10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Good morning, everyone.

NSW recorded 452 new local cases of COVID-19 yesterday, and Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned that cases were likely to continue rising. “We are assuming the case numbers will go up. I say that only as a realist… when you have cumulative days of high case numbers there is a tipping point where case numbers go up,” she said. Household transmission has been the cause of more than 70% of cases in Sydney’s current outbreak, according to new data.

Victoria recorded 24 cases of COVID-19, of which 18 have been in isolation for their entire infectious period. It comes as Victorian health authorities are increasingly concerned about the spread of coronavirus among children, including a surge in infections involving school students under 10.

New Zealand went back into lockdown after a single suspected Delta case in the community. A 58-year-old man tested positive for COVID-19 with no immediate evidence that he’d traveled abroad. PM Jacinda Arden said New Zealand needed to go “hard and early” to stop the Delta variant spreading. A further four cases have now been identified.

BHP, the world’s top mining company, is hastening its retreat from fossil fuels with a deal to sell its global oil and gas assets to Australian energy giant Woodside Petroleum. The companies announced an all-stock merger of BHP’s entire petroleum division spanning Australia, the Americas and North Africa to Perth-based Woodside.

The RBA conducted internal research into the relationship between migration to Australia and wage growth earlier this year. The analysis informed Governor Philip Lowe when he made comments last month suggesting closed borders could help grow some wages. The research, obtained by Business Insider Australia through a freedom of information request, sheds some more light on what Lowe meant and how the RBA views immigration.

The Commonwealth Bank today launches its own entry into the increasingly crowded buy now, pay later space. StepPay is CBA’s effort to stop customers fleeing to the greener, interest-free pastures of Afterpay, PayPal and Zip. Around 100,000 Commonwealth Bank customers who pre-registered should have access.

A Melbourne company has told the federal government it could deliver 100 million mRNA vaccines from early 2023. Biotech company IDT has put forward a proposal to start production within 18 months and offer population-wide inoculation against COVID-19, the Nine papers report. You might think that seems a little late to be effective, but it could be helpful to fight future waves.

Australia’s economy is likely to contract by more than 2.7% in the September quarter as a result of current lockdowns and restrictions. While our vaccination rate has hit 20%, economists have warned it must keep pace to protect against a second pandemic recession. Modelling from the Doherty Institute has recommended low-level restrictions that do not extend to lockdowns will be the best way to manage the virus once vaccinations reach 70%.

The European Union’s carbon border adjustment plan hopes to even the playing field between local producers and exporters. Exporters would need to buy ‘carbon certificates’ to equate their products to local producers restricted by the EU’s emissions trading scheme. What does that mean for us? Australian exporters face little short-term risk but bigger challenges await, says a new Australian Industry Group report.

Taliban officials have fronted the media for the first time since they took Kabul. They promised they will not take revenge against those who worked or fought with US forces during their 20-year mission in Afghanistan. “Everyone is forgiven,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. “All of them have been pardoned, nobody is going to be treated with revenge.” As part of the media tour, a Taliban representative also sat for an interview with a female Afghan journalist.

BONUS ITEM

Some gross science for you.