Friday, March 27, 2020

Landlords won't be able to evict tenants struggling to pay rent due to COVID-19

So who is going to pay the landlords' bills?

Australian landlords won't be allowed to evict tenants as part of a rental rescue package aimed at protecting those struggling throughout the coronavirus crisis.

State governments are reportedly working on the interventions to protect the eight million people in rental homes.

The federal government is also reportedly considering income tax cuts for landlords who reduce the rental amount that tenants must pay.

The Australian Financial Review cited sources on Thursday as saying state and federal treasurers were discussing the idea as a way of providing relief for renters struggling financially amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The AFR reported that under the option property investors would need to waive or reduce rents and in turn pay less income tax.

A similar plan will likely be introduced to protect small business owners who cannot pay their rent due to forced closures under social distancing restrictions.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison discussed the measures in a national cabinet meeting with state and territory leaders on Wednesday night.

Tenants would need to prove they were suffering hardship as a direct result of the coronavirus crisis in order to avoid being evicted.

Hundreds of thousands of hardworking Australians have been left jobless as a result of Mr Morrison's tough stance on flattening the curve of the virus

On Wednesday alone, some 280,000 people indicated they would need financial assistance from Centrelink.

Pubs, bars, restaurants, cinemas and gyms earlier in the week before adding beauticians and food courts to the closures from Wednesday.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he understood the need to protect tenants during this difficult time - but didn't want to see landlords who still have to pay their mortgages suffer as a result.


Qld.: Pupil free week from Monday so teachers can prepare for remote learning

QUEENSLAND will close schools from next week to all but the children of essential workers.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced schools would move to pupil-free days from next week, although anyone with a job would still be able to send their children to school.

“Next week Queensland schools will move to student free days ... schools will remain open to allow children of essential workers and vulnerable children to remain at school,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

The ruling applies to all schools, not just state schools.

It comes as independent schools had already moved online, with some bringing forward the end of term to offer alternative learning from home next week.

“Next week will give independent school staff valuable time to test and refine their alternative learning from home arrangements and undertake important preparations for what shape school education could take from Term 2. Independent School Queensland executive director David Robertson said.

He commended school principals and the dedication of all school staff in “working closely with their communities” and doing everything in their power to safeguard student and staff health and wellbeing and maintain learning.

The pupil-free days will allow teachers to remain at work and prepare future learning materials, Ms Palaszczuk said.

Education Minister Grace Grace said Queensland did have to “prepare for what the potential future may be”.

“So from Monday the 30th of March, we will be moving to student free days, but we do stress that schools will remain open for children of essential workers, that is those who are required in the workplace,” she said.

“It is vital we remain open for these workers because we don’t want to put pressure on the economy.”

“Schools are open for essential workers and workers required in the workplace ... and obviously vulnerable children will be catered for as well,” Ms Grace said.

“We are planning for all kind of scenarios... and that’s why next week is important for teachers to be given the time to plan the learning materials for what may be needed.”

Kindies will follow suit with pupil-free days next week so that teachers can prepare remote learning and activities for children as well.

Long daycare centres will be open but Education Minister Grace Grace asked parents to adhere to strict isolation requirements and that only the essential workers and workers required in their workplaces use daycare centres.

“Teachers will move to developing remote learning for students and all those learning materials for what may lie ahead,” Ms Grace said.

The Palaszczuk Government has until now maintained a national line that schools were safe to attend, although had told parents they may choose to keep their children at home this week if they were available to care for them there.

The Premier said the health advice that schools were safe had not changed.

“Let me give this very clear message to parents who will have their children at home next week: They should be learning from home, they should not be out in the shopping centres,” she said.

And she said they should not be visiting any grandparents with risk-factors for coronavirus.

When asked how long the measures would be in place and if they would continue after the term break, the Premier said they were preparing for “every scenario”.

Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said she was happy with the decision.

“By reducing the numbers of children at school, we can make sure our older and vulnerable teachers aren’t in classrooms and increase the amount of social distancing in our schools, so it’s the perfect solution,” she said.

The Queensland Teachers’ Union also welcomed the decision for students to be given pupil-free days and to move Queensland schools from “business as usual”.

“Teachers will be engaged in preparation and planning in their schools around remote and flexible delivery into the future should schools close as a consequence of the national response to the pandemic,” QTU president Kevin Bates said.

“Schools will continue to provide supervision for children of essential services workers and vulnerable children including those in out of home care, students with disabilities who do not have medical complications and children for whom no other appropriate care arrangements are available - for example if both parents are working and their child could be at school and supervised.”

Health Minister Steven Miles said the state could have lost up to 30 per cent of its health staff if schools had completely closed. “It’s incredibly important that our health staff continue to be able to send their children to school,” he said.

“Modelling by our hospitals suggested if they had been unable to do that it would have potentially impacted on 30 per cent of our health workforce.

“We are already working on the basis that a proportion of our health workforce will get sick and that we will need to cover them.”

“We can also cover those that don’t have alternative arrangements for their children’s learning so it’s incredibly welcomed by our hospitals and our health staff that they will be able to continue to access schools.”

Dr Miles urged parents considering asking grandparents to look after children to consider the health of the elderly and those most vulnerable to the virus.

The pupil-free days ruling comes after the Department of Education issued all Queensland schools with two-weeks worth of school work that can be delivered online and via paper copy.

Two-week units of school work for Prep to Year 10 was made available to all Queensland schools on March 17, with subsequent rollouts of content.

Packs of school work are already available to parents and students with various activities in line with the national curriculum for each year level and answers available for parents to help them with their child’s learning.


Qantas A380 makes historic direct flight from Australia to London

Qantas' A380 services to London usually fly via Singapore.
(CNN) — You might think the time for record-breaking flights is over, with airlines and airports across the world grinding to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But by a strange twist of fate, Qantas will -- for a matter of days -- be running the first-ever A380 passenger flight between Australia and London.

So how did this come about?

Qantas will be suspending all its international flights by the end of March, with its flagship QF1 "Kangaroo Route" from Sydney to London via Singapore making its last departure from Sydney on March 26, reports Executive Traveller.

However, Singapore Changi Airport will be banning transit passengers from March 24, leaving Qantas in a bit of a pickle.

So, in a switcheroo on the Kangaroo Route, Qantas will now be doing a 90-minute fuel stop at Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory instead, before flying the 16-plus hours on to London.

It's the first time that Darwin and London will be linked by a direct service -- but not the first time Darwin's been a stop on this prestigious route.

As chance would have it, Darwin was a stop on the original Kangaroo Route in the 1930s, which took 37 days and included 10 stops. "The return fare was about £400 -- the equivalent of two years' minimum wages, making the journey very much one reserved for the rich and famous," Geoffrey Thomas, editor-in-chief of AirlineRatings, told CNN Travel in 2017.

Darwin falls on the most direct path from Sydney to London, making it ideally positioned for the quick stopover before the 17-hour flight onwards to London.

Qantas' last fight on the returning QF2 flight from London to Sydney via Darwin will take off March 27, landing the next day.

Goodbye to the superjumbo. Qantas is grounding all 150 of its planes until at least the end of May, including their 12 A380s.
However, with Airbus ceasing production of the superjumbo by 2021, and airlines already retiring those in their fleet, it could well be the last chance for passengers to ride in one of Qantas' red-tailed A380s, notes the One Mile At A Time aviation website.

Although the double-decker megajet was a consumer favorite, "The 380 was a bad business decision in the first place," explains Kenneth Button, professor of public policy at George Mason University.

"Boeing had it right when it argued that more passengers wanted direct flights rather than going via large hubs linked by superjumbos and getting to/from the hubs by single-aisle planes -- which was what Airbus thought would happen.

"Hence the 787 with medium capacity, fuel economy and long-range (and ability to be used in a freighter context) triumphed," he tells CNN Travel.

Qantas has been involved in a few remarkable aviation moments in recent times. Last November, Flight QF7879 from London to SYDNEY became the world's longest passenger flight by a commercial airline both for distance, at 17,800 kilometers (about 11,060 miles), and for duration in the air, at 19 hours and 19 minutes.

While in March 2018, a Qantas jet made the first direct flight from Australia to the UK, a Boeing Dreamliner voyaging from PERTH to London.

These Darwin-London flights might not be such legendary aviation moments, but they are another strange twist in what is a very tumultuous time for the industry.


Coronavirus: People being told to go against instincts

Boris Johnson’s bold but sombre, schoolmasterly instruction: go home and do as you’re told, is asking the British people to go against every instinct in their political culture.

The big Anglo-Saxon countries - the US, Britain, Australia - are encountering a distinctive set of problems coping with the COVID-19 crisis.

They are asking their populations to give up familiar freedoms for a civic purpose.

More than any other cultures on earth, the Anglo-Saxon cultures - perhaps now more accurately called the Anglomorph cultures, nations with the civic shape of their British/American heritage - prize freedom as their cardinal civic value.

They have fought bitter civil wars, and even more bitter world wars, to seize and preserve their freedoms.

Five minutes ago, Johnson himself led a brilliant Brexit campaign with the slogan: Take back control. Now his message is: Relinquish control!

Where Britain has gone in lockdown, Australia will surely follow in coming days.

In Britain, in the US and in Australia large numbers of people have point blank refused to take social distancing seriously.

Common sense has been abundantly absent, from Bondi Beach to Miami holiday celebrations to a thronging London bar and cafe scene up to a day or two ago.

The disarray in the US, with states all going their own way, state and federal governments in conflict, and partisan rancour so toxic that Congress cannot even pass a stimulus package, is truly shocking.

Donald Trump declaring flatly that he is going to re-open the economy soon undercuts the seriousness of the message that people need to practice social isolation if they’re going to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsein Loong, told me this week it was important for any government to go into a crisis “with some social capital”.

His people believe the mainstream media, trust the government in a crisis, believe their government tells the truth and generally obey government instructions.

In the Anglomorph cultures, none of that is true.

Maybe that’s sometimes a good thing. In this crisis, it’s absolutely deadly.

London and much of the UK are singularly ill suited to a home-based lockdown.

My wife and I lived in London for three months last year in a tiny flat in Barons Court, just beyond West Kensington.

It was the smallest space I’ve ever inhabited. The dining, living and kitchen space were about the size of a large ensuite bathroom in any self respecting McMansion and the bedroom required careful sliding around the edge of the bed.

But it was perfectly fine for a temporary stay partly because life in London is not lived at home. Walking 300m left or right took me to many tiny coffee bars, cafes, small super markets and pubs. You never had coffee at home because all these places functioned as your living room.

In Australia we drive to the super market and do a big shop once a week, or even less often, unless we particularly enjoy shopping. In Barons Court everyone it seemed went to the markets and food stores every day. Everyone went to the pubs every night. You watched the football in the pub, you read the newspaper in a cafe, you bought your supplies almost daily for those rare occasions when you ate at home.

Our refrigerator was the size of a few - very few - stacked shoe boxes. We backed on to a building site which was always noisy. None of this mattered because our time in the apartment was sparse.

Imagine being locked in full time, with the prospect that lock down might last weeks, months.

And our apartment, on the top floor, was very good by London standards. The people in the semi-basement ground floor at the front had their window open on to the building’s always full garbage bins. The apartment at the back opened onto the noisy, dust-generating building site.

Cabin fever would set in after about a day. Keeping symptom-free people, especially young people, confined in apartments like that, and there are many much smaller and more crowded all over London, will require the spirit of the blitz in an era of routine, narcissistic civil disobedience.

That’s very tough.

 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

No comments: