10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Good morning to you all from the Sydney lockdown zone.

1. Sydney residents have been warned that the current coronavirus outbreak will get worse before it gets better. The city entered a two-week lockdown as of yesterday. “Given how contagious this strain of the virus is, we do anticipate that in the next few days, case numbers are likely to increase even beyond what we have seen [on Sunday],” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

2. Jury’s out on whether the lockdown will stick to the two weeks. NSW’s chief health officer Kerry Chant “may be sufficient”, provided people kept getting tested and “we all take this very seriously”. The list of exposure sites continues to grow: check it out here.

3. Concern is developing over whether the outbreak of the Delta strain could go national. “We’re basically having a cross-country seeding event, that’s as simple as that,” said AMA vice president Dr Chris Moy. Victoria recorded no new cases this morning, while Darwin is facing day two of its 48-hour snap lockdown after an outbreak in a gold mine.

4. Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination rates are significantly below the level at which the public might support the easing of some border restrictions. 60% of respondents to a University of Melbourne study said unrestricted travel should be permitted once full vaccination rates reach nearly 80%, the AFR reports. “Our study reveals Australians are willing to open international borders, and Australia needs a road map to safely participate in relations with the globe while minimising COVID-19 health risks,” lead author Esperanza Vera-Toscano said.

5. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is back on the job today, almost 16 weeks after he badly injured his back in a fall. He posted a video to social media yesterday explaining in greater detail what happened to him, while taking a swipe at the “gutter politics” surrounding his accident.

6. The labour market appears as if it is running out of steam after a roaring recovery saw job vacancies boom. Job ads, typically a forward indicator of employment growth, are up more than 45% on pre-pandemic levels, Indeed figures show. However, vacancy numbers have made no progress whatsoever in the last month, suggesting that there is little room to go higher as lockdowns begin to bite again.

7. Meanwhile, one in four Australian businesses say they’re struggling to find suitable staff to fill job vacancies, according to newly-released ABS data. The survey of business conditions points to increased wage pressures that could lead to faster growth than that projected by the RBA. The central bank is forecasting wages growth to be 2% by June 2022, but Commonwealth Bank economists suggest it could hit 2.7% by the end of next year.

8. A landmark Senate inquiry has made 15 recommendations it hopes will make platform work safer and fairer for those participating in Australia’s gig economy. Regulators should crack down on “practices that incentivise unsafe behaviour”, the report states. Coalition members of the Senate Select Committee on Job Security opposed the interim report, calling it “partisan propaganda”.

9. More than 99% of those hospitalised for COVID-19 in the US are unvaccinated, the Associated Press reported. Fully vaccinated people accounted for 0.8% of COVID-19 deaths in May. It’s certainly a good sign for vaccination. Experts are urging Americans to get vaccinated as the more transmissible Delta variant spreads.

10. International, but relevant to what we’ve been seeing locally: Gen Z investors are taking more risks, picking up bad investing habits in the hunt to get rich quick, a Barclays survey has found. They trade often, take bigger risks and track their portfolios closely – habits criticised by investing experts. At the same time, so-called ‘finfluencers’ are sharing stock and investment strategy tips for fast, high returns.

BONUS ITEM

Not much to disagree with here!