Follow this post for rolling updates on the impact of the coronavirus in South Australia, the nation and the world.
- COAG scrapped, national government model extended
- Premier says bungled case has dented confidence
- Adelaide Uni lectures to stay online
- Public transport changes
- National snapshot
- Vigil for Queensland man who tested positive after death
- NZ down to one case
- UN delays climate summit due to pandemic
PM scraps COAG in major federal-state relations overhaul
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has scrapped the long-running Council of Australian Governments in favour of monthly meetings with the premiers and chief ministers.
National cabinet was established in March to bring political leaders together to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
The COAG process has been criticised as too cumbersome and its meetings had become infrequent in recent years.
“COAG is no more,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Friday afternoon.
The national cabinet will continue to meet during the pandemic on a fortnightly basis before moving to monthly meetings in the post-virus period.
Most of the meetings will be held via videoconference while face-to-face meetings will occur twice a year.
Morrison said the agenda would focus on jobs.
“Having the groups operate like a fair-dinkum cabinet has been really important,” he said.
A key reform will be giving the treasurers responsibility over national partnership agreements which cover billions of dollars in funding for services.
Once a year, the national cabinet will meet with the treasurers and Australian Local Government Association to talk about broader issues relevant to the federation.
There will also be a series of ministerial groups on a range of specific issues.
Border bungle has shaken confidence: Premier
Premier Steven Marshall has conceded the bungled communication over the woman who became SA’s latest COVID-19 case has shaken confidence in the team leading the state’s response to the pandemic.
The Premier was asked the question on ABC Radio Adelaide this morning, and accepted the point.
“I think so,” he said. “Look, I think in this instance there has been a lot of analysis, there should be a lot of analysis because we can’t afford to allow something like this to occur again. But I think there has been a very high level of confidence in SA Health. I don’t think there’s any other public health administration anywhere in the world that I’d rather have than the one that we have here.
“But there was an administrative error. It could’ve been very serious if this person wasn’t picked up and that’s why yesterday I spoke to the Police Commissioner and said I would prefer if we didn’t grant any further exemptions for people coming into South Australia for compassionate reasons until he had absolute full confidence, we had absolute full confidence, that we had a robust and airtight system.”
As a result of the case, South Australia and Victoria will advocate for nationally consistent guidelines on the arrival and transfer of people from overseas.
A woman from Britain, who was granted an exemption on compassionate grounds to be with her dying father in Adelaide, arrived from Melbourne on Sunday but was not met by any local health officials.
SA Health staff had missed an email from their Victorian counterparts, detailing the woman’s flight arrangements.
Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier has apologised for the error and says it’s prompted a review of local processes.
She has also spoken to her Victorian counterpart, Brett Sutton, and together they intend to raise the issue at a national level.
After arriving from the UK, the woman, in her 50s, had spent about a week in quarantine in Victoria and had tested negative for COVID-19 while in isolation.
She wore a mask while travelling to SA and made herself known to airport authorities and was then escorted out by police.
When tested again, she returned the positive result, becoming the state’s 440th virus case and the first for almost three weeks.
The woman was returned to quarantine while almost 20 close contacts were also ordered to self-isolate.
As a result of the bungle, the State Government suspended exemptions on compassionate grounds for people coming to SA. But that suspension was shortlived, with the Premier advising today that a review of the process had convinced him that system was now watertight.
Meanwhile, SA recorded no new cases of COVID-19 today.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.