10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Good morning.

Australia is now set to make a formal pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Nationals MPs backed the goal after a meeting on Sunday, and now Scott Morrison will ask his federal cabinet to endorse the plan, which is set to include deal sweeteners like incentives for farmers and investment in hydrogen energy.

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce says he is now fully supportive of net zero, despite reports that he was opposed to it throughout party room discussions. “I’ve said to you quite clearly, unambiguously, I’m 100% on board with a goal to achieve net zero by 2050 because that was the decision of the Nationals party room,” he told the ABC this morning. However, it has not been revealed exactly what he extracted from Morrison in exchange for Nationals support.

More restrictions are set to lift in Victoria, as the set to reach its 80% double-dose vaccination milestone almost a week ahead of schedule. From 6pm on Friday, travel within the state will be permitted, density limits will increase, shopping centres will open and outdoor masks will be scrapped. Almost all of the state’s restrictions are set to end by the beginning of November – but Premier Daniel Andrews flagged that the unvaccinated will have access to only basic services into 2023. “If you’re not vaccinated, you’re not getting in,” he said.

Students in years 2 to 11 return to face-to-face learning in Sydney today. NSW recorded 296 new, local cases of COVID-19 yesterday and four deaths yesterday. The state is sitting at 84.98% of people double-vaccinated.

The RBA has called for buy now, pay later players including including Afterpay and Zip, to ditch the no surcharge clauses in contracts with merchants. As it stands, most BNPL companies forbid their merchants from passing the cost of their service onto customers, which is what helps make them such a compelling option. The RBA said the move comes after “strong feedback from merchants that BNPL has become an essential payment offering for many of them and that the high cost of these services was pushing up their payment costs”.

Jobs boards and recruitment companies have recorded a surge in listings for retail and hospitality roles. Recent data shows there were 55% more short-term jobs in retail and hospitality advertised than at the same time last year, as Australia’s two biggest cities reopen. The labour shortage has prompted a rethink of NSW’s immigration program as industry groups more broadly call for action to help them fill their labour shortfall.

Telstra and the federal government will buy South Pacific telco operator Digicel, with taxpayers putting up about $1.9 billion. “We previously said that if Telstra were to proceed with a transaction it would be with financial and strategic risk management support from the Government,” said Telstra CEO Andy Penn.

Australia Post will spend $400 million to boost parcel operations around the country ahead of the Christmas boom. The surge in deliveries throughout this year’s lockdowns have really pushed the postal service to the limit. The $400 million will be spent on “new parcel facilities, fleet expansion and technology upgrades.”

More than a third of Australian electricity was powered by clean energy in the September quarter. The energy market’s accelerated shift to renewables is being driven by plunging wholesale prices with which coal and gas just can’t compete. It’s an acceleration that has seen major energy providers wind down — or even cease — their coal-powered operations entirely, as the energy market makes an overcorrection for absent federal climate policy.

Internal researchers said Twitter’s algorithm showed bias toward right-wing politicians. Tweets from “accounts from the political right receive more algorithmic amplification,” they said. The research, published Thursday, came as former President Donald Trump launched a competitor.

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