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AUSTRALIA: Press Club: Morrison apologies Brittany Hughes & Grace Tame speak

#AceNewsReport – Feb.09: Former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins and 2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame spoke at the National Press Club in Canberra.

#AceDailyNews says Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins in National Press Club address β€” ABC News as it happened help keep family & friends informed by sharing this article: Read over how it all unfolded: Live updates below

ABC News By Dannielle Maguire

It came a day after Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a formal apology to those who experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault or bullying while working in federal parliament.

We’re going to leave it there

Thanks for joining us today folks!Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame7h ago

By Dannielle Maguire

Grace Tame says she received ‘threatening’ phone call urging her to protect PM’s reputation

Grace Tame standing at the podium at the National Press Club

ABC News: Matt Roberts

Grace Tame says a senior member of an organisation funded by the government called her to ask her not to say anything controversial about Scott Morrison as she bowed out as Australian of the Year last month.

Read the full story7h ago

By Dannielle Maguire

Let’s hear from some of our commenters

Wow powerful speaches by both Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame today.
Well done on speaking out again. Enough is enough. I as a woman, I want to see real change, I want politicians to take sexual abuse against children and women seriously and backed by adequate funding and legislative changes, these changes need to be actioned now, in parliament. I want to see leadership in reform and dialogue by those in power.
And Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins, keep making noise, keep calling them out!-Susie

So, so impressed by these 2 strong, amazing, resilient women. Go girls!

-Tricia

I was glued to the TV to day to listen to two very interesting women speak at the Press club. You both have opened my eyes into what both sides of the political governments have not been doing for the women of our nation. Shame on them. Shame.
Beautiful and informative speeches. Get off your backsides politions, especially men and lift your game as I for one will vote you out. Well done Ladies.
πŸ‘

-Ian Morrow 

Higgins: Complaint process for political staff too limited

The final question to the pair was whether the independent complaints process the government setup last year would’ve made a difference to Higgins’s experience, and whether Tame thought that kind of outcome could change workplace cultures.

Giving people who are working for the government a way to report bullying, sexual harassment or sexual assault was one of the recommendations from a separate review, also launched in the wake of Higgins’ rape allegations.

She answered first, saying she thought it would’ve been helpful when she was a minsiterial staffer.

“It is only for serious complaints of what is deemed by a certain small team as serious complaints and it’s into an all-of-parliament mechanism. So it’s still quite limited in scope.

“It don’t think it goes far enough … it’s a step but it’s not finalised in any way shape or form, but I acknowledge it would have likely assisted me.”

Tame backed up Higgins, saying it could change the culture but only if it worked and people felt comfortable making a complaint.

“It’s only if the person actually deems it to be serious enough that an action will be taken further.

“So the person who has made the complaint still doesn’t actually have very much power over the situation.”

7h ago

By Dannielle Maguire

PM responds in Question Time

I’m going to take you to the House of Representatives now, where Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese asked Scott Morrison about adopting “firm targets” in the National Plan to Reduce Violence to Women and Children

Mr Morrison began by acknowledging the plan was a “bipartisan, multi-jurisdiction commitment” made back when Julia Gillard was PM:

“When the plan was first announced it wasn’t combined with funding of that order”

He said the Coalition had “some $2 billion” invested in the plan, pointing to the $1.2 billion in the most recent budget “as a down payment” before rattling off a bunch of funding allocations including:

  • “$165 million also most recently in escaping violence payments”
  •  “$73 million for the safe places emergency accommodation program”
  • “$22 million to establish a domestic violence and sexual violence commission to oversee the implementation of the next national plan to end violence against women and children”
  • “$26.2 million to create a safe space online for women and children including funding for the E-Safety Commission to bolster its investigation team into cyberbullying and harmful online content”
  • “$73 million since 2016 on multiple prevention campaigning including the Stop It At The Start and help is here”

 Here’s how he ended his response:

“We will join all others in this place in ensuring that we have targets as set out collectively and agreed together …”

8h ago

By Dannielle Maguire

How did Brittany Higgins feel about the PM’s apology?

Yesterday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison apologised to people who had experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault or bullying in Parliament. 

He also singled out Brittany Higgins, apologising to her and praising her for speaking out. 

She said being in the chamber for the apology was very emotional:

“I felt an enormous moment of grief, obviously.

“I was quite emotional, and upset. But I recognise the significance and the importance of it.

“I was grateful that it was happening with multi-party support, that Anthony Albanese decided to participate, that we have the Greens, that we had Zali Steggall

“I think being in that room, kind of, made all the difference.”

Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins sitting on a couch onstage at the National Press Club.

Could we see Tame or Higgins run for parliament?

Last year when Grace Tame spoke at the press club she gave a resounding “no” when she was asked if she’d ever go into politics.

This time around, as some called out ‘Grace for PM’, she was asked again whether 12 months down the track she’d changed her mind at all.

“Well, my answer is still no.”

“I’m good and that, yes, is because I feel like I can achieve more change outside politics.”

As for Brittany Higgins, she left the door a little more open, saying:

“It is an incredible job, I just don’t think it’s a very natural intuitive fit anymore.”

“A lot of water has gone under that bridge. I just, I can’t unless I got more life experience or maybe some space and time, I just can’t see it being feasible.”

To be fair, both women have a lot on their plate already with Tame launching her own foundation to help prevent and response to the sexual abuse of children and others, and Higgins is currently writing a book and is a visiting fellow at the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership.ABC News: Matt Roberts 8h ago

By Dannielle Maguire

Tame positive about child abuse law reforms

Grace Tame was asked about her work lobbying for a national definition of child sexual abuse and uniformity in age of consent laws.

She said the Grace Tame Foundation was launching a campaign called Stop romanticising child abuse and it sounds like the ball’s already rolling there: 

“We can, I suppose, use federalism to our advantage in that it creates competition with the jurisdictions, you know, one does something and all the other jurisdictions go, ‘oh, crap, we better do that too’. 

“All of these things are actually quite simple and there’s an appetite for it at the moment β€” these changes in this area of sexual assault legislation.

“New South Wales especially is making huge headway and Victoria sort of chasing behind them with consent legislation.

“So there’s a lot of hope there.”

What was it like watching the fallout from Four Corners in parliament?

Higgins was asked what it was like to be working in Parliament House the day after a Four Corners episode went to air detailing allegations of toxic workplace culture inside the building.

“It was deeply traumatic.”

It included former staffer Rachelle Miller, who’d had a consensual affair with Education Minister Alan Tudge and has since made an allegation that he was on one occasion physically abusive. 

Mr Tudge has denied the allegations and is on personal leave.

Higgins said the episode came out when some people knew about her alleged rape, but many didn’t.

“They spoke quite freely about Rachelle Miller – which I’m so sorry about – and it was very disparaging.”

“I saw so much of myself in her story and in her lived experience … it was this re- traumatising thing of this idea that these women were letting down the team, and this frenetic gossip that went around the building.

“It deeply impacted me to the point in which that is why I think I am here today because of the bravery of those women coming before me – 100%, I heard you.”

8h ago

By Dannielle Maguire

Play Video. Duration: 1 minute 35 seconds
Brittany Higgins says she wanted Scott Morrison to use his power as Prime Minister to bring about changes to improve women’s safety.

8h ago

By Dannielle Maguire

Tame calls for diversity

She was asked about how she balanced the need to tell her story with the emotional toll retelling traumatising experiences can take. 

Tame says she had great support of her family β€” must of whom were there today β€” but her advocacy was “all for a greater purpose”:

“If can do this so… there doesn’t have to be people retraumatised all the time, then it’s worth it. 100 times over.”

She says her highest priority was prevention. 

“Stop it at the start. Yes, it is a long-term investment, it’s really difficult, you know, and it’s much easier to just sort of cover things up as they happen.

“But if we stop it before it happens then we don’t have to do all this.”

She went on to say:

“We need more diversity in the conversation, I think there’s a lot lacking there.

“We need to hear from First Nations women, we need to hear from women with disabilities and more men obviously.”

8h ago

By Dannielle Maguire

Play Video. Duration: 2 minutes 40 seconds
Grace Tame reveals she was asked not to say anything damning about the Prime Minister.

Higgins on which party would be better for women

Given Higgins’ history working in the government and both her and Tame’s very public profiles over the last year, they were both asked which party would mean a better outcome for women at the next election.

Diplomatically Higgins described herself as “stateless and partyless” and ruled out being on the campaign trail at all.

“I think we need to listen to messaging as we get closer to the election baout who is committed to actually doing something.”

As for Tame, her reply was short and sweet:

“Permission to use side eye?”

8h ago

By Dannielle Maguire

Tame: Men are not the enemy

Grace Tame says that, before she had been able to go public with her experiences of abuse, it was actually men she was relating to first:

“It was the stories of males surviving clergy abuse who I was relating to before I even spoke to any women who were abused as children.

“So, I actually found it really odd to enter this space and it to be really gendered, so I think it is actually quite sad.

“It really distresses me because… it is not about [gender].

“It is about human beings and, if we take away whatever the form of division is, whether it is gender or whatever it may be, it is about the abuse of  power, and that is what we have to remember.

“Men are not the enemy. It is abuse of power.

“It is behaviour, that is the enemy.”

8h ago

By Dannielle Maguire

Is sexual abuse still seen as a fringe issue by men?

Reporter Julie Hare remarked on the number of women in the room compared to men, pointing out that, of the 22 journalists asking questions, just one is a man. 

Brittany Higgins agreed, saying she couldn’t see any male news chiefs in the room β€” adding that this wasn’t a judgment on the journalists present:

“There has been a perception to an extent that it is a women’s issue and it should be, whether it is a sensitivity thing, I am not saying it is entirely out of a place or them not particularly caring about the issue, but it is a conversation they don’t feel comfortable in participating in.

“But I think it is very telling, just the numbers in the room and who seems to care about the issue, or at least be vocal about caring about the issue, definitely.”

8h ago

By Dannielle Maguire

How does Higgins keep up the hope that things will change?

Brittany Higgins says she’s been “really buoyed” by the support of women:

“I think we have kind of got a new wave of women who are just not copping it

“To have people stand behind you and go,”no, this is not OK the time is now, let’s stand together,” that has been a powerful thing and that has kept me going in my darkest times.”

9h ago

By Dannielle Maguire

Tame on her last meeting with the PM

We all remember those pictures of Tame with the PM at the Australian of the Year morning tea. 

Tame was asked about why she chose to turn up to that meeting and act the way she did. 

Here’s what she said:

“My answer to your question is that I ACT with integrity. That’s it.”

9h ago

By Dannielle Maguire

Grace Tam and Brittany Higgins sitting on a couch onstage at the National Press Club.

We’re into Q&A now

9h ago

By Dannielle Maguire

Tame: Three key tasks to ‘better our nation’

She says she wanted to finish her address with something constructive, making three recommendations:

  1. 1.For the government to take the issue of abuse in all its forms seriously: “I mean proactive, preventative measures – not these reactive, bandaid, electioneering stunts like acknowledging past harm at the last minute. If you don’t take a strong stance to condemn abuse, you enable it.”
  2. 2.More funding for prevention education – which is actually implemented: “What we need in order to create real change is meaningful investment in our children. In their education. Because they are the future of our nation.”
  3. 3.National, consistent, legislative change: “Still today, perpetrators of abuse find safety in outdated, inconsistent legislation which both protects them and perpetuates social ignorance.”

9h ago

By Dannielle Maguire

Tame asked not to bad-mouth the PM

She says this happened back in August: 

“I received a threatening phone call from a senior member of a government-funded organisation, asking for my word that I would not say anything damning about the Prime Minister on the evening of the next Australian of the Year Awards.”

She went on to say:

“And it crystallised a fear – a fear for himself and no-one else, a fear that himself and no-one else… might lose his position or, more to the point, his power.

“Sound familiar to anyone? Well, it does to me.”

Posted 10h ago, updated 5h ago

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Feb.09: 2022:

ο»ΏEditor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here:  https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

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(CANBERRA) JUST IN: Former parliament building in the capital was briefly set alight on Thursday by protesters during a demonstration for Aboriginal sovereignty, police said #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Dec.30: Protest violence on this scale is rare in Australia, but flare-ups have become more common during the pandemic.

#AceDailyNews says according to BBC Australia News Report: No-one was injured in the fire, which engulfed the Old Parliament House’s front doors before it was put out: It follows a fortnight of protest activity at the site, police said: Act Police have started an investigation into the incident…..

People stand in front of the burned out entrance doors to Old Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, 30 December 2021
The fire occurred as protests for indigenous rights ramped up in the capital city of Canberra

Some of the protesters had identified themselves as part of anti-government and “sovereign citizen” groups, observers said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the violence, saying: “This is not how Australia works.”

“I am disgusted and appalled by behaviour that would see Australians come and set fire to such a symbol of democracy in this country,” he said.

Workers inside the heritage building were quickly evacuated once the fire broke out on Thursday.

The current residents of the building, the Museum of Australian Democracy, had on 20 December shut its doors after indigenous protesters held a “peaceful sit-in”. 

The museum said it recognised protesters’ rights to a peaceful protest. It has not yet addressed Thursday’s protest.

More footage of people watching as a fire consumes the front entrance to Old Parliament House in Canberra. Police and other agencies will have lots of footage to work with as they investigate. pic.twitter.com/xwbhlpB5zMβ€” Siobhan Heanue (@siobhanheanue) December 30, 2021

Indigenous campaigners have been holding demonstrations in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on the former parliament’s front lawns.

The tent embassy was a protest occupation site that launched national discussion about indigenous land rights. It has been a permanent fixture on the lawns outside Old Parliament House since 1992 but is not always occupied.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Police said activity had escalated at the site in recent weeks.

Australia’s parliament moved to a new building a short distance away on Capital Hill in 1988, but the Old Parliament House has remained as a museum and national heritage site.

Firefighters had quickly extinguished the fire, which engulfed the heritage building’s front doors

Government lawmakers condemned the attack on Thursday, with several describing it as an “attack on democracy”.

“Setting fire to a building is not a lawful protest, it is a crime and a serious one,” tweeted the deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce.

His predecessor, and current MP, Michael McCormack said: “Old Parliament House is on fire with protesters screaming “Let it burn! Let it burn!” How disgraceful. An outrageous attack on our democracy, our history, our sovereignty. This modern penchant for tearing down our past serves no purpose.”

ACT Police said they had launched an investigation into the cause of the fire.

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Dec.30: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

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(AUSTRALIA) #Coronavirus Report: The ACT’s lockdown was due to end on September 2, but Chief Minister Andrew Barr today extended it until 11:59pm on Friday, September 17: The lockdown began on August 12 #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – Sept.01: Just four of the new cases were in quarantine for their entire infectious periods, and at least eight were in the community while infectious: Seven of the new cases have been linked to an existing case or cluster and six are currently unlinked: 13 people are in hospital with the virus, with three people in intensive care.

#CoronavirusNewsDesk says that ACT’s lockdown has been extended for another two weeks, but there will be a few changes as it records 13 new locally acquired cases of #COVID19 as the lockdown has been extended for two weeks

A close up of Andrew Barr listening to a question at a press conference.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has announced an extension the territory’s lockdown.(ABC News: Toby Hunt)

Mr Barr said given the number of cases that were infectious in the community over the past few days, the decision had been made to extend the ACT’s lockdown.

“Today’s headline case numbers show that we are bending the curve down and we are getting on top of the outbreak. However, it is a slow process and it will take more time,” Mr Barr said.

“We still have unlinked cases in the community, and we still have cases that are infectious in the community. So as a result, our lockdown needs to extend until 11:59pm Friday, September 17.

“So, we’re asking Canberrans to continue to stay at home and to minimise close contact with others outside of your household to reduce the transmission potential of the virus.”

Kerryn Coleman speaks at a press conference.
 ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman says the territoy’s lockdown is working.(ABC News: Toby Hunt)

ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said there had been an increase in the number of positive cases who had been infectious in the community in the past week, and that a lockdown extension was the “best decision”.

“Any ongoing chains of transmission or cases with an unconfirmed source contributes to an increased risk to our community,” Dr Coleman said.

“Considering this, and in addition to the continuing situation in NSW which surrounds us, and several clusters that we’ve talked about in our vulnerable and high-risk setting, the best decision that I think we can make is to extended the lockdown for another two weeks to help keep the ACT safe.

“I know that this has been a difficult time and, in this case, I think the end is going to be harder than the beginning. But I can assure you that this decision wasn’t taken lightly.”

Dr Coleman thanked Canberrans for their efforts in obeying lockdown restrictions.

“My shout out goes to each and every one of you out there who has helped put us in this really good position at this point in time,” she said.

“I’m just asking you – come with us for a little bit longer. I know we can get there, we just need to do it for a little bit longer.”

Dr Coleman said 245 of the ACT’s 274 total cases could be linked to a known source.

There were 3,061 tests conducted in the ACT in the 24 hours to 8:00pm on Monday β€” a number Mr Barr said he wanted to see stay above 3,000 after dropping below twice last week.

Exercise limit extended, playgrounds to open but remote learning to continue

While the government confirmed that remote learning would continue for the majority of students for term three, a number of other restrictions have been eased and some businesses will be able to return to work.

From 5:00pm on Thursday, the government will permit “lower-risk outdoor activities”.

These include:

  • doubling the outdoor exercise and recreation time to two hours each day
  • allowing one household (any size) or up to five people to gather outdoors for those two hours of exercise or non-organised recreation
  • reopening outdoor playgrounds
  • allowing people who work predominantly outdoors (like gardeners and landscapers) to return to work
  • increasing the number of people who can attend a funeral to 20 and the number of guests allowed to attend a wedding to 10
  • allowing up to 10 people to attend time-critical religious ceremonies

Masks will continue to be required at all times upon leaving home, including in workplaces, for anyone aged over 12.

Due to the higher transmission risk of indoor spaces, and the risk of spreading COVID-19 within households, gatherings in the home – including in outdoor areas – are still not permitted.

“We certainly don’t want your Father’s Day gift to your dad to be a COVID party. You don’t want that,” Mr Barr said: Picnics are allowed and playgrounds are back: Changes to Canberra’s lockdown restrictions

Mr Barr had already flagged a gradual reopening of the construction sector from Friday 3 September 2021.

“The partial reopening of the sector was outlined last week and this will commence under stringent COVID-safe requirements this Friday,” Mr Barr said.

“These requirements are going to be actively enforced by WorkSafe ACT and ACT Policing.”

One-off business support grants will also be increased by $10,000 for employing businesses and $3,500 for non-employing businesses that have suffered a 30 per cent decline in revenue during the lockdown.

The ACT government said eligible businesses must be primarily based in the ACT, have an annual turnover of more than $75,000, and have a total payroll of less than $10 million.

Authorities locate positive COVID-19 case linked to Ainslie Village cluster

The front of a brick building with a sign saying "Ainslie Village Resident Services Administration".
The COVID-19 case linked to the Ainslie Village cluster has now been found. (ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

Health authorities have managed to track down the third COVID-positive case linked to the Ainslie Village social housing cluster. 

Dr Coleman said earlier today that the person’s whereabouts were unknown and confirmed they may have been out in the community.

But an ACT Health spokesperson has now confirmed authorities have managed to make contact with the positive case.

“The individual was informed of their positive test result and will continue their isolation with assistance from ACT Health,” the spokesperson said. 
 
“The health and welfare of that person, along with that of the community, remains the priority.”

Ainslie Village residents told the ABC that police had been door knocking on Monday night in a bid to locate the missing person.

#AceHealthDesk report ……Published: Sept.01: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

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(AUSTRALIA) #Coronavirus ACT Report: CANBERRA: Has reported 30 new #COVID19 infections, in what Chief Minister Andrew Barr said was a “record day of cases” for the national capital: The total number of active cases in the community is 167 #AceHealthDesk report

@acenewsservices

#AceHealthReport – Aug.25: He said only 13 of the 30 new cases were in quarantine for their entire infectious period, while 11 were infectious in the community. Six cases remain under investigation about whether they were infectious while in the community……

#CoronavirusNewsDesk says that ACT reports 30 new #COVID19 cases, bringing total number of active infections in Canberra to 167…..

Mr Barr said a woman in her 40s with COVID-19 was now in intensive care in a Canberra hospital, receiving breathing assistance: Among the new cases are two disability support workers and one University of Canberra Hospital worker….

21 new cases are household contacts

A woman with curly hair speaks into a microphone.
ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman says the rise in case numbers reveals the high infection rate of the Delta strain of COVID-19.(ABC News: Toby Hunt)

Police thankful for community support during COVID-19 response

ACT Policing would like to thank the Canberra community for its continued assistance and cooperation during the ACT COVID-19 lockdown.

Police continue to conduct compliance operations to support the public health directions.

Since the ACT-wide COVID-19 lockdown came into effect on Thursday, 12 August 2021, police have conducted 6212 compliance traffic stops, including at border checkpoints and random locations across the ACT.

Police have also conducted 2280 compliance checks at Canberra residences and businesses, in addition to more than 3000 conducted in the ACT since interstate restrictions prior to the local lockdown.

Twelve infringement notices and 36 cautions have been issued for public health direction breaches in the ACT during the lockdown period, with 101 people directed to leave the ACT.

ACT Policing COVID-19 Taskforce Superintendent Naomi Binstead thanked the community for their continued high level of compliance with the public health directions.

β€œMost people are doing the right thing, and I think it’s important to acknowledge our incredible community effort during this lockdown,” Superintendent Binstead said.

β€œWe will continue to conduct compliance checks at homes and businesses. On the roads, we will work with our colleagues from NSW Police to ensure people entering the ACT have the appropriate exemptions or permissions to do so.

β€œOfficers are still detecting people in Canberra who should not be here, which is of concern. Anyone who has not followed instructions of both ACT and NSW Health authorities will be ordered to leave the ACT or sent home and may be prosecuted.”

Today, ACT Policing arrested two men, aged 40 and 42, at the Barton Highway border crossing after they had travelled from Victoria through NSW without an exemption.

ACT Policing Superintendent of Communications Rebecca Goddard said police appreciated the information being supplied by the community.

β€œWe are hearing from plenty of people who want the make sure the community is adhering to all the public health directions appropriately,” Superintendent Goddard said.

β€œSo far during the lockdown, we have responded to more than 400 compliance complaints from the public. We do continue to receive some calls to emergency and 131 444 for health related questions that police can’t answer.

β€œI do also ask people to consider whether it may be better reporting a compliance concern online to Access Canberra instead of by phone to police or the ACT Government COVID-19 hotline.”

The most up-to-date COVID-19 information for the ACT can be found at the ACT COVID-19 website.

To make reports of non-compliance, you can complete a form via Access Canberra or contact the COVID-19 Helpline on 6207 7244 (8am-8pm, 7 days a week).

For police assistance call 131 444 and only contact Triple Zero (000) for emergencies.

ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said while the high number of cases might have come as a shock to many Canberrans, it was not necessarily surprising to health authorities.

She said it was a reminder of how fast the Delta strain of the virus could move through the community.

“Specifically of these new cases today, I can confirm that out of the 30, 25 can be linked to known cases or ongoing clusters,” Dr Coleman said.

“We know that 21 of the 25 are actually household contacts, and the remaining four come from existing clusters.”

She said while the number of people infectious in the community was “concerning”, it was not necessarily a sign that people were doing the “wrong thing” and said Canberrans should continue to adhere to lockdown restrictions.

“We are heading in the right direction … we just need to keep doing it for quite a bit longer,” Dr Coleman said.

Dr Coleman also confirmed that the woman in intensive care was not vaccinated and urged Canberrans to book a vaccine appointment.

More than 60 per cent of Canberra adults have now had at least one vaccination shot.

UC Hospital worker among positive cases

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the University of Canberra Hospital worker who tested positive had been in a support service role.

“Canberra Health Services responded immediately on being informed of the positive case and all staff members that are close contacts of this team member have been identified and are in quarantine,” she said.

“The team member was wearing a surgical mask and goggles while in clinical areas, while they were unknowingly infectious, which means the risk to staff and patients is considered very low.”

Rachel speaks from a lectern during a press conference.
ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said 500 Canberrans had returned to the healthcare workforce amid Canberra’s outbreak of COVID-19.(ABC News: Tobias Hunt)

‘The more vaccinated Canberrans, the better protected our community’

About 700 ACT health workers are currently in isolation or quarantine as a result of the growing list of exposure sites, but Ms Stephen-Smith said those who had initially been exposed had started to return to work.

She also said about 500 people had also been recruited back into the workforce to help ease pressure on the system.

There are now just under 400 exposure sites in the ACT, including a construction site and a public service building – the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s head office.

More than 12,000 Canberrans have been identified as close contacts, while there are more than 6,000 casual contacts.

Mr Barr reminded Canberra residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“The more Canberrans who are vaccinated, the better protected our community will be from the virus and from the decisions of other governments that are beyond the control of the ACT government,” he said.

“Vaccination remains absolutely critical in stopping the spread of the virus and protecting our community.”

Yesterday, the ACT government announced that 16–29-year-olds in the ACT would soon be able to register for a Pfizer vaccine and book their appointments in the weeks ahead.

By this morning, 9,000 people in that group had already registered.

Mr Barr today reminded that cohort of more than 64,000 people that AstraZeneca could be an option for some of them.

“Yesterday more than 12,000 Canberrans aged 16-29 registered on the My Digital Health Record website for a Pfizer vaccine at an ACT government clinic,” he said.

“We again encourage Canberrans in this age cohort to get online and register. We will open bookings in September for vaccinations in October.

“[But] the fact is it will take some time based on the available supply of Pfizer, which is why I remind you that the AstraZeneca vaccine is available now.”

A mass vaccination hub to accommodate the cohort is in the planning stage at AIS Arena.

“As soon as we’re able to open booking for that with the additional supply, we will do that, we expect it to be early next month,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

There are also plans to convert a mental health ward at Calvary Hospital into a respiratory assessment unit, she said.

“The unit will provide an area dedicated to respiratory patients who are COVID positive or suspected to have COVID,” she said.

“This means patients aren’t placed in short-stay or other in-patient wards.”

Doctor places bandage on patient's arm where vaccine was injected.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr reminded Canberrans to book a vaccine appointment.(Unsplash)

Mr Barr said the ACT government was also re-establishing commercial and residential tenancy protections, last used when Canberra was in lockdown in 2020.

“That work continues, and key stakeholders are being engaged on the detail of that now,” he said.

“In the interim, we encourage landlords and tenants to engage with each other in good faith.”

He said it was too early to speculate on how long the lockdown would last.

“It’s still too early to be speculating on where we’re going to be in over a week’s time,” he said.

“The number and the issues that are most pertinent are people’s time in the community, and then the public health settings that impact on transmission potential more broadly.”

#AceHealthDesk report ……Published: Aug.25: 2021:

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