Home » Australia Covid News Live Update: Queensland Reopens Its Border After Nearly Five Months; WA To Learn Its Roadmap Out Of Lockdown

Australia Covid News Live Update: Queensland Reopens Its Border After Nearly Five Months; WA To Learn Its Roadmap Out Of Lockdown

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21:10

Of course with Queensland’s border opening, tourism minister Dan Tehan is out and about this morning taking a victory lap (even though the decision to open the border has nothing to do with the federal government).

Here he is chatting to ABC radio:

All the forecasts are, when it comes to domestic tourism, by the end of next financial year it will be back to pre-pandemic levels and international tourism will follow on the back of that, so there are positive signals for our tourism industry … 660,000 jobs in our tourism sector, we want to make sure that reaches beyond post-pandemic levels and we need those overseas skills … here in Australia helping us strongly rebuild the tourism sector.

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21:01

Things seem to be getting pretty loose over in the Barnaby Joyce isolation suite, with the deputy prime minister placing his phone inside a microwave to get the perfect camera angle for his Sunrise interview.

I feel like there is a joke about radiation frying your brain in there somewhere, but I’ll just leave that up to you.

Sunrise (@sunriseon7)

Deputy Prime Minister @Barnaby_Joyce has had to get creative to fulfill his media commitments while in self-isolation 🤣 pic.twitter.com/ZUVngtuPIH

December 12, 2021

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20:58

VicEmergency (@vicemergency)

A day of TOTAL FIRE BAN has been declared for the Mallee and Wimmera districts on MONDAY, 13 DECEMBER 2021.
No fires can be lit in the open air between 00:01 and 23:59 on Monday.

Learn what you can and can’t do on a day of Total Fire Ban: t.co/pK768idABU pic.twitter.com/V3e00XvD5L

December 12, 2021

20:52

China has responded “irrationally” to the Aukus pact between Australia, the US and Britain, defence minister Peter Dutton says.

The conservative Australian minister continues to mount forthright criticism of the Chinese government, accusing it of “bullying” countries that stand up to it.

Yesterday Dutton said the Australian government had formed the Aukus partnership with the US and the UK because it wanted to see “see increased stability and peace in our region”.

“The response by China to that, I think, was irrational,” he told Sky News Australia.

You can read the full report below:

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20:45

Time to chat about next year’s election, and the battle the treasurer is facing from an independent in his home seat.

Michael Rowland:

You are now facing, as we know, Monique Ryan in the seat of Kooyong. She’s a Royal Children’s hospital doctor. You’ve labelled people like she, an independent, as a front for Labor and the Greens. What evidence do you have for that?

Josh Frydenberg:

Well, at the last election, I had an independent who said they were gonna vote for Labor. That’s a pretty clear indication. We’ve also seen plenty of cases where they’ve just mirrored the policies of our political opponents.

Rowland:

But what evidence do we have at this time?

Frydenberg:

This is a rinse-and-repeat, Michael. What we’ve seen, we’ve seen obviously a lot of funding going into these independents around the rest of the country, and it’s a democracy, so people can put their hand up.

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20:41

ABC News Breakfast host Michael Rowland:

Just on Omicron, you might have caught up with the news just in the last hour or so, Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, made an address to the nation there. He’s declared a tidal wave of Omicron case is about to hit the UK.

He’s declared it a public health emergency, and has declared that all British adults over the age of 16 can get a booster shot by the end of the year. Taking that into account, are we being a bit too sanguine about Omicron here in Australia?

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg:

We saw the medical advice, and that saw a pause for two weeks of the reopening of the border to international students and to skilled workers.

That was a precautionary measure. But we will continue to listen and follow the health advice, and it has served us well to date.

But at the same time, we need to ensure that our economy keeps this momentum going. And we’ve seen a very strong rebound, Michael. We’ve seen 350,000 jobs come back since the start of September. We’ve seen business and consumer confidence lift. We’ve seen Australia maintain its AAA credit rating. We’ve seen a very strong pipeline of investment, both in the housing market and more generally across the economy.

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20:37

Federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg is chatting to media this morning, discussing the Queensland border reopening.

He was asked if he is “absolutely confident” that state border closures are now a thing of the past.

I certainly hope so … We do know that the Omicron variant is not the first or not the last variant that we will probably see with respect to Covid.

We also know that it’s highly transmissible, but perhaps not as severe as previous variants. We also know that the vaccine has proven to be a very effective defence against the virus, with the number of hospitalisations and deaths coming down, and restrictions being eased accordingly.

So, I’m very hopeful that the state premiers will stick to the plan, keep their borders open, and allow Australians to be reunited at Christmas and allow businesses to flourish.

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20:27

The NBN has announced plans to switch to 100% renewable electricity by the end of 2025 and use electric or hybrid cars where possibly by 2030, reports AAP.

Australia’s NBN Co has announced a “towards-zero carbon ambition”, with the company outlining a plan to use electricity exclusively from renewable sources by the end of 2025.

As well as purchasing 100% renewable electricity from December 2025, an initial three-year roadmap works toward switching to electric or hybrid cars were possible by 2030, and reducing annual energy use by 25 gigawatt hours by the end of 2025.

Total electricity generation in Australia was estimated to be 265,232 GWh in 2020, according to government numbers. More than 8.3m premises are connected to the NBN network, and the company says it will seek a “more efficient use of energy as data demand and the number of connected premises continues to grow”.

NBN Co chief executive Stephen Rue said:

Beyond the direct impact of becoming an environmentally sustainable business, what’s equally exciting is the power of the network to help enable digitisation, and the huge benefits that unlocks for the nation in terms of emissions reductions, as well as socio-economic benefits.

The company has already entered into a renewable power purchasing agreement intended to deliver almost 20% renewable energy to the network by the 2o23 financial year. It plans to reach the 100% target through further power purchase agreements and contracts for renewables.

The announcement comes as NBN Co becomes the first Australian telco and government business enterprise to join RE100, a global initiative joining “the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100% renewable power”.

RE100 Australian co-ordinator Jon Dee said:

It joins 110 other major companies in Australia that have joined RE100 and made the commitment to switch to 100% renewable electricity.

Between them, Australian members of RE100 use more than 5.5 terawatt hours of electricity a year, enough to power 800,000 Australian homes.

The towards-zero carbon ambition is part of NBN Co’s second sustainability report released toay, which also looks at social and economic impacts.

With 33% of management positions held by women, NBN Co outperforms the national average, it notes. Additionally, as at 30 June 2021, NBN Co had a gender pay gap of less than 1%.

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20:18

Good morning

Good morning everyone and welcome to the new week! It’s Matilda Boseley here on the blog with you today and I have some good news to start us off.

After nearly five months the Queensland border has finally opened!

As of this morning, anyone from Victoria and NSW can enter the sunshine state as long as they are fully vaccinated and have proof of a negative PCR test before beginning their journey.

With tens of thousands of people expected to travel today, Jen King is up on the NSW/Queensland border this morning to bring us all the updates.

Jen King 💌🏊🏻‍♀️ (@JustJenKing)

Good morning from one of the Qld-NSW border crossings. It’s 5am and everyone is either in bed, at an F45 class, or in Queensland 🍍 Cc @MatildaBoseley #Qldborder pic.twitter.com/tm7qQ179OQ

December 12, 2021

Let’s go west now because Western Australia’s premier is set to finally reveal when the state’s borders will open, ending months of speculation.

Mark McGowan is expected to announce a firm date for the reopening, this morning, likely in late January or early February.

The state’s borders are closed or heavily restricted to every other state or territory except Tasmania. It’s anticipated the vaccination rate will have climbed to 90% by the time the borders finally reopen.

Once the borders come down, transitional restrictions will come into effect. This will likely include mask mandates in high-risk indoor settings, and proof-of-vaccination requirements for large events with crowds of more than 1,000 people, nightclubs and casinos.

Entry to remote Indigenous communities will remain restricted and contact registers will still be used.

OK! With all of that out of the way, why don’t we jump right into the day?

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