Australia news LIVE: Victoria braces for more protests as state grapples with growing COVID-19 cases; NSW cases also on the rise

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International students to return to NSW by the end of the year

Hundreds of international students will start returning to NSW by the end of this year, although vaccine restrictions will mean students from key markets in China and Nepal are not likely to be among them.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet confirmed the plan to restart the state’s critical international higher education sector had been finalised and would form part of the state’s road map to reopening after the Delta outbreak.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet wants international students to return to his state.Credit:James Brickwood

Mr Perrottet had been working on a plan to bring back international students for about 12 months, but it was thrown into disarray with the Delta outbreak.

He said “tens of thousands of people in NSW rely on the international student market for work” and the restart of the industry would “also address the rising issue of labour shortages in the state.”

More on NSW’s plans here.

Victorian protester in hospital with COVID as healthcare workers told not to wear uniforms

A vaccination centre has closed and healthcare workers have been told not to wear their uniforms in public after abuse from protesters across Melbourne this week, including one case where a nurse was allegedly spat on.

Plans for a fourth day of widespread protests against mandatory vaccinations and the closure of the construction industry did not materialise yesterday, as the Health Department revealed a person who attended Wednesday’s rally was in hospital with COVID-19.

Police speaking to people in Melbourne’s CBD yesterday. Credit:Getty

A spokesperson for the department said it was investigating the case and urged anyone who attended the protest to get tested if they had any symptoms.

Police said they arrested 92 people across the city yesterday, primarily for breaching public health directions, and would “continue to provide a highly visible presence across the city over the coming days”.

In an attempt to bypass hundreds of police deployed across the CBD, organisers tried to organise a protest at the Melbourne Museum vaccination centre. However, dozens of police were sent to monitor the Museum and adjoining Carlton Gardens, where no protests eventuated.

More on the situation in Melbourne here.

Frydenberg says Australia cannot be left behind on net zero by 2050

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has backed the case to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 in a warning that Australia must not be left behind in a mammoth economic shift that will impose sweeping costs on countries that do not act on climate change.

Mr Frydenberg will point to powerful decisions by global investors to outline the need for the more ambitious target, in the strongest endorsement to date from a senior cabinet minister on a question that has divided Liberals and Nationals.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says global markets are already pricing in net zero targets by 2050 and Australia cannot be left behind.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

His call is likely to strengthen support for the goal within the government as Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce holds out against the target, while Prime Minister Scott Morrison tries to settle the issue after returning this weekend from meetings in the United States.

Read the full story here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Friday, September 24. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.

Here’s everything you need to know before we get started:

  • Victorian authorities are concerned that a violent protest in Melbourne earlier this week could have been a super-spreading event. It’s been revealed that a demonstrator from Wednesday’s rally is in hospital with COVID-19. Meanwhile, healthcare workers have been told not to wear their uniforms in public after reports some were abused – with one nurse allegedly spat on – by those protesting the Andrews government’s vaccine mandate and subsequent shutdown of the local construction industry. Yesterday, Victoria recorded 766 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 (the state’s largest daily tally) and four deaths.
  • Hundreds of international students are set to return to NSW by the end of the year under the Berejiklian government’s reopening plan. However, vaccine restrictions mean students from key markets – such as China – aren’t likely to be among them. NSW yesterday recorded 1063 new cases of COVID-19 and six deaths. The local government areas of Orange and Glen Innes are now out of lockdown.
  • The ACT recorded 16 new coronavirus cases yesterday. Of those, at least 11 were infectious for at least some time in the community. There are 12 coronavirus patients in Canberra’s hospitals. Chief Minister Andrew Barr says those living in the nation’s capital who are aged 12 to 59 are now eligible for the Moderna vaccine.
  • WA Premier Mark McGowan says Saturday’s AFL grand final in Perth will be the “greatest grand final ever”. The state recorded no new cases of COVID-19 ahead of the clash between the Melbourne Demons and Western Bulldogs.
  • Queensland reported one new case of COVID-19 in the community yesterday. However, it was a student who was already in isolation when she returned a positive test. Meanwhile, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has defended her tough stance on borders.
  • And Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has thrown his support behind a push to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Mr Frydenberg is expected to give a major speech today urging Australia not to be left behind when it comes to tackling climate change. It’s significant because there has long been tensions within the Liberal and National party rooms over how to address a changing climate and transition Australia’s economy.
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