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Vic pandemic recovery powers on

Almost 600,000 Victorians have lodged pandemic rebate claims for pottery classes, museum exhibitions, winery lunches and other events in the month since they were offered.

More than a quarter of the applications have been for the theatre and performing arts, with Hamilton and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child most popular, says Tourism Minister Martin Pakula.

Cinema purchases are close behind, accounting for 26 per cent of claims, while live music has also featured prominently with 13 per cent of customers claiming for gigs.

The Victorian government launched the dining and entertainment scheme on March 29.

“We are encouraging Victorians to take up this fantastic opportunity to get out, grab dinner, see a show and support some of the local businesses hardest-hit by the pandemic,” Mr Pakula said.

Meanwhile, the effect of COVID-19 on children’s education is not over, one of Australia’s leading charities warns.

A survey from the Smith Family has found one in two parents and carers feel the pandemic is still making learning difficult for their children.

Roughly three-quarters of parents and carers worry about their children’s future schoolwork and have struggled to help them during the pandemic.

Two-thirds say the virus has made it hard to start school this year.

The report comes as the charity kicks off its latest winter appeal, hoping to raise $5.4 million nationally to support 12,000 students through mentoring and after school programs.

COVID-19 has forced schools to shut throughout the pandemic with experts worried about the long-term effects on students.

Teachers across the public and private sector have taken strike action as they call for more pay and better conditions.

Australia reported almost 34,000 new COVID-19 infections and 58 virus-related deaths on Saturday.

There are currently almost 315,000 active cases around the country, with more than 2700 patients recovering in hospitals.

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