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Thanks for reading our live news coverage today, that’s all from us for now, here’s a quick summary of the main headlines from today.
Have a lovely night and we’ll see you back here tomorrow morning from 7am.
Australians’ real wages will not get back to their pre-pandemic levels until the second half of this decade, the federal government revealing a further lift in inflation that will eat into the buying-power of the nation’s households.
As Treasurer Jim Chalmers rejected suggestions Australia was facing a recession, new forecasts showed the government’s pre-election promise to lift the pay of working Australians will struggle as inflation out-paces wages until at least 2024 and still fall short of where they were before the pandemic.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers has revealed inflation could reach 7.75 per cent by the end of year, delaying real wage growth until 2023-24.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
But the federal budget is poised to improve thanks to low unemployment and high commodity prices, even as the government confronts extra costs of at least $30 billion over the next three years.
The March budget forecast inflation to reach 4.25 per cent in the just-completed financial year before edging down to 3 per cent in 2022-23. Wage growth was tipped to lift to 3.25 per cent. That was before the surge in inflationary pressures across the world, driven largely by the events in Ukraine and supply chain bottlenecks out of China. Domestic inflation pressures have also lifted much faster than envisaged by either the Treasury or Reserve Bank.
Data this week showed inflation hitting a 21-year high of 6.1 per cent, but Chalmers said this would get worse, likely reaching 7.75 per cent in the December quarter.
Read more here.
NSW Health has published data which suggests about 3 per cent of people who caught COVID-19 in the state’s summer wave have since been reinfected, as mutations in the virus help it to evade immunity.
The ministry’s weekly surveillance report, published today, included data tracking the number of reinfections among the state’s 639,000 COVID-19 cases reported in January.
The data showed 3.2 per cent of people infected with COVID-19 in January have now been reinfected, half of whom caught the virus a second time within 90 days of their initial infection.
About 3 per cent of people who caught COVID-19 in NSW’s summer wave have since been reinfected.Credit:Fairfax
According to NSW Health’s records, more than 10,000 had been reinfected within 90 days of their first positive test, 16,000 had been reinfected by the 120-day mark and 20,000 people registered a positive COVID-19 test for a second time within 150 days of their first.
The report noted there were several limitations to the data, including that it only counted rapid antigen tests registered on the Service NSW app, registered tests may not have included accurate name and date of birth information and that the positive tests can be returned by immunocompromised people for a longer period of time.
This data covers a period where the sub-variants of COVID-19 in the community were changing, the report read.
“The risk of reinfection for a person is influenced by the sub-variant, and the timing and sequence of prior infections as well as their vaccination history,” it said.
“While the original BA.1 variant of Omicron accounted for most infections in January, the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants are currently dominant in the state, with genomic sequencing suggesting the pair are responsible for 94 per cent of positive tests.
The newer sub-variants are considered to be better at evading immunity against the virus gained by previous infection, due to their mutations.
Before today’s update, the most recent available data on reinfections in the state was published in May, when NSW Health confirmed at least 11,300 people across the state had tested positive more than once.
The head of the doomed construction watchdog says the government’s move to slash his powers had only a negligible impact on his ability to prosecute unions and other industry players, as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese led a fresh attack on the agency’s credibility.
The Prime Minister’s first question time was dominated by the foreshadowed removal of the controversial Australian Building and Construction Commission as the federal opposition accused Labor of greenlighting thuggery on worksites.
Outgoing Australian Building and Construction Commission head Stephen McBurney says he retains a raft of powers he must use.Credit:Eddie Jim
In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on Wednesday, commissioner Stephen McBurney said he retained a suite of statutory powers that he was legally obliged to use, and that his remaining investigations before he is stood down would look at coercion on worksites, underpayment and right-of-entry breaches.
McBurney said the move to scrap the building code “has involved no change to our broader remit to police industrial laws in the building and construction industry”.
“We act where we have a cooperative, willing victim who wants us to help them. Whether they’ve been refused access to site whether they’ve been kicked off site, whether they’ve been pressured, coerced, harassed, abused, vilified, all of those instances, there is no change.”
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Defence Minister Richard Marles says he’s aiming to decide which nuclear submarine Australia will acquire by early next year while blasting the former government for letting major defence purchases “drift” for years.
As well as choosing between British Astute-class and American Virginia-class nuclear submarines, the government expects to know by March 2023 when they can be acquired and whether Australia will need an interim, conventionally powered submarine to replace its ageing Collins-class boats.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, left, with Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell, at a press conference announcing senior ADF appointments.Credit:James Brickwood
Over the next two years, Marles also plans to have a “force posture review”, which will examine whether Australia’s military bases are adequate and its forces are positioned to deal with the strategic circumstances facing Australia and the Indo-Pacific.
Marles on Tuesday took the unusual step of extending by two years the terms of three of the country’s top military leaders, while appointing new heads of the army, navy and air force as planned, to ensure “continuity of advice” to the government on its submarine and frigate purchases.
Defence Force Chief General Angus Campbell, Vice Chief of the ADF Vice Admiral David Johnston and Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant-General Greg Bilton will now all serve until July 2024. The three new services chiefs are Rear Admiral Mark Hammond as Chief of Navy, Major-General Simon Stuart as Chief of Army and Air Vice-Marshal Robert Chipman as Chief of Air Force.
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Anthony Koletti, the embattled husband of missing con artist Melissa Caddick, has finally had a victory – of sorts.
Koletti’s songs and social media posts, in which he blamed the corporate regulator ASIC for his wife’s presumed death, led to police seeking an apprehended violence order against the hairdresser-turned-music producer, on behalf of the lead investigator, Isabella Allen.
Anthony Koletti, husband of Sydney fraudster Melissa Caddick, pictured on his LinkedIn profile.
After numerous court mentions since the matter was first listed in February, the AVO application has been abandoned ahead of another court mention on Friday.
In the months that followed his wife’s disappearance, Koletti, 40, waged a bitter campaign against ASIC and Allen. In his album Raid, his songs contained baseless allegations against ASIC, including that his wife was tortured and brutally interrogated during the execution of the search warrants at their home.
On the anniversary of Caddick’s disappearance, Koletti put up a poster outside ASIC’s office on Market Street in Sydney’s CBD. The poster read “ASIC = womanslaughter.”
On his LinkedIn page, Koletti frequently posted unfounded accusations suggesting that ASIC was responsible for the death of his wife.
Read more here.
A potentially dangerous type of gas heater will be banned from being sold and installed in Victoria from Monday, as manufacturers and suppliers seek to delay the move to sell their remaining stock.
Energy Safe Victoria will ban open-flued gas space heaters without a mechanism to automatically shut down because of risks the heaters can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Open-flued space gas heater will be banned in Victoria if sold or installed without safety features.Credit:Justin McManus
The ban follows the 2017 death of Greensborough grandmother Sonia Sofianopoulos, who a Victorian coroner found was fatally poisoned by a Vulcan Heritage heater that had been manufactured about 25 years earlier.
The coroner warned in 2018 there were possibly tens of thousands of similar heaters in Victoria and recommended that Energy Safe Victoria work with the industry to phase out the heaters.
Suppliers and manufacturers agreed to remove heaters without the safety features from the market by June 30 this year, but say sales and installations fell during pandemic lockdowns, leaving them with thousands of unsold heaters.
Read more here.
Parents yet to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 are being urged not to wait amid a rise in cases among school students as new data shows side effects to the vaccine are overwhelmingly mild, and occur at lower rates than were predicted in clinical trials.
Children aged five to 15 are reporting fewer common side effects – including a sore arm, fatigue, headaches and muscle pain – after their mRNA COVID vaccinations than those reported in clinical trials, data from national vaccine safety surveillance system AusVaxSafety shows.
An analysis of 392,268 survey responses from parents of children vaccinated between July 2021 and May 2022 showed roughly a quarter of five- to 11-year-olds reported at least one side effect within three days of their Pfizer vaccines (25 per cent following their first dose, and 28 per cent following their second).
Among 12- to 15-year-olds who received Pfizer, one in three reported at least one side effect following their first dose (32 per cent), and half reported side effects after their second (49 per cent). One in three children in that age group who had the Moderna vaccine reported side effects after their first dose (34 per cent), and two in three following their second (64 per cent).
Read more here.
Under-fire Trade Minister Stuart Ayres has insisted it was a loss to NSW that John Barilaro withdrew from a US trade role, as a new cache of documents reveals the minister recommended a shortlist for the supposed public service appointment.
The revelations will deepen the crisis that has consumed the state government since Barilaro secured the $500,000-a-year trade commissioner job after the first successful candidate, senior bureaucrat Jenny West, was dumped from the position. The former deputy premier has since quit the role.
Stuart Ayres has insisted it was a loss to NSW that John Barilaro withdrew from the controversial trade commissioner role.Credit:Jessica Hromas
A cache of previously secret documents released to parliament on Thursday show Ayres was involved in the hiring process and sought to add a candidate to the shortlist for the New York job in February.
The papers include an email sent by Investment NSW boss Amy Brown to her colleagues on February 8 saying that she and Ayres had “run through the ‘long’ shortlist and our recommended ‘short’ shortlist for NYC”.
“He’d like to add [REDACTED] to the short shortlist please,” she wrote. It is not clear which candidate Ayres was referring to.
The day earlier an adviser in Ayres’ office had emailed Investment NSW about an update on recruitment for the trade commissioner roles. He was told that “[chief executive] Amy [Brown] was going to share the shortlists with the Minister while they are on the road together in London”.
Read more here.
Newly elected “teal” independent MP Kate Chaney has used her first speech to federal parliament to warn humanity was engineering its own extinction while revealing the idea of running for federal parliament had initially made her feel like vomiting.
Chaney is one of five new West Australian MPs who have already been making waves in the first week of the parliament.
Kate Chaney has delivered her first speech.Credit:James Brickwood
Her election ended a dynasty in an electorate considered one of the safest Liberal seats in the country.
Chaney is the daughter of current Wesfarmers and former Woodside chairman Michael Chaney, granddaughter of former Menzies government minister Fred Chaney and niece of former deputy Liberal leader Fred Chaney Jr.
Climate change was a pillar of her campaign; which was heavily backed by the fundraising group Climate 200.
She used her first speech to parliament on Thursday to comment that the climate bill introduced on Tuesday needed to go further, but it was a start.
She warned that humanity needed to start questioning the assumption that “more is always better”.
“This concept of progress has seen incredible leaps, in life expectancy, population growth and inter-connectedness but we are now at an extraordinarily uncomfortable juncture where even this assumption must be questioned in the policy decisions of the day,” she said.
Read more here.
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