Two NDIS providers banned after fraud claims – as it happened

Last modified: 06: 37 AM GMT+0

What we learned; Sunday, 22 January

With that, we will wrap up the blog for the evening. Stay safe and dry out there!

Here were today’s major developments:


The people have spoken – and they really like tennis.

A record 94,854 people attended the @AustralianOpen yesterday.

— Steve Dimopoulos MP (@Steve_Dimo) January 22, 2023

Police investigate alleged act of animal cruelty near Wollongong

An investigation is under way following an alleged act of animal cruelty near Wollongong in New South Wales.

A man was bushwalking at Mount Ousley at about 8.30am when he heard a dog yelping.

The man searched the area and found an upside-down kennel at the base of an escarpment, where an Australian bulldog was located injured.

The dog also appeared emaciated and of poor health.

Police were alerted and officers, along with the SES, attended and conducted a rescue operation.

It’s believed the kennel had been thrown off the cliff in the early hours of today.

The dog was taken to a local vet but was euthanised due to its poor condition and injuries.


'Not our expectation' Australia will go into recession: Jim Chalmers

Jim Chalmers also said it was “not our expectation” that Australia would go into recession in 2023.

The treasurer was responding to a journalist who asked the direct question: “Do you think Australia is at risk of going into recession this year?”

(This is always a tricky question for a treasurer to answer; part of the role is to encourage confidence in the economy. Treasurers tend to avoid using the R-word for that reason.)

Chalmers’s full reply:

That’s not our expectation. Our expectation is that the Australian economy will continue to grow, but so will some of these challenges that we’ve been talking about today.

The expectation in the Treasury forecasts in October were that the Australian economy will begin to soften a bit this year, and that is the inevitable likely consequence of higher interest rates and a slowing global economy. But their expectation isn’t that Australia will go backwards.

I’m optimistic about the prospects for our economy, the prospects for our country, but we’ve got to be realistic about the implications of what’s happening around the world as well.

Our budget and our plan is not about crossing our fingers and hoping for the best, it’s about making the budget more responsible, the economy more resilient, and that’s what our economic plan is all about.


Treasurer expects China’s economy to rebound strongly

Let’s return to a press conference held earlier today by Jim Chalmers now that the transcript is out.

Given the lunar new year, the treasurer was asked about 2023 being the Year of the Rabbit and whether it could bring further diplomatic bridge-building with China.

Chalmers started by saying the Chinese economy would have a big impact on the performance of Australia’s own economy. He said he expected the Chinese economy to “rebound relatively strongly and relatively quickly but it’s in a pretty weak position right now though”.

He also mentioned the Albanese government’s ongoing push for Beijing to lift trade actions against a range of Australian products, including tariffs on wine and barley, and unofficial bans on products like coal and lobster:

We’ve said for some time that we want to see those trade restrictions lifted. There are tens of billions of dollars of value in Australian exports tied up in those trade restrictions, and our view is that we give ourselves the best chance to work through difficult issues like this if we engage.

I pay tribute to prime minister Albanese and ministers Wong and Marles and Farrell and others for engaging with Chinese counterparts in an attempt to stabilise the relationship. We want the region to be peaceful and prosperous, we want our exporters to take advantage of big markets like the Chinese market because it’s good for jobs here in Australia. And so we want to see those trade restrictions lifted.

Obviously, we follow the reporting and the speculation about if and when they might be lifted. Our job is to engage where we can, to disagree where we have to, and one of the highest priorities that we’ve put to our Chinese counterparts is to see those trade restrictions lifted.

Pressed on when we could expect to see any tangible actions on the trade restrictions, Chalmers said it “remains to be seen” but added:

Clearly the efforts that the prime minister and his cabinet have put in have been worthwhile. We have said since before the election that we want to see a more stable relationship with China ...

We’re under no illusions about some of the difficulties and some of the complexities in this relationship, we’ve been upfront about that as well. But we give ourselves the best chance to work through these issues if we engage, and that’s what we’ve been doing.

More on the story so far:


Australian Open upsets continue as Stosur says farewell

It’s been a year of upsets at the Australian Open and they shock results continued on day seven. This is the first time in history the two top seeds in both the men’s and women’s draws are out of the tournament before the quarter-finals.

Women’s world number one Iga Świątek was today knocked out in two sets by 22nd-seed Elena Rybakina, while Coco Gauff was also taken down by Jelena Ostapenko in a 7-5, 6-3 thriller.

The 2023 #AusOpen is the first Grand Slam tournament in the history of the Open Era (since 1968) where the top two seeds of both men's & women's singles draws have lost before the quarter-finals.

[1] Nadal out in R2
[2] Ruud out in R2

[1] Swiatek out in R4
[2] Jabeur out in R2

— Gaspar Ribeiro Lança (@gasparlanca) January 22, 2023

Elsewhere, Australian great Samantha Stosur has bid farewell to tennis after her final match in mixed doubles alongside Matt Ebden.

"You think you're okay, then you get a hug from someone and you want to let your emotions all out again."

❤️ Sam Stosur has farewelled tennis with her final career match at the @AustralianOpen, playing mixed doubles alongside fellow Aussie Matt Ebden.#AusOpen @bambamsam30

— ABC SPORT (@abcsport) January 21, 2023

Read Tumaini Carayol’s match report of Rybanika’s upset win here:


One dead after single-vehicle crash in Victoria

A person has died in a single-vehicle car crash in north-east Victoria this afternoon.

Victoria Police believe a car hit a tree on Mitchell Road in Kialla at around 1.50pm.

Emergency services attended the scene, but the driver couldn’t be revived.

Police are investigating whether the driver experienced a medical episode before the incident.


Four arrests in Sydney’s northern beaches

Four men have been arrested and investigations are continuing following an alleged assault and police pursuit on the northern beaches in Sydney.

About 9.30am, police were called to a Manly street following reports of an assault.

Officers attended and were told those involved had left the area in a Toyota Hilux. Police attempted to stop the car at Forestville, but a pursuit began when the driver allegedly failed to stop.

Officers deployed road spikes and stopped the car, where they found five men including one with injuries who was taken to hospital for treatment.

The four other men were arrested and taken to Manly police station.


Bulk billing under pressure after payroll tax decisions

Australians could be slugged up to 15% extra for a trip to the doctor if states follow through on a new payroll tax interpretation.

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners vice-president and Queensland chair, Dr Bruce Willett, says updated rulings of existing payroll laws are poised to heap further pressure on the ailing bulk-billing network.

This is not a Queensland issue. This is basically a whole-of-country issue.

All of the states have an agreement where they co-ordinate the application of payroll tax. The problems actually started in NSW and Victoria, who have been the most aggressive chasing payroll tax.

Dr Willett said the Queensland government has been co-operating on changes to payroll tax laws following separate rulings in Victoria and NSW.

Previously, medical practices did not pay payroll tax for tenant doctors as they were considered contractors and their wage was not included as part of the overall business.

That’s been the arrangement for 30 years and that’s all been hunky dory.

What’s happened is, particularly in NSW and Victoria, [governments] have taken a very aggressive view and deemed that to be an employee/employer relationship.

It effectively means practices with tenant doctors will have to pay payroll tax on 100% of what they bill moving forward.

In Queensland, businesses which pay $6.5m or less a year in taxable wages are subject to a payroll tax rate of 4.75%.

The rate rises to 4.95% for businesses with annual taxable wages above $6.5m.

Dr Willett said the former rate was more than the profit margin for most practices, meaning they won’t be able to absorb the change without passing on the cost to patients.

As a result, he expects out-of-pocket fees to increase by about 15% as GPs will still feel obliged to bulk bill some patients but not others.

Queensland’s shadow treasurer David Janetzki said the “new tax” would have serious consequences for the state’s residents.

This new stealth tax will drive up patient fees and emergency department presentations and drive down bulk billing.

But unlike other states, the Queensland Revenue Office has pledged not to backdate payroll tax bills for affected clinics, agreeing to limit audits to the 2021/2022 financial year and beyond.

Queensland transport minister Mark Bailey disputed the payroll tax ruling would lead to higher doctor fees for patients.

The state government revenue people do not specifically target the health sector at all, whereas in other states I know that they do.

This is a payroll tax level that is the lowest in the country and we need reform in the GP sector at a federal level after a decade of neglect. I think some of the accusations were inaccurate this morning.

He branded a report in The Courier Mail a “beat-up” and said the Albanese government was working to address issues in the primary care network, including a well-publicised shortage of bulk-billing appointments.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews and NSW counterpart Dominic Perrottet have been publicly lobbying for national cabinet to make reforming the sector its number one priority this year.

National cabinet is next scheduled to meet on 1 February.



ChatGPT banned in New South Wales schools over cheating fears

Students in NSW state schools will not be able to access artificial intelligence applications like ChatGPT while at school.

There are concerns ChatGPT is helping students cheat on assessments because of the program’s ability to compose human-like writing in response to any prompt or instruction.

NSW is the first Australian state or territory to restrict access to the application on student devices or while students are using their personal device on the school network.

Megan Kelly, the department’s acting deputy secretary, said the changes will start later this month when students go back to school.

This will be in place while we review how to safely and appropriately use this emerging technology in the classroom.

The department will also be providing further guidance to teachers on our robust assessment practices in place to ensure all students play by the rules.

In the US, New York City’s education department earlier this month implemented a similar ban on ChatGPT.

Australian universities are also addressing the emergence of artificial intelligence applications, with the Group of Eight universities moving to more in-person supervision and increased paper assessments this year.



Man arrested after body of woman found in Melbourne home

A man has been arrested following the death of a woman in Lilydale.

Police attended a property on John Street about 5.30pm on 21 January in response to a call for assistance.

The female resident, who is yet to be formally identified, died at the scene.

A crime scene has been set up while homicide squad detectives work to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident, the death is being treated as suspicious.

A 46-year-old Lilydale man is currently assisting detectives with their enquiries.

It is believed both parties are known to each other.



Search under way after fatal WA boat incident

A woman has died and a man is in hospital after a boat ran into a navigation device in Perth’s south.

Police were called to Mandurah estuary about 10pm on Saturday night after a boat with four people on board struck a red post marker.

A 54-year-old woman was recovered from the water but could not be revived and died at the scene, police confirmed in a statement on Sunday.

A 47-year-old man, believed to be the boat’s driver, was taken to hospital with serious injuries, while a 54-year-old man was uninjured.

Emergency services are searching for a 52-year-old women who remains unaccounted for.



Dashcam footage may be key to murder investigation

Queensland police have asked the public for help with an investigation following the death of a man overnight.

A 43-year-old man was found injured on Newmarket Road, not far from his home.

Despite efforts by paramedics, the man died from his wounds.

Speaking to media, regional Crime Coordinator Detective Superintendent Andrew Massingham said police believed the man had been stabbed.

Our preliminary investigations indicate that the deceased was in some altercation with some persons prior to his death. It is important that we identify those persons and we believe passing traffic will lead us to identify those persons.

Earlier, police arrested a 17-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl after they were stopped by police nearby.

The 17-year-old boy was stopped by police and a search allegedly revealed a 45cm concealed knife in a sheaf.

A 17-year-old girl was also questioned by police and was arrested for assaulting police after she allegedly became aggressive and attacked one of the officers at the scene.

The two were taken to a “place of safety” at a nearby address and were issued with notices to appear, 17-year-old boy for possession of a weapon in a public place and the girl for assaulting police.

The body of the 43-year-old man was found 1.5 hours later.

Police are investigating whether there is any connection and two crime scenes have been set up.

No charges have been laid against the two children in relation to the man’s death and police say they are making further inquiries.

They have appealed to anyone driving along Newmarket Road between 11pm and 2am who may have dashcam footage to supply it to police.


Prime minister Anthony Albanese is the latest to offer his lunar new year wishes.

Happy Lunar New Year, Australia. 🧧

— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) January 22, 2023


Inflation tipped to peak in latest data release

Economists are optimistic Australia’s sky-high inflation will start to come back to earth after the release of fresh data on the cost-of-living crisis.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will unveil consumer price index (CPI) figures for the December quarter on Wednesday amid soaring costs for many household staples.

Commonwealth Bank analysts are forecasting inflation to jump 1.7% over the quarter, up from an increase of 1.3% for the same period a year earlier.

CommSec chief economist Craig James told the bank’s podcast he expected growth.

We’re knocking out a smaller number with a bigger number so, as a result, we’re going to see stronger annual growth.

In its November meeting minutes, the Reserve Bank of Australia said it expected headline inflation to peak around eight per cent and underlying inflation to top out at 6.5% at the end of 2022 before both begin to fall early this year.

No update was made to either forecast following its meeting in December.

On Thursday, ABS jobs data showed the national unemployment rate steadied at 3.5% in December, suggesting the economy is slowing.

The RBA will be keeping a close eye on the latest inflation figures ahead of its meeting early next month to decide on a possible ninth consecutive interest rate hike.



El Niño may be coming, here’s what it might mean for Australia

Australia’s weather – dominated for three years by La Niña conditions in the Pacific that soaked the east of the country – could be about to flip into a hotter and drier phase.

But what might the potential arrival of La Niña’s hotter and drier cousin, El Niño, mean for Australians still recovering from the floods of recent years, and our ecosystems?

Some scientists are fearing the worst, with an El Niño raising the chances of dangerous bushfire weather, longer and fiercer heatwaves and severe coral bleaching across the Great Barrier Reef.

However it is not clear yet whether an El Niño will develop with some uncertainty within the available models for at least the next few months.

For the latest on what’s coming and what it means, read the full report in the Guardian:

Chris Hipkins gives first address as New Zealand PM

New Zealand’s new prime minister Chris Hipkins is speaking now and has used his first address to thank his predecessor Jacinda Ardern as an “inspiration to women and girls everyone”.

New Zealand is in a much better position compared to most countries, economically and socially. Because of her leadership and the critical decisions that she made. Her leadership has been an inspiration to women and girls everywhere. But it is also a reminder that we have a way to go when it comes to ensuring that women in leadership receive the same respect as their male counterparts.

He has promised to focus on “bread and butter” issues that “people care about”.

You should not have to be on a six-figure salary to afford to buy a house, to support your children, and to have enough to retire on. Access to those basic needs, access to those basics need to be extended to all those striving for better.


NDIS providers permanently banned on fraud claims

Two National Disability Insurance Scheme providers and five people associated with them have been banned from providing services to people with a disability, following fraud claims.

Millennium Disability Care and A.C.N have been permanently prohibited from providing NDIS supports after a fraud taskforce found evidence of fake and inappropriate claims.

A.C.N 615 641 079 Pty Ltd is listed on Asic registers as operating businesses Australian Home And Community Care and SIL finder, which bills itself as a disability accommodation platform to help NDIS participants find homes.

The five people were also banned from providing services to people with a disability, with prohibitions ranging from five to 10 years.

NDIS minister Bill Shorten said the action sent “a strong message to any provider trying to take advantage of the NDIS and Australian taxpayers”.

Australians relying on the NDIS are some of our most vulnerable, and any organisation taking advantage of their safety net must be stopped.

For too long, rogue providers have been able to make use of a lack of communication and coordination between government agencies.

NDIS commissioner Tracy Mackey said the commission would take swift action against any provider failing to meet their obligations.



Police investigate Melbourne shooting believed to be targeted attack

Armed crime squad detectives are investigating after a man was shot several times in Melbourne overnight.

Victoria police say the victim was in a stationary car in Deer Park just after 9pm on Friday night when the shooting occurred.

They sustained non-life-threatening injuries and are being treated at hospital.

Victoria police say the shooting was believed to be a targeted attack.


It’s lunar new year today, with events planned throughout the country through to the end of January.

Political leaders and bodies are continuing to post messages of well wishes for 2023.

Foreign minister Penny Wong is celebrating at Zhu-Lin Buddhist Temple in South Australia.

Wonderful to be back at Zhu-Lin Buddhist Temple for Lunar New Year celebrations.

My best wishes for the Lunar New Year. May 2023 bring prosperity and peace to all.

— Senator Penny Wong (@SenatorWong) January 22, 2023

For the Chinese, Korean and Taiwanese Sunday marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit. To the Vietnamese, the day welcomes the Year of the Cat.

Happy Lunar New Year.

Wishing you a healthy, prosperous Year of the Rabbit filled with good fortune.

— Dr Monique Ryan MP (@Mon4Kooyong) January 21, 2023


Thunderstorms forecast along eastern Australia

Severe thunderstorms are possible across regional Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria this afternoon while out west fire danger ratings have been forecast for Western Australia.

Severe thunderstorms possible this afternoon and evening in Northwest Slopes and Plains/Central West Slopes and Plains/Mid North Coast, incl #Dubbo # Narrabri # Moree # Kempsey. Localised heavy falls/flash flooding main risk. Warning when issed.

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) January 21, 2023

⛈️QLD Thunderstorm Forecast Sunday 22/1. Severe storms with heavy rain, damaging winds and large hail are possible in the southern interior today, including #Charleville, #Roma and #StGeorge. Warnings, if issued:

— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) January 22, 2023

Satellite/lightning data shows #storms across #Qld, #NSW, and #Vic on Saturday - already developing again today! ⛈️

⚠️Severe Thunderstorms are possible in parts today, with flash flooding, damaging winds & large hail a risk.

Latest warnings, if required:

— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) January 22, 2023

☀️ Fire Danger Ratings have been forecast for WA. You can find which Local Government Authorities are affected and relevant community safety messages on

— DFES (@dfes_wa) January 21, 2023


Governments warned grid-scale batteries should be pared with solar

Grid-linked batteries operating on the best settings for financial rewards might make commercial sense but could also power up greenhouse gas emissions.

Research by the battery storage and grid integration program at the Australian National University has warned of the emissions trade-off in the short-term.

The paper published in the journal Energy Policy recommends the federal government provide system-wide carbon incentives to encourage battery charging and discharge during particular time periods.

Researcher Louise Bardwell said battery storage was “really important long-term” but the source of its power had to be considered.

They’ve become this ‘solve anything’ solution – they sound really fancy, a cool piece of tech, so people want to throw them in everywhere.

A battery isn’t necessarily going to be charging off wind or solar, it can charge off anything in the grid – and at times that will probably be black coal.

Bardwell said Australian governments are jumping on the battery bandwagon without thinking carefully about their placement and use.

It may charge up when it’s cheaper and discharge when hydro or something else is operating at the margins – that’s technically what it’s displacing.

Energy storage could play a significant role in Australia’s emissions reduction targets of 43% by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

Changing to more generation of wind and solar requires a way to store energy when there’s more than the electricity grid needs in order to use it at another time when energy is scarce.

The Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia was the world’s first big battery.

Surpassing it, the Victorian Big Battery operated by Neoen can store enough energy to power more than one million homes for 30 minutes.

Queensland is the latest to emerge as a potential battery industry leader, putting up $500m to invest in commercial-scale and community batteries accompanied by a push for local manufacturing.

The Albanese government has also committed to the rollout of 400 community batteries in neighbourhoods across the country for more affordable and secure solar power.



Murder investigation under way after man found dead in Queensland

A man has been found dead in Brisbane’s north overnight, sparking a murder probe.

The man’s body was discovered along Newmarket Road in Wilston about 1.50am on Sunday, with a crime scene set up and a homicide investigation launched.

Another man and a woman were located nearby and are being spoken to by police.



Australia refuses to budge over protected products in EU free trade negotiations

Federal assistant minister for trade Tim Ayres says negotiation for an Australian-EU free trade deal have been “very constructive” despite some “hard issues”.

Speaking from Rome on Sunday, Ayres said the EU was a “very significant market” which would give Australian producers access to 400 million people but negotiations have not been without tensions.

One of those tensions has been efforts by the EU to stop Australian producers from using the name of protected products like feta, parmesan and prosecco.

Australian trade minister, Don Farrell, who has been leading negotiations has previously made it clear this was one area where Australia would not give ground.

Ayres said the issue is being worked through by the negotiating teams.

It’s not as if Australians have gone to Europe and taken these varieties and brought them back. These are Italian-Australian families who’ve come from Italy with wine varieties, grown them in Australia, brought their food culture and their food production methods to Australia with them and made that part of Australian food culture and the Australian agricultural production system.

So, we feel very strongly about these issues. Australians feel very strongly about them. It’s also important to appreciate how important these issues are to European cultural identity as well. So, this is one of the issues we’re going to have to find our way through. This is an important deal. It’s of enormous economic benefit and we’re going to have to make sure that we work through these issues in a calm and methodical way in the interest of our constituencies.

For more background on this issue, read this previous report by Guardian Australia foreign affairs and defence reporter Daniel Hurst.


NSW Labor taking nothing for granted: Minns

New South Wales Labor leader Chris Minns says he isn’t paying attention to polling suggesting the state government is set for a defeat at the upcoming election in March.

I don’t want anyone in NSW to think we’re taking anything for granted.

We’ve got a huge task ahead of us. We’re hungry but we’re humble as well about our prospects.

A YouGov poll, published in The Sunday Telegraph on Sunday, has suggested the popularity of premier Dominic Perrottet is falling with the Coalition well behind in both first preference and two-party standings.

– with AAP


Opposition leader continues demands for more detail on Voice

Let’s bring you some more quotes from those duelling Sky News interviews, when the opposition leader, Peter Dutton, hit back at the treasurer, Jim Chalmers, over the voice to parliament.

To recap: in the first interview, Chalmers said Dutton was really seeking to sow division rather than genuinely seeking detail. Chalmers focused on the principle behind the referendum that will be conducted later this year:

This is Australia’s big chance to move forward together in a spirit of unity and respect and to give First Nations people a say in the issues that affect their communities.

Chalmers went on to say that Dutton had “reached for the Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison playbook, which says that the best chances for him to be successful politically is if the nation fails to grab this terrific opportunity do the right thing”.

Dutton, interviewed shortly after Chalmers, hit back. The opposition leader said:

Honestly, let’s be serious about it. Bob Hawke or John Howard would never have conducted themselves this way. You can’t just say that we’re going to change the constitution. There are legitimate concerns that people have about the interventions from the High Court, the way in which that could be interpreted and expanded. There are legitimate questions that people have about the detail, the operation. All of us share in common a desire to help Indigenous Australians, but if the prime minister of the day can’t stand up and explain the detail of what it is he’s asking people to vote for, how can people be expected to vote for it?


Lunar new year celebrations begin around Australia

Australia’s political leaders and some government bodies have sent their best wishes for those celebrating lunar new year.

The holiday marks the largest human migration as hundreds of millions of people travel to visit families.

Here are some of what they have said:

Best wishes to everyone celebrating Lunar New Year.

2023 is the Year of the Rabbit and also the Year of the Cat in the Vietnamese community.

I hope it's filled with prosperity, peace and good health for you and your family.

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) January 21, 2023

To all who are celebrating Lunar New Year this weekend, wishing you good health, prosperity and peace.

— Nick Champion (@NickChampionMP) January 21, 2023

Happy Lunar New Year!

— VICSES News (@vicsesnews) January 21, 2023

To mark the day, events are planned throughout the country. In Melbourne there will be lion dancing, dragon parade and market stalls on Little Bourke Street. In Sydney, there were market stalls in Haymarket and fireworks displays over Darling Harbour with the displays to continue until 29 January. Down in Adelaide a street party will be held in Chinatown on the weekend of the 28th.

For the Chinese, Korean and Taiwanese Sunday marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit. To the Vietnamese, the day welcomes the Year of the Cat – and they sure know how to celebrate.

Vietnam are celebrating the Year of the Cat/ Tet Lunar New Year on Sunday by erecting giant statues of cats like "Miss Cat", a very happy-looking kitty who stands 3.1m high/ 2.8 m long in Ai Tu Town, Trieu Phong District. Meow.
📷 Hoang Tao #caturday #art

— Mark Rees (@reviewwales) January 21, 2023


Two police officers charged with assault

Two Victorian police officers have been charged with assault after they allegedly injured a man during an arrest.

The 58-year-old man was treated in hospital after the incident in Narre Warren South, in Melbourne’s south-east, on 4 February last year.

The two male senior constables, aged 35 and 45, were immediately suspended from duty after the incident.

Police and the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission have been investigating, with the two men charged on Sunday with unlawful assault and unlawful assault with a weapon.

They are due to face the Melbourne magistrates court in March.



Researcher find parental support linked to teen internet addition

Research from the University of Sydney Business School has found teenagers who feel well-supported by their parents are more likely to report increased internet addiction over time.

A study of nearly 3,000 teenagers aged 14 to 17 as they moved between year 8 to year 11 sought to investigate links between social support and compulsive internet use.

Researchers found teenagers who reported high levels of social support form parents were more likely to report compulsive internet use. The teenagers who reported compulsive use were likely to afterwards report a decline in social support from teenagers.

Compulsive internet use, also referred to as problematic internet use, refers to difficulty regulating internet use, and often involves withdrawal symptoms, rumination about being online when not online, and disengagement from daily activities.

The study, published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, found on average that:

  • Adolescents engage with the internet more intensively as they progress through high school;

  • Support from friends was consistently higher than support from parents and teachers across the four years of the study; and

  • Parental support marginally declined over the course of grades 8 to 11.

Dr James Donald, lead investigator and senior lecturer in Work and Organisational Studies, said the biggest surprise was that parental social support led adolescents to experience greater compulsive internet use over time – which in turn led to less support from teachers.

He speculated that the reason for this comes down to teen’s perception of what constitutes parental support.

There are several ways parents can manage the threat of internet addiction. They can take no action, co-use or joint access the internet, discuss usage in a positive way, monitor, and/or set rules and limits, which may involve punishment.

We speculate that refraining from mediation may be popular with youth and even lead them to perceive their parents as being more supportive. However, previous studies have found parental refraining is associated with increased compulsive internet use. This ‘popular parents, compulsive youth’ explanation appears consistent with our results.

And it’s important to note this methodology is only useful for predicting change in behaviour. On average, supportive parenting is still associated with less compulsive internet use.


Tough new quarantine laws to bring pets into the country

Tougher quarantine rules designed to protect against the risk of a rabies outbreak could lead to a blowout in wait times for people looking to bring pets into the country.

Currently it takes about six months to apply to bring in a cat or dog from almost 70 countries, including the UK, Italy, Canada and US, and each animal must do at least 10 days of quarantine at a facility in Melbourne.

From 1 March, animals from those countries must have their identity confirmed by a government-approved vet and then have a rabies blood test.

If their identity can’t be confirmed by an approved professional, they must do 30 days in quarantine.

Brisbane-based breeder Paul Hewitt described it as a “crazy scheme”.

He said he understood concerns about rabies but feared new rules would lead to long wait times for animals to book into quarantine.

There is a problem, but they’ve come up with the wrong solution.

Australia is free of rabies, a normally fatal viral infection that is usually transmitted through the bite or scratch of an infected animal.

Dogs Victoria’s Linda Beer said her organisation supported measures to reduce biosecurity risks but some members had raised concerns about an apparent lack of transition period.

She said some breeders feared US authorities did not have processes or staff in place to facilitate government-approved veterinary ID checks by the cut-off date.

This meant people who had already started the expensive importation process would need to either start again or have their pets serve the longer 30-day quarantine period.

The Australian Veterinary Association said extended quarantine was regrettable but a rabies outbreak would be devastating for all animals.

We do urge the government, however, to work towards solutions to minimise waiting times and improve capacity in the [quarantine] facility, so that the impact on pet owners can be minimised.

Ten days of quarantine costs about $2,000 but that will rise to $2,600 for 30 days, excluding the cost of transporting animals or boarding fees at kennels in other countries.

The changes do not apply to animals returning to Australia or coming from rabies-free countries.

The changes were prompted by an increased risk of rabies in imported animals and an uptick in fraudulent documents being used.



New Australian factory to make construction material from recycled goods

A company making construction products entirely from used drink cartons, soft plastics, disposable coffee cops and similar products will launch its first Australian manufacturing plant at Warragamba next month.

SaveBOARD also has plans for two more plants to produce its sturdy, lightweight alternative to conventional plasterboard, plywood or particle board that is also totally recyclable.

Supply chain specialist Chris Collimore said the process involves significantly less carbon than manufacturing traditional building products and eliminates the need for glues or chemical additives as the raw materials are bonded using heat and compression.

It’s basically like making a big cheese toasty. You heat it up and cool it down a couple of times and the plastic melts between the gaps in the fibre.

It’s a straightforward process, but it’s focused on reducing problematic waste ... materials which, until we came along, had been completely un-recyclable and collected by container deposit schemes.

Circular Australia chief executive Lisa McLean recently told the Commonwealth Bank’s annual sustainability conference in Sydney that the circular economy could help save Australia trillions

In Australia alone, we could unlock a massive $2tn worth of potential savings across two decades.

Those potential savings could come, for example, through reusing valuable resources currently going to waste in landfill, such as plastics, glass, masonry and metals.

In addition, buildings and equipment could be repaired and adapted rather than replaced.

Collimore said genuine solutions also needed strong partnerships.

SaveBOARD has agreements with container deposit schemes across Australia and expects within months to be utilising their entire collection volumes.

Packaging and retail companies including major supermarket chains have been equally supportive.

A saveBOARD plant is already up and running in Hamilton, New Zealand, diverting 40 tonnes of waste from landfill annually.

– with AAP


NSW Labor promises hospital bed boost

Western Sydney residents could have access to another 600 hospital beds as NSW Labor promises to deal with a shortage if elected.

The boost will include $700m to fund 300 more beds at Rouse Hill hospital.

NSW Labor has been going hard on the government over health funding as it seeks to woo voters at the state election in March.

Opposition leader Chris Minns pointed to western Sydney’s growing population.

For far too long healthcare in western Sydney has been an afterthought.

The thousands of people moving into the area every year deserve world class healthcare.

The upgrade at Rouse Hill will also mean the hospital moves to Labor’s proposed campus model.

Childcare and healthcare worker accommodation will be on site.

Health workers have held multiple strikes and actions since the Covid-19 pandemic begun in 2020, calling for better working conditions.



The trains may still be running but the Sydney ferries have been made to wait.

Ferry traffic stopped on the harbour for a film shooting…

— (@p_hannam) January 21, 2023


Swift and Lawrence winners at Golden Guitar awards

Andrew Swift has taken out the award for Male Artist of the Year at the Golden Guitar awards in Tamworth while Amber Lawrence beat out previous winner Ashleigh Dallas for best female artist.

Dallas, however, didn’t go home empty-handed with her album, In The Moment, named traditional country album of the year.

Husband and wife do Brooke McClymont and Adam Eckersley took home awards in both Song of the Year and single of the year, as well as being named group or duo of the year.

They were joined on stage by their 10-year-old daughter who helped write their songs – the youngest winners ever.

Breakout talent Johnston took home two awards for new talent of the year and vocal collaboration fo their single Same Songs with Kaylee Bell.

Meanwhile Colin Buchanan was inducted into the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown, joining greats such as Slim Dusty, Kasey Chambers and frequent collaborator Lee Kernaghan.

NSW Liberals on track to lose election: poll

The NSW Coalition is on track to lose the March state election as premier Dominic Perrottet’s popularity wanes.

A YouGov poll, published in The Sunday Telegraph, shows the government well behind in both first preference and two-party preferred standings.

Labor led the coalition by 56 per cent to 44 per cent on a two-party preferred basis, while it was ahead by 39-33 per cent on first preferences.

Both figures point to a majority for Labor, which was buoyed in the poll by strong backing from young voters.

Support for Perrottet also dropped, with only 44 per cent of those surveyed preferring him over Labor leader Chris Minns.

It comes after the premier confessed earlier this month that he wore a Nazi costume to his 21st birthday party.

Perrottet apologised for his behaviour, describing the incident as a naive mistake that did not reflect his current views.

He made the admission after the issue was raised by transport minister David Elliott, but the premier maintains he has the support of his party.

Meanwhile, NSW Labor has also been embroiled in controversy with one of its high-profile upper house candidates pulling out of the election race on Friday.

The withdrawal of Khal Asfour, the mayor of Canterbury Bankstown, came after allegations he used ratepayer funds to buy designer clothing and spa treatments.

Minns took exception to some of the allegations and defended backing Asfour.

I didn’t know about these revelations ... at any stage of the election cycle, you’re going to have situations like this.

NSW voters go to the polls on 25 March.



Chalmers welcomes New Zealand’s PM

The treasurer, Jim Chalmers, also welcomed the incoming New Zealand prime minister, Chris Hipkins.

He told Sky News today:

We look forward to working together closely with Chris Hipkins and with his cabinet when he names one. This is a huge year for Australia/New Zealand relations. It’s the 40th anniversary of closer economic relations, that agreement that governs the approach to this relationship. Chris Hipkins is someone of immense experience and depth and intelligence. He’s a very worthy successor to prime minister [Jacinda] Ardern. And we look forward to working with him really closely. We’ve got a big trans-Tasman agenda in a really important year. I know the prime minister is looking forward to working with Chris Hipkins and we’re all looking forward to working with his cabinet.


Chalmers seeks national conversation about budget spending

The treasurer, Jim Chalmers, says he wants to have a national conversation about lining “our budget and our economy with our values” and about how to fund key national priorities.

In his interview with Sky News this morning, Chalmers did not give any specific hints about the future of the stage 3 tax cuts or other potential measures to fund growing expenditure – but he signalled his interest in having a public debate about fiscal issues as he prepares to hand down the government’s second budget in May.

He said he expected defence spending to grow “very strongly”, with key decisions looming on nuclear-powered submarines and the defence strategic review.

It’s one of the fastest growing areas of spending in the budget, along with some of those others we’ve discussed on other occasions, and so we need to make sure that we can find room for what is this necessary investment in our national security.

Asked whether he would be taking the conversation in the lead-up to the next budget, Chalmers said:

That’s my way of saying we need to be upfront with people about what we can afford, and how we make the investments that we might want to make in some of these areas are sustainable over time.

And one of the things I’ve been most heartened about, in the first eight months or so of this Albanese Labor government, is people’s willingness to engage on some of these big questions. And so the national conversation that I want to have about the budget is how do we line up our budget and our economy with our values? How do we fund the things that we truly value: looking after people with a disability, strengthening Medicare, doing the right thing by people in aged care, funding national security? All of these big national priorities – how do we find a way to fund them and how do we make that investment sustainable over time? I’m confident the Australian people are up for that conversation; they’ve shown a real willingness.

And from our side, we’ve tried to talk up to people, not down to them, about these challenges. We’re optimistic about the future. But we’re realistic about the global economy. And we’re realistic about what we can afford to fund.

Chalmers said the government wanted to be “a long-term Labor government” (ie win multiple elections) was “because we know that the best way to effect the change that we want to see in our economy and in our society is over time”. He said it was impossible to “achieve everything that you want to achieve in one budget”.


Jim Chalmers takes aim at Peter Dutton over voice to parliament

The treasurer, Jim Chalmers, has taken aim at Peter Dutton over the voice to parliament, saying the opposition leader has “reached for the Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison playbook”.

Chalmers used an interview with Sky News this morning to argue Dutton sensed his political interests would be served by a failed voice referendum,

Asked if the government had dropped the ball on explaining how the voice would work, Chalmers said:

Of course not. This is Australia’s big chance to move forward together in a spirit of unity and respect and to give First Nations people a say in the issues that affect their communities …

This should be a unifying moment – it should be something which decided by the people not the politicians. I think some of the language from Peter Dutton has been disappointing. I think people understand that Peter Dutton is not actually looking for more detail here. He’s looking for more division. He’s reached for the Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison playbook, which says that the best chances for him to be successful politically is if the nation fails to grab this terrific opportunity do the right thing and to move forward together in that spirit of unity and respect.

In a later interview, also on Sky, Dutton responded that he did not understand the “personal attacks” from Chalmers and others in the government. Dutton said again that he was speaking for “millions of Australians” who “want to hear the detail” of the government’s voice proposal. Dutton did not speculate on whether the Liberal party would come to a unified position, saying:

That’s a process question for us down the track.

Dutton said he wanted to detail so his party room could have an informed discussion to decide its position.

Last week Prof Megan Davis, a Cobble Cobble woman and expert adviser to the government on the referendum process, spoke to the Full Story podcast about Dutton’s “inexplicable” demand for details:


Sydney Harbour Bridge closed for movie shoot

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is closed in both directions this morning for filming of a Hollywood blockbuster starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt.

The movie adaptation of 1980s television series The Fall Guy is a show-stopper for vehicles and pedestrians, with all lanes across the bridge shut from 3am to 10am on Sunday, 22 January.

Trains will continue to run across the bridge, which will be closed for all other vehicles as well as pedestrians and cyclists.

The Sydney Harbour Tunnel will remain open while filming takes place.

The Cahill Expressway over Circular Quay will also be closed for filming on Sunday, in both directions from 1am to 12.30pm.

Based on a TV series of the same name, The Fall Guy follows a burnt-out stuntman who moonlights as a bounty hunter, played by Gosling.

Filming began in October last year at Disney Studios Australia in Moore Park.

Former federal arts minister Paul Fletcher last year said the production would inject more than $244m into the Australian economy.

Traffic on the bridge will be disrupted from January 20 to 25 for maintenance on the bridge deck and work on the Warringah Freeway upgrade.



Good morning

And welcome to another Sunday morning Guardian live blog.

Sydney Harbour Bridge has been shut down this morning, this time by a film starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt, a movie adaptation of the 1980s television series, The Fall Guy. The bridge is closed in both directions until 10am.

A Victorian man is in hospital after he has been shot multiple times in Melbourne’s western suburbs in what police believe was a targeted attack. The man is believed to have been stopped in a car just after 9pm when the shots were fired.

Another man has also been arrested in a separate incident following the death of a woman in the outer Melbourne suburb of Lilydale. Police responded to a call at about 5.30pm on Saturday but the woman died at the scene.

I’m Royce Kurmelovs, taking the blog through the day. With so much going on out there, it’s easy to miss stuff, so if you spot something happening in Australia and think it should be on the blog, you can find me on Twitter at @RoyceRk2 where my DMs are open.

With that, let’s get started ...


Caitlin Cassidy and Royce Kurmelovs (earlier)

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