Coronavirus live update Australia: Victoria records 410 new Covid cases and 21 deaths as NSW records 18 new cases

By Michael McGowan (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

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Daniel Hurst (@danielhurstbne)

The education department has updated its website today to confirm a childcare provider can reject transition payments to allow their sole trader/independent contractor educators to keep claiming JobKeeper. It follows our story on family day care on Monday: https://t.co/pWgexNTBT1 pic.twitter.com/CzuUeFYzmj

August 12, 2020

01:09

NSW residents returning from Victoria have welcomed the announcement of a “grace period” for hotel quarantine fees, but say there are still other issues making the border rules confusing and difficult.

Natalia, a new mother who travelled to Victoria to be closer to family before she was caught in the lockdown, said it is still unclear whether all NSW residents will be allowed to return to the state.

She told Guardian Australia she had left Sydney before the pandemic, while on maternity leave, and now had to return for work in the midst of the health crisis.

It was always the plan that I’d return back to Sydney. The timing [of the border closure] could not have been worse ... We fled fires in Sydney now we have to flee Melbourne and the pandemic.

Natalia said she and her partner would save $4,000 thanks to the moratorium on fees, which had been discouraging them from returning.

Passengers hand over their luggage in order to enter hotel quarantine off a flight from Melbourne at Sydney International Airport.

Passengers hand over their luggage in order to enter hotel quarantine off a flight from Melbourne at Sydney International Airport. Photograph: James D Morgan/Getty Images

However, they were still worried about being turned away under other restrictions, including the fact that people now cannot cross via car, and must fly into NSW.

I assumed of course I would be able to return because I was a NSW resident and my job is there, but when I looked into the details I was blown away by how strict the restrictions were.

Even if we have a permit to cross, we might be turned away at the border because the discretion is reserved for the people at the border. We pack up our life, hold our 8 month old baby in our arms, and could be turned away, it’s like a Cold War drama.

The person at the border could just have a bad day. My driver’s license is NSW, I have a job in Sydney, I am hoping that the person on the border will see it that way.

The decision for us not to have to pay for the quarantine is significant, it means I can save around $4,000. We will now move now, in the next 3 or 4 weeks. It’s solved one problem but there are quite a few others.

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CBA boss Matt Comyn has just finished talking to the media after today’s release of the bank’s profit results.

He says the second Victorian lockdown will have a “sharp impact” on Australia’s economy, but is hopeful it won’t last for long.

Signs of economic decline out of Victoria as it entered the six-week lockdown included a 20% increase in requests for help from customers and falls in spending - although Comyn said these weren’t as steep as the falls seen in the nationwide lockdown in March.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO Matt Comyn.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO Matt Comyn. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP

Clearly the broader lockdown in Victoria and Melbourne is going to have a sharp impact.

We certainly hope that, as I’m sure everyone does, that it’s short-lived.

CBA is the country’s biggest bank, so its customers are a reasonable sample of the economy at large.

In other bad economic news today, consumer sentiment has collapsed, with Westpac’s index falling 9.5% in August, and wages figures for the three months to the end of June show the lowest increase, just 0.2%, since the Bureau of Statistics started the index in 1997.

CBA is forecasting a 4% fall in GDP this year, with 2% growth next year (which is still not great).

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