Unapproved electronic signature used on coronavirus exemption for AFL footballers’ families, report finds

One of South Australia’s top doctors and a senior COVID-19 SA Health officer are at odds with their recollections over how 11 family members of AFL footballers were granted exemptions to enter the state without quarantining last month.

The parents of Port Adelaide footballers were allowed into South Australia from Victoria last month ahead of a qualifying final earlier this month at Adelaide Oval.

Five of them already in hotel quarantine were allowed to stay but Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier revoked the exemptions for the six others after finding out about the issue.

A report commissioned by the Department of Premier and Cabinet released today found the electronic signature of Deputy Chief Medical Officer Evan Everest was used to grant the approval.

However, he said he could not recall using it.

According to the report, a senior but unnamed COVID-19 exemptions officer told investigators he or she was given Dr Everest’s permission to use his electronic signature and believed he had given the exemptions his approval.

Dr Everest said he may have referred their applications to the exemptions committee “and that was mistakenly interpreted to mean he had approved the applications”.

The report made 13 recommendations, including recording when permission was granted to use electronic signatures.

Premier Steven Marshall said all of the recommendations would be accepted and implemented.

He said it was an “isolated” and “regrettable” incident.

“We’ve put this review in place, we now have these recommendations for improvement and we’re getting on with it.”

Hospitality boost as tourists return

The Premier today joined Hilton Adelaide hotel general manager Rupert Hallam in reopening the CBD hotel, which was closed for more than six months.

Mr Marshall said there had been a lot of interest in $100 vouchers for city hotel stays from Thursday, and a 200 per cent increase in traffic to the SA Tourism Commission website since visitors from NSW were allowed to come to the state without a 14-day quarantine three weeks ago.

More than a third of visitors to Adelaide’s Hilton hotel come from NSW.(ABC News: Dean Faulkner)

“I think confidence is stepping back to this economy and of course that’s great news for jobs in the hospitality sector,” Mr Marshall said.

SA Health yesterday announced two people in hotel quarantine had tested positive for COVID-19.

Both cases — one man in his 30s and another in his 50s — recently returned from overseas

There have been a total of 475 cases reported in South Australia.

There are five active cases in the state.

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Goulburn Mulwaree Council ups ante on unapproved works | Goulburn Post

news, local-news, Goulburn, compliance, unlawful works, Goulburn Mulwaree Council, Scott Martin, real estate agents, Tony Lamarra, Marulan

The council will crack down on fines and penalty notices following an upsurge in unlawful building and other works. Some 94 matters are either under investigation, subject to enforcement actions or ongoing monitoring in Goulburn Mulwaree. They range from unapproved residences, including ‘granny’ flats, dumped vehicles, environmental incidents and unauthorised vegetation clearing, earthworks or construction. One allegation involves the home of a former Goulburn City mayor. Councillors heard at their meeting on Tuesday that a policy based on “co-operative compliance,” whereby planners tried to achieve an acceptable outcome, was not working. READ MORE: Goulburn Mulwaree Council orders shed demolition, issues penalty Goulburn Mulwaree Council issues consent for Run-O-Waters shed Goulburn Mulwaree Council heads to court over Forest Siding Road shed Environment and planning director Scott Martin described it as “ineffective,” while general manager Warwick Bennett said the council needed to implement a harder line. “There would be very few people who wouldn’t understand that they need to get approvals to do building works. The law has just been flouted,” he said. “I’ll be putting a position paper up to the council very soon saying that we need to go harder with fines from the word go.” Increased fines would fund more monitoring resources within the planning department. Mr Bennett told the meeting that the “natural justice” method wasn’t sending the right message that the actions were “unacceptable.” Councillors also decided to advise real estate agents, solicitors and conveyancers that “weekenders” were not a permissable use. Mr Martin said landowners and the real estate industry were exploiting the area’s reasonably priced land and rural lifestyle. Marketing techniques often spruiked “weekenders” on a property but this was not a defined planning use. But the unlawful works are springing up in urban and rural areas. His report detailed 29 instances of alleged unauthorised work. ALSO READ: Goulburn 2020 commemorates arrival of Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1820 They included 555 Forest Siding Road, Middle Arm, where a shed has been used for residential purposes, vegetation cleared and a “non-compliant” wastewater system installed. The council is prosecuting the owner in the NSW Land and Environment Court. Planners are also investigating a Hume Highway, Marulan site potentially being used as a landfill. At another nearby property, they alleged unauthorised earthworks and structures had occurred. In addition, a clean-up order will be issued to a Dorsett Road property owner for “unsightly premises and hoarding of vehicles.” At Kooringaroo Road, Gundary, officers have served a notice of proposed order on camping grounds. Close by, on McLaughlin Road, investigations are underway into noise complaints and alleged use of the site for motor vehicles. At Marulan, Mr Martin said a stop work order had been issued for work on former 24-hour service station. It was allegedly being converted into a food premises and planners were concerned about structural integrity. Two weeks ago, his officers were called to a Boxers Creek Road property where tyres were burning in a watercourse. Mr Martin said it was “obvious” it wasn’t the first time it had occurred and a clean-up notice had been issued. ALSO READ: P-plater detected speeding more than 70km/h over the limit near Goulburn While there, officers were alerted to stored chemical containers nearby, on Stockade Lane. Further inquiries revealed an unauthorised dwelling, structures and wastewater system, he said. A cease order has been issued. In Goulburn, former Goulburn City Mayor Tony Lamarra has been issued with a stop-work order on his Church Street home. Planners said the ‘unauthorised work’ lacked consideration for the heritage conservation area. Compliance action has been halted, pending a development application. Mr Lamarra said this would soon be lodged but he rejected suggestions he had willfully flouted laws. He told The Post he had removed a front garage because it was dangerous and after liaising with the council understood he could do further work provided it didn’t undermine structural integrity. Mr Lamarra said this was more of a misunderstanding by both parties. ALSO READ: Calling all artists: mural proposed for Goulburn Street Elsewhere in Goulburn, planners were this week authorised to clear cars from a laneway off a Cowper Street address. “The next step is to remove cars from the front yard,” Mr Martin said. The council claimed this had been ongoing for many years, that it was “constantly” impounding vehicles, which were also impeding neighbour access, and the lack of downpipes and guttering on a house was causing runoff to adjoining houses. “Multiple rectification orders had been served. Meantime, the owner of Avoca Street apartments has mounted Land and Environment Court action against the council over a demolition order. The latter claimed that underfloor car parking spaces had been converted for residential use, contravening planning consent in the flood-prone area. “We are trying to work out the basis of that challenge and it won’t be the last you hear of this one, unfortunately,” Mr Martin said. In Mary Street, Goulburn, RSPCA officers and council rangers had visited an address where “numerous cats” were housed and odour generating waste had accumulated. In Goldsmith Street, a demolition order has been issued for demolition of a granny flat and in Chantry Street, for an unauthorised shed in a heritage conservation area. Mr Martin said it was by no means an exhaustive list and the number was expected to grow. ALSO READ: Latest analysis of budget income tax cuts, cash payments and JobMaker “What we’re saying is there’s some significant deterrence here and it’s something we feel is appropriate…because it’s a big impost on our resourcing and staff time,” he said. “We’re also finding the community is less tolerant of…unauthorised works.” He told the meeting that fines were a last step and under the policy, owners were given the chance to explain their actions. Mr Martin argued education was key but so too was advising real estate agents that properties shouldn’t be marketed as having “weekenders.” Councillors also agreed to change section 10.7 planning certificates reminding land buyers to obtain appropriate approvals before undertaking work. “We don’t want people coming to Goulburn Mulwaree and thinking they can do anything they want,” Mayor Bob Kirk said. We care about what you think. Have your say in the form below and if you love local news don’t forget to subscribe.



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