Coronavirus update: free TAFE course for NSW, QLD beaches closed, grants for regional publishers

- April 6, 2020 3 MIN READ

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is encouraging the state’s citizens to hop online and get qualified. The premier has announced a number of TAFE courses will now be available for free and she is urging people to make use of their time at home to upskill.

“It means people can start preparing for when these difficult times are over and through TAFE New South Wales if you pop onto their website you can actually inquire how you can do one of these courses from home and get qualified over a short period of time.

“It is an opportunity for you to upgrade your skills or acquire new skills so you can enter or re-enter the workforce when you finish this difficult time.”

Gold Coast beaches have closed after large numbers of people ignored social distancing laws to swim and sunbathe over the weekend. Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate has shut down The Spit, Coolangatta and Surfer’s Paradise beaches, suggesting many of those failing to abide by the rules were ‘out of towners’.

“The beaches are proving to be magnets for day visitors from Brisbane,” Tate said.

“The balance of beaches will remain open for our residents so they can continue to exercise. However, we will monitor that situation and if we see groups starting to gather at those beaches, we will have to close those as well.

“We didn’t want to get to this, but the weekend showed me that a small number of people aren’t listening.”

Australia’s beleaguered regional press have been thrown a lifeline with the government pledging $5 million to assist in keeping newspapers open during the crisis.

The news comes following the suspension of several regional and local newspapers during the coronavirus crisis. The funding will be managed through the existing Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund. Grants have been fast-tracked, with the communications minister Paul Fletcher urging publishers who had recently suspended operation to apply for assistance.

“If there are newspapers that may have gone into suspension in the last few weeks, but would consider reopening if they were to succeed in obtaining grant funding, we’d also encourage them to come forward with an application,” Fletcher said.

Western Australia has shut its borders with no movement allowed between the states unless you are providing an exempted service such as food delivery or critical health and emergency services. Fly in fly out workers will be allowed to enter the state but must quarantine for 14-days upon entry. The premier has advised airlines to refuse entry to all other passengers unless they can prove they are a WA resident.

It’s the first time the state has ever had a hard closure of its borders.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly has delivered some good news : it would appear as though Australia is gradually flattering the curve. To date, there have been 5.795 infections recorded in Australia.

“We seem to have successfully flattened the curve at the moment, so whether we indeed will get a peak is hard to know. Maybe we are there already. I don’t believe so,” Kelly said at today’s press briefing.

“We are continuing to see around about the same number of cases each day with a little bit less. The peak in terms of the daily cases was last week or the week before at the moment. Whether that is the final peak, I can’t really say at this stage,” Kelly said.

Kelly said modelling from University of Sydney suggests that physical distancing and social isolation is working with around 90 per cent of Australians complying.