10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

10 things you need to know this morning in Australia
Team Australia looking tired. (James D. Morgan, Getty Images)

Good morning, friends. We made it.

The New South Wales government says it will begin to reopen when it hits a 50% vaccination rate, stoking tensions with other states. Other premiers will today confront Gladys Berejiklian over the “insane” plan, claiming it will put the entire country at risk while vaccination rates remain low, according to the AFR. Team Australia, not looking so united right now.

Meanwhile, there are warnings that Sydney’s transport system faces major disruptions as hundreds of workers face isolation. The SMH reports there are more than 560 NSW Transport staff, with some saying to brace for the closure of some depots and workplaces as a result.

The federal government is desperately trying to source more vaccines. Canberra sources say the Morrison government is in urgent talks with European nations and the United States to sell Australia millions of vaccines at a sharp premium. “They’ve got us by the short and curlies,” said one.

Employers look like they could legally mandate vaccines for staff should they choose to go down that route. A leading industrial relations barrister says it would be “lawful and reasonable” for most workplaces to do implement a ‘no jab, no office’ policy. Not that it would happen without a fight. A push by food manufacturer SPC has already blown up into an outright battle with unions.

The wealth accrued by our very richest enough to vaccinate the entire world 1,000 times over. A new report from Oxfam says the world’s 2,690 billionaires pocketed an era $5.5 trillion over the last 18 months. The cost to vaccinate every single one of us? Just $70 billion, or roughly 0.1% of their gains. Food for thought.

I’m saddened to report that the old conservative battle-cry of ‘go woke, go broke’ may not have any real world applications. AGL, one of Australia’s largest energy providers, has successfully destroyed 70% of shareholder value in the last four years by largely refusing to go green. As it continues to dig in against replacing ageing coal stations, it reported a $2 billion loss yesterday, as analysts compare it to the sinking of the Titanic.

Times like these may have some of us reaching for the bottle, but plenty are choosing abstinence of a different variety. As global non-alcoholic drinks sales climb, Australian brands are getting onboard. We had a chat with a few to find out how they are catering to the ‘sober curious’ generation.

The self-proclaimed “front page of the internet” has seen its star soar during the pandemic — would you believe it? Reddit could be worth an astounding $US10 billion ($13.6 billion) as it raises up to $US700 million in its latest funding round. The cash injection will be used to bring “video and audio features” to its 52 million users.

Record crypto and blockchain investments in 2021 have already exceeded last year’s total. New data from KPMG attributes the mammoth inflows to institutional adoption, venture capital and the boom of NFTs. Booms earlier this year and earlier this week in the value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies haven’t hurt. The spoils have been well spent.

Plenty of chatter around the future of electric vehicles this morning. Tesla has just delayed the launch of its Cybertruck and Semi to 2022, with four other futuristic vehicles already in the works. Audi has released a new prototype self-driving EV that could change its shape at the push of a button, while we have also got a glimpse of the coming Lightyear One, powered by the sun.

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