10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Good morning.

1. Big corporates including banks, large mining companies and others will be asked to vaccinate their staff later in the year, as the rollout finally picks up pace. Australia currently lags behind other developed countries in vaccination, and state leaders including Gladys Berejiklian and Daniel Andrews say supplies are too low to meet demand.

2. South-east Queensland has joined NSW, WA and the Northern Territory in the lockdown club as of today. People in 11 government areas (Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, Logan, Redlands, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Scenic Rim, Lockyer Valley, Moreton Bay and Somerset) are only allowed to leave their homes for four reasons. You know the drill by now.

3. NSW recorded 19 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. Of those, all but two were linked to known clusters. A reminder that the Premier has suggested it is likely we’ll see those numbers ping-pong around a bit. Victoria reported one new local case this morning, who has been in isolation throughout their infectious period.

4. Queensland and Victoria are pushing to slash international arrivals in response to the current outbreaks. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said there needed to be a “massive reduction in overseas arrivals”. Daniel Andrews has suggested reducing caps by up to 80%. There are more than 35,000 Australians officially registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as being stranded overseas, but some suggest the actual number is much higher.

5. The country’s wealthiest property owners have capitalised on Sydney’s hot property market, with profits of up to $6 million on houses bought and sold within as little as 12 months. It comes as Domain data shows that in the past two years, house prices in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs have risen by 29%. Short hold periods are “a phenomenon of the rapid value increases seen in dwelling values,” Eliza Owens, CoreLogic’s head of research, told Business Insider Australia.

6. Nearly one in five households would have struggled to raise $2,000 for an important expense in the middle of 2020, says a new Australian Bureau of Statistics report. But the data suggests that figure could have been higher were it not for government support packages like JobKeeper and the Coronavirus Supplement. Overall life satisfaction was measured at 7.2 out of 10 in 2020, down from 7.5 in 2019, and 7.6 in 2014.

7. There has been a surge in businesses offshoring work to Southeast Asia during the pandemic. As international borders remain closed and skill shortages worsen, local companies are increasingly filling positions with workers from the Philippines and Vietnam. Outsourcing firms tell Business Insider Australia that not only are the cheaper hires helping keep some businesses afloat, but that these remote candidates can be higher quality than those available locally.

8. Australia’s largest companies will be required to be transparent about how they are managing climate change or risk losing institutional support, the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) say. Along with other investor representatives, the group is pushing to have mandatory reporting requirements for the entire ASX 300 within three years, as other nations have already done. The groups say it must be a ‘priority’ in order to manage investment risks, climate risks and maintain financial stability.

9. Last week, two cannabis companies with significant international footprints made major moves in the Australian market. Since the import and sale of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis was legalised in 2016, companies have been negotiating strict TGA guidelines to enter what they see as a potentially enormous growth market. “Australia is setting the benchmark” for the global manufacture and trade of cannabis, Fleta Solomon, managing director of Western Australia-based cannabis firm Little Green Pharma, told Business Insider Australia.

10. The Delta coronavirus variant, which is highly transmissible, is spreading rapidly in numerous countries, many of whom are much more vaccinated than Australia. Highly vaccinated countries like the UK and Israel are not seeing a rise in deaths or hospitalisations. Both are taking a more lenient approach to control the virus than in previous surges.

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