Good morning, everyone.
Australia’s net zero climate commitment is inching closer, with the Nationals expected to deliver their policy demands by the end of the week. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he wants to present a binding net zero by 2050 pledge at the upcoming COP26 climate conference, but concerns among some Nationals MPs mean the Coalition is yet to cross the t’s and dot the i’s. As renewable energy technology charges ahead, Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce is reportedly seeking assurances over a feasibility study into a new, ‘clean’ coal power station.
Victoria will launch a home quarantine trial for select international arrivals next week. The Age reports a small group of passengers flying into Melbourne from London will be asked to isolate at home for seven days, instead of entering the hotel quarantine system for 14 days. Those travellers will be asked to use a facial recognition phone app to prove their whereabouts. The report comes days after New South Wales announced it will soon ditch all quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated arrivals.
Domestic visitors have something to celebrate, too, with Victoria confirming fully-vaccinated travellers from NSW will no longer face COVID-19 testing and self-isolation once crossing the border. All NSW ‘red zones’ listed on Victoria’s ‘traffic light’ system were removed at midnight. However, the ‘orange’ zone covering Sydney is still in place, meaning travellers from those regions who have not received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine must undergo testing and self-isolate until they return a negative result. NSW recorded 282 new community cases of COVID-19 overnight, with 81.6 per cent of the population aged over 16 now fully immunised.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows for Victorian venue operators, though, many of whom discovered they will not be allowed to operate from Friday under the state’s accelerated reopening plan. A document shared by the Victorian Government on Sunday said “pubs, clubs, and entertainment venues” will soon be allowed to open their doors to 20 fully-vaccinated patrons. But Premier Daniel Andrews has since confirmed that last inclusion was a “typo”, leaving entertainment venues shuttered for a while longer. All told, Victoria recorded 1,841 new community cases of COVID-19 overnight, and nearly 39,000 more vaccine doses administered.
Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party spent far more on online political ads than any of its rivals, a new Google transparency report says. Of $1.5 million spent across the board, United Australia Party chipped in $1.2 million. The findings suggest there’s a need for “real-time donation and expenditure reporting,” said Dr Peter Chen, a senior lecturer of media politics, public policy and Australian politics at the University of Sydney.
A new study found 61% of Australian workers believed a hybrid working model was the most productive. The study, a collaboration between the NSW Government and Edith Cowan University, found workers who work remotely and dictate the terms of their work overwhelmingly support the model. It’s another fascinating data point for managers to consider as they reimagine the post-lockdown office.
Don’t expect real wage growth any time soon, the Reserve Bank of Australia has warned. In the minutes of its latest monetary policy meeting, the central bank said recent lockdowns and reports of labour shortages “had not appeared to affect most firms’ expectations for wages growth” across the board. The RBA used that data point to defend its decision not to lift the interest rate from rock-bottom levels, saying that tightened lending could impact job creation through the pandemic recovery.
Even if wage growth is stagnant, Commonwealth Bank reports card spending is up. It was up over the last week, at least, after NSW allowed retailers and personal service providers to fling open their doors after slogging through lockdowns. Card spending in the state was 17 per cent higher than in the corresponding week of 2019, providing a boon to hard-hit businesses across the region.
Food delivery platform Menulog has announced plans to create as many as 500 new office jobs before mid-2022, based in Sydney. Those roles, largely in customer and business support positions, will bolster the company as it contributes the nation’s insatiable appetite for delivery options. Australia is the fastest-growing market for Menulog’s parent company, said managing director Morten Belling.
You’ve heard of the ‘Great Resignation’, but did you know a Reddit forum dedicated to quitting has reached 700,000 subscribers? The board, r/AntiWork, has flourished as US resignation rates hit a two-decade high. The purported resignations mostly come from minimum wage earners and service workers, who quit after being pressured to come into work on their off days, pick up shifts with late notice, or comply with allegedly unfair working conditions.
Here’s a delightful Twitter thread from Australian “Farscape” star Claudia Black, who appears to have made an impression on a young James McAvoy. (Is this just an excuse for me to sneak “Dune” content into Business Insider Australia? I’ll never tell.)