Australia to end offshore processing in Papua New Guinea
The Australian and Papua New Guinean governments have announced they have agreed to finalise the regional resettlement arrangement at the end of 2021.
The agreement, signed in 2013, had allowed for regional processing in Papua New Guinea of people who have attempted to travel to Australia illegally by boat.
The minister for home affairs, Karen Andrews, and the PNG minister for immigration and border security, Westly Nukundj, said processing would cease by 31 December and would not be renewed:
From 1 January 2022, the PNG Government will assume full management of regional processing services in PNG andfull responsibility for those who remain.
Prior to 31 December 2021, Australia will support anyone subject to regional processing arrangements in PNG who wishes to voluntarily transfer to Nauru.
The ministers’ statement also says PNG will provide a permanent migration pathway for those wishing to remain, and reiterates Australia’s “strong border protection policies”.
Sticking with Victoria, today is the day thousands of VCE students return to classrooms, despite surging cases. Year 12 student Lucca Beaves spoke to AAP about their return and how they were feeling:
I’m pretty excited, it’ll be good to be back with my mates and spend some time together.
But the 18-year-old is well aware of the likelihood that his school, McKinnon Secondary College, might have to deal with a close contact or a positive case:
I guess it’s a bit scary … If someone gets it at school, we won’t be able to keep going to class.
Like so many senior students, he and his twin brother, Padua Beaves, have spent much of their VCE studying at home. After deciding to get the AstraZeneca vaccine back in August, they are waiting to get their second dose next week.
The twins are among more than 738,000 or 61.7% of Australians aged 16 to 19 who have lined up for their first Covid jab, while 26.7% have had both.
Tuesday’s return to school for year 12 students will be the start of just two weeks of face-to-face learning before exams.
State health authorities conducted a vaccination blitz for VCE students before the return to school, with hubs set up on campuses in areas with high numbers of Covid cases.
State school classrooms are being ventilation tested, and thousands of carbon monoxide monitoring units and high-efficiency particulate absorbing air filters are being installed in spaces with insufficient airflow.
On Tuesday the state recorded 1,763 new locally acquired Covid cases, the highest daily figure recorded for any state or territory in Australia.
In regional Victoria, restrictions in the Latrobe Valley have been eased overnight, while Shepparton, Moorabool and Mitchell shires remain in lockdown.
Switching over to Victoria, here’s hoping there is a drop in numbers today:
So NSW Labor leaderChris Minns has begun his round of media interviews this morning by appearing on the ABC’s NewsBreakfast, and is asked what he thinks of NSW’s new premier:
I expect we will have big differences with the government getting into the economic recovery because the Treasury’s track record when it comes to Sydney and his economic management has meant more tolls and fines and charges on the working families of New South Wales, and I don’t think that’s the best way of getting the state going again.
Minns was asked what he thought of rumours circulating that DominicPerrottet would bring forward the state’s reopening date, and if Labor would support any changes to the reopening plan:
We would have to support it and if we were to support it it would have to be on the health advice. This model has been diligently worked over with the chief health officer and health minister Brad Hazzard.
There are many questions still to be answered in relation to the rollout in Sydney. We have been supportive of a graduated opening from 70-80% vaccination rates in New South Wales but there are questions in relation to unvaccinated people entering a private business …
What the obligation is on the owner of the business and the obligation for the staff and is there a duty of care, and where is the service first vaccine passport which is meant to in a real sense make sure that we can get through the next couple of months in a safe way?
That was all part of the Berejiklian model for opening up and there are still questions as to whether they will still be in place under Dominic Perrottet’s premiership.
Good morning, Mostafa Rachwani with you today to take you through the day’s news.
We begin in Victoria, which yesterday recorded its highest number yet of daily cases, at 1,763. It was also the highest tally recorded by a state or territory in Australia, with the state bracing for another day of high numbers. That hasn’t deterred premier Daniel Andrews from pushing on with the government’s reopening plan, with Victoria still due to reopen on 26 October.
In New South Wales, we are in day two of the Perrottet government, after Dominic Perrottet was sworn in as the state’s youngest premier yesterday. The NSW Nationals will have their turn to election a new deputy premier today, after John Barilaro resigned.
The state is also charging ahead on its vaccination targets, with NSW nearing the 70% first vaccination rate. NSW is still on track to reopen next Monday.
Elsewhere, federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg is ioslating after one of his staffers tested positive. His office is being deep cleaned and Frydenberg has tested neagative so far.
In Queensland, two new cases were reported yesterday, with all eyes watching the aftermath of the NRL grand final. Eyes are also on premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who said the border could remain closed at 80% vaccinated, insisting it was dependent on what was happening in NSW and Victoria.
The ACT yesterday also recorded 33 new cases and five deaths, as the state crossed the 65% mark for double dosed vaccination.
We’ll bring you the usual daily coronavirus updates, as well as everything in between. Stay tuned.