Community rises to the challenge during 2020


The Greater
Geelong community has demonstrated resilience and progressed its vision to be
recognised as a ‘clever and creative’ city-region, despite the challenges of
COVID-19 in 2020.

The ‘Vision
Annual Report – Our Progress 2020’ reflects the significant impact of the
pandemic on the community, while highlighting how the Council, local
organisations and the community quickly adapted to the evolving environment.

Projects that
would support the region’s long-term economic and social recovery were brought
forward, innovative ideas became a reality and events were shifted online,
aligning with the nine aspirations from the community-led 30-year vision
‘Greater Geelong: A Clever and Creative Future’.

The blueprint
aims to guide the region towards being internationally recognised by 2047 as a
‘clever and creative city-region that is forward looking, enterprising and
adaptive, and cares for its people and environment’. Since the launch of the
vision in 2017, Geelong was recognised as Australia’s only UNESCO City of
Design.

Key
achievements from 2020 include:

  • Corio Quay
    was announced as the new home for the Spirit of Tasmania’s Victorian port
    operations;
  • Council
    adopted a plan to facilitate an increase of 12,000 new social housing
    properties over the next 20 years;
  • The City
    used 8,745 tonnes of recycled asphalt materials to build and renew roads
    and footpaths, and recycled nearly 6,548 tonnes of concrete;
  • The
    Victorian Government matched the Federal Government’s $2 billion funding
    commitment for stage one of Geelong Fast Rail;
  • Barwon
    Health North officially opened and completed 55,000 COVID-19 tests;
  • The City
    committed to converting 25,000 streetlights to energy-efficient LEDs with
    smart technology;
  • Western
    Heights College turned part of its campus into a kitchen garden to provide
    produce for families experiencing financial hardship;
  • The City
    restored a degraded shellfish reef using 500 square metres of recycled
    shells from restaurants and the seafood industry;
  • Geelong’s
    Word for Word Festival partnered with the nation’s leading Indigenous
    publisher to present its inaugural 2020 schools program; and
  • The City’s
    Geelong Small Business Festival gave business people across Australia a
    chance to safely connect, support and learn from each other online.

Greater
Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher said there are many positives to take out of this
report after an unprecedented 2020.

Last year
forced us to change how we do things and I’m so proud of how community members
pulled together to step up to challenges from the pandemic in their own clever
and creative way.

Council
approved an estimated $16.9 million to help businesses, community groups and residents
impacted by the pandemic, which will assist in our journey towards our
community-led vision.

Deputy Mayor
Trent Sullivan said while there’s still work to do to recover from the
pandemic, there are many hard-fought achievements showcased in the report.

Dozens of
programs and initiatives were successfully carried out last year in spite of
COVID-19, which goes to show how innovative and strong our community really
is.

The Council
is continuing to work with organisations and the broader community to support
the region’s social and economic recovery.

The community
can view the Vision Annual Report – Our Progress 2020 report at www.geelongaustralia.com.au/clevercreative

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Community rises to the challenge during 2020
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Palaszczuk giving herself an ‘awful look’ amid pay rises for Qld politicians


Palaszczuk giving herself an ‘awful look’ amid pay rises for Qld politicians

Queensland politicians set to receive pay rises over the next 18 months “doesn’t pass the pub test,” according to 6PR’s Oliver Peterson.

The Courier-Mail is reporting a four-year wage freeze for state MPs has been scrapped.

MPs will now get a 2 per cent pay increase from September, followed by another 2.25 per cent next March.

“This is ridiculous, this does not pass the pub test, no way in the world,” Mr Peterson told Sky News host Peter Gleeson.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk should come out tomorrow morning and say ‘ah ah, we reject this’.

“Don’t take a pay rise right now, what an awful look for a premier to be taking home more money while we’re still battling this pandemic, that’s a big loss, that’s a ridiculous decision.”

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Queensland MPs to receive three pay rises in next 15 months



Queensland politicians are set to pocket three pay rises in the next 15 months after a ruling from the state’s independent remuneration tribunal.

It means all 93 members of Parliament will receive a 2 per cent pay increase in September this year, followed by 2.25 per cent in March 2022, and 2.5 per cent in September 2022.

The determination by the Queensland Independent Renumeration Tribunal (QIRT) overrules a decision it made last year to freeze MPs pay rises for up to four years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The outlook is more positive than at the height of the pandemic in 2020 when the salary levels of members were last considered by the tribunal.”

Under the pay increases, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s annual base salary and additional salary would increase from $399,955 to roughly $427,561 by September next year.

In making its decision, the tribunal said Queensland MPs have not had a salary increase since September 1, 2017 and the pay increases for politicians in the state were lagging behind comparable jurisdictions.

The base salary for politicians in Queensland is the third-lowest in the country in 2020, alongside Western Australia and Tasmania.

Last year, Ms Palaszczuk was the third-highest paid premier in Australia, behind Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews ($441,439) and New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian ($407,980).

The MP pay rises are in line with pay rises for public service employees, who are set to receive pay increases of 2.5 per cent in September this year, March 2022 and September 2022.

The pay rises for public servants were part of a wage freeze deal announced by the state government last year.

Salaries for full-time adult employees in all awards under a state wages ruling increased by 1.75 per cent in September last year due to the impacts of the pandemic on employment and inflation levels.

Last year, the Fair Work Commission Annual Wage Review increased minimum wages by 1.75 per cent.

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India death toll rises by thousands; Jury unable to reach majority verdict in Jack De Belin case; Bert Newton has leg amputated; New advice on airborne spread of COVID-19



By 9News Staff, Associated Press10 May 2021 06:30India’s daily COVID-19 cases have dipped from the highs of recent days, with 366,161 new positive results.A further 3754 people have also died, according to the India Health Ministry, bringing the total death toll to 246,116.Health experts fear case numbers are being underreported as the country’s health system continues to stagger underneath the massive burden.India’s Supreme Court said on the weekend it would set up a national task force consisting of top experts and doctors to conduct an “oxygen audit” to determine whether supplies from the federal government were reaching states. Complaints of oxygen shortages have dominated the top court recently, which just stepped in to make sure the federal government provided more medical oxygen to hospitals in the capital, New Delhi.

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Death toll rises as violence rocks Gaza, Israel and West Bank



Israeli planes renewed air strikes in Gaza early on Saturday and Hamas militants responded by firing rockets into Israel as their battle entered a fifth night and US and Arab diplomats sought an end to the violence.

Palestinian medics said at least 12 people were killed overnight in air strikes throughout Gaza. Health officials said a a family of 10 were among the dead after their house was hit in a refugee camp. 

Eight children and two women, all belonging to the Abu Hatab family, were killed in the three-storey building in Shati refugee camp that collapsed following an Israeli strike, medical sources said.

The Israeli military said it carried out strikes on a Hamas military intelligence facility and a number of rocket launching sites in northern Gaza.

The Palestinian religious affairs ministry said Israeli planes destroyed a mosque. A military spokesman said the army was checking the report.

Sirens sounded in two major southern Israeli cities warning of incoming fire from Gaza. Hamas claimed responsibility for launching rockets.

With no sign of an end to the fighting, casualties spread further afield, with Palestinians reporting 11 killed in the occupied West Bank amid clashes between protesters and Israeli security forces.

At least 132 people have been killed in Gaza since Monday, including 32 children and 21 women, and 950 others wounded, Palestinian medical officials said.



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Israel crisis: Emergency declared in Lod as death toll rises and UN envoy warns ‘we’re escalating towards a full-scale war’


Cars were set alight and several people were reportedly injured in clashes that the mayor of the city, near Tel Aviv, likened to a civil war.

Demonstrations by Israeli Arabs broke out and escalated to rioting, with protesters clashing with police on Tuesday night.

It comes after Palestinian militants fired 130 missiles at Tel Aviv following an Israeli air strike on a tower block in the Gaza Strip.

Calls for calm have come from all over the world following the escalation, which follows days of unrest in Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a state of emergency in Lod on Tuesday night and Israeli border police were brought in from the West Bank.

The demonstrations followed the funeral of an Israeli Arab man who was allegedly shot by a Jewish resident the night before.

Police fired tear gas and stun grenades after mourners threw rocks at officers, it was reported.

Police said people set fire to a patrol car, a bus and a motorcycle. At least two police officers were injured.

Israeli media reported that synagogues and several businesses had been set on fire, while news agencies said there had been reports of Jews stoning a car that was being driven by an Arab resident.

Mr Netanyahu had earlier warned that the fighting would continue for some time.

In a nationally televised speech late on Tuesday, he said Hamas and Islamic Jihad “have paid, and will pay, a heavy price”.

He added: “This campaign will take time, with determination, unity and strength.”

Hamas, which controls Gaza, said it has been acting to defend Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque from Israeli “aggression and terrorism”.

The site, holy to Muslims and Jews, saw clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians on Monday that left hundreds injured.

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QLD ‘found a way’ to give pay rises to MPs despite remuneration freeze law


Sky News host Paul Murray says Queensland has “found a way” to give pay rises to 36 MPs despite passing a four-year remuneration freeze law during the state election.

“The politicians tried to make it seem like they were hurting like everyone else, in fact they even passed a law that there would be no pay rises for anyone in the Queensland parliament for the next four years,” he said.

“Only problem is they found a way to give pay rises to politicians this year, just months after making that promise to the Queensland people.

“They won’t get it via a straight up pay rise, instead they’re getting extra money for electoral allowances because more people live in their electorates”.

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DCB Bank Q4 Results: DCB Bank Q4 results: Profit rises 13% to Rs 78 crore


NEW DELHI: Private lender on Saturday reported a 13 per cent increase in net profit to Rs 78 crore for the January-March quarter compared to that of Rs 69 crore in the year-ago quarter. Total income of the bank during the January-March quarter of 2020-21 fell to Rs 971 crore from Rs 1,012 crore in the same quarter of 2019-20, DCB Bank said in a regulatory filing. The income from interest as well as from investment fell during the reported quarter from a year ago.

For the FY2020-21, the bank’s net profit remained nearly flat at Rs 336 crore against Rs 338 crore in FY20. Income also was a tad down at Rs 3,917 crore in FY21 against Rs 3,928 crore in FY20.

The bank’s asset quality worsened with the gross non-performing assets (NPAs) spiking to 4.09 per cent of the gross advances as of March 31, 2021, as against 2.46 per cent by the end of March last year.

In value terms, the gross NPAs stood at Rs 1,083.44 crore, significantly higher than Rs 631.51 crore in the year-ago period.

Provisions for bad loans and contingencies in Q4FY21 came down to Rs 101.18 crore from Rs 118.24 crore a year earlier. Net NPAs stood at 2.29 per cent (Rs 594.15 crore) as against 1.16 per cent (Rs 293.51 crore).

On returning the compound interest to eligible borrowers post the Supreme Court final order in March and subsequent the RBI notification, the lender said it is in the process of account by account calculation of interest relief due to the eligible customers.

In the meantime, as of March 31, 2021, the bank has created liability towards estimated interest relief of Rs 10 crore and reduced the same from the interest income.

The bank said it held contingency provision of Rs 229.11 crore against the likely impact of Covid 19 regulatory package, impact of the conclusion of the interim order (of Supreme Court on not declaring accounts as NPAs till August 31, 2020 and after) and other contingencies.

On the impact of second wave of the pandemic, it said under the current circumstances the bank during March quarter, on a prudent basis, has made a contingency provision of Rs 124 crore towards further likely impact of Covid-19 on restructured and stressed assets.

“In addition to this contingency provision of Rs 124 crore, the bank also holds floating provision amounting to Rs 108.80 crore, besides, provisions for standard assets and specific non-performing assets,” it said.

Besides, the amount in overdue categories where the moratorium or deferment was extended as of March 31, 2020 was Rs 1,908.08 crore at end of March this year, it said. The provisions held on these by the end of September 2020 was Rs 68 crore and similar amount was kept as provisions adjusted against slippages (NPA and restructuring), DCB Bank said.

The lender also said that its board has not recommended any dividend for fiscal ended March 2021 in view of the situation developing around Covid-19 in the country and the related uncertainty that it creates.

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Stock markets fall as tech shares slide; Yellen says ‘very modest’ rates rises may be needed – business live


Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news

  • Latest: Janet Yellen says interest rates may rise very modestly
  • Tech stocks drop in early Wall Street trading
  • Possible ‘micro flash-crash’ puzzles traders
  • German chipmaker Infineon warns supply problems will hit car output

Earlier:

  • Pfizer hikes Covid-19 sales forecast to $26bn this year
  • UK factory PMI surges amid supply chain delays
  • Mortgage lending at record in stamp duty holiday rush
  • Pandora to stop selling mined diamonds

5.57pm BST

US and European stock markets are that familiar cliché, a sea of red.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 dropped 1.5% today, led by losses in Frankfurt and Milan.

“London markets might have started the day with an injection of post-bank holiday energy but by the afternoon the hangover had well and truly set in. Not enough chips the central issue today, not the kind that soaks up the alcohol but the kind that keeps supply chains moving. Today’s warning came from German chip maker Infineon which is ramping up supply but estimates the current situation will results in 2.5 million less cars being produced in the first half of 2021 than had been intended.

“US markets were dragged down by falling stocks in car makers and big tech – the red splodge covering the Nasdaq heat map prompted calls on social media to close the index. And if that had unsettled investors enough for a dreary Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s comments that an interest rate rise would have to happen to stop the US economy from overheating and the selloff intensified.

5.48pm BST

Something to ponder….

Ugh. Bank of America’s hedge fund clients selling equities at the strongest pace since at least 2008, while retail investors have been net buyers for the past 10 weeks straight. pic.twitter.com/O7gAscVZ4i

It means one of two things
a) BofA hedge fund clients are bullish on equities, but have decided they’ve made enough money now and it’s only fair to let retail investors get a slice of the pie
b) They think equities have bad risk/reward right now

Continue reading…

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Mindtree Q4 results: Net profit rises 54% to Rs 317 cr


Pune: Mindtree’s fourth quarter net profit rose 53.9% to Rs 317.3 crore, while revenues were up 2.9% to Rs 2,109.3 crore on large orders from global customers.

For fiscal year 2021, the mid-tier IT services provider reported net profit of Rs 1,110.5 crore, up 76% and revenue of Rs 7,967.8 crore, up 2.6%.

In dollar terms, Mindtree’s profits were $150 million on revenue of $1.08 billion in the year.

The company declared a final dividend of Rs 17.5 per share.

“We are proud to deliver another strong quarter, driven by significant traction in our client portfolio globally, leading to revenue growth of 5.2%, Ebitda of 21.9%, and an order book of $375 million at the end of Q4,” said Debashis Chatterjee, CEO and MD of the L&T Group company.

“For the year, we delivered…margin expansion of 680 bps, while increasing our order book by 12.3%. As we enter FY22, we are confident that continued client demand for our transformative services, a strong order book, and our strategic investments positions us well to deliver double digit growth and sustain Ebitda above 20%,” he added.

The company said it had 270 active clients as of March 31. Its total headcount was at 23,814, with an attrition rate of 12.1%. Mindtree rolled out its annual salary hikes in January, it said.

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