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News and Reviews

Covid kids cases growing fastest; Xmas in doubt

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QR codes, masks and tests please

Covid kids cases growing fastest; Xmas in doubt

Covid cases in young children have grown five times faster than over 60s (131% vs 23%­) the past two months, raising doubts Australia can reopen before Christmas with only 80 per cent of adults vaccinated.

Provocate’s upcoming VaxEnomicTM Forecaster for business shows children and teens (0-19; 5,554) also accounted for more new cases nationally than over 40s combined (40-95+; 5,510) since National Cabinet decided to start reopening domestic and international borders at 70% and 80% of adults fully vaccinated.

Provocate Managing Director Troy Bilsborough said the politics of sick children meant business should be cautious banking on a December Quarter reopening, even if adult vaccination targets were met.

Mr Bilsborough – a former senior adviser to the Federal Health & Aged Care Minister (2014-2017) – said reopening would ultimately rely on the Federal Government having to mount a “chicken pox defence – better to catch it young than old” – a difficult task with a Federal Election looming between now and May.

Mr Bilsborough recommended National Cabinet agree a hard date, such as 80 per cent of first adult doses, to reassess current targets and avoid any last-minute political capitulations and Christmas cancellations.

“Australia’s major capital cities have been in a state of rolling lock downs since the Federal Budget was handed down in May at a cost of over $2 billion per week to the economy,” Mr Bilsborough said.

“It’s therefore logical that both the national budget – and those of business – cannot afford to remain closed during the December Quarter, which is likely to decide whether Australia re-enters recession.

“However, children’s covid cases have also grown 131% – faster than any other age group – in the two months since.

“Current National Cabinet plans for reopening at 80 per cent assume the economic risk of keeping international borders and businesses closed is greater than children catching – and dying – from Covid.

“Fully vaccinating 70% and 80% of adults also only equals 56% and 64% of the whole population, leaving four million children at increased exposure to Covid without the same vaccine protections.

“As logical as low child Covid death rates may be, business must account for the fact no Federal Government wants to enter an election being accused of creating a generation of Covid kids.

“Ultimately electionomics, not epidemiologists and economists, will end up deciding whether Australia reopens state and international borders before Christmas without children vaccinated.”

Overall, young people under 19 made up one-third of the 17,780 new Covid cases between 29 June 2021 and 28 August 2021 – when the Delta strain started taking hold in Sydney – seeing national cases increase from 30,562 to 48,342 (55%).

The number of children’s cases increased from 1700 to 3933 (0-9; 131% increase) and 2500 to 5520 (10-19; 121% increase) to the fourth and five highest number of cases by age group respectively. The highest number of cases remains in young people aged 20-29 (10,603, 58% increase), 30-39 (8452, 54% increase) and 40-49 (5946, 52% increase).
Sources: Provocate analysis of Federal Dept of Health data.

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News and Reviews

Edition 80 The Northern Rivers Times

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

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News and Reviews

139 STUDENTS ACROSS NSW ACHIEVE TOP RESULT IN 2021 HSC

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

139 STUDENTS ACROSS NSW ACHIEVE TOP RESULT IN 2021 HSC

The students who have obtained first place in a 2021 Higher School Certificate course will be acknowledged today for their extraordinary academic achievement.

Premier Dominic Perrottet congratulated students on their outstanding results, achieved despite two challenging years.

“To top the state in an HSC course is an incredible achievement at the best of times; to do so today highlights even more so the grit, dedication and talent of the students being recognised,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Congratulations to all the exceptional young people who have achieved First in Course for the 2021 HSC. You should be very proud of your efforts.”

About 76,000 HSC students who sat at least one exam in 2021 will receive their results by SMS, email and online from 6am tomorrow.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said 149 certificates will be presented to 139 students, with 9 topping more than one course.

“The future looks so bright for the inspiring young people who we will celebrate today, and for all HSC students who showed great perseverance and resilience in their final years of school,” Ms Mitchell said

“Combined with their abilities and skills, First in Course recipients have shown what can be achieved when there is a real commitment to learning – a quality which will hold them in good stead for the future.

“I am sure the Class of 2021 are already looking to the future and are ready to take on work, training and further studies.

“As always, my thanks goes to the experienced and dedicated NSW teachers who, along with family and friends, have supported and encouraged these young people to achieve at the top of their class.”

All Round Achievers, Top Achievers and Distinguished Achievers will be published on the NESA website on Monday at midday.

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Fear factor in fresh food supply

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Fear factor in fresh food supply

Fear factor in fresh food supply

A government report has revealed farmers are afraid to speak out on their dealings with the major supermarkets because of a “fear of retribution”.

NSW Farmers Dairy Committee Chair Colin Thompson said the disappointing findings from the inaugural Food and Grocery Code review vindicated the efforts to secure fairness in fresh food supply chains.

“The majority of pay rise negotiations were fruitless for farmers in 2021 and almost a third of major supermarket suppliers cited ‘fear of retribution’ as a reason for not raising issues under the Code,” Mr Thompson said.

“Something is clearly wrong when people are afraid of having their say, and it’s clear that many farmers won’t raise concerns or ask for improved pay arrangements because of how powerful these supermarkets are.”

While Mr Thompson commended Coles and Woolworths for complying with the Code’s voluntary reporting regime, he said there was clear room for improvement in fresh food supply arrangements.

“The perishability of their produce basically means farmers are price-takers and are in a vulnerable position in their supply chains,” Mr Thompson said.

“This dynamic can give rise to abuse of power by bigger players, such as wholesalers and retailers.

“However, we do need to recognise there was some positive feedback, particularly for Aldi.”

Mr Thompson said NSW Farmers had been pushing for change in this space and had a key breakthrough with the Perishable Agricultural Goods (PAG) inquiry and its subsequent findings in late 2020.

“NSW Farmers has advocated for intervention to make supply chains such as dairy, horticulture and poultry meat more equitable – essentially so that farmers can receive the pay they deserve for their produce,” Mr Thompson said.

“Our advocacy led to a Treasury-led ACCC inquiry, which confirmed power dynamics are likely to favour wholesalers, processors and retailers, and the ACCC made a suite of recommendations to help remedy this situation.

“We need firm commitments for legislative reforms to protect farmers from unfair trading practices.”

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