Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Victoria's horror coronavirus outbreak spreads to New South Wales as a TENTH public housing tower in Melbourne is exposed to the virus  and a military operation is launched to lockdown the border

I am just ecstatic to be a Queenslander right now -- like almost all Queenslanders, I suspect.  And having a freezer crammed full of food is comforting too -- JR

Victoria's coronavirus outbreak has jumped the border to New South Wales as the crisis in Melbourne deepens and a military operation is launched to stop people crossing the state line.

All residents of the greater Melbourne area were banned from New South Wales as of 12.01am on Tuesday - and all Victorians will be stopped from crossing the border 24 hours later.

The ban had previously only applied to residents of Melbourne's 12 coronavirus hotspot postcodes.

The extension of the NSW HotSpot Order comes as the Victorian outbreak spread into the NSW town of Albury.

NSW Health confirmed on Monday night two people in the border town tested positive, one of whom had recently travelled to a Melbourne hotspot but returned before restrictions were imposed.

The Federal Government will send up to 500 military personnel to help NSW Police seal off the interstate border.

Many of the 55 road border crossings will be patrolled, while drones will spy from the air to stop people swimming across rivers or crossing through bushland.

'Defence is working closely with the NSW Government to finalise arrangements for the deployment of between 350 and 500 Australian Defence Force personnel to support the NSW Police Force border control checkpoints on the NSW-Victoria border,' an ADF spokeswoman said.

'The first of these are expected to deploy to the border to achieve the NSW Government directed border closure timings, pending finalising the agreement with NSW authorities.'  

As of Monday night, Victoria had 645 active cases which make up more than 97 per cent of Australia's total 668 active cases.

The state is to be shut off from the rest of the country after case numbers surged by 124 on Monday revised down from 127 - its highest daily increase since the start of the pandemic.

The previous daily high in the number of new COVID-19 cases recorded in Victoria was 111 on March 28.

Meanwhile, Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos announced a 30-bed field hospital was being set up at Melbourne Showgrounds to give first aid and triage to the 3000 residents of nine public housing towers under total lockdown in Flemington and North Melbourne.

Australia's first field hospital dedicated to the virus was jointly established by the Royal Melbourne Hospital and St John Ambulance to provide urgent care if needed, Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services said on Monday.

The public housing situation worsened on Monday with a 10th block exposed to the deadly virus.

A resident living in a locked-down North Melbourne tower also worked as a subcontractor for Victoria's Health Department in the 10th block, at 108 Elizbeth St, Richmond, Nine News reported. Seven levels of the building have now been sanitised but the building had not been locked down as of Monday night.

'Dying of starvation': Public housing say they've only eaten four sausage rolls since nine towers were forced into lockdown
Public housing residents trapped in their homes have broken down in tears as they claim food supplies are so dangerously low people could die from starvation.

Nine towers in Flemington and North Melbourne were locked down on Saturday in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, with 3,000 residents unable to leave their apartments for any reason for at least five days.

The state government says it has distributed 3000 meals, 1000 food hampers and 250 personal care packs to residents, while the charity FareShare has provided more than 3000 prepared meals and 4500 pastries.

But Debbie Harrison, who is caring for her 83-year-old mother, Ivy, at a housing unit in North Melbourne says they have only been given four sausage rolls to eat in 48 hours.

Ms Harrison broke down in tears and said she and her mother have run out of fruit, vegetables, meat and toilet paper.

The distressed woman said they had only received their first delivery on Monday despite going into complete lockdown at 4pm Saturday.

The mother and daughter were given four small sausage rolls to sustain them for the entire day. 'They are just going to go in the bin, we're not touching them,' Ms Harrison told A Current Affair.

Ms Harrison tried to get her daughter to deliver groceries, but she was turned away by police guarding the public housing tower.

The 83-year-old great-grandmother said she is more worried about her children and her great-grandchildren. 'I want things to be what they used to be, I've never known anything like this in my 83 years, never,' she said.

Residents of the nine towers have complained about not having enough food since the lockdown began on Saturday afternoon.

Flemington resident Steve Ulu told Nine News that nobody had knocked on his door to ask if he needed anything.

Mr Ulu said he was running low on cat food and was just lucky he had enough food in his freezer to get by when the lockdown began.

'The prisoners have got more than we do because they get to eat three times a day,' he said.

A resident who did not give her full name claimed that she and her seven children had been living off Weetbix cereal without milk, SBS News reported. 'I can't keep them fed anymore ... I don't know how to explain. I didn't expect this,' the resident said.

However photographs revealed police delivering pallet loads of bread and boxes of essential food to Melbourne's housing commission towers on Monday.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday that Foodbank had provided 1000 essential food hampers with cereal, pasta, long-life milk, sugar, and tinned vegetables to residents, while a further 3000 ready-made meals and 4500 pastries had also been delivered.

Melbourne community groups have also rallied to help the residents with Sikh Volunteers Australia bringing hundreds of hot vegetarian meals, Foodbank Victoria delivering 1600 hampers and the National Homeless Collective delivering 140 tins of baby formula, nappies and sanitary pads.

Mr Andrews said on Sunday that the Victorian Government would give residents of the subsidised housing towers food, free rent for two weeks, baby formula, pet food and medical essentials.

They will also be provided with counselling, treatment for drug and alcohol ­addiction including methadone for registered addicts, mental health care, family violence counselling and physical healthcare.

Translators will be doorknocking to explain directions to tenants who don't speak English.

Some residents of the public housing estate are employed and they will receive a $1500 hardship payment to compensate for missing work.

A crowdfunding campaign for residents by Victorian Trades Hall Council has raised more than $250,000.

However, residents on Monday complained to SBS news that the food parcels provided by the government were 'culturally inappropriate' including non-halal meat.

Sixteen new coronavirus cases were found at the nine towers on Monday bringing the total to 53 confirmed cases in the subsidised housing blocks.  

Five hundred police are patrolling the towers to make sure that nobody enters or leaves except essential service personnel.

The decision to close Victoria's border with New South Wales was made after three-way talks between Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

'The cases have escalated significantly now,' Mr Morrison told Radio 2GB on Monday evening. 'We had a three way hook up earlier this morning ... and agreed that now is the time for Victoria to isolate itself from the rest of the country.'

Mr Morrison said he expected there to be initial confusion and teething problems, but asked Australians to be patient.

The border closures will be enforced on the NSW side so as not to drain Victoria's resources that are being used to fight the outbreak.      

The Prime Minister criticised those among the 10,000 residents living in Victoria's hotspot postcodes who have refused coronavirus testing.

Mr Morrison said it was his view that they ought to be penalised however it was a matter for the state to decide.

A man in his 90s died in hospital on Sunday night, while a man in his 60s died on Monday, bringing the national pandemic death toll to 106.

Fourteen new coronavirus cases linked to the Al-Taqwa College outbreak were found on Monday, Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services said on Monday, bringing the total number of cases linked to the outbreak to 77.

All staff and students at the school at Truganina in Melbourne’s west have been placed into isolation for contact tracing.

Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton was concerned by the spread of cases in Melbourne, saying a significant number were in suburbs near 12 hotspot postcodes, where stay-at-home orders are currently in place.

'There's significant spillover and so to use the bushfire analogy - there are literally spot fires adjacent to those restricted postcodes,' he said.

On Sunday, Australia's Acting Chief Health Medical Officer Paul Kelly described the towers as 'vertical cruise ships', due to their potential to spread the virus.

Mr Andrews said more cases should be expected as authorities test all 3000 residents of the towers.

Meanwhile, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton confirmed a 32-year-old resident of one of the towers at Flemington has been arrested for attempting to leave and biting police.


Alan Jones slams Australia's 'alarmist' response to the coronavirus crisis and says we SHOULDN'T be in lockdown as he returns to broadcasting with a new show

He's got a point. The plain fact is that working-age people are in minimal danger

Alan Jones has blasted Australia's response to the coronavirus crisis in his return to broadcasting after retiring from radio.

The 79-year-old debuted his new program on Sky News on Monday night and claimed Australia has run an 'alarmist' campaign in dealing with COVID-19.

'Since I was last on air and even before I went off air, we have endured this extraordinary alarmist campaign over coronavirus and it still persists,' Jones said.

More than 8,400 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in Australia with 106 fatalities, which Jones argued pales in comparison to the nation's yearly average of 160,000 deaths.

He noted figures from the World Health Organisation that 99 per cent of the world's coronavirus cases are mild and questioned why the disease has shut down the country.

'We’re breathlessly told how many more people have tested positive. Now this hysteria has gripped people,' he said. 'They baulk at getting into a lift.'

Jones said if Victoria 'was a public company it’d be in administration'.

The veteran broadcaster claimed 'almost none' of the new cases were critical despite an emergency field hospital being erected at Melbourne Showgrounds to cater for a feared spike in cases from nine of the city's locked down housing commission towers.

Five Victorian COVID-19 patients are currently receiving treatment in intensive care.

Jones said leaders must start 'providing leadership'  instead of frightening the public feeding hysteria surrounding the virus. 'Can we have some perspective in all of this? The economy has been crushed. What for?' Jones said.

'We’ve got political leaders who have become followers. Chief medical officers whose names have never appeared on a ballot paper are running the country.

'Businesses are going broke for God’s sake and people may have lost their jobs for good because the impression has been created that if you test positive, you must immediately go to Bunnings, get a box of nails, some pine boards, build a coffin and jump into it.'


Australia proving 'resilient' to China's influence efforts, says CSIS

China's attempts to influence Australian attitudes and politics are ultimately aimed at peeling Australia away from its US alliance and neutralising its impact on geostrategic issues, says a leading US think tank.

Australia has been included by the Washington-based Centre for Strategic & International Studies alongside Japan, Germany and the UK as case studies of advanced economies that have been targeted by Beijing and Moscow.

"Like Japan, Australia is an attractive target for Chinese influence operations because of its strategic value as a US ally in the increasingly contested Indo-Pacific region," writes Amy Searight, a non-resident, senior associate for Asia at the CSIS.

"Neutralising Australia on a key issue such as the South China Sea would pay huge dividends for Beijing by reducing American regional leadership," say the authors of a new report. EPA

"Neutralising Australia on a key issue such as the South China Sea would pay huge dividends for Beijing by reducing American regional leadership."

The report by the CSIS, which receives funding from the Australian government, comes amid growing US media attention and awareness of what many on both sides of the political divide regard as China's economic bullying of Australia in recent weeks and months.

Even as attitudes harden in the US against China, Australia's case is increasingly making prime-time news. Brian Kilmeade, a high-profile pro-Donald Trump commentator on "Fox & Friends", last week urged Republican House of Representatives minority leader Kevin McCarthy to push for American purchases of Australian iron ore to counter China.

Ms Searight says Australia’s economic dependency on China and its large Chinese diaspora "create points of leverage for Beijing to exploit".

The CSIS also accuses China of trying to "divide Australia's multicultural society" by seeking to unite its Chinese diaspora inside the country to support Beijing "while also exploiting racial sensitivities".

Alongside resources trade, and tourism and education, China has a "natural constituency of support in the Australian business community and among university leadership for a cooperative relationship with China", she writes.

While Australia's "free and vibrant press" has helped draw attention to "Chinese malign influence activities in Australia", Australia's Chinese-language media is seen as having been largely co-opted or purchased by Beijing-linked interests.

"The growing use of WeChat and other Chinese-language social media further limits access of Chinese-speaking Australians to information and perspectives that fall outside of the Beijing-controlled narrative," Ms Searight writes.

The report notes a deterioration in Australian opinions on China since 2008, when 52 per cent surveyed by the Pew Research Centre had a "favourable" view of the Sino giant. In 2018 that number had shrunk to 36 per cent, with "unfavourable" views rising to 57 per cent from 40 per cent 12 years ago.

"Despite its vulnerabilities, Australia’s democratic political culture has proven resilient to China’s growing attempts to influence its political environment," the report's authors conclude.

Still, the CSIS warns that China and Russia are adapting and mutating their efforts, with Beijing starting to emulate Moscow's tactics by creating fake social media accounts to spread lies, "particularly related to the US administration's handling of the coronavirus epidemic".

"Just as China is learning from Russia, democracies under threat can learn from one another.

"Increasing this cooperation and finding common approaches to countering malign influence activities are the best ways to ensure those activities continue to fall short of their goals."

For the purposes of the CSIS study, the authors have adopted former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's definition of malign influence activities as being "covert, coercive, or corrupting". Mr Turnbull outlined the definition in a speech to parliament in December 2017 when he introduced his espionage and foreign interference bill.


An Endlessly Renewable Source of Green Agitprop

Stoking the fires of renewable energy’s purported advantages is the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), an intergovernmental outfit whose chief purpose is to serve as a spigot for endless propaganda. Its official message is that fossil fuel is an archaic source of electricity now being battered by upstart competitors wind and solar. Bear in mind that world electricity supply pans out at 38 per cent for coal, 23 per cent gas and 26 per cent hydro/nuclear. Wind/solar supply 10 per cent.

IRENA tirelessly advocates for renewables, saying they “could form a key component of economic stimulus packages in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.” And in the purple prose so common with these green-spruiking agencies it claims, “Scaling up renewables can boost struggling economies. It can save money for consumers, pique the appetites of investors and create numerous high-quality new jobs.” Investment in renewables is amplified by other benefits, the story goes, as it is alleged to bring “health, sustainability and inclusive prosperity.” When it comes to renewables, no snake-oil salesman of old could hold a carbon-neutral candle to the likes of their modern green-lipped urgers.

IRENA would have us see renewable power installations as a key component of economic stimulus packages in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, claiming that replacing one quarter of the world’s existing coal capacity with wind and solar would, in addition to cutting electricity costs, bestow a stimulus worth US$940 billion, or around one per cent of global GDP.

All this is, of course, is super-heated hot air billowing from the deep pockets of IRENA’s multi-government funding. It rests upon the sort of spurious arithmetic swallowed whole by Australian governments which, having granted regulatory favours to wind/solar, cheer the dynamiting of low-cost, dependable coal plants and the consequent price escalation and network unreliability.

IRENA estimates the cost of electricity from new coal plants at between US$50 per MWh and US$177 per MWh. The cost of plant itself is pretty standard internationally, but that of transmission and fuel is highly variable, as are construction costs. For Australia, rigorous analysis by GHD for the Minerals Council estimated a new, high efficiency/low emissions black coal generator would be as low as $40 per MWh. Australian coal’s locational advantages were the key to this low cost, offset somewhat by a “CFMEU” union loading disability (lifting labour costs 25 per cent above the level that would prevail without unionised rigidities).

Compared with its coal-generation cost estimates, the shaded area in the diagram below, IRENA puts the cost of solar photovoltaics as having declines to US$68 per MWh; of large scale solar to US$182 per MWh; and that of wind to $US53 per MWh.

Given all these entirely confected “advantages” of wind and solar, IRENA is disappointed that global growth in renewable investment seems to have stagnated over recent years. It attributes this to the concocted story — cooked up by itself, mind you — about “subsidies” to coal, the estimates for which are derived from another IRENA paper which confusingly traverses many different international sources with widely different approaches and estimates.

The global subsidy figure IRENA cites for fossil fuels is $447 billion, which excludes greenhouse “externality costs”. The subsidies for coal itself are said to be $17 billion (astonishingly, this includes the UK which no longer has any generation from coal). Germany is the largest coal subsidiser (to enable its coal industry to compete with imports). Coal comprises 40 per cent of German electricity supply, and IRENA quotes annual subsidy estimates ranging from $US 10 billion while also lending credibility to the (US)$58 billion Greenpeace estimate. Aside from coal, add a further $128 billions of subsidies to electricity generation generally, this from government-mandated price controls, estimates of concessional finance and support for carbon-capture and storage.

Coincidental to the IRENA release was a report of an agency dedicated to destroying the competitiveness of the Australian energy industry, the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (GCCS).  Bear in mind that GCCS was bankrolled by the Rudd/Gillard government but, despite all that money from the public purse, it is very secretive about its accounting.  Its latest press release refers to yet another reputed success in carbon capture and storage, said to be burying 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 a year with Canadian government subsidies of C$558 million. Some may take a perverse comfort in knowing Australia is not the only country dedicated to committing economic suicide with addled “energy competitiveness” initiatives.

Agencies like IRENA parade their cost fabrications purely to arm the governments that finance them with the information they can use to promote the subsidies that are needed – temporarily of course – to get these “clean” energy investments over the line.

The message is heard loud and clear in all Western nations (except Trump’s America) and lip service is paid to it in the developing world just so long as rich countries pick up the tab. Most of the Western world is adopting economically debilitating emission-restraint policies, but there is no prospect of China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia sacrificing their possibilities of Western-style living standards by abandoning fossil fuels, always the cheapest energy source. As these nations are now responsible for two-thirds of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, all the international agitprop in the world will make no difference to the trivial global warming that the burning of fossil fuels may be causing.

Agencies like IRENA, their national counterparts, lobby organisations and leaders like that of EU President Ursula von der Leyen  continue to beat the drum even as reality bites elsewhere.

But reality bites elsewhere.  In Melbourne, several green-left councils have announced deferral of “sustainability” expenditures as they grapple with massive funding reductions in the light of the lockdown.  These councils will not be the only government agencies who decide that, with reduced incomes, saving the planet takes a back seat to saving public service jobs!


 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

1 comment:

Paul said...

"However, residents on Monday complained to SBS news that the food parcels provided by the government were 'culturally inappropriate' including non-halal meat."

Them being here in the first place is culturally inappropriate.