Planting sites help grow green canopy


City of Logan continues to strengthen its green credentials with a decision to protect two Council-owned reserves and utilise them for tree planting.

Environmental (vegetation) offsets will be established in currently unused areas of Skene Road Reserve at Wolffdene and Newstead Park at Buccan.

Tree planting of the sites will be designed to allow for future community recreational use, including walking trails.

Neighbouring properties to the two sites have been identified as having environmental values, including core koala habitat. It will take about seven years for the sites to become fully established.

The two sites represent about five hectares of land which will be added to the more than 70 hectares of land Logan City Council currently manages for environmental offset plantings.

To date, Council has planted more than 70,000 trees under the offset planting program.

Offset planting is made possible through payments received from developers and property owners to compensate for the environmental impacts of clearing native vegetation.

The funds are spent on creating new native bushland habitats in areas that are forever protected from clearing.

The securing of new offset planting sites follows Council’s recent purchase of a 212-hectare property at Greenbank to be preserved as natural bushland and a koala habitat.

Council also earned national recognition last year for its planting and habitat protection programs.

City of Logan was named ‘Best on Ground’ by the Greener Spaces Better Places network for increasing the city’s green cover by 5 per cent at a time when annual population growth was 2 per cent.

The organisation’s annual report also found the city’s tree canopy had increased from 41 per cent in 2016 to 53 per cent in 2020.

Environment Chair Deputy Mayor Jon Raven said Council was committed to protecting and expanding green space.

“We are lucky to have so many beautiful natural environments in Logan and we understand the important role they play in our lifestyle,” Cr Raven said.

“That’s why Council continues to allocate millions of dollars each year to improve our waterways and koala habitats, implement species management and bushcare programs and deliver carbon reduction and energy efficiency strategies.

“We know the protection of our natural environment is vital for the future of our city and a priority for our community, which is why these programs are so important.”
 

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Joseph Suaalii hype set to grow after broadcasters agree to stream reserve grade trial debut


The hype around Joseph Suaalii is about to go to another level after broadcasters committed to airing his much-anticipated trial match on Saturday.

Kayo – which is already broadcasting the other eight NRL trials on Saturday and Sunday – has opted to also show the North Sydney Bears v Canberra Raiders reserve grade clash live in order to cash in on the Suaalii hype, while the event will also be streamed on nrl.com, whose feed will be syndicated on the NSWRL website.

The Roosters have opted not to play Suaalii in the top grade in their final hit-out against Canberra on Saturday at Seiffert Oval, with coach Trent Robinson expected to name his best side, except for the injured Luke Keary, Sam Verrills and Victor Radley. Instead, Suaalii will run out for feeder team North Sydney in the curtain-raiser at 2pm.

Mindful of shielding Suaalii from the pressure and expectation surrounding his first appearance for the club, the Roosters hoped a Bears game at Queanbeyan would be the perfect opportunity to avoid the fanfare.

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Continental drift – Duty-free retail is finding new ways to grow | Business


The pandemic is pushing the industry further away from cigarettes, booze and airports, and towards China


HAINAN, A TROPICAL island 450km south-west of Hong Kong, used to be a sleepy backwater populated by budget resorts catering to Chinese tourists unable to afford a trip to Hawaii. Today it draws travellers with considerably fatter wallets. Buying a Gucci gown or a Tiffany trinket in one of Hainan’s giant, posh malls feels no different from shopping on Fifth Avenue in New York or Avenue Montaigne in Paris—until the tills are rung. Instead of walking out with their bling, visitors from mainland China pick up their items at the airport on their way home, or get them dispatched there directly. Under rules devised a decade ago, which mean that for duty purposes Hainan is treated as a separate zone from mainland China, they are exempt from a variety of taxes and duties. Savings can reach 30% as a result.

Duty-free shopping conjures up images of crowded airport terminals. As the covid-19 pandemic has emptied these of passengers, the shops inside have suffered commensurately. Having reached $86bn in 2019, according to Generation Research, a consultancy, duty-free sales collapsed by two-thirds last year. Mauro Anastasi of Bain, another consultancy, forecasts travel-retail sales will not reach those levels again in real terms before the second half of the decade. Intercontinental passengers and business travellers, the biggest spenders, are likely to take longest to return to the skies. Chinese tourists, by far the most prized by duty-free operators, are shunning countries with poor track records at handling the pandemic.

Shoppers will one day return to airports. Yet when it emerges from the current crisis, duty-free shopping will have been profoundly transformed: unabashedly focused on luxury, less connected to travel and closer to Asian high-rollers. Hainan points the way.

Rebate tectonics

Before covid-19, selling stuff to travellers had been one of the few bright spots of the brick-and-mortar retail world. The practice has been popular ever since cruise ships on the high seas plied their passengers with booze and cigarettes free of government levies. In 1950 Ireland applied the principle to aviation. As mass tourism took hold, airports the world over turned themselves into tax-free shopping malls with departure gates. Annual growth of around 8% in recent pre-pandemic years—twice the figure for other shops—was fuelled by sales of cognac, sunglasses, purses and other knick-knacks. Sales have grown eight-fold since the late 1980s (see chart). Excited marketers referred to duty-free shops as “the sixth continent”.

Covid-19 has deflated that enthusiasm. It has also, as in many other areas, accelerated pre-existing trends that were reshaping the duty-free business. The first has to do with the mix of stuff sold in duty free. Alcohol and, particularly, cigarettes have dwindled over the years. Posh brands became mainstays of airport concourses as they cottoned on these were good places to pitch to wealthy people, particularly Asian passengers. Luxury goods, perfumes and cosmetics now dominate travel retail, accounting for two-thirds of sales.

The second development is the shift away from airports. Though the terminal remains its natural habitat, duty-free shopping has in recent years expanded into locations farther afield. Spending per passenger in airports was sagging even before the coronavirus hit.

At the same time specialised downtown shops in tourist hotspots have lured visitors eligible for tax discounts if they repatriate what they buy. These locations, particularly popular in Asia, now represent nearly 40% of all sales. Rules vary globally, but some allow shopping even from those with a tenuous link to travel, for example a ticket booked several months hence.

Tax-exempt outlets are popping up across mainland China, catering to domestic travellers who have returned from overseas (and, soon, who plan to travel there in future). Chinese shoppers in Hainan, for example, now enjoy a duty-free allowance of 100,000 yuan ($15,500), thanks to a recent tripling of the tax break.

The final trend, also on display in Hainan, is duty free’s eastward drift. In 2011 Asia-Pacific overtook Europe as the largest regional market. (America, where most flights are domestic, has always been a laggard.) Before the pandemic Seoul’s Incheon, a two-hour flight from Beijing, became the biggest airport shop in the world. Revenues for Prada and Hermès in Asia excluding Japan have jumped by over 40% in 2020, owing heavily to splurges in Hainan. Sales there are reported to have reached $5bn last year, more than doubling from 2019. Industry watchers predict they could grow five-fold within a decade.

Although Chinese buyers have been the world’s biggest luxury consumers for years, accounting for a third of global sales, brands were reluctant to consider places like Hainan as top-tier luxury venues. Around two-thirds of Chinese spending on handbags, watches and other baubles took place overseas. The Communist Party is keen to change that. The ever-more-generous tax breaks for the well-heeled are “the key tenet of a long-term government mission to maximise domestic consumption and repatriate travel-related shopping from abroad,” says Martin Moodie of the Moodie Davitt Report, a travel-retail newsletter. Daniel Zipser of McKinsey, a consultancy, expects the overseas share of luxury spending to decline. As a result, luxury groups’ attitudes towards venues like Hainan “have changed dramatically”, says Cherry Leung of Bernstein, a broker.

If the Chinese continue to buy their baubles at home, that will suck away more business from the duty-free operators that have historically dominated non-Chinese airports, such as Dufry of Switzerland and DFS, part of the LVMH luxury empire. Last year China Duty Free, a state-controlled group, overtook Dufry as the world’s largest purveyor of tariff-free luxury goods. The market capitalisation of China Duty Free’s Shanghai-listed arm has more than tripled over the past year to $112bn, making it one of the most valuable retailers in the world.

In an acknowledgment of the shifting balance of spending power, some travel retailers from Europe have tried to muscle in on Hainan. Dufry has sold a stake to Alibaba in the hope that the Chinese e-commerce giant can improve its fortunes there. Last month Lagardère Travel Retail, part of a French conglomerate, launched a second shop on the island.

Airports will remain good places to find well-off shoppers. Bored people waiting for their flights to be called are perfect marks for luxury brands. Most retailers spend fortunes attracting customers to their shops or websites, points out Julián Díaz González, boss of Dufry. “For us it is just moving them from the corridor to the shops.” As the industry continues to evolve, Mr Díaz may increasingly find it is a matter of moving the duty-free shops to the customers. ■

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Aboriginal community tensions grow following SA parliamentary inquiry proposal


A group of Aboriginal leaders has warned that a parliamentary inquiry into Aboriginal governance in South Australia risks causing “great harm to individuals, tearing families apart and damaging communities”.

In a letter signed by 12 community elders and sent to South Australian Premier Steven Marshall, the group expresses their opposition to a proposed parliamentary inquiry into the governance of Aboriginal corporations and organisations.

“Allowing and encouraging people to prosecute their personal grievances under parliamentary privilege risks great harm to individuals, tearing families apart and damaging communities,” the letter reads.

“It would be unfortunate if the harm this inquiry might cause was remembered as your legacy in Aboriginal Affairs.”

Prominent South Australian Aboriginal leaders, including Kaurna man Jeffrey Newchurch and CEO of Native Title services Keith Thomas, are among the signatories.

“We want to see the very highest levels of accountability and transparency in Aboriginal organisations,” the letter states.

“Despite almost daily reports of non-Aboriginal companies entering liquidation or administration, we don’t see calls for a parliamentary committee to investigate their governance.”

The group has the backing of Shadow Aboriginal Affairs Minister Kyam Maher.

Speaking on ABC Radio Adelaide on Friday, Mr Maher said he would be reconsidering an inquiry if he were still Aboriginal Affairs Minister.

“I’d be kind of scared of this mob if I was still the minister and there was a group of very senior and, I think, respected and considered Aboriginal leaders who would form that view,” he said.

Mr Maher said that national watchdog, the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC), regularly did “deep dives” into Aboriginal corporations.

“It’s been suggested to me that there might be a number of other avenues or vehicles that this could be done by,” he said.

“I don’t think anyone’s disputing better governance is something everybody wants.”

Governance woes lead to watchdog takeovers

In the past two years, the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations has stepped in and placed multiple SA native title body corporates into administration, taking over control of the corporations and often appointing new directors once investigations are complete.

Among the key complaints leading to special administration are a lack of financial record keeping and governance issues between members and the board.

An investigation into the “labyrinth” of financial issues uncovered by the regulator in one of South Australia’s largest native title body corporates, the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA) is still ongoing after several extensions of the special administration period.

Last year, ORIC head Selwyn Button described the dire straits the organisation was in.

“The special administrators have uncovered an intricate network of related entities and interests within the ATLA corporate structure,” Mr Button said.

“It’s unclear if members even knew of the existence of some entities.”

The next administration extension is scheduled to end in April, when control of the company is expected to be handed back to a board of directors appointed by the special administrators.

Reform advocates call for action

In early February, the Premier announced he would back an inquiry after a long campaign by Aboriginal reform advocates for the government to step in on what they had labelled a broken system.

The proposed parliamentary probe would look into allegations of maladministration and governance issues within Aboriginal corporations across South Australia.

Reform advocate Tyson Lindsay said government intervention was necessary.

“This is needed because of all of the corruption and fraudulent activity and the community suffering from the actions of the so-called leaders,” Mr Lindsay said.

Mr Lindsay is a Mathawi, meaning a “land leader”, from South Australia’s Riverland region.

He said the issues with Aboriginal corporations are holding many nations back from success.

“This has been driven by the community, who have had enough of the same old people telling them the same old lies promising outcomes, which never happen,” Mr Lindsay said.

The Premier met with the Aboriginal Reform SA group last November, during which members aired their concerns that the native title system was susceptible to corruption and communities were suffering as a result.

SA Premier Steven Marshall
In a statement, the Premier’s office said he won’t try to influence whether an inquiry proceeds.(ABC News: Nick Harmsen)

“They’re suffering in multiple areas. The health areas, the mental health areas, the psychological wellbeing,” Mr Lindsay said.

“The situation at the moment is absolutely causing so much damage to the Aboriginal people of this land.

“That is just absolutely very troubling.”

The debate between Elders has reached a boiling point, with some reform activists alleging they’ve received death threats over their continued push for change.

They say the only way for there to be true transparency around the allegations of corruption is for all parties to be able to give evidence while protected under parliamentary privilege.

Mr Lindsay said overwhelmingly, Aboriginal people support government reform, and they’re grateful the Premier has thrown support behind their proposed action.

“This is this is really going to help a lot of problems in regards to closing the gap and reconciliation,” Mr Lindsay said.

“This is going to help in a lot of areas.”

In a statement, the Office of the Premier said he won’t be trying to influence the committee on whether they proceed with an inquiry.

The Parliamentary standing committee on Aboriginal Lands will meet on Monday, when it is likely an announcement will be made on whether the inquiry will go ahead.

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Myanmar coup: Military warns protesters not to destroy democracy as protests grow


In a statement on the government-run MRTV channel, the military warned that “democracy can be destroyed” without discipline, and that people who “harm the state’s stability, public safety and the rule of law” could face legal action.

The warning came as two people were seriously injured in the capital Naypyidaw on Tuesday after police officers allegedly shot at protesters, according to the political party of deposed leader Aung San Su Kyi.

“A young man sustained a gunshot wound to the chest and another woman… was hit in the head by a bullet that pierced a motorcycle helmet,” National League for Democracy (NLD) Party spokesperson Kyi Toe said in a Facebook post on Tuesday afternoon.

Kyi Toe said that a doctor had confirmed the female victim would was currently in critical condition and would need to be placed on a ventilator.

“The doctor said the wound was from a real bullet, not a rubber bullet,” Kyi Toe added.

The police and military in Myanmar have not issued any statements regarding the protests in the country.

On Tuesday, the government imposed new restrictions on public gatherings and instituted a curfew for major towns and cities across the country, including the capital, Naypyidaw, and largest city, Yangon, where large protests are ongoing.

According to a notice published by state-owned newspaper The Global New Light of Myanmar, people are prohibited from gathering in groups of more than five, restricted from joining protest marches on foot or by car, and are not allowed to make political speeches in public areas.

A curfew will be in place from 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. in most major towns and cities. While the notice said it came into force on February 8, it did not say when restrictions would lift.

At least 27 people were arrested during protests in Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city, Reuters reported Tuesday. The report said that two local media organizations confirmed the arrests, which included a journalist for the Democratic Voice of Burma, who said they were detained after filming police violence against protesters.

Tens of thousands of people have taken part in protests against the February 1 coup, despite a long history of brutal crackdowns by the military and threats to use live ammunition against demonstrators.

Those arrested could face prosecution under Section 144 of the Criminal Code for “unlawful assembly.” Section 144 has been used in the past as a way to stop lawful protests and to justify violent crackdowns on mass demonstrations.

For a fourth straight day Tuesday, thousands of people gathered in Naypyidaw against the military takeover and called for the release of detained civilian leader Suu Kyi and other elected lawmakers.

Riot police used water cannon against protesters who had assembled near a barricade on a main road in the capital. The demonstrators could be heard chanting “people’s police.” Police warned on loudspeakers that force could be used if the protesters did not leave the area. Police later fired warning shots into the air to disperse the crowd, according to Reuters.

It was the second day that police had used water cannon against protesters in Naypyidaw. On Monday, protesters chanted anti-coup slogans and demanded power be handed back to elected leaders. Demonstrators dispersed after police told them they would fire live ammunition if they crossed a police line on one of the city’s main roads.

A police vehicle fires water cannon in an attempt to disperse protesters during a demonstration against the military coup in Naypyidaw on February 8, 2021
In Yangon earlier this week, protesters marched toward Sule Pagoda in the former capital’s downtown chanting and holding up the anti-government three-finger salute from the “Hunger Games” movie franchise that became a popular protest sign during the 2014 coup in neighboring Thailand. Sule Pagoda was at the center of anti-government demonstrations that were violently suppressed by the military in 1988 and 2007.

On live feeds posted on social media, protesters could be heard shouting “the people stand together against the dictator’s government” and held banners with portraits of Suu Kyi’s face.

Members of the Student Union led the first wave of protesters, with teachers and engineers joining the Yangon crowd. Saffron-clad monks could be seen supporting the crowd standing outside temples, raising the three-finger salute, and waving.

“We are not going to allow this military dictatorship to pass on to our next generation. We will continue our protest until this dictatorship fails,” Yangon resident Soe Maung Maung said.

The US State Department said that it was “very concerned” about military-imposed restrictions on public gatherings and offered support for the country’s peaceful protests.

“We stand with the people who support their right to assemble peacefully, including to protest peacefully in support of the democratically elected governments, and the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek to receive to impart information both online and offline,” said spokesman Ned Price.

Protesters march through a street on February 8, 2021 in Yangon, Myanmar.
United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that measures imposed by Myanmar’s military rulers, such as rolling internet blackouts, are “concerning” and limit abilities of citizens to speak up. The UN Human Rights Council will hold a special session on Myanmar on Friday.
Protesters have been contending with widespread internet and communications restrictions since last week’s coup with mobile data networks and social media sites Facebook, Twitter and Instagram intermittently blocked.

In his first public televised address since seizing power, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing on Monday told citizens to prioritize “facts” not “feelings,” pledged to hold “free and fair” elections and hand over power to the winner.

Min Aung Hlaing justified his army’s seizure of power by claiming Myanmar’s electoral commission used the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to not allow fair campaigning, and said “no organization is above national interest.”

He did not say when elections would be held but repeated claims the November 2020 poll — in which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy Party (NLD) won an overwhelming victory — was fraudulent. The state of emergency, imposed when Min Aung Hlaing seized power, is in place for one year.

The election commission has denied the claims, saying any irregularities would not have been enough to change the overall result.

In his address, Min Aung Hlaing said that a new election commission had been formed and it is inspecting the voting lists.

Protesters gather in Yangon to demonstrate against the February 1 military coup.

Analysts have said the military’s justification of its takeover does not stand up because the seizure of power was illegal, and in doing so the military violated its own constitution that it drafted in 2008.

“The military claims that its actions are according to the constitution. But this is a coup and the military have bent the rules to suit their interests. It is hard now for anyone to take the military-drafted 2008 constitution seriously,” said Melissa Crouch, law professor at University of New South Wales, Australia and author of “The Constitution of Myanmar.”

Civilian leader Suu Kyi has been held incommunicado since she was detained hours before the military took control. She is under house arrest, charged with breaching the import-export law, while ousted President Win Myint is accused of violating the natural disaster management law — charges that have been described as “trumped up.”

Myanmar human rights organization, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) has documented at least 133 government officials and legislators, and 14 activists detained since the coup.

“There is reasonable concern that the military junta will transform these peaceful demonstrations into a riot and take advantage of the instability,” AAPP joint-secretary Bo Kyo said.

“Whenever state institutions are unstable it is the most marginalized sections of society who suffer, the military has form in finding blame in someone or other group. This must not be allowed to happen. The peaceful march towards democracy must succeed.”

CNN’s Pauline Lockwood, Radina Gigova and Richard Roth contributed reporting.

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Victoria records one new case as lockdown begins; Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport COVID-19 cluster to grow, 2021 Australian Open to go ahead with no crowds


“I mean, to be honest, like, completely honest, it’s absolutely ridiculous that at a grand slam match we’re asked to leave the court for 10 minutes in the middle of the match, like, in the middle of the fourth set,” he told reporters.

“I understand the fact that Victoria is going back into lockdown and people have to go. If that’s the case, then we shouldn’t have played tonight if we weren’t going to finish the match on time.”

This year’s Australian Open was delayed by three weeks so that players were given enough time to quarantine and prepare for the tournament. Limited crowds have been permitted but the next five days will be without fans.

Reuters

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Victoria lockdown begins; Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport COVID-19 cluster to grow, 2021 Australian Open to go ahead with no crowds


Professor Bennett, Deakin University’s chair of epidemiology, said while the mutant strains of COVID-19 were more infectious, it was only by a degree of a few percentage points.

“We know they’re more infectious, but the data tell us that the difference is between 11 per cent of your close contacts being infected after exposure and 14.7 per cent. So, it’s an increase of what is actually, on average, a low base,” she told ABC’s Weekend Breakfast program this morning.

“That’s what we saw in Queensland and WA: very low or little, or no, transmission beyond those workers. So, this should be manageable.”

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She said the fact that secondary contacts were returning positive results within three days of exposure should not be unexpected.

“We had a lot of talk yesterday about this incredibly rapid spread, but we had someone who tested negative as a worker on the seventh, was probably incubating the virus, definitely almost, because they had been exposed three or four days before and turning positive very soon after that test, if they had been tested again,” she said.

“But they weren’t tested until three days later. So, the fact their household contacts tested positive just shows the normal three-day span between exposure and becoming infectious.”

Professor Bennett also said Mr Andrews’ allusions yesterday to recent short-term lockdowns in Queensland and Western Australia as evidence of the success of the lockdown strategy were not quite accurate.

“Yesterday we heard the Victorian premier quote those as success stories to prove that this works, and arguing that’s one of the reasons they introduced it in Melbourne. But, of course, we know that they didn’t have [onward] transmission in Queensland or Western Australia,” she said,

“So, in fact, it wasn’t tested. It doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have been a success, but we don’t know – it wasn’t tested.”

Professor Bennett also said the decision to lock down the entire state rather than just Melbourne was “an extreme measure”.

“I’m very surprised to see that we extend the lockdown right throughout regional Victoria as well,” she said.

“That is an extreme measure, very cautious, but it’s a cautious measure that comes with cost, so that’s the concern.”

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Australian-first CDU study finds COVID-19 could help grow the NT’s stagnant population


Lea Riley faced being stranded and homeless in Sri Lanka when COVID-19 began to spread around the world last March.

The Melbourne nurse was living and working in Saudi Arabia, but had been holidaying in Sri Lanka when she heard Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s warning that Australian borders could close.

“We got locked out of Saudi Arabia and I had to fly to the UK with my British friends, and I found out I had to head home,” she said.

She was grateful to be home, but found herself looking for work opportunities further afield after enduring lockdowns in Melbourne.

Life in the relative normality of Darwin, which has so far escaped long lockdowns, attracted her.

An Australian-first study released this week, alongside Australian Bureau of Statistics data, has now delivered empirical evidence that Ms Riley is far from alone.

The city had been losing more people to other states than it gained for several years following the construction boom associated with the Inpex gas plant.

The new data did not take in some factors, such as births and deaths, but the ABS had previously said net interstate migration loss was a key driver of the NT’s stagnant population.

But in the September 2020 quarter, Darwin’s net interstate migration figure rose — for the first time since June 2015 — by eight people, a dramatic increase from a net loss of 583 people a year before.

The NT Government has deemed Ms Riley and others like her “coronavirus refugees”, and there are hopes an influx of people chasing freedoms and opportunities in the Territory will help reignite population growth.

Greater population retention in the NT, research shows

In the September 2020 quarter, the NT lost a net total of 131 people to interstate migration.

But that was fewer than the 669 people it lost in the same quarter a year earlier, and the lowest net interstate migration loss in eight years.

The ABS figures were backed up by new demographic research, released by Charles Darwin University this week that found people had become more likely to remain in the NT since the beginning of the pandemic — especially if they were young.

Charles Darwin University demographer George Tan said the improving pattern of migration into the NT could drop off again after a COVID-19 vaccine rollout.(ABC News: Henry Zwartz)

The study is the first population-orientated COVID-19 research in Australia, and researchers surveyed more than 1,100 Territorians about their intentions to stay or leave, across all age ranges.

Co-author George Tan said the findings came as a surprise.

“With previous research, we found when it came to life stages or people departing the Territory there was a strong gradient, so the retention rates were 57 per cent for people under 29 years,” he said.

“But since the pandemic, the intention to remain has levelled to over 80 per cent, which is consistent across all age ranges, which is quite significant.”

Dr Tan said those surveyed listed border closures, a change of plans and the fact that the NT had a “COVID-safe reputation” as the reasons behind their intentions.

A woman stands outside next to a bike and smiles.
Lea Riley said there were more career opportunities in the NT in nursing.(ABC News: Michael Franchi)

For Ms Riley, a combination of all three led her to a lifestyle she said she was falling in love with.

“I applied for a nursing job in the NT and found out I was successful three days later. I was in the Territory two weeks later,” she said.

“I love it, I mean coming up in the build-up was tough because I came up in the Melbourne winter, but everyone in Darwin is really chilled,” Ms Riley said.

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Collingwood players apologise for allowing systemic racism to grow at club


The players at Collingwood have penned a letter apologising for their part in allowing a culture of systemic racism to develop at the club.

It comes in the wake of the Do Better report, which found the club was guilty of systemic racism.

The letter, attributed to “the 150 footballers and netballers of Collingwood”, starts with “sorry” and goes on to say players “feel responsible for these injustices” because they stayed quiet when they should have spoken up.

“As athletes, we are sorry to anyone who, through their association with our club, has been marginalised, hurt or discriminated against due to their race,” the letter, released by the club, reads.

“Through our silence we feel responsible for these injustices. We acknowledge it is not enough to simply show support for principles of anti-racism and inclusion. We will confront the history of our club in order to learn, heal and determine how best to walk forward together.”

The report into the systems in place at the Collingwood Football Club described its history with racism as “distinct and egregious” and said structural change was needed.

“Over the last 72 hours we have had the opportunity to digest the DO BETTER report. We also apologise to those members, fans and community who feel guilt and shame as a result of the systemic racism that has occurred within our organisation,” the letter continues.

“To all the young people who dream about one day pulling on the black and white stripes, we pledge as athletes to continue to help create a club that allows ALL of us to thrive, regardless of race.”

Former Collingwood Super Netball star and current Magpies AFLW player Sharni Layton, and men’s AFL player Darcy Moore were among those who shared the letter on social media.

Moore told Radio National he had “never witnessed racism within the footy club” and he found the report “shocking and jarring”.

“[The letter] was born from all of us reading the contents of the report on Monday and having a really visceral and emotional reaction to it,” he said.

“It’s not the environment we know and the environment we’ve put so much into. We felt shocked and stunned by what [the report] says.”

Having not seen the findings ahead of time, Moore said the men’s AFL players got together as they saw the reaction to the review and then discussions continued with the AFLW and Super Netball players, before taking it to management.

“We’re going to use our voice going forward to make sure that [the report’s recommendations are implemented].

“We’re saying sorry for the history of our club. We wanted to be the generation that looked back at our history and said sorry and moved forward.”

Collingwood said the letter was “endorsed and supported fully by the 120 staff” at the club.

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German economy to grow by 3 percent despite coronavirus, Berlin reckons – POLITICO



The German economy will likely grow 3 percent this year despite the impact of COVID-19, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said Wednesday.

“The good news is that the upswing that has been observed since September and October 2020 will continue in 2021, albeit with less momentum than we had hoped,” Altmaier said while presenting the government’s Annual Economic Report, at a press conference in Berlin. “That means we have to do everything we can to sustain this upswing,” he added.

Altmaier said he expects “the economy to return to the level seen before the outbreak of the corona crisis by the second half of next year.” Industry, in particular, has been performing better than many had feared, he said.

Amid concern the cost of financial aid to businesses hit by the pandemic will entail a consolidation of public finances, Altmaier said he is “decisively of the opinion that tax increases are out of place in times of crisis.”

He expressed confidence that the government will have no problem avoiding tax increases while eventually returning to the so-called Schuldenbremse (“debt brake”) which is enshrined in the constitution but has been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19..

“There are opportunities in the Basic Law to apply exemptions, which is what we are doing this year, and so I assume that [Finance Minister Olaf Scholz] will tell us what his priorities are in this matter,” he said.

Altmaier called the new U.S. administration’s decision to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement an “opportunity … for a European-American climate alliance.” He said “synergies” offered by digitalization and green technology are key to ensuring the pandemic slump is followed by sustained economic growth.

“It is important to me that we manage to enter a worldwide hydrogen economy and I’m convinced that German companies can play a role at the forefront of this process,” he said.



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