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Covid-19 News Updates


CSIRO: COVID-19 virus can last 28 days on phone screens, banknotes

CSIRO: COVID-19 virus can last 28 days on phone screens, banknotes

The virus that causes COVID-19 can last longer than previously thought on hard surfaces such as stainless steel, plastic banknotes and the glass on mobile phone screens, according to the latest research from the CSIRO.

Research undertaken at the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP) in Geelong and published in the Virology Journal, found SARS-CoV-2 can survive for up to 28 days on such common surfaces.

The virus endures for longer on smoother surfaces than softer ones such as cotton, and also survives better at lower temperatures.

CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall says surface survivability research builds on the national science agency's other COVID-19 work, including vaccine testing, wastewater testing, personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacture and accreditation, and big data dashboards supporting each state.

"Establishing how long the virus really remains viable on surfaces enables us to more accurately predict and mitigate its spread, and do a better job of protecting our people," says Dr Marshall.

ACDP deputy director Dr Debbie Eagles says the fact SARS-CoV-2 can remain infectious on surfaces for long periods of time reinforces he need for good practices such as regular handwashing and cleaning surfaces.

"At 20°C, which is about room temperature, we found that the virus was extremely robust, surviving for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as glass found on mobile phone screens and plastic banknotes," says Dr Eagles.

"For context, similar experiments for Influenza A have found that it survived on surfaces for 17 days, which highlights just how resilient SARS-CoV-2 is."

The research involved drying virus in an artificial mucus on different surfaces, at concentrations similar to those reported in samples from infected patients and then re-isolating the virus over a month. Further experiments were carried out at 30°C and 40°C, with survival times decreasing as the temperature increased.

"Together, we hope this suite of solutions from science will break down the barriers between us, and shift focus to dealing with specific virus hotspots so we can get the economy back on track," says Dr Eagles.

"We can only defeat this virus as Team Australia with the best Australian science, working alongside industry, government, research and the Australian community."

The study was also carried out in the dark, to remove the effect of UV light as research has demonstrated direct sunlight can rapidly inactivate the virus.

"While the precise role of surface transmission, the degree of surface contact and the amount of virus required for infection is yet to be determined, establishing how long this virus remains viable on surfaces is critical for developing risk mitigation strategies in high contact areas," she says.

ACDP director, professor Trevor Drew, says many viruses remained viable on surfaces outside their host.

"How long they can survive and remain infectious depends on the type of virus, quantity, the surface, environmental conditions and how it's deposited - for example touch vs droplets emitted by coughing," says Dr Drew.

"Proteins and fats in body fluids can also significantly increase virus survival times.

"The research may also help to explain the apparent persistence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in cool environments with high lipid or protein contamination, such as meat processing facilities and how we might better address that risk."

Updated at 10am AEDT on 12 October 2020.

Northern Sydney Datacom workers in self-isolation, NSW reports five new local COVID-19 cases

Northern Sydney Datacom workers in self-isolation, NSW reports five new local COVID-19 cases

Staff on a floor of Datacom's northern Sydney office building have been told to self-isolate after a co-worker tested positive for COVID-19 as New South Wales reports five new local cases of the coronavirus.

As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald and confirmed to the publication by Datacom CEO Greg Davidson, a COVID-19 case worked at the North Ryde call centre while infectious.

As such, all staff on the floor the infectious case worked on have been directed to self-isolate and get tested until further notice.

Davidson also told the Sydney Morning Herald that most of the employees in the North Ryde office had been working from home, but some roles required staff to work in the office.

The publication also confirmed that staff directed to self-isolate are doing so on full pay.

It comes as NSW confirmed 10 new cases of COVID-19 today including five locally acquired cases and five returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

According to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian all five of the locally acquired cases are connected to already known cases or clusters.

Four of the five are associated with the private health clinic cluster, three are household contacts of a case reported yesterday, and one is a co-worker of a case reported yesterday.

There are now seven cases associated with the private health clinic cluster, and investigations into its source are ongoing.

One of the locally acquired cases included in today's numbers is an old case and was most likely acquired back when the virus was circulating in low levels in south-western Sydney in August according to NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant.

The COVID-19 update from NSW follows a number of public health alerts issued yesterday including for the Monopole Restaurant in Potts Point and for Macquarie University.

Updated at 12.31pm AEDT on 9 October.

Public health alerts issued in Sydney for Monopole Restaurant, Macquarie University

Public health alerts issued in Sydney for Monopole Restaurant, Macquarie University

NSW Health has issued public health alerts after confirmed cases of COVID-19 visited a number of venues and businesses including Monopole Restaurant at Potts Point.

Health authorities are working with Monopole Restaurant to assess the risk to patrons and staff who may have been exposed to COVID-19 after a person who was infectious visited there from 6pm to 8pm on Sunday 4 October.

Anyone who visited the restaurant that evening should monitor for symptoms and get tested if they develop.

Further, anyone who attended the following venues is considered a casual contact and must monitor for symptoms:

  • Surf Dive 'n' Ski at Castle Towers Shopping Centre, Castle Hill - 5 October 2020, 12.00pm to 5.00pm
  • Chemist Warehouse on the corner of Bridge and Rawson Streets, Epping 6 October, 10.30am to 11.00am
  • Macquarie University Sports and Aquatic Centre outdoor pool area at North Ryde 7 October 2020, 5.30am to 10.30am

A number of public transport routes have also been identified by NSW Health - anyone who travelled on the following is considered a casual COVID-19 contact and must monitor for symptoms:

  • Train from Parramatta at 14:41 arriving Town Hall 15:31 on 4th October
  • Train from Town Hall at 17:29 arriving Kings Cross 17:50 on 4th October
  • Train from Artarmon at 23:18 arriving Central 23:48 on 5th October
  • Bus replacement from Central at 23:48 arriving Strathfield 00:15 on 6th October
  • Train from Strathfield at 00:15 arriving Parramatta 00:45 on 6th October
  • Bus 550 from Epping Station, Beecroft Rd, Stand D at 17:08 to Smith St after Phillip St, Parramatta 17:41 on 6th October
  • Train from Moss Vale 04:52 arriving Liverpool 07:09 on 6th October
  • Train from Liverpool 16:58 arriving Moss Vale 19:12 on 6th October
  • Train from Moss Vale 04:51 arriving Liverpool 07:08 on 7th October
  • Train from Campbelltown 13:31 arriving Moss Vale 15:50 on 7th October

NSW Health says testing numbers have dropped recently.

"NSW Health renews its call for increased testing across Sydney, even if you have the mildest of symptoms like a runny nose or scratchy throat, cough, fever or other symptoms that could be COVID-19," said NSW Health.

NSW recorded eight new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 yesterday and four new cases in hotel quarantine, bringing the state's cumulative total of confirmed cases of the coronavirus to 4,072.

Updated at 9.35am AEDT on 9 October 2020.

Buon appetito! Sydney CBD venues to welcome al fresco dining pilot on 16 October

Buon appetito! Sydney CBD venues to welcome al fresco dining pilot on 16 October

Sydney's simmering hospitality industry will soon receive a well-needed boost as the city council and state government make it quicker and easier to set up outdoor drinking and dining areas.

Under a 12-month pilot starting on 16 October in The Rocks and at the start of November in the Sydney CBD, there will be no need to get a planning approval when cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels apply for an outdoor dining licence.

An amendment to the Liquor Regulation will also allow expanded liquor licence boundaries to be approved in three days, compared to a process that used to take up to 51 days.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes says COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on the hospitality industry.

"This solution will not only keep our communities safer, but draw people back into the city so we can support local business and boost the economy," says Minister Stokes.

The NSW Government advises pubs, small bars and cultural venues with a food or drink outlet are invited to have their say on proposed changes to legislation that would temporarily allow outdoor dining.

The pilot follows last month's launch of the "neon grid" nighttime economy for the NSW capital, described by the Committee for Sydney as "one of the most detailed and comprehensive nightlife plans ever compiled for a city".

Updated at 12:31pm AEDT on 8 October 2020.

CSL seals deal to supply 51 million doses of UQ COVID-19 vaccine candidate

CSL seals deal to supply 51 million doses of UQ COVID-19 vaccine candidate

Biotechnology giant CSL (ASX: CSL) has finalised an agreement with the Commonwealth Government to supply 51 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to Australia.

Signed by CSL's subsidiary Seqirus, the agreement would see the vaccines supplied should the University of Queensland's (UQ) clinical trials of the candidate be successful.

The agreement includes an up-front financial commitment from the Federal Government to support the clinical and technical development activities that CSL will need to assume in order to progress the candidate called V451.

According to CSL the large-scale clinical study for V451 is "almost ready", with recruitment of subjects expected to be completed by March 2021.

The study will be randomised, observer-blinded, and placebo-controlled across numerous countries and more than 100 sites. It will evaluate efficacy, immunogenicity and safety in adults aged 18 years and above.

"We are committed to demonstrating the vaccine is safe and effective prior to availability in the market," says CSL.

"Discussions have already commenced with the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration to ensure this goal is met, while also making the vaccine available to the Australian population in the shortest possible time."

The company says it is working in parallel to engage partner organisations to assist with production of further doses with the goal of providing broader access to the vaccine, should trials be successful.

In September CSL announced it would manufacture more than 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for supply in Australia, slated for release in 2021.

This includes the 51 million doses of the UQ vaccine, plus 30 million doses of a vaccine candidate being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

The candidate being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca was put on pause in early-September after a participant fell ill.

The suspension, described as a "routine action", was put in place to give the company time to investigate the cause of the illness in the participant.

Shares in CSL are up 0.88 per cent to $294.94 per share at 10.15am AEDT.

Updated at 10.59am AEDT on 8 October 2020.

Ten public health alerts issued in Sydney including Ripples restaurant at Milsons Point

Ten public health alerts issued in Sydney including Ripples restaurant at Milsons Point

NSW Health has issued 10 public health alerts after confirmed cases of COVID-19 visited a number of venues and businesses including the Ripples restaurant at Milsons Point.

It comes after three new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in South West Sydney yesterday, all three of which are still under investigation with contact tracing underway.

Since then the state has reported five more locally acquired confirmed cases of COVID-19, plus four new cases in hotel quarantine.

One confirmed case attended Ripples restaurant in Milsons Point on Saturday 3 October from 8pm to 10.30pm.

NSW Health said the details of a small number of walk-in diners in the restaurant during this time were not recorded.

All diners who were in this restaurant at that time are considered close contacts and must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days since they were there, and stay isolated for the entire period even if a negative test result is received.

People who attended the Fitness First Carlingford Pilates Class on Saturday 3 October from 8.15am to 9.15am are also considered close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case.

They must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days since they were there, and stay isolated for the entire period, even if a negative test result is received. NSW Health is directly contacting those who attended.

NSW Health also advises anyone who attended the Mazda Artarmon repair centre on Campbell Street between 7.30am and 9.30am on Friday 2 October are considered casual contacts and should immediately isolate and get tested if they develop the slightest symptoms of COVID-19.

Authorities are also assessing potential exposure to COVID-19 of people who attended several other venues.

Anyone who attended the following venues is considered casual contacts and should immediately isolate and get tested even if they develop the slightest symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Friday 2 October: Kmart, Narellan Town Centre, Narellan 6pm to 7pm
  • Saturday 3 October: Fitness First, Carlingford (all attendees other than those in the pilates class notified above): 8am to 9:15am
  • Sunday 4 October: Penrith Homemaker Centre, Penrith 11am to 1pm
  • Sunday 4 October: Guzman y Gomez, Penrith 1.30pm to 2pm
  • Sunday 4 October: Home Co, Penrith 2pm to 2.30pm
  • Monday 5 October: Westfield Parramatta 9.30am to 11am
  • Monday 5 October: Castle Towers Shopping Centre, Castle Hill 12pm to 1pm

The state government also says its sewage surveillance program detected fragments of the virus at the North Richmond and West Camden treatment plants.

NSW Health said testing numbers have dropped recently which is of concern.

"NSW Health renews its call for increased testing across Sydney, even if you have the mildest of symptoms like a runny nose or scratchy throat, cough, fever or other symptoms that could be COVID-19," said NSW Health.

The confirmation of three new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in NSW could put its border opening date with Queensland in jeopardy.

Queensland is set to open to NSW on 1 November on the condition that no unlinked community transmission of COVID-19 is detected in NSW for 28 days prior.

The Queensland border will remain closed to Victoria until community transmission is under control.

UPDATE: According to NSW Health a known case travelled on a train on Saturday, 3 October that left Parramatta station at 7:13pm and arrived at Milsons Point station at 8:04pm. Anyone who caught the train at this time is considered a casual contact and must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop.

Updated at 9.37am AEDT on 8 October 2020.

Jetstar launches new Gold Coast to Hobart service

Jetstar launches new Gold Coast to Hobart service

Travellers will be able to fly directly between Hobart and the Gold Coast on a new Jetstar service once Tasmania opens its borders to Queensland on 26 October.

Unveiled today, the new service will connect the two destinations in time for the busy summer season, which Queensland Airports CEO Chris Mills said will be a welcome shot in the arm for tourism operators.

"Both the Gold Coast and Tasmanian tourism industries have been particularly hard hit by COVID-19 related travel restrictions, given the strong focus on tourism for both destinations," said Mills.

"We have seen how eager family and friends are to see each other, since the Canberra services restarted. The flights will start in time for the peak tourism seasons in both destinations, opening up another part of the country for travellers to explore in the summer months."

The service, supported by the Queensland Government and Destination Gold Coast, will deliver more than 1,200 passenger seats between the Gold Coast and Tasmania each week, or 62,400 annually.

Queensland Assistant Tourism Minister Meghan Scanlon said the new service, which will operate three times per week, is set to generate $11.6 million in overnight visitor expenditure on the Gold Coast.

"Tourism is a cornerstone of our economy. We're working with airlines to secure new direct flights to the Gold Coast because we know that flights pump millions of dollars into local businesses and support local jobs," she said.

Destination Gold Coast deputy chair Adrienne Readings welcomed the announcement, saying the new service would give Tasmanians the opportunity to come and play on the Gold Coast this summer and beyond.

"With the support of our industry partners we are working hard to secure opportunities for the Gold Coast to increase accessibility into the region, to springboard tourism recovery," said Readings.

Updated 2.11pm AEST on 7 October 2020.

Businesses are winners as the Budget takes the path of least resistance

Businesses are winners as the Budget takes the path of least resistance

Unveiled last night, the Federal Budget puts jobs creation in the spotlight, alongside a raft of measures designed to boost business confidence and keep companies hiring and spending.

It is a Budget that has been welcomed across the board by the business community, acting as a life raft for those struggling against the tide of the global recession.

According to national chairman of the Pitcher Partners National Association John Brazzale the quickfire measures, including allowing the full costs of eligible assets to be deducted by many businesses, will encourage firms to spend.

"For middle-market businesses, the initiatives are designed to reward those with the money able to invest in new equipment and new opportunities," said Brazzale.

"The Treasurer called the move a game-changer, and it opens the door for businesses wanting to level-up their production or capacity, so they can bring forward purchases after 7.30pm AEDT today and first used or held ready for use before 30 June 2022.

"For those with tax losses last year, this year or next, they can be offset against previously taxed profits rather than having to be carried forward against profits in future years. This measure will also apply to corporate tax entities with turnover up to $5 billion and will no doubt appeal to many."

Also included in the Budget is what Brazzale has dubbed JobKeeper 3.0, a program that will incentivise firms to hire unemployed young people.

The new JobMaker Hiring Credit will provide up to $10,400 a year for new employees, who have been on JobSeeker, Youth Allowance or the Parenting Payment for at least one of the past three months. These people will need to work more than 20 hours a week. 

The measure is predicted to support around 450,000 jobs, about four times the number for the Boosting Apprentices Wage Subsidy for new apprentices or trainees, which will see eligible businesses reimbursed up to 50 per cent of an apprentice or trainee's wages worth up to $7,000 per quarter.

"Providing subsidies to support businesses in hiring those younger Australians who may have been seeking employment for some time may help in addressing unemployment," said Brazzale.

"While subsidies can reduce pressure on businesses, it must be noted that it's not a long-term solution to the deeper structural issues that need to be addressed."

For individuals, the back-dated tax cuts will put an immediate spring in their spending, however Pitcher Partners says this may be one area of the Budget that could prompt some political pushback. Labor, while committed to bringing forward stage two tax cuts, has already warned it will scrutinise carefully a proposal to bundle them with business tax measures.

"Bringing forward the tax cuts will act as a pay rise for many, taking the burden off businesses that will continue to face pressure on expenses," said Brazzale.

"But other groups are less fortunate. Self-funded retirees are notably absent from the Budget, and regional communities are likely to have hoped for more direct support."

While this Budget is designed to get things moving again, Brazzale noted that now is the opportunity to make the key structural reforms needed to build a sustainable economy and to see those changes in the next Federal Budget.

"In the midst of domestic and global uncertainty, it is no surprise that the Federal Budget is focused on the here and now, but the measures announced don't deliver the future vision required for Australia's long-term recovery," he said.

"The Budget fails to incentivise the growth of intellectual property, Australian resourcefulness and digital change needed to become a value-add economy.

"We will need new industries and faster creation of ideas that can be taken to the world. We will need serious investment in sectors that are primed for growth and support for sectors that need to transition. We will need a tax system and an industrial relations system robust enough for dynamic global markets."

Brazzale said businesses seek incentives for growth in future-focused industries and targeted support for those sectors most punished by the pandemic.

"As our Pre-Budget submission noted, business wants investment with impact, rebuilding Australia's manufacturing sector, incentivising businesses to invest in practices that create value, modernising the country's industrial relations framework and simplifying complex structures," he said.

"These are big structural reforms that have been left off the list this time and while that is understandable by the next Budget in 2021 Budget we would want to be seeing the transformational, system-wide changes that will be required to move Australia's economy forward."

Updated at 11.57am AEDT on 7 October 2020.

Budget 2020: Frydenberg tells Australians, 'we have your back'

Budget 2020: Frydenberg tells Australians, 'we have your back'

Accelerated tax cuts, cash splashes for pensioners, massive incentives for business to invest and a subsidy to hire unemployed people are the centrepieces of the Morrison government's COVID-19 budget.

More than 11 million taxpayers will get a tax cut backdated to July 1, giving lower and middle-income earners tax relief this financial year of up to $2,745. Dual income families will receive relief of up to $5,490, compared to their tax in 2017-18.

Australians on pensions and other eligible recipients will also receive a cash handout of $250 from December and another $250 from March next year.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Australia economy was "fighting back", with more than half of those who had lost their jobs now back at work. But "there remains a monumental task ahead," he said, assuring Australians "we have your back".

"The road to recovery will be hard but there is hope," he said

A budget focused on creating jobs delivers multiple measures to boost business activity, and a new plan to subsidise hiring young people who are unemployed for up to a year.

Frydenberg said the Australian economy had been hit hard, but "we have a plan to rebuild our economy and to create jobs".

Massive deficit

The budget has a massive $213.7 billion deficit for this year. It will stay in the red throughout the budget period, with deficits totalling $480.5 billion over the next four years.

Net debt will reach $703 billion this financial year more than 36% of GDP, rising to $966 billion (44% of GDP) by June 2024.

Frydenberg told parliament, "this is a heavy burden, but a necessary one to responsibly deal with the greatest challenge of our time".

The economy is forecast to contract by 3.75% this calendar year, with unemployment peaking at 8% in the December quarter. In the 2021 calendar year, economic growth is forecast to be 4.25%, with unemployment falling to 6.5% by the June quarter 2022.


Read more: Budget 2020: promising tax breaks, but relying on hope


In his speech to parliament, Frydenberg reiterated the government's two-phase strategy.

The first phase is to focus on "boosting consumer and business confidence, growing the economy and creating jobs".

Once unemployment is "comfortably below 6%" the government will move to phase two, "where there is a deliberate shift from providing temporary and targeted support to stabilising gross and net debt as a share of the economy."

"We will then rebuild our fiscal buffers, so that we can be prepared for the next economic shock," Frydenberg said.

The income tax cuts, at nearly $7 billion, are the biggest cost this financial year, rising to nearly $18 billion in total over the forward estimates.

Tax cuts brought forward

The government is bringing forward stage two of its already legislated tax plan, lifting the 19% threshold from $37,000 to $45,000 and the 32.5% threshold from $90,000 to $120,000.

It is also retaining the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset for an extra year.

Frydenberg said, as a proportion of tax payable, compared to 2017-18, the greatest benefit would flow to people on lower incomes, with those earning $40,000 paying 21% less tax, and people on $80,000 paying about 11% less tax this year.

"Under our changes, more than seven million Australians receive tax relief of $2,000 or more this year," Frydenberg said.

JobMaker hiring credit and huge tax breaks

A new JobMaker hiring credit will be available for employers who take on people on JobSeeker aged 16 to 35. The subsidy will be $200 a week for those under 30 and $100 a week for older people. These new hires must work at least 20 hours a week. All businesses except big banks will be able to use the scheme and the government says it will support about 450,000 jobs for young people.

The hiring credit will cost $850 million in the current financial year, rising to $2.9 billion in 2021-22, and $4 billion in total over the forward estimates.

The government says the initiative will support about 450,000 young people into jobs.

Tax breaks for business are huge over the budget period.

From budget night, more than 99% of businesses will be able to write off the full value of any eligible asset they purchase. The concession will be available for businesses with a turnover of up to $5 billion until mid-2022, with the program costing $26.7 billion over the forward estimates.


Read more: The budget's tax cuts have their critics, but this year they make fiscal sense


Frydenberg described the concession as "a game changer" which "will unlock investment".

"It will dramatically expand the productive capacity of the nation and create tens of thousands of jobs."

In another business initiative, companies will be able to use their losses earlier.

Frydenberg said the combination of these two measures would create an extra 50,000 jobs.

Infrastructure and water spending

The government is also looking to infrastructure to stimulate activity, with Frydenberg saying "the budget will see $14 billion in new and accelerated infrastructure projects."

As part of supporting the regions, Frydenberg announced $2 billion in new funding to build water infrastructure.

With women's jobs particularly badly hit during the recession, the budget has a women's economic security statement including $240 million in measures.

Thousands of new home care packages

On aged care, Frydenberg announced an increase of 23,000 home care packages, costing $1.6 billion. He said the government would provide "a comprehensive response" after the royal commission's final report on aged care, which comes early next year.

The government is also implementing reforms to superannuation arrangements.

New superannuation accounts will no longer be automatically created when a worker moves jobs. "Under our reforms, your super will follow you," Frydenberg said. The government had previously flagged that it would implement the change, recommended by the Productivity Commission.

Labour described the budget as a "grab bag of headline seeking announcements" which would "rack up a trillion dollars of debt, but still doesn't do enough to create jobs, fails to build for the future and leaves too many Australia's behind".

Business welcomed the budget, with the Business Council of Australia saying it was "about getting Australians back to work, and getting businesses back on track".

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said "Australian entrepreneurs will be energised by the unparalleled investment incentives".

ACTU secretary Sally McManus tweeted:

 

The Community Housing Industry Association said the budget's extension of the government guarantee for the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation by $1 billion was welcome but criticised the lack of direct investment in social housing.The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Gold Coast locals offered 'Play Money' for discounts on attractions and experiences

Gold Coast locals offered 'Play Money' for discounts on attractions and experiences

A $1 million program led and funded by Destination Gold Coast will see locals receive discounts on tours, attractions and experiences in an effort to stimulate bookings.

The campaign called 'Play Money for Gold Coasters' will highlight the city's tourism offerings, giving locals 50 per cent discounts (up to $50) on a range of experiences from Friday 9 October.

For those located out of the region that are still keen to cash-in on the promotion a $10 discount will be applied at checkout.

Destination Gold Coast Chairman Paul Donovan said tapping into localised marketing was a first for the organisation which is ordinarily charged with promoting the tourist destination throughout Australia and internationally.

"It is imperative during this extraordinary time to safeguard the economic sustainability of Gold Coast tourism and that includes lending a hand to struggling businesses who desperately need our support now and into the future," said Donovan.

"Whilst local area marketing traditionally sat outside of Destination Gold Coast's remit, ongoing impacts to tourism businesses resulting from COVID-19 and the disruption at large to interstate travel, led us to take an active and leading role to market to the region to Gold Coasters."

The 'Play Money' will be available from Friday morning with 10,000 unique promotional codes unlocking more than 200 experiences including theme park and amusement venues, nature-based encounters, hot air ballooning, jet boating, wine tastings and transfers.

Powered by Experience Oz in partnership with Destination Gold Coast, the incentive will be accessible per unique user to book local tours and attractions up for grabs until the end of the year.

"Emphasis on the Gold Coast market ensures we effectively target 100 per cent of the visitor economy available to us right now and we hope 'Play Money' inspires locals to experience Australia's favourite playground for themselves," said Donovan.

"In a bid to offset those who can't travel to the Gold Coast, or may be reluctant to travel at-large, the local campaign is set to shoulder recovery efforts in the immediate term whilst instilling civic pride among residents.

"Once Queensland's border reopens and travel restrictions are further eased, we will turn our attention as planned to recapture the Gold Coast's core visitor fly markets, starting with New South Wales."

To book and browse tourism experiences visit DestinationGoldCoast.com/playmoney.

Updated at 11.51am AEST on 6 October 2020.

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