South Australia to reopen border to Greater Melbourne on Friday

South Australia will reopen its border to Greater Melbourne from 12.01am on Friday.

The lifting of border measures mean people entering the state from Melbourne will no longer be required to undergo COVID-19 testing on days one, five and 12.

SA Premier Steven Marshall described the border reopening as a “huge relief”.

“Victoria has got on top of their outbreak, we are very grateful for the work they have done and we are looking forward to welcoming people from across that border,” he said.
South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said Victoria had done “extremely well” in containing the Holiday Inn outbreak.
“That is all very much under control,” she said.
“There is no evidence at all of community transmission in that state.”
The majority of people from Melbourne currently undergoing quarantine will be able to be released, aside from those who attended a tier one exposure site.

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Barwon Heads suspected hit-run crash in Victoria leave teen P-plater with broken bones

A Victorian father says it’s a miracle his teenage daughter escaped a horror car crash with a few broken bones after being run off the road.

Kaitlin Singleton was driving to work on Tuesday at about 6am when she was involved in a suspected hit-run in Barwon Heads, near Geelong.

Watch more in the video above of German skies turning bright pink from a dust cloud

The 19-year-old P-plater said she was clipped by another car.

“I went off the side of the road and spun around and went into a pole,” Singleton told 7NEWS.

She managed to crawl out, but said the other driver did not stop.

“It’s very inhumane to leave a young girl on the side of the road helpless with the car torn apart,” the teenager’s father Jason Singleton said.

“It’s a miracle she got out without even a scratch on her face.”

Singleton has been left with broken fingers and said her body is bruised, but is thankful the injuries were not worse.

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Flesh-eating Buruli ulcer cases discovered in inner Melbourne suburbs

Cases of the flesh-eating Buruli ulcer have been discovered in the Melbourne suburbs of Essendon, Moonee Ponds and Brunswick West, Victoria’s Department of Health has said — the first time a non-coastal area has been identified as a potential area of risk.

A “handful” of cases had been discovered over a period of time which are linked, the department said.

The bacteria had also been isolated in the faeces of a local possum but the source had not been established.

Tim Stinear from the Doherty Institute in Melbourne said initially it was hard to know if these people caught the illness at their homes or at their coastal holiday homes where the ulcer was more prevalent.

“Recently we’ve been able to use the power of genomics to establish evidence of the local transmission of Buruli ulcer in these inner suburbs,” Professor Stinear said.

“Yes it is a flesh-eating disease but it’s a very slowly moving one, one we can treat and if we detect it early then it’s not a serious infection.

The skin infection caused by the bacterium mycobacterium ulcerans (M. ulcerans) can initially be mistaken for an insect bite.

Over a period of months it can progress to potentially destructive skin lesions known as Buruli, or Bairnsdale, ulcers.

While the condition is not lethal, it can leave people maimed or scarred for life.

“If people present with a small mosquito bite that doesn’t look quite right there’s a very good diagnostic test,” Professor Stinear said.

“If you’re given the right antibiotics then there’s a really good clinical outcome for people.”

Professor Stinear runs the Beating Buruli research project which he said had shown if mosquito numbers were reduced, “we can stop this disease from spreading to people”.

He said the risk of transmission in the Melbourne areas was considered low.

Usually the ulcer is associated with locations on the Mornington Peninsula, including Rye, Sorrento, Blairgowrie and Tootgarook.

Other coastal areas, including the Bellarine Peninsula and the Frankston and Seaford areas, have a moderate risk.

Cases have also been discovered in the south-eastern bayside suburbs and East Gippsland.

The disease is not transmissible from person to person, and there is no evidence of transmission between possums and humans, the department said.

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Man injured in drive-by shooting at Patterson Lakes carpark

A man has been injured in a drive-by shooting at a carpark in Melbourne’s south-east yesterday.

The victim, aged in his 20s, was shot in the lower body from a moving car in a carpark near Coles Patterson Lakes on Thompson Road just before 6pm.

The man was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries in a stable condition.

Police believe the shooting was a targeted attack.
“The exact circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated but investigators believe it is a targeted shooting,” a Victoria Police spokesperson said.
“There is no ongoing risk to the public.”

Investigators examined the carpark for a number of hours last night following the shooting, taking photos of the scene and bagging evidence.

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Victoria COVID rules classify Auckland, New Zealand as a ‘red zone’

Victoria has deemed part of New Zealand as a “red zone” after the country reported three new coronavirus cases.

The new cases emerged in Auckland in the North Island, and have been linked to a local high school.

From 11.59pm on Wednesday, all flights arriving from Auckland into Victoria will be regarded as “red zone” arrivals.

They will all be required to enter mandatory quarantine for 14 days.

“Those who arrived in Melbourne from Auckland yesterday, Tuesday 23 February, are asked to get a COVID-19 test immediately and quarantine until they receive a negative test result,” a statement from the Victorian health department read.

“The Department of Health is in the process of contacting impacted travellers and will provide them with advice about where to get tested.“

This comes after both New South Wales and Queensland required announced Auckland travellers would need to go into hotel quarantine.

New Zealand arrivals to Queensland will have to undergo quarantine from 6pm Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, over the past few days New Zealand has been recording some new positive cases, which is why we are closing the border from 6pm,” the state’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said.

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Geelong police officer Sergeant David Magher found guilty on two counts of assault

A Geelong police officer has been found guilty of assault after kicking a man in custody three times to the side of his body.

Sergeant David Phillip Magher was charged with three counts of assault and suspended in 2018 by Professional Standards Command after kicking Andrew Birch as he was being transferred from a divisional van to a holding cell at Corio Police Station.

After a six-day contested hearing in the Geelong Magistrates’ Court, Magistrate John Lesser found Sergeant Magher guilty of two counts of assault and dismissed a third count.

Magistrate Lesser said while in his view the first kick was “unnecessary”, he could “not be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt the kicking action was not proportionate and reasonable”.

“The second and third kicks stand out as of a completely different character to the first,” Magistrate Lesser told the court.

“They stood out as gratuitous and unnecessary and could not be justified as reasonable and proportionate use of force. As a result, there can be no justification for the use of force in those two kicks … which were delivered with considerable force.

“In the heat of the moment, Sergeant Magher crossed the line from the reasonable and proportionate … to the excessive and disproportionate and unjustifiable and therefore unlawful use of force on Mr Birch.”

On September 21, 2018, then 36-year-old Mr Birch was arrested outside Corio Village Shopping Centre over a suspected armed robbery involving a knife and taken to Corio Police Station.

Security footage from the police station, played to the court, showed Mr Birch lunging towards Senior Sergeant Ian Kerin as he exited a police divisional van.

Sergeant Magher, who has been a police officer for more than 20 years, then kicked Mr Birch as he and Senior Sergeant Kerin pulled Mr Birch to the ground.

Mr Birch received two more kicks from Sergeant Magher as he was lying on the ground on his stomach with his handcuffed wrists pulled straight out in front of him and legs straight out behind him.

Magistrate Lesser dismissed the first kick on the grounds it could have been used as a tactic to make Mr Birch comply but ruled the two other kicks were excessive and unjustified.

Ten police witnesses were cross-examined during the hearing. All officers involved in Mr Birch’s arrest agreed he resisted arrest, spat at officers, and screamed profanities.

Defence lawyer Stewart Bayles argued the kicks were “reasonable” and “proportionate” and were used by Sergeant Magher to protect the officers and himself from Mr Birch kicking out and spitting and to stop him from escaping.

In his closing remarks, Mr Bayles told the court a reasonable use of force “should not be equated with perfect or even best practice”.

Crown prosecutor Sarah Thomas argued the kicks were an “excessive use of force that was not needed to seek compliance” and were instead used to punish Mr Birch for resisting arrest.

Ms Thomas argued Mr Birch had stopped struggling “many seconds before” Sergeant Magher kicked him the second and third time.

She said all the officers, including Sergeant Magher, appeared relaxed on the CCTV as they prepared to move Mr Birch to a cell.

“The suggestion Mr Birch was on the ground for a lengthy period of time because he continued to be non-compliant, the suggestion by Mr Magher [Mr Birch] was kicking throughout, that was simply not correct,” she said.

The court was told Superintendent Craig Gillard and Acting Inspector Michael Ryan reported Sergeant Magher to Professional Standards Command after Sergeant Magher admitted he used capsicum spray on Mr Birch twice during the arrest and told Acting Inspector Ryan: “I just wish I could delete the CCTV.”

Mr Bayles argued his client never said that and accused Acting Inspector Ryan of lying.

Sergeant Magher will return to court later this week for sentencing.

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Fashion boutique Bottega Veneta ram-raided in Melbourne’s CBD

A luxury fashion boutique has been ram-raided by thieves in Melbourne's CBD in another attack targeting the city's designer shopping strip.Thieves rammed a black SUV into the designer store, Bottega Veneta, on Collins Street about 3.40am today.Two men then entered the store through the smashed glass window, before making off with a number of items.Detectives combed the scene on Collins Street. (Nine)Thieves smashed the storefront's glass during the ram-raid. (Nine)The store is a luxury Italian fashion house which sells clothes, leather handbags, shoes, accessories and jewellery.Police believe the thieves reversed into the store and then drove out, before turning around and driving forward into the shop.A crime scene has been established while detectives work to confirm the value and the descriptions of the items taken.READ MORE: Man injured in Melbourne drive-by shootingThe designer store is the latest high-end boutique to be targeted by thieves. (Nine)The ram-raid follows a string of burglaries targeting the high-end shopping strip, with thieves making off with about $75,000 worth of goods from fashion boutique Berluti last month.Thieves also stole thousands of dollars' worth of items from designer store Miss Louise on the same CBD street last year.The men from last night's incident Caucasian in appearance, with one man described as wearing a face covering.Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Melbourne Southbank bike and electric scooter crackdown

Cyclists and scooter riders travelling along Melbourne’s Southbank Promenade have been warned – slow down or pay up.

Victoria Police has launched a crackdown down on cyclists and scooter in the area with big fines for those caught speeding.

Although Southbank Promenade is designed to be used by bikes and scooters, it has also been deemed a dangerous spot for pedestrians now that foot traffic is returning to the city.

Watch the video above for the latest update on Tiger Woods being rushed to hospital

The speed limit on the promenade for both cyclists and scooter riders is 10km/h.

During peak times, local police will patrol the area and will use hand-held speed measuring devices.

Officers will also be handing out flyers reminding cyclists, electric bike riders and scooter drivers of the speed limit.

Those who fail to abide by a signposted limit along a shared path can be charged on summons and prosecuted with a maximum penalty of $1652.20.

During the crackdown, police will also be checking bikes and scooters to ensure they are in line with current regulations.

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Daniel Andrews prepared to rip up Crown casino licence if royal commission recommends it

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says he is prepared to rip up Crown Resorts’ licence to run its Melbourne casino if a newly announced royal commission recommends it.

The state government announced the inquiry into the gaming giant’s suitability to operate its Southbank casino in the wake of a scathing New South Wales report handed down earlier this month.

The Bergin inquiry found Crown Resorts was not suitable to hold a licence for its Barangaroo casino in Sydney, after hearing months of damning evidence about its operations in Melbourne and Perth.

Former federal court judge and senior barrister Raymond Finkelstein QC has been appointed commissioner to lead the Victorian inquiry, and must report back by August 1 this year.

When asked if he was prepared to end the licence, Mr Andrews said: “Yes.”

“This is a royal commission to determine whether they’re fit to hold that licence. So if you’re having that process, you have to be clear that you’ll implement the findings,” he said.

In making the announcement on Monday, Gaming Minister Melissa Horne would not be drawn on whether the government would implement all of the recommendations from the royal commission.

But Mr Andrews today said “that would certainly be my aim, and that is our form”.

The NSW report followed allegations of criminal activity within Crown’s Melbourne casino which were reported by the ABC’s Four Corners as early as 2014, and by Nine investigations five years later.

During the hearings, the company admitted money laundering had likely occurred through some of its VIP accounts.

Crown is Victoria’s largest single-site private sector employer, with more than 15,000 people working at the casino.

The state government has faced criticism over its regulation of the casino, with increased scrutiny on the role of the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR).

But the head of the Victorian Department of Justice has defended the state’s gambling commission, saying “VCGLR are doing their best in very difficult circumstances”.

Secretary Rebecca Falkingham today told the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee the issues at Crown were not raised with her.

She also said the government had ordered a performance review of the gambling watchdog.

“We are keen to make sure we understand the issues within the VCGLR and make sure it’s the most modern regulatory agency for the future, in regards to what further can be done,” she said.

Shadow Gaming Minister Steph Ryan said she believed the “government’s hand has been forced” to announce the royal commission.

“I think Daniel Andrews did not want this inquiry,” Ms Ryan said.

“I think the Victorian government did everything it could to sweep these findings under the rug. But ultimately they’ve had a realisation that this is not going away and the findings cannot be ignored.”

Mr Andrews defended the time it took for his government to act, pointing to a December announcement that a special commissioner would be appointed as a five-year review of the licence was brought forward to 2021.

When the former Napthine government extended Crown’s licence, it included a clause that required the state to pay more than $200 million if there were alterations to the licence by a future government.

Mr Andrews said the royal commission was announced after “extensive legal advice” about the compensation clause, and would “protect the taxpayer”.

“You’re not going to get me standing here and apologising for having put the highest and most formal legal process in place to determine whether that business should have that licence,” he said.

The Victorian Greens have called for the state to suspend Crown’s licence immediately, for at least the duration of the royal commission.

Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said he was concerned the “very, very brief” period of time for the royal commission to work was not enough time to get to the bottom of the issues at the casino.

“It shouldn’t be constrained by time, it should be constrained by whatever it takes to get to the truth,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.

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Victoria marks five days of zero local coronavirus cases, restrictions on track to ease on Friday

Victoria has recorded its fifth day of zero local coronavirus cases as the state looks to further ease restrictions on Friday.

The number of active cases in the state has dropped to 20, with more than 20,000 people being tested in the past 24 hours.

There were no new infections detected in hotel quarantine as international flights arriving into Victoria continue to remain paused.

Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday said the state was “well placed” to ease restrictions come midnight on Friday.
The date marks when the 14-day incubation period will be up for a bulk of close contacts currently isolating due to the Holiday Inn outbreak.
“I hope to be able to make some significant announcements on Friday,” he said.

“That will then mean we can go back to hopefully, pretty much those COVIDSafe Summer settings.”

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