10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

10 things you need to know this morning in Australia
(Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

Good morning all.

Around 2000 protesters engaged in an at-times violent march through Melbourne yesterday, protesting vaccine mandates in the construction industry. It came after the Victorian government announced a two-week shutdown of the construction industry following a similar protest on Monday. There’s a good read in The Age about the tensions that have been boiling within the industry over the past few months.

Premier Daniel Andrews condemned the protests as “appalling” and “unlawful” in an address this morning, saying that the vaccine mandate will remain in place. “There were some people there who you would say were from the building industry, there were others who were not from the building industry. They’re not there to protests, they’re there for a fight, pretend to be protesting,” he said. Protestors are expected on the streets again this morning.

President Xi Jinping announced during a United Nations address that China will no longer fund coal-fired power plants abroad. It could shutter 47 planned power plants in 20 developing countries, depending on when the plan is ultimately implemented.

Afterpay is moving into buy now, pay later’s answer to short-term loans. The $36 billion company will allow customers to retrospectively convert purchases into BNPL transactions as part of its new Money app. It will essentially ‘spot’ customers up to $200 per week, with Afterpay to charge late fees on missed fortnightly repayments.

A new JobKeeper analysis suggests some two per cent of recipient firms may have accrued 20% of the total taxpayer subsidy. Corporate governance group Ownership Matter says firms with turnover of greater than $10 million, which never saw their revenues fall below predicted levels, may have accrued $6.2 billion. The scheme was subject to “bugger-all rorting” but “overly generous rules”, the group said Tuesday.

Fintech Airwallex has cemented its place as one of Australia’s fastest-growing startups. The Melbourne payments company has hit a $US4 billion valuation after finalising another $US200 million funding round. Co-founder and CEO Jack Zhang says he now has his eye on growing into North America, the UK, Europe and emerging markets. 

Gig marketplace Airtasker has said it will manage transparency around vaccination for its users with a vaccine ‘badge’ for its users and gig workers using data pulled from government sitesAs NSW and Victoria prepare to reopen, uncertainty remains over how public-facing companies will police vaccinations. Chief executive and co-founder of Airtasker Tim Fung said companies should take the lead in providing this information. 

The Commonwealth Bank has partnered with property management platform :Different. (Yes, that’s how the company’s name is rendered, it’s not a typo.) Ahead of rolling the service out to customers later this year, CBA has taken a minority stake as part of a $25 million investment round. Head of retail banking Angus Sullivan said the bank was expecting the lending market to bounce back out of lockdown.

Australian retailers have kicked off hiring sprees as they gear up for NSW and Victoria reopening. There are currently 55% more short-term jobs advertised than at the same time last year, the employment marketplace revealed. The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has predicted Australians will splash out $11 billion over the Christmas period. 

France remains furious with Australia and the US after being ditched from the submarine contract. President Macron wants to delay an EU-Australia trade deal and EU-US talks in response, reports said. President Joe Biden is said to be seeking a phone call with Macron to make amends, per reports from outlets including The Washington Post and The Hill.

BONUS ITEM

You’d be hard pressed to find something that would annoy Byron Bay locals more.