17 March 2022

COVID-19 cases rise again to 1311; Barr says National Cabinet losing effectiveness

| Lottie Twyford
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Chief Minister Andrew Barr

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said yesterday National Cabinet was reaching the end of its lifespan. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

The ACT has recorded 1311 new cases of COVID-19 (727 PCR, 584 RAT), bringing the current total of active cases to 4894 (2293 PCR and 2601 RAT).

Yesterday the ACT recorded 1226 cases.

Since the pandemic began, 63,148 (41,994 PCR and 21,154 RAT) cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the ACT.

Currently, there are 39 patients with COVID-19 in the Territory’s hospitals, including three in ICU, with one requiring ventilation. Yesterday, there were 39 people in hospital.

There is no update on today’s vaccination data. As of yesterday, the double-dose vaccination rate for the ACT’s five-plus population was 94.9 per cent, and 70.8 per cent of residents aged 16 and older had received a booster.

Of ACT residents aged five to 11, 21.1 per cent had received two doses.

READ ALSO: Canberra’ switched on’ to grasp economic opportunities

Speaking yesterday (16 March) at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) event, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said National Cabinet was reaching the end of its life as a useful decision-making mechanism as the pandemic rolls on.

“[National Cabinet] was set up to enable quick responses at a political level to a crisis environment,” Mr Barr explained, and it had been successful at opening up Prime Minister Scott Morrison to more feedback from the states and territories than he usually asked for.

“It became a national civics lesson. I don’t think most Australians had any idea that most service deliveries … everything that affects your day-to-day life is delivered by state and territory governments. The Federal Government is just a big money-churning machine,” Mr Barr said.

He noted he was not criticising the Commonwealth Government but that it was just how the constitution was structured.

However, he said it was now time to return to a business-as-usual model as the forum was not able to deliver long-term policy reform.

Earlier this week, Mr Barr was critical of Prime Minister Scott Morrison trying to railroad states and territories into accepting a particular policy position on close contact quarantine requirements.

Mr Barr also said the majority of the hard work – such as policy reform- was undertaken by treasurers rather than first ministers. He is uniquely positioned to comment on this, he said, as he serves as both treasurer and Chief Minister.

READ ALSO Changes to strict close contact quarantine rules ‘a welcome relief’ says early childhood sector

Interstate, NSW has reported five deaths overnight and 20,087 new cases.

There are now 1036 people in hospital with the virus and 34 people in ICUs around the state.

Victoria has reported seven deaths overnight and an additional 9752 cases of COVID-19.

There are now 197 people hospitalised with the virus, while 23 patients are in the state’s intensive care units.

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Yes, please get rid of the National Cabinet. It was a joke to begin with and gave State premiers far too much power that they are now unwilling to relinquish

… says the person who does not understand how Federation works?

HiddenDragon6:50 pm 17 Mar 22

“…..The Federal Government is just a big money-churning machine,” Mr Barr said.”

There’s some helpful advice from a former colleague to a Finance Minister-in-waiting who will need to find plenty of savings to offset the costs of federal Labor’s spending promises, particularly on big-ticket items such as health, aged care and the NDIS.

“health, aged care and the NDIS” Do you think these programs are properly funded currently? I have some Nurse friends who would disagree, but what would they know. Maybe we should send some more liberal seats some grant money instead.

Capital Retro8:38 am 18 Mar 22

The the unfunded NDIS was “gifted” to the coalition government by Labor.

Labor will soon have the opportunity to sort it out. Hopefully, they will eliminate all the rorting that has found a way into it.

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