10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

10 things you need to know this morning in Australia
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Good morning, folks.

The director of the Doherty Institute, which is behind the modelling that supports the plan to reopen Australia, has underlined that the plan can go ahead at 70-80% of the adult population vaccinated, even if there are large numbers of COVID-19 cases in the community. “The really big important issue about moving from phase A to phase B is that we’re moving out of an environment of zero-COVID,” Professor Sharon Lewin said on the ABC last night. “Zero COVID is no longer the goal once you have 70-80% of people vaccinated. Whether you start at 30 cases or 800 cases you can still open up safely.”

NSW is set to hit Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s first target of 6 million vaccines today. The state recorded 818 cases of COVID-19 yesterday. Berejiklian said that hitting that target will result in some rule relaxations for some people, but there’s no detail on that as yet. “We will be able to communicate what additional freedom people may have once they get to full vaccination and during September, and we will outline our plan for schools,” she said.

Victoria recorded 50 new coronavirus infections today, of whom only 11 were in quarantine for their whole infectious period. It makes it seem increasingly unlikely the lockdown will end at the beginning of next month as expected. Authorities are particularly concerned about a rise in mystery cases and infections among children.

As many as 7,000 Toll employees will go on strike this week after crisis talks failed on Monday. Drivers will stop work for 24 hours in protests over new proposals that would cut overtime pay and introduce new low contractor wages. Both Toll management and the Transport Workers Union have accused the other side of dishonesty, as they fight over the new enterprise bargaining agreement.

Scott Morrison says the government’s intention is to vaccinate all children aged 12-15 ‘in parallel’ with the adult population. Children are increasingly being infected with the Delta variant of coronavirus, raising questions about when they will benefit from the vaccination program.

Ten vaccinated travellers will be awarded a year’s worth free flights as part of a new Qantas competition. Of course, Qantas has a vested interest in driving COVID-19 vaccination rates as it is hamstrung by lingering border closures. “We believe the vaccine is our ticket out of the pandemic,” CEO Alan Joyce said.

A report from Australia’s peak residential building body has projected that the current construction boom will likely end by mid next year. The almost 33% uptick in building projects since 2019 was unsustainable, it said in its quarterly report. The projections follow warnings from builders associations that the current rate of activity masked shortages that were destroying any potential profits. 

Electric car charging network JOLT plans to install 5000 free fast chargers across Australian capital cities. It comes after Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, bought a stake in the company and injected $100 million towards extending its network. Drivers using the company’s chargers would receive 7 kWh (equivalent to about 45 kilometres of driving) for free, and be charged for power drawn after that.

Australian startup Linktree, which operates a popular ‘link in bio’ service, acquired a music tech company last week as part of its strategy to move away from being simply a gateway to other platforms. The fast-growing Australian startup has also ramped up its monetisation capabilities, enabling users to set up tip jars using Square and PayPal. “I feel like we have this huge opportunity to be like the next Canva in Australia,” the company’s head of growth Jess Box told Business Insider Australia.

The Food and Drug Administration in the US on Monday fully approved Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine. The two-dose shot is now the first and, so far, only COVID-19 vaccine to get full FDA approval. The whole US vaccination program to date has been off the back of emergency, rather than full, authorisation.

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What do we reckon? Is it like The Croods?