Federal Government extends China travel ban over coronavirus fears

A travel ban preventing Chinese visitors from entering Australia has been extended for at least another week.

The ban was due to end this weekend, however the Federal Government confirmed they have accepted the recommendation from medical experts to extend it following a national security committee meeting this afternoon.

Speaking to reporters in Canberra on Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Government is doing everything it can to protect Australians from the new Coronavirus, which has now been named Covid-19.

“This afternoon we have agreed to accept the recommendations to maintain the ban on entry restrictions on foreign nationals from mainland China for a further week. This is something we will continue to review on a weekly basis, and consider all the medical evidence on a weekly basis,” Mr Morrison said.

“Australia’s arrangements to protect Australians from Coronavirus here in Australia are working, they’re effective, they’re doing the job and it’s important that we ensure that continues to be the case.”

The Prime Minister said extending the ban was a decision they did not take lightly.

“We are very mindful of the disruption and economic impacts of these arrangements, but I note Australia is one of 58 countries that has introduced some form of travel restrictions,” Mr Morrison said.

The ban restricts foreign nationals who are in mainland China from entering Australia for 14 days from the time they have left or transited through mainland China.

Australians who are returning after visiting mainland China are being told to self-isolate for 14 days.

More than 60,000 people have been infected with the virus around the world, with the death toll currently sitting at 1,369.

In Australia there have been 15 people who have tested positive, with five of those on the Gold Coast.

Justin Holbrook

Price backing Holbrook to resurrect Titans

Former St George Illawarra coach Steve Price has tipped close mate Justin Holbrook to breathe new life into the Gold Coast Titans.

Holbrook became the fourth permanent head coach in the Titans’ 14-season history when it was announced last July he’d take over in 2020.

The 44-year-old is the third appointment in six years for a team that’s reached the NRL finals once in the last decade and been beset with financial and off-field issues.

The role at Robina has been seen as something of a poisoned chalice since the departure of foundation coach John Cartwright in 2014.

The club’s highest finish since 2010 was an underwhelming eighth in 2016 when Neil Henry’s side was thumped 44-28 by Brisbane in the first-round of the finals.

Henry was sacked midway through the following season and his successor Garth Brennan departed after round 17 in 2019, 18 months into a three-year contract that saw the team win just 12 times in 40 matches.

Holbrook’s appointment from English side St Helens was greeted in lukewarm fashion after he beat off competition from Queensland Origin coach Kevin Walters for the role.

But Warrington coach Price insists Holbrook has the personality and nous to lift last year’s wooden spooners after a superb two-and-half-year Super League stint.

“He’s a good man is Justin and what he has done over here with St Helens last year to win the grand final was a tremendous feat,” Price told AAP.

“He’ll get them playing for each other and I can see the Titans making some really big improvements.”

Price and Holbrook grew up together in south-west Sydney where they attended East Hills High in Panania and the former Cronulla Sharks assistant coach said his close friend fully deserves his crack in the NRL.

“What people don’t realise is that he has formed a good, solid base of coaching coming through the grades back home,” Price said.

“He’s coached reserve grade and under-20s for a number of years and been assistant coach at the Roosters and Parramatta.

“He’s come over to Super League somewhat unknown and was brilliant at St Helens.

“All that will put him in good stead.”

Price has also tipped the affable Holbrook to lift the atmosphere around the perennial battlers and turn the club into a competitive force in 2020.

“There are only a number of positions available in the NRL, but there is a real market for something exciting there on the Gold Coast for the coach that can get it right,” he said.

“What Justin will do is galvanise the squad and bring everyone around the club together.

“He will get them playing a good style of football and I can see them causing a few upsets and surprising a few people on the way.”

© AAP 2020

Couple allegedly held man captive before he was hit by a truck on the M1

UPDATE @ 12.00 PM | Police are appealing for help to piece together the final movements of Brisbane man Anthony Stott, who was hit and killed by a truck on the Pacific Motorway earlier this week.

It happened in the northbound lanes of the M1 near Cudgera Creek just after 7.00am on Monday.

The incident was initially believed to be non suspicious, however further investigations lead police to a nearby home on Kanes Road in Cudgera Creek where they arrested a 38-year-old woman and a 46-year-old man.

The pair were both charged with taking/detaining a person in company with intent to obtain advantage.

Police will allege the man and woman detained 43-year-old Stott and tied him to a chair at the property.

Detectives have now established a dedicated strike force to investigate the circumstances leading up to his death, with officers appealing for anyone who may have had recent contact with Anthony to come forward.

Tweed/Byron Police District Commander, Acting Superintendent Brendon Cullen said any information is important at this early stage of the investigation.

“Anthony had only just returned to the country from a trip in Peru, landing in Sydney earlier last week, then at Brisbane Domestic Airport on Sunday afternoon,” Acting superintendent Cullen said.

“We have recovered his vehicle, which was located abandoned near the scene on the M1 about 2am on Monday morning.

“We want to speak with anyone on the NSW Far North Coast or across the border in Queensland who may have had dealings with or had spoken with him since Sunday 9 February.

“We’re also wanting to speak with anyone who may have seen his vehicle on Sunday afternoon – a silver BMW with NSW registration ANL 72Y.

“Piecing together his movements in the 24-hours prior to his death is crucial and I urge anyone who may have any information to contact Crime Stoppers.”

EARLIER @ 8.00 AM | Police have arrested two people in relation to a fatality on the M1 earlier this week, that was initially thought to be a non-suspicious incident.

A 43-year-old man was struck and killed by a truck in the northbound lanes near Cudgera Creek around 7.00am on Monday, forcing the motorway to close for four hours.

NSW police initially reported that they weren’t treating the case as suspicious, though have since confirmed that investigations into the circumstances around the fatality are still underway.

It’s understood police were lead to a property on Kanes Road, nearby the motorway, where they arrested a 38-year-old woman and a 46-year-old man.

They’ve both been charged with taking/detaining a person in company with intent to obtain advantage.

Police will allege the pair detained the 43-year-old man, and tied him to a chair at the property, before he was struck by a truck on the motorway.

They were denied bail at Tweed Heads Court yesterday.

Investigations are continuing, and police are calling on anyone with information to come forward.

If you have information for Police, please contact NSW Police on 131 444 or provide information using their online form 24 hours per day. 

You can report also information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or via nsw.crimestoppers.com.au 24 hours per day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation.

George Colambaris’s restaurant group goes into administration

The restaurant empire of celebrity chef George Colambaris has been placed into voluntary administration, putting hundreds of jobs at risk.

The former Masterchef judge took to Instagram overnight to announce the shock news, which comes just months after the business was hit by a staff underpayment scandal.

The 41-year-old said he was gutted and filled with “deep sadness and regret” over the decision.

“It is with deep sadness and regret that MADE Establishment has been placed into Voluntary Administration,” Colambaris wrote.

“On a personal note, the last few months have been the most challenging I have ever faced. I am gutted that it’s come to this.”

Mr Colambaris also thanked his family, friends and team for their support over the last few months.

“I truly regret it has come to this. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your loyalty and friendship,” he wrote.

“I am so sorry all our collective efforts have not proved to be enough.”

KordaMentha said in a statement that the company’s Craig Shepard and Leanne Chesser had been appointed voluntary administrators of 22 companies in the MAdE Establishment Group.

The Group, founded by celebrity chef George Calombaris, operates 12 restaurants and food venues in Melbourne.

“The appointment excludes the Yo-Chi operations which will continue to trade as usual,” the statement said.

“All other venues have stopped trading immediately. Employees have been paid all outstanding wages and superannuation up to the date of the appointment.”

Mr Shepard said the Administrators would seek alternative operators for the venues and engage with other stakeholders in order to realise the Group’s assets.

A first meeting of creditors will be next Thursday 20 February.

red carpet

The who’s who of Aussie TV to descend on Gold Coast for Logie Awards

The weather may be dreary outside, but there’s Gold Logie fever on the Gold Coast today with the official date for this year’s TV Week Logie Awards finally confirmed.

The glitz and glamour of the country’s most prestigious television event will take place at The Star Gold Coast on Sunday, 28 June.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made the exciting announcement today.

“We back events that we know will deliver a great economic return for Gold Coast businesses,” she said.

“Money can’t buy the kind of exposure the Logies generates for the Coast. And on June 28, we’ll again welcome the who’s who of Aussie TV back to the Gold Coast.”

The event is set to give the Gold Coast’s tourism industry a much needed boost following the recent coronavirus outbreak, which is estimated to have already cost the local economy $130 million.

“The eyes of Australia will be on the Gold Coast on June 28 – it’s a great marketing opportunity for the Coast,” Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said.

“Images of the Gold Coast will be beamed into millions of homes Australia-wide. We’re going to capitalise on this event with domestic tourism campaigns and direct marketing to make sure local tourism operators benefit from the Logies.”

Ms Jones said viewership grew 10 per cent last year, with an average of 1.1 million viewers.

“We’ve also made the most of opportunities to leverage the great social media following of the stars who descend on the coast – sharing pictures of A-listers having a great time on the Coast.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate is also thrilled to be welcoming the Logies back to the glitter strip.

He says the event presents an extraordinary opportunity for the city to showcase its film and television capability.

“With the list of shows and films made here growing steadily, we’ve already proven our capability as a film destination of choice,” he said.

“The Logies not only brings industry names to our city who see first hand everything we have to offer in the film and TV space; it brings the beautiful Gold Coast into more than a million lounge rooms around the country.”

The stars will hit the red carpet at The Star Gold Coast on June 28.