Weekly Wrap Up
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison agreed to a 50/50 funding arrangement with the Queensland Government for the Brisbane Olympics bid. An Olympic Infrastructure Authority will be established to ensure equal representation by Federal and State Governments during decision making processes.
- The Morrison Government announced an additional $100 million for ‘blue carbon’ ecosystem management, noting the key role that ocean habitats and coastal environments play in drawing carbon from the atmosphere.
- Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne announced Australia will provide $5 million to support the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management in their efforts to de-escalate the situation in Myanmar.
- NBN Co advised it will conduct a long-term evaluation of its wholesale pricing model, as part of a Special Access Undertaking (SAU) variation consultation with industry and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
- The Western Australian Government imposed a snap three-day lockdown in the Perth and Peel regions in response to community transmission of COVID-19. The lockdown ended on Monday night and some restrictions remain until midnight Saturday 1 May, including mandatory mask wearing in public spaces.
- The Victorian Government confirmed plans to develop a 500-bed quarantine hub in Mickleham to address the longevity of the pandemic. The hub is subject to Commonwealth approval and funding.
- The NSW Government welcomed the findings of the Goward Review into Policies and Procedures in Ministerial Offices regarding bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct. Premier Gladys Berejiklian plans to adopt all 13 recommendations made by former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Professor Pru Goward.
- Tasmanians head to the polls on Saturday for the 2021 State Election. The Electoral Commission expects first polling place figures to be announced after 6:45pm.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg provided his pre-budget economic and fiscal strategy speech to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry this week, outlining the second phase of the Government’s recovery plan. The Treasurer said the 2021-22 Budget will focus on improving productivity to boost employment and lift wages, rather than achieving a surplus. Key target industries for investment include infrastructure, tax, skills, energy and the digital economy.
As previously foreshadowed by RBA Governor Philip Lowe, the Treasurer said a sustained unemployment rate below 5 per cent will be required to achieve desired inflation and increased wages. Once these targets are met, the Government will transition to the next phase of its fiscal strategy, including balancing the Budget.
Following a meeting of the National Security Committee, the Morrison Government implemented a two-week temporary pause on direct passenger flights between Australia and India to address the increased risk of COVID-19 transmission from arrivals. Significantly, once travel resumes passengers will be required to have both a negative PCR and Rapid Antigen test result before boarding flights to Australia.
To assist India in its response to the COVID-19 crisis, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced an initial support package of equipment to be sent by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including ventilators, PPE and oxygen.
Tensions between Australia and China continued to rise this week after Home Affairs Secretary Mike Pezzullo warned of war and loss of freedom in his ANZAC Day message. China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian responded saying the remarks were irresponsible and urged Australia to ‘shake off the Cold War mentality’.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed the issue, indicating he will continue to pursue peace, stability and an open Indo-Pacific that favours freedom. The PM expressed Australia’s commitment to working with the United States and Indo-Pacific region during his announcement of a $747 million investment to upgrade Northern Territory Defence Force bases.
The NSW, Victorian, South Australian and Northern Territory Parliaments will sit next week.
Click here for information on Finance, Resources & Energy, Infrastructure, and Health updates.