The NSW Government has today requested that children who have visited China in the past two weeks not attend school or childcare services until 14 days have lapsed from their date of departure from China.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said although the risk to children is very low, the NSW Government has taken this step as a precautionary measure.
“I’ve been advised that it’s not medically necessary, but the NSW Government has acted in line with community expectations to ensure the safest possible environment for our students,” Mr Hazzard said.
“The internationally recognised incubation period for the coronavirus is 14 days, so this is the logical timeframe to ask students to refrain from attending school. After this time, there is no risk.
“Advice about not attending school has already been provided to any close contacts of confirmed cases.”
The Commonwealth Department of Health has confirmed that all passengers disembarking from planes from China are being given comprehensive information about coronavirus in both English and Mandarin.
NSW Health has been contacting passengers who were on the same planes as confirmed cases to provide appropriate advice and has processes in place to identify any close contacts of cases confirmed in Australia.
Ms Mitchell said the Department of Education has issued guidance to schools and childcare services across NSW on protocols in the event of a child becoming sick.
“Although the risk remains very low for children, we believe it is the right thing to do to take this extra step and will continue to update the community with advice,” Ms Mitchell said.
There are currently four confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in NSW. All cases had travelled to Wuhan, China or had contact with a confirmed case in China.
Parents with concerns can contact their local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 for advice or visit the dedicated NSW Health information page at:
Anyone who develops a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath within 14 days of travel to Hubei or contact with a person with confirmed coronavirus, should immediately isolate themselves from other people, contact their GP or local emergency department or call the healthdirect helpline 1800 022 222.
KATE WASHINGTON MP
LABOR SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
NSW Labor has welcomed the successful passage of its Bill to ban single-use plastic bags in the Legislative Council this afternoon – in a shock defeat and humiliating rebuff for the Berejiklian Government.
Labor’s Bill passed 18 votes to 16 and must now come down to the Legislative Assembly in two weeks time.
Shadow Minister for Environment Kate Washington said she was overjoyed at the result.
“Under Gladys Berejiklian, NSW is the only state to not ban single use plastic bags,” Ms Washington said.
“The only people that are now standing in the way of a ban on single-use plastic bags in NSW are Gladys Berejiklian and John Barilaro.
“This is the third time this Bill has been introduced by Labor. We are hoping it will be a case of third time lucky.
“Labor will be campaigning around the clock with environmental groups across this state to make it happen.”
Ms Washington noted that a week ago Environment Minister Matt Kean told Question Time that he supported banning single use plastic bags.
“Some 50 million plastic bags end up in our oceans and waterways every year, so we have to ban the bag. But we also need to encourage people to reuse and recycle the bag.”
Environment Minister Matt Kean, Hansard 18 September 2019
“So far Matt Kean has been all talk – now we need to see action,” Ms Washington said.
“It’s clear Matt Kean knows this has to be done – his job now is to deliver the votes of Gladys Berejiklian and John Barilaro who have blocked progress at every turn.”
A legislative ban on single use plastic bags is supported by the National Retailers Association as well as NGOs such as the Boomerang Alliance.
Globally it is estimated that 1 million seabirds and over 100,000 mammals die every year as a result of plastic ingestion or entanglement.
About 180 million bags enter the Australian environment every year, including 50 million plastic bags entering our waterways and oceans.
A new project in Northern Australia will focus on how Australia can better protect and rapidly respond to the growing global risk of emergent infectious diseases which can spread to humans through animals and insects.
Increased surveillance of wildlife, improved disease monitoring, and more extensive field-based sampling are some of the initiatives being targeted by the new project, which is a collaboration between James Cook University (JCU) and CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.
Northern Australia is at increased risk of infectious diseases found in South East Asia because of its close proximity to Asia, potentially providing a gateway to the rest of Australia.
RIGHT: A CSIRO scientist at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL).
Australia’s susceptibility is also increased because of global mobility, growing trade, increased urbanisation leading to human encroachment into wildlife habitats, expanding agricultural development including the rise of peri-urban farming, as well as environmental and land use changes.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews welcomed the collaboration between two of Australia’s leading biosecurity research organisations to protect Australia from the growing threat of zoonotic diseases.
“This collaboration will create an integrated northern and southern research capability that will be pivotal in helping to strengthen Australia’s preparedness and response to emerging infectious diseases,” Minister Andrews said.
Dean of the College, Professor Maxine Whittaker, said it is estimated that 75 per cent of infectious diseases in humans originate in animals, and the frequency of such transmissions has been steadily increasing over time.
“The global annual incidence of zoonotic infectious disease outbreaks has increased by more than 300 per cent since the 1980s,” Professor Whittaker said.
“This worrying trend is now seen as a global and national health security risk, with recent global outbreaks include Ebola virus disease, highly pathogenic avian influenza (bird flu), and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).”
LEFT: The Aedes albopictus, or Asian Tiger mosquito
Bringing together world-class capabilities from the north and south of Australia, the program will connect JCU’s College of Public Health, Medicinal and Veterinary Sciences in Townsville with two CSIRO facilities: the Australian Tropical Sciences and Innovation Precinct (ATSIP) in Townsville and the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in Geelong.
JCU and CSIRO will share knowledge and training opportunities to foster an agile team of experts able to respond rapidly to emerging infectious disease events in the future.
The CSIRO Board met in Townsville this week and welcomed the announcement. CSIRO Chair, David Thodey AO, said CSIRO’s wide-ranging expertise, broad geographical footprint, and commitment to collaboration can connect knowledge and research capability from Northern Australia to Victoria for the benefit of the whole country.
“We’re well-known in the Townsville community for our partnerships to protect and restore the Great Barrier Reef, but the challenge to help safeguard Australia from biosecurity threats is equally important,” he said.
“We can’t solve this biosecurity challenge alone, that‘s why collaboration with our long-standing partner, James Cook University, is crucial in strengthening and integrating Australia’s national biosecurity response capabilities.
“Our Townsville team aren’t just experts in biosecurity and environmental science, they’re Townsville’s front door to the whole of the national science agency, from energy to space, manufacturing to agriculture, and many others – whatever challenges Australians are facing, we’re here to help them solve.”
MEDIA CALL: 10am, Friday 30 August, JCU
Media are invited to film and photograph laboratories and hear from Minister Karen Andrews and representatives from James Cook University and CSIRO at 10am on Friday 30 August 2019.
James Cook University, Townsville
Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) building (Building 48)
1 James Cook Drive, Douglas, QLD
First floor lab.
Map here. Please wear closed-in shoes.
Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
Australia has considerable emerging infectious diseases research capabilities at CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) based in Geelong, one of the most sophisticated laboratories in the world for the safe handling, containment, diagnosis and research of animal and zoonotic diseases.
James Cook University
James Cook University has extensive experience in addressing the risk of infectious disease spread between animal and humans, and across the borders throughout tropical regions. Work includes vector control; disease monitoring, containment and prevention to protect animals and humans against potential zoonotic disease outbreaks; human behaviour; animal and human health services responsiveness to zoonotic infections; and modelling the influence of changes (environmental, people and animal movement, land use, antimicrobial treatment effectiveness and climatic) upon disease spread.
Tickets on Sale Now!
Set against the stunning backdrop of the picturesque township of Berry, crowds of all ages will gather this spring for the inaugural South Coast Food & Wine Festival.
Running from Friday 13 – Sunday 15 September the festival promises to showcase the very best the South Coast has to offer. Boasting over 15 events, there will be cooking classes, demos and tastings from local hero chefs, hatted restaurants hosting pop-ups, first-rate South Coast vineyards, and superb local producers, all supported by a vibrant array of free live music and entertainment.
The Festival’s culinary offerings are made up of 100% South Coast producers and products, with over 50 stallholders expected to be showcasing delicacies from all over the region. Seafood, cheese, berries, wines and much more will be on offer from local producers eager to present their wares.
A signature event of the Festival will be the Long Lunch on Saturday 14 September. Kierrin McKnight, Head Chef and Owner of Wild Ginger and previously Seagrass Brasserie will be bringing the Long Lunch at South Coast Food & Wine Festival to life with his award winning skills. McKnight will be showcasing local produce with a six course feast style menu featuring local produce in each course complemented by local wines and beers.
The South Coast Food & Wine Festival is the not-to-be-missed spring event in NSW, where the culture of gourmet food and beverages converge with awe-inspiring activities, markets and music in one of Australia’s most breathtaking regions.
Tickets to the South Coast Food & Wine Festival cost just $28pp and are on sale now at www.southcoastfoodandwinefestival.com.au
The NSW Government has reaffirmed its commitment to halving rough sleeping across the state by 2025, injecting funds to help tackle the ambitious target.
Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward has announced the latest figures that show the Government’s record investment of $1 billion a year towards reducing homelessness is making a difference.
“Since March 2017, more than 450 people sleeping rough have been helped into long-term permanent accommodation,” Mr Ward said.
“We also know that 92 per cent of people previously sleeping rough in Sydney who were helped into housing in the two years to March 2019 have sustained their tenancies.”
“We have come a long way in breaking the cycle of rough sleeping across our state, but there is still much more to be done to meet the Premier’s priority.”
Mr Ward also announced a $300,000 investment, to help coordinate project delivery with the non-Government sector through the establishment of the End Street Sleeping Collaboration.
The Hon Graham West, who convenes the group of NGO’s and Government organisations under the landmark agreement signed last year, said it was a vital step forward.
“These funds lay the foundation for the Government’s pursuit of the ambitious targets that we have set in relation to homelessness,” Mr West said.
“It will help establish an office, board and working groups which will drive the collaboration of homelessness services and systems and help break the cycle of rough sleeping in NSW.”
The new body will also co-ordinate data on street sleeping and report on progress towards the Premier’s Priority.
The 2019-20 Budget delivered $1 billion towards a range of homelessness and social and affordable housing programs, which contribute to the Premier’s Priority to reduce rough sleeping across NSW by 50 per cent by 2025.
Applications for the NSW Government’s Celebrating Diversity Events Grants are now open.
Minister for Multiculturalism John Sidoti said all eligible community organisations should consider applying for the program.
“NSW is home to hundreds of world class multicultural festivals and events that celebrate our diversity,” Mr Sidoti said.
“This program offers a helping hand of up to $10,000 to the many hardworking community organisations who promote social cohesion in our community.”
Co.As.It. General Manager Thomas Camporeale said the organisation was delighted to receive support from the NSW Government for its Multicultural Moonlight Cinema, held earlier in the year.
“We were able to hold a free event over three nights to share the best of world cinema with all members of our community,” Mr Camporeale said.
“Our open-air cinema featured films representing Italian, Spanish, French languages.”
“The cinema was a huge success, bringing more than a 1000 film lovers from all backgrounds together to enjoy diverse cultures and traditions through film.”
Event grants have previously supported Australia Day and Harmony Day celebrations, sporting, art and interfaith events.
Celebrating Diversity Events Grants are now open and will close 5pm Friday, 20 September 2019. For more information about the Celebrating Diversity Events grants program, visit https://multicultural.nsw.gov.au/grants/