DIGEST

The Informer: There are shades between black and white. Promise.

There are shades between black and white. Promise.

Rarely have shades of grey been so hard to find.

But this week the nation continues its quick-march to a monotone future; to a place where there is no nuance and certainly no beg pardons. Black, white, and nothing in between.

Some may argue Australia has rarely deviated from such a path but the reality is there are indeed shades in between. It's just that right now (in these COVID-times), "in between" is exactly where the people fall who don't fit neatly into a homogeneous box end up.

The Illawarra Mercury has shared the tragically sad situation which confronts 33-year-old Dylan Thomas.

If we were at a COVID press conference, it'd be fair to say Dylan has "underlying conditions". He faces challenges of very many natures every day, some of them related to his health. Lockdown has thrown his life into even more disarray. He's in hospital but even if he wanted to return to his emergency accommodation he couldn't - it's been the centre of a COVID outbreak.

So, he's isolating in hospital and faces an unknown future. He's been homeless before and fears he will face the same again. One social housing leader declared the situation, not Dylan's but rather the mighty mess we loosely call the affordable housing sector, to be "decades of neglect coming to the surface".

For some people though, there are signs of hope.

The University of Wollongong is included in a pilot program which aims to have fully-vaccinated international students return by Christmas.

The pilot plan has been given the green light by the Commonwealth government and it's hoped the first flight, in a series of phased returns, will touch down by year's end.

Accommodation provider Scape will house the returning students for a 14-day quarantine in Sydney, at a building retrofitted to accommodate up to 650 students to approved COVID-safe standards.

It's not just NSW where the divisions are apparent. A group of Queenslanders is expected to take to the streets right about now to protest against the re-opening of the state border (which, confusingly, is not re-opened yet). A spokesman says the group wants to show public support for the Queensland government's measures and to respond to the "far right anti-health marches" in Melbourne this week.

It been another long and exhausting week. We're all feeling the pinch and, as we've been reminded, this pandemic's not over yet. New voices will take you through the day's events for the next few months. I'm off to find nuance and colour. Stay safe.

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This story There are shades between black and white. Promise. first appeared on The Canberra Times.