World news – Coronavirus Australia live update: NSW, WA and Queensland agree to raise caps on international arrivals


Victoria reports 45 new cases and five more deaths as NSW announces six; Queensland will reopen border to ACT residents from 25 September. Follow live

Morrison is asked whether the federal government will be financially contributing to the states to help them set up the hotel quarantine system faster.

He adds that the provision of Australian Defence Force personnel is the federal government’s contribution and that the returning travellers are paying for the quarantine themselves.

“The Commonwealth can be accused of many things but in this Covid-19 pandemic, not stumping up when it comes to costs – I mean, JobKeeper alone is over $100 billion. If you add up every single thing that the states are doing, in their Covid response, you won’t even get to the cost of JobKeeper.”

“We were providing that in-kind support from the ADF. That’s all that’s been suggested from us from the states and territories.

“They haven’t asked for [funding]. That didn’t come from the Queensland Government or the WA Government. They didn’t ask for that. They weren’t asking for money. They were asking for ADF support and the answer is yes.”

Morrison says there are 24,000 Australians who are stranded overseas, who wish to come home.

He says there are 4,000 people who have been identified as more vulnerable by the department of foreign affairs.

There are quite a lot of Australians living in Bali at the moment. When you ask how many of them want to come home, it’s actually only a few hundred. But there is, I think, around 7,000 Australians who are in Bali currently. So that doesn’t mean they’re all looking to come home.

Morrison is asked whether he will relax restrictions on allowing Australians out of the country – so airlines don’t have to fly empty planes to collect returning Australians.

He says thousands of exemptions are made every week to allow Australians out of the country.

Whether it is to attend a sickly family member or an important event or business purposes, things of that nature. We’re continuing to provide those exemptions and I look forward to when we can have even less restrictions on those things.

Morrison says that he would want to see arrival caps increased again in future – and eventually lifted.

“So, let’s get to this next level, and then ultimately we’d like to see those caps lifted, as they were back in early July. That would be my goal.”

The PM says there is no update on the debate over what constitutes a hotspot, as the AHPPC did not provide a paper on it today.

Morrison also says that Australia is looking again at a trans-Tasman travel bubble, where people from New Zealand could come into Australia without quarantine.

We’re working to ensure that New Zealanders can come to Australia, and Australians can return to Australia from New Zealand without the need to go through quarantine if they’re not coming from an area where there is an outbreak of Covid-19. For example, the whole of the South Island. That’s an area where there is no Covid.

And so if we can get to the situation soon where those coming home from New Zealand are able to enter Australia without going into a 14-day quarantine in a hotel, or in the worst-case scenario only having to do that in their home, then what that does is that frees up places in our hotel quarantine system.

Scott Morrison has announced that caps will be lifted in NSW, Queensland and WA, meaning 1,500 Australians a week will be able to come back.

From 27 September, NSW will be able to take an additional 500 returned travellers a week.

That will then rise. From 4 October, Queensland will move to that full 500 extra a week, and by 11 October, WA will also move to the extra 500 a week.

Now, New South Wales has been carrying the majority share and will continue to do that. They will go to 3,000 a week from Monday week.

Morrison says he has received reports from the chief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, and navy Commodore Mark Hill about comparing Victoria’s contact tracing system with New South Wales.

He says that there have been “lots of lessons learned”, and that they will spread that work “across all the other states and territories”.

Under the Commonwealth lead we’ll be taking the lessons out of that New South Wales-Victorian exchange and applying that to each of the states and territories.

He also says that the federal government will “connect all the digital systems that the states and territories are using”.

That doesn’t mean they need to be all on the same system, reproducing that effort would take considerable time, and unnecessary cost. But we can design and develop a digital overlay across all those systems.

He says it has been a “very practical” day of discussions, as the states are discussing Australia’s arrivals caps and hotel quarantine.

Morrison also says that the virus cases in Victoria, and the improving job numbers nationally are heartening.

We have seen now more than half of the jobs lost come back. And as Victoria continues to improve, as we saw job losses in Victoria, we will see that situation only go forward further.

He says that Australia saw a 7% decline in the economy in the June quarter, but that New Zealand experienced 12%.

Australia is managing both the economic and the health impacts of this Covid pandemic better than almost any other part of the world in developed economies.

The chair of AAP, Jonty Low, and its chief executive, Emma Cowdroy, have welcomed the announcement.

Earlier this week, three crossbench senators had written to the prime minister urging him to fund the newswire, according to a report from AAP itself.

Senators Jacqui Lambie, Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff told the government an urgent intervention was needed. “If the work of AAP is as valued as it ought to be, the Morrison government must invest in it,” the trio wrote.

AAP is also running a crowdfunding campaign which has so far raised $120,000 out of a $500,000 goal.

The Australian Associated Press newswire will get $5m in funding from the federal government, the SMH report.

The communications minister, Paul Fletcher, said that AAP was vital for regional news and Australia’s media diversity.

The AAP Newswire provides services to more than 250 regional news mastheads across Australia, covering public interest content on national, state and regional news.

Importantly, AAP also provides regional stories for national distribution so that regional issues and voices are heard across the country.

Andrews says that Victorians will not be fined if they tell contact tracers the truth about their travel, even if that means admitting they broke restrictions.

Giving contact tracers the correct information in a timely manner is worth more than $1,200 to every Victorian. The last thing we want is people not to come together, and tell the timely story of who they have been in contact with.

No fine frankly, would ever equate to how valuable the information that that person gives to us is.

That would apply to people who have already tested positive, and are being interviewed by contact tracers.

Andrews says that the Casey/Dandenong cluster is proof of the dangers of household transmission, and says that lesson applies to all socioeconomic groups.

It’s not a new feature, we have seen it all the way through, whether it be dinner parties from people who have been on skiing holidays in Aspen…you know, if I can bold enough [to say that] families that live in the outer southeast, I don’t think they have been to Aspen recently.

It does not discriminate. How big your house, no matter how big your bank balance. If you go visiting and you have this, you will take it with you. That is the key.

Andrews says he is disappointed in the behaviour of some of the people in the cluster.

[Travelling more than] 5km is one thing, but visiting others is the real issue here, frankly. The rules are in place for a reason and anyone who undermines this, undermines the entire strategy and it means the rules will be there for longer.

This virus does not discriminate. Whether you are a personal faith or no faith, whether you’re born here all your parents were not born here or whatever part of the world you came from, what language you speak, much money you are in, what postcode you are in, your age, gender, none of this matters. This thing is wickedly infectious. It spreads quickly and silently.

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