Having outperformed the world in containing coronavirus, Australia’s lack of action on climate change will precipitate a much greater crisis.If the Morrison government were really answerable to the Australian people rather than vested interests, it already would have agreed to a more ambitious climate response. That’s what the overwhelming majority of people have long wanted.
The Victorian Government is launching a review of Crown Resorts’ Melbourne casino licence, as executive chairman James Packer is sued by a casino security guard over an alleged assault. The state’s gaming minister Melissa Horne has brought forward the review due in two years to determine if Crown is suitable to hold a casino licence. It comes after damning hearings in New South Wales which cast doubt over the future of the company’s $2.2 billion Barangaroo casino in Sydney. Crown Resorts nevertheless secured permission from NSW authorities for a liquor licence on Wednesday, paving the way to open “non-gaming operations” at Barangaroo in two weeks. The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority will wait until the findings of the inquiry into Crown’s suitability to hold a casino licence are handed down in February before making a decision on gaming activities. Iskandar Chaban, a former security guard at Crown casino in Melbourne, is pursuing Packer for aggravated damages in the Victorian Supreme Court over allegations the billionaire assaulted him on New Year's Day in 2016 before threatening to have him sacked.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will today announce that $11.2 billion has been shaved off the projected cost of JobKeeper payments in his mid-year budget update. The total cost of the JobKeeper payment is dropping from $101.3 billion to about $90 billion, based on 640,000 fewer people needing wage subsidy support in the final three months of the year compared to projections, the second massive shortfall in the wage subsidy’s budget. The wage subsidy is set to expire in March next year.
The Victorian and New South Wales governments are both eyeing more oversight of quarantine arrangements for international airline staff, after a van driver for flight crews in NSW contracted Covid-19 at the weekend. NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Wednesday said the new case – the first instance of community transmission since December 3 – showed the need for urgent discussions with airlines and the federal government. An agreement between national governments means flight crews enter Victoria and New South Wales and undertake their own “Covid-safe” accommodation in private hotels, outside of official hotel quarantine programs. It comes as NSW Health confirmed a further two new cases of Covid-19 on Sydney's northern beaches and warned everyone in the area to be alert for even the mildest of symptoms.
The global effort to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to poor countries faces a “very high” risk of failure, potentially leaving nations with no access to vaccines until 2024, internal documents say. The World Health Organisation's COVAX program is the main global scheme to vaccinate people in low and middle income countries. In internal documents reviewed by Reuters, promoters say the program is struggling due to a lack of funds, supply risks and complex contractual arrangements which could make it impossible to achieve its goal to deliver at least 2 billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021.