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 Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the state’s declining COVID-19 numbers. The state recorded 1,466 cases yesterday, a significant drop from when it looked like it was about ready to punch past 2,000. “I think most people feel cautiously optimistic about that — I’m cautiously optimistic about that,” Sutton said during yesterday’s coronavirus update.

As coronavirus vaccination rates rise in NSW and Victoria, it’s possible both states might move along their reopening roadmaps earlier than expected. NSW will likely hit 80% full vaccination late next week, meaning the next phase of reopening is entirely possible on October 25. Victoria is set to hit the 70% threshold ahead of schedule too, meaning Victorians could be back in pubs at the end of next week.

Despite yesterday’s report from Treasury raising fears that companies restructured their affairs to better access JobKeeper, the ATO is less concerned. It has cleared thousands of businesses suspected of gaming the $89 billion JobKeeper program, the SMH reports, and said that it found almost all businesses complied with the program’s eligibility criteria.

Chinese state-controlled media has threatened Australia with further trade strikes. It comes following Tony Abbott’s comments in Taiwan during a recent visit. “Australia, a country that relies heavily on trade with China, has persistently prodded the most sensitive nerve of its biggest trading partner,” a China Daily story read. “With politicians in Canberra continuing to act and sound increasingly hostile toward China, the worst is probably yet to come

Dominic Perrottet’s first big move as NSW Premier has been to sign off on Australia’s largest hydrogen strategy. If successful, it would see green hydrogen jobs outstrip coal jobs in the state by 2050. The industry, which uses power sources like wind and solar to split hydrogen from water, would “pave the way for a net zero emissions future while driving economic growth,” according to the strategy.

Australian eToro users are holding on to ‘meme’ stocks GameStop and AMC Entertainment at levels above the global average in Q3. Both stocks have been the target of social media fascination over the past year, causing price spikes. Domestically, Tesla remained the most-held stock by eToro traders.

Westpac’s second-half profit will take a $1.3 billion hit. The hit is due mainly to hefty write-downs in its institutional banking arm, due in no small part to the historically low interest rate environment. Westpac shares fell on the news.

Australian startup Atelier collaborates with creators and influencers to make beauty, health and wellness products. The company serves a growing community looking to monetise their audience with products and brands of their own. Self-created products enable creators to own more of the value they gain from their communities, founder Nick Benson told Business Insider Australia. 

A second Facebook whistleblower says she’s willing to testify before Congress. Sophie Zhang said she’d shared documenation about “potential criminal violations” with a US law enforcement agency. Zhang publicly criticised Facebook in a 7,800-word memo after she was fired in 2020.

The UK’s failure to impose a lockdown in the early days of the pandemic was among the country’s biggest ever public health failures, according a comprehensive report on the pandemic by lawmakers. The UK has recorded more than 137,000 coronavirus deaths, the highest toll in Europe after Russia. “Decisions on lockdowns and social distancing during the early weeks of the pandemic — and the advice that led to them — rank as one of the most important public health failures the United Kingdom has ever experienced,″⁣ states the joint report.

BONUS ITEM

Looks like Australia is getting a new independent budget airline. Bonza expects to fly domestic routes from early next year.