10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Good morning all.

Victoria’s building industry will be shut down for two weeks after a violent protest outside the CFMEU office. The union argues the majority of protesters were not unionists and were instead aligned with far-right and anti-lockdown groups. “We put the industry on notice just a week ago, we have seen appalling behaviour on site and on our streets, and now we’re acting decisively and without hesitation,” said Industrial Relations Minister Tim Pallas.

What does that mean in practice? All construction projects in metropolitan Melbourne, City of Ballarat, City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire and Mitchell Shire will be shut down, with the exception of some critical infrastructure work such as hospitals and some ongoing level crossing removal projects. The Victorian opposition says that it opposes the “panicked” decision — which is projected to cost the state economy $1 billion a week — while condemning the protest.

Victoria recorded 603 new local cases of COVID-19 today. It’s the highest daily tally in more than a year, and up from yesterday’s 567 cases. There were 40,811 vaccine doses administered.

NSW recorded 935 new cases of COVID-19 and four deaths yesterday. It’s the fourth consecutive day of lower cases in the state, but Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the health team aren’t calling a peak yet. The government intends to invest most of its pandemic recovery funding in western Sydney, where the harshest lockdowns have been implemented. The state is set to announce it will allow children to form social bubbles in groups of three.

Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and likely to work in children as young as five. The two-dose vaccine is currently OK’d for children as young as 12 in Australia. Research in even younger children is ongoing, with Pfizer and BioNTech expecting results down to 6-month-old infants before year’s end. 

A major retail group has called for further government guidance over Australia’s incoming vaccine passport system. Separately, restaurateurs have taken note of how diners responded to one venue’s adherence to double-vaccine rules. Industry groups have called for further government clarity over the rules.

The average Australian household now has 2.3 streaming service subscriptions, a new report shows. It follows a surge in sign ups over the past year, with households paying an average of $55 a month on digital entertainment. But industry leaders have suggested further growth is “unsustainable” as international and local players vie for market share.

The French submarine row continues. Scott Morrison said this morning that he understands the anger from Paris. “It would be naive to think a decision of this nature was not going to cause disappointment, obviously, to the French,” Morrison said. “We understand that, we totally acknowledge that and we knew that would be the case.” The depth of French anger has reportedly surprised the US.

Crypto platform CoinSpot has hit 2 million users. The exchange says the number of Australian crypto traders has doubled in the space of six months. Dogecoin was its second-most traded coin, with trades accelerating by 3840% this year.

Fake meat company Fry Family Food is marking its 30th anniversary. Founder Wally Fry has been pioneering meat alternatives since 1991, and now sells products in dozens of countries around the world. Having witnessed global attitudes transform in the last three decades, he is hopeful humanity can reverse the dangerous impacts of factory farms — read our interview here.

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Fashion house Balenciaga has announced a digital and physical partnership with the video game “Fortnite”. Worth every penny?