Weekly Wrap Up
- The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) kept the official cash rate on hold at 0.1 per cent for the ninth consecutive month.
- Australia Post reached a settlement agreement with former CEO Christine Holgate. Australia Post will pay Ms Holgate $1 million as an “employment termination payment” plus $100,000 in legal costs.
- Qantas and Jetstar will stand down 2,500 staff temporarily due to border closures reducing the demand for domestic travel.
- Meanwhile, the domestic aviation industry will receive an extension of Federal support measures until the end of 2021.
- Northern Territory MLA and member for Daly, Ian Sloan, announced his resignation due to health issues, triggering a by-election for the seat.
Federal Parliament resumed this week following a five-week winter break. A number of parliamentarians attended via videolink due to limitations on visitors to Parliament House amidst ongoing lockdowns across the eastern states.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivered his annual statement on the Closing the Gap update which includes a new implementation plan worth $1 billion for the health, education and justice sectors. The Government also passed its child care legislation through the House of Representatives to increase the child care subsidy for families with multiple children aged five or under in care and remove the current $10,560 cap on subsidies.
Reforms to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) passed following an unsuccessful disallowance motion in the Senate. The expanded functions of ARENA will support a wider range of technologies under the Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap and will receive $20 billion in funding.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese called on the Government to include a cash incentive payment in its National Plan for the COVID-19 response. Mr Albanese proposed a one-off $300 cash payment to every Australian once fully vaccinated. The plan was met with criticism by the Prime Minister who said it was ‘a vote of no-confidence’ in Australians to do the right thing and get vaccinated.
NSW has recorded its highest number to date with 291 new infections today. This is an increase from the 262 new infections reported yesterday which prompted Premier Gladys Berejiklian to expand the lockdown [PDF] to include the Hunter and Upper Hunter regions until 12 August. Meanwhile, Victoria recorded six new locally-acquired cases yesterday which prompted Premier Daniel Andrews to announce a seven-day snap lockdown from 8pm last night.
In Queensland a total of 10 new local cases have been recorded in the last 24 hours linked to a cluster at Indooroopilly. This follows 16 new locally acquired cases reported yesterday. Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young has warned Queenslanders that the mandate on mask wearing may remain in place until Christmas as a precaution.
Federal Parliament will continue sitting next week.
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