Australia news LIVE: Restrictions ease in NSW as state nudges 90 per cent COVID vaccination target; Victoria focuses on CBD recovery

Australia news LIVE: Restrictions ease in NSW as state nudges 90 per cent COVID vaccination target; Victoria focuses on CBD recovery

November 7, 2021

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Key posts

  • Coronavirus restrictions ease further in NSW for fully vaccinated
  • Melbourne diners receive $150 vouchers to boost CBD recovery
  • Sukkar argued for probe report to stay secret
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Coronavirus restrictions ease further in NSW for fully vaccinated

Fully vaccinated residents of NSW are waking up to eased coronavirus restrictions this morning.

From today, the 20 person limit on home visits is scrapped for those who’ve had two jabs. For outdoor gatherings, the limit is now 1000 people.

For retail and hospitality, density limits are now one person per two square metres. And stadiums may operate at 100 per cent capacity.

However, masks must still be worn indoors and on public transport. And gym classes are still limited to 20 people.

NSW is tipped to hit its 90 per cent double-dose vaccination target later today.

Unvaccinated individuals remain subject to stay-at-home restrictions until December 15 or when the state reaches a 95 per cent double-dose rate (whichever comes first).

Melbourne diners receive $150 vouchers to boost CBD recovery

Diners in downtown Melbourne will be able to claim vouchers worth up to $150 as part of a $44 million package to support the recovery of CBD businesses.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Melbourne lord mayor Sally Capp announced the $5 million voucher scheme yesterday morning.

Vaccinated Melburnians eat out again as the city reopens.Credit:Getty

The state government said the arrangement would allow diners to claim up to 30 per cent off their bill, up from the 20 per cent offered in a similar scheme in the middle of this year.

More than 200,000 rebates will be offered to customers who dine at restaurants, cafes and bars in the City of Melbourne on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

More on the Melbourne CBD recovery plan here.

Sukkar argued for probe report to stay secret

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar argued strongly that a Finance Department report into allegations he was involved in rorting public resources for political purposes be kept secret.

The department has revealed in response to a freedom of information request by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald that Mr Sukkar, a federal minister and Liberal Party conservative faction leader, had “made strong representations that release is not authorised”.

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar during question time earlier this year. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The main reasons provided for refusal of the request were that release would breach legal professional privilege, that the report contained material obtained in confidence and that it could breach personal privacy. Overall, the department said releasing the report would “on balance, be contrary to the public interest”.

The investigation was requested by Mr Sukkar after he was accused in August 2020 of encouraging an improper scheme in which factional operatives were given taxpayer-funded jobs in Mr Sukkar’s office and the office of fellow Victorian Liberal MP Kevin Andrews in 2017 and 2018.

Mr Sukkar, who declined multiple interview requests but has denied all wrongdoing, used the department investigation to claim he had been exonerated.

Read the full story here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Monday, November 8. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.

Here’s everything you need to know before we get started.

  • NSW residents who are fully vaccinated are waking up to eased coronavirus restrictions. From today, the 20 person limit on home visits is scrapped and outdoor gatherings are now capped at 1000 people. Indoor density limits are now one person per two square metres and stadiums may operate at 100 per cent capacity. However, masks must still be worn indoors and on public transport. And gym classes are still limited to 20 people. NSW yesterday reported 244 new cases of COVID-19 and one death. There are 269 coronavirus patients in NSW hospitals. Of those, 52 are in intensive care. The state is tipped to hit its 90 per cent double-dose target for people aged 16 and over later today. Yesterday, the state was sitting at 89.7 per cent in terms of second doses.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet. Credit:Kate Geraghty

  • Melburnians are being given dining vouchers to help the CBD roar back to life. It’s all part of a $44 million state and local government package to help kickstart the local economy. More than 200,000 rebates will be offered to customers who choose to dine within the City of Melbourne on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. They will be able to claim 30 per cent off their bill (up to $150), which is up from the 20 per cent rebate that was offered earlier this year. Victoria yesterday reported 1173 new cases of COVID-19 and nine deaths. There are currently 568 coronavirus patients in Victorian hospitals. Of those, 96 are in ICU. Sixty-three are on a ventilator. In terms of vaccines, 83 per cent of Victorians aged 12 and over have had both coronavirus jabs.

Melbourne lord mayor Sally Capp. Credit:Enrique Ascui

  • Australia’s travel bubble with Singapore is now in effect. Fully vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents and their family members are allowed to fly to Singapore and back without quarantining. The first plane from Singapore is currently on its way to Australia. At this stage, just Melbourne and Sydney are accepting regular, quarantine-free international travellers off the back of high vaccination rates.

Australia’s quarantine-free travel corridor with Singapore is now in effect.

  • Federal minister Michael Sukkar is making headlines after a joint Age, Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes investigation revealed he had knowledge of a long-running scheme in which is best friend, younger brother and factional supporters were paid by taxpayers for political work that boosted the power of his political faction. The Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Housing has declined multiple interview requests and has denied all wrongdoing.

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

  • And the ACT reported 13 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. There is now just one coronavirus patient in hospital in the territory. However, they are on a ventilator in ICU. The ACT is sitting at a 94.4 per cent double-dose vaccination rate for people aged 12 and over.
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