The head of the Australian Banking Association, Anna Bligh, was on ABC TV just then to respond to agriculture minister, David Littleproud’s comments about ANZ’s action on climate change.
Bligh said ANZ is doing what every bank in Australia and around the world is doing.
The minister is right, banks are there to lend money into the economy but also there to make sure they lend the money with the appropriate degree of risk and the ability to manage the risk and that’s important for all of us because they are lending your money out of your deposit account and they have to do is in a way that is safe which is taking account of all known risks including climate change.
There is nothing unusual about ANZ, every bank is doing it, not only here and around the world and they are required to do it by regulators. ANZ has made it clear they are there to back Australian farmers. They are talking about the 100 biggest emitters and make sure they have a transition plan as the market changes over the coming years.”
Bligh also wouldn’t predict whether there would be a rate cut announced tomorrow. She said around half a million Australians have switched their home loan to another bank this year.
Proposed cash for cans scheme unveiled in Victoria
Under a new recycling scheme proposed by the Victorian state government, people would be paid 10 cents per can, bottle or carton dropped off to a collection point.
Collection points will include shops, vending machines and drive-through depots. There are also plans for pop-up collection points at music festivals and other special events.
Under the proposed model, the Victorian government will provide regulatory oversight, while the beverage industry will be involved in managing the operation of the scheme.
One or more network operators will also be appointed by the government to manage collection points and refunds.
The proposed model will provide opportunities for a range of organisations to manage collection points including community groups, charities and sporting clubs.
The Victorian government is currently conducting public consultation on the proposal, which would be rolled out in the state in 2023.
NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian will make an announcement about the Sydney Gateway project at 11am today, where we will also get a Covid-19 update.
Speaking of Angus Taylor, my colleague Anne Davies has obtained WhatsApp messages from Taylor’s office following a lengthy freedom of information battle with his office, revealing Taylor’s staff were in a panic when they realised the figures were wrong in the data provided to the Daily Telegraph’s story over the City of Sydney’s travel expenditure.
Health professionals want Angus Taylor out
Over 700 health professionals have written to the prime minister, Scott Morrison, expressing their concern about emissions reduction minister, Angus Taylor, and his ability to fuilfill his responsibilities in that portfolio.
The letter states Taylor is failing in his ministerial duties by allocating public money to gas and other fossil fuel projects, while overseeing a 50% decline in large-scale renewables investment, failing to reduce Australia’s emissions in line with our international obligations, and for not committing Australia to a 2050 net zero emissions target.
“We are… united by our concern about the climate crisis and the impact it is having on the safety and wellbeing of Australians and our neighbours,” the letter states.
“Public health is inextricably linked to climate health. Climate damage is here now — and it is killing people.”
The letter was coordinated by the Australian Conservation Foundation, and some signatories include Prof Nick Talley, the editor-in-chief of the Medical Journal of Australia; Dr Clare Skinner, the incoming president of the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine; Dr Rob Phair, the president of the Rural Doctors Association of Victoria, and A/Prof Brigid Lynch, the president of the Australasian Epidemiological Association.
David Littleproud was also asked about his criticism of ANZ for requiring high-emissions customers to develop emissions reduction plans. He said it wasn’t for banks to be the “moral arbiters of society”.
It is about them understanding the risks when they lend money to the Australian economy. Their job in the Australian economy – a privileged one – is to lend money and make sure that someone can may it back. It is not to pass a moral compass from well-heeled CEOs and board members of their own philosophical view. You should let the Australian government do that. We have a clear pathway to reduce emissions and we will stick to that pathway, because we have made international commitments around that and we won’t deviate from that.
Lobsters may be victim of China trade spat
There are reports tonnes of Australian lobster are stuck on a tarmac at a Chinese airport, amid ongoing trade tensions between China and Australia.
David Littleproud confirms the lobsters are subject to inspection in China, but Australia is seeking clarifications.
They’re saying they want to understand if there’s trace elements of minerals and metals in it. We will clearly be able to demonstrate because we test before they go and that that is not the case so we’re asking why this action is being taken against Australian rock lobster, as we’ve asked around the cotton issue, understanding that officials were telling those importers not to bring in cotton from Australia.
We need to get clarification of that. We’re a fair country. We play by WTO [World Trade Organisation] rules and we expect countries we trade with to do that. If they don’t, we’ll have to make consideration with industry around what our next action is around the independent umpire, being the WTO, and what we would do next.”
Agriculture minister and Queenslander David Littleproud is on ABC TV.
He says the premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, did a good job in campaigning around keeping Queensland safe with the border closures but he says it is ultimately the federal government picking up the bill for it.
“Unfortunately we have to understand that we not just have to keep ourselves safe but we also have to keep the economy going. The states can easily stick to that mantra but unfortunately it’s the commonwealth government and the Australian taxpayer who’s got to pay for it.”
Re-elected Queensland Labor government works on budget
Just on Queensland, AAP reports returned premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is working on the state’s budget, as Labor is on track to pick up an additional four seats, up to 52, AAP reports.
The Liberal National party appear to have lost a net four seats, taking its numbers to 34 in the 93-seat chamber.
Palaszczuk says putting together a state budget is her first priority.
Labor didn’t deliver a budget because the federal budget, which includes crucial GST forecasts, wasn’t delivered until 6 October when the state government was already in caretaker mode ahead of the election.
Palaszczuk, treasurer Cameron Dick and deputy premier Steven Miles are meeting with departmental director-generals Monday to keep their promise of delivering a budget before Christmas.
She says the state budget is likely to be handed down on 8 December, the week after the new parliament is sworn in.
Queensland’s economy is sluggish with the unemployment rate at 7.7% in September, the highest in the country, and 209,000 people out of work.
The Labor government already has a $11bn stimulus plan under way to try to deal with the impacts of Covid-19.
Dick forecast net debt to hit $101.96bn by June 2021, up from the $83.8bn predicted in December, in a financial and economic update delivered in early September.
Hello and welcome to Monday. I’m Josh Taylor and I will be on the Australian Covid-19 live blog for today.
Health minister Greg Hunt says Australia is close to securing two more sources for a coronavirus vaccine, which he expects will start rolling out in 2021.
So far the Morrison government has two vaccine contracts in place – the Oxford-AstraZeneca for 33.8m units and the University of Queensland-CSL for 51m units.
“The results from both of those have actually been positive, more positive than we had expected,” Hunt told reporters on Sunday. “We are now close to additional contracts and there are two further ones on the advice of the medical expert panel which are being pursued and which I am confident will be completed within the coming weeks if not earlier.”
Health workers and the elderly would be prioritised, but he said the aim would be to give the vaccine to every Australian who wants to be vaccinated over the next 12 months.
Victoria reported two days of zero cases of Covid-19 over the weekend, as Melbourne marked its first weekend of cafes, restaurants and pubs opening up to customers.
Local councils had converted parking spaces on streets out the front of venues for more seating to allow the venues to increase their capacity, which currently only allows for 20 indoor, and 50 outdoor.
That capacity could likely increase this weekend if the low case numbers continue to drop and restrictions are further eased.
Here’s some of the other news you might have missed over the weekend:
- Australia officially recorded no new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases on Sunday, the first time since 9 June. A local case recorded in NSW after their 8pm cut-off point – that of a second child linked to a trampoline park in Sydney’s south-west – will be included in Monday’s official tally.
- Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has put her historic election win down to her Covid-19 response allowing voters to maintain their lifestyles.
- Regional Victorians will be allowed to travel to the Northern Territory from today.
- The interim hotel quarantine inquiry report is due this Friday.
- Tasmania will open its border to NSW residents from Friday, when Queensland reopens to all of NSW bar greater Sydney.
Let’s get into it.