Weekly Wrap Up
2 July 2021
- The latest Newspoll data shows Labor edging back in the lead on a two-party preferred basis by one point, 51-49.
- The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released its job vacancies for the May 2021 quarter which shows vacancies are 57 per cent higher than February 2020 before the pandemic began. Industries reporting the largest increase in vacancies include arts and recreation services (170 per cent) and accommodation and food services (159 per cent).
- The first stage of the ACT single-use plastics ban is now in effect across the territory. This means single-use plastic cutlery and stirrers (including bioplastics) and expanded polystyrene takeaway food and beverage containers are prohibited from sale, supply or distribution.
- After Victoria, Western Australia has become the second state to legalise voluntary assisted dying with its Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2019 now in effect.
- Tasmanian Labor Leader Mr David O’Byrne is standing aside pending an internal party investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct from a former employee. Deputy leader Anita Dow will be acting leader in the meantime.
- The by-election for the Queensland seat of Stretton will be held on Saturday 24 July. The by-election comes following the death of Labor MP Duncan Pegg last month. Stretton is considered a safe Labor seat with a 14.8 per cent margin.
- Earlier this week Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivered the 2021 Intergenerational Report (IGR). The IGR is produced every five years and projects the next 40 years forward detailing economic challenges and opportunities facing the nation.
- The reshuffle of the National’s front bench positions which occurred over the weekend has come into effect today with the swearing in of new Ministers.
National Cabinet & the State of the States
National Cabinet was held[PDF] this morning. Subsequently, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced ‘a new deal’ for Australians noting Australia would be moving to a different stage of pandemic management as vaccination rates reach a – yet to be determined – threshold. Mr Morrison also revealed 8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been issued. The National Cabinet will then consider easing restrictions on vaccinated persons. The Prime Minister confirmed the Government will temporarily reduce the number of arrivals due to the increased risk of the Delta Strain. The National Cabinet agreed that lockdowns would only be used as a last resort. National Cabinet also released[PDF] a national plan to transition Australia’s National COVID-19 Response from its current pre-vaccination settings to post-vaccination settings. National Cabinet will meet again next Friday.
Meanwhile, around the Federation:
- NSW – Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour will remain in lockdown until at least next Friday 9 July. Today, the state Department of Health reported 31 new cases of locally acquired COVID-19.
- Victoria – lower level restrictions remain in place for Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. Today, the Department of Health reported zero locally acquired cases.
- Queensland – the current lockdown in the City of Brisbane and Moreton Bay has been extended until 6pm tomorrow 3 July. The lockdown in the other affected council areas in south east Queensland will end 6pm this evening. The Queensland Government reported 5 new cases in the last 24 hours.
- Western Australia – the lockdown of Perth and the Peel region is likely to continue until at least tomorrow. Premier Mark McGowan confirmed WA reported zero cases overnight. Premier McGowan is due to provide further information at his press conference later this afternoon.
- South Australia – Reduced restrictions remain in place for Greater Adelaide and throughout South Australia, including on home gatherings and mask wearing. Premier Steven Marshall confirmed there were 2 cases overnight.
- Tasmania – reduced restrictions remain in place in Tasmania. Overnight, the Tasmanian Government reported zero locally acquired cases.
- ACT – Reduced restrictions remain in place in Canberra. The ACT Government reported zero active cases in Canberra as of today.
- NT – all lockdowns in the Northern Territory are due to end at 1pm AEST today. However, reduced restrictions will remain in place, including mask wearing. The NT Government reported there were no locally acquired cases overnight.
Following National Cabinet on Monday, the Prime Minister announced a range of changes to the Government’s vaccination rollout strategy. Vaccination is now mandatory for all Aged Care workers and a COVID-19 professional indemnity scheme will be established for healthcare practitioners. This scheme will cover all COVID-19 vaccines approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
The indemnity measures seek to pave the way for Australians under 60 years of age to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine from a GP if they choose, with informed consent. The vaccine announcement has been met with some criticism by medical industry experts and other state leaders. Subsequently, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced an $11 million grant program to support the mandatory vaccination of aged care workers.
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