Vic Liberal leadership rumblings resurface as Coalition closes gap on Labor

Original article by Annika Smethurst, Paul Sakkal, Michael Fowler
The Age – Page: Online : 17-Jun-21

Victoria’s Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien survived a leadership spill in March, but there is believed to be a renewed push to oust him. Sources have indicated that state and federal Liberal Party MPs had discussed seeking a leadership spill on 22 June, but there had been insufficient numbers to move against O’Brien. The Victorian Liberals’ partyroom is said to be divided, with some MPs supporting either O’Brien or former party leader Matthew Guy, while others do not support either of them. A number of Victorian federal MPs are also pushing for Guy to replace O’Brien ahead of the state election in 2022.


Less than $20m for lockdown payments

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 5 : 17-Jun-21

Data from Services Australia shows that 42,784 in Victoria received the federal government’s Temporary COVID Disaster Payment during the second week of the state’s latest lockdown. The temporary scheme, which provides a grant of up $500 for people who lose income due to a lockdown of at least seven days, has cost $19,684,000 since Melbourne entered the second week of the lockdown that ended on 10 June. This is significantly less than Treasurer Josh Frydenberg had forecast when the scheme was announced. Melbourne residents must submit applications for the grant by 2 July.


Unions demand detail of Australia’s free trade deal with UK citing concerns for workers

Original article by Katharine Murphy
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 17-Jun-21

ACTU president Michele O’Neil has urged the federal government to begin consultations with the union movement regarding the details of its ‘in-principle’ free-trade agreement with the UK. She says both governments have been secretive throughout the negotiations, and the proposed trade deal has not be subject to independent, union or public scrutiny. O’Neil is concerned that labour market testing rules will be watered down; she notes that a fact sheet released by the UK government suggests that Australian companies will no longer be required to prioritise hiring local workers.


‘Victoria is a powder keg’: Experts fear virus still circulating as testing rate drops

Original article by Melissa Cunningham
The Age – Page: Online : 17-Jun-21

Victoria has reported five new locally-acquired COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, although two had previously been disclosed and they are all linked to existing clusters. Meanwhile, infectious diseases experts believe that there are undetected cases of COVID-19 in the community and the risk of such transmission will increase as COVID-19 restrictions are eased. The state government has confirmed that some restrictions will be relaxed from 11.59pm on 17 June. Amongst other things, Melburnians will be permitted to visit regional areas and face masks will no longer be compulsory outdoors unless social distancing is not possible.


Australia’s minimum wage rises 2.5% but increase delayed for pandemic-hit industries

Original article by Sarah Martin
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 17-Jun-21

The Fair Work Commission has rejected the ACTU’s push for the minimum wage to be increased by 3.5 per cent, or $26.38 per week. The nation’s lowest-paid workers will instead receive an extra $18.80 a week, lifting the minimum wage to $20.33 an hour or $772.60 a week. The minimum wage rose by 1.75 per cent ($13 a week) in 2020, and FWC president Iain Ross says the larger increase in 2021 is warranted given the economic rebound. The above-inflation wage rise will generally take effect on 1 July, but the FWC has again delayed the increase for workers in sectors that have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The wage rise will be delayed until September for employees covered by the general retail award and November for workers in sectors such as aviation and tourism.


Two Covid cases in Sydney, as authorities investigate possible hotel leak

Original article by Mary Ward, Pallavi Singhal
The Sydney Morning Herald – Page: Online : 17-Jun-21

New South Wales has recorded two locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, ending a 40-day run with no cases outside of hotel quarantine. A man in his 60s has tested positive, as has a close contact who lives with him. The man works as a driver, and his passengers have included international flight crew. Health authorities are undertaking genomic sequencing and contact-tracing to determine the source of the infection, and have identified a number of exposure sites in Sydney’s east. NSW Health is also seeking to determine how a returned traveller in hotel quarantine contracted the Alpha strain; the person was on the same flight from Doha as a couple who stayed in the adjacent hotel room and subsequently were diagnosed with this strain.


ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence up 0.3pts to 111.0 after Melbourne’s two-week lockdown ends but restrictions remain

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 17-Jun-21

ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence rose 0.3pts to 111.0 on June 12/13, after Melbourne’s two-week lockdown ended, although restrictions remain including a 25km travel limit. Consumer Confidence is just below the 2021 weekly average of 111.3, but it is 13.5pts higher than the same week a year ago (97.5). Now 27% (down 2ppts) of Australians say their families are ‘better off’ financially than this time last year, while 28% (up 2ppts) say their families are ‘worse off’ financially. In addition, 39% (down 1ppt) of Australians expect their family to be ‘better off’ financially this time next year, and 15% (up 1ppt) expect to be ‘worse off’ financially. Some 18% (down 2ppts) of Australians expect ‘good times’ for the Australian economy over the next 12 months, while 15% (down 3ppts) expect ‘bad times’. Meanwhile, 45% (up 4ppts) of Australians say now is a ‘good time to buy’ major household items, while 25% (unchanged) say now is a ‘bad time to buy’.


IR reform will avoid project blowouts

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 2 : 10-Jun-21

The federal government has received support from the resources sector for its plans to put greenfield workplace agreements back on the industrial relations agenda. The Australian Resources & Energy Group says protected and unprotected industrial action have contributed to significant cost blowouts at number of major resources projects in recent years. Greenfield agreements would cover the entire construction phase of a project. Such agreements were included in the omnibus industrial relations bill that was rejected by the Senate earlier in 2021.


Two states on high alert after infected case fled Melbourne lockdown

Original article by Lydia Lynch
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 10-Jun-21

Health authorities in New South Wales and Queensland are trying to identify all close contacts of a Melbourne couple who travelled interstate on 1 June, three days after Victoria’s latest COVID-19 lockdown began. The 44-year-old woman subsequently tested positive on 8 June, although her partner has tested negative so far. The couple stopped in four towns in regional NSW before arriving in Queensland on 5 June; they visited family members on the Sunshine Coast on the following day. Queensland’s chief health officer Jeannette Young says the woman may have been infectious while travelling through NSW; she adds that it is too soon to consider whether parts of southeast Queensland should go into lockdown.


Australia to discuss travel bubble with Singapore as leaders meet ahead of G7

Original article by Paul Karp, Daniel Hurst
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 10-Jun-21

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will meet with his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong on 10 June. A proposed quarantine-free travel bubble between the two nations will be on the agenda, although the two leaders are expected to make a commitment to implementing such an arrangement rather than agreeing to a firm start date. The issue of China is also likely to be on the agenda, including China’s growing military presence in the South China Sea and the increasing strategic competition between the US and China. Morrison will then attend the Group of Seven leaders’ summit in the UK, where he will have guest status.