Joy is What We’re After

 

Rediscover the wonder. Howl with laughter. Find glee in the simple things. Grow your happy. Play.

 

In a world that’s peppered a little too heavily with depression, anxiety and stress, few of us would refuse an extra dose of happiness. Playfulness is the booster shot. Fortunately, your capacity for fun is not something that requires a fairy godmother’s magic wand. It’s a space within yourself that has plenty of potential to grow. Sometimes it just needs a little nurturing.

 

Image credit: Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

 

When I worked with children with severe autism and intellectual disabilities, I learned a fascinating thing: it was often the parents, not the children, who needed to learn to play nicely. When children can’t speak, it’s the gleam in the eye that matters—that moment swollen with anticipation when both knew what the other was going to do. That was when the joy bursts began. I witnessed those profound moments when parents first learned they COULD communicate back and forth with their child. They discovered the wonder of shaking a shaker in unison, peeking out from behind a blanket in random explosions of “There you are!”, or collapsing in a heap together at the end of a song, in an eruption of giggles.

The adults needed to slow right down, stop doing stuff every 3 seconds and stop filling all the space talking.

The reason this worked? The emotional connection with another is the essential first step to many other things a child needs to develop, including playing.

Image credit: Robin Higgins from Pixabay

 

This gleam in the eye for grown-ups might be that knowing smile from an inside joke in conversation, or the wink you gave as you walked by, or the secret sign you recognised from across a room.

Discover The Playful Rat

Neuroscientists Pellis & Pellis ran play experiments with rats to uncover patterns formed through play-fighting. They found that rats need play to learn survival skills. But it wasn’t through honing movement, thinking or social skills necessarily. Play helped them learn to adjust their emotions based on the unpredictable scenarios it presented (Apparently rats have feelings too). Through play they learned when to be more aggressive, when they’d crossed a line, how to tease and how to show affection.

The take-home point for humans is that through play our brains learn to deal better emotionally with the unexpected things life throws at us. I interpret that as resilience.

And let’s face it – who doesn’t want to be playfully happy?

Play is, by definition, pleasurable. No expected outcomes – just pure enjoyment of the moment. Children are experts at it. They can turn something very functional into something far more amusing. Take the functional task of eating, for example. The joy of squishing mashed potato through your fingers and then trying it on your hair, or seeing how far peas can be thrown, and being thrilled by the bright colours of strawberries and pineapples.

When was the last time you threw spaghetti onto a wall to test if it was cooked?

It’s never too late to develop your playful side.

The more you play, the more easily and naturally playfulness will come to you.

It’s not a personality thing. Play may look different to each of us, but we all have the capacity for fun-seeking and spontaneity, even if it requires a little coaxing.

 

Because sometimes you just have to stop and enjoy life right where you are. ❤

Posted by Sharita Green on Monday, May 18, 2020

 

So What Emotional Benefits Justify You Going Out to Play After This?

 

Being playful will improve your mental health.

Play counteracts depression

Without play we become incapable of experiencing sustained pleasure, says Dr Stuart Brown, in his book on how play shapes the brain. Doesn’t matter how old you are. The opposite of playfulness is depression. That’s a serious repercussion for not having enough fun.

 

– Play is a stress reliever

A cheerful activity releases endorphins into your system. We like endorphins. They are happy hormones that give us natural highs.

The rat experiments from earlier crunched the numbers on this … After the rats had been through some rat stress, a dose of rough and tumble play lowered their fight-or-flight hormone levels, which had ramped up during the stress.

Play can change the stress status of your body from fight-flight mode to a happy high

 

  • Play keeps you young.

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw

Grandparents, you already know this. Those playdough sculptures and cricket games with the grandkids keep the brain cells stimulated and the body moving. 

Laughing, singing, moving about happily or just becoming fully absorbed in something pleasant leads to taking fuller breaths, getting more oxygen into our systems and relaxing. Muscle tension eases, and with that, so does generalised fatigue, body aches and stiffness. When our digestive process relaxes we can better resist gastrointestinal disorders and cardiac tension.

You see now, that playfulness can actually increase your resistance to disease and boost your vitality.

 

  • Play can help to heal emotional wounds.

Since it’s not about outcomes, in play it is impossible to fail. A bit of silliness or spontaneous creativity can relax us and bring about a sense of well being. As play gently invites us into creativity, and through that, mastery, our self-esteem is given room to grow. Movement in play invites release, and creativity nurtures insight.

When talking is not an effective pathway for dealing with trauma, play can heal – even for adults. Just as our brains can be changed by trauma, they can be rewired with positive interactions through play.

 

9 Playful Ways to Give Yourself a Joy Boost

Ready for a booster shot? Here some things to try:

Invite Fun as a VIP

  • Organise a game night. There’s nothing like cheerful banter around a board game to get the play juices flowing. And don’t be fooled! Those who claim they are not fans are often the ones who surprise you most with their buffoonery. It doesn’t have to be board games. One of my favourites is themed murder mystery nights. I have never laughed so hard as the night my usually deep-thinking friend took centre stage as a gregarious celebrity for the mystery evening, complete with accent, selfies, dinner meditation and companion bottle of wine (pictured above).

    If you aren’t able to host, try a location-based game. Two on my wishlist are a real-life rendition of Cluedo in the city, or an adventure in an Escape Room.

  • If getting regular exercise doesn’t excite you, try a fun alternative workout.
    “I need another hoola hoop session on my balcony tonight.”
    My work colleague once stunned me with this inspiring comment. Of course! What a great way to get the blood circulating.
    Instead of a training circuit in a gym how about a running around with your arms in the air, aka flying a kite? Or try stand-up paddle boarding. Or community bike riding. Or a self-defence class.
  • Seek out comedy, simply to laugh. Watch a comedian live, or find an amusing podcast that will meet your recommended daily dose of laughter.

– Trevor Noah’s multiracial humour is one of our favourites, especially in his South African shows.

– A new TV show that cracks us up is ‘The Goes Wrong Show’. The first episode went viral. That resulted in another six hilarious episodes where actors improvise as their theatre skits go very wrong.

 

Break the rules

  • Down with Stranger Danger! You’re old enough now discern a suspicious person without this blanket rule. Not all strangers are evil.
    – Chuckle with the mum in the park about her cute toddler’s antics.
    – Offer to help the backpacker who looks lost.
    – Joke with the shopper next to you who just spilt his coffee.
    I don’t know about you, but my endorphins shoot sky high when I’ve had an unexpected laugh with a stranger. It’s a feel-good moment of all being well with you and your fellow man, and the world not being so hostile after all.
  • Impossible! How could that be? Magic tricks and illusions can sprinkle a little fun around when you next have the chance to thrill a captive audience.
  • Ignore age recommendations on kids’ toys. Indulge your play spirit with nerf guns, water-slides, rub-on tattoos or beading kits. It’s for your benefit, but kids will love you for it too.

 

Don’t overthink it

Image credit: Tookapic from Pixabay

  1. Play with a pet. Especially a baby one. They’re play geniuses, and they’ll get you smiling and moving and chasing and cuddling in all manner of unpredictable, joy-filled capers.
  2. Create something that you have no skill at creating. Rope in someone else to up the hysterics. Fish around on Pinterest for a truly unattainable goal, and experience the freedom of cutting, snipping, pasting, sewing, painting, sawing, hammering or assembling, for absolutely no functional reason at all, other than to laugh.
  3. Have a ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Out’. Do everything your heart desires in your city. Breakfast, bike ride, art gallery, river cruise. Extend it by booking somewhere for the night and snuggling with your loved one by a fireplace with a good glass of wine.

 

Over to You

What form of play is beckoning to your laughter within?

Where will you find the most joy in play?

It’s yours for the taking.

Make space for it in your calendars or write it on your To Do list, and go play.

And please tell me about it.

  • What comedy podcasts or shows can you recommend?
  • What ideas are you going to try?
  • Do you have a photo or idea to share?

 

Inspirational References:

Say yes to pops of playfulness, starting where you live.

 

Imagine you could enter your home and have it embrace you with joy regardless of the day you’re having. Playfulness begins when you’re relaxed, secure and can just be yourself. When your home is a place of gleeful inspirations, you’ve made a good start in relearning the wonder of play. And it’s more important than you might think— it’s essential to your wellbeing. Read on to start giving yourself permission to play.

 

We all played as kids, so we’ve got the know-how. Even if, as adults, we’ve gotten a little rusty, the need to play is wired into our brains and we never outgrow it. It’s a built-in safeguard to ensure life never gets too deadly serious, because that’s… well—deadly. Serious. Responsibility, with it’s ever-increasing importance as we grow up, can tend to boss around our spontaneous, freely expressive, carefree selves.

Maybe that’s where your requests for this topic came from, my curious friends? Maybe it’s because you want more fun in your life? You want to reconnect with your inner child who knows just how to spin around with dizzying delight, be enthralled by new discoveries and frolic with anyone who cares to do so for no good reason. Good news! Anyone can power up their PLAY-ability again with a few simple strategies. This blog series will show you how.

So let’s begin, shall we?

The first step is easy. It starts in the comfort of your own home. Why? Here are 3 good reasons:

  1. Home is a sanctuary.
    To play with joyful abandon, we need to feel safe. The merriment inside us will only peek out when there’s trust and acceptance in the atmosphere. Where better than our home to find this space?
  2. Home is where we can be our most authentic self with others. 
    When we’re relaxed, the setting is ready for shared bursts of playfulness with others in the house whether family or housemates. With humour in the house, deeper connections are made.
  3. Home is a place of expression.
    You know what it’s like. That moment when you walk into someone’s house and instantly have a fuller picture of who they are. Maybe you’re amazed by what takes pride of place on their cabinet, or you can just feel the atmosphere of calm or chaos or sport or family.
    Our personalities leak out in our home. When we dot the happy parts of ourselves around our homes, playfulness is not far behind.

 

Now, for those of you with perfectionist qualities, with a place for everything and everything in its place, a gentle word. The need for orderliness could wrestle your fun-seeking longings. If that’s you, you might need to make a few little concessions as the cogs of rediscovering playfulness are oiled, because play, by nature, is unpredictable and creativity may just get a little messy.

 

What are the most playful spots or things around your house?


My husband and I are not great decor or maintenance people, so things in our house can become a little tired. But there is one spot that continues to bring me joy and is often a conversation piece. It’s a wall with three paintings. We painted this wall a textured charcoal, to showcase three bold paintings in brushstrokes of red, yellow, blue and green. They pop on that wall. But more than that, they bring back memories of our adventures in Hong Kong—of perusing a market of strange delectables, of buying our very first real paintings from the artist herself, and of going for a swim in the warm South China Sea.

‘To miss out on play is to miss the harvest of a well-lived life,’ says play author, Dr Stuart Brown. Professors Sergio and Vivien Pellis take the neuroscience perspective and suggest that play ‘may be a process underlying lives worth living’.

 

If play gets this much credit, then surely it deserves to be given more room in our lives?

 

9 Easy Ways to Play at Home

Invite Fun as a VIP 

 

Break the Rules

  • Instead of a table cloth, spread butcher paper on the dining table and draw or write away.  Write questions at each person’s place setting, or make up a collaborative silly poem, or collect the best things about every day over a week, or rubber stamp it all over. Keep it as a work of art and use it for your next dinner party.
  • Who said you can’t draw on walls? Doodle on the bath tiles with bath crayons during a bubble bath. Use liquid chalk to write inspirational quotes on the window above the kitchen sink or leave a joke on the mirror.
  • Wall colour doesn’t have to come from expensive art pieces. Add fun wall stickers to a dull wall to liven it up. Here are a few fun ones: 
    – Birds on wires
    – 80s party confetti
    – Tall daisies

  • Why sleep inside? Many of you have already done this during pandemic lockdowns – have a campout in the back yard, complete with fire pit and s’mores.

 

Don’t Overthink It

  • Put together a dance playlist of your favourites. Whether you’re at foot-tapping level, or up to wiggling and jiggling, or right up there in full booty-shaking, hands-in-the-air dancing, just enjoy music for the sake of it. Whether on your own or with others around, have a bit of fun while washing the dishes or folding the laundry. Or just any time.
  • You know how card games tend to live in cupboards, only to make an occasional entrance? How about leaving a few out around the house, for when the whim hits. You might find it connecting people at unexpected times.

 

The good news is that it’s not hard to make your house a PLAYhouse.

Is your home a safe place? You’re already halfway there. Can you think of 5 things in your house that spark joy? You’re already striding forward.

Can’t think of 5 things? Don’t worry. Start building a list or just be on the lookout from now for things that make you bubble.

From now on, give yourself permission to play… in your home.

Go on! Escape your functional mind for a moment and have some fun.

 

And please tell me about it.

  • What are your favourite places or pieces in your house?
  • What ideas do you want to try?
  • Do you have an idea or a photo to share?

 

Inspirational References: 

  • I love this book by Meredith Sinclair: Well-Played: The Ultimate Guide to Awakening Your Family’s Playful Spirit. A number of my ideas for these blogs have come from her insights.
  • Dr Stuart Brown’s quote is from his book, ‘Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.’
  • The Pellis & Pellis quote is from their book, ‘The Playful Brain: Venturing to the Limits of Neuroscience.’

 

Update 2 June


 

This will be the final blog in this series of coronavirus updates. The series has fulfilled its purpose. It was created to give you meaningful snapshots when rapid-fire information was flying at us and changing our world at a dizzying rate.

 

Official updates on ‘normal’ Australian matters are becoming more common than coronavirus updates. That tells me we’re on a more even keel. The frameworks for the new normal have been created. Now it’s mostly left foot, right foot, as we walk out the plans on this road to recovery.

 

My Parting Health Snapshot to You

Australia – you’ve done incredibly well from all reports. While the Chief Medical Officer keeps emphasising that we still need to be careful, he confirms we are on track with our health recovery plans.

 

When’s the Vaccine Coming?

We wait now, as the world waits, for a vaccine to end this thing once and for all. So how’s that all going?

 

Around the world there are more than 100 vaccine projects on the go. The last stage of development is testing on people, and that has already begun in 9 projects. But there’s still a long way to go before we get the green light. Dates being thrown around by experts are between January and July next year. That’s like – still a YEAR away. (For a reminder on why making a vaccine takes so long, check out my blog on 1 May.)

 

 

The proudly Australian news is that the University of Queensland remains in the spotlight. They’ve reached the stage just before human testing and earned themselves another $2 million from the federal government to keep up the good work. England’s Oxford University has begun testing on 500 people, and could have a useable result by September.

 

Other contenders include biotech companies like Moderna and Inovio. Lots of pharmaceutical companies are pulling out all the stops too. Johnson & Johnson, and Sanofi are two of those. The Wuhan and Beijing Institutes of biological products, are also making good progress.

 

My Parting Economic Snapshot to You

Unless there is an outbreak of the virus, the government’s laser focus is now on job creation. In fact, National Cabinet will now have the sole agenda of creating jobs.

 

The National Cabinet, birthed in response to the pandemic, has worked so well it’s going to keep going. ScoMo is shaking up federal government structures to improve the country’s governance for the economic recovery. ScoMo said the regularity of meetings between heads of state via teleconferencing has meant they’ve been able to keep a clear mission and a good pace in finding solutions together. Because they operate under federal cabinet rules, they can make decisions without the formalities and “theatre” that previous meeting formats held. And they even ‘hang out’ together before meetings. 

 

So it’s out with the old COAG (Council of Australian Governments) and in with the new. But they won’t be throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Councils and important task forces that sat under COAG, like women’s safety and closing the indigenous gap, will be reset and continue.

During the COVID-19 period, National Cabinet will continue meeting online fortnightly. In future, it’ll be once a month. The treasurers of states and territories will also meet regularly with them and take responsibility for funding agreements.

 

State News

 

 

Easing Restrictions:

 

Schools: By 9 June all children will be back in classrooms, with Victoria and Tasmaniacatching up to the rest.

 

Travel: State border closures for leisure travel remain an agenda item, despite the federal government providing no advice to maintain these. Queensland is hanging onto their decision to keep borders closed. Western Australia has lifted restrictions for specific regional travel within the state. (Meanwhile, federal government is moving towards opening a

safe travel zone between Australia and New Zealand. )  South Australia launched a ‘Welcome Back’campaign to boost same-state travel and has seen a 77% increase in Airbnb bookings compared to the same week last year.

 

Infrastructure: Construction projects are being turbo-boosted nationwide in the quest for job creation. New South Wales has multiple large projects underway, including airport and rail construction. Victoria is fast-tracking building works for community sport.

 

The arts: New South Wales is providing a Rescue and Restart package for struggling art and cultural organisations, recognising how the arts can be “a place of refuge and a source of inspiration in these challenging times”. In Victoria funding has been given to multicultural media outlets which “have been particularly crucial as we deal with the coronavirus pandemic,” according to the Minister for Multicultural Affairs.

 

 

The Stats

 

Globally, on 11 May we reached 4 million COVID-19 cases.

By 23 May we reached 5 million.  

Yesterday we reached the 6 million mark, having tragically lost more than 370,000 people to the virus.

 

Globally, the curve is still rising and this pandemic is far from over.

 

Conversely, in Australia stats continue to show recovery. 

There have been 7,204 cases of COVID-19

  • 6,619 have recovered
  • Sadly, there have been 103 deaths
  • There now are only 3 people with COVID-19 in ICU
  • Approximately 30,000 tests are being conducted each day, with a 0.5% positivity rate
  • There were 6.1 million downloads of the CovidSafe app as at 29 May

 

 

Hope Over Fear

 

Snapshots of a Healing World

 

Our Health:

  • Staying at home has made more smokers want to quit smoking. Between January and May this year, 310% more people than last year downloaded the My Quitbuddy app.
  • A survey of 11,000 people in 11 countries revealed people are eating more healthily in lockdowns – more fresh, frozen and canned food in place of ready meals, more meal planning, more time spent on food preparation, less waste overall.

 

Our Environment:

There have been multiple reports of animal life returning to areas that have quietened down as a result of lockdowns, and here’s a particularly lovely one: flamingos flocked to lakes in Mumbai, India. Still in India, the peaks of the Himalayas can be seen from the Punjab city area, after decades of their visibility being obscured by air pollution.

 

 

Heroes Emerge:

  • A 92-year-old piano teacher, also a Holocaust survivor, had to stop lessons due to lockdowns in Denver, USA. Not for long. Dr Cornelia Vertenstein, known affectionately as “Nellie”, used Facetime on her iPad. She not only continued, but also held her spring recitals online.
  • British Captain Tom Moore, who I mentioned in my blog on 16 April, went on to be knighted for his extensive fundraising for the NHS (National Health System) during the pandemic. When he also successfully turned 100 years old, he received more than 125,000 birthday cards, filling a school hall with them. You can watch the heartwearming video clips here.

 

 

Your Tip for Today

 

We Like to Move It, Move It.

 

 

As Australia gets back to work, one place that is difficult to socially distance yourself, is public transport. The AHPPC has just provided some advice on remaining as COVID Safe as possible on public transport:

 

  • Plan the shortest possible public transport route to limit time spent on it.
  • Don’t use public transport if you are not feeling well. Unless it’s an emergency. And if you reeelly, reeeelly have to use it while you are not well, wear a mask and cough into your elbow. 
  • Wash your hands before and after travelling. Maybe keep some sanitiser or wipes on you.
  • Distance yourself as much as possible from others, and avoid contact.
  • Check operator’s requirements – like using tap and go passes, cashless payment or any seating restrictions.
  • Download the COVIDSafe app to help with tracing in case you’re unknowingly exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Adjust your work hours if possible, so you can travel in off-peak times that are less crowded.

 

 

 

What About You?

 

  • What signs of our healing world have you noticed?
  • Have you used public transport since restrictions eased?

I’d love to hear your stories. Last chance.

 

It’s been real. Thanks so much for reading.

 

 

Information Sources 

Minister of Health on Vaccine – 2 June

https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/66-million-for-coronavirus-related-research

 

Healthline: Vaccine Development – 26 May

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/heres-exactly-where-were-at-with-vaccines-and-treatments-for-covid-19#Speeding-up-vaccine-development

 

Gavi: Vaccine Tracker – 11 May

https://www.gavi.org/vaccineswork/covid-19-vaccine-race

 

Prime Minister’s Media Release on National Cabinet – 29 May

https://www.pm.gov.au/media/update-following-national-cabinet-meeting

 

Prime Minister’s Press Release on National Cabinet – 29 May

https://www.pm.gov.au/media/press-conference-australian-parliament-house-act-29may20

 

WHO Situation Reports – Global stats – 1 June

https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200601-covid-19-sitrep-133.pdf?sfvrsn=9a56f2ac_4

 

WHO Situation Reports – other dates

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/

 

Health Minister – Smokers want to quit – 1 June

https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/four-times-as-many-people-trying-to-quit-smoking-during-covid-19

 

Good News Network – Healthier Eating – 31 May

https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/people-are-eating-healthier-during-covid-shutdowns/

Elle: Flamingos in India and 92-year-old piano teacher – 21 May

https://www.elle.com/uk/life-and-culture/g31658888/coronavirus-covid-19-good-news/

 

CNN – Himalayas visible – 9 April

https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/himalayas-visible-lockdown-india-scli-intl/index.html

 

AHPPC Advice for public transport – 2 June

https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/transport/files/COVID19_public_transport_principles_29052020.pdf

 

Update 27 May


 

 

New JobMaker Package – Doing What Makes Businesses Go Faster

 

As we unfurl from pandemic hibernation, the gritty truth is hitting us. It’s harder starting up than closing down.

ScoMo told his story yesterday of huddling with a sports strategy team years ago, in a dingy old building. The guiding principle for strategy was clear: ‘do what makes the boat go faster’. And their team won. Today, to restore 850,000 lost jobs in Australia, we need to ‘do what makes businesses go faster’, to win the battle for jobs.

 

Enter JobMaker.

 

Money boosts from the government are helping businesses right now, but ScoMo reminded us that stimulus packages are an emergency response – we are dealing with an economic crisis. Many businesses are in ICU, so to speak. But at some point businesses need to be able to earn enough again to get back on their feet, and ‘get off the medication’. After all, they drive the economy, which provides the revenue to fund essential government services like hospitals, fire services, security, and social welfare.

 

 

So What Makes Businesses Go Faster?

Here’s the list, and the corresponding challenges that JobMaker needs to address:

  1. Skilled labour: needs healthy industrial relations
  2. Affordable and reliable energy: requires resources
  3. Research and technology: draws on higher education
  4. Accessible investment capital and finance: needs open banking
  5. Markets to connect to: needs digital economy and trade
  6. Economic infrastructure: supports manufacturing and regional development
  7. Simplifying government regulations businesses must comply with: deregulation and federal reform
  8. Efficiency of taxes to encourage businesses to invest in and employ more workers: needs the tax system to support jobs investment.

 

This is JobMaker – the change agenda for next 3-5 years.

Its goal is simple: make more jobs.

 

 

Yesterday, ScoMo started on Point 1. The other points will be addressed in the coming weeks and months.

 

Matchmaking Skills and Industry Needs.

Basically, this is all a bit of a mess. Federal Government hands over $1.6 billion to states and territories every year, and never hears about it again. As a result, there is no consistency in skills training across the country. A nurse training in Queensland may be subsidised less than half that of a nurse training in New South Wales. For that reason, potential future nurses in Queensland may choose another profession instead.

 

To help shape things up, a National Skills Commission has been set up to do an overhaul. Already, Skills Organisation Pilots have started where workers are needed – human services, digital technology and mining. The projects will work out what qualifications these industries need.

 

 

Therapy for Industrial Relations

A finger on the pulse of relationships between Australian employers and employees reveals many are not healthy. Employers often feel their sacrifices for the business are overlooked, and employees feel they do not get their fair share of benefits. Workers’ unions and employer groups have lost sight of their purpose: getting workplace settings right for the business to succeed.

 

The result of the tension: workers unnecessarily lose their jobs, or employers keep people out of jobs. Working relationships need to be restored to get the opposite result: more employers on track to pay their workers, and more workers being employed. Now, ScoMo urges, is the time to lay down our weapons, and find cooperative solutions.

 

 

 

Task #1 of JobMaker: Bring People Together

Between now and September the minister for industrial relations, Christian Porter, will chair five working groups to nut out a JobMaker package. It’s going to be a challenge, and ScoMo acknowledges it may not work, but it’s worth a try. People who have been at odds with one another are going to be put in a room together to find one mutual solution – a pathway to sensible, longlasting reform that will make jobs.

 

They will discuss and negotiate things like awards, enterprise agreements, casual and fixed term employees, compliance and enforcement. The government will take the lead after this consultation.

 

 

The Stats for Australia

 

There have been 7,133 cases of COVID-19 in Australia, with 478 active cases remaining.

  • Sadly, there have been 102 deaths
  • 5 people are in ICU
  • 6,553 people have recovered

 

Progress on Making Australia COVID Safe:

 

Testing is still on the increase as a defence to COVID-19 as we gradually return to normal activities:

  • Australia now has 485 testing clinics, with one of the most accurate testing regimes in the world.
  • 177,000 people were tested in the last week (about 25,000 per day)
  • 6% of tests returned positive for COVID-19

 

Tracing via the COVIDSafe app:

  • We’ve just topped 6 million downloads of the app

The app has already proven its worth. In Victoria, a man who had been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 was not identified by that person, but was identified through the app.

 

Isolating the bug when it appears:

  • Most new cases are still imported, so hotel quarantine at Australia’s borders for international travellers is effectively isolating these cases, and has saved many lives by stopping the spread.
  • The North West Tasmania outbreak demonstrated that if there is an outbreak in a suburb, a facility or a region, a Stage 4 lockdown forms a ‘ring of containment’ that has been effective in stopping the spread.

 

 

Hope Over Fear

 

Speaking of MAKING things…

 

Time at home has fuelled creativity for many, and the results are now emerging.

 

Giant Kookaburra for Laughs

 

 

In Bellbowrie, Queensland, Dr Farvadin Daliri has sculpted a giant kookaburra. The big bird’s 8.5m height, along with its recorded laugh and moving beak is entertaining local people as well as local kookaburras, who come for a ‘sticky beak’.

 

Dr Daliri is originally from Iran, where he studied fine art and sculpture. He came to Australia as a refugee in the mid-80s. In Townsville he founded the Townsville Cultural Festival. This is not his first sculpture. A giant koala, the Jolly Swagman and Slim Dusty also feature in his portfolio.

We want to have the last laugh over COVID-19 with the kookaburra, we’ll also have laughing workshops along the road so we can get everyone laughing around it and make them feel better,” he said. 

 

Creative Ventures Around the Globe:

 

  • In Spain, artist Okuda San Miguel, has partnered with an organisation supporting work for people with learning disabilities and special needs. Together they’ve brightened up 10 silos across the region with beautiful, artistic paintwork. It’s formed an inspiring open-air gallery.

 

  • In Somerset, UK, a family decided to pass the time by colouring every brick of their home with a different chalk colour. The dad decided to help by climbing a ladder to complete the work all the way to the top. The cheerful sight has stopped traffic at times, and received lots of attention on Facebook.

 

 

Your Tip for Today

 

Still on the topic of CREATION

 

Many creative ways of combatting COVID-19 have emerged over time. Unfortunately, most are not founded on evidence, and some are good for a laugh.

 

DO NOT put your faith in any of the following statements:

  • Hot temperatures kill the virus. Nope
  • 5G networks are spreading the virus. Nope. NO NEED to burn down 5G towers, people.
  • Vitamin C is an effective treatment for COVID-19. Nope.
  • Ibuprofen exacerbates coronavirus. Nope – fake WHO report. Keep taking your meds.
  • Hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment for COVID-19. Not yet proven.
  • UV rays kill the virus. Nope. The UV rays will probably do your skin damage, just like the sun does.
  • Garlic prevents infection. Nope. But garlic is still good for you.
  • Breathing techniques can cure the virus. Thanks J.K.Rowling – some more good fiction work there.
  • Microwaves sanitise masks. Nope. Bad idea. It can damage the mask and set your microwave alight.

 

News Alert: There is no cure for COVID-19 yet.

Find more COVID-19 mythbusters here.

 

What SHOULD you believe?

Do these three and stay COVID free:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Physical distancing
  • Use the COVIDSafe app.

 

 

What About You?

 

  • Have you had any creative work emerge over the past weeks?
  • Have you had a double-take at any COVID-19 myths?

I’d love to hear your stories.

 

 

Information Sources

 

Prime Minister Press Release – 26 May 2020

https://www.pm.gov.au/media/address-national-press-club-260520

 

Department of Health stats

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-current-situation-and-case-numbers

 

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt: COVIDSafe app update – 24 May

https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/world-leading-covidsafe-app-working-and-delivering

 

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt on progress in health measures – 25 May

https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/press-conference-about-20-million-for-health-and-medical-research-world-health-assembly-motion-and-covid-19

 

ABC News – Giant Kookaburra – 26 May

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-26/giant-kookaburra-built-during-lockdown/12286434

 

Good News Network – Painting by People with Disabilities – 22 May

https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/worlds-largest-open-air-gallery-painted-by-people-with-learning-disabilities/

 

Australian Gov: COVID-19 Mythbusting – 25 May

https://www.australia.gov.au/covid-19-mythbusting

 

 

 

 

 

Update 22 May


 

 

Health updates are becoming fewer, as economic recovery takes centre stage. This story pressed some buttons…

Casual Worker Entitlements: Workers are Happy but Businesses Could Sink

It started with a Federal Court ruling on Wednesday that Workpac should pay annual leave to a long term casual worker. The mine worker, Mr Rossatu, has been employed by Workpac for 3.5 years on a rolling roster.

 

Why is this surprising?

Well, casuals usually get paid an additional 25c per hour casual loading fee because they don’t get leave entitlements. The court reasoned that Mr Rossatu’s job reflected that of a permanent employee because it was ‘regular, certain, continuing, constant and predictable employment.’ And he didn’t have to pay back the casual loading fee.

 

While the court case had nothing to do with COVID-19, it’s caused an outcry by small and medium sized businesses struggling to get back on their feet in a coronavirus economy. The ruling will not affect all casual workers, but it will have implications for long term casual employees. And that means businesses may have to cough up backpay.

 

Since the cost of these payouts, estimated around $8 billion, might kill the lifeline effect of JobKeeper, the decision is likely to be appealed. Finance Minister, Mathias Cormann acknowledged that this is ‘very bad for business’. He said that Federal Government is considering whether a legal fix is needed, and will intervene on appeal. FairWork Australia has since posted that “We’re reviewing the information” and that they will update their message soon.

 

 

Boost for Roads and Community Facilities

 

 

 

Despite ScoMo remaining rather quiet this week, his media release today announced another $1.8 billion to stimulate construction projects through local governments. Improving bridges, tunnels, bicycle and walking paths, picnic shelters and park barbeques will increase local employment and help communities reconnect.

 

States Get Active on Job Creation

 

New South Wales has fast-forwarded school plans so that all children will be back in classrooms on Monday, relieving parents to get back to work. Pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants can now host up to 50 customers if they have the space for it. Plus, funding has been released for construction projects  – a retail centre, industrial facilities, three new schools and road projects that will create an estimated 5250 new jobs.

 

 

Victoria is helping universities to keep going, with funding, and facilitating angel networks to invest in start-up businesses.  Funding for water works is creating job opportunities as well as a Building Works package that will stimulate the resources sector, and in turn support infrastructure and development.

 

In the Northern Territory, about 3000 people are back at work again and many have enjoyed their first pint at the pub again, as approximately 450 food and drink venues reopened, with more expected to open their doors from 5 June as the third stage of restrictions ease. Chief Minister, Michael Gunner, appointed a task force

to provide advice on economic recovery, including creating jobs, cutting red tape and attracting investment.

 

 

Tasmania will begin aggressive construction programs in the weeks to come, bringing forward projects like building houses, schools, roads, bridges and dams.

 

Queensland has granted additional funding for small businesses. A Rural Economic Development grant has seen 14 businesses boosted by innovative technology and the creation of more jobs as a result:

  • A vegetable farm will gain a facility to slice, dice and powder second rate produce to reduce waste
  • A mango farm will soon have digital technology to test fruit maturity and defects, so that no mature mango is lost in manual testing.
  • A vegetable company can now use x-ray technology in fully automated cob inspection, cutting and packing processes.

 

 

Quick News Tidbits

 

The ATO amended the recorded number of employees on JobKeeper from 7 million-ish to only 3.5million. This reduces the predicted package cost to $70 billion rather than $130 billion. The reason? They found that some employers had used incorrect numbers on their application forms, writing the payment value rather than number of employees. This has not affected the scheme payouts.

 

A new national set of entry-level skills needed across Australia has now been developed and will be fast tracked by training sectors to respond to industry needs. Workers are primarily needed in the aged care and disability sector.

 

All types of elective surgery can now resume in public and private hospitals. Health services will make clinical decisions and select eligible patients based on urgency, PPE use and ICU capacity.

 

Image by Olga Guryanova from Unsplash

 

 

The Stats

 

Today tragically marks 100 deaths from COVID-19 in Australia.

 

There have been 7081 cases of COVID-19 in Australia

  • 6,472 people have recovered
  • 9 patients are in ICU

 

While Australia’s coronavirus health crisis simmers down, on the global front, daily counts of new COVID-19 cases keep rising. Italy and Spain’s curves are now flattening. The UK, US and Russia are showing the first signs of new cases declining. However, in some countries, like India, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates and South Africa, case numbers are still rising significantly.

 

Hope Over Fear

 

Feeding the Hungry

 

Farmers Provide Food Relief

After droughts, bushfires and now coronavirus, many families have been hard hit. Due to high demand for food relief, FoodShare, an emergency food provider, has recruited about 30 farms to donate their produce to communities doing it tough, sometimes feeding up to 3000 people in a week. FoodShare anticipates that the demand will increase in September, when government supports are reduced. Aussie farmers have been generous, donating tonnes of fruit and vegetables in season.

 

 

 

How to Keep Feeding Elephants That Eat for 20 Hours a Day

Further afield in Nepal, with the tourism trade brought to a standstill, owners of elephants ‘employed’ in this trade were struggling to feed them. Elephant Aid International, who work closely with mahouts and farmers, facilitated a win-win plan. Firstly, the elephants got permission to enter a national park during the day, which is not usually permitted. Secondly, workers who had lost their jobs were recruited to harvest crops on farms that were otherwise going to rot, to sell to the elephant owners.

 

 

Your Tip for Today

 

Job searches may need a little more attention in this coronavirus economy.

 

Here are some tips  for your next job search (from 7 News):

  • Don’t be idle – be out there connecting with potential employers.
  • Don’t be disheartened by the current climate. If you can show you are the best person for the job, you’re likely to get it.
  • Reach out to your contacts and update people on what you’re looking for.
  • Let everyone you are interacting with know what you offer and to keep you in mind if they hear a potential job comes up.
  • You may need to take a job that is different from what you are looking for. Now is a good time to upskill with the government offeringcut price higher education packagesto help fill skill shortages.Or check out My Skills.gov.au.
  • Give the best hours of your day to your job search but don’t let it take over your life.
  • Remain visible online through your LinkedIn profile.
  • Be kind to yourself – and be curious while job hunting.

 

Read more of the article here.

 

 

What About You?

 

  • What do you think about the latest court ruling on casual workers?
  • Do you find job searches tougher right now?
  • What are you most thankful for today?

 

 

I’d love to hear your stories.

 

 

 

Information Sources

 

 

Federal Finance Minister, Mathias Cormann on Casual employment – 22 May 2020

https://www.financeminister.gov.au/transcript/2020/05/22/sky-news-first-edition

 

FairWork Australia on Casual Employees – 20 May 2020

https://www.fairwork.gov.au/employee-entitlements/types-of-employees/casual-part-time-and-full-time/casual-employees

 

ABC News – Federal Court ruling on Casual Entitlements – 21 May

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-21/federal-court-casual-entitlements-annual-leave/12270724

 

ATO JobKeeper update – 22 May 2020

https://treasury.gov.au/media-release/jobkeeper-update

 

Prime Minister’s media release on road and community funding – 22 May 2020

https://www.pm.gov.au/media/1-8-billion-boost-local-government

 

The Squiz Podcast – 22 May 2020

 

Federal Minister for Employment on National Skill Set – 21 May

 

https://ministers.dese.gov.au/cash/new-skill-set-support-aged-and-disability-sectors

 

AHPPC on Elective Surgery – 22 May

https://www.health.gov.au/news/australian-health-protection-principal-committee-ahppc-statement-on-restoration-of-elective-surgery-and-hospital-activity

 

John Hopkins University COVID-19 Map

https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

 

Good News Network – Feeding Nepal’s Elephants – 20 May

 

https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/feeding-nepals-out-of-work-elephants-during-covid/

 

ABC News – Farmers donate produce to FoodShare – 21 may

https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2020-05-21/farmers-donate-produce-to-help-meet-emergency-demand/12264444

 

 

 

Update 19 May


 

 

Attention WHO and China:

Independent Inquiry Pending

At the World Health Assembly, member states make decisions regarding the World Health Organisation. Held yesterday and today, this time the EU proposed an inquiry for WHO’s performance during the coronavirus pandemic. And naturally, that means – you guessed it – China would be investigated. This motion, also pushed for by the US and Australia, was backed yesterday by 116 countries in total.

 

 

 

WHO’s take on it:

In the WHO Director-General’s opening remarks he welcomed “… a step-wise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation.” He acknowledged that in past epidemics, reviews had resulted in new frameworks and regulations. He said, however, that the world didn’t need new plans, systems or organisations – it simply needs to implement and strengthen those already at our disposal.

 

China’s take on it:

President Xi Jinping said China would cooperate, but he slipped in a few conditions. He stated that the inquiry should happen “after it [the pandemic] is brought under control” and that it should be “led by the WHO.” Australia’s Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, had made it clear in the motion that Australia wanted the investigation to be by an external body.

 

The result:

It seems that the WHO’s independent oversight advisory body will suffice for the inquiry, as long as WHO doesn’t escape scrutiny of itself.

 

 

 

What Happens When Mental Health Goes Mad?

When your country anticipates mental health taking a big hit, you make a unified, national response plan. Last Friday, Christine Morgan, CEO of the National Mental Health Commission, outlined the Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Plan that National Cabinet has endorsed. After talking to lots of people two main needs surfaced: supports for a diverse range of situations; and needs of particularly vulnerable groups being met.

 

What has already been done?

Mental health service delivery has become far more agile and innovative during the pandemic, with digital services meaning that more people have been able to engage help.

 

What’s still being worked on?

  1. Getting good data. So that we know what is actually going on with people’s mental health, what we can expect and where services are most needed. Like the fact that there have not actually been more suicides, and whether that changes in future, or not.
  2. Reaching people within their own communities, especially those who have disconnected from services.
  3. Providing the actual help that’s needed, when it’s needed.

 

 

So if we follow Japan’s trend, and suicides actually decrease because of COVID-19, better data might help to explain why. Are the risk factors what we think they are? What exactly are the silver linings of COVID-19 that have protected people from suicide? Being at home? Stopping to take care of ourselves? Or having more lifelines just a phone call away?

 

With the plan in play, hopefully, we’ll find out.

 

 

Travelling Across Australia – Are We There Yet?

 

ScoMo suggested in his last press conference that we could start looking forward to moving around the country more widely. In fact, if we do that, we’ll be helping tourism get back on it’s feet.

 

But it might not be so easy when Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have movement restrictions across their borders, while New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory do not.

 

 

As restrictions ease, many from Australia’s cooler climates would relish a trip to sunny Queensland during the July school holidays. But rather than entertaining the idea of borders reopening, the Premier of Queensland’s simple message to Queenslanders today was: “Get out and explore your own state.” And another $50 million is being granted to the QLD tourism industry to help keep businesses afloat.

 

Sorry guys, Great Barrier Reef holidays are reserved for Queenslanders only right now. (Needless to say, tour operators are not too happy.)

 

 

 

The Stats for Australia

 

We’ve reached the 7000 mark: there have been 7060 cases of COVID-19 in Australia.

  • 6389 people (90%) have recovered
  • Sadly, 99 people have died
  • 12 people are currently in ICU

 

Over 1 million tests have now been conducted in Australia, showcasing our top-notch testing ability, which is one way we stay COVID-safe.

 

5.7 million Australians have already downloaded the COVIDSafe app, but we still need more people to participate.

 

 

Hope Over Fear

 

It’s National Volunteer Week

 

The most recent survey showed that 3 in 10 (about 6 million) people volunteer in Australia, and COVID-19 brought a new surge. Simply stated, Australians are good at rallying when help is needed.

 

A Surge of Volunteers

Meals on Wheels lost many of their usual older volunteers when COVID-19 restrictions ramped up. But others who had been stood down from their jobs and received JobKeeper or JobSeeker decided to use their time to give back. Meals on Wheels were grateful to be able to continue the human connection with those they support, especially those living on their own.

 

Backpackers Provide Welcome Farm Relief

International backpackers like Ben working in the fitness industry and Lucie working as an au pair  were about to be sent home due to COVID-19 restrictions, when they were provided with an alternate option. Blaze Aid recruited them as volunteers to help restore farms affected by the bushfires.

 

 

Right now these backpackers camp out in the Tooma showgrounds on the edge of the Snowy Mountains, with an Argentinian volunteer chef ensuring they eat well. During the day they rebuild fences and help with other farm repairs.

 

The result? They’re enjoying making a big difference while getting to know true Aussie culture, as they’re welcomed by farmers who are only too happy to have the help.

 

 

Your Tip for Today

 

How can I know if I’ve had COVID-19 or not?

Some people have really mild symptoms, or none at all. So how do you know if you’ve fought COVID-19 and gained immunity?

 

The only way to know is to get tested.

 

There are 2 types of tests:

  1. The PCR test.
    Cells on a swab taken from your nose and throat, or other body fluids are grown in a petri dish. Then they’re tested for any genetic material from the virus.
  2. The Serology test.
    Quicker and cheaper than the PCR test but not as accurate. It tests for antibodies which your body produces when it fights the virus. It can miss the virus if you’ve only just caught it and your body’s immune response has not yet kicked in.

 More work is being done on developing new tests.

 

If I’ve had COVID-19, can I get it again?

It’s unlikely. You probably have immunity for at least a year, if not for life. While there have been reports of apparent re-infection, most of these second positive tests were done 7 – 14 days after recovery. It is likely that the PCR tests, which cannot distinguish between a ‘live’ vs ‘inactive’ virus, picked up the excretion of the non-infective genetic material. In Australia patients currently have to test negative for the virus twice before being released from isolation.

 

 

If I think I may have had it, am I ethically obligated to tell the people I came in contact with?

It’s up to every individual to do what they think is right, but advice is – yes – to alert people. Especially it if was in the last 14 days, as they would know then if they had been exposed enough to get sick.

 

What About You?

 

  • Are you hoping to travel interstate for the July school holidays?
  • Have you, or are you volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Have you had the experience of a PCR or serology test for COVID-19?

 

I’d love to hear your stories.

 

 

Information Sources

 

World Health Assembly opening speech by Director-General – 18 May

https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-world-health-assembly

 

President Xi Jinping’s speech for the World Health Assembly – 18 May

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MU81rTj8jRo

 

Prime Minister’s Press Conference with Christine Morgan – 15 May

https://www.pm.gov.au/media/press-conference-australian-parliament-house-act-17

 

NSW Govt – Border Restrictions

https://www.dpie.nsw.gov.au/our-work/regions-industry-agriculture-and-resources/covid-19-and-cross-border-management

 

QLD Govt – Tourism – 19 May 2020 http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2020/5/19/queensland-tourism-boost-to-unite-and-recover-from-covid19

 

ABC News – Surge of volunteers – 28 April

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-28/meals-on-wheels-new-volunteers-coronavirus/12190070

 

ABC News – Backpackers help Restore Fire-devastated Farms – 16 may

https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2020-05-16/backpackers-with-blazeaid-repair-fencing-from-nsw-bushfires/12245048

 

 

Lab tests online (supported by the Australian Govt – Therapeutic Goods Administration)

https://www.labtestsonline.org.au/learning/index-of-conditions/covid-19/learn-more-about-covid-19

 

The Guardian – Have I already had coronavirus?

https://www.theguardian.com/global/2020/apr/13/coronavirus-have-i-already-had-covid-19

 

Australian Govt – Department of Health – Information for Clinicians: FAQs

https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-clinicians.pdf

 

 

 

 

Update 14 May


 

 

 

 

What is This Anti-Dumping Thing?

It’s got nothing to do with the tip, and it’s not a new dating law. You’ll hear about it more in international trade circles.

 

China recently did two things in trading with Australia.

 

 

  • First, they placed an 80% anti-dumping tax on our barley exports into China. (Barley is mostly used for beer and animal feed) Anti-dumping tax, I have learned, is a tariff that a government adds onto foreign imports when it believes the price offered is below market value. It’s when the company is charging its home market a higher price than the overseas buyer. The issue: those low prices can undercut the importing government’s markets, damaging their local economy.
  • Secondly, on Monday (11 May) China stopped beef imports from 4 major meat suppliers in Australia, reportedly due to violations of customs and quarantine standards.

 

There seem to be two interpretations of these actions within Australia.

 

  • One view is that China’s timing suggests a pushback because of Australia insisting on an independent coronavirus enquiry. This, it is thought, could be a low-risk threat by China, as the dumping allegation apparently doesn’t hold much merit.
  • The second view, which is what ScoMo said on Tuesday, is that the anti-dumping trade issue started 18 months ago and is not linked to coronavirus concerns. From a bit more digging I learned that Australia imposes up to 144% tax on China’s steel imports. Today ScoMo said the trade negotiation will continue via normal channels, and “… Australia will do the right thing when it comes to respecting other countries’ laws.”

 

As for the beef export issue, which could have implications for Australian farmers, talks with Beijing are being set up by the Trade Minister, Simon Birmingham.

 

 

What Do We Do With Overcrowded Prisons in a Pandemic?

 

 

Prison is meant to limit freedom, but which human rights are protected? Prisoners, especially substance-abusing, sick prisoners are at a major disadvantage if COVID-19 enters an overcrowded prison.

 

Here’s what the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggested:

  • If people don’t absolutely have to be imprisoned, release them. We’re not talking about letting unrepentant murderers back into society. We’re talking about people in detention for substance abuse, or for minor, non-violent offences, especially women and kids. Let ‘em out. In fact, WHO suggests closing those types of detention centres – research shows they don’t do much good in reform anyway.
  • Give everything a good clean and keep it that way.
  • If prisoners are sick, make sure they keep getting their usual treatments.

 

As for human rights – security and health are the biggies.  So if there is a COVID-19 outbreak in a prison, prisoners should be monitored and treated like anyone else, making sure public health authorities are aware.

 

 

 

Zoning back in on Australia….

 

 

Could JobKeeper Be Taken Away in the Upcoming June Review?

 

This question keeps knocking about. Both the Minister for Finance and ScoMo have been clear that it will remain in place for the six months. ScoMo and the Treasurer clarified today that the review is necessary because the scheme was put into place in record-breaking time.

 

Although JobKeeper was carefully designed, some anomalies and issues would be expected because of the speed at which it was implemented. The June review will look at these, and the experience of it ‘on the ground’ and make any amendments needed.

 

Because of JobKeeper, the forecast peak of unemployment in Australia will be reduced from 15% to 10%. That’s a big difference in numbers of people. JobKeeper is providing an essential lifeline for, as of today, over 6 million Australians, holding employers and employees together as we build a bridge towards economic recovery.

 

 

 

State News

 

Interested in how each of the states and territories are travelling with their Steps towards easing restrictions?

 

In the lead, easing into Step 2 already:

  • Western Australia (although they’re talking about their eastern borders remaining closed for 6 months. Hmmm.)
  • Northern Territory started their version of Step 1 on 1 May, and will be easing into their Step 2 tomorrow.

 

Step 1 Has Started in:

  • Australian Capital Territory
  • South Australia
  • Victoria – but still with the message to stay at home if you can, and only close friends and family should visit.
  • Queensland – with extra relaxation for those in the outback

 

Step 1 is About to Start in:

  • New South Wales – tomorrow. School news: Phase 1 of four phases to return children to their classrooms, began on Monday. All grades currently attend school on one day a week. 
  • Tasmania will ease further restrictions from 18 May, but with more limited travel. School news: selected school grades are returning to classrooms from 25 May.

 

 

 

The Stats for Australia

 

  • There have been 6,989 cases of COVID-19 in Australia
  • Sadly, 98 people have died.
  • 6,301 people have recovered
  • 18 people are in ICU

 

 

 

Hope Over Fear

 

It IS Rocket Science

 

 

Our very own NASA. But it doesn’t look nearly as glamorous in a Gold Coast business shed.

 

Maybe I’m not getting the whole picture here but, wow, I discovered today that just down the highway from me there are space rockets being launched. Yes, Gilmour Space Technologies is going to be partnering with the Defence Force to develop rocket technology.

 

(So their day job is like…  go out onto fields to see if the latest rocket works?)

 

Here’s why it’s good news. Today we heard from ScoMo that 600,000 Australians have lost their jobs. And the big mission now is to get people back into jobs. But of course, there have to BE jobs to get back to.

 

Well, Gilmour Space Technologies estimates that they’ll be creating around 500 jobs over the next 3 years with this new project. That will be very good news for about 500 people.

 

 

 

 

Your Tip for Today

 

If you’re a health worker, you may be interested in having tons of useful COVID-19 information at your fingertips.

 

WHO Academy Launched an Information App for Health Workers

In a survey in March interviewing 20,000 health workers around the globe, the vast majority asked for accessible virtual learning.

 

So…..yesterday, WHO launched a mobile app with resources, tools, training, workshops and up-to-the-minute guidance on helping patients with COVID-19.

 

And it’s free.

You’ll find it in all the usual app stores as ‘WHO Academy’.

 

 

 

What About You?

 

  • Tell me you learned about anti-dumping today? Did you? You heard it first from me. We’re learning buddies.
  • Would you take a job launching rockets into space?
  • Have you downloaded the COVIDSafe app?

 

 

I’d love to hear your stories.

 

 

 

Information Sources

 

Prime Minister’s Press Conference – 14 May 2020

https://www.pm.gov.au/media/press-conference-australian-parliament-house-act-14may20

 

WHO – Deprivation of Liberty – 13 May

https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/13-05-2020-unodc-who-unaids-and-ohchr-joint-statement-on-covid-19-in-prisons-and-other-closed-settings

 

 

WHO Academy app – 13 May

https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/13-05-2020-launch-of-the-who-academy-and-the-who-info-mobile-applications

Finance Minister on JobKeeper – 13 May 2020 Finance Minister

https://www.financeminister.gov.au/transcript/2020/05/13/cnbc-asia-squawk-box

 

ACT Govt – Step 1 in place – 12 May

https://www.cmtedd.act.gov.au/open_government/inform/act_government_media_releases/barr/2020/statement-act-chief-minister5

 

Northern Territory Govt Roadmap

https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/steps-to-restart/roadmap-new-normal

 

QLD Govt – Step 1 begins (8 May)

http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2020/5/8/premier-maps-road-to-easing-restrictions

 

Western Australia Govt – coronavirus update 11 May

https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-business-and-industry-advice#covid-safety-plan

 

Tasmania Govt – coronavirus update 9 May

http://www.premier.tas.gov.au/covid-19_updates/press_conference_-_9_may_2020

 

ABC News – Gold Coast Rocket Scientists – 14 May 2020

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-14/gilmour-space-technologies-wins-defence-agreement/12247592

 

 

Update 12 May


 

Success in smashing the coronavirus is not just being able to say ‘no new cases’. We’re only winning when the livelihoods of Australians are being restored too.

 

Today would have been Federal Budget Day, but since the crisis scooted that over to October, we got a ministerial update instead. It was a pretty impressive summary by the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, of a lot of action over the past two months.

 

The economic picture right now. It’s bad.

 

Globally, this economic recession is massive. The 2009 global recession contracted the world economy by 0.1%. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) predicts this recession to contract it by … wait for it … 3%.

 

To give an example of how it’s impacted some of the world so far:

  • China experienced its first quarterly fall of GDP on record – 9.8%
  • Italy, France and Spain have also had their largest drop in GDP ever.
  • The US has processed 33 million jobless claims in the last 7 weeks, and has an unemployment level of 14.7%

 

Australia is also expecting its largest fall in GDP ever, of 10%. That’s a $50 billion drop in what the country usually produces.

 

Snapshot into the near future?

 

You’ll probably see about 1.4 million unemployed Australians hanging about, all much more cautious about money. Which means they’ll be buying 16% less stuff for their homes, holding back on business and housing investments (18% less), and only buying half the usual amount of new cars. So all those industries experience the knock-on effect.

 

Restrictions have halved the number of job ads going out, and travel is down by 97%. Here’s a reality check – on Easter Sunday last year there were 40,000 air travellers; this year there were 31. As would be expected, accommodation and food services have sustained the most job losses.

 

 

So then what happens?

 

As most of you know by now, the Government provided some essential lifelines, and Josh Frydenberg outlined those nicely today. You’ll find a neat list in my blog on 8 April 2020 or in his speech.

 

The scale is huge. If you like the numbers:

  • 5.5 million Australians are now on JobKeeper (6 million was the predicted number) via the 835,000+ businesses that enrolled
  • More than a million people have needed support through JobSeeker
  • 3 million people have requested early release of their superannuation, amounting to $10.6 billion
  • 11,000 businesses have accessed $1 billion through the loan guarantee scheme via their banks.
  • 450,000 small and medium sized businesses have received over $8 billion through the cash flow boost

 

Maybe all this spending is not SO bad if you consider that for the first time in 11 years, Australia had returned from a debt of $48.5 billion to a surplus. Of course that ship has now sailed, but it has saved many livelihoods.

 

Now, growing the economy and enhancing productivity is the way we recover from the big spend.

 

 

And Now for the Good News

 

 

 

ScoMo’s 3-step plan for the road to economic recovery allows for the possibility that on its completion, 850,000 workers should have their jobs back. Break it down further – 250,000 people could go back to work in the next month.

 

The GDP is expected to increase by $9.4 billion with each completed step. Makes sense when you think about it. As shops open, people spend more. As cafes and restaurants open, supply chains from the agricultural sector are supported again. As groups are allowed to gather outdoors, sport clubs and fitness companies can pick up again. As parks are opened and more travel is allowed, holiday destinations will have visitors again.

 

 

Here’s the clincher

 

During full restrictions, the economy was losing $4 billion a week. We could recover significantly if we progress through the 3 step plan as hoped. BUT we have to stick to all the health advice of social distancing and hygiene, and of course, having our COVIDSafe app on. If restrictions have to increase because the virus gets out of control again, the economy suffers. And a healthy economy is what funds healthcare, education and other essential services.

 

 

 

The Stats 

 

Globally

The 4 million mark of COVID-19 cases was reached yesterday.

  • There have been 278 892 deaths worldwide
  • There were 88 891 new cases yesterday

 

In Australia

  • There have been 6948 cases of COVID-19 in total
  • 89% of cases (6179 people) have recovered
  • Sadly, there have been 97 deaths
  • 16 people are currently in ICU

 

 

Hope Over Fear

 

Did you know that handwashing for health is as old as the profession of nursing?

 

Today is International Nurses Day.

It’s the day Florence Nightingale was born, and she was the one who first figured out that handwashing saves lives.

 

Across the world, nurses are heroes of the battle against COVID-19, providing care to the most vulnerable. Right now in Australia there are 390,000 registered nurses. Their work is not only the high-stress care on the frontlines. Nurses also manage infection control in aged care, provide rehabilitation for substance abusers, lead multidisciplinary teams, help with research and care for those at the end of their lives.

 

More are joining this workforce. To increase Australia’s health care capacity in ICUs, 20,000 new online education places were recently funded by the Federal Government. In March, a refresher course was also offered to Registered Nurses who want to re-join the workforce. 5000 nurses expressed interest, and all 3000 places were filled. Just shows that nurses are the kind of people who like to help.

 

Today Minister Greg Hunt said we “should stand as one and applaud our amazing nurses”.

I agree. How about cheering on a nurse that you know today? Or do what the Australian College of Nursing suggests – honour nurses by doing something for your own physical and mental health wellbeing.

 

 

Nike Honours Healthcare Workers

In honour of all healthcare workers around the globe, Nike produced a unique shoe designed to be easy to clean, and to provide walking support for 12-hour shifts with less than an hour of sitting time. They’ve donated 30,000 pairs to hospitals in the US and 2,500 pairs in Europe.

 

Your Tip for Today

 

Support, Not Suicide

 

While there is a map of the road out of Australia’s economic crisis, the reality is that some are desperate right now. The Australian Medical Association has praised the National Cabinet for its support of mental health services. Despite this, they recognise that in addition to the 3000 lives that are tragically lost through suicide each year, an additional 750 – 1500 suicides are anticipated due to the COVID-19 crisis. A surge in youth suicide in particular is likely.

 

It may come as a surprise that at least 15% of suicide deaths are not connected with an established history of mental health concerns (the other 75% is). Suicide is usually the result of multiple factors causing feelings of hopelessness and high stress. Job loss and money problems are on that list. Unemployed males are 4.6 times more likely to suicide than employed males. Small to medium sized business owners, contractors and workers with no paid sick leave are less likely to take time off to care for their physical and mental wellbeing, so they have worse health outcomes overall.

 

What will help?

  • Well-timed interventions are important for reducing the impact of stress
  • Easy access to mental health services
  • Connectedness with family and individuals
  • Connection with community and social institutions (like churches, clubs and social groups)

 

 

For anyone experiencing the hopelessness or stress of unemployment or financial trouble, here are some 24 hour crisis support services you can reach out to:

 

Lifeline Australia

Phone 13 11 14 or Crisis Support Chat

Suicide Call Back Service

Phone 1300 659 467 or online counselling

Kids Helpline

Phone 1800 551 800 or WebChat counselling

Mens Line Australia

Phone 1300 789 978 or online counselling

Open Arms Veterans & Families Counselling

Phone 1800 011 046 or visit their website

Qlife – LGBTI peer support and referral

Phone 1800 184 527 or webchat 3pm to midnight daily

 

 

What About You?

 

  • Is your employer starting to talk about getting you back to work yet?
  • Do you know a health worker you can cheer on?
  • Have you downloaded the COVIDSafe app?

 

I’d love to hear your stories.

 

 

 

Information Sources

 

Ministerial Statement on the Economy – 12 May

Ministerial Statement on the Economy, Parliament House, Canberra (12 May 2020)

 

WHO situation report – 11 May

https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200511-covid-19-sitrep-112.pdf?sfvrsn=813f2669_2

 

Department of Health stats – 12 May

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-current-situation-and-case-numbers

 

 

Federal Minister for Health on International Nurses Day – 12 May

https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/international-nurses-day-2020

 

Federal Minister for Health on 3000 nurses re-enrolled – 7 May

https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/3000-nurses-ensure-australia-is-prepared-for-pandemic

 

Australian College of Nurses, Nurses We Celebrate You – 12 May

https://www.hospitalhealth.com.au/content/nursing/news/nurses-we-celebrate-you-987751472#axzz6MD3tvI4z

 

Nike designs and donates shoe for healthcare workers

https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/nike-donates-shoes-to-covid-heath-workers/

 

Australian Medical Association Joint Statement – Suicide & Mental Illness – 7 May

https://ama.com.au/media/joint-statement-covid-19-impact-likely-lead-increased-rates-suicide-and-mental-illness

 

Turning Points: Imagine a World Without Suicide (Sept 2019)

https://suicidepreventionhub.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2019-Suicide-Prevention-Australia-Turning-Points-White-Paper.pdf

 

 

 

 

Update 8 May


 

 

3 Steps to More Connection

 

The Plan

 

Today’s outcome on the easing of restrictions from National Cabinet did not disappoint. We have a 3 step plan and a timeframe. All going well, by July we might be gathering in groups of up to 100, and travelling interstate again. All going well.

 

These steps are all about rebuilding those connections we’ve lost with friends, family and our community, and of course rebuilding our economy.

 

You’ll find a more detailed overview here: https://www.pm.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/three-step-framework-covidsafe-australia.pdf

 

Step 1 means the family barbeque or small birthday get-together can happen at home again. In parks a group can run around with a football, have a picnic or get back to bootcamp class routines. Kids can return to playgrounds and we can begin to travel further within our regions. A special change is that funerals can now have gatherings of up to 30 people (outdoors).

 

 

 

Step by Step, State by State

 

States and territories can decide their own pace through the steps – including when Step 1 starts – based on their situations. Six out of eight states have had multiple days of zero new cases, so some of them are already well into Step 1. Step 2 and 3 will be developed more clearly once we see what happens after we’ve made the tentative moves of Step 1.

 

 

 

Two Sides of the Same Coin

 

This next phase will be a funny combination of cautiously sticking our heads out of our doors again, knowing the virus is still out there, and not being timid in resuming normal activities. Just because we’ve controlled the virus so well (well done again, everybody) doesn’t mean it’s become weaker. It can still get out of control if we don’t watch out, especially as we begin meeting up with more people again. At the same time, we have well-considered protections in place now. There’s tons of testing being done, we have capacity to trace the virus through the app, and we’ve proven we can stop the spread quickly where there have been outbreaks. So we should not be fearful of outbreaks. We need to get back to work, to get the wheels turning again, to get the economy back up and running.

 

 

State News

 

 

 

Mother’s Day will be a tough gig for some states as their restrictions remain the same this weekend. Here are some of the variations:

 

NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Northern Territory

No restriction changes last time I checked today. Waiting for updates from the premiers.

 

Tasmania

Current restrictions will remain in place until 15 May, but may be shifted earlier for access to green spaces. Rules for aged care will not change until Monday and after that will run with national guidelines. So no big family visits to elderly mamas or grandmothers in aged care this Sunday.

 

Queensland

…is organised. The Premier has even mapped out the steps with dates.  Check out the QLD plan here. 5 visitors to the home have been allowed for Mother’s Day, but Step 1 will officially begin on 15 May, with some extra relaxation for the outback regions.

 

Australian Capital Territory

… has embraced the Step 1 changes as of midnight tonight.

 

Western Australia

… is way ahead with gatherings of 10 people already permitted from 27 April. At that time public playgrounds and parks remained closed. That may change. Waiting for their response.

 

 

A Timely WHO Reminder that We Can Beat COVID-19

 

Today is the 40th anniversary of the day smallpox was eradicated from the world. Smallpox was killing 4 million people annually until a vaccine was developed. With team collaboration around the world, as is happening right now for COVID-19, an eradication programme ensured that we don’t have to deal with smallpox today. As for COVID-19, the strategy was testing, tracing and awareness raising. The vaccine has saved the world an estimated US$1 billion a year. We can beat COVID-19.

 

 

 

 

 

The Stats for Australia

 

To give an idea of what levels of COVID-19 different states are experiencing, this table shows the distribution. After 2 weeks of no new cases – a record – SA have 2 new cases. Just a reminder that we have to keep on our toes with this thing.

 

 

To date:

  • There have been 6896 cases of COVID-19 in Australia
  • 97 lives sadly lost
  • 23 currently in ICU
  • 6035 people have recovered

 

The COVIDSafe app has been downloaded by 5.3 million Australians.

Have you downloaded the app? Find it here: www.covidsafe.gov.au

 

Hope Over Fear

 

Lost and Found – in translation

 

 

Vincent Uwimana is used to helping a brother out. Having migrated from war-torn Rwanda, he’s been volunteering with the Red Cross, teaching computer skills and educating school kids about refugees. Living among a Congolese community in South Australia’s Mount Gambier, he quickly picked up that people were not understanding the coronavirus because they were using traditional medicines for it. Knowing he had to help these people who trusted him, he set up a hotline using his personal mobile, and a Whatsapp group, and began answering their questions and translating media updates for them. A friend said of Vincent, “It was very kind of Vincent to sit with me, to read together, and to explain what the brochure is talking about.”

 

 

Radio working closely with indigenous communities

Radio presenter Sylvia Nulpinditj has been working with Yolngu Radio in Darwin to translate COVID-19 information for the local aboriginal communities. She explained that her people were in panic mode and afraid of outsiders coming into their communities.

 

 

Current Translations of COVID-19 Resources

In case you know anyone who would appreciate hearing information in their mother tongue:

 

 

 

 

 

Your Tip for Today

 

Fake news moves faster than science news.

Rumours spread 6 x faster than the truth online.

Only 1 in 3 of us regularly try to confirm if the news we see is real.

 

 

Verifying the truth only takes a second. Doubt It  gives 3 quick and easy ways to check that you’re not being duped. Have a look at their steps for each of these checks:

 

Check the Claim

Check the Source

Check the Image

 

 

Tackling the Infodemic – and debunking misinformation

The World Health Organisation has worked hard on making sure the volumes of information on COVID-19 are communicated clearly and effectively, with misinformation being countered.

 

WHO recommends the website Covid19Misinfo which is playing a vital role in tackling fake information:

https://covid19misinfo.org

 

 

On this website you’ll find additional fact checking resources for anything that seems dodgy.

 

I had a quick browse of FactCheck, and here’s a glimpse of what I found:

 

  • CDC Did Not Reduce the Death Toll – There are two types of lists that track deaths. One is list of death certificates, and the other is a list of probable or confirmed deaths. The second gives a more current snapshot, as admin processes can mean death certificates take days or even weeks to be issues. The claim that one list was faulty was untrue – it was simply the other death list.
    Read the full article here
  • The China Travel Conspiracy – China did not allow international flights to continue out of Wuhan after domestic flights were cancelled. The rumour originated in a column by a London historian as an accusatory question. He later corrected his statement.
    Read the full article here.

 

 

What About You?

 

  • How do you feel about venturing out and mingling a bit more with the eased restrictions?
  • Have you downloaded the COVIDSafe app?
  • Have you come across suspicious COVID-19 information?

 

 

I’d love to hear your stories.

 

 

 

Information Sources

 

Prime Minister Press Conference with Chief Medical Officer – 8 May

https://www.pm.gov.au/media/press-conference-australian-parliament-house-08may20

 

 

WHO 40TH anniversary of smallpox eradication – 8 May

https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2020/05/08/default-calendar/commemorating-the-40th-anniversary-of-smallpox-eradication

 

Tasmanian Gov – 7 May (Live feed)

https://coronavirus.tas.gov.au

 

QLD – Mothers Day – 7 May

http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2020/5/7/qld-covid19–thu-may-7-home-visit-rules-ease–business-plans-progress – 7 May

 

QLD Govt – Step 1 begins (8 May)

http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2020/5/8/premier-maps-road-to-easing-restrictions

 

Western Australin Govt – 8 May

https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-community-advice#social-distancing

 

ACT Govt – 8 May 2020

https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/news-articles/faqs-changes-to-restrictions-8-may-2020

 

ABC News – Translation for migrants – 8 May 2020

https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/news-articles/faqs-changes-to-restrictions-8-may-2020

 

SBS News – Translation for aboriginal communities – 26 March

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/warnings-about-covid-19-are-being-translated-into-aboriginal-languages-to-reach-all-australians

 

 

Update 5 May


 

 

Gearing Up For More Business

 

With control of the health crisis now being sustained, the focus turns to flattening the economic curve in Australia.

 

The new landscape that’s being painted as we prepare to re-enter ‘normal’ living WITH the virus, is a COVIDSafe Australia. This would have been unthinkable 6 – 8 weeks ago when we had no idea what COVID-19 would do to this country. But since then many protections have been put in place, so that we can cautiously venture out again.

 

 

 

A COVIDSafe Workplace

 

So what is a COVIDSafe workplace going to look like? How will factories ensure hand hygiene? What will restaurants look like with social distancing? And should shop assistants be wearing PPE? Businesses are hungry for information.

 

Today some helpful resources were outlined by the Attorney-General, Christian Porter, and head of the COVID-19 Coordination Committee, Neville Power:

 

  1. Safe work principles have been written up by the National Cabinet

 

  1. The COVIDSafe app will help with tracking if needed.
  2. Safe Work Australia website, which has been inundated by ‘clicks’ in recent weeks, has been upgraded with very specific info to different industry sectors. 1300 additional pages, reached through content filters, help any kind of business to find the finer details of what COVIDSafe looks like for them, from risk assessments right down to what products to use for hygiene.

You’ll find the website links here:
https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/covid-19-information-workplaces

 

  1. A COVIDSafe Toolkit has been compiled following many consultations with companies, unions, associations and bodies in the business sector. This provides business resources on:
  • Changes to  make your business COVIDSafe
  • How to respond if there’s an infection in your workplace
  • How to safely return to work after an infection in your workplace

 

 

My Two Cents’ Worth on ‘Living With the Virus’

 

Here’s the crazy thing to get our minds around: cluster infections are going to happen. That is expected and that is okay. Australia is ready to pounce if that happens to make sure it won’t get far.

 

My soap box rant for the day is that we should not be shaming places where there are outbreaks. It’s inevitable that somebody’s going to be infected somewhere and not know about it. But calm the farm – it can now be spotted and controlled super quickly. Look at North West Tasmania. Look at the Newmarch Aged Care Facility. Look at the quick response to the meatworks site in Melbourne. No spread outside those unfortunate locations.

 

Remember that 80% of COVID-19 infections are mild, it could just be a mild cough.

(Have you downloaded the app?)

 

State News

 

Queensland

 

Premier Palaszczuk has made breaking news:

  • Kindy, prep, and Years 1, 11 and 12 will return to the classroom next week. Remaining grades are proposed to return from 25 May.
  • June has been suggested as the “good ambitious target” for cafes to reopen.
  • NRL players have been permitted to travel to Queensland (as essential work travel, and sticking to the required quarantine process) to enable the season’s kick off as hoped.

 

Western Australia

Elite athletes have been allowed to resume training.

 

South Australia

A Transition Committee has been appointed to help decide which restrictions should be eased in SA, and in what order. They will seek to identify actions that will have low health risk with economic value.

 

Northern Territory

As preparation for closed businesses to reopen as soon as 15 May, a COVID-19 safety plan checklist has been devised and can be submitted from today.

 

New South Wales

Five businesses accepted the challenge to look at producing ventilators locally. Two were selected after prototype presentations. If they meet all the right official requirements, full production can commence if the need arises.

 

 

 

The Stats for Australia

 

  • There have been 6825 cases of COVID-19 in Australia
  • Sadly, 95 have died 
  • 28 people are in ICU
  • 5859 people have recovered

 

Around 5 million Australians have downloaded the COVIDSafe app.

Today ScoMo said he’d like to see 16 million downloads, so we’re about a third of the way there.

 

Download the app here: www.covidsafe.org.au

 

 

Hope Over Fear

 

Innovation is the name of the game when it comes to business amidst coronavirus craziness.

 

Italian Community Pays It Forward

‘Paying it forward’ was something that happened in Italy after the world wars. With an estimated one in two Italians currently out of work, the gesture has made a modern resurgence. Communities are helping local wine bars by paying for online ‘wine-in-waiting’ vouchers, to be redeemed as glasses or bottles of wine when the wine bars reopen.

 

An alternate scheme to the tune of ‘buy one, give one free’ was started by a sustainable fashion brand that shifted their energies to making face masks. Customers who buy Re-Bello’s washable face masks sponsor a second mask to a refugee in Cypress.

 

Luxury Tracky-Dacks

Luxury lounge wear for the self-isolation wardrobe is an emerging market in the COVID-19 space. Smitten Merino in Tasmania has started a range of high quality woollen wear including items like merino wool track pants. It’s been a success – the company was saved from standing down its 30 workers.

 

 

Prisoners Make and Donate School Desks

In Western Australia prisoners have constructed 100 compact school desks to donate to families that don’t have suitable work stations (or space) for their children learning at home.

 

 

Your Tip for Today

 

 

Boost Your Healthy

Did you know you could keep up your swim training without water? Running out of ideas for healthy eating at home? What’s your self care plan?

 

If you’re starting to feel the toll of social distancing, or if you’ve not been able to go to the gym or the sports club, this website’s three-pronged approach might give you some inspiration through community challenges:

 

  • Boost Camp lets you share your healthy activity of the day
  • The Big Boost is a series of challenges that you can sign up to, whether walking, cooking or working on your wellbeing.
  • Boost Challenge involves sporting stars challenging you to keep up with them.

 

If you’re not keen on challenges, you’ll still find heaps of fitness, healthy eating and wellbeing ideas to give you a boost.

https://hw.qld.gov.au/boostyourhealthy/

 

 

What About You?

 

I’d love to hear your stories.

 

  • Are you looking forward to returning to work?
  • Is there any innovative idea in your community to support local business?
  • How are your healthy eating habits?

 

I’m keen to hear your comments below.

 

 

Information Sources

 

Prime Minister’s Press Conference – A CovidSafe Workplace – 5 May 2020

https://www.pm.gov.au/media/press-conference-australian-parliament-house-act-05may20

 

Premier Palaszczuk: Schools and Cafes – 4 May

http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2020/5/4/qld-covid19–mon-may-4-classroom-plans

 

Premier Palaszczuk: Schools and Cafes – 1 May

http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2020/5/1/premier-clears-path-for-kick-off

 

Western Australia Govt – Coronavirus – updated 5 May

https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-community-advice#elite-athlete-training

 

South Australian Govt – Transition Committee – 3 May
https://www.premier.sa.gov.au/news/media-releases/news/sa-establishes-transition-team-to-manage-post-covid-19

 

Premier Northern Territory – Business Safety Plan – 5 May

http://newsroom.nt.gov.au/mediaRelease/33222

 

New South Wales Gov – Local production of ventilators – 5 May

https://www.nsw.gov.au/news/lifesaving-ventilators-to-be-made-locally

 

Good News Network: Italian Pay It Forward – 3 May

https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/italians-suspended-coffee-tradition-into-modern-covid-response/

 

ABC News: Prisoners Make School Desks – 4 May

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-04/prisoners-make-school-desks-for-homeschoolers-during-covid-19/12211408

 

ABC News: Loungewear – 5 May

https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2020-05-05/track-pants-get-makeover-during-covid-19-lockdown/12211796