Home » Australia Live News Update: Barnaby Joyce Opposes Julian Assange Extradition; NSW Train Strike; MRNA Vaccines Could Be Made In Victoria

Australia Live News Update: Barnaby Joyce Opposes Julian Assange Extradition; NSW Train Strike; MRNA Vaccines Could Be Made In Victoria

  • by

22:09

A reminder that this significant jump in Covid-19 cases in NSW comes ahead of a huge range of vaccinated economy restrictions being lifted across the state tomorrow.

From 15 December the following rules apply to everyone regardless of vaccination status:

  • Masks will only be required on public transport and planes, at airports, and for indoors front-of-house hospitality staff not fully vaccinated
  • QR check-ins only required for hospitals, aged and disability care facilities, gyms, places of worship, funerals or memorial services, personal services, pubs, small bars, registered clubs, nightclubs, strip clubs, sex on premises, and indoor music festivals with more than 1,000 people
  • No person limit in gyms, indoor recreation and sporting facilities
  • Non-critical retail reopens to all
  • No person limit for personal services including hairdressers, spas, beauty and nail salons, tattoo and massage parlours
  • Employers allow staff to work from home at their discretion
  • International travellers who are not fully vaccinated still need to quarantine on arrival for 14 days
  • No limit to number of visitors in your home
  • No limit to number of people for outdoor public gatherings
  • All visitors to residents in aged care facilities and disability homes permitted in line with their policies
  • No person limit in hospitality venues
  • Singing and dancing is permitted indoors and outdoors for all
  • Travel between Greater Sydney and regional NSW permitted for all
  • Carpooling permitted for all
  • Caravan parks and camping grounds open for all
  • No person limit for major recreation facilities like stadiums, theme parks and race courses
  • No person limit for entertainment facilities like cinemas and theatres
  • No person limit for information and education facilities like art galleries, museums and libraries
  • No person limit for outdoor public gatherings and recreation
  • Music festivals reopen with 20,000 person limit
  • Amusement centres and play centres open to all
  • Weddings and funerals permitted with no person limit, eating and drinking allowed while standing and dancing permitted for all
  • Singing and dancing indoors permitted by all
  • Places of worship open to all

Rules via AAP.

Updated

22:01

NSW records 804 new Covid-19 cases and one death

NSW Health (@NSWHealth)

NSW #COVID19 update – Tuesday 14 December 2021

In the 24-hour reporting period to 8pm last night:

– 94.8% of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
– 93.2% of people aged 16+ have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine pic.twitter.com/tGlh6AmLId

December 13, 2021

22:00

Victoria records 1,189 new cases a six deaths

21:59

The deaths of two Queensland infant twins with special needs is being investigated by child protection police, reports AAP.

Emergency services were called to an apartment block in Bungalow, an inner suburb of Cairns, on Monday morning.

They were unable to revive the two infants, who both had special medical needs.

Police said on Tuesday morning the Cairns Child Protection Investigation Unit was investigating their deaths.

Updated

21:46

Australia’s eight planned nuclear submarines will cost $70bn at an “absolute minimum” and it’s “highly likely” to be more than that, defence analysts say.

With inflation, the cost could be as high as $171bn, according to a new report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

The thinktank’s report contained a series of estimates ranging from low to high and conceded that estimating the final cost of the project is necessarily an “extremely assumption-rich activity”.

Under the low range, for a smaller submarine with a more efficient build, the “constant” cost (not including inflation) would be about $70bn. Including inflation (the “out-turned” cost), it would be $116bn.

You can read the full report below:

21:34

Here is the full statement for the Victorian government on the Moderna manufacturing facility that’s set to be operational by 2024.

Political Alert (@political_alert)

Victoria to become home of mRNA vaccine manufacturing #springst pic.twitter.com/2Zl74qFxOw

December 13, 2021

Updated

21:26

Prime minister Scott Morrison has called on states and territories to ease their last remaining Covid-19 restrictions, as Western Australia announced plans to reopen its hard border to the rest of the nation, reports AAP’s Andrew Brown.

Speaking at the Sydney Institute’s annual dinner on Monday night, Morrison urged jurisdictions to “facilitate, rather than dictate”.

Australians kept their side of the deal, it is time for governments to now keep theirs; to step back and let Australians step forward…

To put Australians back in charge of their own lives, relying on the connecting points and relationships that exist between the state and the individual.

It comes as West Australian premier Mark McGowan announced the state would relax its border restrictions from 5 February.

The prime minister congratulated WA for making it to the 80% vaccination level and for announcing plans to scrap its hard border.

Australia is going to be connected and together again…

This will be welcome news for thousands of Western Australians looking forward to reuniting with family and friends after so long apart.

The prime minister also confirmed a two-week pause on allowing visa holders to enter the country without an exemption would end as scheduled on 15 December.

Updated

21:17

This has not yet been independently confirmed by Guardian Australia but 9 News is reporting that NSW is set to record 804 new Covid-19 cases today, a significant bump up from previous days.

We will have to wait till 9am to find out for sure however.

Chris O’Keefe (@cokeefe9)

804 new Covid cases will be reported in NSW today, up from 180 two weeks ago. Get boosted. @9NewsSyd @2GB873

December 13, 2021

21:07

Fresh doubts have emerged over whether Australia can rely on boosting soil carbon to achieve its net zero emissions goals with a new New South Wales government report predicting the land sector will become a significant source of emissions in a warmer climate.

The concerns are raised in a report on soil health trends in NSW forests, published recently without fanfare by the state’s Natural Resources Commission. It examined soil organic carbon (SOC) levels in eastern NSW forests and how they may be affected by projected rising temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns.

They found major losses could be expected, particularly for southern forests, suggesting “forest managers will have to implement appropriate soil carbon-enhancing strategies even to just maintain current SOC levels”.

You can read the full report below:

20:59

More people in Newcastle have been forced into isolation after others infected with Covid-19 visited a pub last weekend, reports AAP.

NSW Health is battling to contain several large transmission events and there are now 64 cases of the new Omicron strain on record.

Anyone who was at Newcastle’s Finnegan’s Hotel in Darby Street on Friday between 6.30pm and 2.30am on Saturday, has been advised to get tested and self-isolate for seven days.

NSW Health said in a statement on Monday night:

All household contacts of close contacts must also be tested and self-isolate until a negative result is received by everyone in the household…

It is likely some of these cases have the Omicron variant of concern.

NSW Health is appealing for anyone who didn’t check in using the QR code to also get tested and self-isolate.

The latest alert comes after cases linked to an outbreak that started at Newcastle’s Argyle House nightclub on Wednesday spiked from 24 to 84 on Monday, with a number of the cases also likely to be the Omicron variant.

Nearly 700 people checked into the venue and chief health officer Kerry Chant on Monday said it was “incredibly important” that anyone who was at the venue gets a test, “given the high transmission at this venue”.

Updated

20:51

Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW)

Another warm and dry day for most of #NSW today with temperatures warming up even more on Wednesday and the weekend. Keep an eye on the forecast and conditions, particularly in the northern inland where we may see heatwave conditions this weekend: t.co/swGZ6BSLY0 pic.twitter.com/ka7BoCly5F

December 13, 2021

20:41

Joyce says Julian Assange should not be extradited to the US

Deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce says WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should not be extradited to the United States to face charges.

Joyce has penned an opinion piece for the Sydney Morning Herald stating that he believes a trial should be held in the UK or Assange should return to Australia, as he wasn’t on American soil at the time the alleged espionage offences occurred.

As an individual, whether you like him or despise him, it is beyond him, given his circumstances, to protect his rights by himself. So we must hope for the British courts to do so, and we will judge its society accordingly.

I have never met him and, from observation, don’t respect him. I presume I would not like him. And I view these facts as a clarion call to be all the more vigilant that he is treated just as one of my most powerful colleagues or dearest friends would be.

Joyce also noted that Assange “was not in breach of any Australian laws at the time of his actions”, urging the UK courts not to cave to pressure from the US to send him over.

Julian Assange. Australian deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce says the Wikileaks founder should not be extradited to the US. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Updated

20:31

Good day everyone and welcome to this glorious Tuesday! It’s Matilda Boseley here and I hope your morning is going better than mine as my phone appears to have died.

Why don’t we jump into the news to try and distract me from my woes!

One of the big headlines today: Australia is getting its own mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility … but not until 2024.

The factory will be built in Victoria in partnership with vaccine manufacturer Moderna and is expected to produce as many as 100m vaccines each year.

However, it’s unlikely this factory will make much of an impact on the Covid-19 pandemic, with at least a two-year lead time until jabs start coming of the production line.

Prime minister Scott Morrison, who will make an official announcement later this morning, said it would help the country be prepared should there be another pandemic.

In other news, the NSW rail network is once again being put to the test with the union taking industrial action today.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union said it would refuse to drive foreign-made trains as part of ongoing enterprise agreement negotiations with NSW Trains, a move that will impact about 75% of trains on the network.

RTBU NSW secretary Alex Claassens said in a statement that he was hopeful the state government would come to the bargaining table.

It’s disappointing that another week has passed, and there’s still no indication [of] the NSW government stepping in and doing the right thing…

The NSW government has been refusing to commit to providing workers and commuters with basic guarantees around hygiene, safety and privatisation for many months now…

We’re very aware of the impact this will have on commuters, but we also know that not taking action will leave workers and commuters at risk.

As part of the EBA negotiations, the union wants an end to privatisation, safety standards maintained and a commitment to retaining current hygiene levels while not relying on contractors to provide it.