10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Good morning, team.

1. Let’s start, as we have for the past few weeks, with some figures. Victoria recorded 384 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, and six deaths – four of which were in aged care. NSW recorded 14 new cases, including two in the Potts Point area of Sydney, which has been flagged as a possible emerging hotspot.

2. NSW is set to cut land tax for 20 years for developers who invest in build-to-rent housing. Build-to-rent schemes are intended to provide better quality rental properties and long tenancy agreements. “Build-to-rent is popular overseas but still in its infancy in Australia, and we want to remove the barrier and allow this segment of the market to grow,” said Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.

3. Rents declined 0.7% across the country’s capital cities during the June quarter, according to the latest CoreLogic data. Hobart, Sydney and Melbourne were responsible for the largest falls, plunging 2.3%, 1.3% and 1% respectively. Softening rental markets have largely been driven by a halt in migration leading to falling demand and increasing supply of available rentals.

4. Food delivery company DoorDash has entered an agreement with the Transport Workers Union (TWU) on a range of protections for workers amid the coronavirus pandemic. This includes financial assistance for workers who contract the virus and insurance for injuries on the job. The union hopes the move will encourage other companies to make similar agreements.

5. Two weeks of paid pandemic leave have been extended to aged care workers in the latest Fair Work decision. The conditional special leave will be available to those who are either displaying symptoms or have come into close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Unions are now calling for the measure to be extended to all workers to protect against further spread of the coronavirus.

6.Victoria has lost more jobs, and is losing them faster than any other state in the country. Since March 14 when Australia recorded its 100th confirmed COVID-19 case, Victoria has lost 7.3% of all jobs in the state – or roughly 252,000. In the week to July 11, 1.4% of all Victorian jobs were cut, more than any other state or territory.

7. As the coronavirus pandemic wages on, Australian taste for property may be changing as many continue to work from home. Comparing prices along with a suburbs makeup, Finder has revealed what it believes are the top 10 suburbs in Australia to buy in during the era of COVID. Victoria, the state currently fighting a second spike in infections, did not claim a top 10 spot.

8. Facebook is suing the EU for asking for too many documents as part of an antitrust probe. The company filed an official challenge against the European Commission on July 15, and confirmed it’s suing the Commission to Reuters on Monday. The Commission has asked for company documents containing a set of 2,500 key phrases including “big question,” “shut down,” and “not good for us.”

9. Instagram has reportedly offered cash to high-profile TikTok users to lure them to its new short-form video service, Reels. The Wall Street Journal cited unnamed sources as saying Instagram was offering hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases ahead of Reel’s expected rollout in August. Reels is widely seen as Facebook’s attempt to compete with TikTok, an app that topped 2 billion global downloads in April.

10. Mark Zuckerberg will argue before Congress that Facebook’s acquisitions of companies like Instagram and WhatsApp are good for competition, according to a copy of his prepared remarks obtained by Business Insider. Zuckerberg is set to testify on Wednesday before the House Antitrust Subcommittee, which is investigating whether the company engaged in anticompetitive behaviour. The CEOs of Amazon, Apple, and Google’s parent company Alphabet will also face questions from members of Congress at the hearing on Wednesday.


Funny yarn here.

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