In tonight's news bulletin, hear about coronavirus updates from around the country, increased fines for restrictions in Victoria, and up to 170 seasonal workers are expected to begin work in farms in the Northern Territory under a new trial program.
** Another eleven coronavirus deaths and 439 new cases in Victoria
** An inquiry hears damning evidence into failures of aged care COVID-responses while the government app comes under fire
** Northern Territory to have a trial programme for seasonal workers, in a bid to boost farming labour shortages.
Elaborating on the main news:
Victoria has recorded 439 new cases of coronavirus and 11 more deaths, bringing the state's toll to 147 and the national figure to 232. It is the state's 30th consecutive day of a triple-digit increase in cases. All of the latest deaths are linked to aged care settings.
In response, the Victorian government introduced harsher penalties for failing to stay in isolation.A $5,000 fine will be issued on the spot for breaches; it will grow to $20,000 if the matter goes to court.Military and health officials have conducted thousands of door-knocks, but in more than 800 of them people were missing from their homes.
Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews warns all cases will be door-knocked on multiple occasions at random times, all contacts will be checked and those found lying or flouting the new rules will be held accountable.
"Those door knocks, you are expected to be found at home. If we need to tighten that up then of course we will. Like, is there anything.. I'll just take a deep breath and uh, is there anything worse than someone pretending to be unwell in order to get out of wearing a mask? Like, seriously? You will be pulled because if I've got to go further then of course we will," he said.
The Federal and Northern Territory Governments have announced a trial programme for seasonal workers, in a bid to boost farming labour shortages. The trial will see up to 170 workers under the Seasonal Worker Programme come to Australia to help harvest.
More workers could follow, subject to a review of the first cohort and approval by the Territory Government. The Northern Territory Farmers Association forecasts a shortage of around 800 to 1,000 workers.
Metropolitan Melbourne residents are subject to Stage 4 restrictions and must comply with a curfew between the hours of 8pm and 5am. The only reasons for Melbourne residents to leave home during these hours are for exercise, to shop for necessary goods and services, for work, for health care, or to care for a sick or elderly relative.
The full list of restrictions can be found here.
All Victorians must wear a face covering when they leave home, no matter where they live.
People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.
If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus