Hello everyone. Welcome to Tuesday.
The Greater Melbourne lockdown will extend a further two weeks, while nightly curfews and the authorised worker system will be reintroduced. Playgrounds and skate parks are closed. It is now tentatively set to end on Thursday, September 2. The restrictions will ramp up in response to the state’s growing COVID-19 outbreak, Premier Daniel Andrews said Monday. “We are at a tipping point,” he said. The state recorded 24 cases this morning, of whom 10 were in the community for at least part of their infectious period.
A record 478 cases were announced in NSW yesterday, along with eight more deaths. Premier Gladys Berejiklian described this number as “disturbingly high”. The NSW Police Minister urges people to call Crime Stoppers if they see people flouting public health orders, which I suppose is one way to deal with it. Meanwhile, residents of Greater Darwin and Katherine in the Northern Territory are waking up to the first full day of a snap lockdown.
The lockdown in Canberra has been extended for another fortnight, too. The ACT recorded 19 new cases of COVID-19. A lot of numbers flying around this morning – all I can do is apologise.
The Fair Work Ombudsman advised Australian businesses that COVID-19 vaccination mandates are fair game, as long as they’re reasonable. But it’s up to companies to prove their employee vaccine requirements are lawful and reasonable. Here’s how some of Australia’s major industries are approaching the issue.
A report released by consultancy EY predicts Australian university revenue will decline by a further $6 billion in the years leading to 2030. It suggests that to survive, the higher education sector will need to abandon international revenue altogether and focus on offering specialised courses to Australian students. The pandemic had “exposed the over-reliance on on-campus learning and international students in Australia’s higher education system,” head of education at EY Catherine Friday said.
An 18-year-old uni student is running for AGL’s board, backed by Greenpeace, in a bid to shut down the coal stations of Australia’s biggest polluter. Ashjayeen Sharif, from Melbourne, announced his campaign on Monday, pledging to replace AGL’s ageing coal-fired power stations with renewable energy if elected. “AGL’s current leaders have shown they can’t be trusted to do the right thing on climate change, and so I’m stepping up to become a director, because I’m confident I could do a better job,” Sharif said.
The NSW government has relaunched its Code of Conduct for commercial leasing, which provided a framework for how landlords should provide rent relief during the lockdown of early 2020. But some property industry groups say the policy allowed larger organisations to take advantage of government funds while turning a profit. “Government intervention in contracts not only risks the existing commercial relationships, but it also harms the potential for the economic recovery,” said Luke Achterstraat, NSW executive director of the Property Council of Australia (PCA).
US President Joe Biden on Monday addressed the Afghanistan crisis for the first time since the Taliban stormed Kabul. The president pointed the finger at the Afghan government, saying it lacked the “will to fight.” “I stand squarely behind my decision,” Biden declared in his speech. “After 20 years, I learned the hard way that there was never a good way to withdraw our forces.”
Defence Minister Peter Dutton said the videos emerging from Kabul airport in Afghanistan show “terrible scenes”, meaning Australian defence troops won’t be flown directly into the country’s capital for the moment. More than 250 ADF personnel are expected to be deployed to help evacuate Australian citizens and visa holders. “It’s all in a state of flux at the moment. We’d need to see order restored. Hopefully, that takes place sooner [rather] than later,” Dutton said.
Iceland proves that COVID-19 vaccines work, according to a leading infectious disease expert. Most new infections are among vaccinated people, but only a tiny number end up in the hospital. The country has not recorded a COVID-19 death since May 25.
Labor’s noble quest to give everyone three hundred bucks continues apace.