ScoMo’s secret plan to save country
A leaked draft of the National COVID-19 Commission manufacturing report has detailed the key industries Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been advised to target "immediately" to unlock billions of dollars to save Australia from economic ruin.
The interim taskforce report - obtained by Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell - reveals the gas and manufacturing industries will be the Coalition's major focus.
"We need to be decisive and begin immediately to create an Australian gas market that delivers globally competitive results," the report said.
The report also calls for the creation of a "competitive domestic gas market", including removing barriers to supply, building the bridge of supply in the near term, lowering the cost of pipelines, completing then network of pipelines to markets.
Focusing on the energy industry is predicted to create up to 170,000 well paid direct jobs and up to 800,000 indirect jobs which the report predicts could generate between $10-20 billion in direct GDP.
It would also help "support the reskilling of many of those affected by current pandemic" and diversify the economy.
By 2030, up to 412,000 new jobs could be created by boosting gas alone.
The report also mentions the need for a new Manufacturing Board to be set up under the Industry Minister to develop a 10-year policy plan on manufacturing for annual review.
Industry Minister Karen Andrews's office told Sky News the new taskforce could "stimulate the sector" and grow domestic manufacturing.
"The National Covid Coordination Commission established a manufacturing taskforce to develop ideas that could stimulate the sector," she said.
"Any suggestions made by this Taskforce are to the NCCC for consideration and not from the government. Any final suggestions from the Taskforce may feed into the work being done across a range of portfolios, led by the Industry Minister, to grow Australian manufacturing."
WORST DAY ON RECORD AS CASES GROW TO 5 MILLION
The World Health Organisation has expressed concern about the rising number of new coronavirus cases in poor countries, even as many rich countries have begun emerging from lockdown.
The global health body said on Wednesday that 106,000 new cases of infections of the coronavirus had been recorded in the past 24 hours, the most in a single day since the outbreak began.
"We still have a long way to go in this pandemic," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference.
"We are very concerned about rising cases in low and middle income countries."
Mike Ryan, head of WHO's emergencies programme, said: "We will soon reach the tragic milestone of 5 million cases".
Many countries around the world are loosening their coronavirus restrictions but people are discovering that what a return to normal looks like varies widely. In Spain, it's a new government order to wear masks outside even as some businesses reopen.
In Italy, where good food is an essential part of life, once-packed restaurants and cafes are facing a huge financial hit as they reopen with strict social distancing rules after a 10-week shutdown. Experts warn that as many as one- third of the country's restaurants and bars could go out of business, up to 300,000 jobs in the sector could vanish and losses could reach 30 billion euros ($A49 billion) this year.
The head of the Dutch hospitality industry welcomed a decision to allow bars and restaurants to reopen on June 1 but warned about the impact of mandatory social distancing rules.
"The restrictions are unfortunately unworkable" for many businesses, said Rober Willemsen of Royal Hospitality Netherlands, adding that more government support is needed to ensure the survival of many bars and restaurants.
Education, in many places, is facing radical changes.
Cambridge became the first university in Britain to cancel all face-to-face lectures for the upcoming school year, saying they will be held virtually and streamed online until the summer of 2021.
In South Korea, hundreds of thousands of high school seniors had their temperatures checked and used hand sanitisers as they returned on Wednesday, many for the first time since late last year. Students and teachers were required to wear masks and some schools installed plastic partitions around desks.
France is limiting spaces in its primary schools, giving priority to the children of essential workers and those in need. Some younger students even go on alternating days while high schools remain closed.
While infection rates have been falling in Asia and much of Europe, the pandemic is still spiking in Latin America.
Brazil this week became the world's third worst-hit country with more than 250,000 confirmed cases despite limited testing.
In Lima, the capital of Peru, coronavirus patients are filling up the city's intensive care beds.
More than 4.9 million people worldwide have been confirmed infected by the virus, and more than 320,000 deaths have been recorded, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Russia and Brazil are now behind only the United States in the number of reported infections, and cases are also spiking in India, South Africa and Mexico.
'TIME FOR A REALITY CHECK': WARNING ON EASING LOCKDOWNS
Western Australia Health Minister Roger Cook has called for a reality check on any further loosening of coronavirus restrictions, saying it will take about two weeks to see the effects of the latest changes.
"I think it's time for a reality check. We've had phase two openings now for just three days," Mr Cook said.
"We are dealing with a killer disease and we must do these things gradually."
Mr Cook reiterated WA needed to see consistently low infection numbers in other states before the McGowan Government would allow interstate travel to resume.
"We really need to undertake an all or nothing approach to this," he said.
WA Premier Mark McGowan likened NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to a bully for calling on states to scrap travel restrictions.
"It's odd. NSW is saying don't catch public transport in Sydney yet they're saying why can't NSW people fly to WA? The message is totally inconsistent," Mr McGowan said.
"We're not going to give in to that sort of bullying by the NSW premier or anyone else."
Originally published as ScoMo's secret plan to save country