Sydney news: NSW Police grant approval for women’s march, inquiry hears of racism in public health system



Here’s what you need to know this morning.

COVID-19 exemptions for women’s marches

A sign at international women's day march reads "I object", with "am a" crossed out.
One of the 3,000 women who marched at the Perth event yesterday.(ABC News: Briana Shepherd)

NSW Police say approval has been granted for 500 people to march at Sydney’s Town Hall under coronavirus restrictions, with a women’s rally against violence planned in Sydney’s CBD.

Inspired by former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins and Australian of the Year Grace Tame, the protesters are demanding greater action to end sexual assault and ensure women’s safety.

The protest is being held to coincide with a day of action across the country.

NSW Health is currently considering a Public Health Order exemption to increase numbers.

Calls for secure work for quarantine hotel guards

A sign outside the Mantra tells delivery workers to wait and a roped off area.
A guard who contracted COVID-19 worked at the Sofitel Wentworth was also employed at Mantra Sydney.(AAP: Joel Carrett)

Questions have been raised about why NSW hotel quarantine security guards are being employed across multiple venues following the most recent coronavirus case.

A security guard tested positive to COVID-19 on Saturday night, breaking nearly two months without any new locally acquired cases in the state.

The 47-year-old man has been working weekends at several quarantine hotels — including the Sofitel Wentworth and Mantra hotel Haymarket — both in the CBD.

Ryan Park
Labor’s Ryan Park says hotel quarantine security guards must be employed full-time.(AAP Image: Dean Lewins)

NSW Labor’s health spokesperson Ryan Park said it was not good practice.

“Hotel security guards in quarantine hotels should be, like all of the workers in there, full-time to at least reduce the risk of transmission to other sites from one of the most high-risk areas in NSW,” he said.

Labor is calling on the State Government to ensure these workers have secure employment so they “don’t have to do other jobs to make ends meet”.

Racism in the public health system

A state parliamentary inquiry has been told racist attitudes within the NSW public health system are stopping Indigenous people from seeking medical help.

The Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council says figures show Indigenous patients are five times more likely to discharge themselves early from hospital.

Ariane Dozer from the National Justice Project says First Nations people did not trust the public health service, which they said had provided them with “derogatory” and “degrading” treatment.

“[They are] essentially dismissed and turned away without proper assessment,” she said.

“People’s individual concerns and views of their concerns and their suffering can be ignored.”

‘Unviable’ petroleum exploration licences to end

Coal seam gas pilot well at Narrabri
Some licences for gas exploration won’t be making the cut.(AAP: Dean Lewins)

Deputy Premier John Barilaro has confirmed he would discontinue some of the dormant gas licences in north-west NSW.

Multiple energy companies have applied to renew a total of 12 expired petroleum exploration licences, including one covering land from Scone to Coolah.

Mr Barilaro is set to announce a new gas policy for the state in the coming months.

He said a number of the dormant licences had no use, adding they were not “economically or environmentally viable”.

Sydney honours mosque attack victims

Jacinda Ardern
New Zealand commemorated the 2019 Christchurch terrorist attack on Saturday.(AAP Image: Martin Hunter)

A commemorative service will be held in Campsie, in south-west Sydney, to remember the 51 victims killed in a mass shooting in two New Zealand mosques in 2019.

Services were held in Christchurch over the weekend, to honour the victims and their families.

Last year, an Australian man pleaded guilty to the mass murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Bilal Rauf from the Australian National Imams Council said it was important the day was marked, especially after delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Delays in vaccine rollout

A Newcastle nursing home operator says just over 60 per cent of residents have given consent to receive the Pfizer vaccine, but she’s worried more delays will put more people off.

Newcastle’s regional vaccine hub begins operating at John Hunter Hospital from today, distributing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to frontline healthcare workers and nursing homes.

Viv Allanson from Maroba Aged Care says she’s yet to receive any details about the aged care rollout and confirmation of when second doses will be given.

We hope people will not lose heart, and decide not to have the vaccine,” she said.

“We hope that this holdup and the debacle that’s going on around does not put more people off, because that will be bad for the country, bad for older people and bad for healthcare workers.”

Cultural traditions live on

A child in a school uniform leans over as she is read to by her grandmother
Matilda Rees says she can’t wait to visit Italy with her nonna Rosa after reading her book.(ABC News: Maryanne Taouk)

When 11-year-old Matilda Rees interviewed her Italian nonna for a school project, she had no idea that the story of her life would turn into a 107-page book.

Her grandmother, Rosa Criniti, was more than happy to discuss her childhood in the southern Italian village of Santa Caterina dello Ionio — in the arch of the foot of the Italian Peninsula.

But having left the village as an 11-year-old herself, Nonna Rosa realised there was so much history still unwritten.

So during the COVID-19 lockdown, Rosa, 71, gave herself a project: to write her family history and culture down for generations to come.


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