Thousands of bales destroyed in St Arnaud hay shed fire


Nearly 5,000 bales of hay have been destroyed and a production shed plant narrowly escaped serious damage in a fire in western Victoria.

The blaze started at the Gilmac processing facility in St Arnaud on Sunday. 

Mark Heaslip, the company’s operations manager for eastern Australia, said the shed would be demolished and rebuilt. 

“The shed collapsed in a few spots but not completely. We’ll have to wait until it burns down and we can start demolishing it,” he said. 

“Everything is insured so we will get it knocked down, cleared and put a new shed up.”

Mr Heaslip said a neighbouring production plant was also affected but escaped serious damage.

He said he was not sure when it would be back operational.

“There were some electrical wiring and some damage to the shed itself, but the plant has survived rather well so we are pleasantly surprised about that. 

“We’re not sure how long it’s down — two weeks or two months — but we’re very grateful the plant is still in good nick and we’ll make it operational as soon as we can.”

Gilmac would also continue to honour its contracts and take hay in, Mr Heaslip added.

“Delivery will be a bit slower because we don’t have that shed for storage, but we are very positive going forward. 

“We’ve also got that other site at Goornong [north of Bendigo], we’ll ramp that up.

“We’ll move some staff over there to get that running 24/7.” 

CFA District 16 commander Ian Morley said about 25 fire trucks and 65 firefighters attended the blaze.

The cause of the fire is unknown and investigators have attended the scene. 

“It is not deemed to be suspicious at this stage,” Mr Morley said. 

“The bulk of the fire will be allowed to burn over the coming days.”

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Restored locomotive 3801 begins regional NSW tour, thousands hop on for ride


Rail enthusiasts have had the chance to take a step back in time, with the iconic steam locomotive 3801 making its return to the train tracks in regional NSW.

About 3,000 people boarded the train in Albury across the Easter long weekend as part of a state-wide tour following the train’s 12-year-long restoration.

Passengers were treated to hour-long round trips across three days, with large crowds turning out to see the train departing and arriving.

The 3801 was launched in 1943 and operated as an express passenger locomotive and later as a freight locomotive.

It was formally withdrawn from service in 1962.

Known for its Art Deco streamlining and iconic style, it is the only steam locomotive to have travelled to all mainland Australian states and territories.

Driver Alex Claassens joined the railway more than 40 years ago but said the chance to drive it into Albury this weekend was a career highlight.

“It has taken about 10 years to get it back to the glory of what it is today. It’s been going absolutely fantastic, better than it ever has.”

And he should know.

“I was privileged enough to work on it during the many years of my career. I joined the railway in 1978, so I’ve had a few stints on this train and on this engine,” Mr Claassens said.

“But it’s going better now than it ever has, and it’s really exciting to see the people out here enjoying it because that’s why we all do this work.”

He said the best part of the job was bringing smiles to the passengers’ faces, especially at Easter time after what had been a tough year for many.

“There is something about the romance of steam, certainly from my point of view. I was lucky enough to learn on the Zig Zag Railway many years ago,” he said.

“But there is just something about it.

After 12 years of painstaking restoration work, the steam train is finally back in service.

Transport Heritage NSW rail operations manager Daniel Page said the locomotive was fully stripped down and rebuilt.

“Every nut and bolt was removed. Every piece of it was laid out and restored, and reassembled. The boiler in the locomotive, the main pressure vessel had a rebuild,” Mr Page said.

After recently being relaunched in Sydney, steam locomotive 3801 will now travel throughout NSW on a regional tour.

Mr Page said the decision to start in Albury was an easy one.

“One of its first big journeys we chose for it to do was to bring it to Albury and the Riverina,” he said.

“It’s a place where 3801 frequently operated in the 1940s and 1950s, hauling the crack express trains and moving people around NSW, so it’s really special to be back here in its homeland, so to speak.”

The train will now spend the next week at the Junee Rail Museum.

“In June, we are heading out to the Central West, and then in September we are heading to northern NSW, so we are really excited to be taking steam trains to country NSW where there is a huge affection for them,” Mr Page said.

“It has knocked us over just how many people have a story or a connection to this train.

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Thousands of Australian businesses and workers face an uncertain future as JobKeeper comes to an end



The Australian economy may have picked up faster than expected during the coronavirus pandemic, with 2.7 million people and 680,000 businesses now having “graduated” from JobKeeper.

But with the wage subsidy scheme officially coming to an end on Sunday, many of the 960,000 Australians and 370,000 businesses still relying on the payment face an uncertain future. 

Global Ballooning Australia is one of them. When the international borders shut last March, it lost its international business – around 60 per cent of its income – overnight. Since letting 20 staff go, it has used JobKeeper to keep its remaining “essential workers” employed.

But after a long Melbourne lockdown, COVID-19 outbreaks during the Christmas break and now staring down the barrel of the slower winter season, it will be tough to pay staff wages once JobKeeper wraps up. 

“The worse case scenario for Global Ballooning is that the finances that we’ve been able to inject into the company over this JobKeeper period dimmish to the point where we do have to start looking at shedding staff,” Director Kiff Saunders told SBS News.

“The end of JobKeeper is certainly going to put a lot more pressure on tourism businesses in this country for sure.” 

In recent months the company has invested heavily in its domestic market, but with no date around when international borders will open, “we just have to weather the storm”, Mr Saunders said.

Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy told a Senate hearing last week that up to 150,000 people could be out of work after the support scheme wraps up.

Charities are concerned many Australians will be forced to seek help for the first time.

The St Vincent de Paul Society estimates one million children in Australia have a parent who is still relying on JobKeeper. 

National President Claire Victory told SBS News the organisation is preparing for a “huge increase in demand” for its services over coming weeks, with lots of Australians expected to access Centrelink payments who have never done so before.

“At each stage when that supplement has been wound back, we’ve seen a corresponding increase in demand for our services,” Ms Victory said. “So with that JobSeeker level coming right back and JobKeeper ending at the same time, pushing so many new people onto those payments, we’re expecting a huge increase in demand for our services.

“What we are expecting is that there will be a lot of people needing to come to us for help just with food and with paying their bills each week.” 

‘Encouraging signs’

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says “encouraging signs across all sectors” and across the country have led to the government’s decision to end JobKeeper on 28 March.

“It has achieved its objectives of supporting businesses and saving jobs, preserving employment relationships and delivering much needed income support across the economy,” he said in a statement on Sunday.

“JobKeeper was an economic lifeline which helped keep around a million businesses in business and 3.8 million Australians in a job at the height of the pandemic.”

The Reserve Bank claims the wage subsidy saved more than 700,000 jobs, with official estimates putting employment losses at between 100,000 and 150,000.

The unemployment rate sits currently at 5.8 per cent.

New figures from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) show that 1.54 million employees collected the wage subsidy between October and December last year, down from 3.6 million between April and September.

ATO figures sector by sector are also largely positive. The number of workers on JobKeeper in retail has dropped by 68 per cent. In trade and construction reliance fell by 65 per cent, and in real estate by 71 per cent. The accommodation and food services sector saw a 52 per cent drop in reliance on the subsidy.

But transport, postal and warehousing continued to struggle, with only a 36 per cent drop in the number of people on the wage subsidy.

There is no data available for the tourism sector, because the industry encompasses such a wide range of jobs.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the unemployment rate will not necessarily rise after JobKeeper ends.

“In less than a year the number of people employed is now greater today than it was when the pandemic hit this country,” he told parliament during the week.

Mr Frydenberg says while the nation has not yet emerged from the pandemic, the economic recovery has been stronger than almost anywhere else in the world.

“Our Economic Recovery Plan will continue to support the economy through measures such as tax cuts, business incentives, the JobMaker Hiring Credit and a record investment in skills and training,” he said.

Head of Investment Strategy and Chief Economist at AMP Capital Shane Oliver told SBS News he believes the “timing is right” to bring JobKeeper to an end.

“We have seen pretty good recovery. If we hadn’t seen the economic recovery, then I’d be a lot more concerned,” he said.

“JobKeeper was always an emergency program to help the economy through the lockdown until we’re able to reopen again and it’s done its job. It’s protected incomes, it’s protected jobs, it’s protected businesses and now is the time to bring it to an end.”

Calls for targeted help

But Mr Oliver joins other experts in calling for more targeted assistance now JobKeeper has ceased.

“JobKeeper was a catch-all for businesses and it was appropriate a year ago and it’s done a fantastic job. But by the same token we’re now in a situation where the problem parts of the economy are specific sectors, particularly the travel sector and services, particularly in city CBDs.

“So I think these ongoing support should really be more targeted.”

The danger in continuing JobKeeper indefinitely is that it results in “zombie jobs and stops the economy recovering”, Mr Oliver said.

“The reality is a lot of the jobs have moved away from inner city areas and CBDs out to the suburbs because we’ve got more people working at home. That’s likely to be a long-term phenomenon, but if we keep subsidising jobs in the CBDs, that will stop the adjustment in the economy and stop those jobs moving out to the suburbs.” 

Labor leader Anthony Albanese says while JobKeeper must come to an end at some point, it has said it is “unwise” to withdraw support from industries and businesses still impacted by the pandemic.

“While some businesses that have JobKeeper have continued to do well and have increased their profits over the last year, a range of businesses have not had that support and have seen massive downturns in their turnover,” he told the media on Sunday.

Mr Albanese says targeted support would continue to provide businesses and people the help they need.

“Two million Australians are either unemployed or want additional hours but there are many more Australians out of work than there are vacancies,” he said.

For operators like Mr Saunders at Global Ballooning Australia, his business will remain in crisis mode until the international borders are able to reopen.

He says he feels the government should “drill down into businesses” that still need help and “offer assistance in some form”.

“We have supported the Australian visitor economy and supported the Australian workforce by being able to employ people within this industry,” he said.

“The people in this industry are very passionate about what they do.

“It’s very distressing to see the pain points around people who have had to either shut up their business or move to other employment when this is the life that they have set up for themselves.”



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Thousands return home to piles of debris left behind after unprecedented flood disaster


Australia’s east coast is facing a trail of destruction left behind by the unprecedented flooding emergency as more regions are given the all clear to return home.

Water levels remain high across large parts of the state with thousands still isolated across Greater Sydney and the state’s north-west.

Emergency services have been slammed with 12,368 calls for help and more than a thousand flood rescues over the last five days.

The flood crisis has left a trail of destruction with thousands still isolated around the state. (Getty)
Evacuation warnings are still active around the Hawkesbury River, North Richmond and Moree. (Getty)

More than 290 Australian Defence troops have assisted on the ground with clean-up and recovery, with plans to double forces.

Floodwaters have begun to receive on the Windsor bridge, although authorities say it may still be days before regular traffic would be allowed across.

David Fishburn, Maintenance Director at Transport for NSW, said water levels still need to come down further before engineers can make confident decisions on the safety of the bridge.

Several communities have been given the all clear, returning home to piles of debris. (Nick Moir)

“There is still water under the bridge deck, and some of the key components we need to look at can’t be seen yet,” Mr Fishburn said.

“So we can’t make that assessment yet.”

While water levels are dropping, some communities are still only accessible via boat.

People look at flooded paddocks in Richmond. (Getty)

The 2021 flood disaster in numbers

Over the course of the floods, the NSW coast has been drenched by at least 200mm of rain, and in some places, more than 400mm. This is more than three times the Sydney average for the whole of March.

The flooding stretches 600 kilometres from Sydney to the Northern Rivers.

The BOM’s Victoria Dodd said the state had experienced “the most significant floods in decades”.

“We’ve seen exceptionally high flood levels, high-velocity flows, lots of dangerous debris in these floodwaters.”

On Wednesday, the BOM had issued flood warnings on 33 of the state’s 40 river catchments.

The Hawkesbury River at Windsor peaked at 12.9m on Wednesday, the highest level in 60 years.

Scenes of flood devastation at St Georges Caravan park at Lower Portland. (Nick Moir)

Records fall on Mid-North Coast

At Mount Seaview, in the hills west of Port Macquarie, rainfall records have been smashed in the past week, with 815 mm falling over five days. It’s the highest total since records began there in 1960.

Further up the coast at Nambucca Heads, the community was one of the first in NSW to be hit with flooding last Saturday when 350mm of rain fell, swamping the March average of 161mm.

East coast flood disaster now stretching 600km

The river at Macksville has exceeded the major flood level , reaching 3.4 metres in 1950 – a one-in-50-year flood.

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Thousands of Queenslanders face unemployment as end of JobKeeper wage subsidy program looms, dealing another major blow to tourism sector


More than 8,000 people in Cairns are expected to lose their JobKeeper wage subsidy payments in coming days, in what is expected to be yet another major blow to Far North Queensland’s tourism industry.

The federal government’s welfare program ends on Sunday, despite calls for it to be extended.

The move marks the end of a wage subsidy that has buoyed businesses across the country during the coronavirus pandemic and put an estimated $1,000 in the pockets of about 1.54 million employees each fortnight.

Across Australia, some 500,000 businesses are bracing for the loss of the subsidy.

In Far North Queensland, the move is expected to leave thousands of recipients — many of them tourism workers — jobless.

With the drawcard of the Great Barrier Reef on Cairns’ doorstep, the region has typically attracted interstate and international tourists, contributing to what was once an industry worth $3.5 billion a year.

Cairns-based dive instructor Ty McCormack is a 20-year veteran of the industry and is among the thousands of JobKeeper casualties.

The professional diver has taken thousands of tourists to experience the depths of the Great Barrier Reef, but last week found himself out of a job, despite rave customer reviews on multiple websites.

“I got an initial phone call from one of my managers, and then a letter from the company, advising that redundancies were going to be implemented,” Mr McCormack said.

“A few days after that, some of us got the letters that we were being made redundant.

Mr McCormack worked for one of Cairns’ biggest reef boat operators, which is usually frequented by international tourists.

Up until Saturday, he had been averaging a few days a week at work — his days off subsidised by the JobKeeper payment.

At the age of 59, he is not sure what the future holds for an industry he is deeply passionate about.

“JobKeeper was basically getting the bills paid — it was making sure that we had food on the table, fuel in the car, that sort of thing,” he said.

“It was a little bit of security. Now with JobKeeper being taken away and our jobs going with JobKeeper, no-one knows what the future holds.

“And there’s a lot of people in my situation in Cairns.”

Andrea Cameron used to have a fleet of vehicles that would take busloads of mainly international tourists on day trips around the region.

The owner of Kuranda Day Tours was averaging around 42 tours a week, employed five staff and turned over about $1 million a year.

But with the end of JobKeeper, she now employs just one tour guide and has listed her home at tropical Port Douglas for sale.

“We sold a couple of our buses and we have one still sitting in our yard that’s unregistered and uninsured.”

She said her business had also been hit hard by the reduced hours of other tourism ventures she relied on as part of her tour, including the rainforest cableway Skyrail and the Kuranda Scenic Railway.

“I really would have loved to have seen some targeted support continue for the tourism industry, especially in our region, which is so dependent on international borders and visitors,” she said.

“It is going to be scary.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Mark Olsen said Easter bookings looked encouraging, with half-price flights due to start next month as part of a federal government tourism boost.

“We are hearing from our operators in Port Douglas that their average occupancy through Easter is 70-80 per cent,” he said.

“Cairns is running at about 60-70 per cent already pre-booked for Easter.”

Cairns Airport head of aviation Garry Porter said domestic arrival numbers had slowly returned to pre-COVID numbers.

“This month we are looking at 45,000 seats a week and in April we are jumping back to 65,000 to nearly 70,000 seats.”

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Clear skies appear as thousands begin clean-up


Despite the clearer skies, Dr Kirkup said people needed to be mindful of the flood risk.

“There is so much water in the landscape,” she said. “The flood risk remains, there may be a false sense of security, but flood waters and anything feeding off that is still an unknown [risk].”

Ruby Bugeja, 13, helping clean her flooded home.Credit:Louise Kennerley

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and State Emergency Services Commissioner Carlene York will travel to Dunbogan and Wauchope, along the Mid North Coast on Friday.

On Thursday, a huge flood recovery operation will commence on the Mid North Coast after the formation of a clean-up strike force comprising the Australian Defence Force, the Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue NSW.

The team, led by Mr Barilaro, who is Disaster Recovery Minister, will start work in flood-affected areas pending receding waters and a green light from the SES.

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Thousands of hectares of farmland being lost to residential developments in regional Victoria


Gary Surman has spent 20 years building his dream vineyard and welcoming guests to his country views in Warragul, in Victoria’s east.

But a proposed housing development could see a kilometre of residential houses built along the border of his property, and put an end to his business.

Mr Surman said he would not be able to spray his crops, use tractors, or operate a tourism business with idyllic rural views.

“It would be impossible to farm and maintain a vineyard with that many houses adjoining. We get that many complaints when we do normal activities in the vineyard with only one house next to us.

“The residential-zoned land adjoins three sides of our vineyard and once it’s developed, which could be in three or four years, it won’t work — it’s a conflict between residential use and running a farm.”

Baw Baw Shire Mayor Danny Goss said population growth in the regional municipality over a number of years had been “phenomenal”.

“The council put in place Precinct Structure Plans about five years ago, for 20,000 blocks to be built in this area … and already 40 per cent has been developed or is under application,” Mr Goss said.

He said these plans had caused enormous issues in the community, and he thought residents and farmers were not given adequate consultation.

“If the council had called a meeting at that time and said we would like to change Warragul and Drouin forever, come along and tell us what you think, I’d call that consultation,” he said.

Mr Goss said this encroachment on farming land had its problems.

“Amenity issues can become a problem,” he said.

“If a farmer decides to milk his cows at 3:00am in the morning or ride his motorbike at 1:00am, you can’t have residents then saying: ‘I don’t want that’.”

Peter Grant’s farm is an hour to the north of Melbourne’s CBD.

He faced the prospect of an 87-lot subdivision being built opposite his property, accessed by a narrow country lane that he uses daily.

“There’s not a lot of room to move, the gates are generally narrow, so for the trucks to come in they need to take their time with the hay and the fertiliser,” Mr Grant said.

Macedon Ranges Shire Council said it would have refused the application if an appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) had not already been made.

The ABC contacted a number of government departments and planning organisations for combined data on the rezoning of farmland in regional Victoria but was told there was none available.

Data then collected by the ABC found that in the past five to 10 years, hundreds of hectares of land had already been converted from farming or rural land to residential zones in the regional council areas surrounding Melbourne.

When combined with future rezoning applications pending approval, the amount of farmable land potentially lost to housing developments could be as much as 11,000 hectares — or 63 times the size of Melbourne’s CBD.

RMIT Associate Professor Andrew Butt at the Centre for Urban Research said the regions surrounding Melbourne provided nearly half of the city of Melbourne’s vegetables and poultry supply.

In The Future of the Fringe — a book he co-authored, published by the CSIRO — he argued that rural land within 150 kilometres of the city was crucial for human survival.

“In some estimations we did, looking at the sort of change and the rate of change we’ve seen, we might be looking at losing the equivalent of about half of Melbourne’s food production,” Professor Butt said.

“It’s difficult to know exactly how because often it’s not just about the land loss, it can be about the conflict it creates, the willingness people would have to reinvest in a place where they’re not quite sure what the future will be, and of course it distorts property prices.

“It’s not ideal for the city and it’s certainly not ideal for the surrounding rural areas.”

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Nerves fade as JobKeeper’s end nears, but poverty looms for thousands


RMIT economics professor David Hayward, whose team has been tracking the effect of JobKeeper and the coronavirus supplements in the community, said the latest jobs data meant the hoped-for ‘V-shaped’ recovery was now looking very likely.

But Professor Hayward, who calculated that poverty had been all but eradicated in Victoria between April and September 2020, when the supplementary payments were at their high point of $275 a week, said hundreds of thousands in the Victorian community would be left behind when the welfare supplements ended.

“Things are looking much better than they were but those broad figures mask a significant rise in the number of people who are going to be living in poverty.” he said.

“We’re seeing the return of something that we had just gotten rid of and I don’t think that’s a good development.”

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The economist said Australia could try to match President Joe Biden’s new $US1.9 trillion ($A2.4 trillion) COVID stimulus package, which Professor Hayward said would “make major inroads into poverty”.

“What they’re proposing will have a lasting impact, not just a temporary thing, and the changes they’re making to support families will probably halve the rate of poverty among families with children in the US. “Whereas we’ve gone the opposite way, it’s short and then it finishes, it’s a lost opportunity.”

The federal government has defended the level of payments for jobseekers by saying the benefits system is intended as a safety net, not a wage replacement and that people are supported in other ways, including universal health care and free education.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Friday that the government was having success at getting Australians into work but that there “were still sectors and regions that are doing it tough”.

“In February the [national] unemployment rate fell from 6.3 per cent to 5.8 per cent with 88,700 jobs created in the month.

“More than 80 per cent of these jobs went to women and more than 40 per cent went to young people.”

“Importantly the participation rate remains at a record high while the level of employment is now back at pre-pandemic levels.”

Using Tax Office data, federal shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers estimates 413,000 Victorian workers and 134,000 businesses in the state will be in receipt of JobKeeper at the end of the scheme but there is great uncertainty on how many of those workers will go back onto the payroll when the subsidy ends and how many businesses will survive.

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Paul Guerra says the time is right for JobKeeper to end with the economy coming back strongly except hospitality, tourism, and events, arts and entertainment and the university sectors.

Mr Guerra argues that more important than wage subsidies now, is the ability to trade without restrictions, and renewed his calls for the remaining health restrictions to be lifted.

“What we need is support for those sectors that can’t trade at normal levels and they can’t trade at normal levels because there are still restrictions on business,” he said.

In the hotel accommodations sector where venues in central Melbourne and Sydney are struggling with occupancy rates at 50 per cent below their pre-pandemic levels and which has relied heavily on JobKeeper, one major chain says it is not planning to let any of its staff go when the subsidy ends.

Hyatt Hotels and Resorts Pacific vice-president Robert Dawson said JobKeeper had been a lifeline for the industry and that there was “genuine cause for concern” with the scheme about to end.

But Mr Dawson said there were no plans to shed any position when JobKeeper ended and that the group was even trying to hire in some areas.

“We feel confident that the changes made will allow us to move forward into April with no additional changes to our staffing levels post JobKeeper,” Mr Dawson said.

“In Melbourne over the last few weeks we are starting to see momentum building as there is more certainty around vaccine rollout and the opening of internal borders.”

Tourism Accommodation Australia’s Victorian General Manager Dougal Hollis also called for “business continuity” and an end to trading restrictions and border closures.

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Home Secretary considering sending asylum seekers thousands of miles away to be processed | Politics News


Asylum seekers could be sent to processing centres abroad under the home secretary’s plans to overhaul the immigration system, according to reports.

The British overseas territory of Gibraltar is a location under consideration by officials, according to The Times, as well as the Isle of Man and other islands off the British coast.

Priti Patel has vowed to stop migrants making the perilous journey across the English Channel and is expected to publish details of plans overhauling the UK’s asylum and immigration system next week.

The Times said plans due to be set out will include a consultation on changing the law so that migrants seeking asylum can be sent to processing centres in third countries.

It follows a series of leaks last year suggesting the UK government was considering a number of offshore policies akin to those used in Australia.

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The home secretary has vowed to stop migrants making the perilous journey across the English Channel

These included sending asylum seekers to Ascension Island, more than 4,000 miles from the UK, to be processed, and turning disused ferries out at sea into processing centres.

The ideas were dismissed by critics at the time as unfeasible, while Labour condemned the suggestion of an asylum processing centre on Ascension Island as “inhumane, completely impractical and wildly expensive”.

The government believes sending migrants to third countries for processing would be compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), according to reports.

The Times said the new legislation will include life sentences for people smugglers and the establishment of migrant reception centres on government land, with many currently being housed in hotels.

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Complaint after private school students made ‘derogatory’ comments as thousands gathered to March 4 Justice



Students from one of Melbourne's most elite private schools have been overheard making “derogatory comments about women” on the same day thousands marched for women's rights.The Wesley College students' behaviour was reported to the school by a member of the public yesterday.School principal Nick Evans described their actions as “disrespectful” before decrying misogyny and sexism in a statement.Wesley College students were heard making derogatory comments as thousands attended the March 4 Justice rally. (Fairfax)”I understand that these students made derogatory comments about women which was highly offensive and caused extreme discomfort.”This behaviour is unacceptable. I am deeply disappointed to have Wesley students behave in such a manner.Mr Evans said he felt “fury” and “shame” as a result of the news.The incident is believed to have happened on a bus, on the same day thousands rallied in support of women and to protest against gendered violence during March 4 Justice yesterday.READ MORE: How Australia's March 4 Justice was heard around the worldThe Wesley principal said the school had recently conducted an audit of programs dealing with consent and respectful relationships.Tens of thousands protest in Women's March 4 Justice rallyView Gallery”The curriculum includes sexual intimacy, pornography, acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, and sexual risks and consequences, consent and the law, and gender-based violence,” the statement reads.”I also indicated last week that we would be examining how effective these programs are. We have begun a series of conversations with students regarding their effectiveness. It was clear last week, and it is even clearer now, that we have work to do.”IN PICTURES: Tens of thousands protest in Women's March 4 Justice rallyAlmost 900 women have died because of gendered violence in Australia since 2018. (Nine)Mr Evans said it was a “painful moment for those members of the public on the bus who had to endure it”.March 4 Justice saw tens of thousands of people march across the country to take a stand against gendered violence.In Melbourne protesters unfurled a list names spanning several metres of almost 900 women who have been killed by male violence since 2008.

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