Australia news LIVE: William Tyrrell search continues in northern NSW; Victoria nudges 90 per cent double dose vaccination rate

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Key posts

  • South Australia’s new border rules explained
  • Election trumps government’s fiscal repair plan
  • War Memorial historians denied access to Afghanistan war crimes report
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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South Australia’s new border rules explained

As mentioned earlier this morning, South Australia reopened its borders to people from coronavirus hotspots at 11.59pm last night.

People who wish to travel to South Australia from places where there is COVID transmission must be fully vaccinated, register their travel via a state government website and get a COVID-19 test 72 hours before arrival.

There are some nuances, though, depending on where you are coming from:

  • If you are coming from a local government area with a 90 per cent double-dose vaccination rate or higher, then you also have to complete a daily symptoms check for 14 days via the HealthCheck SA app;
  • Those from an LGA with a double-dose vaccination rate higher than 80 per cent (but lower than 90 per cent) must also quarantine until getting a COVID test (within 24 hours of arriving in the state); and
  • People coming from an LGA with a double-dose vaccination rate of 80 per cent or lower (or overseas) must do all of the above and quarantine for seven days, get a coronavirus test on days six and 13 and not enter high-risk settings (such as aged care) for 14 days.

More information is available on the EntryCheck SA website.

Election trumps government’s fiscal repair plan

The Coalition is preparing to keep spending rather than make unpopular cuts ahead of the looming federal election, despite its own budget rules requiring repairs to the debt and deficit to begin now the economy and jobs market have recovered.

The Coalition lifted spending to record levels to deal with the pandemic, putting in place policies such as the $90 billion JobKeeper wage subsidy and the $35 billion cash flow for business program. It also suffered a huge hit to revenues as businesses shut and the number of people in a job slumped.

Josh Frydenberg selling the 2021-22 budget in May this year. The promised plan to start budget repair will be pushed back beyond the next election.Credit:Jessica Hromas

Yesterday, Mr Frydenberg said money was pouring into the nation’s retail and hospitality outlets.

“Over the weekend I was in Melbourne in the CBD on Saturday night, and the place was pumping. Restaurants were full. People were moving from venue to venue,” he said.

Last week, Mr Morrison likened the economy’s recovery to a plane, saying it was “taking off”.

Despite their upbeat appraisals of the economy, the government is not planning to move to its medium term fiscal strategy – and the spending cuts that will come with it – in either next month’s mid-year fiscal update or its pre-election budget expected in early April.

More on this issue here.

War Memorial historians denied access to Afghanistan war crimes report

Australia’s official military history unit has been denied access to the unredacted final report of the Brereton war crimes inquiry, potentially compromising its ability to record a complete and accurate account of the nation’s longest war.

The historians with the unit are researching Australia’s military commitment in conflicts in East Timor and the Middle East as part of a project launched in 2016 funded by the federal government and backed by the Australian War Memorial.

Australian Army soldiers from Special Operations Task Group prepare for a night-time operation in Oruzgan in 2008.Credit:ADF

Two official sources with knowledge of the unit’s work say they have sought access to Justice Paul Brereton’s three-section report, but were told earlier this year by the Defence Department it could not be shared with them.

The Brereton inquiry, conducted under the auspices of the Australian military Inspector-General and completed in November 2020, alleged in a redacted final report that a dozen or so Australian special forces soldiers executed up to 39 Afghan prisoners and civilians.

Read the full story here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for reading our live coverage.

I’ts Tuesday, November 23. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll bring you some of the day’s biggest stories as they unfold.

Here’s everything you need to know before we get started.

  • William Tyrrell’s foster parents will appear before a Sydney court today over assault charges. They have been charged over the assault of a child. That child is not William. Meanwhile, the search for any clues into William’s disappearance continues despite wet weather along the NSW Mid North Coast. The renewed search is now in its second week. NSW reported 180 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday and one death. There are 202 coronavirus patients in NSW hospitals. Of those, 30 are in intensive care. In terms of vaccines, 91.8 per cent of residents aged 16 and up are fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

Police searching a piece of land on Monday. Credit:Louise Kennerley

  • Victorians are waiting for confirmation that their state has hit its 90 per cent double-dose vaccination rate. Yesterday, 89.3 per cent of residents aged 12 and up had received both jabs (excluding Commonwealth data). Victoria yesterday reported 1029 new cases of COVID-19 and three deaths. There are 316 coronavirus patients in Victorian hospitals. Of those, 44 active cases are in ICU. Twenty-three are on a ventilator.

A Melbourne healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Credit:Getty Images

  • In federal politics, the Coalition will prioritise spending over budget cuts ahead of the next election. That’s despite government debt forecast to reach a record $861.5 billion off the back of the coronavirus pandemic. The government will turn to budget repair once “unemployment rate is back to pre-crisis levels or lower”.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg speaking in Parliament earlier this year. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

  • South Australia reopens its borders to COVID-19 hotspots today (i.e. Victoria, NSW and the ACT). Around 30,000 travellers have already applied to take advantage of the relaxed border rules. People need to get a COVID test before travelling.

Shoppers wearing masks at Adelaide’s Rundle Mall. Credit:Getty

  • The Northern Territory recorded two local cases of COVID-19 yesterday. The Robinson River lockdown has been downgraded to a lockout (meaning residents are free to move about the community with masks, but may not travel to other areas). However, Katherine’s lockdown continues.

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner says he wants people in Katherine to stay out of lockdown when they get out lockdown (hence retaining stay-at-home orders for now). Credit:Facebook

  • The ACT recorded 11 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. Five coronavirus patients are in Canberra hospitals. Of those, two are in intensive care. One is on a ventilator. The ACT continues to lead the nation when it comes to vaccination rates: 97.2 per cent of people aged 12 and up are fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

Canberra continues to lead the way on vaccination rates. Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

  • And in international news, police are questioning a person of interest after yesterday’s Christmas parade tragedy in Wisconsin in the United States. Four people were killed and as many as 40 injured. As of this afternoon, local time, six children remain in intensive care.
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