Australia news LIVE: Sydney’s lockdown to be extended as COVID-19 cases soar; Victoria lockdown lifted

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  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Federal Labor set to dump multibillion-dollar cancer and dental pledges

Federal Labor is set to swing the axe on its multibillion-dollar pledges for free cancer treatment and dental care for pensioners in an effort to slimline its election spending promises.

The two signature health policies, announced under former leader Bill Shorten ahead of the last election, are likely to be formally scrapped in the coming months following the federal opposition’s decision to cut off the key sources of revenue that would have funded them.

Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing Mark Butler and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Labor went to the 2019 poll with a $2.3 billion package to tackle out-of-pocket costs and waiting lists for cancer patients. In the final weeks of the election campaign Labor followed up with a $2.4 billion plan that would have given up to three million older Australians access to free essential dental care, covered by Medicare, every two years.

Read the full story here.

‘Thousands’ of truckies entering Victoria from NSW without permits

The Victorian Transport Association says thousands of truck drivers are crossing the state’s border each day without a permit and shunning testing requirements designed to shield against the NSW coronavirus outbreak.

The peak industry body estimates between 15,000 and 19,000 trucks are entering Victoria daily, the vast majority from NSW. A Victorian government spokesperson said there were 9800 valid permit holders.

Transport industry groups want less onerous COVID-19 tests for drivers, but health experts warn they are less accurate. Credit:Andrew Quilty

The warning came as Victoria emerged from a 12-day lockdown at midnight on Tuesday, and South Australia’s lockdown also ended. But NSW recorded 172 locally acquired cases of coronavirus yesterday.

More on this story here.

Berejiklian refuses to back calls for return of JobKeeper

Premier Gladys Berejiklian is refusing to lobby the federal government for the return of JobKeeper despite Sydney’s lockdown being extended by four weeks and new data revealing spending across the city is at the lowest levels since the pandemic began.

Industry groups, unions and NSW Labor have joined NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet in pushing for JobKeeper to be reinstated as Sydney’s Delta outbreak recorded its worst day on Tuesday, with 172 new COVID-19 cases.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian would not be drawn on whether she supports her Treasurer’s push for JobKeeper to be reinstated.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

Ms Berejiklian will on Wednesday announce an extension of the lockdown, with concessions to allow construction to resume from Saturday in non-hotspot areas and rapid antigen testing of year 12 students meaning they can return to school. There are no plans for face-to-face learning for students in other years.

The government is also considering the introduction of a singles bubble for people who live alone.

Read the full story here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company. It’s Wednesday, July 28. I’m Broede Carmody.

Here’s everything you need to know before we jump into today’s rolling coverage.

  • Sydney’s lockdown is set be extended by another four weeks. However, some changes are expected such as year 12 students back at school, construction workers back on site and rapid testing put in place for those groups. There is also speculation that single bubbles will be put in place (similar to the arrangements put in place during Victoria’s recent lockdowns to combat loneliness). It comes after NSW recorded 172 new cases of coronavirus yesterday – the current outbreak’s largest daily case total.
  • Victorians are waking up to the first day out of their fifth lockdown. Schools are back and hospitality businesses and gyms are reopening with strict density limits. However, visitors to the home are still banned and masks are set to remain for weeks. Victoria recorded 10 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, but all cases are linked to existing outbreaks and were in isolation.
  • Meanwhile, Queensland police have taken action against a couple behind the state’s latest coronavirus scare. Almost $14,000 in fines have been handed out after a NSW man escaped Sydney’s lockdown and crossed the border with the help of a Brisbane woman despite being him being a close contact of a coronavirus case. Both later tested positive. Thankfully, the Sunshine State recorded no new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. But all eyes are on today’s numbers.
  • And South Australians are officially out of lockdown. Schools, restaurants, cafes and gyms can reopen today. But masks must be worn on public transport, at school unless they interfere with learning and when getting a haircut. Household gatherings are capped at 10 people.
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