10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Hello all. Hope you’re well, and for the Sydneysiders I hope you’re surviving lockdown.

1. As predicted, the lockdown restrictions impacting Greater Sydney have been extended for another week. Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday announced stay-at-home orders and business closures, which were slated to expire this Friday, will instead last until midnight on Friday, July 16. Health authorities on Wednesday revealed an additional 27 cases of COVID-19 the community.

2. We’re expecting something of a surge in cases today. Three local government areas – Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool – have been singled out as major areas of concern for health officials. There are 37 COVID-19 patients in Sydney’s hospitals, including seven in ICU and two ventilated.

3. Private enterprise could be integrated into Australia’s vaccine rollout later this year, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced. Frydenberg said a “productive” meeting of business leaders and government officials heard vaccines “could be provided at the local Bunnings or Officeworks”. But both Frydenberg and rollout chief Lieutenant-General John Frewen said that move would be subject to vaccine supply, which is slated to improve from September.

4. Further to the above, Wesfarmers chief executive Rob Scott has confirmed he will give employees paid leave to get vaccinated. “We’ve allowed six hours paid leave to go and get both doses of the vaccine,” he told Radio National this morning. “That’ll cost us about $8 million a year. But it’s really important that we’re doing our bit to encourage people to go get the vaccine.”

5. Investor lending has shot up to its highest levels since 2015, new ABS data shows, but experts say they are not yet increasing competition for buyers. Investor loans were up 13% in June and were up 116% compared to May 2020. The return of investors has also closed the gap between soaring house prices and comparatively lower apartment prices, experts said.

6. Almost two in three Australian bosses are still claiming their bonuses during the pandemic, new data shows. Analysis from the Governance Institute of Australia shows that one in four ASX executives and directors are receiving raises, down from more than half the year prior. As workers contend with stagnant wage growth, CEO Megan Motto cautioned companies to be “careful” about how they reward their biggest earners.

7. Australia’s first ‘millennial and Gen Z investment conference’ was at the end of last week, and I forced one of our reporters to sit through it. It was an interesting glimpse into a rapidly developing spacing, where influencers dole out advice that ranges from the innocuous to the dodgy – right when regulators are starting to take a much closer look.

8. Donald Trump said he is filing class-action lawsuits against Facebook, Google, and Twitter and their executives, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Sundar Pichai, alleging that they censor users. The suits come after social media platforms banned him following the January 6 riot at the US Capitol. Trump and other Republicans have waged a war against the two firms over alleged censorship.

9. It’s not just Australia and the RBA that are contending with a surge in property prices. Over in the US, the Federal Reserve is also watching the country’s red hot property market – and is at a bit of a loss with what to do about. Some officials “saw benefits” to tapering mortgage-loan purchases to cool the market, while others want to stay the course, according to meeting minutes.

10. Hooray! The Ever Given has been released by the Suez Canal Authority and is – slowly – resuming its journey. It spent months in custody while Egypt negotiated payment for the ship’s closure of the canal. Egypt is said to have asked for $200 million, but it is not clear how much it got in the end.

BONUS ITEM

Keen to really wallow in the depravity of Australia’s property market right now? Amazon’s new show “Luxe Listings Sydney” could scratch that itch. Or make you angry. Our reporter took a look.