10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Victoria seems to be preparing for a prolonged lockdown, as COVID-19 cases in the community remain stubbornly high. The Age reports the state government is considering relaxing some restrictions, including reopening playgrounds and allowing year 12 students back into the classroom, in anticipation that this might go on longer than expected. Victoria recorded 73 cases this morning.

NSW set another national record yesterday. There were 1,218 cases of COVID-19 in the state yesterday. But Gladys Berejiklian said the growing case numbers were “not relevant”, and that NSW would chart a course for living with the virus through vaccination. It comes amid discussion — including from the state’s chief health officer Kerry Chant — that Australia should aim to be among the world’s most vaccinated jurisdictions.

Berejiklian also said she is leaving it to businesses in NSW whether to make vaccines mandatory for visitors. “I suspect that once we hit 70% double dose, many private businesses might make decisions to say they do not want anyone who is not vaccinated using their premises or services,” she said. For those who choose not to be vaccinated? “That is OK, but do not expect to have the same freedoms as vaccinated people.”

Supermarket giant ALDI Australia says its Sydney workforce will be challenged by new authorised worker permit rules. As of Saturday, workers in Sydney’s 12 COVID-19 hotspot regions must carry an authorised workers permit if they cannot work from home. The registration system only came online Thursday, leading the chain to shuffle workers’ rosters and stores to remain “fully operational”. 

Voters in every federal seat in Australia support increased action on climate change, according to a major new poll. The survey of 15,000 Australians conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Australian Conservation Foundation found 67% of voters believed the government should be doing more to address climate change. The highest support is in the Northern Territory, where 71% supported more action, and the lowest was NSW, where 65% wanted more.

Toll workers went on strike on Friday as scheduled, disrupting supply chains. Last-minute discussions between Toll management and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) failed to resolve the dispute over outsourcing and job security. There was some impact on Toll clients, including supermarkets Woolworths and Coles, as well as Amazon, Bunnings and others.

Anti-lockdown protests are continuing along the NSW-Queensland border, in an unrelated trucker dispute against mandatory vaccination for essential workers. Several truck drivers have decided to block traffic along a key highway, which you can see in the video below.

New ABS figures show that the number of small businesses has actually increased since the start of the pandemic. The data shows a 15.2% jump in registrations for small businesses over the past financial year. Healthcare, construction and retail have also seen a boost in new businesses. 

A new survey investigating the use of services to ghostwrite university assignments by Australian students blows previous estimates out of the water. It found around 11% admitted to using file-sharing sites, with slightly fewer than that paying for ghostwriting. The findings reflect the growing prevalence of commercial and social platforms that offer academic services to students — some a little more illicit than others.

There was a big investigation in the ABC over the weekend into Amazon Flex delivery drivers. Flex drivers, who are Amazon’s gig workforce, are at the centre of a growing trend in the delivery business toward replacing salaried drivers with gig subcontractors with “fewer workplace rights and no guarantee of a secure income.” Worth a read.

BONUS ITEM

An interesting read on Shein, the “largest online-only fashion company in the world”. The billion-dollar Chinese brand undercuts rivals on price and often adds thousands of new styles to its website daily, while also being strangle reclusive with press and PR.