10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

10 things you need to know this morning in Australia
(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Morning all!

The NSW government is reviewing COVID-19 hotspot boundaries. There is pressure mounting to release certain suburbs from harsher lockdown as vaccination rates rise. The state recorded 1,127 cases of COVID-19 and two deaths yesterday.

Victoria recorded 445 new local coronavirus cases on Tuesday and two deaths. The state’s new roadmap to reopening is due to be unveiled on Sunday, and it is believed outdoor social gatherings may be among the first activities to resume. “I’ll have more to say about schools, more to say about social gatherings, more to say about the economy and all of its different sectors. All of that will be out there on Sunday,” said Premier Daniel Andrews.

The federal government is moving closer to using rapid antigen testing and home quarantine as tools to fight the pandemic once borders reopen. Health Minister Greg Hunt asked the country’s medical regulator to urgently consider the widespread use of rapid antigen testing in workplaces and for home use, and home quarantine is being tested with returning Paralympians.

The astounding price growth produced by Australia’s runaway property market is quantified by the latest ABS data. National values rose by almost $600 billion in the three months to June, with the average home price rising by $52,600. Outstripping wage growth by a country mile, Indeed economist Callam Pickering said it “has never been more difficult to raise a [home] deposit”.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe delivered a speech on ‘Delta, the Economy and Monetary Policy’. Lowe again raised concerns over sky-high household debt, record lending, and a delayed economic recovery. He also ruled out the prospect of early interest rate hikes, anticipating genuine economic growth is another year away.

Meanwhile, a new OECD report calls for the RBA to face its first independent review in 40 years. The report says it is now time to address the central bank’s failure to meet key economic targets in recent years, as well as how it will address ongoing pandemic risk into the future. The RBA has failed to hit its inflation targets for more than five years now.

The Australian Competition & Commission is investigating if there has been a breach of competition laws regarding shipping containers in Australia. At the same time, the watchdog is looking into the broader shipping industry, which has seen container prices spike. COVID-19 disruptions and massive consumer demand for retail goods have strained the global shipping industry.

Industrial relations changes set out by the Morrison government have now been implemented by the Fair Work Commission (FWC). A key feature defines casual work and maps out how employers should transition staff to permanent work. However, the unions have criticised the new rules, arguing it delays back the pathway from six to 12 months, and worsens job security.

Australian startup Who Gives A Crap announced it had taken on its first round of capital with a group of sustainability-driven investors following nine years in business. The company said the investment would help it accelerate its profit-for-purpose business model that sees 50% of all profits donated to charity. It plans to use the capital to enter new countries, expand its products and scale its sustainability initiatives.

Apple unveiled new versions of many of its biggest products on Tuesday, including the iPhone 13. New versions of the iPad, iPad Mini, and Apple Watch were also debuted. With the exception of a design update to the iPad Mini, none of the product updates featured major changes.

BONUS ITEM

Norm Macdonald, one of the funniest comedians to ever do it, died today. Incredible gag for your Wednesday morning: