Good morning all.
Melbourne’s sixth lockdown is set to end. Stay-at-home orders and the nightly curfew will be scrapped from 11.59pm on Thursday, Premier Daniel Andrews announced yesterday in a significant change to the state’s roadmap. Ten people will be allowed in homes and up to 20 patrons permitted to dine indoors. “Today we’re moving beyond [statewide lockdowns] — we’re not locking people down any more across the board, instead we’re locking people out who have not got vaccinated,” he said.
Case numbers in the state remain reasonably high. Victoria recorded 1,838 cases yesterday and seven deaths. Mask mandates will remain indoors and outside until the state hits 80% double vaccination, and travel between Melbourne and regional areas remains restricted except for those who have obtained exemptions and permits.
Sydney’s restrictions have eased further now that NSW has hit its 80% double-dose vaccination target. Masks no longer required in office buildings or outdoor spaces for the vaccinated. Up to 20 visitors are allowed in a home at any one time. More non-essential retail and venues like gyms can reopen, with density limits. The state recorded 301 cases of COVID-19 yesterday, and 10 deaths.
An international proof-of-vaccination certificate will be available from tomorrow. That means we’re one step closer to two-way international travel. “The launch of the international proof of vaccination is a key step towards safely reopening international borders and supporting Australia’s COVID-19 economic recovery,” said the Minister for Employment, Workforce and Skills, Stuart Robert. Quarantine-free travel from New Zealand’s South Island will resume from midnight Tuesday.
Here’s a shocker: the Nationals are not playing ball on net zero. The partyroom emerged from a four-hour meeting on Sunday without agreement on the issue, and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce warned of a “ripple effect” if the party felt threatened to make a rapid decision on the issue. He also said he did not expect the Nationals to accept a higher Australian emissions target for 2030.
It comes as business leaders say Australia is being left behind the rest of the developed world on climate, and that it is creating uncertainty. “Business wants to see strong emissions targets for 2050 and 2030 that will put Australia in the mainstream of advanced economies and guide immediate action and long-term decision-making,” Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said.
Westpac has updated its projections around price increases in the Australian property market for the remainder of 2021. Prices across major cities are on track to jump 1.5% this month, it said. It also predicts a surge of a further 22% this year. Westpac said it expects “incremental” tightening in macroprudential policy from early next year.
Australian institutions face a “significant disinvestment” risk if they do not bolster their green credentials, the Reserve Bank of Australia warns. In a Thursday address, RBA deputy governor Guy Debelle said it is likely “these forces are going to intensify from here”. The speech came days before the landmark COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.
Facebook claims it uses AI to identify and remove posts containing hate speech and violence, but the technology doesn’t really work. Facebook’s artificial intelligence removes less than 5% of hate speech viewed on the social media platform. A new report from the Wall Street Journal details flaws in the platform’s strategy to remove harmful content. Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen said that the company dangerously relies on AI and algorithms.
From the wild world of streaming: “Squid Game” will generate just under $900 million in value for Netflix, internal documents show. Bloomberg reported that the documents said the series was watched by a record 132 million people. “Squid Game” cost around $US2.4 million an episode, far less than “The Crown” and “Stranger Things”.
The only levity I have for you this morning is this monkey. Make of that what you will.