1 cents.
Cheapest stations for Premium 98 are :
Costco Casula (Members Only), 20 Parkersfarm Place, Casula, 135.7
7-Eleven Lurnea, 124 Hoxton Park Rd, Lurnea, 140.5
Westside Petroleum Campbelltown, 104 Lindesay Street, Campbelltown, 140.9
Apex Petroleum Airds, 60 Riverside, Airds, 140.9
Independent Appin, 71 Appin Road, Appin, 140.9
|
Premium 95
The cheapest is 134.5 cents, while the average is 164.9 cents.
Cheapest stations for Premium 95 are :
7-Eleven Lurnea, 124 Hoxton Park Rd, Lurnea, 134.5
Apex Petroleum Airds, 60 Riverside, Airds, 135.9
Caltex Woolworths Minto, 2 Cary Grove (Cnr Ben Lomond Drive), Minto, 136.9
7-Eleven Minto, Lot 1 Ben Lomond Road, Minto, 137.9
Caltex Woolworths Prestons, 2203 Camden Valley Way, Prestons, 138.4
|
Diesel:
The cheapest is 120.7 cents, while the average is 131.9 cents.
Cheapest stations for Diesel are:
Westside Petroleum Campbelltown, 104 Lindesay Street, Campbelltown, 120.7
Apex Petroleum Airds, 60 Riverside, Airds, 121.9
Speedway Casula, 572-576 Hume Hwy, Casula, 123.9
Westside Petroleum Ingleburn, Shop 8 24 Lagonda Drive, Ingleburn, 123.9
Speedway Ingleburn, 13/3 Lancester St, Ingleburn, 123.9
Independent Ingleburn, 21-23 Cumberland Rd, Ingleburn, 123.9
Independent Ingleburn, 58 Stennett, Ingleburn, 123.9
|
LPG
The cheapest is 79.9 cents, while the average is 85.4 cents.
Cheapest stations for LPG are :
Speedway Casula, 572-576 Hume Hwy, Casula, 79.9
Westside Petroleum Campbelltown, 104 Lindesay Street, Campbelltown, 81.9
United Petroleum Minto, 6 Swettenham Road, Minto, 81.9
7-Eleven Campbelltown, 71 Blaxland Road, Campbelltown, 83.9
7-Eleven Campbelltown, 96 Queen & Broughton Streets, Campbelltown, 83.9
7-Eleven Ingleburn, 63 Oxford & Cumberland Streets, Ingleburn, 83.9
Bp Denham Court, 505 Campbelltown Road, Denham Court, 83.9
Bp Rossmore, 832 Bringelly Road, Rossmore, 83.9
|
Why you should shop around:
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says petrol price cycles bear little relation to the wholesale price of fuel.
“The cheapest and most expensive days to buy petrol can change from cycle to cycle,” it says, recommending motorists “use price cycles to help you decide when to buy petrol”.
What service stations must do:
Service station operators must ensure the price of fuel in FuelCheck matches the standard price of the fuel at their service station at all times.
NSW Fair Trading says consumers who notice a price difference are “encouraged to raise this with the service station operator”.
“Consumers are able to lodge a complaint with NSW Fair Trading directly via FuelCheck regarding instances of fuel price mismatch,” it says.
“Fair Trading will review each complaint and depending on the circumstances the service station may be fined for non-compliance. Penalty notices of $550 can be issued for each offence.”

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JobKeeper ends, but Queensland businesses struggle to find workers


Central Queensland businesses are turning customers away and closing down amid a struggle to find staff despite the end of JobKeeper.

Federal treasury warned that tens of thousands of jobs would be lost when the subsidy ended last Sunday.

Regions like Cairns and the Whitsundays were expected to be among the hardest hit, but as businesses shifted to domestic-focused trade restaurant and tourism operators faced an entirely different problem.

“A lot of tourism operators across the broader region haven’t been claiming JobKeeper for many months now, because their figures didn’t represent 30 per cent or more drop in revenue,” Capricorn Enterprise chief executive Mary Carrol said.

Across the state health protocols have forced hospitality staff to control the capacity within their businesses and regulate COVID-19 check-in requirements.

The new responsibilities, in addition to regular services, mean staff are stretched thin.

“We still have some restaurants who have not been able to open seven nights a week because they can’t find enough hospitality workers,” Ms Carroll said.

Kylie Smith manages a waterfront restaurant in Yeppoon that was open seven days a week before the pandemic hit.

The restaurant is now closed for dinner from Monday to Friday due to a lack of staff, who Ms Smith said had been too hard to find.

“We don’t take wedding bookings at the moment or any larger functions or events because, again, that takes staff resources,” she said.

The restaurant had increased its focus on takeaways and introduced an electronic ordering system for times when the restaurant couldn’t offer table service.

“[We are looking for] different ways we can build up, because there’s certainly no light at the end of the tunnel at this point in terms of recruiting staff,” Ms Smith said.

Steve Bates from Callide Dawson Chamber of Commerce said the problem stretched as far as Biloela.

“Cafes in town are struggling to get staff numbers — people just aren’t applying for jobs,” he said.

Biloela business owner Mark DiRuggiero spent six months trying to recruit staff, but he closed his cafe and bar in January.

Mr DiRuggiero said while the two-year-old business was unable to recover from the financial impact of COVID-19, an inability to find staff played a factor overall.

“I was advertising for manager and barrister, just people I could put on for at least six months,” he said.

“I could hardly get any applications.

“If you don’t have staff there, you’re not running your business efficiently.

Data from Capricorn Enterprise showed there were more than 3,000 jobs available in central Queensland.

Callide Dawson Chamber of Commerce called on locals to fill the positions.

“I would suggest to people who have had a good old rest, it’s time to stand up and help your country fight back now,” Mr Bates said.

Ms Smith said customer demand at her restaurant was back to pre-pandemic levels, but she was still restricted due to the staffing shortages.

“That’s something a number of venues are experiencing,” she said.

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What is a brand voice, and how do you find yours?


Many successful brands are recognisable because they exhibit a clear, consistent personality and purpose across channels. It’s their brand voice. For small businesses looking to develop a more recognisable brand, it’s important to think about your own brand voice.

This voice should be your own, and purposeful, deliberate and consistent across all channels. With eCommerce sales reaching new heights in 2020, it has highlighted the importance of a brand voice that is effective online. Building an engaging brand voice requires focus and commitment; here are some key considerations if you’re setting out to create yours.

Benefits of a strong brand voice

Your brand’s identity centers around its voice – the voice that gives customers a feel for your company’s values, mission and personality. This voice can help to humanise your brand and make it easier for customers to connect and relate with you on a more meaningful level. In competitive industries, it has never been more important to ensure you stand out and connect with your customers. Your brand voice is a great way to build this connection and differentiate yourself.

Having a consistent voice across every offline and online channel can help build brand recognition which, ultimately, can result in increased loyalty and trust. For example, when a customer who typically only interacts with your business on social media receives an email from you, if the brand voice is consistent and recognisable, it’s easier for them to identify it and trust that it’s a legitimate email.

From your name and website design, to your delivery and the platforms you use, brand voice consistency ensures your audience is aware of who you are, no matter where or when they interact with you. This is the case for your website, social media, email marketing and any other customer touchpoint.

Creating a brand voice to suit your audience

When creating your brand voice, carefully assesses your audience and consider how to best engage with, and appeal to, them. Think about, for example, their age or socio-economic background. For example, if your audience are Gen Z, an informal light-hearted tone could be effective, and if they’re Baby Boomers you might want to consider an informal, informative voice.

Think also about how you want to be perceived as a brand, do you want to be witty, educational, supportive or something else entirely? Do you plan to engage with your customers using stories, anecdotes and examples, or is it better to keep it simple and get straight to the point? While consistency is important, so too is regularly measuring the effectiveness of your voice. If it’s not resonating, or if your business is growing or evolving, think about how to refine it.

Authenticity

When building your brand voice, stay true to your business’ values. Communicating with your audience in a genuine and value-driven manner can help your customers understand your business better and, therefore, develop a deeper affinity to it. After all, people respond to authenticity, an important trait many businesses are endeavouring to build today. It’s vital that you remain honest with your intentions, consistent with your communication and authentic with your delivery.

Developing a strong brand voice can help your small business cut through the noise, leaving a notable impression with your target audience. If everything is consistent from the words you use when responding to a customer online, to the tone on your website and marketing materials, it will help you create a recognisable brand voice that resonates with your customers.

Tamara Oppen, Managing Director, GoDaddy Australia



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Man, 70, charged after police find shallow grave of partner at property



A 70-year-old man who allegedly transported his dead partner’s naked body in a wheelbarrow and then buried her in a shallow grave on his property has fronted Hobart’s Magistrates Court this morning.

Police allege Olaf Vennik buried his partner Soo Lan Chuah on his Cranbrook property on Tasmania’s East Coast after she died in August 2020.

He is not charged with anything to do with her death.

Police claim he “dragged” her body onto a modified wheelbarrow, stripped her naked, placed her in a shallow unmarked hole and covered her with sand.

They also allege Mr Vennik also failed to report her death.

In November 2020, police received a tip-off and conducted a two-day search of the rural property where they found a grave containing her body.

He was charged with interfering with human remains, unlawfully disposing of human remains, neglecting to bury, neglecting duty as to burial and failure to report death.

Mr Vennik appeared unrepresented before Magistrate Rob Wester in court and asked for an adjournment in order to seek legal advice.

He has yet to enter a plea and will return in May.

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Where to find the cheapest fuel in Penrith



The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in NSW
Every day, NewsLocal tracks local fuel prices, so that you know when and where you are paying too much.
The cheapest U91 petrol at 4.15pm today, according to Fuel Check, was 126.9 cents a litre, 23.0 cents cheaper than the most expensive bowsers.
These are the cheapest stations for Unleaded:
Bp St Marys South, 12 Gallipoli St, St Marys, 126.9
Independent Lalor Park, Lot 8 Comercial Road, Lalor Park, 127.9
Westside Doonside, 13-15 Doonside Rd, Doonside, 128.1
Independent Riverstone, 129 Piccadilly St, Riverstone, 128.7
7-Eleven Riverstone, 55 Garfield Rd, Riverstone, 129.7
Puma Energy Marsden Park, 65 Garfield Road West & Richmond Road, Marsden Park, 129.7
|
Today’s other average and cheapest fuel prices:
Premium 98
The cheapest is 138.7 cents, while the average is 154.8 cents.
Cheapest stations for Premium 98 are :
Costco Marsden Park (Members Only), 10 Langford Drive, Marsden Park, 138.7
Independent Riverstone, 129 Piccadilly St, Riverstone, 146.7
Speedway Blacktown, 90 Blacktown Road, Blacktown, 147.4
7-Eleven Riverstone, 55 Garfield Rd, Riverstone, 147.7
Metro Sunnyholt Rd Blacktown, 7 148 Sunnyholt Road, Blacktown, 147.9
7-Eleven Kings Park, 363 Vardys Road, Kings Park, 147.9
7-Eleven Arndell Park, 180 Reservoir Road, Arndell Park, 147.9
7-Eleven Blacktown, 62 Walters Road, Blacktown, 147.9
7-Eleven Blacktown, 175 Richmond Road, Blacktown, 147.9
Speedway North St Marys, 91 Glossop St, North St Marys, 147.9
Westside Doonside, 13-15 Doonside Rd, Doonside, 147.9
|
Premium 95
The cheapest is 140.9 cents, while the average is 148.9 cents.
Cheapest stations for Premium 95 are :
Budget Blacktown, 143 Kildare Road, Blacktown, 140.9
Bp St Marys South, 12 Gallipoli St, St Marys, 140.9
7-Eleven Riverstone, 55 Garfield Rd, Riverstone, 141.7
7-Eleven Kings Park, 363 Vardys Road, Kings Park, 141.9
7-Eleven Blacktown, 175 Richmond Road, Blacktown, 141.9
|
Diesel:
The cheapest is 124.9 cents, while the average is 133.1 cents.
Cheapest stations for Diesel are:
Independent Riverstone, 129 Piccadilly St, Riverstone, 124.9
Speedway North St Marys, 91 Glossop St, North St Marys, 125.9
Puma Energy Marsden Park, 65 Garfield Road West & Richmond Road, Marsden Park, 127.7
Speedway Blacktown, 90 Blacktown Road, Blacktown, 127.7
Freedom Fuel Vineyard, 1540 Windsor Road, Vineyard, 127.7
|
LPG
The cheapest is 78.9 cents, while the average is 84.0 cents.
Cheapest stations for LPG are :
7-Eleven Kingswood, 127 Great Western Highway (Corner Morley Avenue), Kingswood, 78.9
7-Eleven St Clair, 4 Endeavour & Bennett Roads, St Clair, 78.9
7-Eleven St Marys, Corner Mamre Road & Wilson Street, St Marys, 78.9
7-Eleven Minchinbury, Lot 3 Great Western Highway (Cnr John Hines Ave), Minchinbury, 79.7
7-Eleven Colyton, 104 Great Western Highway & Bennett Road, Colyton, 79.7
7-Eleven Eastern Creek, Lot 16 – 25 Great Western Highway, Eastern Creek, 79.7
7-Eleven Minchinbury, 1042 Great Western Highway, Minchinbury, 79.7
|
Why you should shop around:
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says petrol price cycles bear little relation to the wholesale price of fuel.
“The cheapest and most expensive days to buy petrol can change from cycle to cycle,” it says, recommending motorists “use price cycles to help you decide when to buy petrol”.
What service stations must do:
Service station operators must ensure the price of fuel in FuelCheck matches the standard price of the fuel at their service station at all times.
NSW Fair Trading says consumers who notice a price difference are “encouraged to raise this with the service station operator”.
“Consumers are able to lodge a complaint with NSW Fair Trading directly via FuelCheck regarding instances of fuel price mismatch,” it says.
“Fair Trading will review each complaint and depending on the circumstances the service station may be fined for non-compliance. Penalty notices of $550 can be issued for each offence.”

Thank you for visiting My Local Pages and reading this post about National and New South Wales News and updates titled “Where to find the cheapest fuel in Penrith”. This news release was brought to you by MyLocalPages as part of our local and national news services.

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Small businesses on the NSW – Vic border struggle to find pandemic mental health support


The mounting pressure of COVID-19 recovery is impacting the mental health of small businesses, particularly those along the New South Wales – Victoria border.

Courtney Azzi could not escape the pandemic even if she wanted to.

When the border between NSW and Victoria first closed, police set up a checkpoint right at the doorstep of her beauty and wellness spa business in Albury.

“Just looking at it all day every day it was just horrible,” she said. 

“Everyone was just on edge all the time and just drained.”

Having just given birth, Ms Azzi was forced to take her four-day-old son into work with her as she dealt with staff shortages and other financial hardship as a result of the border closure.

“It was just constant noise and constant action all the time and it’s just not enjoyable to come to work.

“The hassle of getting to work, did products arrive, there were generators going all day every day, walkie-talkies going all the time.

“We would usually sell about 30 – 40 vouchers a week … I think we sold three in five months.”

 Ms Azzi said mental health has been a big issue throughout the last 12 months.

“You’re just on edge all the time,” she said. 

“Just as we start to get a bit of momentum again something else happens.”

And she was not alone.

Albury Business Connect, in conjunction with the Personnel Group, conducted a survey in October last year that looked at the mental health of business operators along the border in response to border closures.

General Manager Carrick Gill-Vallance said the results were confronting.

“There are a few gaps that need addressing,” he said.

“We identified that there was a real problem around people’s mental health within the business community and also a real problem in the system in that they couldn’t get themselves into a psychology appointment or psychiatry or counseling.”

The survey found that 47 per cent of respondents said they felt out of control of their own mental health as a result of border closures.

Mr Gill-Vallance said the business community has come a long way since the survey was conducted last year but is concerned some business operators will experience a delayed response to stress and trauma.

“Whilst we might be running on the adrenaline and the energy that we can generate through a healthy economy, we’re still yet to really experience the side effects of that stress and trauma that a lot of business operators experienced last year,” he said.

He said there was also an enormous amount of pressure on small businesses in regional and rural communities to do well.

“The regional and rural local economies are kind of charged with reinvigorating the national economy and being a catalyst for reigniting it,” he said.

“If the businesses don’t have the capacity to manage themselves or their team and their business through challenges like mental and physical health, how are they going to achieve the goal that is set on their desks?”

Mr Gill-Vallance said support for small businesses in the next 12 months is vital.

“This is when the bandaid will come off,” he said.

“That’s what we’re expecting we’ll see this year.”

Albury Business Connect has received $25,000 in funding from the NSW government to help operators manage mental health issues.

The organisation is currently working out ways to best spend the money so that businesses along the border feel supported.

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Andrew Laming upskirting allegations: Queensland police find ‘no evidence of criminal offence’



Queensland police will take no action against federal backbencher Andrew Laming, who was accused of taking an inappropriate photograph of a woman while she was bending over. 

A number of people were interviewed as part of the investigation and a police spokesperson said detectives found no evidence to indicate an offence had been committed. 

“Investigators, having considered the interviews and all other information considered as part of the investigation, have determined there is no evidence to indicate a criminal offence,” a QPS statement said.

The woman involved in the incident lodged a formal complaint, and police said she has been advised of the outcome. 

Dr Laming has also been accused of – and has admitted to – harassing two female constituents and is now on leave to undergo empathy training at the request of Scott Morrison. 

Pressure continues to mount on the prime minister to expel the LNP MP for the Queensland seat of Bowman from the coalition. 

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said Dr Laming’s position in the coalition party room was untenable. 

He compared the circumstances to the handling of a rape allegation against NSW state MP Michael Johnsen

Mr Johnsen was booted from the coalition party rooms after the allegations came to light. 

Mr Turnbull said the same approach must be taken towards Dr Laming. 

“It’s pretty obvious that he should be sitting on the crossbench,” Mr Turnbull said. 

“His behaviour is so out of order.” 

Mr Johnsen has since resigned from parliament, after further allegations this week that he had invited a sex worker to visit him inside state parliament. 

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