Australian News

PM Scott Morrison quizzed on ‘peak’ of unemployment rate

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says it’s “hard to say” whether unemployment will keep rising in Australia as coronavirus restrictions continue to ease and jobs return.

The national unemployment rate unexpectedly fell from a high of 7.5 per cent in July to 6.8 per cent in August, as revealed in Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released on Thursday.

Mr Morrison was asked on Sunday by Insiders host David Speers whether it had “peaked”.

“Well it’s a bit hard to say, on the measured rate, I must say and there are conflicting views,” the Prime Minister said.

“The figures that came out this week were a pleasant encouragement in terms of their improvement but for those who still don’t have a job, that is no comfort to them.

“They’re still out of work and we need to get them into a job.”

Speers interjected: “But has it peaked now? What’s your view? What’s your sense of it?”

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Mr Morrison said he was “pleased” that more than 400,000 jobs had returned.

“I think we’re going to see more jobs come back over the next three months,” he said.

Speers interjected again: “So it might have peaked? It might have peaked Prime Minister?”

“David, I’m trying to answer the question, if you’d let me answer the question,” Mr Morrison replied.

“I’m saying there are going to be more jobs come back in.

“The measured rate of unemployment will depend on how many people, what the participation rate is, and all of those things.”

You can watch the exchange in the video player above.

Mr Morrison expects hundreds of thousands of people to return to work by late December.

“Particularly if we get this next step right in Victoria,” he said.

“The number of jobs went backwards in Victoria in the last month. We’ll see Victoria bounce back, that’ll add to the national jobs growth.

“Now, where the actual measured level of unemployment is by Christmas, it’s hard to say at the moment I’ve got to say, I hope it’s lower, but at the moment it’s hard to say where the course of the pandemic is.

“It’s not just about what’s happening in Australia, it’s also about what’s happening around the world.

“We’re in the middle of a global pandemic recession and so Australia’s growth is also going to be affected by that and they’re issues that are well beyond our control.”

Speers asked Mr Morrison about Treasury modelling of the economic impact of reductions to JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments.

The JobKeeper wage subsidy will be slashed from $1500 to $1200 per fortnight from September 28.

“We are extending the JobKeeper payment, we are extending that out till the end of March,” Mr Morrison said earlier this month.

“We are extending the JobSeeker payment out to the end of December.”

On Insiders, he said: “You don’t have to hold onto every measure forever.”

“There are other measures that come in and pick up from where other measures left off.

“And we’re transitioning JobKeeper, it’s important to do that, we always said it was not something that would be around forever.”

He said there are a “range of measures” within the Federal Budget 2020-2021, to be handed down on October 6, “which are going to be pro-boosting aggregate demand in our economy.”

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Scott Morrison banned from entering Queensland for election campaign

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will be banned from entering Queensland for the duration of the state election campaign unless he is prepared to pay $2800 to quarantine for 14 days in a government facility.

Nearly seven weeks after he last entered the sunshine state, there’s no signs that the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will lift the border bans before the October 31 election.

Queensland’s border ban will effectively stop the Prime Minister, Labor leader Anthony Albanese and any other frontbenchers from entering the state for the duration of the election unless they are prepared to spend a fortnight in quarantine.

It follows an ugly war of words between the Prime Minister and the Queensland Premier over the plight of hardship cases including a young woman who was unable to attend her father’s funeral.

Last week, the Queensland Premier hit back at the Prime Minister, accusing him of “bullying” her to intervene in the case of a woman who was unable to attend her father’s funeral.

“I will not be bullied nor will I be intimidated by the Prime Minister of this country who contacted me this morning and who I made [it] very clear to, the fact that it is not my decision,” she said.

“The Prime Minister at the time said to me that he had not gone public, but Mr Speaker, I knew that he would go public.

“To use the tragedy of this personal family is disgusting.”

Both leaders have confirmed they have no plans to travel to Queensland while the tough border restrictions remain in place.

The current border closures, which prohibit anyone from a ‘hotspot’ area including Canberra coming to Queensland without a 14 day quarantine period will be reviewed at the end of every month.

The only alternative is to fly from Canberra to “COVID-free” Adelaide, which reopened the border to the ACT this week and spend a fortnight there, before travelling on to Brisbane.

According to Queensland Health Department guidelines, the border will remain shut to NSW, ACT and Victorian residents unless there are 28 days without community transmission in those jurisdictions.

And while there is provision for MPs’ to enter the state to conduct their work, the requirement they complete a quarantine period is non-negotiable.

“(Elected representatives) can enter Queensland from a declared COVID-19 hotspot, such as the ACT, to return to their electorate or to perform official duties,” a Queensland Health spokesman said. “They must enter via air and will be required to quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival as per global quarantine requirements.”

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young has previously defended the decision to declare Canberra a hotspot despite the fact the nation’s capital hasn’t had a case in months.

“Canberra is declared a hotspot because it is in the middle of NSW,” Dr Young said, adding that many people in Canberra have holiday homes on the NSW south coast where there have been cases more recently,’’ she said.

In July, the Prime Minister unveiled a $400 million package to attract international blockbusters to film in Australia on the Gold Coast.

However, the Queensland opposition leader Deb Frecklington did not attend the event as she had a prior engagement.

“I let her know I was coming up here today, and she was pleased with the announcement we were making today for Queensland,” Mr Morrison said.

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New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern rings Scott Morrison over Wallabies quarantine concerns

The New Zealand Government will relax its quarantine rules to ensure the Wallabies can prepare properly for the Bledisloe Cup Tests across the Tasman next month.

New Zealand is set to host two trans-Tasman Tests, after losing the hosting rights for the Rugby Championship to Australia due to restrictive quarantine protocols.

But Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said the current strict quarantine conditions were unacceptable for his team to prepare properly before the opening Test on October 10.

Rennie named 16 uncapped players in his 44-man Rugby Championship squad on Sunday, eight of whom only made their Super Rugby debut this year.

With a further 13 players in the squad having fewer than 10 caps to their name and a new coach, preparation time will be key if the Wallabies are to regain the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002.

A Wallabies player pushes past an All Black preparing to pass the ball.
James O’Connor has been named in the 44-man Wallabies squad.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had spoken with her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison and told him her country’s strict biosecurity regulations could be eased to ensure a level playing field.

After consulting director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield, the NZ Government offered to allow the Wallabies to train in small groups from the third day and as a full group from the sixth day of their two-week quarantine period.

Current rules meant they could not train as a squad until October 5.

Ms Ardern told Newstalk ZB she had spoken to Mr Morrison on Monday night.

“I just wanted to make sure that he was aware … I was made aware last night that there were a few little rumblings around the arrangements that we had in place,” Ms Ardern said.

“Quarantine shouldn’t be an issue. We just want to make sure that, you know, we go there and they go here and it is a fair arrangement.”

Australian players watch New Zealand perform the Haka ahead of the Wallabies' match with the All Blacks, Eden Park, Auckland
The Wallabies have not won the Bledisloe Cup since 2002.(Reuters: Ross Setford)

Ms Ardern is now confident the Wallabies will agree to the new conditions and the Tests will go ahead, with the dates and locations still to be confirmed.

“I believe so,” Ms Ardern said.

“There is no reason for them not to. Given the risk profile for Australians, it is very different to some of the teams we were talking about as part of the SANZAAR tournament [The Rugby Championship].”

NZ Sports Minister Grant Robertson said the Wallabies were set to be based in Christchurch for their pre-Bledisloe Cup quarantine.

“Most likely location will be in Christchurch,” Mr Robertson told TVNZ.

“It will be in a dedicated isolation facility, and they will be able to bus to and from their training grounds.”


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Scott Morrison on ‘inhumane’ Annastacia Palaszczuk

Scott Morrison has unleashed an emotional attack on the Queensland premier, saying a decision to stop a woman from seeing her father’s funeral was inhumane.

He told Sky News it was “hard to draw any other conclusion” in an interview overnight.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk came under national scrutiny on Thursday after Queensland health officials refused to allow Canberra woman Sarah Caisip, 26, out of hotel quarantine to attend her father’s funeral in Brisbane.

Yesterday, Mr Morrison contacted Ms Palaszczuk to seek an exemption in the case.

Not long after, the woman – who now lives in Canberra- was granted permission to see her father in his coffin but under police guard and without any family present.

She was allowed to briefly leave her hotel, bunt she couldn’t go to the funeral itself, instead she was ushered into another room with full PPE on to view her father’s body for just ten minutes. Her family were kept at arm’s length.

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After being asked whether he thought Ms Palaszczuk’s decision not to give the girl an exemption was inhumane, the prime minister said “it’s hard to draw any other conclusion”.

“It’s just one day I had hoped that something different could be done,” Mr Morrison told Sky News host Peta Credlin.

“There’s been some shocking days during the course of this pandemic, and today just hurt.

“At least, I’m glad she got to say one last farewell to her father, Bernard, I’m pleased she was able to do that. But gee, I wish she was able to give her mum and her sister a hug.

“And the other thing is, Peta, we ask our police officers to do some hard things. Can you imagine being one of those police officers today, with Sarah? Honestly.”

Mr Morrison said if the premiers believe borders are necessary, then they must find “a better way to deal with the heart”.

“We’re going to lose so much as a result of this dreadful virus – we’re sick to the back teeth with this – I just don’t want to lose anything more than we have to.

“I’m mystified at the discretion not exercised today.”

Mr Morrison said he had raised more than 40 different compassionate grounds exemptions with the Queensland government.

One case highlighted by federal authorities involved a mother and father who failed to get an application to enter Queensland resolved in time to be with their son before his life support machine was switched off after a series of strokes.

As the Sky News interview turned personal, Credlin asked whether Mr Morrison would be able to choose one of his two daughters to say goodbye to him, if he were dying.

“Never. Never,” he replied. “This is the point, right? In all of this race we have now, to protect human life from this virus, are we losing our humanity?” she asked.

“Well the way these decisions are being made, we’re at great risk of that. Of course we are,” Mr Morrison said.

“I believe people, during COVID, they’re all trying to do the best they can. But when the rules are written in such a way … then that is the great loss that is suffered.

“We’re going to lose so much as a result of this dreadful virus, and we’re all sick to the back teeth of this thing. I just don’t want us to lose any more than we have to.

It comes as Ms Palaszczuk said in Queensland parliament that she “will not be bullied nor … intimidated by the prime minister”.

“I will not be bullied nor will I be intimidated by the Prime Minister of this country who contacted me this morning and who I made [it] very clear to, the fact that it is not my decision,” she said.

“It is the Chief Health Officer’s decision to make.

“The Prime Minister at the time said to me that he had not gone public, but Mr Speaker, I knew that he would go public.

“To use the tragedy of this personal family is disgusting Mr Speaker.”

The prime minister said he “didn’t really care” about the premier’s comment as the issue at hand was not about either of the leaders.

Asked by Credlin why, when it comes to the Queensland border closure, it’s one rule for footballers and celebrities and another for ordinary people, Mr Morrison said it was clear there double standards at play.

“Well I think that’s why people have been so frustrated today, when they see double standards.

“Queenslanders are fair-minded people. I know, I’m sure the vast majority of Queenslanders would support the border being in place. That’s why it’s not about that, it’s about – you know, Queenslanders are very fair-minded people too, and I think this is what would offended them, the double standards that are there.

“I didn’t want to see this become a public issue today, because largely for Sarah and Isabelle and Merna’s case. They’re trying to deal with the loss of their husband and their father today, and all of this was happening around that. And I’m sad that that has been the case.”

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Scott Morrison outraged by viral video

Scott Morrison has put social media companies on notice over a “disgraceful” TikTok video targeting children that includes a shocking clip of a man taking his own life.

Schools across Australia have contacted parents this week warning them to keep their children off TikTok to prevent them stumbling across the vision.

In a new video released on Facebook today, the Prime Minister said the government would act if social media giants did not remove the video and clean up their sites.

“Social media has become, like it or no, part of our modern life,’’ Mr Morrison said.

“It gives us a bit of a laugh, people doing silly dances. Sometimes, they are taking the mickey out of me.

“But there is a serious concern and a serious side with what happens with social media and we saw that with that disgraceful video that was uploaded onto TikTok.”

RELATED: Parents warned about shocking suicide video on TikTok that may be hidden in other content

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister urged TikTok to remove the video from the platform as soon as possible.

“Now TikTok, I know kids look at it and they have a lot of fun and there’s nothing wrong with that,’’ Mr Morrison said today.

“But those who run these organisations have a responsibility to those who are watching it and particularly when it comes to children.

“The rules in the real world, how you behave in the real world … have to be the same in the social media world. You need to be accountable. You need to be responsible. My government will be doing everything to make sure we hold you to account for that.”

Cybersecurity expert and child safety advocates have warned the graphic video was disguised in innocent looking content such as cat videos.

Suicide Prevention Australia is urging the Morrison Government to legislate a National Suicide Prevention act to bring together a national approach to the issue.

“COVID-19 poses one of the greatest risks to suicide rates in Australia’s modern history. While our end goal must be reducing suicide rates towards zero, our immediate priority must be minimising any risk of them increasing during and after COVID-19,’’ CEO Nieves Murray said.

“The imminent task for us as a nation and community is to take advantage of this momentum and reshape the system to drive down Australia’s suicide rate.

“International evidence shows the best way to achieve this is through a stand-alone National Suicide Prevention Act that embeds a whole of government, not just a mental health, response.”

According to a new survey over 10 million Australians – or half the adult population – reported personally knowing someone who had died by suicide.

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Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder: Morrison Government’s funding boost

Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder support services will be bolstered by a $24 million cash injection from the Morrison Government.

The funding boost is expected to reduce the wait times for diagnostic services, as well as support Australian babies diagnosed with the condition, and their families.

The announcement coincides with Wednesday’s International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day, held symbolically on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year to remind the world women should abstain from alcohol during their nine-month pregnancy.

As much as 2 per cent of Australian babies are born with some form of FASD, a condition that involves a brain injury resulting from prenatal exposure to alcohol.

The funding boost builds upon $25 million announced in December, which went towards the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education in its bid to develop a national awareness campaign on the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

It brings the government’s total investment into the fight against FASD to more than $75 million since 2012.

The Morrison Government has also made clear its support for mandatory pregnancy warning labels on alcoholic drinks.

At its July meeting, the Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation agreed to a mandatory label that would be implemented over the next three years.

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Scott Morrison lashes Daniel Andrews road map

Scott Morrison has issued his toughest criticism of the Victorian lockdown to date urging the state to re-open the economy faster by improving COVID-19 contact tracing just as NSW has done across the border.

Warning he will adopt a “wait and see” approach to further cash assistance for the state, the Prime Minister has put the Victorian Premier on notice that he must step up to bear more of the financial burden for the decisions he is making to keep the economy in the deep freeze.

“Lockdowns and borders are not signs of success in dealing with COVID-19. And so it’s important that we put ourselves in a position where they do not feature in how Australia is dealing with COVID-19 on a sustainable basis,” the Prime Minister said.

“The most important thing is ensuring that we build an integrated tracing capability right across the country.

“As I’ve noted, New South Wales is the gold standard. That is where we have to get everybody to ensure that Australia can be open.”

Mr Morrison said the Commonwealth could not step in and take control because it was a matter for the states but he urged Mr Andrews to consider a faster timetable.

“I see it as a starting point in terms of how this issue will be managed in the weeks and months ahead in Victoria,” he said.

RELATED: Follow our latest coronavirus updates

Mr Morrison said officials will be “interrogating” Victoria’s modelling and providing “constructive feedback” on the exit plan.

“Australia can be open. And the plan that we will work on with the states and territories is to get ourselves to that standard so Australia can be open,” he said.

“We will continue to carefully review this plan. We’re yet still to receive the detailed modelling.”

The Prime Minister repeated his claim – disputed by the Victorian Premier – that NSW would be under lockdown under the plan Mr Andrews had outlined Sydney would be in lockdown.

“What I can’t help but be struck by is that, under the thresholds that have been set in that plan, Sydney would be under curfew now. Sydney doesn’t need to be under curfew now. They have a tracing capability that can deal with outbreaks,’’ Mr Morrison said.

VOTE: Have your say on Victoria’s harsh lockdown

The Prime Minister warned while he would consider extra assistance, he wanted Victoria to outline what assistance it was offering to workers to businesses before tipping more money into the state.

“Victorians are being supported more by the federal government than any other state and territory,’’ he said.

“I’ll be looking to see what they’ll be doing first before the Commonwealth considers any responses that we’ll be making,” he said.

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews said today Melbourne will not move into the next stage of restrictions before September 28, even if it meets the daily case threshold earlier.

But it may move into later stages of the state’s road map to recovery sooner than expected including ending the nightly curfew, allowing restaurants to re-open outdoors, stay at home orders that are tentatively planned for October 28, based on daily case numbers.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about Melbourne’s road map

Cafes and restaurants will be banned from serving patrons indoors until late November under the current road map.

During the press conference, Health Department chief Brendan Murphy said some of the triggers for removing restrictions in Victoria were very “conservative”.

“There’s no rule book for this virus but I think some of us feel that, if there were more confidence in the public health response capability, you could take some slightly more generous triggers,” Professor Murphy said.

Health Minister Greg Hunt joined the criticism of his home state of Victoria, reading from a pre-prepared list of experts who had criticised Victoria’s contact tracing.

“Professor Tony Blakely, from the University of Melbourne, an author of the modelling, subsequently said, “If we do our contact tracing better than we did three months ago, the contact tracers may be able to hold the case count without it going up again as badly as our model suggests,’’ Mr Hunt said.

“Professor Peter Colignon from the Australian National University in Canberra: “A lot hinges on contact tracing. So far, Victoria has not been able to do that as well as other states. I think actually a more nuanced approach like New South Wales is doing where very good contact tracing is likely to be sustainable over the long-term.”

RELATED: JobKeeper payment to be slashed for more than one million Victorians

The Prime Minister did not rule out more assistance for Victoria but stressed the ball was in the Victorian Premier’s court given that it was his decisions that had kept the economy in the deep freeze.

“We are extending the JobKeeper payment. We are extending that out till the end of March. We are extending the JobSeeker payment out to the end of December,’’ Mr Morrison said.

“There are a million Victorians who’ve been supported by those payments up until now, and they will continue to be.”

The Prime Minister made the comments at a press conference today on the latest deals the Commonwealth has signed to advance planning for a COVID-19 vaccine.

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PM Scott Morrison spent Sunday night reviewing Victorian roadmap out of restrictions

The Prime Minister spent Sunday evening eyeing up the details of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ new roadmap out of stage four coronavirus restrictions and is expected to respond in full today.

Scott Morrison did release a joint media statement with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Health Minister Greg Hunt on Sunday afternoon, which appeared to implicitly criticise Mr Andrews.

However, the Commonwealth’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Michael Kidd, said Mr Morrison would be addressing Australians directly and “responding in more detail” today.

Prof Kidd confirmed the Prime Minister had “seen the Victorian plan and the Commonwealth has received details of the modelling behind the plan” and would consider it in full overnight.

“The Commonwealth Government will now consider the Victorian modelling and settings that are being provided to our experts and officials, including our chief medical officer, and await their advice before responding further,” the Prime Minister said on Sunday afternoon.

“Now that we have been advised of the plan and it has been released we will also seek feedback from Victorian business and industry stakeholders to understand their concerns and seek to ensure they are addressed.”

RELATED: Everything you need to know about stage four exit

RELATED: Dan Andrews reacts to Scott Morrison’s ‘critical’ comments

On Sunday Mr Andrews revealed that Melbourne’s strict COVID-19 stage four lockdown, which was due to end in mid-September, would now be extended for an extra fortnight — but with some modifications.

The lockdown will now remain until at least September 28, followed by a number of different stages with fresh rules.

From next Sunday some, of those modifications include the curfew in Melbourne starting an hour later and running from 9pm-5am, people being able to exercise outdoors for up to two hours a day, children’s playgrounds reopening, and the expansion of social bubbles for those living on their own.

Mr Andrews confirmed on Sunday night that he had briefed the Prime Minister before he made the announcements but he did not indicate the PM’s response.

Mr Morrison has been critical of the state’s contact tracing and has said it is of “critical importance” the level of tracing is strengthened.

His media statement gave Australians a taste of what to expect when he fronts the cameras today. It described the Victorian government’s lockdown extension as “hard and crushing.”

The PM’s joint statement on Sunday stressed the importance of “reopening our economy and reasonably restore the liberties of all Australians”.

“Today’s announcement from the Victorian Government to extend lockdown arrangements will be hard and crushing news for the people of Victoria, and a further reminder of the impact and costs that result from not being able to contain outbreaks of COVID-19, resulting in high rates of community transmission,” the statement said.

It predicted more job losses as a result of the extended lockdown.

And Mr Morrison said the federal government “would like to see restrictions in Victoria lifted as soon as it is safe to do so”, the decision was entirely up to the state government.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has come out swinging against the proposed plan for regional Victoria’s exit out of Stage 3 lockdown.

In a statement released Sunday afternoon, Mr McCormack said the decision to keep borders in regional areas closed “just does not make sense”.

Mr Andrews appeared on the Sunday Project and fobbed off a question about the PM’s press release, posed by one of the show’s hosts, Peter van Onselen.

“You’d need to speak to the Prime Minister about the words he chooses in media releases,” Mr Andrews said.

“I spoke to him this morning before I made these announcements. Our partnership is a very important one, there’s no time for politics in this.”

Van Onselen pressed again, asking the Premier: “What do you think of the words he (Scott Morrison) has used?”

“Prime ministers and premiers need to be focused on the job at hand and that’s not trying to interpret media releases,” Mr Andrews said.

“That’s working together as closely as we can to get this job done, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Professor Kidd sent a plea to Victorians and the rest of the country to stay strong on Sunday, admitting many residents “will be feeling anxious and isolated … angry and frustrated, and negative”.

“Some people will be feeling depressed and despondent,” he said,

“The response in Victoria is a response that is not just protecting the health of the people of Melbourne and Victoria but is also protecting the health of all people in Australia,” he said.

“Victorians have overwhelmingly risen to the challenge so far and will continue to do so.

“Please reach out to your loved ones and your friends in Melbourne to offer your support.”

There are some changes to the two-week extension of stage four, which will last from Sunday, September 13 to September 28, followed by a number of different stages with fresh rules.

You can find more information on those rules here.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison says extended lockdown is “crushing news” for Victorians

The extended lockdown in Victoria is “crushing news” for people in the state but it’s vital for the country to curb the coronavirus spread, according to Prime Minister.

The decision to extend lockdown arrangements in the state “will be hard and crushing news” for Victorians, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a joint statement on Sunday.

“It is vital to the national interest to restore Victoria to a COVIDSafe environment, where we can reopen our economy and reasonably restore the liberties of all Australians, whether in Victoria or anywhere else,” it reads.

But the roadmap comes at a cost.

“The continued restrictions will have further impact on the Victorian and national economy, in further job losses and loss of livelihoods, as well as impacting on mental health,” they said.

The statement comes after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced there would be another two weeks of Stage 4 restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne on Sunday.

“I apologise for the circumstances we find ourselves in,“ Mr Andrews said.

But there have been minor changes brought in from September 13 to ease some of restrictions including changing the curfew to run from 9pm until 5am, increasing the exercise limit to two hours and allow a visitor “bubble” for singles.

It is part of a five-step plan to bring the state to COVID-normal by the end of the year.

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Scott Morrison wants Australia back to normal by Christmas

Australians should be back at work in December and able to spend Christmas with their families and friends.

That is the vision Prime Minister Scott Morrison has painted for the parliament as he ramps up pressure on state and territory leaders to reopen the economy.

Mr Morrison was asked in Question Time how the government was working to give Australians the hope and certainty they needed to plan for their futures in the midst of the pandemic.

“By Christmas, we should aim for Australians to be able to go to work, to be able to be with their family at Christmas and to return to visit their friends, and to look forward to a positive 2021,” Mr Morrison told the House of Representatives.

“We cannot resign Australia to being a dislocated nation under COVID-19.”

Mr Morrison said it was understandable borders were in being enforced, but stressed the economy needed to reopen.

“Our plan is to work together with the states and territories, to reactivate the plan that we first set out in May, and made great progress towards,” Mr Morrison said.

“Victoria has turned the corner and we are planning together with the Victorian Government to reopen Melbourne.”

Mr Morrison revealed he held talks with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian – both of whom committed to open the border between their two states as soon as it was safe.

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